The Specific Basics: Deserts and Plains

Even when the Engine is Rm2003 it can still be applied to every level design related.

Table of contents:

1 The basics
a the 'yeses'
b the 'noes'

2 The specific Basics:
a Mountains
b Forests
c Towns
d Deserts (you are)
e Plains (here)
f World Map Tips

3 Adding to a map
a Eventing
b Overlapping
c Effects
d Overlays

Deserts Because most games only have a small desert if one at all, I’m not going to go to far into this. But, I just wanted to make a few points clear. First, deserts are not just sand. Example:


Now, I know that it may be a bitch to make a huge desert that looks like that, but no one wants to walk through a map with nothing in it. Seriously. As to eventing a desert, sand storms are a must. Dust clouds, anything.

Also, tinting the color to make it brighter and more golden works well too. There really isn’t a whole lot to deserts, and depending on the kind you want to make it how they are done. If you want one with a canyon type feel, then go back to the mountain section and look at that. If you want one with an endless voyage feel, then basically look at my last picture, and mimic that a lot. If you’re going for a ‘pass the trail’ sorta thing, then you’ll want to have ruined buildings in there. More objects and less sand in other words.

Do's and don’t for the desert:

Don’t make it a spanning wasteland. And if you do, at least put stuff in it other then nothing.

Put an oasis here and there
, oasis’s are refreshing not only for the hero, but for the player’s eyes.

DON’T put birds in this. Unless you’ve got a buzzard or something, don’t put birds in. Instead, put snakes and lizards.

Don’t put dead bodies along desert paths. I’ve seen games where all the desert your passing through is a safe path between two towns, and there are dead bodies lining the roads. That’s just wrong….

Make some sort of event that creates a thirst meter. For example, you could make it to where if you’re in the desert for so long, you get thirsty and game over. I know it has nothing to do with the mapping, but deserts are so often so bleak that sometimes the hero needs something to think about other then nothingness.


Plains Alright. Plains are very very basic and easy to do. Again, look at the forest section for reference to making the paths and stuff.

Three types of Plains:
-Completely Open
-River Bed
-Edging Plains

Completely Open
plains deal with plains that are none other then completely open. I tend to stay away from these, but sometimes they have to be put in. Most often, they are used as a road from one place to another, and nothing more. Plains like these can be made simply by putting random ground tiles in random places, and objects that complement those tiles. Example: A tree wouldn’t go on a dirt path, and a rock wouldn’t go on the flowers. There are exceptions, but that’s just a basic idea.

River Beds are plains that have a river next to them. These are easy enough to make, but take time to make look good. They should have trees lining the sides of the river, be abundant with plants and animal life, and be a peaceful or reflecting area. Examples:

River Beds also have some sort of pathway that is VERY clear. I use a dirt road, but you can use whatever you want. Good ways to improve River Beds are to have large amounts of over head birds and butterflies, and to have a water fall here and there.

Edging plains are any kind of plains that are supposed to be the ‘edge’ of something. The edge of a mountain, the edge of a forest, etc. These types of plains should then follow intermediate rules. Apply part of the plains rules, and part of the mountain rules to the edge of a canyon for example.

Examples of a canyon (this is a partly custom chipset that isn’t yet done, so that’s why some things sorta clash)

This isn’t exactly ‘edging’ per say, but it’s plains place next to a mountain, and this is what the town looks like. Here’s one that’s edging of a forest:

As you can see, one side is plains, the other forest.

Now, there is no real way to make plains. It’s just a sort of wing it kind thing. But, every plain you have should have something unique about it. For example, the two pictures of the canyon plains above are very unique, both in game and out of game. It’s an edited chipset, and part of it is custom, so it has an out of game uniqueness. In game, I have no other place that’s colored like that, or evented like this.

Events for that place include a running water paranorma (meaning I made a waterfall paranorma, then I made three more with different water positions and had them change places from time to time.) , rain, butterflies, birds, swamp water sound effects (meaning if you step in saturated water, it makes a splashing sound), water ripples, fish, and some other things. No other places have the same fish/birds/ or colored butterflies. No other place has the same paranorma, and no other place has the same constant rain effects. So, in conclusion, just make every plain different from the last.


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idk I appreciate that you're trying to put some rules out for this stuff but I really don't like your examples. :\ Sometimes the difference between the "good" and "bad" isn't obvious, and sometimes the "good" just isn't... good.
added more examples for you baby :P


advice is to help you get thinking in the right direction, not to emulate exactly.
Where the heck do you get you're tilesets? o_o
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