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Backgrounds imported from GM5 don't have their "use as tileset" flag set correctly. #144
Game Maker 5 did not have the "use as tileset" background property, so importing a GMD file will lead to all backgrounds being considered "not tilesets". Although this is a good default, there is another option: scan the rooms and set "use as tileset" for all backgrounds a room specifically lists as a tileset. (This will not fix tiles added through tile_add().)
This is really a judgement call; the only reason it matters (to me) is that it prevents you editing GM5 maps. If you try to select a tile and then click on the map, the entire background image is place into the map.
A simpler workaround would be to leave the "use as tileset" flag unchanged, but modify the room editor to place tiles even if that flag is off. I am not really clear on all the use cases of tilesets vs. normal backgrounds appearing as-is, but I thought I should post this bug report at least.
Ok, after doing some digging, GM8 and GM:S don't bother setting the "use as tileset" flag, even if it is clear that the background in question is being used as a tileset. Both will render the maps correctly, but editing them is impossible until the "use as" flag is set.
I'm going to make a patch to auto-detect backgrounds which are used as tilesets when upgrading from GM5/6.