NEW DEVELOPER MAPPING HELP THREAD

Posts

Frankly, I've gotten a lot of newbies coming through the queue and I usually send them to the screenshot thread for help, but more often than not they get scared off by either the harshness of the critique they see there or the personalities firing at each other (sometimes). So this thread is just for new developers to post in for feedback.

- Be kind. These are newbies who are still learning how to put maps together.
- Be detailed. Examples are appreciated, so showing and detailing what they need to improve on is a good idea.
- Be patient. Some are going to take a bit longer to learn than others.

We can be a bit boisterous at times so kid gloves in this topic, please.

Things you'll probably find here:
- wrongly used tiles
- huge maps
- bare maps
- clashing graphics
- weird design choices
- new mapping
- only newbies. No experienced users allowed to post images here!

To new mappers:
This separate thread is for your convenience. Feel free to post your stuff here to get feedback and grow as a developer in a safe place.


I'll be sending people whose games need a little work this way but I encourage any newbies who stumble their way here and feel intimidated by the normal Screenshot thread to jump in here and get help.

To those who help out here: Thank you. It's hard enough learning by yourself, a forum can help but only when people reach out and support each other.
Incidentally, I'm going to be streaming some of my mapping of Ara Fell on twitch, if anyone is interestred. Doing so now as of this post.

Watching me, you can learn to make cluttered, convoluted maps too!

http://www.twitch.tv/stegosoftgames/
Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
7655
author=BadLuck
Incidentally, I'm going to be streaming some of my mapping of Ara Fell on twitch, if anyone is interestred. Doing so now as of this post.

Watching me, you can learn to make cluttered, convoluted maps too!

http://www.twitch.tv/stegosoftgames/


Dude, I'm so there.
Bonus! I'm going to be drunk and on mic. Fun for everyone.
Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
7655
I missed it. It's a shame you aren't set up to save your previous broadcasts; I was really looking forward to it.
I'll do some more. Being my first time doing anything like that, it was kind of a disaster, but it was still fun.

I'd be happy to do it regularly if people are actually interested in it. I don't expect this is that interesting on its own, but maybe I can make quasi-coherent commentary.
author=Liberty
only newbies. No experienced users allowed to post images here!

- But I’m an experienced user and I suck at mapping! But that’s probably because I haven’t mapped anything in years and most of the projects that I do revolve around mostly the use of pictures and panoramas to get things done.

If I do have an issue with any map making related badness - can I still get feedback if I post it here? Can you at least waive my experienced member clause for this one thread, you guys? Pretty please with a strawberry on top???

I mean, I’m not expecting to be like a Luchino or a Blindmind here, but at least on a respectable level with such comments like, “…Meh.”
Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
7655
author=Addit
author=Liberty
only newbies. No experienced users allowed to post images here!
- But I’m an experienced user and I suck at mapping! But that’s probably because I haven’t mapped anything in years and most of the projects that I do revolve around mostly the use of pictures and panoramas to get things done.

If I do have an issue with any map making related badness - can I still get feedback if I post it here? Can you at least waive my experienced member clause for this one thread, you guys? Pretty please with a strawberry on top???

I mean, I’m not expecting to be like a Luchino or a Blindmind here, but at least on a respectable level with such comments like, “…Meh.”

If the screenshot thread wasn't such a museum (a collective for pretty things that no one is allowed to touch*), you could just post there, but I can see why you're stuck. I do, however, feel this is an opportune time for some self-reflection as to why - with all your experience - you're still not up to par in one aspect or another.

*get it?
I've improved several maps based on critique received in the screenshot thread so I really don't know what the problem is, or even why this thread is required...
I will say, due to apparent lack of interest, maybe this thread should be opened up to include any example of mapping, including tutorials, general thoughts and advice, etc.

It's been a week and no one has really posted anything.
Good idea. Tutorials, advice and the like is fine.

It's for people who really don't know how to map in RM. It's not for intermediate or decent or okay mappers - for newbies who have no idea what they're doing or are sent this way because they have issues with the mapping on their gamepages but get sacrificed in the screenshot thread.

If you do have good tutorials and advice, do put it here, especially basic stuff.
Fair enough. I won't disagree with you if that's what you want this thread to be for. It's a good idea.

But I wonder if that's too narrow of an avenue. Maybe this could just be a thread to talk about mapping in general.
^ Yeah, that's an idea. The screenshot thread has become such a catch-all for custom tiles, trailers, artwork etc that it often isn't about mapping at all.

Maybe BadLuck, Luchino or myself could post up some tutorials for the fun of it, or we could find ways to guide newer users whose submissions may have been denied.

Did you ever post all your YouTube tutorials to RMN, Liberty? xD
I have put up some mapping tutorials on this site already, but maybe because it's so out of the way, newbies will have a hard time finding them. XD I suppose we could have a Pinned topic for all the mapping tuts found on this site. I think its more likely to get Hits.

After all, the new level designers might either be too arrogant ( yes, we've had plenty of them here, some with the gall to charge people large amounts of money per map ) or daunted ( if you feel like this, go and read Addit's newest article now ) or a mix of either to post their stuff here, so they can just anonymously check out the tutorials. =)

I already send links to newbies when their games get denied based on mapping issues of tutorials and such. This thread is so newbies have a safe place to ask for feedback so they can get their games on the site. You know, since we don't have a place in the site for denied games to get feedback on how to get better.

