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How we create a new map


Since our last blog showing how our first map looks as a final png, we've been getting some requests to explain how we create a new map, so, here it is!

There are 4 main steps when we create a new map. Here's a breakdown:

- Designing the map.

- Hand drawing the map and scanning it.

- Coloring/finalizing the map in a drawing software.

- Creating the map grid and adding objects.

So, in details:

- Designing the map.

We first create the layout of the map on paper, showing the general geography, including blocked areas and tile heights. Our artist usually adds a few visual cues to that sketch, to start planning for her hand drawn version.

Functional sketch.

(initial design for the map)

Next, our artist will use that functional sketch to start creating the actual map on paper. That's where the artistic magic happens.

Basic map, hand-drawn

(hand-drawn version of the map, on paper)

Then, our artist scans this file and starts coloring it as well as creating some reusable objects where appropriate (like rocks, stalagmites, etc). She'll also create the background separately, so it can be animated in game.

Final map, no props.

(colored and finalized version of the map, with background baked in for the screenshot)

Finally, using our editor, we'll create the grid layout of the map as well as place the props that were created for the map (the props are objects that generally can be shown under or over the sprites, or just reusable objects):

(final version of the map, as seen in game, with props added)

Here's what our editor looks like with that map (it's a bit messy, haha ^^):

Cave in editor

(Map Editor showing our cave map. Green tiles are walkable and red ones are blocked.)

And there you have it, one completed map! That whole process took about 3 weeks of full time work by our artist (ouch!) But, that was our first map, so we were still ironing out details in the process. Now, an average maps will take about a 1.5 weeks to create (that's 2x as fast as when we started, not bad!).

We're keeping a dev log of the game on TIGSource, here: It's a bit programmer focused for a lot of the entries, but we're gradually adding more design notes :)

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