PL Map Editor Tips/Guides (Warning: VERY image heavy)

Post Reply
User avatar
PrincessPhoenix
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1063
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 9:02 am
Location: Wherever the Magikarp are hiding

PL Map Editor Tips/Guides (Warning: VERY image heavy)

Post by PrincessPhoenix » Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:57 am

This is sort of a guide and sort of not; people have been asking me to make a guide for the actual layer and tile setting processes so I will try my best. There are many different ways to make maps and this just happens to be the way I make stuff.

I am in no way claiming myself, PrincessPhoenix, to be an expert map maker, and I am fully aware that there are some things that people may find issues with, especially when it comes to the un-standardized ways certain areas of the maps are set (like tree shadows, areas no one can walk on and waterfalls).

But, if you are really 100% interested in making maps for PL, please read the ALL OF THE SECTIONS OF THIS TOPIC.



Quick Links

Section 1: Things to do before starting a new map: Scroll down, it is right under the Quick Links..
Section 2: A more detailed explanation about map layers | How to prepare the final map files for submission/export
Section 3: Cliffs, trees and pathways- the skeleton of the map
Section 4: Grass and the grass object layer
Section 5: Setting buildings
Section 6: Water
Section 7: Environmental themes and joining maps
Section 8: Notes and anything that might not fit into the above categories



Things to do to before starting a new map

1. Read Brad's basic map editor guide for information about what map editor program is used here and what tileset is being used.

2. When you are ready to start a new map, ask yourself and answer these questions because they are important:
  • What is the purpose of this map?
    Is it a route map? A gym map? A cave map?
  • Where is this map supposed to go?
    Where in the overall PL world is it supposed to connect to? How do people enter and leave the map?
  • What is the environment of the map?
    Is it along a beach, a forest, in the snow, etc. The environment has to make sense for both what you are putting on the map and where in the PL world it will go. If you are going to put snow right next to Bluegum Town it isn't going to work at all.
3. Preparing to save and work with maps
  • Create a folder for your maps on your computer!
  • Put the tilesheet(s) into that folder and save the maps to the same folder that the tileset(s) are in. (This makes it much easier to keep track of your maps and for other people to click and view them.)
  • If everyone follows this format, all you need to do to view someone else's map would be to drop their .tmx file into your map folder and it will open without problems.
Following the above makes creating a series of maps a lot easier!
ImageI'm not a developer. | Visit PL's IRC channel!

User avatar
PrincessPhoenix
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1063
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 9:02 am
Location: Wherever the Magikarp are hiding

Section 2: A more detailed explanation of map layers

Post by PrincessPhoenix » Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:08 am

Section 2: A more detailed explanation of the map layering
And how to save your stuff!

Brad's guide covered the basic layers that are needed with every map. There are up to 7 different layers used, but the other two are only used on a few maps:
Image

The grass object layer:
  • grass (this is an object layer. It must be named grass with a lower case G)
Layers that go above the player:
  • Weather (optional- this layer can be named whatever. In the SS above it was named "fog" because it was hosting the fog for Oldpine Town)
  • Top
Collision (gives players an obstacle):
  • Collision (this layer must be named Collision)
Bottom layers (player walks over these):
  • Walkable
  • Walk (optional-this layer can be named whatever)
  • Base
_______________________________________________________

Starting from the bottom up:

Base Layer
This is the very bottom of the map that is used for the ground tiles, as well as walkways. I usually take the fill bucket tool and put the grass tile on this layer. If it is a cave I use a rock layer.


(Optional) Walk Layer
This is an optional layer that is used on indoor maps more than outdoor ones. It provides an additional layer between the Base and the Walkable layer so that you can stack more than one transparent tile that the player needs to walk over. There is no strict naming format for this layer so you can name it whatever you want.

For example, in the house you have a floor on the base layer, and then you put the rug down on the Walkable layer. The rug's tiles don't go all the way to the edge so if you put a cushion on the rug on the Walkable layer, it would make the rug tile vanish and it will look awkward. If you put the rug tile on the base layer there would be a gray transparent area that is left behind. So to solve this the easiest thing to do would be to add it to a secondary layer which I usually name "Walk", place the rug on that layer, and place the cushions on the Walkable layer above it.
Image
(In the above example the books are on the top layer. But you can put the books on the Collision layer and put the table tile the books are sitting on in the Walk or Walkable layer and it also will work in the end.. but more on this later).


