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  #1    
Old March 3rd, 2009, 05:03 AM
Neti's Avatar
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Neti's Natural Mapping Tutorial

Hey guys. It's been quite a while since I've posted a Tutorial. But I think it's time to teach people how to map more natural, cause a lot of maps lack at naturality.

In the time I've been at Pokecommunity the naturality has become more and more important, espacially in the last time. Just look at the first maps of my hack Pokemon Legend of Fenju, the Tree Placement is really bad. Therefore I myself wouldnt rate them better than 6 or 7 out of 10 today. But when I made and published them people rated them 10/10.

But Tree Placement is not the only thing that makes a natural look: Mountain and Sea shapes are also important. Of course small things like flower and rock placement also count, but I wont go into detail on them in this tutorial.

So Let's Start!


  1. Tree Placement
  2. Water Shapes
  3. Mountains


Tree Placement

For making natural looking trees, there are 3 things that are important:

1. Diversity
Using only 1 type of tree is really odd, even the standard Ninetendo tileset gives you the option to use at least two different types. But I prefer and recommend to insert more trees. If you have no idea how to insert tiles, check my Tile Inserting & Block Editing Tutorial.
In the tileset Im curretnly workign with in the third region of my Hack (I will use that tileset for my tutorial), I have 4 different trees in the basic tileset:
One 3x4 Tree (the oen from viridian forest)
One 2x3 Tree
One 1x3 Tree (the normal one by Nintendo)
And one 1x2 Tree

2. Overlapping
In the following image you see all the tree tiles from my tileset:

As you can see, I use way more blocks for trees than nintendo does.
Thats because I have every single overlapping thats possible in there and that is IMPORTANT!
Probably THE most important (I use that word very often, right?) tiles are the following two:

They make it possible to conect trees diagonally and they are really easy to make in the Block Editor of Advance Map. Just cehck the following image and you will know:


3. Careless Placing
So you have the required tiles to make natural looking trees now, but how do you actually place them naturally?
The answer is really simple:
You MUST NOT have a plan.
Just place them with no care at all in the general shape for your map that is in your brain.
Check teh following image to see the probably worst placing ever:

Even if I rounded the corners and added a few other trees, it would suck!
Thats because the trees stand in rows, and seriously... No trees stand in rows!
So, how should you do it instead?
Just take the tree with the big block selection and click on the map at random places to create a shape:

You might have noticed:
This map will cause border problems
But that is not the point of this Tutorial, so let's just ignore this.
As you can easily see, the shape is not finished.
There are a lot of places where the palyer can go between the trees and the overlappings are missing.
Youll have to go and work your way through all the trees one by one to finish it.

My final result is this:




Water Shapes

When creating a coast, lake or river you basically do the same thing you did with the tree placement:
You just have a rough idea of what it will look like and then you start placing the tiles.

But with water its different, since you dont place a big block but single tiles.
The worst thing you can do is doing it correct from the beginning! That may sound a bit confusing, but ill show you what i mean:

See what I did:
I just slided my mouse over the map without caring about details to create a natural shape. Then i filled the left side of the map with water tiles.
The next step is to add the corners and correct water-border tiles where they are needed.

And dont forget to add add the correct sand tiles where the sand tiles are south of the water tiles!



Mountains

All in all, mountains are not so different from water shapes, but there are some specialities about them that you you have to care about.
First create a natural shape using the method you learned at the water shape part of this tutorial. But you should make it a bit more winded, thats will make the mountain look better.





Now add another level on to of the first one using the same method. Dont forget to use the correct tiles here! Also, the upper level MUST NOT have the same shape as the lower one!



As you can see i already added level 3 and 4.
Looks natural, doesnt it?
But you should go further and add small and big rocks. Not too many, but still quite a lot.



Et voila: Your mountain is finished!



The End

I hope this Tutorial will make people create more natural maps, cause now since it is explained to everybody theres no excuse for it anymore.
Another Tutorial is finished...
Special Thx to Disturbed who tought me how to place trees properly and to ZetKa who makes the best mountains ive seen so far
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Last edited by Hashtag; April 15th, 2010 at 08:03 AM.
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  #2    
Old March 4th, 2009, 09:36 AM
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First post!
I'll edit once I read the thread!

