Now that we understand how tiles work basically, I’ll start working on some tilesets. Just because a game is tile-based doesn’t mean it has to look blocky or repetitive. It is possible to achieve a natural and always fresh appearance by mastering some of the tiles’ features.
In the last post I started some of the rocky terrain that will be found in the game. The following tileset is a rather traditional approach to drawing a rocky “square” landscape in a stage:
If you look closely, you will notice that some of the tiles repeat themselves periodically. This helps the game save memory and at the same time creates a very comfortable “tile loop”. As you can see, those two lines of tiles are exactly the same.
The trick is making them connect smoothly. To give even further variety, many tiles can be replaced with different looping tiles which serve as matching pieces. They can also be combined differently to avoid a constant look! For instance, we can edit some of the tiles to make a secret entrance more obvious to an observing player without compromising the look of the game.
By making nice-looking and flexible tilesets with many unique features, we can make terrain that obeys all the classic video game rules and limitations, but still manages to breathe life to the different locales of the game.