Walkable Layer
This is the default mandatory layer that is above the Base layer but below the Collision layer and is used for things that have a transparent background and is allowed to be walked over by the player. The spawn grass and flower tiles go on this layer, as well as certain pathway borders that need both a base and a Walkable layer to properly display. Sometimes the shadows of trees go on this layer too.
Image
In an indoor map that does not throw cushions on rugs, the rug and every other walk-over transparent background object would go to the Walkable layer.


Collision Layer
This layer must be named Collision or else the game will not register the obstacles. This is the only layer that supports obstacles and everything set to this layer including blank transparent tiles will not allow a player to walk over it. Things that go on the Collision layer include, water, cliffs, most of the buildings, trees, the bottom of signs, rocks etc. So when setting map tiles be very careful not to accidentally select an invisible square off to the side on the tileset.

Very often non-ground related things that go on the Collision layer (such as trees, signs, buldings) will have the top 1-2 tiles of that object go on the Top layer so your player can walk behind it.


Top Layer
This layer goes above the Collision layer and everything set to this layer will appear above the player on the live maps. This is often used for the tops of trees, signs, buildings, mailboxes, archways and things used to conceal NPCs or players.
Image
Ah, the infamously fun pastime of hiding behind trees. Thanks, Top Layer!


(Optional) Weather Layer
This is a very rarely used layer because its only purpose is to add weather effects to the map. Weather effects include fog, darkness on the night maps, snow, rain and light sand blowing. It needed its own layer so that the weather effects don't interfere with the tops of trees and other objects to be walked under.


Grass Object Layer
This layer usually goes at the very top, and must be named "grass" with a lowercase g. Unlike the other layers of this map, this is an object layer and so all you can do is set selection rectangles to grass. If the map does not have a wild Pokemon spawn area in it this layer does not need to be added.

This layer and exactly what to do with it is explained in full in Section 4: Grass and the Grass Object Layer.

_______________________________________________________


How to prepare your map for saving/export

If you have your map already approved and ready to submit, here is how to prepare the files for sending. We will pick on the Oldpine Town map as an example (because it used all the layers).


1. Go to File >Save As and save the file with the extension of .xml
So now there should be a .tmx (the original format) and a .xml file of your map
Image

2. Hide the grass object layer, Top and Weather Layer
Uncheck the boxes that is next to the layer name. This hides the contents of that layer.
Image

3. Go to File > Save as Image
In the file name, add a single space after the name of the map but before the file extension, and type " base". This is going to be the base image of the map.
Image

4. Unhide the Top and Weather layers, and then hide the Base, Walk, Walkable and Collision layers.
(Leave the grass object layer hidden)
Image

5. Go to File > Save as Image
In the filename, add a single space after the name of the map but before the file extension, and type " above". This is going to be the above layers of the map and everything on this will appear above the player.
Image


Now you should have a map above.png, map base.png, map.tmx and a map.xml version. Your files are now ready to be sent off!


Uploading map files to an online file host to share your maps with others

First you need to send all 4 files to a .zip file.
Windows instructions | Mac instructions

Then you need to upload the .zip file to a file host, such as MediaFire or Mega. If you have a dropbox account then that will also work. Please note that for all three of these you may actually need to register a (free version) account there in order to be given the download links. Once you obtain the download links you can post them to the forum.
ImageI'm not a developer. | Visit PL's IRC channel!

User avatar
PrincessPhoenix
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1063
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 9:02 am
Location: Wherever the Magikarp are hiding

Section 3: Cliffs, Trees and Pathways

Post by PrincessPhoenix » Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:45 pm

Section 3: Cliffs, trees and pathways- the skeleton of the map
(this also includes the ground)

In this topic will make a demo map of a small island to aid in this section.

