Lately, there was a status post on our forums about how difficult it can be to find a good mapper for your project. That is interesting, as good mapping is the most essential graphic skill needed for using RPG Maker, as you can go far with just the default graphics.
So, why don’t we make sure your maps are the best you can make?
To make sure we all have the same base and cover the essential things, today we’ll only use the default tilesets that come with RPG Maker MZ. Of course, you can improve your screen by adjusting how the furniture is placed on the sheets or with edits and new tiles, but no matter how good your set is, if the mapping itself is bad, people will notice it.
To start, we’ll have a look at this map, where I made as many mapping errors as possible. Don’t feel bad if you did them yourself though, no one starts off as a mapping genius!
1. The odd shape
A lot of people try to make some additional corners to have their interior less square-y and more interesting, but you should still try to stick to what you’d actually see in real life.
And while inside and outside of an RPG Maker home are usually not the same size, your interior should at least roughly resemble your exterior for consistency.
Don’t get me wrong, oriels and niches are a thing, just try to keep a shape that a builder would actually choose.
2. The wall height
If you have a closer look, you see that the main room has a wall with 3 tiles height, the storage room has a wall height of 2 tiles, and the ceiling is the same level. That is something that happens a lot if you are not paying attention. If I look at my old maps, that’s probably the one I made myself the most often.
3. The stairs
The stairs seem to be glued onto the wall here, and either they go into the wall or they start a bit in front of it.
4. The window
The right window seems to look like it’s mapped right, but it is in the middle of the narrow part of the house, where the wall to the outside is several meters wide.
5. The furniture on the wall
The wardrobe stands on the wall instead of in front of it. Most default maker graphics are placed so they use most of the sheet which make some of them seem to stand quite a bit off the place where you might want to have it, but placing it on the wall is not a good solution.
6. The carpet
I used the carpet to show where the entrance is, and if it was just a carpet in the middle of the room. To map it to the actual wall though it needs to be covered partly by the ceiling.
7. The purpose of this house
This is always something to keep in mind. People don’t just randomly build houses and throw stuff in there, they try to make the best use out of the space they have. Here we seem to have a very boring shop, as the counter implies, but for a very weird reason the owners bed is right next to it even though he has an upstairs room as well where he could do his private stuff. A lot of the room goes unused, which is unlikely.
Tip: Make your map as big as you need it to be, but as small as you can so you can focus on good mapping and details!
Let’s try to make it better this time!
First, we are going to make the basic setup. We are still aiming for a small shop with some storage room, so we’ll give the owner a big selling room and a small space where he stores the goods he sells.
The wall height is a consistent height of 2 tiles all over.
You might also see that I chose a different style for the wall autotile, as I prefer this look.
Tip: There are many looks on how to map interior walls to choose from, just make sure that when you chose one, you keep it for all rooms in your game!
Remember that some of these styles, mainly 4 with the “cut open” floor and 5 with the windows might require further edits depending on the tiles you use!
Second, we add a pedestal to our storage room. I imagine, there is a separate cellar in the back of the house or maybe that house was built into a hill and they adjusted the floor level here a bit.
Make sure that if you have something like this, the wall height still is correct. The one tile pedestal and the now one tile wall add up to our overall height of two.
Now, we are going to add the stairs. Since there is no other room behind our main room, I moved the stairs here even more into the room, so the person going up would not end up in a wall logically.
Also I added a smaller one to be able to get on top of the pedestal.
Tip: I’d remove two of the steps of the stairs for a perfect length, but since we are using unedited default graphics, this one is now just slightly less steep.
The first one is plain wrong and should be avoided.
Number 2 Is technically right, but if the wall it leans to is an outer wall, the people would logically end up in a wall if they go up. In that case, just add another wall tile like in Number 3 and you are good.
Now it is time to fill up the room.
The storage room was filled up with boxes and bags, while the main room gets not only big storage containers, but also well-presented wares on the shelf.
The counter keeps the player from entering the private space or grabbing the goods out of the shelves. The owner’s place is upstairs and therefore there is no bed or kitchen element seen in the shop itself.
Now it’s time for some polishing. The storage room got an additional bag and a list on the wall, probably an inventory list of the owner. Also, there is a chest that could be plundered by sneaky players… maybe?
The main room got windows and therefore a shelf had to move. More wares were placed on the table, and also a box the owner uses to keep cash. A quill and feather to write down what was sold and the lamp can be used to light up the shop at night.
And voila, we are done!
About the Author: Avery started using the RPG Maker when she was around 14 and at some point found out that it is a lot of fun to make graphics to be used with it. Since then a lot of new makers appeared, but she is still still around making neat resources and helping others out.