Tile Editing

Before we get into tile editing techniques be sure that your project is a good fit for GMare by visiting the Tiles section of this help file.

In this simple tile editing tutorial, we will be using all the tiling tools, as well as going through some features and simple tile techniques that could be used with GMare. We will be using a tileset that uses a top down perspective that is suitable for an action role playing game (RPG), or a standard RPG. GMare is useful for these types of game environments where the design could be tile heavy.

First start GMare and select the first layer if not already selected. Double click the layer and change the Layer Name from Layer to Bottom Layer, then click OK. Press the L Key and the Add Layer screen will display. Set the Layer Name to Middle Layer and set the Layer Depth to -1.

Layer depth works the same as Game Maker, where the lowest number is drawn on top. Click OK to create the new layer. Create another layer same as you did for the last one, except set the Layer Name to Top Layer and set the Layer Depth to -3. Click OK again to create the layer. Your Layer Panel should have the following layers:

In this tutorial, the Bottom Layer are graphics beneath our player, the middle layer is for graphics shown above the Bottom Layer but NOT on top of the player, and the Top Layer is for graphics above the player. Now that we got our layers, let's get the background to use as our tileset. The instructions to do so are found here.

Once a background has been loaded, select the Bottom Layer from the layer list for editing. On the Background Panel, click the Background Tiles panel and select the base green tile. It should look like this:

Press the P Key to select the Tile Paint Tool. Click on the Room Editor and create a 4 X 4 square grid of grass tiles on the Bottom Layer at the top left most part of the room. Once it has been filled, edit with some thick and thin grass tiles within that 4 X 4 tiled grass section. Making it a bit random like so:

Now press the S Key to call the Selection Tool. Using the Selection Tool, left click the top left most tile and hold in the mouse button till you select down four tiles, and right four tiles. Let go of the mouse button to finish selecting. It should look like this:

Right click on the selection and a option menu will appear. Click Brush From Selection. What this will do is create a temporary brush from what has been selected. Press the Delete Key or open the option menu again and select Delete, to delete the selection. Press the F Key to select the Bucket Fill Tool. Notice our selected brush is set to the previous selection before you deleted it. Now click the top left most part of the room and the layer will be filled in like so:

The Bottom Layer is now filled with a pattern of grass tiles to act as our base. Now for practice, let's save a brush for later use. First select the base green grass tile from the Background Panel like we did earlier. This should show up as your brush on the Room Editor, effectively resetting our previous brush. This is done purely to show our results later when we save the brush. Press the S Key once again, select the same 4 X 4 tiles as you did previously, and right click the selection for the options menu and select Save Brush From Selection. The Save Brush screen will display. Under Name, enter Grass, then click OK.

Now that the brush has been saved, let's select it from the brush list. Press the P Key for the Tile Paint Tool. Right click anywhere on the Room Editor. Another option menu will display, you should be able to see your Grass brush at the very bottom of the menu. Click the brush and the current brush will be the Grass brush now. Saved brushes are useful if you want to save a little time and you want quick access to a selection of brushes you use often. Another use is if any tiles have been flipped and you want that version of a tile selection. These are for designers looking to optimize their tilesets to the fullest.

Now that our Bottom Layer has been filled in, click the Top Layer from our layer list. You will notice the Bottom Layer get dark. This is to distinguish the selected layer from the layer(s) below it. If there is a layer above the selected layer, it will be drawn semi-transparent.

Select the tree top graphic from the Background Tiles like so:

On the Top Layer, set 5-6 tree tops on the left side and bottom of the room. Return to the Bottom Layer and place tree trunks for each tree top. Now select the cut tree trunk graphic and place them around the trees like so:

We now will paint a house. On the Bottom Layer, select only the house portion of the background, not the roof. Place it towards the center of the room, and to the right. Lastly, create a wall towards the top left. The resulting image should look something like this:

Now that we have a house, it needs a roof. Select the Top Layer from the layer list, and then select most or all of the roof from the background. Place the roof in conjunction with the bottom portion of the house like so:

Now that you've come this far, let's look at more tile edit options. Select a tree top with the Selection Tool on the Top Layer. Right click the selection for the options menu. Click Change Blend Color, GMare should show a warning about using this feature and then a Color screen will display. Choose any color you desire, then click OK. Notice how the tree is now blended with the color you chose?

The color blend function can be useful for certain situations, but be cautious, as these changes cannot be exported to a Game Maker project file. It can only be used if you export to a binary file, and if you're using a version of Game Maker that allows color blending. Color blending is also supported if you're exporting to an image file.

Lastly, select the Middle Layer from the layer list. We're going to add details on and around the house. Select the window graphic on the background. Place a window on each side of the bottom portion of the house. Select the shadow of the tree on the background. The shadow is already semi-transparent. The value of the graphic's opacity is called the alpha value. Place shadows for all your trees. The semi-transparent shadows look nice layered on top of your bottom layer. Next, select a section of fence, place it to one side of the house. Your room should look similar to this:

Select all of the fence you've just painted by using the Selection Tool. Copy the selection by either pressing Ctrl+C Keys or by right clicking the selection for the options menu and choosing Copy. Now you have a copy of the selection in memory. Let's paste it to the room by either pressing Ctrl+V or by right clicking the selection for the options menu and choosing Paste. The copied tiles should be pasted to the center of the screen. Click the selection and drag it to the other side of the house without fence. Either press the Right Arrow Key or right click the selection for the options menu and choosing Flip Selection Horizontally (GMare should show a warning about using this feature).

Tile flipping also has the same limited export options as color blending, so be warned. It's handy if you want to limit the size of the image data being loaded for a tileset. As usually there are tiles that are just flipped versions of the same tile. Getting rid of these and using the game engine to flip the tiles might be an alternate option.

I should also note that you can show or hide a layer by clicking the eye on the layer list where the Top Layer is selected. The eye closes and the layer disappears. If you have instances or block instances in your room, you can show or hide them using the buttons on the Room Editor panel.

This concludes the tile editing portion of this tutorial. Hopefully this makes tile editing easier to understand, and shows you how GMare can make it quicker and easier. There are other options to explore. Like the Tile Replacement feature, which can take a tile or a group of tiles and replace them with other tiles. Another feaure that could be useful is the Layer Merge feature which takes the selected layer and merges tiles down on top of the tiles on the layer below. If you have a large enough room, the Hand Tool is useful to scroll the room without using the scrollbars or mouse wheel. Just press the H Key and move the room with the mouse.

Last edited May 7, 2014 at 10:45 PM by Xfixium, version 3

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