1. I usually start out on a new map that isn't connected to anything major by zooming out (hold ctrl and press the - key, or select 50% from the zoom area.) Also save your map, and save often.
Image

2. Set the Base layer. I usually take the grass tile at the top of the map, select the fill bucket tool, and then fill the entire map with that grass tile. If your map is a cave, flood fill it with one of the cave center tiles instead.
Image

3. Start adding the main obstacles of the map- Cliffs and trees (and also buildings, which is covered further down in the guide)!
I usually start off with any cliffs. This particular green grass and dirt one is the one that is used the most.
All of the cliffs you place should go on the Collision layer
Image

If you have to delete a tile off of the Collision layer, use the eraser tool. Do NOT take a blank tile and run over the map areas to delete it, this will only create invisible obstacles.

Please avoid "square" looking cliffs on maps.
The square-looking cliffs and water looks best on games like the official game that used heavily zoomed in maps because it also helps the player from getting lost or stuck. When you can see a lot of the screen like on PL, those types of maps start to look weird.
ImageImage
When placing cliffs and ocean edges, give them some curves! The only area that needs stock straight cliffs are waterfalls, because the waterfall tiles only work on the bottom of the cliffs.


___________________________________________________________________


So.. I want an island in the middle of the ocean that looks like a Magikarp for this example. I will make the outlines of the island in the shape of a Magikarp (I like Magikarp :P). What I usually do to plan the cliffs of a map is take the bottom 1-2 tiles of a cliff and draw a basic outline of what I want it to look like on the Collision layer. These cliffs serve as obstacles.

You can erase unwanted tiles with the eraser tool .
Image

Here is what the outline looks like. It will look very messy at this stage but do not worry. Remember to try and make your cliffs not looking like one giant rectangle.
Image
Link to full sized map

Next, I zoom back in to 100% and take the rest of the cliff tiles and make it into a proper edge. Often times I edit the cliff directions as I go along so the final outlined area might not look like the plans.
Some helpful tips on where to set the cliff edges

When adding more layers to the cliffs or making valleys, I use the same process. This image has the basic cliffs for Magikarp Island done.
Cliffs are now done (full size map)



Cave entrances
These are what the cave entrances look like. They are meant to be embedded into stacked cliffs to look like an entrance in the mountainside.
ImageImage

The above cave entrances are meant to work with the single tile cliffs that are in the image to the right. To make a decent cave entrance follow these steps:

1. For single tile high cliffs, stack at least 3 of them on top of each other. For double tile cliffs stack at least 2 of them. These cliffs go on the Collision layer.
Image

2. Take the cave entrance of a matching color and place them over the cliff like so on the Collision layer. It will make the cliff tiles that was there previously disappear but that is fine.
Image

3. Take the cliff tiles and paste them back onto the map on the Walkable or Walk layer behind it. But, avoid placing a cliff tile in the area in the red square.
Image

4. Take the eraser brush and delete the dark tile in the bottom center of the entrance.
Image

5. Paste the cave entrance tile back, but put it on the Walkable or Walk layer. The reason for steps 4 and 5 is so that people can "walk" into the cave entrance before the warp is triggered.
Image



Internal cave entrance/exits
Entrances and exits in the cave itself is put into the upper edge of a cliff in a cave. When the door is against a back wall you can use the outdoor cave entrances.
Image

They use these tiles:
ImageImage
The 2 red rectangles on the second image are the yellow ground lights that you can see on the floor of the cave entrance.


___________________________________________________________________


Trees!

There are so many things to do with trees.. On the tileset there are two clumps of trees, the individual standalone ones, and the ones to the far right that have 2-3 next to each other. When you are placing trees with the purpose of using them as barriers or map fillers, use the 2-3 trees that are next to each other. When using trees as decoration you can use the single ones.

The bottom 1-2 tiles of a tree normally go on the Collision layer while the top 1-2 layers go on the Top layer. (Or see this for stand-alone tree instructions: http://i.imgur.com/90gTZ5W.png which I also linked further down )

-Trees as barriers or map fillers
Use the 2-3 trees next to each other on the far right side of the map for this. To make the trees repeat nicely, I select a small portion of the tree and paste it over and over again for small areas:
Step by step tree placing.

In the above example I alternated the rows of most of the trees so that the trunk of the tree behind it is between the top of the two trees in front of it. You do not have to do this, I only do that because I personally like how it looks and if you make your trees match up row for row it is fine.

