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Robert Tamayo

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I Find it Hard to Make 2D Tilesets

I good at drawing. I'm good at patterns. I'm good at coming up with environmental ideas for my game worlds.

Those three qualities should make me a natural at creating tilesets, and yet I struggle with them.

If my 2D games haven't had an artistic quality to them, it's not because I can't draw. It's because I have a hard time making 2D tilesets.

This time around, however, I'm happy to report that I'm finally getting the hang of it with Balloon Ghost. What made a huge difference was spending a lot of time studying the classic Super Mario World tilesets and trying to recreate them pixel-for-pixel. Once I started doing that, I began to get the hang of what goes into good tilesets. 

What's difficult about the tilesets for me is the balance between detail and patterns. Sometimes more detail is necessary; other times an easily identifiable pattern is what works. For natural environments, I was finding it difficult to make the patterns seem natural.

Another thing I've been doing is taking pictures of "natural" patterns when I'm outside. If I find a broken stepping stone pattern on the ground, I can learn from it and try to recreate the natural breaks in the slabs.

Now that I'm getting slightly better at it, I'm going to be able to make the tiles look a lot more detailed than I normally do for my games. It can't be overboard, though; it's still a minimalist art style.

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