AuthorTopic: How long does an RPG world map tileset take?  (Read 9748 times)

Offline Tau Programmer

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How long does an RPG world map tileset take?

on: August 31, 2013, 04:47:13 pm
Hello.

First time post.

We're working on a game that requires an RPG world map tileset. We're going for late Super Nintendo quality.

My question is, what's a good ballpark estimate of how many hours such a tileset would take? Or how should we go about estimating that?

We're making a fantasy game, and need a tileset so we can create different maps relatively efficiently. The scale of the world is big enough that you can see forests, rivers, and parts of mountain ranges, but not so big that you're seeing continents. (In terms of general scale, Ogre Battle is in the ball park)

We eventually want to make a post for the paid work, but wanted to do our homework first.

Thanks!

Offline Ai

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Re: How long does an RPG world map tileset take?

Reply #1 on: September 01, 2013, 02:53:06 am
Quote
how should we go about estimating that?

First you should be more clear. For example "late Super Nintendo quality" could mean a wide range of things; Like Final Fantasy 6 aka 3? Like EarthBound? Like Tales of Phantasia?
Then there is a question of how many base terrain types you have, how many variations of them (like elevation or local color variation), how many transition tiles are needed (2, 4, or even 8 ) between which combinations of terrain. This is the kind of starting information you should try to bring to such a post, to give enough context to make your question meaningful and answerable.

Also don't think you necessarily have to have quality art for work-in-progress stuff like designing the maps. Very basic but clear representations are enough in my experience, if you've done your planning well.

« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 06:10:26 am by ptoing »
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Offline r1k

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Re: How long does an RPG world map tileset take?

Reply #2 on: September 01, 2013, 05:12:33 am
really depends how many tiles you want.  Here Ive found 5 good examples of snes rpg maps.  Im posting the link in order of simplist to hardest, so you can gauge what look youre going for, and therefore how many tiles youll need.

http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/SuperNES/DragonQuestV%28J%29-World.png
http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/SuperNES/DragonQuestIII%28J%29-World.png
http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/SuperNES/BreathOfFire-World.png
http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/SuperNES/ActRaiser2-World%28Before%29.png
http://vgmaps.com/Atlas/SuperNES/ArabianNights-SabakunoSeireiOu%28J%29-World.png

so in the first link you can see that each assett (mountain, forest, etc) is basically just 1 tile.  This approach shouldnt take that long, since the artist doesnt have to plan how the tiles will have to connect together to build larger objects.

In the second link, each assett uses about 10 tiles, because there are extra tiles for the boarders and corners for the mountains and forests.  This approach is a little more complex.

The third link is like the second, but because the trees and mountains are taller, theyre probably using more tiles.  Theres also some extra stuff like cliffs for elevation, dirt, etc.

The fourth link uses a different style for the mountains requiring more tiles, and probably harder to plan out the tiles, so would take longer.

And the fifth link uses a pretty complicated style for the mountains, using alot more tiles, and harder to plan out.  So this approach would probably take the longest.

So depending how you want it to look, and how many different types of assetts will be on the world map, your intended style (realistic, cartoony, etc), and the intended resolution and size of objects, you can get a better idea.  But you can see theres alot of different factors here so the time required could vary alot depending how you want it.

Offline ptoing

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Re: How long does an RPG world map tileset take?

Reply #3 on: September 01, 2013, 06:14:40 am
One thing about looking at tilesets from old games like that, it is very likely less tiles than it looks. Many games used overlay tiles on a higher layer to do things like those shores or roof tops for houses, or anything overlapping really. Also this actually is a must for things where you can do what looks like partly going behind a tile, that will require more than one layer. A good way to investigate stuff like this is looking at games in emulators where you can turn off layers separately.
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Offline Arne

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Re: How long does an RPG world map tileset take?

Reply #4 on: September 01, 2013, 09:19:09 am
http://www.houseofwacks.org/ogre/Images/DetailedMaps/map08.gif ?

If it's just a world map with some moderately advanced edges and a few landmarks, I'd ballpark it to a week's worth of work (8*5 hrs) (excluding later returns to polish and tweak and add new types of tiles). This is assuming that you don't change plans and have to redo a bunch of stuff because you went about tiling/layers the wrong way or changed the game engine mid through... which will probably happen.

So, ballpark, if working with a professional, certainly more than 10 hours, probably less than 100. Lower end if you're happy with whatever comes out of the artist and adapt to work with it. Higher end if I'm underestimating the level of detail that you're shooting for. A thousand to few thousand bucks if you're paying a professional.

