I will update this tutorial everytime I get new ideas for you- also you may suggest your own tips and improvements on the topic!
So, let's get to work...
The image without working on it...
Part 1: Using screen tone
One problem I have with most Tilesets, especially the RTP ones is, that they are much to colorful and different. Especially when you need to give a scene a certain ambient, it's hard to do so if everything is 'colourful and happy'. A sad scene, for example, looks better with lots of grey and brown than with a light green. Also, a icy cave looks much colder with having more blue or greenish blue in it (because colours always affect feelings, as you may know from your arts class )
Image with screen tone...
To do so, use the 'Set screen tone'/ 'Tint Screen' event a lot. You don't have to set it too hard (like only black and withe) but a slight tone does wonders.
The screen tone event on VX
Part 2: Lighting
Having light and shadows in your game makes your map look more interesting. The whole screen is not one tone anymore, but has lighter and darker parts.
Here comes the lighting...
To do this is abit tricky- first you have to creat a 'light character' for your events (like the sprite for an actor). You do this with Photoshop or Gimp by using a simple radial color gradient. I made some to show here, maybe I eplain in another tutorial how to create custom fogs and graphics. Import them to Graphics/Characters/ and don't forget to write a '$' before the grafic name in VX.
One sample for a lighting sprite- PM me if you want a complete one...
Now you just have to create a 'above character' event with one of those pictures as character sprite. et voila- lighting for your map!
Part 3: Fog
It gets foggy
In XP this is very easy- just select the fog you want in the chipset options- in VX, you normaly need a script. Here it is:
This script you have to place somewhere in the Spriteset_Map script. Also ou have to add:
'dispose_fog' to the dispose section
'refresh_fog' to the refresh section
'create_forg' to the create section
For everyone who don't know what that means: Just replace this with 'Spriteset Map' in your scripts:
And what you have to do now to get your fog? Just import your fog graphic into your Graphics/Picture/ Folder.
An example (also created with gimp) is here:
And now you need an event that has the script (under 'advanced') order with this text:
$fog="xy" (xy= name of the fog graphic, like "FogIntense")
$fog_opacity = z (z= the fogs opacity, between 0 and 255, like "100")
It also looks very great (especially with good lighting) when the fog is moving. To od so, just rightclick on your map in the map-tree (on the left side of your screen) and select 'properties'- here you just mark the 'scroll horizontal' option under 'background' and set the value to 1. (im sorry not having a screenshot for this )
The config event
I always use one event on every map to set fog, screen tone and weather (here you can also see how you set the fog graphic):
The event of power!
As you can see, i made a very easy night/ day change. Just by setting the 'Tag'-switch (sorry, I'm German- Tag means day) to On, it will by day and vice versa.
Night to day in just one second^^
The ligh beams are also a fog graphic...
My screenshots are just the work from about 2 minutes. To make a really good looking map, you spend much time with trying how to set light and fog, change their opacity and improve the effects to get the best out of your map. Especially in roleplaying games, atmosphere is very important. A good picture can create atmosphere better and more easier than a good story- a picture is worth more than a tousand words^^
More stuff to follow- i can't wait for your feedback^^