AuthorTopic: What are the most optimal tilesheet workflows?  (Read 7114 times)

Offline Pix3M

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What are the most optimal tilesheet workflows?

on: April 19, 2013, 11:47:56 pm
I think I know some points about a good workflow that has less risk of making mistakes, but I don't know what I do not know, and googling 'tilesheet workflow' gets me absolutely nothing obviously related to what I'm looking for.

How do you guys approach tilesheets?

Offline surt

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Re: What are the most optimal tilesheet workflows?

Reply #1 on: April 19, 2013, 11:50:57 pm
I draw my tiles on the tile-sheet.
Beyond that I have no idea what you are asking.

Offline Pix3M

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Re: What are the most optimal tilesheet workflows?

Reply #2 on: April 20, 2013, 12:06:18 am
I am aware of 'dumb' practices like drawing individual tiles instead of drawing a scene over a grid. I have no idea if there are other dumb practices I am not aware of.

Offline Ai

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Re: What are the most optimal tilesheet workflows?

Reply #3 on: April 20, 2013, 12:27:37 am
At one point I was planning to do a video showing off GrafX2's tile autocompletion.
For that, I chose to layout all the tiles I would need in iconic flat colors before I started drawing them (eg. wavy blue shapes for water, number the frames of tile animations) and even mockup multiple small scenes (still while the tiles are only indicative) to use those tiles in all the ways I thought they would be used. I arranged this in such a way that I could see the 'base' tile and all the contexts in which it was used onscreen at once.
Once I'd done this, tile autocompletion took care of updating all the instances as I edited, and that was unquestionably the most sound tileset I've ever done.

Getting stuck in the grid (even if you don't make it obvious that the grid is there) is a failing that tends to happen a lot, Henk Nieborg is really the only notable exception. I only have a theory on how to fix that yet -- intentionally draw disregarding tile size, and then fit the result onto tiles.
If you insist on being pessimistic about your own abilities, consider also being pessimistic about the accuracy of that pessimistic judgement.

Offline r1k

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Re: What are the most optimal tilesheet workflows?

Reply #4 on: April 20, 2013, 02:33:26 am
Quote
I only have a theory on how to fix that yet -- intentionally draw disregarding tile size, and then fit the result onto tiles.

are you suggesting just sketching stuff out first, ignoring the grid, and then fitting it into the grid during the clean up stage?  Im about to start a new tileset too so Id also like to improve effeciency.
Would you suggest grafx2 as the best program for making tiles then?

Offline Ai

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Re: What are the most optimal tilesheet workflows?

Reply #5 on: April 20, 2013, 11:55:20 am
To clarify, I mean moderately-restricted drawing: just use tile-based units to size things, followed by a process of fitting the sketches into the grid as I clean up, like you said.

Yes, I would recommend GrafX2 for tiling. Its only real competitor in the area is ProMotion (which is a very competent program that I will never actually recommend, because of personal taste).
If you insist on being pessimistic about your own abilities, consider also being pessimistic about the accuracy of that pessimistic judgement.

Offline yrizoud

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Re: What are the most optimal tilesheet workflows?

Reply #6 on: April 20, 2013, 12:17:25 pm
Pix3M, if you''ve never heard of Pixothello or Pyxel edit, you should watch a few videos to see how such programs help drawing tiles :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xlBjM8Qjpc
http://pyxeledit.com/instructions.php

Cosmigo Pro Motion, which is not freeware, has an extra feature that iLlKe described best:
Quote
Entering the tile mode can analyze the existing image,
counting the unique tiles used, based on the grid size you input(canvas size has to
be a multiple of this grid size). You can then continue to edit the image with all
the tiles updating across the screen 'in realtime'(not really, see below). In the end
you can even automatically have the program make the tile-set based on the image.

To speed things up, repeating tiles are not updated until you let go of the mouse
button, instead you just see the stroke in the place you are performing it.
Furthermore, if you draw out of bounds of the tile that you started your stroke in,
that part of the stroke will be ignored, effectively limiting the whole stroke to a
single tile.
In a program that has this feature, you "add tiles" by deactivating the mode, quickly draw a distinctive pattern on a few tiles, and reactivating the mode : All the tiles where you did the same change are now "the same tile" and you can do the real pixelling.

In Grafx2 2.4 I implemented this feature, except that the drawing is realtime, and not limited to a single tile: you can freely move your brush across tile boundaries and it paints on the right occurences of the tile. I find it extremely useful for drawing patterns made of more than one tile, even scattered ones.
This system is AFAIK the most comfortable way to draw mockups and do art, early on. However a limitation is that the tiles+tilemap data is always re-generated from scratch, and for actual game development if you need to attach properties to tile numbers (solid, etc) it's a problem. So the coder will still need additional development tools to merge changes into an existing tileset. Or use clever system, like storing the original tileset in the top left part of the image, so that it's "discovered" first by the analyzer, and thus maintains the same tile numbers.

Offline r1k

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Re: What are the most optimal tilesheet workflows?

Reply #7 on: April 20, 2013, 12:53:47 pm
thanks for the info.  Im going to try pyxel edit out.

Offline Pix3M

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Re: What are the most optimal tilesheet workflows?

Reply #8 on: April 23, 2013, 03:42:31 am
Pyxel is very interesting. From the looks of it is is very good for small-resolution pixels and making tileable stuff. It seems a bit of an inconvenience when you're starting to go larger scale when your tiles are becoming large-scale copy-pasting instead of 'tiles'.

Offline surt

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Offline API-Beast

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Re: What are the most optimal tilesheet workflows?

Reply #10 on: April 25, 2013, 05:04:59 am
The draw first, then turn into a tileset is what I did for this tileset and used for some tiles in other tilesets too:


I think it is a superior workflow for anything more organic, it's much faster and it looks much more organic. Downside is that inexperienced map makers might have trouble making maps with them. For other tile-sets, like this one, I would still use a more old fashioned method:


For tools I only use GIMP with a grid and Tiled to test the practicability of the tileset.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2013, 05:32:49 am by Mr. Beast »

Offline PypeBros

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Re: What are the most optimal tilesheet workflows?

Reply #11 on: April 25, 2013, 10:05:40 am
@mrbeast: that cave is impressive, but I doubt it would be any practical to use as a tilesheet. If I had to build maps out of that, I'd definitely ask for a convenient "copy/paste" of large, any-sized blocks from a reference mockup rather than be presented a tile sheet, to be honest.

What grid size have you used for that one ?

Offline yrizoud

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Re: What are the most optimal tilesheet workflows?

Reply #12 on: April 25, 2013, 12:37:23 pm
I once tried the map editor for the MS-DOS version of Command and Conquer (or was it Red Alert ?), and it was a real eye-opener because it proposed pre-made "tile brushes" consisting of several tiles : Some shapes were rectangular (2x2, 3x2 etc), some where L-shaped, the biggest ones where easily 6 tile long. It was very clear that in order to "break the grid", the artist had planned some shapes in advance, and the editor kept track of them.

edit: At last I found a screenshot : Notice the weirdly-shaped piece in the bottom-rightbox, it's made of 11 individual tiles. Placing such figure once is much easier than if the 11 tiles were scattered in the tileset !
« Last Edit: April 25, 2013, 03:51:21 pm by yrizoud »