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XmarkXalanX August 7th, 2013 7:36 PM

Any Tips for a New Mapper?
So, I've been keeping tabs on the Map Showcase and Review Thread, and to be quite honest, it's gotten me rather distraught. While I understand it takes a long time to learn how to create great maps, I naturally, as a new game creator, got the feeling that my maps aren't good enough, or even close to being as good as some of the maps shown in that thread, and thus lost that days worth of ambition. So, while I'm going to continue practicing with my maps and posting them in my game's thread and in the Map Showcase thread, I would like to ask if any veteran mappers, or game creators, have any tips to share with a newcomer such as myself.

Pia Carrot August 8th, 2013 7:40 AM

After a while and lots of criticism I just created my own mapping style. I tend to go overboard with trees but I make it work. Granted I use a much older graphic style than most, but still. All you can do is practice, and ask for criticism.

tImE August 8th, 2013 7:56 AM

Keep doing what you're doing. Studying maps made by others is a great way of seeing what is good and bad when mapping.

Some general guidelines you can follow to improve any map are these:

1. Does the area look empty when viewed in-game? Try to always have 60% of the screen area with something other than ground.

2. Does the path the player is supposed to follow have enough space to move around in?
Make sure that there is always at least a 2 wide area the player can walk in. (Unless it's supposed to be a secret path to an item, for example.)

3. Try to always have something behind the houses. Either a path out of the town, another house, mountains or trees. Never have large areas of just grass behind buildings.

4. Always make the sand/dirt paths go from building to building, as it would in real life. Also try to not change the size of the road. Stick to either 2, 3 or 4 wide. Don't mix 3 and 4 tiles wide roads in one town.

5. Finally, don't use different kinds of houses in the same town. Try to always use the same style of houses, like only orange houses in Town A, or just houses made of wood in Town B. In real life, house design are often random in the same neighborhood, but that doesn't look good in a game.

Worldslayer608 August 8th, 2013 8:00 AM

Best advice?

Map ---> Post

Rinse and repeat.

Arma August 8th, 2013 9:11 AM

Basically what worldslayer said, I could give you the same tips as time did, however you'd get much better feedback if I could actually see your maps.

Here are a few pointers on routes though. Don't make huge sees of grass, it will not add difficulty to the map, only frustration.

Using ledges can be a great way to make backtracking easier.

Vary with the terrain. You can use elevation of water to add to create more interesting maps, don't go over the top though. Same goes with flowers and rocks.

Unless you're making cliffs or chasms, try avoiding one tile wide paths.

Like time said, don't leave to much space open, walk through your map and see if you can find your way around easily.


Worldslayer608 August 8th, 2013 10:19 AM

A rule of thumb that I apply when designing a map:

If you are in game and looking at the screen, very rarely should you be able to look at the corner of the screen and NOT see detail filling the corner.

The above should give you a decent idea of what I am talking about. They are about as wide as the screen would be, and while they are taller, if you were to cut it down to screen size and move up and down, you have detail on every corner.

This detail is used in an interesting way that can be quite overlooked.

These maps are made in a square like fashion. It defines the open space of the map and distinguishes it from closed off space. Once that is established, the 4 corner rule is applied to keep the map looking busy and natural by closing open gaps and defining a path of flow.

Ryokan August 8th, 2013 7:56 PM

Practice and looking at the official maps are the biggest ones, just keep mapping and holding yourself to a high standard, but don't get discouraged; keep posting in the showcase thread if you're not sure where you're at. Good luck!

Deouen August 9th, 2013 1:25 AM

I've been mapping for eight years and I'd like to think that I'm not terrible at it, so maybe I can say a thing that might help out... no promises! Keep in mind that I won't rehash what's been said, and this is sort of more "theory" than tips and tricks.

Maps by different authors (usually) have different styles. There is no such thing as a "bad" style. It's all personal preference, some will think that maps which look more "natural" (less of a "square", looks nice but sometimes lacks playability) look better than the ones in say... Fire Red, but that's not entirely accurate. This isn't to say you should make huge empty maps with tile errors and call it a style, but hopefully you get what I mean. :) Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that.

With this in mind: look at as many different maps as you can. Learn from them; learn their styles. You may not ever use XYZ style because it's not your favorite thing, but knowledge is power. You'll learn to develop your own style that works for you and your game overtime, don't rush it, it'll just happen.

My good friend Atomic Reactor (author of Pokemon Obsidian) is working on a video series intended to introduce and tutor new comers to the fan game scene. This video specifically is about mapping, and he raises a couple good points. Up to you if you'd like to watch, though.

That's all I have to say at the moment, though... I'll be keeping my eyes out for any maps posted by you so I can maybe give you some feedback. :) Cheers.

XmarkXalanX August 9th, 2013 4:01 AM

Thank you all for the suggestions and tips. I really do appreciate it all. I suppose I'll just have to keep playing around and posting them for review. I've yet to really fit into a certain style yet, per say, but once I do, I'm sure I'll be a lot more comfortable with my mapping. Again, thank you all for the tips. :)

pkmn.master August 9th, 2013 8:30 AM

Empty space is your enemy. Try to find a tileset that you are comfortable using with lots of details such as small trees and shrubs. Keep you maps busy enough so that the player isn't swallowed by the empty space. Make sure that you don't mix generation graphics unless you absolutely have to. Maps shouldn't be "square-like" either. If the trees are grown around a town in a perfect square, or a raised mountain are is formed into a square, then fix them. Also, use symmetry lightly if you are working on outdoor maps. Make them look more natural instead of symmetrical. Basically, after this point, mapping is about creating your own style. Work on it until you are a decent mapper. I am writing some criticism for your map on the showcase that you should check out if you haven't already.

Worldslayer608 August 9th, 2013 10:08 AM

I might come up with a basic tutorial of how I do my maps here in a week or so if people are interested. I am mainly a design kind of guy and conceptualization is where I excel.

I am about to make a move from Montana to the furthest southern corner of California, otherwise I would make one in the next couple days.

joeyhugg August 9th, 2013 10:19 AM

I would love to see a tutorial!

XmarkXalanX August 9th, 2013 10:24 AM


Originally Posted by ЩѻƦḽᶑʂḽдƴƹƦ™ (Post 7776170)
I might come up with a basic tutorial of how I do my maps here in a week or so if people are interested. I am mainly a design kind of guy and conceptualization is where I excel.

I am about to make a move from Montana to the furthest southern corner of California, otherwise I would make one in the next couple days.

I also would love to see a tutorial.

Good luck with your move, by the way.

Worldslayer608 August 22nd, 2013 8:53 AM

Alright, an update for those who were interested in a tutorial. I am settled in San Diego now, so I will get to a tutorial today hopefully, if not, should be up tomorrow.

Thread is up

Mapping Tutorial for Beginners

FluorescentMunchlax September 6th, 2013 9:09 AM

Start out small and work up to some bigger maps. Play other people's games for inspiration. Come up with a unique idea and work with it.

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