Lesson 4C: Making a Seamless tile for your game
Let's Make a seamless tile.
To get the outer edges of tiles to blend perfectly together what we do is break open the tile and make the inside into the outside! Let me explain. Let's look at a larger tile so we can see clearly
Here is a tile. If we repeat this tile side by side the b side of this tile would be lined up with the a side of the next tile and it wouldn't look right
But what about the middle of this tile? Does it match up well? It sure does. Let's draw a line through this tile to show what I mean.
If we draw a line down the middle of this tile and look at it as two separate tiles do the A side and the B side line up? Of course they do! So this is trick we use to get tiles to line up. We break the tile up into four quadrants and move the inside lines to the outside.
How do we do this?
We take our original tile and we rearrange it by breaking it up into four pieces. Think of your tile as four different quadrants like this.
Then we rearrange these four quadrants into new positions.
So you cut your original tile into four pieces then rearrange the pieces into a new tile. You move the four quarters of your tile into the new positions. Now 1 is in the lower right and 2 is in the lower left etc.
In the first quadrant picture you can see the center lines are blue. When we split up this texture and rearrange it the blue sides are now on the outside as shown in the second quadrant picture. Now we know all the outside edges will line up with neighboring textures.
This is a technique that you will get really good at, particularly if you use a digital camera to take your own pictures of textures.
After you have split and rearranged a tile like this you are probably not quite done with it. You should take a close look at it and put four of them together to see how they look. You will probably want to touch it up just a bit with your paint program so it looks better. There may be a little bit of tweaking or smudging you might want to do to get it to look its best.
What about a Paint Program?
This is a good question. The ultimate package for manipulating images like this is Photoshop. It even has a specialty tool that will quadrant a texture for you automatically which is real handy. But Photoshop is quite expensive.
I recommend you try to find some free paint and graphics manipulation software that will satisfy your needs as a beginner. If you are considering purchasing some kind of software I highly recommend you get Paint Shop Pro. It is the program that I have purchased and I use every day. It does most of what Photoshop does but at about one tenth the price.
If you are very serious about making video games and in particular working on graphics for video games then getting photoshop would be the ultimate choice for you because it is what they use in the game making industry. You will know how to use the software which is a big plus! But, if you can't afford Photoshop you might want to consider Paint Shop Pro. It is very much like Photoshop and you will still learn the skills of graphic design and graphic manipulation and the skills will be easily transferred to Photoshop once you get it.
Adobe Photoshop CS2 Photoshop is the industry standard. It is a high-powered and professional program that can do practically anything. This is what the real video game makers use to work with graphics. But this is not for fun, you will need to commit time to learning how to use this powerful program.
Now this isn't all you need to know about making graphics, there is still one more important thing to know. I will show you what this is then we will learn how to import the graphics right into your game software so you can use it when making a game.
There is one more thing you need to know about making textures for your video game. You know that your computer is simply a number crunching system. It is very good at counting out numbers and when it is pouring textures into the surfaces of your game it is counting out numbers. But not all numbers are as easy to crunch as others.
In order to make the compilation and then the running of your game faster the compiler and computer use groups of numbers. This grouping makes things run so very much fasters and in order for you to take advantage of this grouping of numbers you should create your tiles and textures in very uniform sizes.
Whenever you make your tiles you should make them in multiples of either 64, 128, or 256 pixels in size. In any event your textures really should be in a power of two so either 2 pixels, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 or 256.
If you don't quite understand this I mean that your texture should always be a square and that each side of the square should be one of those pixel lengths with the most common being 128 or 256.
This is a very important concept and you should always follow this rule of power of two. It is possible that if you didn't follow this and you built large games that it could slow down considerably. It could get so slow that it wouldn't be playable.
One More Note about Optimizing your Graphics for Video Game Making
This is important - Write this down!!!
If you are going to be making your own graphics to import into the Genesis 3D Game engine, which is what this tutorial is all about, then the images have to be:
in .BMP format and in 256 Indexed Color Mode
The .BMP format is bitmapped format and a standard way of saving an image, the 256 Indexed color mode is also a standard mode for images. These two settings are easily done when you are saving your image in either Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro.
You simply save your images as .bmp and in 256 color mode. In Paint Shop Pro there is a menu option under Colors that is called Decrease color depth. You simple select this to 256 colors. And to save as a .bmp you simply select .bmp when you save it.
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