Once you have a row of trees you can mass copy/paste them by right -clicking and dragging your mouse over the tiles to select them. A brush with all the tiles you highlighted will appear and you can quick paste it over and over!
Image


-Trees as decoration aka those single trees
The single trees can also be used as barriers or obstacles, just make sure they don't have an empty tile between them as gaps, or else people may be able to walk through them.
Here's an image guide I put together for a bunch of the trees.

Now you should be able to stick all the trees on the map!
Here's the Magikarp Island so far, with some trees.
___________________________________________________________________


Pathways, Stairs etc.

I usually plan this simultaneously while placing buildings, trees and cliffs but for the sake of the guide I am doing one part at a time. Walking paths are often man-made so you can make them as straight as you want. If you want a path to go up a cliff, you need to use stairs.

The path and patch tiles look like a patch of ground with a border joining it to a different ground tile design:
Image
The tiles in the red square can be used on the base layer because they don't have any transparent edges.

The tiles in the blue square are used on the Walkable layer because their centers and corners are transparent. The purpose of these transparent center tiles is to provide a lanscape tile transition between the grass and a different tile that is on the base layer.

In this example of Magikarp Island, the dark tan path is on the ground layer, while the sand on the left side is on the base layer, with the patch borders sitting over it on the Walkable layer.


How to add stairs
This section is going to require a lot of images so I made a guide here!


Now with the cliffs, trees and paths done, here is what Magikarp Island looks like so far. On to the next part!
ImageI'm not a developer. | Visit PL's IRC channel!

User avatar
PrincessPhoenix
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1063
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 9:02 am
Location: Wherever the Magikarp are hiding

Section 4: Grass and the Grass Object Layer

Post by PrincessPhoenix » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:05 am

Section 4: Grass and the grass object layer

Grass tiles
The grass I am talking about here is the Pokemon/Spawning grass, and these are the ones that we want to spawn Pokemon when you walk over them. You set these to the Walkable or Walk layer. The flowers in the blue rectangle are sometimes used as spawning grass, but it is usually the red flower that is set to large clumps while the blue one is for decorative purposes only.
Image
-The yellowish grass clump (second one from the left) is better suited for deserts or base tiles that have a yellowish tinge to them (such as the dying ground color on the left side of Route 7).
-The green ones to the far left are the common default grass used everywhere: the bottom green clump has a shadow while the top one doesn't. For practical purposes the bottom green grass with the shadows is best used on the green grass base tiles, while the top on without the shadows are used for ground tiles that are not green or for grass that is placed in the shade. But you can also use the top one over base tiles that are green if you want to as well, we are not that nitpicky.
-The green grass clump that is second from the right has a transparent shadow, so you can also use those on any ground tiles without having to worry about the shadow colors matching the environment.
-That gray grass that is to the far right I believe is used around volcanoes, or spooky areas.


Thick grasses held spawns in the official game, but here in PL they are put on the Collision layer and used as obstacles instead:
Image


These types of grass/flowers/plants go on the Walkable or Walk layer but they are for decorative use only. They are usually used to dot the ground tiles so that it doesn't just look like flat green plains.
Image

_________________________________________________________________________________

When setting spawn grass you should generally aim to have them in rectangular patches because it makes it easier to set the grass object layer selection to them. Remember, these grasses go on the Walkable or Walk layer because of their transparent background, and the need for you to be able to walk over them.

-Try to avoid circle shaped grass patches
-Fill in the grass patches with an ample amount of grass. The less sparse the designated spawn area is, the better.
-If you are placing these grasses in areas where players can not access, feel free to arrange them in any way because they will not have spawns on them.


Here is what Magikarp Island looks like so far with the grass added
I also edited the path a little, and dotted the base grass with little green and white flower tiles. (The green and white flowers are set on the Walkable layer).
_________________________________________________________________________________


Using the grass object layer
Time to set the grass object selection!

