[Wow. Some actual information from me. Enjoy! Or at least pretend to enjoy!]

Making a tileset

The Basics
Before your tileset becomes an actual tileset you have to draw it. But it’s not that easy of course, there are several guidelines that newbies and masters alike must keep in mind:

Tilesets have to be 320 pixels wide.

No more; no less. JCS will give you an error when you try to compile the tileset if it isn’t 320 pixels wide.

Each tile is 32 pixels by 32 pixels.

Surely you have used JCS before.. if you didn’t: Go use it and become a master at it!! ;) When you are making a level and are picking something from a tileset, each block you take is called a tile. They measure exactly 32×32 pixels.

Tilesets should be a multiple of 32 pixels tall.

If you know just about any mathematics, you should have noticed this: If the tiles are 32 pixels tall, then the height of the tileset must be a multiple of 32. If it isn’t (I.E. 300 pixels tall), then JCS will automatically delete the bottom pixels untill it is the next lowest multiple of 32 (In this case the next lowest is 288. That means the bottom 12 pixels will be deleted!!).

The image must be in 256 colour.

For gameplay performance and other reasons, the image must be in 256/8-bit colour/indexed mode/paletted, etc… This means you can use up to 256 colours in your tileset. However… many of these colours cannot be customized to suit your needs.. but we’ll get into that in more detail later.

Any colour in palette positions 0 or 1 is transparent.

If colour #0 is black, than all pure black you draw will become transparent!

The top-left tile will automatically be made transparent!!

Do not put anything (useful) in the top-left tile, for it will automatically disappear once compiled!!

Save your images in you “Jazz2/Tiles” directory

This is where JCS looks for the files. It should be self-explanatory.

1024 tiles is the max in v1.23.

You can only have 1024 tiles in your tileset. I’ll take a look at this next week probably when I expand on this article. I believe 1.24+ (TSF or higher) can handle 4 times this amout: 4096!! However… do not compile your tileset in TSF unless you absolutely have to. It’ll save the community a headache or two. ;)

The Mask
To walk through, or to walk into/walk on? That is the question which is answered by masks.

Masks are the optional part of making a tileset, but it won’t feel right if you don’t have one.
There is a simple way to make a mask:

-Save your tileset as a different name (i.e.: mytileset_mask.bmp).
-Erase (colour over with colour #0 or #1) all stuff you want to be able to walk through (like a flower or a rock or something).
-Smooth it out! Bumpy/rolling ground is okay, and even adds a higher sense of realism to your tileset. But jagged edges are a big no-no. The player will get caught in them and make (that part of) your tileset unuseable!

If you do not use a mask
If you don’t use a mask, then all non-transparent stuff in your tileset will be masked because you’ll have to use AUTOMASK. The only times you should use automask are:

-When you’re beta-testing your UNFINISHED tileset
-If all tiles in your set are smooth
-There are no tiles that you want the player to be able to walk through.

If you want to use automask, then I can’t stop you. But try to make a mask anyways. :p

Next time

I’ll probably take a couple bits of info here and go in deep. Maybe even have some images if I can get Fquist to add that feature! ;)


Disguise on October 16, 2001 04:00

A brilliant piece of work you’ve done, of course it’s stuff that all the tileset makers out there knows, but they don’t always need articles :)
It does just what I want to do, encourage people to make more tilesets.

However, I must add one comment to make this unique:

320 pixels means the tileset is 10 tiles wide (this is pretty easy to figure out yourself). But this brings us to another point. The maximum anoutn of tiles that can be used are 1024, and that doesn’t fit into a tileset that needs to be 10 tiles wide. The answer is simple (with a little cinfusion). You can only make a tileset with 1020 tiles. No, this does not mean that Ice M A N is wrong, there is another twist. Every time you add an animated tile (in the animated tiles section) you add one extra tile to your tileset. So, if your tileset is 1020 tiles big, you can have 4 animated tiles. If it is 1010 tiles big, you can have 14 animations. If your tileset has 520 tiles, you can have 504 animations. You should get the idea from that.
Well, that’s it then, I hope this article shines a bit of light in the darkness of making tilesets :)

Ice M A N on October 20, 2001 04:00

\“but they don\‘t always need articles \” – Exactly why I stopped :P

Actually.. that and I stink at explaining stuff. I\‘d delete this if it wasn\‘t for that whole \“Admins only\” thing. :P

Hmm.. Only took a little more than a year to get a comment.. yAy me :P

Disguise on October 17, 2002 04:00

Loosk like all the old articles don’t get any attention UNDERSCORE!
Heheheh, you still rock though :P

Ice M A N on November 10, 2002 05:00

Oh shut up :p

Thomas on October 06, 2006 20:06

An easyer whey to make you drawing into tile set is get a touch sreen PC but for thoughs who for whatever reson cant get on then this will work!