Recommended Tile size for RPG?

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Recommended Tile size for RPG?

Postby mattheweston on Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:08 pm

I'm currently in the early stages of working on a 2D RPG in the same vein as the early Final Fantasy games. I've got a working tile engine going, but am wondering what would be a good size for my tiles. For those that have used tile engines in the past, what have you chosen and how did you arrive at that decision?
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Re: Recommended Tile size for RPG?

Postby dandymcgee on Sat Jun 18, 2016 3:27 pm

99% of 2D tile engines use 16x16 or 32x32 pixel tiles (or a combination of both). The reason you would combine them is if you want to apply smaller details on top of your larger base tiles.

Historically, powers of 2 were necessary for byte-alignment and make it convenient to take advantage hardware-accelerated textures. With the modern pipeline you can easily pack non-power-of-2 sized tiles into a larger power-of-2 sized tilesheet textures and use texture coordinates to pull individual tiles from the sheet. If you're writing your own software renderer, then a lot of this goes out the window (though it's still recommended to maintain proper memory alignment in your data structures).
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Re: Recommended Tile size for RPG?

Postby mattheweston on Sun Jun 19, 2016 11:57 pm

Yeah my tile engine is setup to accept any size, but at 32x32 things seem too small. If you don't mind me asking what size does ES use for tiles and say the Julian sprite ? Based on what I've seen, I'd say 64 x 32 for the sprite and possible 64 x 64 for tiles, but that's just guessing.
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Re: Recommended Tile size for RPG?

Postby dandymcgee on Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:13 am

mattheweston wrote:Yeah my tile engine is setup to accept any size, but at 32x32 things seem too small. If you don't mind me asking what size does ES use for tiles and say the Julian sprite ? Based on what I've seen, I'd say 64 x 32 for the sprite and possible 64 x 64 for tiles, but that's just guessing.

The character sprites are 64 x 32 as far as I recall, and the tiles are 32 x 32. I'm not sure if Patryk is still using 16 x 16 for details, but I'm pretty sure the engine supports it (partly due to the original programmer art being sprites ripped from Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana and Super Mario Bros.).

Here's an example of an old tilesheet from Elysian Shadows demonstrating 32 x 32 tiles:
(copyright Elysian Shadows team, artist Patryk Kowalik)

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Here's an example of an old template (used for ES team artist interviews) demonstrating 32 x 64 character sprites:
(copyright Elysian Shadows team, artist Pritam)

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Re: Recommended Tile size for RPG?

Postby Falco Girgis on Mon Jun 27, 2016 6:22 pm

Yeah, our tiles are 32x32 with 3 layers, taken from a 512x1024 sheet. For Entities sizes can be arbitrary (we even sometimes use them to emulate terrain and tiles where more flexibility is necessary). Characters tend to be 32x64, just because that's the aspect ratio we like for the art style (same as Chrono Trigger), but nothing is fixed, and even those characters can be dynamically scaled (imagine they eat a mushroom) into whatever-the-fuck size and the engine can handle it.
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Re: Recommended Tile size for RPG?

Postby mattheweston on Fri Jul 01, 2016 3:51 pm

Thank you. This has been very educational. One thing I did forget when I was comparing what I was seeing in my code versus what I saw in Final Fantasy is that console resolution is not equal to what I was using.
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Re: Recommended Tile size for RPG?

Postby Falco Girgis on Wed Jul 06, 2016 1:00 pm

Another variable to consider that's important for us with widely varying resolution sizes between Dreamcast, PC, smartphones, OUYA, etc is depending on the capabilities of your engine: camera zoom/uniform scale.

The amount of real-estate you see onscreen may not be preset like it was back in the day. With ES, we have the ability to zoom the camera in and out, so lower resolutions aren't cock-blocked into seeing a tiny amount of the map compared to other platforms. The engine also dynamically zooms in and out to keep combat action onscreen like Smash Bros does... So with that taken into account, tile size vs actual screen resolution is not the only factor to consider.
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Re: Recommended Tile size for RPG?

Postby lelandbdean on Sat Aug 20, 2016 4:34 pm

This likely doesn't apply to your situation, but bear in mind that some games use non-square tiles, too.
For example, the art style (and perspective) might be suited to 32x24 tiles, or something else weird.

Generally, square, some-power-of-2 tiles are chosen, for the reasons explained in previous replies.
16x16 or 32x32 are the most common, with 64x64 seen occasionally (mostly on PC and mobile, in my experience),
and 8x8 is seen mostly in Gameboy/NES era games.

You also might need to differentiate between the size of visual tiles and the size of tiles in data.
For example, a lot of old games used 8x8 sprite "characters", and four 8x8 characters would be arranged
to draw one, 16x16 graphical tile. At the time this was done by necessity, but it allowed some cool tricks.

Autotiles are easier to program (and require less art), for example, when you split tiles into subtiles like this.
However, it does require more information for the tileset itself.

Another thing to consider is how your physics engine will work and what representation of tiles would be best suited to that.

Anyway, on most platforms now the answer to your question is "Whatever size you want." Tile size is largely
an artistic choice at this point, based on whatever era of gaming you want to capture, etc.
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Re: Recommended Tile size for RPG?

Postby dandymcgee on Sun Aug 21, 2016 12:38 pm

lelandbdean wrote:Anyway, on most platforms now the answer to your question is "Whatever size you want." Tile size is largely
an artistic choice at this point, based on whatever era of gaming you want to capture, etc.

While this is certainly true for tiles, do keep in mind that it is not true for textures if you are rendering them using the GPU. There are still some compatibility and performance benefits to be had to making sure all of your texture sizes align to power-of-two boundaries.
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