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Tutorial - 'Layer Effects and Their Uses' by Quest-Master

An item about Sphere posted on


A tutorial which explains the use, effects, and properties of the highly useful layers in Sphere.


Some of you may notice this tutorial from sometime back, but it was erased when Claw haxxored us. So, I am back to rewrite it with even some more info this time.

Q: What are layers?
A: Layers are the same thing as doing those cool canopies or clouds like some people tried to do in Rm2k/3. It worked, but I am here to explain to you how much better they work in Sphere ;)

Q: Any downsides?
A: Not really. Except that sometimes they might blow up the size of your map a bit, it's not a horrible disadvantage. If you're having many problems though, you can use an Update or RenderScript, which I will explain in one of my next tutorials.

And now, let's get on to the explaining portion of it.

In the map window, you see on the left, little buttons, with eyes and labels on them. The eyes can be pushed in or not, and decide whether the layer will be visible or not. The labels are what you name the layer of course.

If you right click one of those buttons, you'll see a lot of options. I'm going to explain what the ones that you wouldn't know about mean. Now, Insert Layer From Image, is a great technique to use while mapmaking. If you have an image, just click that, and that image will become a layer! Neat, huh?

There is Export->Export as Image or Export all visible layers as Image. Now, if you want to make an image out of your layers, this is the option you are looking for. You can also cut down on filesize by flattening all of your layers in one if you need.

Use Slide->Up or Down or Left or Right or Other, to make everything onto the layer go 1 tile in that direction. Sort of self-explanatory. Use Move->Left or Right to make the layer on top of or below another.

You can also lock the layers so you won't mess anything up just in case you're a bit mouse-clicking happy. And finally, there are the properties.

You can give the layer it's name, height, width, and a lot more here. What I will be first explaining is the refective property. If you check this, and there are entities on that layer, those entities will reflect on the tiles on that layer. Meaning, if you have an ice tile, you cans see your reflection in it! Pretty awesome, no? And if you give the ice tile a bit of alpha, it'll give your entities an awesome effect which I really don't know how to explain :P

If you enable parallax and scrolling, this is a great feature for moving clouds, or those cool effects you see in the background when playing a 2D platformer.

Now, parallax is when it realistically scrolls as if the layer was a sky or something. You can set how much you want it to move with the horizontal and vertical options.

Automatic scrolling would be for something like clouds. You can do the same and set the options here too.

And now that we're complete with technical stuff, I'll point out some neat stuff you can do with layers. In high layers, make some totally transparent areas. Now, make a layer below with slime or something. Then, when you play the game, it'll look like your on a surface above slime! Of course, you'll have to play with the properties a bit to get it to look realistic.

Make a blue tile, and give it an alpha of 100. Put it on a reflective layer which is on the same layer as the main player's start position. Walk on those tiles in game and watch what happens ;)

Again, I hoped you learn something from tutorial, and might be interested in my next tutorials too.