We have a description thread that helps with when people can't write very well and get denied due to that, but the screenshot thread is overrun by people who have at least a passing familiarity with how to map.
I was sent here by a submission denial. I'm kind of confused as to how my maps are being considered bland and would appreciate some advice. I'm adding a few of the maps I have, from the most bland looking to the ones I've put considerable detail into. This game is a murder mystery game dealing with Ace Lite constraints, so many of the map details need to be strategically placed for maximum output.

Hall.1

I can see how this is considered bland. How can I update this without making it too busy, as the function of this map is more as a thoroughfare than an event room.

Hall.2

Same story here, meant as a connector.

Foyer

There are a few more ideas I'd like to add here, however they are heavily dependent on clue finalization.

Dining Room

This is the opening room in the game. Where would this stand on the empty-overbearing spectrum.

Kitchen


Ballroom

The detail in this room was adding after my initial submission.

Library


Thank you for looking at these images. I appreciate your advice.
TehGuy
Resident Nonexistence
1827
author=ZephyrAe
I was sent here by a submission denial. I'm kind of confused as to how my maps are being considered bland and would appreciate some advice. I'm adding a few of the maps I have, from the most bland looking to the ones I've put considerable detail into. This game is a murder mystery game dealing with Ace Lite constraints, so many of the map details need to be strategically placed for maximum output.

Hall.1

I can see how this is considered bland. How can I update this without making it too busy, as the function of this map is more as a thoroughfare than an event room.

Hall.2

Same story here, meant as a connector.

Foyer

There are a few more ideas I'd like to add here, however they are heavily dependent on clue finalization.

Dining Room

This is the opening room in the game. Where would this stand on the empty-overbearing spectrum.

Kitchen


Ballroom

The detail in this room was adding after my initial submission.

Library


Thank you for looking at these images. I appreciate your advice.


Not an expert here by any means, but my first thought was "why are pretty much all of these maps so big"; perhaps reducing the dimensions should prove easier to deal with and make things feel less, ah, space-y?

Basically, I feel the amount of stuff a room has placed in it should be tied to it's size; large rooms that have barely anything in them and tiny rooms with a bunch of things make no sense, IMO.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
5363
Your main problem is that you surround the furniture with thirty feet of empty floor space. Without going into a ton of detail about each one, let me just use the dining room as an example.

Here's a more reasonably sized version of your dining room:



Imagine that each tile is about three feet by three feet (or one meter by one meter), since that's about the scale that the objects are drawn at. The size of some objects varies, since the chibi art style increases the size of smaller objects, but 3'x3' is a good rule of thumb. Have you ever seen a table in the middle of a sixty food wide dining room, with twenty-five feet of empty carpet on every side of it? Hint: No.

"But it's supposed to be a huge mansion!" is the most common complaint here. But, there are more important considerations. First of all, mansions aren't anywhere near as big as you think. Secondly, this is a video game, not a movie. The aesthetic considerations are different: in a movie, when there's a big room in a mansion, the shot will be angled upwards, showing the architecture. In a video game every shot in your game is pointing straight down at the floor, so that extra size doesn't add majesty or splendor, it just adds more carpet. And in a video game, the player has to walk through that room, probably several times. You want there to be enough stuff to look at to keep them interested, and you want to keep the size small enough that they never get annoyed by how far they have to go. Typically the way to do this is to place the important furniture first, with only one or two tiles of space in between each thing, and then start placing doodads, and when you're done you make the room exactly as big as it needs to be for everything to fit in it.

If you feel like that makes the room look too small, you can combine multiple rooms into a single map. Here's an example of a dining room in a castle from Chrono Trigger doing exactly that:



Aside from the size, there are some other problems. Both the table and the carpet are in weird shapes. The red carpet has that border around the edge, because it's meant to be used as a throw rug. Throw rugs aren't made in weird shapes that perfectly fit the room, they're rectangular. Tables are also rectangular, not zig-zag shaped.

Your library is by far your best room but it has some of these same problems.



Just as another pointer, since you were having problems with hallways, here's a nice-looking hallway from Final Fantasy 9:



Hallways are inherently boring - they're rooms without any focal point or purpose. However look at some of the things the artist in this game did to make this hallway more interesting:
- Created high walls with interesting stonework
- Added several different areas on the floor that have different types of tiles
- Created an L-shaped bend in the hallway to give it more of a shape
- Gave the two parts of the hallway different appearances - the long area has lower ceilings, higher torches, different walls, different floors
- Put lighting effects around the torches and shadows in the corners

You can also combine a hallway with another room to create a single map. However, in general hallways are pretty lame - the best solution is to simply not take screenshots of them.


As an aside, make sure to save your screenshots as .png files at full size. People don't want to see low-quality compressed images of your game, they want to see what it actually looks like.
Thank you for the advice LockeZ. As for the table in the dining room, it has become a source of frustration. The reason it's got that shape currently was it was the only way I've found to access the Wine event at the top of the table, while maintaining the various events that occur at the seat directly above. Any ideas?
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
5363
Just move the wine to the corner of the table? Or if you want to get fancy, maybe try to find a sprite for one of those serving tables/tea carts with wheels that maids push around, and put the wine bottle on that.

Here are some RPG Maker XP sprites for serving carts, if they'd be helpful. They're free to use. To use these in VX Ace you'll need to delete the right column of each charset.