AuthorTopic: how to make tiles not look like tiles  (Read 3442 times)

Offline r1k

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how to make tiles not look like tiles

on: August 27, 2012, 12:00:12 pm
ehh, bad thread name.

anyways Ive been looking at alex's awesome thread here:

and it looks great, but I noticed a few people telling him to make it into tiles if its for a game.  Now Im wondering if anyone has insight or tips on how to transform something like that into tiles.  Heres some basic questions adressing that topic:
should he lose some of the uniqueness of each area for the sake of using tiles, or will he just end up with a ton of tiles?
When making tiles should one start out by sketching a scene out like alex has, or just work on tiles individually.  And if the former, how to then go about dividing it into tiles?  Surely at this point some peices have to go, but how to know which peices to keep/are most valuable as tiles that can be used to create unique non-monotonous enviornments?

And for the sake of this discussion Im just talking about organic type tiles, specifically platformers, like in alex's topic.  Also this is not meant to ask how to go about making tiles generally, as in how to make sure they tile well etc.

surely there are many approaches but Im interested in what other people have done and found succesful.  A while back I tried making some organic-ish platform tiles with a donkey kong country type view/angle.  I tried first to make tile individually, but found this to be a very slow way to work.  I then tried sketching a little scene out and editing it into tiles.  While this was easier and faster and allowed somewhat more organic enviornments it was still very clearly tile based and not as organic as the stuff in alex's topic.

Offline PypeBros

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Re: how to make tiles not look like tiles

Reply #1 on: August 27, 2012, 02:34:34 pm
I have observed that many modern game engines/level editors work with _objects_ rather than real "tiles". At the lowest level, graphics will still be chunked into tiles on some platforms (and textures on others), but that's moved out of the designer's way. I know that Harry Potter games by Magic Pocket studio on DS swapped tiles in and out of video memory (from a large stock of graphics in ROM) so that the level designers could place any object anywhere in the level.

Offline Lachie Dazdarian

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Re: how to make tiles not look like tiles

Reply #2 on: August 27, 2012, 11:18:48 pm
I can tell you how I work personally. I prefer working with tiles, as they make designing levels and maps a much more easier and manageable activity than it would be the case with some sort of "free object placement" engine. I also think that that the same pixel art skill level in tile-based engine will produce similar results as in a non-tile-based engine. Meaning, to produce excellent looking scenes requires an equally excellent pixel artist in any type of engine. You will need to produce a very similar amount of graphics objects if you want to accomplish similar results, that's for sure. The only question is how you will distribute these graphics elements.

Tile based engines are definitely a winner in Zelda style POV games, and definitely in ISO games. In platform games, especially in more sophisticated looking ones, the scale tilts a bit on the side of free object placement type of engines.

I usually develop tiles separately and correct them by testing them in a map editor. Never draw a larger scene and then split it into tiles, but then again, I might change habits.

Offline wurfle

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Re: how to make tiles not look like tiles

Reply #3 on: August 28, 2012, 12:19:59 am
I would recommend drawing a scene first and then dividing it up into tiles. However, as this directly concerns the project that I am currently working on, I would like to hear other's opinions as well. Additionally, I think another relevant question is how one should divide up the tiles into a tile sheet, particularly whether it is worth making them irregularly shaped to make it feel more organic (this is also applies to making compact tile sheets for diamond shaped iso tiles. suggestions?).
Honestly, I think its a judgement call depending on the look you are going for, though a very organic looking tile arrangement is definitely possible with square tiles.