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A TWS, or Tile World solution file is a file with the .tws extension, which Tile World uses to save level scores and solutions, similar to an automatically recorded AVI. The key differences, however, are as such:
- An AVI is a simple video capture of the game screen that can be played back in any video player. A TWS file records the moves made by the player, and these moves are re-executed by Tile World during playback.
- The in-game sounds are replayed during the playback of the TWS; AVI recording tools usually do not record sound.
- The player may pause the game as often as they like when playing a level, and the pauses will be filtered out of the TWS recording. This can be important when using the Mouse Panel Glitch or in routes with heavy spring steps in reaction to monsters, frequently random ones, such as Blobnet or Block N Roll.
- AVIs can be played online or with almost any media player, so they are more accessible than the TWS.
- TWS files are inherently much smaller than AVI files, even ones that are compressed or zipped. The size of a TWS file comprising solutions for all levels in a level set requires several kilobytes; the zipped AVI file for a single level requires a few megabytes.
- It is possible to verify that a solution still works on the updated version of a level (or a different level entirely) by pressing Shift + Tab.
- The TWS can also be played back using different tilesets and sounds.
- It is possible to generate an AVI from a TWS by capturing the TWS playback with ChipCap; this is done by beginning a ChipCap recording with an MSCC window open, and then switching to a Tile World window and playing back the desired TWS. This is known as a TWS-AVI, as it combines both solutions. The reverse method (an AVI-TWS) is obviously not possible, but fortunately Tile World is easier to record in.
Additional features and restrictions in the use of TWS files arise from the way that Tile World currently handles them, and are described below.
Tile World automatically records TWS solutions, without the need for an external tool such as ChipCap. To prevent accidental solution recording, this can be disabled by starting Tile World with the read-only mode option (-r).
The solution is stored into the TWS only when Chip completes the level; partial solutions cannot be saved.
When a level is completed and a solution was already stored previously, the solution in the TWS will be overwritten if the player scores more seconds or tenths of seconds, or if playback or verification of the previous solution resulted in Chip failing to reach the exit due to a change in the level.
Additionally, the player can use Ctrl + X to toggle a "replacement mode"; when the level is beaten in this mode, the previous solution will be replaced no matter what the new time is. Additionally, Ctrl + Shift + X can be used to completely erase a time from a TWS file.
TWS solutions can be replayed with the use of either Tab or Ctrl + I. The entire solution can be quickly verified using the Shift + Tab keys, usually to verify whether a solution still works after the level has been altered; The exit (with Chip in it in MS mode) will be shown at the end of the solution if it is valid, and otherwise the solution will play back up to the point where the stored keystrokes run out or Chip dies, whichever occurs first.
Tile World 1 does not provide an option to "fast-forward" parts of a TWS solution, as can be done with an AVI in a movie player; but this was only a limitation of Tile World's interface, not of the TWS file format. Support for fast-forwarding and "seeking" in other ways was added in Tile World 2.
Solutions in TWS files are mapped to a level set using the .dat, .ccl or .dac file name used during recording, and to a level in the set using its password; therefore, in order to play back a solution, both of these must match exactly.
Using the Ctrl + S command in Tile World, a player can select a TWS file other than the default one. This is primarily useful for seeing TWS solutions by other players.
The public TWS to the official level sets is kept at David Stolp's site, and can be found here. It automatically updates itself when a person loads a higher-timed route, even if by only one-tenth on one level, and therefore the routes have been immaculately pruned of extra tenths. Initially, the public TWS was only available for the MS ruleset; however, in 2017, Stolp added Lynx TWS files for the official sets.
Recently, the public TWS has received fewer updates, as there are few things left remaining to improve. CC1 levels without a bold time in the public TWS are Oorto Geld, Cityblock, and Cake Walk; CCLP2 levels are Killer Rooms, Checkerboard I, Checkerboard II, Cloner's Maze, and Key Color.
In addition to the official level sets, CCZoneTT.dat, a set containing levels used in the time trials on the CCZone forums, and EvanD1 by Evan Dummit have public TWS files available. Instructions on how to use them are written in the pages.