Go to Layer > Add Object Layer, or click and hold the new layer icon and select Object Layer from the drop down menu.
Image ---or--- Image

It should appear at the very top of your layer list. If it isn't use the arrow button that is next to the new layer icon to move it to the top. Double-click on it and rename it "grass".
It is very important that you name it grass with a lowercase G or else this layer will not register in game.
Image


At the top of the menu select this blue rectangle shape. There are other shapes next to it but none of those seem to register in game when I tried selecting with them, so only use the rectangle one.
Image

With the grass object layer selected, set rectangles over all the grass areas where wild Pokemon are meant to spawn (click and drag to create the selection).
This selection is the real thing that causes spawns in game, and so wherever you set this will make a spawn appear. Because of this you also have to be careful what you select so that you don't make Pokemon accidentally appear in places you don't want them to.
Image
(I intend to have things spawn in the "eye" on the map which will be filled with water later, so that is why that part has a selection over it.)


For the demo map I purposely made the grass not fully rectangle to show how to select non-rectangular grass. What you do is select many smaller areas until the entire grass area you want to set as spawn has a selection over it.
The grass object selection for this map

Sometimes the map spawns are offset in game for some odd reason. Because of that I do not recommend making a bunch of solitary grass clumps and setting a selection area of only 1 tile to each of them.


Setting the grass object layer in caves
Select the entire map with the selection tool, and that's it. In PL every walkable space in a cave is fair game for spawns so this is why we set it over the entire cave. Here's what Grayview Cave's grass object layer looks like:
Image


And that's all for this section!
ImageI'm not a developer. | Visit PL's IRC channel!

User avatar
PrincessPhoenix
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1063
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 9:02 am
Location: Wherever the Magikarp are hiding

Section 5: Setting Buildings

Post by PrincessPhoenix » Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:13 am

Section 5: Setting buildings

Buildings can be set while you are in the process of pasting trees and laying down the pathways so that you can arrange things to be pleasing to the eye and practical to walk around. I find it easiest to place buildings after I do the cliffs, or even while I am setting the cliffs so that I can make sure there is enough space for things.

Buildings with a specific purpose
The following have a specific reason to be appearing on a map and shouldn't be spammed like other buildings:
Image


Buildings in cities
One of the things we are trying to do is to have cities and towns with building themes. For instance, the houses in the cities should try to have roofs of a shared color, like the blue houses in Newpine and red houses in Eastbourne. Earlier cities such as Bluegum and Darlinghurst don't follow this theme pattern so this isn't a mandatory rule, but it is something that will make your town or city more pleasing to the eye. Lone houses on routes or islands don't really need to follow any theme patterns, unless that particular map has an obvious connection to a city or town.


How to set a building
Buildings have a basic standard for setting them:
  • The top 1-2 rows of a building go on the Top Layer
  • The main body of the building goes on the Collision Layer
  • The door and shadows go on the Walkable or Walk Layer

Here's a visual representation of some of the buildings in game:
Image

And that is pretty much it for buildings. Here's Magikarp Island with a couple of buildings on it. In the process of setting buildings don't be hesitant to move things around or edit them to make a building work.
ImageI'm not a developer. | Visit PL's IRC channel!

User avatar
PrincessPhoenix
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1063
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 9:02 am
Location: Wherever the Magikarp are hiding

Section 6: Water

Post by PrincessPhoenix » Sat Apr 04, 2015 7:37 am

Section 6: Water

Ah water, the things that make maps pretty, and something IGN didn't like about Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire :lol:
Water usually goes on the Collision layer, unless you want people to be able to walk on it, or if you want NPCs like the Magikarpus swimonlandicus(hehe) to be able to move around in it. There are a lot of things to do with water so I'm going to try and make each sub section as short and to the point as I can.

Like cliffs, please try to avoid "square" bodies of water. Ponds in cities and towns can be square though.


Setting pond/river/bodies of water
These types of water tiles have a container outline that looks like a mini-cliff, like the below. Like the path tiles, the tiny squares below it are the corner pieces:
Image

The process I personally use for the water tiles is the same as the cliff tiles:
Image
1. Make an outline of how you want the water to look using the bottom water border tile. Do this on the Collision layer

2. Use the other water borders to make your outline look like a proper water body. This has similar edge and corners to the path tiles.