Alright, let's see here. This tutorial is all fine and dandy for a natural mapping tutorial but what would be really cool would be a tutorial on how to make Nintendo maps... Now THERE'S an idea!
Anyways, I use a similar mountain-making/water-making style in my maps except I use the corner tiles.
One thing I noticed is that you said "you must not have a plan" while in your previous mapping tutorial, you told us to always have a plan before even starting to map so that our maps don't all look the same (some advice which I still use to this day).
Still, this is a nice tutorial and I hope to see its results in the MRT
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Last edited by colcolstyles; March 4th, 2009 at 09:51 AM. Reason: qwertyuiop
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  #3    
Old March 4th, 2009, 09:38 AM
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That's the way I map (except for the tree placement...)
Nice tut, Neti!
(personally I quit mine... it's sooo boring)
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  #4    
Old March 4th, 2009, 01:13 PM
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Good Tutorial Neti !
Will you add more to it soon ?
Well this will help me on the tree placement.
Thanks !

Buizel 9 ~
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  #5    
Old March 4th, 2009, 01:30 PM
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What's wrong with the first image's tree placement? Sure the shape is crappy, but I personally adore the first one over the second and how it's so called "improved."
It actually depends on the type of tree, like for instance, FR trees, AND the trees you used are meant for image 1. They can still look natural, if you give it the right shape.
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  #6    
Old March 4th, 2009, 01:41 PM
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I enjoyed reading your tutorial, It tackled the areas I have trouble with myself, especially mountains
I think you should add:

"Think of mapping a town/route/place as if you were the actual player, would you see the envirnment this or that way?"
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  #7    
Old March 4th, 2009, 03:01 PM
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Yup, that's always how I do my water and mountains =)

This tutorial is awesome and very helpful, thanks a bunch. Now I know what to do with those extra tile spaces =). I never really thought about doing trees that way.
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  #8    
Old March 5th, 2009, 11:39 AM
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Thanks, that solves my tree problem!
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  #9    
Old March 5th, 2009, 05:13 PM
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Thanks Neti, another great tutorial. I love it, with a little more work my placement will improve from what I first having following your tut.
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  #10    
Old March 6th, 2009, 05:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colcolstyles View Post
First post!
I'll edit once I read the thread!

Alright, let's see here. This tutorial is all fine and dandy for a natural mapping tutorial but what would be really cool would be a tutorial on how to make Nintendo maps... Now THERE'S an idea!
Anyways, I use a similar mountain-making/water-making style in my maps except I use the corner tiles.
One thing I noticed is that you said "you must not have a plan" while in your previous mapping tutorial, you told us to always have a plan before even starting to map so that our maps don't all look the same (some advice which I still use to this day).
Still, this is a nice tutorial and I hope to see its results in the MRT
of course before starting to map you should have an idea about the genral look of the map, but you shouldnt think about what the mountain shapes will be exactly like
thats what i mean
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  #11    
Old March 6th, 2009, 09:46 AM
OtherwiseUnknown
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Forgive me if i'm overstepping my bounds by asking this here but i've been following most, if not all, of your mapping tutorials and haven't been able to find the question (within said threads or the FAQ thread). With the side panel under 'maps' there's set blocks in the area that changes depending on towns, routes, etc. Is there a way to expand the map bar on the side to include ALL of the potential building blocks to an area?
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  #12    
Old March 6th, 2009, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OtherwiseUnknown View Post
Forgive me if i'm overstepping my bounds by asking this here but i've been following most, if not all, of your mapping tutorials and haven't been able to find the question (within said threads or the FAQ thread). With the side panel under 'maps' there's set blocks in the area that changes depending on towns, routes, etc. Is there a way to expand the map bar on the side to include ALL of the potential building blocks to an area?
you mean being able to use ALL tiles in the rom on one map? that is not possible, theres a maximum of two tilesets per map.
you can change those in the map header tab
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  #13    
Old March 6th, 2009, 10:09 AM
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Nice, I love your tuts. This is usually what I do, keep up the good work! :D
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  #14    
Old March 7th, 2009, 07:24 AM
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Awesome, thanks Neti. I've been having trouble with tree placement recently and this helped a lot! Thanks! :D
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  #15    
Old March 7th, 2009, 08:09 AM
SwiftSwellow
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Sweet tut, Neti. I tried this in Advance Map, but I don't have the borders for mountain/water. Could someone link me to where I could get them so I could insert them?

