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Tutorial - 'Making Maps in Sphere' by bluemoogle

An item about Sphere posted on

Blurb

Ever wanted to learn how to use sphere's mapmaker to make some cool maps? Here ya go!

Body

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Making Maps in Sphere
by blue_moogle of GamingW (www.gamingw.net)
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/- Contents -\

1. Introduction
2. The Overview of the Map Editor
3. The buttons!
4. The Tilesets!
a. The Layers!
***UPDATE: Making Doodad Spritesets
b. Making tilesets
c. Converting RM2k Tilesets to Sphere ones
5. Final Words

/- Introduction -\
So.. you may know how to script.. how to make spritesets.. but.. WHAT ABOUT MAPS? Well.. don't worry.. I got that covered.
Maps are really easy if you practice. If you're a Rm2k User.. you'll relize that making Maps in Sphere is almost as simple
as it was in Rm2k. If you're totally new to Game Making.. its easier than you can hope! Alright.. first let me say, NOT
everything in this tutorial is about making maps. Some of it is TILESETS too.. thats why you probably can't find a tileset
tutorial made by me.


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/- The Overview of the Map Editor -\
Ok, before we start, I recommend you know some basic knowledge of sphere. Basically what I want you to know is in the
"HOW TO SWITCH FROM RM2K TO SPHERE" tutorial. I'm sure you have read it by now anyways. If you haven't, take a look at
it. It covers a lot that you'll be needing to know in here. SO, if I say something you dont' understand, it's probably
explained in the other tutorial.

Alright.. in your SPHERE HQ, open up your field.rmp map we made in the other tutorial. Probably still just as blank as
usual with grass. Well.. lets get rid of this really boring tileset and use another. So do so, we'll need to make a new
map. BUT, before we do that, lets get ourself a Tileset already nice and made for us. You can download my Rm2k tileset
conversions if you want.. or a custom made one (if you can find one). I'll be using the basic Rm2k RTP conversion one.

Ok, now put this Tileset in any folder you want.. but it would be reasonable for it to show up in the HQ.. so IMAGES is
a good place. (though Spritesets would be a reasonable place, it just won't show up there in the HQ). Now, when you make
a new map this time, call it FIELD2. The size be anything you want.. but maybe make it larger this time for testing
reasons. NOW, choose your tileset (find it in the folder you put it in). Now the map will pop up with many windows..
TWO are for TILESET editting.. which we wont' be doing now, so close these two windows:

SWATCH
IMAGE TOOLS

You should now have your HQ window, your MAP window, and two windows that are small. One, called TILES, is what you use
to place tiles on the map (much like Rm2k). If you're using one of my tilesets.. it MAY look a bit messed up.. to fix that
resize the TILES window untill everything looks organized. If you can't find the best organized look (some TILESET makers
really screw up on this part) just find a spot that looks the easiest to use. If you're using the basic RTP one like I am,
you should see WATER in the top right organized nicely, with mountains and trees on the opposite.

Ok.. Lets put some grass on the map... initially, it's probably filled with the first tile in the tileset... in my case..
its an ugly water courner.. I don't my map filled with that. So.. lets fix this and place some grass or whatever you chose
on the map. Now.. filling this LARGE map up would be very annoying with only one tile. SO you can do a couple of things
now. CLICK the Paint bucket icon and click and DRAG across the entire map. It should fill whatever the invisible bucket
square was on. You could also click on one of the buttons that SAYS 3x3 or 5x5. These will place EITHER 9 tiles at a time
or 25 tiles at a time. After doing this, remember to click the 1x1 button again!

THere ya go.. you know how to make a map. Everything else is relativly the same.. except for ONE other thing.. which is
cover later on.


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/- The Buttons! -\
The earlier chapter explained a few of the buttons.. but incase you don't feel like READING through all of that again to
know what a button does.. read this part. (note, all the buttons are in the window called MAP TOOLS)

1x1 = Places 1 tile on the map wherever you left click
3x3 = Places 9 tiles on the map wherever you left click. The center of the 9 tiles will be where you click.
5x5 = Places 25 tiles on the map wherever you left click. The center of the 25 tiles will be where you click.
YELLOW SQUARE = "sucks" up the tile you click on. Example, clicking on a grass tile will let you paint grass tiles.
PAINT BUCKET = Similar to MS Paints paint bucket.. only this time you have to click and drag on the map to fill it.
TWO PAPERS = Ok.. this is a little weird.. but its the yellow square only with an area.. CLICK and DRAG to copy and area.
PAPER AND BRIEFCASE = pastes the area you copied with the TWO PAPERS button. Center of the area is where you click.
PAPERS WITH FACES = copies an entity
PAPER WITH FACE AND BRIEFCASE = pastes a copied entity
LINE WITH ARROWS = makes an invisible wall.. preventing things from going through it
LINE WITH CROSS TRHOUGH IT = deletes any invisible wall you click on


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/- The Tilesets! -\
This is an introduction to making tilesets (next couple chapters TELLS you how). Tilesets can be any size you want, much like
spritesets.. THE EDITOR of making tilesets is almost the exact same as a spriteset maker. So.. if you want to make
spritesets.. but don't feel like reading that tutorial.. this will help.