3. If you want the water to be inaccessible to anything including NPCs, fill in the center of that water body on the Collision layer.
If you want people to be able to walk into the water, put the center water tiles on the Walkable or Walk layer, and don't forget to add stairs or something so they can access it.


Deep water
There are some water tiles that have a patch of darker water in the middle of it- these are deep water tiles. They usually only appear if the pond or river is very deep, and they should always show up in the ocean.
ImageImage
Take note that for the deep water tiles there are rounded corners. Please use them at the corners when placing these.

In PL, the deep water tiles should gently follow the curve of the edge of the water, whether it is a beach or the edge of a pond.
Image
Image
Image


Setting beach water
The only thing between this and the above is that there is the presence of sand. Actually it isn't much of a difference, but often times you may find yourself wanting to have the sand and the "shallow" parts of the beach available to walk over. For the sand to water borders, please remember to avoid square or straight-line looking edges. Give them some curves!

If you want the sand-to-water border and the shallow water to be able to be walked over, put the sand-to-water border and the shallow water tile on the Walkable layer and put the deep water tile on the Collision layer.
To make the water non-walkable put all the water on the Collision layer, and/or put the sand-to-water border on the Collision layer too.
If you want some areas of the shallow water to be walked over but not others, put sea rocks there or some other obstacle that will make sense in that area of the map.

1. Like the Cliffs and regular water, I take the bottom beach-to-water tile and draw a basic outline. Once you have something you like, go back and fill in your lines with the correct edges:
Image

2.Next, take the center water tile and fill in the area where the water is supposed to go. You can make this easier by taking the Fill bucket and flooding the open area with water. (Note: You may have to "draw" an outline of where you want the water to be filled first if the fill bucket looks like it's going to place water tiles in areas you don't want it to go).
Image

3. Take the center of the deep water tile and fill in outer areas of the water. Remember to make the line gently follow the borders of the sand and land.
Image
(I also filled in the sand here, that sand on the beach goes on the Walkable, Walk or Base layer).

4.Use the outer edges of the deep water tiles to smooth out that section. Now your water tiles are done!
Image



Docks, piers, rocks and bridges

Docks, Piers and bridges use the same tile setting format whether or not water is involve. The rocks I am referring to are the sea rocks, but they can also be used for big land rocks.

Here is a visual representation of the below, it would take too many images to post in the topic

The piers/docks/bridges follow the basic format of:
1. The main walking layer goes on the Walkable layer
2. The water/ground under it that is visible through a transparent hole should go on the Walk or Base layer.
3. The Piers/Docks/Bridges have the outside or the environment directly outside of them on the Collision layer, otherwise there is no point in making a bridge that people can just go walk off of, unless it is the end of the bridge.
(4. If the side railing of a bridge is facing you, and there is a stand-alone tile set for that bridge, it will go on the Top layer so your character can walk behind it)

For sea rocks, it is quite simple:
1. Rocks that are 2+ tiles high have the first tile go on the Collision layer, and the rest on the Top layer.
2. Rocks only one tile in size go on the Collision layer.




Waterfalls
The waterfall is one of the unconventional and somewhat annoying things to put on a map in PL. The waterfall on the tileset was not compatible with any other tile on there, but I love waterfalls so I shoved in some makeshift compatibility tiles at the last minute that probably does not do it perfect justice, but it gets the job done.

Prerequisites of a waterfall. If your map does not meet these 2 criteria, don't put one
1. There needs to be some straight cliffs that are at least 3 tiles across. If the entire cliff going across the map is one giant waterfall then it will be a straight line (this is one of the few instances where a squareish cliff would be okay).

2. There needs to be a decent-sized body of water above the waterfall and a body of water or something below that receives the water that falls. It makes absolutely no sense to have a waterfall in the middle of nowhere with no source or destination. You can stick a waterfall coming down from the top edge of a map to sneak past the source requirement, but if you are making a map that connects to the top, you better have a water source there..

How to make a waterfall
Image Find and memorize these tiles, they are all used in waterfalls.

Here's the guide I made that helps you make waterfalls.


