We’ve learned a lot of useful things about tilesets, but the most important part is in the planning stage. So here we will share with you several tips to help you get started.
Basic Tile Shapes
Aside from picking a size to work with (and being consistent across your project) the most important thing is knowing what shapes you need. We simplify each tileset into several basic shapes. Because we have different tilesets for each enviorment this has the added benefit of familiarity. When we go to add the tileset into the game engine we know what basic building blocks to expect each tileset to have (with a little variation) and that speeds up the process. Below are some basic examples of the main shapes we make.
Tada! The building blocks of our 8bit world. It’s always important to test your tiles and put them together to test that everything works. Especially before moving on to the next stage and passing along the completed sprite to the developer.
Next is laying out the sprite so we can use it in the game engine.
This is what it looks like (only we generally don’t have visible grid lines). As a prefrence we try to align groups together for easy refrence later on down the line. We also save a PSD of the sprite with folders and naming schemes to make it easy to double check if we can’t remember for some reason. But more than that, it keeps us organized from the start, which always helps.
Above you can see an example ground tileset and then the same tileset in use. While there is more diversity in the tiles, the overall shapes remain the same. Top, down, left, right, and four variations for the corners (depending on the depth layer they correspond with). Adding extra layers of detail like this takes significantly more time, but the can be worth it. There are also a lot of other tile shapes and types to make (like the ledges and diagonals mentioned above). Part of that will depend on your goals, game, style, and game engine. Keep experimenting and find what works best for you.