A few months ago we updated the page with a few samples of our intended tiles for terrain. From that moment back in October (!) we finished a starter set of 2 flavors of tile terrain: dirt and grass. Click read more to check it out.
One of the first things we worked on was a way to include a bunch of things both me (The Petunio) and Adam (The Waters) wanted for the look and feel of the tiles. The first thing I wanted was to have a painterly style to the tiles, something that very few Strategy games have (I could never know why they stopped making 2d RTS games, but I digress).
The painterly style isn’t terribly hard to do, just a bit time consuming, since it has to have this unfinished look spread across evenly throughout all of the tiles. One thing Adam wanted for these was a hint of realism to these, just a bit of texture. For which we went through a few test levels of small textures laid down across the tile (which was christened Micro-propping by us).
Between “less” and “a little bit less” micro-propping seems suitable for these. That was one issue solved, a few others to go..
One problem I had is that regular videogame tiles are fairly small, which would had made it harder for some of the would-be brushstrokes to be noticed. Both the Micro-propping and the painterly style would had been diminished. I had the idea of making these in a very large size, whereas Adam wanted a simpler approach of tiling, since it’s easier to construct maps with smaller tiles.
From playing Diablo 3, Adam came up with the idea of using something similar to their Big Tile system (aka: their much maligned Big Tile system). But while in Diablo 3 the tiling system isn’t used to it’s full potential, we could try to make the most out of it and get both the things we wanted to do with the tiles: I could have all the lush details I wanted for these and Adam could have individual tile pieces he could use and reuse within the game. So a would-be big tile system it is!
How big are these?, pretty big:
In the image we have regular size units interacting with 1 terrain tile. The unit’s size is around 150×150 pixels while the big tile is 1024×1024. Also there are a couple of units featured in that screenshots that I’ve animated but haven’t introduced in the blog.
One nice thing is that the unit’s art style it contrasts really well with the tiling style. While the animations have few details and solid colors, the ground beneath the unit’s feet is rich in details and colors.
The images I’m displaying here are low in resolution (since it’s the internets). The next image shows a close up of the actual detail of the tiles.
Little rocks everywhere!
A small nightmare that was creating these large tiles was that they’d blend in seamlessly. Both in small details as well as keeping these relatively different to fool perception a bit. So after a batch of these I dutifully had to test them several times with other adjacent big tiles. Test them and look for small little places where there could some inconsistencies.
At first glance these all look pretty much the same, the changes were mostly smaller things, such as a tile looking too blocky or not blending very well. If they looked blocky I had to change a few details on a few tiles, then compare them and go back again at it. The final iteration shows these with all of their texturing in place.
So finally how many of these are there?, the starter kit has around 64 individual large pieces, or to put it in perspective all of these:
Some of these are either grass or dirt, whereas others are connectors between dirt and grass tiles, or “blender tiles”. I aimed for a lot of these to look as crazy as possible. As they stand we still have to test them thoroughly in-game.
One final test I had to make was to make sure that the micro-propping such as the grass blades and the little rocks would blend in seamlessly. The following image is fairly large since it’s 16 different individual tiles next to each other, plus a regular Scrapper unit right in the middle to put it in perspective.
This final test also yielded an unusual result, which was that seen from really afar, you can tell a few of these look pretty blocky. So I had another test, this time checking it out with a bit of perspective and up close, and the tiles are holding up pretty well:
And that would be all for the first step of the tiles, there’s still 64+ tiles to go, but right now we are focusing on making more animations and sketching a few of the icons. But that’s for another blog entry.