Layers!
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Tilesets can have as many layers as they want. A layer is like a second map ontop of the first one. This second map
is usually used for two maps.. but as Parallax sorta things. Like if you have CLOUD tiles.. you can use a layer for clouds.
If you have plain old boring water and don't feel like making waves.. you can make it reflective settle water! (an example
on reflective water would be the RIVER in the beginning in Tales of Phantasia) If you have trees.. but want it to be all
forms of terrain.. and don't feel like drawing the backrounds of every possible place a tree could be in.. you can make it
a LAYER and have its backround invisible! Ok.. how to use a layer.

Lets first make a layer. On the left side of the map editor.. you should see the words BASE. Right Clicking in this box
that base is in, you can make a new layer. So do so! NOW.. the order of layers is IMPORTANT. The bottem on is the
normal stuff... the place where you put grass.. roads.. whatever you dont' want TRANSPARENT or floating across the screen
like clouds.

Ok.. another thing on layers: If the layer is higher than the base layer, anything that you place on it will COVER the
hero if he walks under it. EXAMPLE, if he walks onto a tile thats Tree branches.. and layer is HIGHER than the base
layer, the branches will cover him!

Remember this, for if you're making a tree.. you'll want ALL the branches on the layer above him.. and the trunk part (the
part you don't want him to be covered by) on a layer below the base layer. ALSO remember, putting things thats meant to be
transparent (tree backrounds) on the base layer, THEY WILL NOT BE TRANSPARENT!

Ok.. now when placing tiles on your new layers.. you may notice the parts that are supposed to be transarent.. actually
reflective. To fix this, go to the layer properties and UNCHECK reflective. Here you can also set how fast and where you
want things in this layer to move. You can also set how transparent you want things to be. Thats about everything in
a layer.. putting tiles on it is the same as the base layer. If you don't get it.. PRACTICE!! Its simple! Maybe you'll
come up with some really neat ideas!

***UPDATE: Obstructions (things that block the hero from walking through things) will NOT be "used" if not placed on BASE
layer. In other words, you'll have to put the bottem of trees on a BASE layer (with a pre-backround) OR, simply follow
these steps below!

Making Spriteset Doodads
------------------------

So.. layers confused you. And you're a total newb to scripting. You do know somethings though.. like creating your
stupid hero. Well... you want to make trees.. but don't want to hassle of making backrounds or layers. SO, make it
a spriteset! You can learn to make MULTIPLE "doodads" on one spriteset if you learn how to use the set direction/frame
commands.. UNTILL then, just make a spriteset, delete all directions but NORTH and just draw your tree, cloud, whatever
in the spriteset box. Simple as that.. put your BASE in the spriteset.. here's a key.

IF HERO WALKS ABOVE THE BASE: Everything in the spriteset will "cover" the hero.
IF HERO WALKS BELOW THE BASE: The heroe's spriteset will "cover" the doodad.

Not too hard. And when you get better with the create commands in scripting, you can make be really cheap and just use
one spriteset for EVERY single thing in the game (down to grass if you were that dumb.. but I would leave it to trees
and complicated stuff.)

Making Tilesets!
----------------

Ok.. you saw these neat tilesets people are making.. and you want to make your own! Well.. its hard.. isn't it? Don't
worry.. I'll explain how! First, lets SIZE the tile size. Click map properties somewhere near the top of the screen and
click Resize Tiles. Set it to whatever you want. 16 is the size of Rm2k tiles if you want it to look like a Rm2k chipset.

Now.. click TILESET above the layer manager. Here you can draw your tiles. Ok.. draw a tile.. grass.. water.. water
edging.. I don't care..

Ok.. lets say you made water. You don't want sprites to walk on it.. so.. simple RIGHT click on the tile in the TILES
window and select properties. HERE, you can you make this tile "animate" into another tile.. letting you make animated
water.. Also.. this where you make obstructions.. (the thigns that block sprites). Draw a box around your water tile
(and if you are PICKY, fill it up.. but.. ITS NOT NEEDED since the sprite won't be able to pass the pink lines). If you
mess up on making you obstructions.. right click on the pink line.

Animating is simple.. just type in the Tile number you want it to turn into, and how long it'll stay its current tile.
I 1 = .01 seconds.. or .1.. I'm not sure. Somewhere around there.

To draw new tiles.. you need to insert more.. Right click in the tiles window and click INSERT. (if you want to insert more
than 1 tile.. click INSERT tiles.. then type the number). Now.. to make a transparent tile.. set a color as ALPHA and color
the entire transparent part with it. Simple as that.

Converting Tilesets!
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Take your knowledge from above, and use it in here. Ok.. just use MS Paint or Idraw or whatever you want for this next
part. FIRST, copy a tile from the chipset into the sphere set. Rinse and repeat. Boom.. not so hard.. I can't believe
I ever wrote a section on this part.


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/- Final Worlds -\
Ok... like almost all my other tutorials... Here is your Review and Challenge stuff. So.. read on! And remember, if you
don't understand something.. read it again.. and PRACTICE!

Review!
-------

1. CHECK ALL THE TILES IN THE TILESET TO SEE IF THEIR OBSTRUCTIONS ARE RIGHT
2. Make sure you put the correct tiles on the correct layers
3. When drawing tiles... be careful not to use the color you set as alpha.. or it'll become transparent in the final
result!

Challenge!
----------

Draw a cloud tile(s) and have them float across the screen. Make them cover up the hero.. but still be semi transparent.
You'll need to better understand yourself with DRAWING tiles and LAYERS to do this. Once you can do this, you pretty much
can use ALL of the map editor tools.

-blue_moogle