We’re S(tile)in’ Now
Major checkpoint 2 in the mapping process has been reached: I have finished the farmlands map, which means that the two exterior maps for “chapter 1″ (read: proof I can get something done) are finished. Or, as finished as they’re going to get.
The major change for the farmlands map was that I acquired some custom tiles made by RPG Maker VX Ace community members. These tiles opened up a ton of new possibilities, allowed for a lot more variation in detail, and were a lot of fun to work with.
However, it also meant that I needed to go back to the first map and see what I could detail.
So below the read more are some screenshots of the new farmlands map, some screenshots of changes to the city map, and some commentary on the process.
Let’s get a few things out of the way before we start showing off the pretty pictures:
- Turns out a lot of my problems last time were due largely to my inexperience with RPGMVXA. Hurrah for learning how to actually use your tools!
- Turns out, after searching for some forum advice on how to detail and create cities, I did it half wrong! So there are some major changes to the city.
- As much as I want to sit here and fiddle with this detail, modify that structure, or add another building there, I am going to consider these maps finished in concept. Changes will occur during the next phase (“content creation”), but nothing major will happen to the map structure and only a few details will be altered or added.
- As I continue to make maps after “chapter 1,” I am aiming to make smaller maps (50 – 75 squares, perhaps). The fact the first two maps are so big posed three significant problems: took forever to detail; took a while to figure out what to do with the space; probably creates lag (which I think can be mitigated through a script I saw a few weeks ago).
So, making these was a bear. Adding in decent amounts of detail was challenging and fun and frustrating, often all at the same time. I frequently bothered Spiro and got his opinion on how the details looked, what should go where, etc.
One noteworthy thing that came up while making these maps was that it was decided the world needed an ecosystem. More specifically, we needed to define what certain plants (and permutations on that plant) did, and where they would grow. The fully documented ecosystem/rule set is still being figured out, but here are the most basic of basics:
Grassy patch – must be placed adjacent to heavy grass
Yellow Flower – Healing properties
- Grows in grassy plains and edges of forests
White Flower – Cleansing Effects
- Grows near edges of elevation changes
Red Flower – Buffs
- Grows in forest paths
Not much, but it gives you an idea of what we’re working towards. This will help us easily place details that will have collectible items attached to them, as well as know where players need to be in order to get what sort of items. Whatever the rest of the document winds up to be will dictate some of the changes made to the details in the maps currently.
So what now?
The next step is to make all the interiors: the market, the houses, that forest shrine if I decide I want it to exist. This will take a lot less time (though the market will still be a challenge), and probably be a lot more fun because it won’t feel like sprinting a marathon. Which is what the two exterior maps felt like, sometimes.
After that comes the second phase, which is content creation: making all the NPCs, item collection events, quests, and lore.
And after that lengthy process comes the real challenge: scripting the bartering system, along with a few other systems.
That’s it for now! If you have any comments, suggestions, or criticisms about the maps or process, let me know in the comments. Once I get the interior maps done, I will put together a credits list of custom resources I’ve used, because the people who made them definitely deserve recognition!