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blueperiod

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Here's a new video for a game I've been working on sporadically for the last two years. It shows a bit of the atmosphere I'm going for as well as some exploration. Any thoughts?
 

Kes

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@ksjp17 hay the only other thing I have noticed which is more of a personal preference to be honest is that the shade of the cliffs and the stone of the houses are not the same, to me you build your houses out of the stone available in the location you are in so the shad of grey should match, But as I said that's just personal preference overall I really like the map :D
I had been wondering about that myself.  Your comment spurred me on to make the tiles to match (more or less).  Is this more like it?

Deepfold_zpsedc89bc8.png
EDIT

Actually, looking at it again, I think the change of wall tile means that I will have to do a new front door (back door is okay, I think) as they are now too dark.  The contrast was fine  with the original tile, but not now.
 
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Shion Kreth

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Mapping is really not my thing, however I'm doing a little non-commercial side project which I'm doing everything myself for, and my attempts at making towns thus far just keep turning out... visually displeasing. I was wondering if anyone had any tips or resources they could point me towards? I'll include a map to give everyone an idea where I'm at(actually hey, it doesn't look THAT bad, but definitely room for improvement).

[IMG]http://rpgmaker.net/media/content/users/32143/locker/townmap.jpg[/IMG]
 

mlogan

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It's not bad, but it's a bit bland. For starters, I would squish everything in and make it smaller - that will help it not seem so empty. Also, there is a thread for feedback on maps and other screenshots. http://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?/topic/25230-game-map-screenshots-4/

A tip I like to share if you are trying to improve your mapping skills is to copy maps you think are good. Take a screenshot of it and try to emulate in the editor. It will give you a great idea of how to better place things.
 
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Sharm

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Shion Kreth, mlogan is right, so I merged your thread into this one.
 

Kes

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@Shion Kreth

Here are just some general thoughts about planning out a town or village.  Mostly they are questions that you could usefully ask before you begin mapping.

I would start off by doing as mlogan suggests and shrink the space between the houses.  Think of an ordinary town that you know - what's the proportion of buildings to open space?  It would often be around 75/25.  Yours is more like 20/80.

Depending on the type of town/village that you are mapping, the next question would be - how grid-like would the layout be?  Older towns/villages or more rural ones that you have seen will be much more irregular in their layout than a modern one, which is designed to get a lot of people and cars around efficiently.  So what sort of setting do you have?  Once you have answered that question, you can begin to think about how to relate the buildings to one another in a way that feels more natural.

Then think about the function of the buildings that you are including.  Inns would normally be near the entrance to the town, not some distance away.  That is not only for the convenience of travellers, it is also because residents are less keen to have lots of strangers tramping past their front doors. Shops are often close to one another, for the convenience of customers, but also, again, so that residents are not inconvenienced.  So roughly sketch out for yourself where things will be located before beginning your map.

External appearance of buildings.

If the internal map of the house has an upstairs then it makes sense to show that in some way externally.  Often it is easiest to use the 'attic' window tile and place it on the roof.  That keeps the appearance of the house more compact.  A larger house (perhaps the mayor's house) could have 2 rows of ordinary windows.  That immediately tells the player that someone important lives there.

Types of roof.

Generally speaking towns have similar roofs.  Here now I come to something which is, perhaps, just personal preference.  Unless there is a very good reason, I don't think that mixing flat roofs and raked roofs works.  A flat roof is more common (before the last 50-60 years) in hotter, drier climates; raked roofs are needed for places that get a lot of rain so that they can shed the water.  Your choice of roof style feels a bit arbitrary, perhaps just a way of making a visual change.  

A public square

Most places, even quite small villages, will have some sort of public square, in the sense of a place where people gather and things happen.  Think about the function of your public square.  Is it where people gather to get news?   To buy things?  To sit around and chat to people?  Is it a public garden?  Is that necessary in a town with so much greenery?  Once you know what your public square is for, then you can include what's needed, and place it where it will do that most effectively.  In a small town/village, it will almost certainly be in the area with the well.

Where do people hang out their washing?  How do they "live" in this town?  Too many RM maps (including many of my own at the beginning) look like no one could ever live in them successfully.  If your town is a rural one (which I'm assuming it is, judging by the amount of greenery), would people have gardens where they grow vegetables?  If you look up this page, I have a map in a spoiler which is an example of one way (and it is only one way, there are lots of other ways equally valid) of making a rural place look like it's lived in.  Also, think about paths.  Your path looks like it's a dirt path made by people walking, rather than a paved one.  People do not walk in neat squares.  We take short cuts if we can, so think about how people will go from one part of the town to the other, and do your paths accordingly.

From the point of view of the player - can I get to where I need to go relatively easily?  Do you, the developer, need to give some sort of signal that one house contains something important? If so, how are you going to do it? Give it a different colour roof so that it stands out? Put it in the direct line of travel to somewhere that the player will want to go to (e.g. the item shop) so that even an incurious player might be tempted to stop and check it out?  Unless you have a specific reason for doing so, do not put important places in some obscure location.