Boats
Boats are pretty easy to set.
1. Place the entire boat on the Collision layer above the water
2. Place the water tiles under the boat on the Walkable, Walk or Base layer

And this concludes the water chapter! And Magikarp Island as well:
Image
ImageI'm not a developer. | Visit PL's IRC channel!

User avatar
PrincessPhoenix
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1063
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 9:02 am
Location: Wherever the Magikarp are hiding

Section 7: Environmental Themes and Joining Maps

Post by PrincessPhoenix » Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:30 am

Section 7: Environmental themes and joining maps (map continuity)

In the beginning the maps were random, the town was random and the Pokemon were sprinkled on the maps like names pulled out of a hat. We changed that in the later maps and put in a themed environment system based on the world map and storyline plot. We want each town and city to have something different about it than the previous city- this not only helps people to tell the cities apart, but it can also help remember where things are because there would be noticeably different landmarks.

These environmental themes are put into place by using select tiles to convey the sense that this city is in a dry place, or that you are stuck in the middle of nowhere, or the cave is dark.

Orden can go through several basic environments which appear in towns and any routes that are adjacent to them.Here is the visual environmental guide to aid the descriptions below.
  • Forest: This is the common environment and the type of maps people fall back on when they don't know what to make. Green trees, green grass. This is completely fine because the forest theme is nice to look at and is very flexible. Bluegum and Darlinghurst Town are examples of this forest theme.
  • Caves:: These are great for connecting 2 completely different and normally incompatible environments. Need to put snow and lava near each other? Separate them with a cave! But make sure it looks like the cave entrance is some distance apart from the exit to give the sense of a distance being traveled. If you have a cave the size of Bluegum Cave connecting two very contrasting environments it won't work out as great as you want it to.
  • Arid/Desert: Great for those dry areas where there is a lot of ground Pokemon, and it is filled with cactus. Oldpine Town is an example of an arid environment, while the Sunrock Desert Oasis is a desert.
  • Fields: These are a lot like forests except there are far fewer trees. Fields can also exist as farmlands or sports arena turfs. The Eastbourne Farmlands and Route 6 are examples of fields.
  • Snow: In Orden these only exist on the top of the mountain so there will be few snow maps. Grayview City will have a snow theme.
  • Oceanic: This is the general theme for islands and ocean maps. On an island you can put standalone environments with not too many consequences. Blackfell Town will be located on one of the oceanic islands.
  • Swamp/Marsh/Jungle: This utilizes an olive-green grass and water tileset and is filled with loads of water and trees. Sandmarsh Town is the designated Marsh/Swamp while the town for badge 5 is in the Jungle on the other side of Orden.
  • Lava: This isn't an environment that is planned to appear in Orden's storyline, but there are tiles for it so it may be possible in the future.
These are not in the visual guide above but can be noted as psuedo-environmental themes:
  • Mountain: These types of maps have a lot of cliffs to give the sense of a vertical incline. They can consist of any type of tile but are usually seen with forest, rock, cave and snow tiles. The right side of Route 5 is an example of what the beginning of a mountain environment would look like. Full mountain environments would appear on the routes leading up to Grayview City.
  • Rivers/lakes: Sometimes maps are themed around a river or lake, such as Newpine Town (river). There may be bridges, NPC fishermen and fishing things about, but not to the extent of water near an ocean.
  • Indoor: This is its own environment which has a separate but smaller tileset. It's sort of a mess right now because half the sheet is of work in progress tiles that I'm spriting or editing. When that is cleared the indoor tileset will be released.
For those of you actually taking the time to read everything in this guide, you may notice that there are a lot of tiles featured that are not in the existing map tilset. So, here is the updated set that I use for making maps. Unlike everything else I usually post, I ask that you not tell people it is here so that they will go and actually read the guide for themselves, learn something about map making here, and find this link for themselves instead of blindly rushing into things.

