Mapping and Populating Cities.

Grunwave

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Feb 4, 2017
Messages
571
Reaction score
152
First Language
English
I think this is my least favorite thing about making an RPG.

Anyone have general thoughts about this, or potentially some sage advice?
 

Aesica

undefined
Veteran
Joined
May 12, 2018
Messages
1,504
Reaction score
1,400
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Ugh yeah making towns, even small ones, is really time consuming because a lot more detail goes into building each house, each interior, each NPC, etc all within the general theme you have in mind for that particular town.

Disclaimer: I just detest mapping in general, so maybe I'm a bit biased here.
 

AfroKat

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Feb 4, 2017
Messages
75
Reaction score
47
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Yeah I hate towns the most. I've limited going indoors alot which helped me. So stores, inns etc when you open the door you walk inside door closes then the menu scene pops up. So there is no "interior". And you also can't go in people's homes.
 

SolonWise

The Lonely Maker
Veteran
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Messages
219
Reaction score
452
First Language
Portuguese
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I like mapping towns and populating it with NPCs. One thing that helps me is that I always like to do towns with a central subject, so all NPCs are somewhat driven by that. For instance, I did a town in an old RPGVX game where the town's elder believes that his dog brings luck to the town, and once the dog went missing, everybody in town went crazy, even the ones that didn't believe in the dog.
 

Ninjakillzu

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Aug 19, 2013
Messages
259
Reaction score
212
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
Honestly, I just sort of let the design grow "organically". I start with a couple buildings, then build out from there without thinking about it too much. It's easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of designing a map to look a specific way, so I just let the design create itself. Are you making a modern/futuristic city or medieval/fantasy city?
 

Wavelength

MSD Strong
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
5,604
Reaction score
5,067
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
For some people this kind of thing is a labor of love, but if it's not for you, then my advice would be to keep it as small and abstract as possible.

Only include the essential buildings in your town, plus one 'centerpiece' of the town that gives it identity, and a few homes which are mostly locked (or don't even have doors) so you don't have to make the interiors.

Don't go overboard with NPCs; just make enough to make the town feel lived-in (and if you're really struggling to come up with anything that an NPC can say that's interesting, make them non-interactable, and be sure to have a visual way to designate interactable NPCs).

You can save a lot of mapping time for yourself (and walking time for the player) by Abstracting shops, inns, etc. as well - as soon as the player enters the door, present a Shop (etc.) Menu over a background, and as soon as the player leaves the menu, have them leave the shop, so that they never see an interior. For some types of games, you could even get away with abstracting the entire town! You do lose some placemaking in the process, but if that lets you focus on the things that really make your game special, it could be worth it.
 

Kupotepo

Fantasy realist/Advocatus Diaboli
Veteran
Joined
Jul 5, 2017
Messages
1,939
Reaction score
2,064
First Language
Thai
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I like mapping, but I can see some annoying aspect like tilesets consistency. It takes a long time to make it perfect plus parallax mapping would be a time-consuming process. NPCs events can be annoying if you create an interactive NPC. However, you could use some of the preset nothing wrong with that.
 

Aesica

undefined
Veteran
Joined
May 12, 2018
Messages
1,504
Reaction score
1,400
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
While I may detest mapping and town building especially, I still think it's something that's worth learning how to do right and I can't advocate cutting corners. If you try to make everything too abstract, your world tends to feel less alive and less interesting. Exploring places is fun, but if everything is closed off or just pops up a menu, there's less of your world to see and that's just not as fun.

Making shop interiors is actually pretty easy and you don't have to go overboard with them. Just make a small box room, put a counter in the middle, then litter it with some placeables that match the theme of the shop. Things like weapon racks, armor stands, shields, etc.

Something like this:

 

cthulhusquid

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Aug 19, 2013
Messages
337
Reaction score
286
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
While I may detest mapping and town building especially, I still think it's something that's worth learning how to do right and I can't advocate cutting corners. If you try to make everything too abstract, your world tends to feel less alive and less interesting. Exploring places is fun, but if everything is closed off or just pops up a menu, there's less of your world to see and that's just not as fun.

