A TWS (which stands for 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 also re-played during the playback of the TWS; AVI recording tools usually do not record sound.
- The player may pause the game as often as he likes when playing a level, and the pauses will be filtered out of the TWS recording. This will 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, Block N Roll or Roller Coaster.
- 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 compressed/zipped AVI files). The size of a TWS file comprising solutions for all levels in a levelset is of the order of 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 attempting to play back the TWS on the new version.
- 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 MS 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 in the following cases:
- The player scores more seconds, not necessarily more tenths; one can put in a route with more tenths with the overwrite command.
- Playback or verification of the previous solution resulted in Chip failing to reach the exit due to a change in the level.
- The player has the overwrite command (Ctrl+X) in place, which will replace the previous solution no matter what the new time is. Generally, this is used to add spare tenths to an existing route.
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 did 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, and it works even with existing TWS recordings.
Solutions in TWS files are mapped to a levelset 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.
A 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 by only one-tenth on one level, and therefore the routes have been immaculately pruned of extra tenths.
Anybody can upload a TWS from any version of Tile World, even older versions, but since the Mouse Panel Glitch was not introduced into Tile World until the 1.3.0 version, people downloading the public TWS onto an older version will have the routes stop at Debug File in the case of CCLP2. Instead, it is recommended to users to keep two copies of Tile World, of different versions: one 1.2.2 version and one 1.3 version.
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 Spooks, Cityblock, Alphabet Soup, Block N Roll, Skelzie and Cake Walk; CCLP2 levels are Killer Rooms, Jungle, Checkerboard I, Checkerboard II, Escape from Chipkatraz and Cloner's Maze.