NES Assets Workshop (NAW). A new graphics editor for the NES!

Started by nesrocks, March 14, 2023, 11:19:02 AM

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Some of you will already know that I've been developing this tool for a few years now. Its development started due to dissatisfaction with some aspects of NES graphics creation and also as a personal challenge. It has grown and I have still big plans for it! It is now the main editor for NES graphics for some people already which makes me really happy.

I still use other tools too. I think they are quite complementary. NAW offers a modern workflow but also unique tools that you won't find elsewhere. It also lacks tools that you can only find elsewhere. In the end the more tools you know the better!

It is a free download here on RHDN and on Itch. Donations on Itch are welcomed. It takes a huge effort to build a tool like this. I may go Open Source too, I'm looking into that. For now it is closed source.

RHDN link:
Itch link:

NAW is a new graphics creation tool targeted specifically for developing NES assets. The GUI should be familiar to artists.
Currently available for Windows only.

In NAW the screen area is an emulation of the NES image. It contains all of the basic building blocks: the CHR data, nametable, palette and sprites. What you see is the real thing!

It allows editing the nametables, the CHR pages and OAM data, all using a very visual workflow.
Some interesting features include:

- paste any type of image you copied from an outside program directly onto the CHR area. Color will be automatically reduced if need be.

- load a tbl file to assign tiles to keys or assign them visually inside NAW so you can write to the nametable with the write tool.

- manipulate sprites. simulate scanline sprite limit, order sprites in OAM, simulate flicker.

- draw on the sprites layer directly and sprites will be created automatically. ideal for creating static screens (title screens, cutscenes, etc).

- export NROM with the static image (for proof of concept, etc)

- intuitive image editing tools (brush size, paint bucket, line, rectangle, color swap, selection).

It should be important to mention that it doesn't open a ROM directly yet. Such a feature is planned for editing tiles, much like yy-chr, in the future.

As a NES graphics tool though it is useful for creating new sprites, backgrounds and tilesets for then to be manually inserted into the game with other ROM hacking tools.

It can also quickly import a PPU dump taken from Fceux or Mesen for you to edit uncompressed (a.k.a in NES PPU format) existing game's graphics. You may need to fiddle with the registers inside NAW to completely recreate the game's screen after importing the dump.

You can also import the OAM dump from Mesen to view sprites already assembled, making it easier to edit the CHR tiles.

For both of these features you go inside the emulator, open the ROM and play until you reach the section with the sprites you want to edit the tiles for. Dump the OAM and PPU memory and open those inside NAW.

Feedback is really appreciated!

There's a default tutorial project that should help you understand the interface.

One thing people may not understand at first is how to place tiles. You need the tile tool for that. It can be found on the toolbar (the [T] icon) or you can just hit the "A" hotkey. So, tile tool is for tiles and pen tool is for pixels.

Happy drawing sessions!



Wow, the many features of this new software are incredible.
I can finally make proper straight lines in 8bit!

Only thing I don't like is the MS-DOS-like UI though, call me obnoxious, but ZSNES left me with an awful taste for it since the early 2000's.


I heard about this project a bit back. Glad to see it is still being worked on. Looking sharp!


Gave this a quick run and it's a very neat tool! If I had any suggestions, perhaps a pixel grid mode of sorts you could enable to display if you zoom into the background and tiles?



Well, there is. If the grid is visible and you zoom in far enough the pixel grid appears. Maybe it's too faint for your screen? Let me know if that's the case.

I'm thinking that depending on the UI zoom the pixel grid could appear on lower zoom levels too, and make it more prominent in higher levels.