As you can see, by answering some very simple questions before you begin mapping, you will get something that is both functional and visually pleasing.
 

Shion Kreth

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Shion Kreth, mlogan is right, so I merged your thread into this one.
But.. I'm asking for general mapping advice and teaching resources which is distinctly game design in my opinion. The map was just for reference and not something I intend to use in a project, therefore specifics of how to improve that specific map are not really what I'm looking for.. *sigh* Guess I should have just left it out, but I can never predict what will warrant moderation and where my posts will be when I log back in. :(

It's not bad, but it's a bit bland. For starters, I would squish everything in and make it smaller - that will help it not seem so empty. Also, there is a thread for feedback on maps and other screenshots. http://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?/topic/25230-game-map-screenshots-4/

A tip I like to share if you are trying to improve your mapping skills is to copy maps you think are good. Take a screenshot of it and try to emulate in the editor. It will give you a great idea of how to better place things.
Thanks for the advice, I definitely think I'll try for some smaller map designs. Thankfully I only need to fumble my way through designing three.
 

mlogan

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Sorry if I misunderstood what you were wanting. I think ksjp17 gave you a lot of good advice that you can apply universally. Also, there are sample maps you can use and modify as needed.
 

Shion Kreth

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ksjp17

Thanks for the lengthy and informative reply. :) I'm not exactly sure how one could make a rural setting people could be functionally living in with a building to open space ratio of 72/25, but I agree that the extra space isn't serving any purpose and making the map look pretty empty.

Functionally I think my design meets most of the prerequisites though it needs to be shrunk down; I did try to get the inn and shop near the entrance, someone has a vegetable garden, the 'town square' (where the well is) ended up really really small.. I'm not actually sure what happened there, the different types of roofing were simply to make it seem less uniform yeah; like individuals had constructed their houses, however aesthetically it's pretty bland... I see your point on the walking straight and that's probably part of what looks off, just people also walk in more ways than the four cardinal directions in real life so it's hard to get something looking more 'natural'. :p

My plans are one semi-rural town resembling the one I had in the screen shot, one smaller village in a more arid enviroment, and then a more urban castle town.
 
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mlogan

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I hope you don't mind, I reworked your map a bit just to show how size reduction can help. I tried to keep all of the elements of your map. And I'm sure it's far from perfect (especially the roof in the middle - I'm pretty terrible with interesting roofs, lol), but hopefully it shows how just a few little changes can make a big difference.

HelpShion.png
 

Shion Kreth

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I hope you don't mind, I reworked your map a bit just to show how size reduction can help. I tried to keep all of the elements of your map. And I'm sure it's far from perfect (especially the roof in the middle - I'm pretty terrible with interesting roofs, lol), but hopefully it shows how just a few little changes can make a big difference.

[IMG]http://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/public/style_images/RPGW_33_Images/attachicon.gif[/IMG]HelpShion.png
No I don't mind, it looks like a better layout, less walking while still keeping all the elements; less empty space.

I think I will take a few pointers from your example, thanks. :)  
 

Sharm

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I'm sorry about the confusion, it wasn't my intention to upset you by moving the thread. This really is the best place to get advice on mapping though and you'll get it faster here than in an individual thread. Also, Lunarea's right, practicing and getting critique on your practice maps is going to help you make better maps in the future.
 

mlogan

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No problem Shion. Use what you want. Less = more is definitely a hard lesson to learn when it comes to mapping. I know, I used to make these huge giant maps thinking big and elaborate would be better. I've finally learned that that is not the case usually.
 

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I wanted to say I have enjoyed all 99 pages of the G&MS 4 thread!!
 

Solistra

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Here's a new video for a game I've been working on sporadically for the last two years. It shows a bit of the atmosphere I'm going for as well as some exploration. Any thoughts?
I generally love the atmosphere that you're generating with this, but I have to say that I, personally, would really appreciate more subtlety to it -- everything about what you presented is kind of hitting like a sledgehammer, which makes for a nice sense of dissonance between the "online" world and the "real" one, but just feels over-done to me.


Of course, that's entirely my personal opinion, but I really feel like it would be a bit more unsettling if things weren't quite so obvious. As it is, we can clearly see that things aren't what they appear, but I wonder if toning things down a bit would make them... get under your skin a little more.


I like that feeling that things are off, but I like it more when I can't quite put my finger on exactly why or how it is.
 

Ksi

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@Shion: I actually did a mapping tutorial video not long ago so if you want some tips check that out. Reducing map size can help so much with making a map look good. Not only does the player see much easier what is around in the town and where to go, they don't have to walk for a long time to get where they want to go. They can see straight off the shops they can go to without wondering where each is and getting lost on a larger map, too. Minimise to visualise. Or something like that. XP

And here's a map from a game.

JLds9sF.png
 

mlogan

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@ksi - The only thing that stands out to me from a great use of RTP is the way the stairs go into the ceiling. To me, it looks like it is leading you onto those tiles. I wonder if a bit of shadow at the top of the stairs would help?
 

Ksi

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If I weren't using a kill shadow script... I guess it's not hard to edit one in. ^.^;
 
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