______________________________________________________________________

Map Continuity

This is essentially making the borders of your maps seamlessly merge with the maps it connects to, which is something we are aiming for with every new map that is added. When a map is seamlessly connected you should be able to copy and paste the maps together and not be able to tell where the borders are between them. There are two purposes for this:

1. Makes sure that you can comfortably walk between 2 maps
2. The landscape and environment changes will make sense

Map continuity does not have to be 100% perfect here and only people who lay map layouts for guides and stuff would probably take notice. That doesn't mean to do a sloppy job though, please still put in an effort to make them match and if you see something off before submitting it then fix it. This leniency just for those few tiles you might have accidentally missed. If the trees don't line up 100% or if the cliffs are off by a few tiles it isn't an issue and your maps won't be rejected for it, just as long as this doesn't happen where people actually walk. If it happens where people actually walk you will have to fix it so they don't get stuck.

Here's a long example of map continuity.
Image
These are the maps from Darlinghurst Town to Newpine town placed next to each other. I did try to make the tiles line up as much as possible but there is a cliff with water to the left between Newpine Town and Route 4 that turns out to be a bit off (and I didn't notice it until I stuck these maps together for this example). Now that I know this though, I'm going to go back and edit it at a later point in time.



Tips to help with map continuity
1. Open the map you will link your current map to in a simple image program like MS Paint. Then place it next to the map editor at the appropriate side and then add in the tiles on the new map that will seamlessly merge with the older map.

2. Add all the tiles to the border that will make the map work with its neighbors before filing in the center of the map. This helps keep track of water and cliffs.

3. If one side of the map border has a collision tile, the other connecting side must also have one too. This is so that you don't get stuck on the other side.
Image
If you are setting obstacles such as trees, place them so that there is a collision tile on the other side that prevents you from walking into the trees, whether it be another row of trees, or separating the tree closer to the base so that more of it is on the other side. The tree placement to the far left does not work because the tops of trees go on the Top layer and not the Collision.

4. Use the tile transitional borders to help combine the environments! You know, the ones that look like this:
Image
If you find yourself placing tile centers without these borders and you start thinking "well, there is nowhere to really put this on the map because these flowers interfere.." then rearrange your map and make room because they are important.

If you can't find a proper transition tile, just make the grass one work in there somehow, separate the ground tiles with cliffs/rocks, or put a cave to separate two vastly different environments.
Image
(Note: this is just a tile transition example. Don't put this many on an actual single map.)

Gatehouses are used to prevent you from getting to the next area until you complete something and not as an environmental transition, so they are not included above. If you put a gatehouse building on a map, make sure to have the other end of it on the exit map.

5. Remember that you may not be the only one working on a map set! A lot of people make and post maps with the internal notion that their sets will be standalone and isolated, and are resistant to the idea of having to edit their map after they have posted a "finished" version. Standalone maps will not be the case for routes and cities so you have to be willing to make adjustments to connect your map with another person's map. If you are making maps and are not willing to edit them then your maps are best posted as a gallery piece instead of something to work with in game.

This is the end of this section! You have survived most of the guide!
ImageI'm not a developer. | Visit PL's IRC channel!

User avatar
PrincessPhoenix
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1063
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 9:02 am
Location: Wherever the Magikarp are hiding

Section 8: Notes and Anything I Need to Add in Later

Post by PrincessPhoenix » Wed Apr 08, 2015 3:45 am

Section 8: Notes and anything that might not fit into the above categories

There's a good chance I forgot a few things. If they don't fit anywhere above I will edit it into this post, and I'll most likely add a separate post for indoor stuff later on when the indoor tilesets are released (as stated in an above post the indoor set is a mess so it's not quite ready for release).

Here is a .zip file containing the map files for Magikarp Island if you want to pick it apart while reading the guide:
https://www.mediafire.com/?2wivm39znj9638k

-------------------

How to add layers to the layer area:
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=669&start=30#p5045
ImageI'm not a developer. | Visit PL's IRC channel!

pokemonmaster83

Re: PL Map Editor Tips/Guides (Warning: VERY image heavy)

Post by pokemonmaster83 » Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:42 am

Very nice guide and very big i read it whole.

Lebran
Trainer
Trainer
Posts: 0
Joined: Sat May 02, 2015 12:16 pm
Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands

Re: PL Map Editor Tips/Guides (Warning: VERY image heavy)

Post by Lebran » Wed May 06, 2015 11:57 am

Image

This is a map I am working on right now. I thought this could for example be the exit from the Grayview cave - Secret Grotto. Any input?

Post Reply