Artist Debug Mode

From version 0.7.1 on, SuperTuxKart contains a hidden track debugging mode packed with features to make it easier for artists to make tracks.

Before starting, let me remind you that there is a feature always enabled to let you start directly into a track, so that you don't need to go through the menus everytime. Simply launch STK from terminal with

supertuxkart -N -t trackname

where "trackname" is the name of the directory your track is in.

Furthermore, if you encounter problems, make sure to run Supertuxkart from a terminal, there you may be able to see error messages related to your track.

Enabling the debug mode

When STK is closed, open the STK config file.

  • On Windows: It is in %APPDATA%/supertuxkart/0.8.2 (you can enter that in the Explorer and it will take you there)
  • On Linux: Either in $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/supertuxkart/0.8.2 (first choice), ~/.config/supertuxkart/0.8.2 (second choice) or in ~/.supertuxkart/0.8.2 (third choice).
  • On Mac OS X: It is in ~/Library/Application Support/supertuxkart/0.8.2. Note that this directory may be hidden.

You can also watch the output in the terminal to see if there is a note on where the config files are stored or search for a file called "config.xml".

Locate the line that reads

   <artist_debug_mode value="false" />

and change it to

   <artist_debug_mode value="true" />


Note: Many of the tools listed below use keyboard bindings. Of course you will need to make sure your keyboard configuration does not assign these keys to something else if you wish to be able to use them.

  • If there is no ground under the area where karts start, normally STK will print an error message on the terminal and abort; in debug mode, however, the kart will just hover so you can see what the problem is
  • You can now select "0 laps" in the race setup; useful to test kart animations
  • More precise polygon count is displayed when "show FPS" is enabled
  • You can get into 3-strikes battle mode in single-player mode (useful to test battle arenas)
  • Flying: karts may be instantly turned into flying objects. This is quite useful to take a closer look at meshes that aren't too visible from the road, or to skip large portions of a track to go straight to the area you're interested in.
    • I: fly up (press repeatedly if needed)
    • K: fly down (press repeatedly if needed)
  • Debug checklines: Launch supertuxkart from the terminal with --check-debug, and you will visually see where checklines are; active checklines will appear as red, inactive ones as white; and information about which kart crosses which checkline will be printed on the terminal.
    • Also --track-debug will enable you to see where the drivelines are
  • No Ready/Set/Go: To speed up testing your track, in artist debug mode, when you play alone against no opponent, the ready/set/go messages are skipped very quickly
  • In-game debug menu (see next section)

In-Game Debug Menu

By right clicking somewhere in the STK window, you can open the debug menu. Beside some features only usefull for debugging or other developer tasks, there are also some features just for artist:

  • Powerups at will: Nitro and zippers are especially helpful in order to quickly get to an area far from the start
  • Hide karts and race GUI: This is especially useful when you need to take the screenshot of your track, to get all annoyances out of the way
  • Debug views: You can cycle through several rendering and physics debug draw modes. Render debug views will show intermediate render steps, like the normals or lights buffers. Physics views will show the physics data being used in STK (including the faces and normals).
  • A different viewpoint: Launch SuperTuxKart from the terminal with --camera-debug or select "Top view" from the menu, the camera will be placed from above, allowing you to see what's going on from a different perspective
  • [STK 0.8.2] First person camera: Fly around the map with WASD and rotate the camera with Q and E. There's also a smooth version which damps your movements. The damping can be adjusted in the config file of SuperTuxKart
  • [STK 0.8.2] Adjust Lights: You can adjust the values for red, green, blue, energy and radius of the light nearest to the kart (nitro emitters and other invisible lights are skipped) and see the effect immidiately