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Tutorial - 'Isometric Tiles' by exploreRPG

An item about RPGMaker 2000 posted on


Create an Isometric system with Explorations 32bit!


I recieve an email regarding "How To" create Isometric tiles in Explorations. So this is the first in a series of How-To tutorials that will explain the TRUE power of Explorations. The individual (who shall remain nameless) :)... wanted to import the following ISO tile into Explorations.

There are a few things wrong with this tile however. First.. Its not an isometric tile. Most isometric tiles look like this.

The other problem with the tile is the size. The original was 44x44 and Explorations uses 64x64 tiles but will size larger tiles down to 64x64 as needed. In anycase, Explorations is *NOT* a True isometric engine, its a hybrid TILE engine capable of handling isometric graphics. The first thing I did was make the 44x44 tile look like an ordinary tile.

Once this was complete I fired up Explorations and created a new (blank) map. Once the map is created I ran the 3DObject Makers and loaded the small floor panel. (Used for isometric tiles.)

The loader gives you a line preview of the object being loaded. Once loaded, you can change the texture of the 3 faces to suit your needs. The current panel is probably wood, but we can select this grass texture and have the engine create an Explorations Iso grass tile. Because the original tile is 44x44 it lacks the detail and will be stretched. This simple render application would be better served using 64x64 or 128x128 tiles.

When the textures are selected they are automatically imported into your Writer/Textures directory so they may be reused. I have given you tons of free textures within this directory that give you to ability to make your own 3D/Iso objects. I have also provided sample panels of chairs, tables and other nifty 3D objects.

By selecting the Render Object View you will see the 3D iso tile as it will be used in-game. Once the tile is rendered you can Save the render to a bitmap file. The engine automatically places a light purple background on your tile to insure the object will be transparent. I saved the tile as "iso_grass.bmp"

I exitted the 3DObject Maker and used the Map Group Tile Importer to bring in isometric tile. When you click on the tile you will see it drawn within a grid. This grid shows you the locations of how the tile "lines up" on an Explorations map. The lines represent 64x64 pixel intervals on the map. Because I used the 3DObject Maker to create your tile, it will import perfectly.

To import the tile, click on *all* the grid locations that the image occupies. NOTE: The first click stipulates the Handle for the object. In most cases this should be the center of the object (for drag/drop purposes). The handle is denoted with the "H". The MapGroup Import interface is your ability to batch tell Exploration HOW-TO to drop tiles when this object is used. You can specify whether the tile blocks view or appears OnTop, or Bottom of the sprites. Because this is a grass terrain tile, you can click on all locations that the image occupies and use the default settings.

The default settings are "Not traverable" and "OnBottom". Which most tiles will be. If you use this interface to import chairs, or my skeleton rack bitmap (see screenshots). You will be using both OnBottom and OnTop feature so the sprites may appear to walk *behind* the object.

Once all the grid locations are selected Click the Import Terrain button. The 3 buttons determine the object type and what Tileset the object will be placed. The Image will be imported into Explorations. You will be prompted for the name of this object. I used the name "Grass" At any time if you import a bad MapGroup you can delete the Group and re-import. The engine will erase all used tiles and remove any reference of the map group from the Map.

By selecting the "Groups" option from the Tile Drop detail, you will see your tile group name appear in the list. By selecting "Grass" you put Explorations into a batch tile group drop mode. The engine will drop all the tiles in the order you specified. You can drop tiles as a dynamic or static object. If you are placing NON-ANIMATED object groups or Terrain TILES you will want to use a static drop.

A static drop tells the engine to PAINT the object to the map. Combining overlapping tiles as needed. Because of Explorations databases, it tracks as overlapping tiles are created and will reuse *newly created* tiles as much as possible. The Z Order of the overlap drop is based on your first occurance. So as a rule, drop the furthest tile first and then the ones infront of it. (To insure the engine gets the correct redraw order.) - If you make a mistake you can correct the Z Order later. :)

As this point your Isometric tile is ready to use within Explorations. As you drop the tiles the engine will paint the map as you desire.

The features discussed within this tutorial are only a *small* part of the capabilities of the 3DObjectMaker and Map Import tools. Together they support Explorations to create POWERFUL and DYNAMIC map designs in a matter of minutes. The idea of organized data enables Explorations to collect information about what you are doing to react intuitively to help your game design.