Making shop interiors is actually pretty easy and you don't have to go overboard with them. Just make a small box room, put a counter in the middle, then litter it with some placeables that match the theme of the shop. Things like weapon racks, armor stands, shields, etc.

Something like this:

I like to flesh out the insides of every enterable building so it feels lived-in and realistic, as the typical JRPG design sparseness just doesn't do it for me. It's definitely more time consuming, but in the end I feel it's worth the extra effort to make the world feel more real. For instance, in my post-apocalyptic RPG there's an abandoned convenience store turned into a small shopping area. There are six different vendors in here, you just have to talk with them to see who they are.

 

Aesica

undefined
Veteran
Joined
May 12, 2018
Messages
1,504
Reaction score
1,400
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I like to flesh out the insides of every enterable building so it feels lived-in and realistic, as the typical JRPG design sparseness just doesn't do it for me.
Oh I definitely agree--I just threw that together to show the OP that he can do better than just a popup menu upon entering the shop without too much extra effort. Towns full of inaccessible buildings takes away one of the great joys of classic RPG towns--going from building to building, grabbing everything that isn't nailed down. :D
 

Grunwave

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Feb 4, 2017
Messages
571
Reaction score
152
First Language
English
Honestly, I just sort of let the design grow "organically". I start with a couple buildings, then build out from there without thinking about it too much. It's easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of designing a map to look a specific way, so I just let the design create itself. Are you making a modern/futuristic city or medieval/fantasy city?
It is a low tech, heavy magic world. Swords and Sorcery.
 

Prescott

argggghhh
Veteran
Joined
Aug 28, 2014
Messages
506
Reaction score
422
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
The steps that I'm taking to make the towns in my game are a little ridiculous, but I believe they'll really help in the long run given I'm making an open world game with many towns and many moving parts in said towns.

First, I wrote a short, one line description of what the town was built for. Consider where it is geographically located. If it is near the ocean, it's probably a port town for fishing and/or trading. Near a mountain? Mining. In the middle of a desert? An oasis for weary travelers.

Next, I decided how old I wanted the towns to be. I measured everything in how old they were rather than when they were built. With this information, you can make a town appear older, have older facilities in it, maybe some derelict homes or older styles of architecture.

Then, I decide how many NPCs are going into that town. Due to my workflow, I actually created every single NPC in the game and put them in towns that I saw fit, and right now I'm actually going through all of the towns and seeing where I need to change stuff to either add NPCs or remove them so that they can fill jobs needed in the town and make it not appear empty if it isn't supposed to. If you know how many NPCs will be in the town, it will be easier to fill the space with the correct amount of homes and other buildings.

Once I'm done with that I'll be making the maps on grid paper. That way I can plan the spacing for everything pretty well before I translate it into the engine. You can erase pencil on paper and adjust it a lot faster than you can change a map in RPG Maker, so work on it until it looks right and then plop it into the engine!
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Latest Threads

Latest Profile Posts

Lately when I listen to 1970s songs, I always think that the "real world" is still at mid 70s. What we experience now is a futuristic dream. With this point of view, even 80s and 90s looks super futuristic. :D

The GIF of this seemed too cool to bury in replies. :LZSwink:
You may have slept with my aunt... but, given the circumstances, cheers.

- Professor Ian Duncan, 2013
Ami
--- Swimming ---

F.Knight: This Shrine always Flood. We don't have a choice,we have to Swimming in this place
F.Healer: That Insane!
F.Mage: We can use…Boat,rather than Swimming
F.Knight: You guys…Can't Swim?
F.Healer & F.Mage: (Shocked) Eehh??

Forum statistics

Threads
105,525
Messages
1,014,390
Members
137,207
Latest member
Kbone
Top