Stuff like dungeons and towns, if SNES RPG large, would take much, much longer. Then animated characters on top of that.

Offline Tau Programmer

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Re: How long does an RPG world map tileset take?

Reply #5 on: September 01, 2013, 04:24:23 pm
Thank you for the responses!

I'm personally drawn to the chrono trigger tile set in terms of quality, except that the map scale is wrong.  Rather than having one tile for mountains like dragon quest, we'd like 12 to 15 tiles that can be combined to make mountain ranges, for example.

We have a mock tile set, and from that we estimate needing about 80 to 100 tiles total.

Fortunately, we just need the world. We don't need characters and animations.

Offline HardcoreBadger

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Re: How long does an RPG world map tileset take?

Reply #6 on: September 05, 2013, 03:34:27 pm
http://www.houseofwacks.org/ogre/Images/DetailedMaps/map08.gif ?

If it's just a world map with some moderately advanced edges and a few landmarks, I'd ballpark it to a week's worth of work (8*5 hrs) (excluding later returns to polish and tweak and add new types of tiles). This is assuming that you don't change plans and have to redo a bunch of stuff because you went about tiling/layers the wrong way or changed the game engine mid through... which will probably happen.

This picture would take you 40 hours to make ?
or you mean the whole world ? i dont get it

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Re: How long does an RPG world map tileset take?

Reply #7 on: September 05, 2013, 08:12:08 pm
http://www.houseofwacks.org/ogre/Images/DetailedMaps/map08.gif ?

If it's just a world map with some moderately advanced edges and a few landmarks, I'd ballpark it to a week's worth of work (8*5 hrs) (excluding later returns to polish and tweak and add new types of tiles). This is assuming that you don't change plans and have to redo a bunch of stuff because you went about tiling/layers the wrong way or changed the game engine mid through... which will probably happen.

This picture would take you 40 hours to make ?
or you mean the whole world ? i dont get it

Arne means 40h just for the worldmap.

I am although unsure about if he talks about the tiles or the final build of the level.

I honestly don't think that just the tiles for something like that will take 40h.
But building the map together is also serious work and might take quite some hours depending on the given mapping tools.

So I think he means 40h with mapping included.
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Offline ptoing

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Re: How long does an RPG world map tileset take?

Reply #8 on: September 05, 2013, 09:29:04 pm
Yeah, I think I agree with that. Having a worldmap like that should not take 40 hours at all for just the pixelling. I think it could be done in a lot less time, seeing as you have very few tiles really. As Cyangmou pointed out the actual map assembly would take longer. Though a good coder could probably code some autotiling rules which would allow for very quick map making and even auto generation.
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Offline Arne

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Re: How long does an RPG world map tileset take?

Reply #9 on: September 05, 2013, 09:46:25 pm
I was talking about something abstractly like that map in terms of features (rather than quality). I'm not familiar with the game, but I'm guessing it has several maps, each with different features. There might even be some climate zones.

If you have 100 tiles and spend 5-10 minutes on each, working nonstop, that's 12.5 hours, which you multiply by pi because all time estimates should be multiplied by pi.

Basically, there will be a lot of extra time on top because the something was done wrong (miscommunication) and needs to be redone, and maybe the mountains looked peculiar so you spend an hour or two fiddling with those, and some beach seams needs fixing, then there's the little towns and buildings which can be unexpected extra assets. And woops, client wanted combinatorial roads too. And then the tiles needed to be fiddled together on a sprite sheet a certain way. And then there's the first hour of two before starting, just figuring out how to do stuff efficiently, and understanding the client's needs and... tolerances. Maybe he wants a few initial style tests?

But like I said, if the artist knew exactly what to do and got free reins (client will be left with whatever comes out), maybe a full days work (probably split into 3 because communication lag). It's a lot different to just draw something and to draw something for someone else. I'm also assuming the artist isn't sloppy and puts some love into cliff edges and stuff.

If we're talking Ludumdare speed & quality, maybe 4hrs. Perhaps the same for just replicating the particular map that I linked in about the same quality. But that's probably not what the client asks for unless it's some kind of fan game.

Edit: I see now that OP mentioned SNES "quality" so it seems we're talking lower end here. A smaller studio could keep the costs down by figuring out what is needed, limiting the amount of blind alleys run into... but since the post was so vague...
« Last Edit: September 06, 2013, 12:17:22 am by Arne »