- Feb 6, 2013
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There's a lot of game designers out there that don't know how to use many of the built in tools of RPG Maker. The visuals of a game is arguably the gateway to the players free time. Screenshots often dictate whether a game will be played or glanced over. Often times I see projects where a talented game designer is publicizing their game with amazing features that have never been seen in the RPG Making community, or gameplay that rivals that of mainstream games, only to have it unplayed and unseen because of unappealing map screenshots. Shift+Click mapping is one of the most powerful mapping techniques you could use to create more dynamic, appealing maps in your games.
So what exactly is Shift+Click Mapping?
This technique focuses on using autotiles, specifically the ones on the Tile-A tilesets. These tiles, when used will automatically change and conform to the shape that you make. Shift+Click Mapping is when you use the shift button on your keyboard to precisely control the combination of tile you want to place. It can also be used to copy and paste large segments of a map, such as houses to create a quick town. Although you can do this without Shift+Clicking, using it allows you to keep the surrounding area from changing.
First off, can you tell me about autotiles?
Autotiles basically create the shape you try to make with them by taking 16x16 pieces from the autotile set within the tileset to create a shape made of a center with edges. If it is too small, it will ignore the center and create only edges for you. When you use these autotiles, they will change in appearance to the shape that you've made. Some of these act differently from one another.
- All of the A1 tileset, (rows 1-3 and 5-7 are animated water tiles), all of the A2 tileset, Columns 1, 3, 5 (roofs, etc) from A4 tileset.The ground, tree-top, cliff-top, fences and water autotiles will always meld together into unconventional shapes.
- Wall tiles will try to keep their square and rectangular shapes vertically.
- If you create a square or rectangular wall shape, and then add another tile under or above it, it will distort the faces of the autotile to extend towards that single tile, making it look unnatural.
In order to choose a specific autotile combination, you use the right-click to copy functionality along with the shift button on your keyboard. In order to place down the tile, you hold down shift button when you left+click on the map. Here are some important rules to Shift Click mapping.
- While Mapping, choosing an autotile on the tileset, and then Shift + Left-Clicking on the map will only show the center tile of the autotile.
- IMPORTANT: Shift + Right-Clicking to copy an autotile on the map will copy the autotile PLUS the ground tile underneath it.
- Shift + Left-Clicking on the map will place down exactly what you copied by Shift + Right-Clicking.
- Shift+Clicking will not copy or paste shadows.
Here are the different combinations in which you can use the Shift+Click mapping technique.
Here I copied the center two rows from the cliff formation on the left, ignoring the protrusion on the left and the extension on the right.
- I copied it regularly without Shift, and pasted it regularly. It reformed the edges.
- I copied it regularly without Shift, but pasted using Shift + Left-Click. As you can see, it used only the center tiles for both the roof and wall.
- I copied it using Shift + Right-Click, but pasted it regularly. It ignored the Shift copy and reformed the edges.
- I copied it using Shift + Right-Click, and pasted it using Shift + Left-Click. It copied and pasted exactly the same combination of center and edge autotile.
Suppose you want to make your map a little more dynamic and less cookie cutter. You could easily add little details such as extra plants, rocks, doodads. However you would only be adding things to the surface. You aren't changing the foundation of the map and the landscape. Nothing screams "noob" more than a cheap foundation with tons of doodads strewn about.
Now, I'll show you all of the different types of autotile combinations:
Left side are cliff-top autotiles. Right side are wall autotiles. House roofs behave like wall autotiles.
This is one way to find all of the combinations of autotile. There's actually quite a lot of overlap in these formations, so here's a version that shows all of the different combinations.
The highlighted tiles are the different combination of autotiles. You'll notice that it's combinations of open space and edge/corner parts.
Can you show me an example of what you'd do?
Here's a basic mountain formation.
Very very basic. It uses the two different autotiles, the wall and the cliff-top autotiles. It's not very appealing at the moment, there's nothing special about it. Sure it'll get the job done, it'll block the path of whatever you want it to. Lets spruce it up a bit.
That looks much better. It's very different and we didn't have to use the Shift+Click technique to achieve it. But you know, I'd love for the bottom tier to wrap around all the way to the right side. Let's try that.
Trouble. I don't want it to connect to the top tier, now there's some disparity. It actually looks like one tier of a mountain, but with openings inside. I want it to wrap around, not connect. Here is where you use the shift+click method.
Lets segment the cliff so it looks separate from the rest. Now, you can draw out all of the combinations up top as a guide, or what I do is just envision what pieces I want, draw them out, and then copy and paste from there using Shift + Right-Click and Shift + Left-Click. But the right side of the cliff doesn't look right, it looks like its connecting into the mountain. Plus the cliffs at the top look like they're connected to the ground and to the sides. We should fix that too.
Again, I draw out what pieces I need and then Shift + Right-Click to copy them, and Shift + Left-Click to paste in the right areas. But the top looks really flat. Let's vary it up a bit and add some fissures.
An easy way to make fissures it so visualize what you want and then tear them into separate pieces on the side. Shift + Right-Click to copy them, and then Shift + Left-Click to plug them in like tetris pieces! What you get is a more dynamic, visually appealing block of mountain or hill.
Here's another example of what you could do with this technique. Don't forget to add and edit the shadows if you're using them!
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