But it's really a good tut and helped me. My maps were more...Nintendo-like? (Well, thats what Brushfire said) But this makes em look more natural. Keep up teh good work.
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  #16    
Old March 8th, 2009, 03:04 PM
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nice tut neti. This is exactly the way I map. The problem is, while 4/5 of the time it turns out great, 1/5 of the time It turns out really crappy and nobody seems to be able to figure out why, or at least It does for me... Anyway, I really think that you have the best sence of naturality.
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  #17    
Old March 9th, 2009, 04:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sab View Post
nice tut neti. This is exactly the way I map. The problem is, while 4/5 of the time it turns out great, 1/5 of the time It turns out really crappy and nobody seems to be able to figure out why, or at least It does for me... Anyway, I really think that you have the best sence of naturality.
You know what, I think you're correct.
There are some people who make maps and doesn't turn out natural.
I also think that how their sense of naturality affects their map. In case of Neti, as you said, he has the best sense of naturality that's why his maps turns out natural.

Anyways, nice tut Neti. In tree placement, I usually start at creating trees in all sides(the part where you said "the probably worst placing ever" because you said that even though you edit it, it'll still suck). I may as well follow your/Disturbed's tree placement from now on. I'm also using the way of creating seas and mountains except for the placement of rocks(I suck at that). Well I hope that everyone will improve their natural way of mapping after reading ths tut.
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  #18    
Old March 11th, 2009, 03:14 AM
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Step-by-step, layer-by-layer. Well done! It helped me a lot as i am just a rookie..
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  #19    
Old March 19th, 2009, 08:40 PM
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I agree with Disturbed. I see nothing wrong with the first way of mapping. I do it that way and my maps turn out pretty decent. The thing is that most people are told that their maps turn out too square, so they round the edges. It's possible to be too rounded. That's the problem from that way of mapping. If the edges are too rounded, it still looks unnatural and many people fail to point that out. Also, as Disturbed said, the trees don't look bad in rows. Especially the Fire Red tiles. I've seen many take those tiles and try mapping in the style you have here and it doesn't work that well. At least, in my opinion, they don't. I guess it really depends on the tiles you are using and if it's done correctly.

You're way of mapping works very well because it has that sense of randomness that you would see in the real world. I have to admit though, it compromises some playability. I, as the player, wouldn't appreciate the naturality in-game.

I guess it comes down to opinion, but, whatever.

Really a great tutorial anyways.
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  #20    
Old March 24th, 2009, 05:08 AM
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where did you get the DP tileset?? plz answer me
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  #21    
Old April 5th, 2009, 02:01 PM
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Wow this is gonna help me a lot with mapping (I love how you do the mountains)
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  #22    
Old May 12th, 2009, 05:41 AM
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This is really a big help for me on mapping. Thanks.
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  #23    
Old May 12th, 2009, 06:17 PM
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I like the mountain and water methods. The trees look nice and natural, but from a gameplay standard that method seems to be a negative factor to me. The trees look fine in rows and they don't mess with gameplay, they still add the proper atmosphere, but they don't get in the way, they line the path, etc. A random tree in a few places is fine, it adds a sense of nature. Having strange borders due to random tree placement, however, is definitely a negative to me, it makes the player have to think too much. I understand that probably doesn't sound right, but it's like this: when you're playing the game, you want the path to be rather apparent, the random placement draws the mind to all of the different spots, it looks aesthetically pleasing to an extent, but still isn't needed really. Ultimately, to me, the trees look nice, but they aren't really practical from a gameplay point of view. Nonetheless, I absolutely love the mountain method, mountains are still a time consuming yet beautiful feature of the game. The water features method is nice too. Sorry about the huge wall of criticism on the trees o.o I tend to get a little carried away once I start. ;
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  #24    
Old May 20th, 2009, 03:03 PM
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Great Thread i got to make route one o one and maple town thanks make a thread on how to make a town or city
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  #25    
Old January 17th, 2010, 09:58 AM
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I dont agree with the tree part, but the rest is good. your correct about not fixing the coast right away cuz when you do youll find that your going back and redoing everything 10 times... the trees seriously bug me. they are to scattered and when you would play those kind of maps t gets really confusing for the player, that is why nintendo doesnt go wild like that on the maps... that and it becomes hard to tell which area you can or cant go through. some areas tend to be to big and some are just to small... you need to organize the trees some so there is a clear path and then after that make like a part that branches off the main path into the forest where you have idk like a TM or lake or something hiding in the back make a player want to navigate through your rediculous tree lining
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