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[RMVXA] Tutorial on Mapping Your World

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RMVXA Mapping Tutorial
By Mewgull

So you're making a game. Is making good maps the only things that is holding you back? That may not be the only reason, but a big part of any game is the map that the player is playing on. If you have a bland map, the player will become disinterested. Simple. So how does one go about making an interesting map?
Here, I will attempt to walk you though the steps of map creation, according to my opinion.

Some Rules:
1. Nature
Always remember, nature is boundless. People these days, despite the large amount of cities, still live among nature. It is all around us. In fact, humans themselves are apart of nature, and thus nature is never truly eradicated. If there is nature in your game, remember this. When making a town or city within your game, include trees, bushes, flowers, etc. Nature makes things look pretty.
Conversely, when making a natural setting, such as a forest or field, always remember that nature is random. Trees, bushes, flowers, etc., are never lined up in a row. they're all over the place, and more often than not, there are thousands in one area. Nature has no concept of rectangles, triangles, circles, etc. It is all random.

2. Cities/Towns/Residential Areas
Humans are calculating animals. Whenever humans create something, conversely to nature, polygons and patterns are present. Residential areas are optimized to the people who live in it. This includes, houses, shops, paths, etc. Shops are placed in areas that people can have easy access to. Paths are made to lead people around the town to key points in the area.
In general, residential areas are usually made near a body of water. It is unrealistic to create a town in the middle of the desert, unless they have some kind of water source.

3. Dungeons
Dungeons are points in a game where the player must go through a series of puzzles and higher-than-before danger to retrieve something. Every dungeon has a purpose. Whether that purpose be to train the player, to retrieve the star at the end, or to rescue the princess, there is a reward to the dungeons.
Usually dungeons become progressively harder the further you go in a game. Each dungeon also have a theme (such as the elements earth, fire, water). This keeps the player interested. Dungeons are assumed to be made by humans, and if there is a prize at the end of each dungeon, those humans created the dungeon to protect that prize. Therefore, the dungeons are made with all sorts of different tricks and traps. Such as strong monster, puzzles, etc. Basically, they are mazes.


Now I will provide a step-by-step walkthrough of making some simple maps and sprucing them up.
I'll start with a regular forested-field-kind of area.

We'll start with a regular 21 x 17 map (made with RMVXA):

Next,  We'll add some basic under laying stuff such as any water, paths, trees, etc. Keeping in mind the nature rule of randomness.

Seems like madness already, right? Well we are keeping in mind that the water and the trees are random. The path is not because it is made by humans. It is some place that is tread upon many times.

Next, because we are in nature let's add some more if we can, such as cliffs.

But wait! That doesn't look right...! Right? Where is the depth perception? Let's add that then.

There we go. See those shadows? Because the player is playing a game in 2D, the world will be as such, so we have to add Shadow for depth perception. It creates sight ease for the player, and to give the illusion of height for the cliffs.
RMVXA allows the maker to add shadows anywhere with ease with the Shadow Tool. To place them correctly and to give the illusion of height, place the shadows two squares from the tip of an edge. (Refer to the picture above to understand what I'm saying)

Next lets put in a bit odds and ends to spruce up the map

It's starting to look more like a forest pass, right? It's already starting to look nice because there is beauty in the randomness. In this next image, I'm going to add more stuff to the ground to give content. Think of the room as a kind of blank canvas, and you don't want to leave any white space.

Of course, when adding content to the map, you cannot have too much clutter, or else there would be chaos on the screen, and the player may even feel claustrophobic. Be sparing.
Also in the above image, randomness was applied, there is no order in nature.

And there you have it! Just have your player walk through that little morsel of a level!

Residential areas and dungeons are up to you. Just remember the rules.

So hope this was helpful tell me what you think of this tutorial. Anything I should add?
When making a game, the games that stand out are the ones that break the rules. The guidelines above serve as guidelines, and just that. Your ideas could be totally different.

Thanks for reading.