Skip to main content

Advice needed on tilesets...

I need some advice on which is the best way to handle building the dungeon.
Right now I'm using prefabs for my dungeon, they have a north south east and west section for each "room":

The basic tileset.

This has several advantages, and also several disadvantages. Firstly I can have curved rooms, I can have tunnels and other interesting shapes. The tilesets can look quite nice with a little work. On the other hand I can't easily get the navigation data before building the map and once the map has been built I can't make changes to the layout, like having active pit traps or believable secret doors. Although the rooms are interesting, they are quite repetitive, and it takes a lot of effort to make even a few different variations. Also rooms are constrained to one size.

A newer version of the tileset with a lot of variant parts for making more interesting rooms.

To create a tile set is a real headache too. Planning how to lay out the UVs, trying to cram as much detail in to one set as possible so there can be a lot of variations... it takes days to make a single tile set, and I need dozens. :(

One other approach I've thought about is making the maps completely tile based, just like a traditional roguelike.

A tile based floor.

In this case I'll be able to make the base tilesets very easily, and quickly. We can't have as many different room shapes, so different tile sets are going to be mostly differentiated by they color and textures. It's a bit old fashioned, which is sometimes something that I like, but not always.

A different texture.
There is more scope for creating more shapes and room types in the dungeon builder itself. I can have small rooms and big rooms. Size 1 corridors as well as larger sizes. I can make mazes and other interesting constructions, I can make catacombs and caves.

The downside is that the textures can be quite repetitive. A lot of texture real estate is taken up with very similar visual structures.

Other points for and against:
  • Prefabs can have interesting features such as alcoves or shelves built in to the wall.
  • Tiles can make interesting floor structures such as irregular pits and grilles.
  • Prefabs can have more interesting entrance and exit stairs.
  • Prefabs can mix and match tilesets within the same map.
  • Tiles can mix and match tilesets easily within the same room.
  • Tile based dungeons are less predictable.
  • Tile based dungeons can have dynamic features such as working pits or tunnel-able walls.
  • I know how to handle the tilebased graphics because I've already used them in another project.
  • Prefabs are already in the game and working well.
  • With a tile based game I can build the navigation array before placing any objects in the scene.
  • Prefabs require support pillars at the corner of each room.
  • Tile based graphics don't, they can have really large rooms without any visible support.
  • Theoretically I have code for different sized prefabs. Either 10x10 rooms as I have now or any other size, such as 6x6 or 20x20 or 100x100 which would allow large set pieces such as caverns or houses or castles or even boats or airships...

So what do you think?

Should I continue with the more modern prefab idea, or go back to basics with a traditional tile based dungeon?


  1. Testing! Testing! "Wow this game looks awesome!"

  2. Some people have complained that comments are impossible to post on the blog. Don't worry, I'm sorting it out now. Although, there may be a lot of spam comments... :)

  3. Embedded comments now working (possibly).

  4. Why not use both?
    Have a base map, lets assume that this is a xy tile system.
    You can then use auto generation to create the map. But, drop in prefabricated parts when needed as you will know their tile dimensions, they should just be able to be dropped in ?

    1. That is a pretty good idea.
      If I generate my map at the 1x1 scale, rather than at the 10x10 scale, I could treat the prefabs as 10x10 rooms and place them as needed. It's something that would need a lot of rewriting to get it working though.

      The result would probably be worth the effort, so it's something I will keep in mind for the first rewrite of the game, kind of an expansion, once I get the basic parts of the game working.

  5. I'd second the mix idea.
    I'd want area's such as "Large spiders nest" etc to be prefab and interesting the same with secret areas, but a corridor is a corridor and will be repetitive whatever you do.

    I'd go about making 20 or so prefab areas that get "added in" to the random room generation, This means you can have the ease of not having to design all the individual room layouts - but the code would add in a secret weapons cache or map puzzle. Boss areas or special areas should also be prefab

    1. I'm working on the idea now.
      To make things easier I'm going to make a simple painting program to place tiles to create a prefab area and then save in a dictionary. It might wait a little bit though because with a little more work I could also add in the ability to pre-place furniture items, specific treasures, specific monsters or NPCs and even traps, and puzzles.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Make your game models POP with fake rim lighting.

I was watching one of my son's cartoons today and I noticed they models were using serious amounts of simulated rim lighting. Even though it wasn't a dark scene where you'd usually see such an effect, the result was actually quite effective.

The white edge highlighting and ambient occluded creases give a kind of high contrast that is similar to, but different from traditional comic book ink work.

I'll be honest, I don't know if there's a specific term for this effect in 3d design, since my major at university was in traditional art. I learned it as part of photography.

You can find plenty of tutorials on "what is rim lighting" for photography. It basically means putting your main sources of light behind your subject so that they are lit around the edges. It can produce very arresting photographs, either with an obvious effect when used on a dark subject...

..,or as part of a fully lit scene to add some subtle highlights. See how alive the subject look…

How to... build a strong art concept.

So you want to make some art assets for your game. The first on the list is a Steampunk Revolver for your main character to shoot up Cthulhu with. Quickly opening your internet browser you start with a Google image search. Ah, there is is!

It might be a good idea to find a few influences so you don't accidentally end up copying a famous design.

Just mash them up and you're ready to go! Off to your favorite modeling program.
But wait! isn't there more to building a strong design concept than that?

Of course there is.
One of the diseases of modern design is that of recursion. Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy. This is especially a problem with "historical" concepts. Over the course of that recursive process the concept becomes infected with modern design elements, and ends up looking very similar to everything else that anyone else has ever made.
If you want to come up with a really fresh idea, you have to get beyond secondary references and go look at real …


Ok, so it's not exactly skynet, but I have got my first AI state working, kind of.

The first state is "HOLD" in which case the agent stays in place where they are and shoots at any unit that comes in range. When I started writing this module, I found that the existing method of triggering actions wasn't good enough to allow the AI to choose the best weapon or target. It worked by simply sending a command to the unit to trigger the currently selected action.

If the action is valid, it triggered, if not it didn't.
That's fine for play controlled units, as that's all they need to do. But AI needs to know in advance if the action is valid. The player can get that info from UI feedback, but that wasn't available to the AI player.

There were three problems:

1. The UI feedback duplicated code in the action trigger function. These  two sets of code could get out of phase so that UI feedback was wrong.

2. The action trigger didn't give enough feedback for …