Armour Recoloring


Since it looks like SBSE is going to be down for a long while, I thought I’d post a guide to recoloring armour through starcheat. It’s a slightly more involved process than using SBSE, but once you get the hang of it it’s fairly easy to pick up.

What You’ll Need

First you’ll need Starcheat. Starcheat hasn’t updated to the 1.0 version officially yet, but there is an “experimental” stopgap version that’s available for download. You need to dig a bit for the link, so it’s here to save you some time.

Then you’ll need an image editor that’s able to give you a hexadecimal colour code when using the colour picker. For this, I use GiMP as a free and easy to use program, and I will be using it in the tutorial.

Getting Started

First, equip the piece of armour you want to recolour, then close down starbound and open up your character in Starcheat. Below is the screen you’ll be presented with.

For now, you’re not interested in anything except the armour you want to recolour. Say it’s the chest item you wish to change. Right click on the item and select “Edit”

You should be presented with a pop-up box like below:


This is the item editing screen. The box in the centre is the ‘Parameters’ box, and currently only contains the default parameter for chest items – colorIndex. The number in the colorIndex parameter dictates what the item has been dyed to in-game, but we can ignore that for now.

We want to add another parameter. To do so, click the plus on the bottom right of the box. You will be presented with another pop-up box.

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The box on the top is the blank box that you’ll be shown, below it is what you want to end up with. The top bar in the box is the name of the parameter, and the field below is the contents of the parameter. The parameter we want to add is “directives.” Make sure it is all lowercase, as the formatting of the title is important for the game to recognise it.

In the content of the box we need to include what we want the “directives” to do. We want a ‘replace’ directive, since we’re replacing one colour on an armour piece with another. The entire string must be enclosed in quotation marks.

The most important part of the string is the ‘?replace;’ section, this MUST be at the start for the directives to do anything. After that, you simply follow with a pair of hexadecimal codes you want changed. On the left, the colour of the armour you wish to change, and on the right the colour you wish to change it to. Each pair must be separated by a semicolon. (;) for now, press ‘ok’ to accept the JSON changes in both pop-up windows.

But how do you get those hexadecimal codes? This is where GiMP comes in. Use print-screen to take a screenshot of the starcheat window, make sure the preview of your character is clearly visible. Crop to the preview window, then place a copy of the preview into a new GiMP page. I usually paste a second too, so I can organise the colour changes easily. 5

Here is an image of the two previews in the GiMP window. On the left, I’ve used the colour fill tool to change the colours to what I want them to be when we’re finished, and on the right I have left the preview unchanged. Using the eyedropper tool, you should then select a colour on the unedited image, and copy the output shown in the highlighted ‘HTML notation’ box.

Once you’ve done that, use the eyedropper tool to select the colour you wish to change that colour to, and note down the HTML notation for it. In this case, it would be the darkest red on the left image.6

Now, re-open the item file in starcheat and navigate back to the parameter you added. Take both HTML notations and replace the “example” text with each. Remember to put the colour you’re starting with on the left of the equals sign. Starbound will now take the colour placed on the left and replace it with the colour on the right when in-game. You’ll need to do a pair like this for each individual colour change you need to make, but remember this changes all pixels of that particular colour – you cannot pick and choose which it will change. Once you press ‘ok’ again, the preview window should update to reflect this change.


Above is an example of a completed item that has been fully recoloured. Each colour on the original armour sprite has been placed on the left of each pair, and the new colour that I wanted to change it to placed on the right of each pair, and the pairs are separated by a semicolon. The last pair in the string does not need a semicolon afterwards. The entire thing is enclosed in quotation marks, and the green “JSON is valid.” text confirms this.

So, I hope that helped anyone who wished to recolour their armour using starcheat! It is a bit of a pain doing it this way, but with some careful trial and error you can create some really interesting results. Happy recolouring!