How Important is Parallax Mapping?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ignus Studios, Jan 4, 2016.

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How do you feel about Parallax mapping

  1. Mandatory

    6 vote(s)
    9.7%
  2. Not mandatory but increases quality of the project

    21 vote(s)
    33.9%
  3. Its cute but not important

    9 vote(s)
    14.5%
  4. Doesn't matter at all

    10 vote(s)
    16.1%
  5. It depends on the project

    16 vote(s)
    25.8%
  1. Ignus Studios

    Ignus Studios Villager Member

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    Just out of curiosity, I wonder how the community feels about parallax mapping vs just using the editor. 
     
    #1
  2. Andar

    Andar Veteran Veteran

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    One of the artists here on the forum once described it to me from the other side:

    Regular mapping is 20% of the work for 80% of the quality of parallax mapping.

    You will get better maps with parallax mapping, but it will take a lot more work than regular mapping. And everyone has to ask him/herself: are those extra hours worth the result?

    However, that has one condition: you need to know how to design a map in both cases.

    A lot of maps are bad not because of the mapping technique, but because the mapper had no idea how to make a map.

    Never forget that a map needs to be playable - a lot of parallax maps are nice to look at but impossible to play in. As a player, you don't want to step through labyrinths of street clutter just to get from one shop to the next.

    That is what I mean with "knowing how to design a map" - all maps need to be playable.
     
    #2
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  3. mjshi

    mjshi Jack of Most Trades Veteran

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    Parallaxes can make some pretty (emphasis on pretty) amazing things, but are honestly a pain to work with, especially when attempting to apply differing passibilities. Mapping in the editor is so much faster, but it's difficult to do well. Without enough experience, the maps can look empty and lifeless. Everything will look too... square. For the best of both worlds, map in the editor first, then screenshot and work on adding little details in an art program.
     
    #3
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  4. Ignus Studios

    Ignus Studios Villager Member

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    My thoughts exactly. The maps I can make now can't even compare to the maps I first made in VX when that first released. I looked into parallax mapping and while I could learn how to do it, I don't think it would be worth the time consumption required, especially for my current project. With future projects I might hire an artist that already knows what they're doing.
     
    #4
  5. SLEEP

    SLEEP grunge rock cloud strife Veteran

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    You could always parallax for just the important scenes/areas. But don't forget the power of editing your tilesets! Do some fun things, like offset alignments and making unique tiles. When you're editing your tilesets heavily, the difference gets very small.

    I thought parallax mapping only became cool after RPG Maker VX (original) and it's extremely limited amount of tilesets. Now tilesets have been infinite since VX Ace, and in MV the TileD plugin can help you even more, parallax mapping can.. become.. obsolete??
     
    #5
  6. Euphony

    Euphony Veteran Veteran

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    I suppose how important it is depends on how important your time is. If you have the extra time to devote to parallax mapping, and you know you can use that time efficiently, then go for it. If your time is precious and you want to get things done while you can, mapping in the editor is probably the way to go.

    I started my project with parallax mapping and found that it was just too much of a time eater for my liking, especially when I'm already dealing with creating custom tiles and characters. I'm still not a huge fan of Ace's map editor, but if using it will help move my project along more swiftly, I'm willing to sacrifice a little bit of detail/prettiness--to reiterate Andar's point.

    Besides, working with some restraints isn't always bad. In fact, it's a good way to tap into your creativity. I know I can always use events or fixed pictures to add something special to a map if need be.
     
    #6
  7. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I agree that parallax mapping is often simply not worth the extra time and effort.  I often see parallaxed maps in the Game and Map Screenshot thread, and honestly, many of them could be produced identically in the editor, with a bit of mapping experience, without all the additional work.

    There is a further point to bear in mind - file bloat.  Typically even a large complex editor map will be under 100Kb, often under 50Kb.  A parralax map will probably start at 1Mb and can easily go up to 5Mb, maybe more.  Multiply this by the number of maps in your game (I had over 300 in my last game) and your total file size becomes more than many players are willing to download, especially if they have limits on how much data they can download per day/month/whatever.  This also becomes important if you are using MV and hope to port to mobile.
     
