First community art contribution

Thanks to Kevin Fishburne for these rocky tiles! I think they look pretty great!

The only real issue with these tiles is the lack of an “interior corner” tile to handle convex corners in the terrain, illustrated below:

Missing interior corner tiles outlined in red

It would also be great to have some interior (non surface) tiles to make the inside of rock formations a bit more dynamic, but fading into black is doable as well, and I should really quit looking this gift horse in the mouth.

Many thanks, Kevin!

10 thoughts on “First community art contribution

  1. Whoops, good call there… I need to do something about being able to visualize the tiles, as I was doing it in my head while using GIMP so I missed those. I’m going to be at the beach for the next five days, but I’m bringing my PC so I’ll be able to do some more work then.

    Perhaps rather than using a black tile for the interior I could just use darker variations of the texture and have the surface tiles blend to match that. You’d still get the feel that only the surface was visible, but would have an interior less bland than pure black.

    Also I was thinking that since you have destructible tiles it would be a good idea (if you haven’t already done so) to write a procedure to analyze the tiles surrounding a destroyed tile to see if they should be replaced by the appropriate surface tile. This procedure could also be applied to the level data files so you could just draw everything with an interior tile and have them automatically “surfaced”.

    Anyway, I’ll have the missing surface tiles done ASAP and will let you know when they’re up.

    • A darker version for the interior tiles would look really nice! I think it would also help a lot to use a black color that is a closer match to the dark colors in the tiles themselves, rather than pure black.

      If you haven’t checked it out, you should try PyxelEdit. It’s a great tool for visualizing how your tiles will look laid next to each other. You can edit one copy of a tile and all of them will update.

      That’s an interesting idea about auto-surfacing destroyed tiles… I’m going to call that a “nice-to-have” for the time being šŸ™‚

      • Thought of something regarding programmatically resurfacing destructible tiles… It might be better to have the surface tiles static, and make destructible tiles “stand alone” textures with perceptible borders. This would keep you from having to create a procedure as I described and I from having to create an inordinate number of interconnective tiles. It would also immediately let a player know which tiles were destructible and which weren’t, much like the original Metroid. Part of the fun was being enticed by the destructible tiles while not necessarily being able to access or navigate them. Two birds and all that.

  2. All right, this is the second stab so it is still missing some tiles (and has several that serve no purpose yet). The basics are there, though.

    I suggest building the map using surface_template.png (as it is clear which tiles should be next to each other), then switching to surface_1.png to see the final in-game textures. Let me know if you prefer a specific layout or if you only need consistency.

    I use Kubuntu (Linux distro), so I found an awesome program called Tiled ( and put together this example of the new tileset revision:

    Being able to quickly build or refresh a map from my last GIMP save is mind-blowingly awesome. If you use GIMP the xcf files are in the editing directory.

    So far my inspiration has been the original Metroid for NES. Let me know if you have some specific ideas about areas, color schemes, or surface types. The current tileset is pretty bland, maybe good for the first area explored outside the ship, but things should progress to more interesting surface types as the game is more deeply explored.

    I’m assuming that if you needed to add detail to a surface tile such as a veneer of vegetation that it would require a separate tile placed above the surface tile, with no overlap/offset. Is that correct? I’m trying to figure out how more detail could be added since the surface tiles have some alpha here and there.

  3. Wow, this looks fantastic! Thanks a ton!

    Tiled Map Editor is great — it’s what I use to create the map for the game. I own the open source project to read and draw that file format using XNA:

    Bland is what I’m going for for the planetary surface tileset. If you ever played Super Metroid, they made a similar artistic choice, where the surface of the planet is dead but becomes more vibrant as you descend into the tunnels underneath. I’ll definitely want different color schemes for various areas as I go, but I haven’t planned that far ahead yet. I’ll have to catch up with the work you’ve done and program the game areas that use them!

    As far as alpha and layers go, the game is divided into 3 tile layers: background, collision, and foreground. Having collision tiles with alpha is great, because I can make them opaque if I want by putting a dark background tile behind them. And for decoration, foreground tiles make it simple to layer details on top of the collision layer. I’ll update the FAQ with this info.

    • Draw the third layer (foreground) four pixels higher than the other layers. That will allow vegetation to be up to four pixels higher than the player’s feet) with up to 12 pixels below. With alpha that would look pretty amazing.

      • I think my strategy is to use tile-aligned placement for all layers, so you would just have a tile that was all alpha except for the bottom 4 pixels. Makes things a lot simpler. I’m not too worried about wasting space in my tilesets.

        • You’re right… I was super bent when I wrote that. I’ll just make two tiles (stacked vertically) for vegetation that’s both above the collision tile but also hanging down it. I noticed that Tiled allows you to draw using multiple tiles for a brush, so the initial inconvenience I imagined is just that; imaginary. šŸ˜‰

          Something else I just thought of… Can you create a procedure that analyzes the tiles the player is intersecting and performs various operations accordingly? You could have something like slimy surfaces that make you fall down occasionally, mushrooms that release spores and affect your movement and/or perception (set a “high on shrooms” flag with an associated timer), water puddles that make wet footstep sounds instead of dry ones, etc. This would, even in the simplest of implementations, reinforce the player’s belief that the environment is reacting to their presence. If pushed further it could add an additional layer of challenge and result in players modifying their behavior while exploring the game.

          • I definitely want different tiles to have different sounds for footstep noises (for example). I also want to eventually add little touches like making foreground vegetation wiggle a little bit when you walk past it. I actually do plan to implement a “high on shrooms” poison effect, but as a result of certain enemies, not tiles themselves. The sky is the limit!

            I was playing with Tiled 0.9.0 and the Terrain brush tool a little bit using your surface tiles. It was a bit tricky to figure out, but once I got it working it was a big time saver!


          • Awesome. Pretty much anything you can do to make the environment feel “alive” will suck the player in quickly.

            I haven’t figured out the terrain brush yet, but it looks like it would take the tediousness out of manually placing connective tiles. I’ll have to give that a go to save time when doing mock-ups.

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