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Hello and welcome back to my blog!

This time something a little different - I commissioned a guest post about designing a tile-set from a studio who specialise in pixel-art. After searching long and hard to find exactly the right style I was after I settled on a company from Poland called Blackmoon design. Check out their site, its pretty cool looking. Anyway, here is their post:

Creating tiles in game boy style

Czarek Luczynski and Robert Podgorski.

Czarek and Robert are part of the BlackMoon Design (http://blackmoondev.com), which is a game studio based in Poznan, Poland. They’re creating some awesome games for various platforms.

“We seek the inspiration for our games in nostalgic memories from our childhood - where Nintendo and C64 roamed the earth. That’s why we follow the way of the pixel and very often recreate the graphic look and feel from the old games in our creations”.

Introduction

Before starting, let’s define the characteristics of gameboy style:

  • Palette – 4 shades of green/gray.
  • Big, clear pixels – We should work on smaller image, and enlarge it 2 times without use of the antialiasing to have clearly visible pixels on modern HD screens.

Let’s start the process of creating the tiles with image which is three times bigger than the final tile size we would like to have (so if we would like 32x32 pixels tiles [64x64 after enlarging it two times] we need to create 96x96 px file in graphics editor). Doing so will give us full control of how the tiles are matching each other (so the whole set could be used for creating seamless textures). Our workspace would be just the square in the middle (number 5 on the picture).

In our tutorial we'll create three kinds of seamless tilesets for different surfaces: Rock, Dirt and Jungle themed.

Creating the rocks tiles

Let's start with creating a new 4 shades palette in green/gray color. We will use only central 60% of brightness spectrum.

Let's create new image with 96x96 pixels size in graphics editor and fill that with the third shade from our palette. Here's how this look like (there are some guides so you'll see where the 9 tiles are).

Next stage is the making of the stone texture. We start with creating the outline for the rocks with 4 shades. There isn't any particular rule as how the outlines should look like. Just keep in mind that if the outline exceeds the tile edge it should be continued at the other side of the tile.

Next step – spacing between rocks shouldn't be the same. Let's make it wider in som places.

When we are satisfied with the effect and you don't see the borders between tiles we move to the next step - making the rock three dimensional. Mark the top surfaces with highlights (2 shade from palette)...

and bottom side with shadows – dither

We've created nice, seamless tile. Right now we need to create all possible variations of the ending tiles. Since our surface is made out of rocks - we just need to cut that off accordingly to the rock outline. You can also cut the surface as you like (like on the right picture), but this will need more work to fix the "cut off" rocks later.

We also have to create two type of ending top tiles – with walking platform and without it. I suggest starting from more labor-intensive version. Draw some rocks with the brightest shade on top of the tiles.

Ok. Now we can make alternate top ending – without walking platform.

Now we need to create all tiles variations

1 x tile without any ending (the middle one)
5 x tiles with one ending (yellow is the walking platform)
9 x tiles with two endings
7 x tiles with three endings
2 x tiles with four endings

After that we can enlarge our tiles 2 times.

Now we can try build something with our tiles!

Creating the dirt tiles

Let's start from making new image with 96x96 pixels size and fill that with the third shade from our palette.

Next stage is making the dirt texture. Let's add some noise. This will give us really nice effect. Check every 4 pixel with darkest shadow of our palete.

Now add few bigger holes in our dirt tiles.

After that we have to add some highlights under holes.

We've created another nice, seamless tile. Like in rocks tiles we need to create all possible variations of ending tiles. You can cut the surface as you like.

We also have to create different type of top ending - with walking platform. Let's add some grass with our brightness shade.

Now we need to create all tiles variations and enlarge our tiles 2 times.

Now we can try build something with our tiles!

Creating the jungle tiles

Let's start from making new image with 96x96 pixels size and fill that with the darkest shade from our palette.

Let's add to our jungle some tree with third shade.

Maybe something for Tarzan? Hanging vines? No problem.

More trees! More trees! Some dither will make them a little bit darker.

Ok. I think we have to add more hanging thing on our vines.

Much much better. What's now? Let's add some bright pixels in curved part of vines, and some highlights on that hanging things.

Ok. Another step – detal on trees. Some vertical direction bright lines will does the trick.

Now some dark detals on bark and shadow of vines.

This is really fine seamless tiles. Like in rocks and dirt tiles we need to create all possible variations of the ending tiles. You have to feel how our jungle will ends. I have made it this way.

We also have to create different type of top ending - with walking platform. Platform games in Jungle levels often had fallen tree limbs. Let's try make them on top of our tiles.

Now we need to create all tiles variations and enlrage our tiles 2 times.

Let's try make some jungle level with our tiles.

That completes the guest post!

Thank you Blackmoon design!

You can buy the tile-set along with the StencylWorks project

If you liked the design of the tile-set produced by Blackmoon design, you can buy it along with the complete StencylWorks project which created all three example demos on this page. The beauty of StencylWorks is that you don't even need to know how to program to make games.

In the download you'll get:

  • 24 Rock tiles + tiling background
  • 24 Dirt tiles + tiling background
  • 24 Jungle tiles + tiling background

Which would have cost over $300 to have built from scratch.

As ever you're completely free to use this however you want, even in commercial projects.

All for only $9.99 USD.

Subscribers can access the source here

Until next time, have fun!

Cheers, Paul.

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