    #7
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  8. TheOriginalFive

    TheOriginalFive Veteran Veteran

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    I don't wish to bloat my game files any more than it needs to be, so I'm using the editor to make practically all my maps.
     
    #8
  9. Chaos Avian

    Chaos Avian Abyssal Wing Restaff

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    I only used parallaxing in Ace for one reason only: to layer multiple trees over one another without issues so I have no limit on the number. Now we have MV with smart layering, I find parallax mapping that much more unnecessary in most cases. Besides, it's been proven in many cases you don't need to parallax to create amazing and great maps. People seem to underestimate the power of lighting/ tints. Plus with the advent of MV, do you really want to increase you file size for "eye candy"? Wow, that made me sound like I HATE parallax mapping xD
     
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  10. Victor Sant

    Victor Sant Veteran Veteran

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    Parallax Mapping is just a tool, and as any tool, using it or not will depend on what you want to acomplish.

    Use the wrong tool and the result will worse than not using it.
     
    #10
  11. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    I never used parallax mapping and probably never will. Editing tilesets seems to be a more efficient method and gets you almost as pretty maps as you'd get with parallax mapping. You can clump objects together, offset them, and so on, and the map will look less square as a result. Not to mention the edited tileset becomes available for use in as many maps as you want, whereas any work you do on a parallax map will only ever be used in that map alone. It's just not efficient in my opinion.
     
    #11
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  12. Ronove

    Ronove ♫꒰・‿・๑꒱ Veteran

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    I enjoy Parallax Mapping when it's done well but it's never NEEDED. You can make really amazing maps with the editor if you think outside the box. With RMMV it's a little easier too (especially compared to RPG Maker VX... only having one tileset I just couldn't make regular maps aside from one area) so by RMMV you really don't have to use Parallax Mapping at all. I'm still using VXAce and in my project I do use some Parallax maps when I can't be bothered to build it in the tileset (the only maps I use it for are towns and a treasure trove which could have been done easily using VXAce's mapping if I really felt like doing that).

    But really, just by having parallax mapping will not increase the quality of the project by default. It can help for sure, but it's really on a project by project case.
     
    #12
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  13. Mihel

    Mihel Veteran Veteran

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    As a player, while I appreciate the improved aesthetics, I loathe the fact parallaxed objects just tend to be masses of clutter that cannot be interacted with as they are only stationary images, and cannot be traversed or passed beneath but you can just go around them.

    Not sticking to the grid alignment they also tend to have weird passability errors.
     
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  14. Andar

    Andar Veteran Veteran

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    @Mihel: The problems you report are the result of bad parallax maps, they're not inherent in parallax mapping. Because done right, you'll have several parallax layers and can have the player go over or under any part of the map. And on a good parallax map, you are sticking to the grid alignment.

    But getting all that right is one of the reasons why good parallax mapping takes so much more working time compared to regular mapping - and it's one of the reason why I said above that in both cases you need to know how to design/structure a map.
     
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  15. Tsukitsune

    Tsukitsune Veteran Veteran

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    "Regular mapping is 20% of the work for 80% of the quality of parallax mapping."

    This is true for most people. If this is the case, then don't bother with parallax. Only parallax if you can't get a similar look with the editor. Like the maps in my game are impossible with regular editor mapping.
     
    #15
  16. LaFlibuste

    LaFlibuste Veteran Veteran

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    Then again, the same could be said about much anything in this life. As you ramp up the quality of pretty much anything, its cost (in money, effort, skill level and time investment) increases exponentially. At lower levels, smaller steps can make big differences, but those same steps grow less and less noticeable as the quality is increased. At some level, the quality difference is barely noticeable even though it took a crazy investment to achieve. Why do it? Probably because you dig doing it and to you it's worth it, even though it's pretty much lost to the wider public. It's the same for your game's music or scenario or whatever. It's the same for the cost of pretty much any product on the market.

    As an example of this, I had a sound engineering teacher back in university who owned a 10k$ microphone. He recognised you could get something that did almost as good for like 800 - 1000$, but those last increment of quality, which most people  wouldn't even notice, especially since it's scraped off when songs are converted into MP3s, was worth it to him. Also, the very fact he owned this mike brought him more and bigger business, but that's another matter entirely ;)
     
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