Most complaints I get about my mapping are about my forest designs. I find mapping forests difficult because forests naturally grow somewhat randomly, yet you have to design them so the player has some idea of where to go. Below are some screens of a forest level I designed. I have since gone back and added some tile B-D tiles to make them look a little less boring. The fifth one (the giant maze) was very unpopular in my last project. Can anyone give any suggestions for better forest design and/or post some pics of forest they have designed?
I have 5 things to say about this 1. Your forest is very linear, which doesn't really look like a real forest. You seem to have a lot of one tile walkspaces, it basically makes the player feel trapped and forced in only one direction, you might want to make the paths less of a straight line and make them more open. 2. The maze just makes people walk in circles. If the only thing between point A and point B is a curving path then it's no fun to get to it. It just takes longer to get to what you already see. 3. The forest is all the same. Honestly, having the same look for about 5 maps is boring, and it gives the player a feeling of hopelessness. If you maybe use different trees or show some sort of difference in mapping it will make it more interesting, and will get the player excited that they're getting closer to the end. 4. One way mazes are boring. You should make a couple different paths to get to the same area, just so the player has the illusion of choice. 5. This isn't exactly a point, but I hope you have a nice song in the background, otherwise it will drive people crazy while navigating a maze.
Some times smaller more realistic forests work better than large and maze like. Remember to add in detail, too... dirt, stumps, logs, vines, grass, weeds, those all help bring the forest to life. Butterflies too. And background effects like birds chirping.
A forest is alive. There are birds, bats and rodents and bugs crawling around in it. Incorporate that to make it seem more lively. I suggest adding that to your forest as it has none.
Specifically, yes, your maps are very linear. Trees do not grow in strait lines like that. Give them the ordered chaos of nature by expanding the path more to about 3 tiles wide in almost all spaces, and consider adding more than just grass tiles. Create a dirt path. Even animals, when they tread ground, plow it up. So remember that and put some dirt in there.
You want to always start with the ground. Do not just paint bucket the floor with grass and think you're done. Put down varying other tiles like dirt and flowers and grass sizes because going back to fix it is a big hassle.
Further, trees don't grow in insanely tight clusters. They actually grow in varying levels of density. Much of the soil below has to get sunlight. So, try creating varying sizes of holes in the canopy. Believe me, forests take time if you want them to look good. I think a lot of problem with forests in video games is exactly what you're experiencing: That the trees have to act as both closed borders to guide and control the player and scenery to keep them focused. Use your trees and foliage to guide the player as well.
A big problem with your bottom maze, and likely why it's unpopular, is because players traveling through a forest like to have landmarks and areas to recognize to tell them where they currently are or going. Try to make different areas in the forest have different personality. Maybe make a section really dense and another section farther very light. One may have flowers clustered around. Another water. Put logs in places to mark landmarks.
Anything else that comes to mind may already be covered, or perhaps I'll add if I think about it. :3 Good luck.
Group: Local Mod
Type: Event Designer
RM Skill: Masterful
Rev Points: 30
I agree with Titan. With forest mazes, you have to take some time with them. First, start out with your basic grass and thick grass variation. Then move on to trees. Go around placing an assortment of trees (this part takes a long while). After add some ground variation, some nice flowers and all. Finally, block off certain paths in the forest to create a unclean maze.... Here's my example to you (yes, it's something I did):
Your trees are exactly aligned as if you used an autotile to place them which is not something good in my opinion.
There's no need to make clear paths where you can go, making a forest like this:
While this is not a clear example my purpose it to show you that you should try to spice things up with different trees and random things here and there. Also there's shouldn't be a very clear path else what maze would it be?
You can add some pieces here and there to hint your going the right way but don't overdo it or while they can get lost they will know for sure if they follow the road they will reach the other side.
Group: +Gold Member
RM Skill: Advanced
Hmm, I'm not a VX user but a few words of advice about forest mapping. Firstly, @ rewells. The maps are way too big. The RTP is sweet and all, but it's already looking repetitive...I'm following a samey looking path all the way through, and not exciting. Been a while since I used RTP, but I know its capable of producing an excellent result as is with Macks material. (yes, I have VX).
1 Keep the maps to about 50x50 maximum.
2 Add more tree types. No forest has only one species. This adds shape and natural variety.
3 The forest floor is never flat....so think about the terrain...add area's where it may include inclines/declines.
4 Forests are full of life and colour. Don't be scarce on the flora/shrubs and animals/insects that live there.
5 A good use of fogs/overlays always adds well to a nice looking forest.
6 Forest paths are always important....think of the gamer playing. Mazes without paths are incredibly annoying.
7 The occasional signpost or compass is a must in any oversized forest map....at least provide clues.
Forests tend to be random, but also have some patterns. Some plants or trees tend to have requirements to live (if you want to be realistic and complex). One example is that some trees grow when a forest fire happens. So wherever the fire is, trees will be there soon after (if the seed pods are there). Anyways, a good example of a forest, is to not have each tree right next to each, but have a space or two between each one, allowing the player to move between them, and actually give the illusion of a forest.
Notice how not all the trees are right next to each other, but the illusion of a forest is given off? It is because it is still packed with trees, but in a more realistic fashion, for trees aren't so close together, where you can't walk between them. I hope this example helped. Oh yeah, another thing is that even forests have hills and cliffs.
This post has been edited by Zinx_therpgmaker: Apr 16 2012, 03:31 AM
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Game Thread A game where you start in the future, but you go to the past, to make things right, hopefully.
The Hidden World
Game Thread An Arcade-style game where you must go through various puzzles to see if you go home.
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Now for something different: Taking a look at older games maps. I love SD3s maps. This is a relatively simple map in comparison to some of the games other maps but you can always check on vgmaps or something for more.
First off, try to ignore the cool pixel art in general and focus just on the map design itself. This path is very linear because it's only a branch off in a bigger area map (but to be fair, there are only 3 other places to go to, the town, the other town, and a cave which you can't visit until you go here, but it's the start of the game).
The paths are relatively open (it needs to be, it's an action RPG) but most of the detail is left outside of the walkable paths. I mean, look at that cliff detail on the top right area as you are walking down. Each map segment has a different thing to it that makes it unique. The top right where you start has a detailed cliff in the center as you walk down and a sign. Go left, it's only cliffs, no trees, and there is some water. Going down, and there's trees on the side, a river on the left, and you have to go up a natural bridge to the other side. Then you get off of the cliff bridge and there would be a save point here with a goddess statue. Going down from there, it's surrounded by trees, with a weird statue that you can examine (It gives you ??? until you're in the part of the story where you need to go there). You go down to a narrow strip of land and a man made bridge, which leads you into the final area which is a big flower field and the end of the path.
You need to think of landmarks, the maps progression, heights, detail, playing with space and variety, and how it'll work in a gameplay sense (do you need space to avoid enemies? Are there random encounters and will the player need some place to rest from it all? Do any story parts occur?)
This post has been edited by Oceans Dream: Apr 16 2012, 10:28 AM
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Great advice everyone! Thanks so much. I especially like the video tutorial, amerk. I wish more people would make things like that. The other examples look awesome as well. This is the second full level I ever designed, so I don't feel too bad for looking like a noob :-p