Let's Make A RPG Maker XP Game Guide: Part 002: How To Make A Game Map
In this, the second article in the series, we go over building a game map that looks good. First things first, you'll recall in our first article, we talked about how you can rename the map and change the tileset by right clicking on the map in the menu. You can also change the size of the map there, which is useful if you want to create a larger world map for your players to explore.
How To Use The RPG Maker XP Layer System To Create A Game Map
There are three layers in RPG Maker, four if you count the event layer. The first three layers are used to build up the game world in a way that looks realistic, or at least visually appealing.
The first layer is the background layer. This is the only layer that comes already drawn in on the map when you open a new project. (New maps opened during the course of the project will not have the background drawn in.)
How To Edit The Background Layer
You can change what's on this layer
simply by selecting a new texture and placing it either with the
pencil tool, which allows you to place individual tiles, the
rectangle and ellipse tools, which place a group of tiles in the
shape of a rectangle or ellipse. How big the rectangle or ellipse is
depends on how far you drag the mouse once you've placed the first
block. For making mass changes, there's also the fill tool, in the
form of a bucket. This will fill whichever layer you have selected
with whatever tile you have selected. If you're working with a large map, you can use the zooming tools to zoom out and cover a much greater area more easily.
How To Edit The Second And Third Layers
The second and third layers don't have names per se, but they overlay one another. If you want to place two items on the map together, like say, the side of a cliff with a tree in front of it, you'll need to place the cliff texture on the second layer, and the tree on the third layer. It may help to think of the third layer as being the one closest to the 'camera' and the second layer as being further back in the distance.
Tilesets have a lot of negative space in them and because you always select a square area, things can start to look very awkward and 'wrong' if you don't use the layer system. You'll get clipping of existing objects when you place new ones over them on the same layer. With RPG Maker XP you're limited to laying just two objects over one another, (three, if you're counting the background layer) so be careful when designing your map to do so in such a way that the overlapping not only looks natural, but can be performed in three layers.
For example, grass, tree, crate is possible, but grass, tree, crate and cart is not.