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The Art of Mapping - RPG Maker VX: Mapping Tutorial
“Mapping" refers to the art of making maps in RPG Maker.
There are a certain amount of common mapping mistakes in the RPG Maker VX communities. I will refer to them as the Four Mapping sins as they are probably the most common mistakes seen in RPG Maker maps.
Let’s find out what those Mapping Sins are and how we can learn from them in creating our maps.
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First Sin: Linear Forest
There’s a tendency among new users of RPG Maker VX to create unrealistic forests which clash with the immersion process involved when playing a game. In an effort to create forests which look good, newcomers often line up trees symmetrically like so:
Ever seen a forest with trees arranged like this? Probably not.
Alternative: Nature is chaotic and so should be your forest. Try arranging your trees in a way which looks more “wild" and natural. Your forests will start looking much better.
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Second Sin: The Eternal RTP
While it is completely understandable that new users experiment with the default art included with RPG Maker VX, there’s seems to be a tendency for more experienced users to stick to the RTP.
The problem with this is that there are already thousands of projects on the internet using the default graphics and it just gets really repetitive and boring. A lot of people won’t even consider trying out a game using the same art as everyone else.
Alternative: You don’t actually need to be a veteran artist to make up some fresh creations. I have written an article on the topic in case you’re interested available here.
There are also some very beautiful art available here.
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Third Sin: Swallowed by the Void
This is something I used to do a lot when I started making maps. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’d rather just let the fact talk by themselves:
Compare the left room to the right one. Fair enough none of them are a wonder to the eyes but doesn’t the right one feel more… realistic? Keep in mind that most people don’t have a vacant gym in their houses. Keep that mind when creating maps of houses in your game.
In case you need some inspiration, just check out the classics, they knew how to make great maps. Look at this screenshot from Final Fantasy 3/6.
Notice how the room is well furnished and just about the right size?
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Fourth Sin: Some Things Just don't Mix
If you want to use art from other sources (not the default art), make sure the final result looks appropriate. If you don’t want to use the RTP, try to use most of your art from as few sources as possible so that the final result looks homogenous.
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To end this article, I'd like to share with you guys some really good looking maps. Pay attention to the details and learn from the best!