Pictures and Common Events: The World Map Item

in Tutorials

By: Jason “Despain” Perry

In my last article, we went over the basics of common events and how they can be used. Today, we’re going to put that information to good use, and create an item that displays a world map.

This is something that I see lots of people asking about—and it’s something that can be added to just about any game. Once this item is created, the player will be able to select it from his items menu in order to display a picture of the world map on the screen.

We start off by creating the item. Make sure that the scope is set to “none” and the occasion is “only from the menu”. With these settings, the item will only be useable from the map screen. Consume should be set to “no”, so that the item doesn’t go away when the player uses it.

In order to make the item function like we want to, we need to add an effect:

Set it up so that it calls a common event. I explained common events last time, so check out that article if you’re not familiar with them. We haven’t made the common event just yet, so you might want to name an empty one first—that way we don’t lose track of what we’re doing.

With the item set up like this, when the player selects it from his menu, it will immediately activate the chosen comment event.

So lets make our common event! This one will display a map on the screen for the player’s reference. Before we make the event, we’ll need an image of the world map. This is the world map from Super Mario RPG and we’re borrowing it for the sake of the tutorial: save it to the “Graphics/Pictures” folder in your project folder (or download it and import it via the Resource Manager in RPG Maker VX Ace).

Borrowed from Nintendo and Square Enix; don’t use this in a real project

With our world map image in our “Pictures” folder, we’re ready to create the common event that will display the world map image on the screen. Create your common event (make sure it’s the same one that is referenced by our item’s effect).

The important command that we’re going to be using here is Show Picture:

The Show Picture command is super useful and versatile. What it does is simple: is displays a picture on the game screen, above the map and event images. You can show up to 100 pictures at a time (and it’s unlikely you’ll ever need that many!), and the picture with the highest number will always be displayed above pictures with lower numbers.

Click the [...] button to select your “Picture Graphic” and choose the world map image that we downloaded. This image is already the size of the default resolution of the RPG Maker VX Ace game screen, so we don’t need to change the origin point, the position, or the zoom.

Once you have the show picture command in your event, the picture will stay on the screen even when the event ends. To remove the picture again, simply use the Erase Picture command.

Those are the basic commands we’ll be using, but I want to make the event look a little smoother. Take a look at the way I’ve set up the common event:

Take a look at the way I used the Show Picture and Move Picture commands here. If you open up the Move Picture event command box, it looks nearly identical to the Show Picture commands we already looked at. Select the number of the picture you want to move, and you can make all sorts of changes to it.

In this case, we use the Move Picture command to cause the world map image to fade in. I do this by setting the Opacity to 0 when we first show the picture—this means that it will initially appear as completely transparent. Then, when we move the picture, we change the opacity to 255. In-game, this will cause the image to fade in.

I’ve also used a blank Text command—with a transparent background—to give the player control over when the map image goes away.

A couple more cosmetic additions, and the event is finished. We use the Tint Screen command to make the game screen faded. Note that the Tint Screen command will not affect the tint of your pictures—just the map and the events, so it’s perfect for fading out the game to draw emphasis to the picture. Adding the sound effects is the perfect finishing touch.

Try it out! You should be able to open the world map from your menu screen, using the item that we’ve created. Feel free to experiment more with the Show Picture and Move Picture commands—you can use them to display HUDs, or show full-body pictures of your characters to add extra depth to your cutscenes. Use your imagination.

If you run into any problems, ask for some help on the Official Forums. Have fun. :)

Jason “despain” Perry has been using RPG Maker for over a decade, and in that time his articles, tutorials, and graphical resources have helped countless RPG Maker users on community forums. He currently runs the website finalbossblues.com, where he co-hosts an RPG Maker podcast and regularly posts new articles and tutorials.

5 comments… add one

  • Wesley Cook February 17, 2013, 5:39 pm

    You could also do this without an item by setting the common event to always run as a parallel process; just make it check for a key press to show the image. You can also place an event on the actual world map so it only opens there (or just have it check for the map from the common event itself, but that would require the use of a variable).

    Another neat trick you can do is have the common event check the XY cordinates of the player on the map and use some basic math and scaling to place a blip over top the map to show their location.

  • Psyker February 17, 2013, 5:52 pm

    Thanks a bunch for this excellent bit of information!

    Combined with the previous Common Events article and this I have several ideas that have came to mind :)

  • Aaron February 17, 2013, 6:33 pm

    This is very useful, thank you! I do have a question about it: Is there a way you can add a player indicator, so as to pinpoint your position on the map? Kind of like on Skyrim or Grand Theft Auto.

  • Todd February 20, 2013, 3:42 am

    I would just add that you can also design and upload a single map pic, saved to the proper folder, then just add it as an item to equip on character. Display the map whenever needed as an item, and show the picture in any size you want the pic.

  • Jay June 6, 2014, 10:00 am

    I followed along as best I could. My screenshots look like yours, but it still wasn’t with my items. The only way I can bring it up is if I create an event on screen. Even then, I push a button and it fades in for a second and then back out. Can you give directions without all of the fading in and out instructions? I just don’t know what I’m doing wrong and I’m total noob.

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