Our No Travel Game Jam is in full swing, and now a lot of people are out there mapping out their town. Mapping is one of those things that has a lot of things that are common sense when you know them, but you might not know them! Us experienced mappers tend to forget the advice, so here are three broad tips that everyone can use to make their maps better!
1. Count your Cliff Heights!
This is a thing that I notice beginners mess up that can make a map look immediately wrong, even if you can’t always place WHY it’s wrong immediately.
Every set of tiles that aren’t separated by a height change or on a flat plane. Therefore, any difference between two sets of tiles that are flat planes should all be the same number of cliff tiles different. Keep your eye on this and always count your cliff tiles.
As you can see above, one section being 3 tiles different while another being 2 tile different when the two planes should be the same difference in height looks really weird.
2. Natural Environments vs Man-made Environments
There some three things that you should keep in mind when mapping between these two things: Straight Lines, Right Angles, and Symmetry.
Humans like these things when building or laying out things. Nature don’t care.
Whenever you or working on something made by people, try to keep your lines fairly straight, 90 degree turns, and a bit of symmetry. On the other hand, if you are working on something naturally formed, try to do the opposite.
3. Barriers take more Vertical Space than Horizontal Space
This one is the one that is the easiest to miss, and then have a sudden “oh, duh” moment out of these three. When you are mapping, always remember that a lot of the barriers, like cliffs, or walls in interiors always take more vertical space than horizontal space.
As you can see above, a wall in an interior is a minimum of 3 squares. Two for the wall and one for the ceiling. On the other hand, horizontally you just need one for the ceiling.
Keeping this in mind when mapping can save you a lot of time in going “wait, there isn’t as much space here as I thought!”
So these are three basic mapping tips. Next week, we are going to look at some more specific mapping tips. So what mapping tips to do you have for other users. Sound off in the comments below!