How to Create Icy Tower Characters (Advanced Palette Editing)

Icy Tower is one of the most addictive arcade games out there. The goal in Icy Tower is to get as high as you can, by jumping and making combos. It's downloadable at [1] .

You can start with the characters Harold the Homeboy, Disco Dave, and a template file of Harold. The game is nice, but only two characters and a template? That will get boring. You can download characters at the main page noticed before. But some people want to make their own character. You can do this by using the template file. The problem is that you can only change the sprites, and not the palette for the level for example.

So I'm going to tell you how.


  1. 1
    (If you already made a character, go to step 6)Let's start by downloading the right programs. First, you need the game of course. The latest version (1.3.1) is the best to get. You can find the link in the introduction.
  2. 2
    When you downloaded (or already) have the game, go to the folder where it's installed (most of the time it's c:\games\icytower13)
  3. 3
    Locate the folder characters\template. We're going to work with this one.
  4. 4
    FIRST make a backup of the entire template folder, just to make sure. Then open up the template.bmp file in it. You can use the Paint program for it.
  5. 5
    When opened up in paint you can edit freely. Just don't forget to stay within the purple box, don't affect it. If you want a better tutorial for the basics, try this one: [2]
  6. 6
    These are the basics, now for the advanced editing.
  7. 7
    We use NeoPaint for this.
    It's a 30-day trial, but it's full, not a demo. We use NeoPaint because it has easy palette editing. You can download it here [3]
  8. 8
    When downloaded and installed, open your Icy Tower character bitmap with it.
  9. 9
    Image titled Palette_739.png
    You will notice the color blocks on the left, this is the palette.
    You will also see a lot of light blue blocks. We're not going to use these right now. First we will try the font color.
  10. 10
    The colors of the blocks are the 16 rainbow colors on the right. You can edit these by going to Picture -> Edit Palette...
  11. Image titled Palette2_206.png
    Once opened up, you will get a window with same sliders and the color blocks. Now locate the rainbow colors mentioned before. I want to make it a black-red gradient. You can do this by selecting the block one by one and dit with the sliders, but you can do it easier. Just press the button in the toolbar, located on the right, to make a gradient from two colors. WAIT, first make the color block located at the top right black, then the last color in the row red (use the sliders for this). Now you can go to the gradient button.
  12. Image titled Palette3_570.png
    Now select the recently edited colors as color 1 and color 2 (Doesn't matter which one first). Now click OK and you will see a gradient in the blocks.
  13. 13
    Now press OK. You will see a window pop up first. Choose the first option, then press OK. Now save your bitmap, and open up Icy Tower. Select your character, and look at your freshly edited font colors. If you don't like the results, just change it again. Hint: You can make a reflected gradient by using half of the row black-red, and the rest red-black.
  14. 14
    Now let's try the tower itself (!WARNING: This is hard to do, always make a back-up first!)
  15. 15
    Go back to your image and your palette. You will notice a black-white gradient with a trace of blue on the left bottom. This is the gradient for the walls and the background. We want to make... it green. So we will try green. Just go to the edit palette option and edit. But this time it's a little harder, because the 16 blocks are for the walls on the side AND for the background.
  16. 16
    You need to experiment. Make the last color light green, for example. Then make a black-light green gradient. Back-up and save, and try it out. Just experiment with the sliders.
  17. 17
    Hint: Just as I said at the font color step, just try out a reflected gradient by splitting it in half.
  18. 18
    OK, now we have changed font colors and changed level colors. Now we will try modifying the floor colors.
  19. 19
    This part is a little harder, because there are about 27 floors. I can show you 3 of them, the rest you need to do on your own.
  20. 20
    Image titled Palette4_789.PNG
    Go back to your character and the palette.
    Locate the 4block brown gradient, next to the colors we've edited before (level colors). This is the 3rd floor (the wooden one). Most of the floors only contain 4 colors, so that makes it easier to locate.
  21. 21
    Just do the same thing you did with the rest. For example make it green. The other two I know
    Image titled Palette5_543.PNG
    are for the fourth and the fifth floor. There are others in the palette, just find out and experiment.
  22. 22
    That's all I know about Icy Tower palette editing. Check out the tips wrote down in the Tips section. These are really useful(you can find most of them in the steps too).


  • Experiment with the colors. You can get cool results if you be creative.
  • Check out the character section at [4], because some of them have really advanced palette edits. The Ghost Harold for example, has even menu colors changed. Compare them with your character, you will see the difference.
  • FOR BASICS! The Harold template is most of the times frustrating, because there isn't enough room to put your character in. A way to enlarge that is to make the canvas width bigger, then move up to make room for a bigger sprite. Move up the white text and the line under the purple spaces so they center under the sprites. It's not that hard, just don't mess up the alignments and colors.


  • ALWAYS backup your files. When you don't, you can get really, really frustrated.
  • Experimenting is good, but never change the light blue colors. This can screw up your game, UNLESS you know what you're doing.

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Categories: PC Games