Resources for Tilemap Development
Developing TilemapKit has had me browse the Internet for various Tilemap-related topics. Here I’d like to present you with the outstanding findings, separated into categories.
Tools for Designing Tilemaps
Universal Tilemap Editors worth looking into:
- Tiled Map Editor – popular cross-platform, open source Tilemap editor whose native file format is TMX.
- tIDE – Windows Tilemap editor written in XNA with TMX support.
- iTileMaps – TMX compatible tilemap editor for iPad, but without hexagonal tilemap support.
- DAME editor – Cross-platform (Adobe Air) tilemap editor with custom Lua exporter scripting, but no TMX support.
Notable mentions, perhaps for special use cases:
- Mappy – A dated-looking tilemap editor without native TMX support. Native format is FMP.
- Tile Studio – Windows-only tilemap editor, apparently only for orthogonal tilemaps. Native format is TSD.
- MapPainter – With instructions only available in german (try the auto-translated instructions).
Here’s a list of tilemap editors which includes several niche (possibly outdated / discontinued) tilemap editors.
Tileset Images for Tilemaps
A lot of tilesets can be found on OpenGameArt.org.
We maintain three lists for the best tilesets in each category, including only tilesets which allow commercial use (that’s 99% of them anyway).
- Best orthogonal (rectangular) tilesets for tilemaps
- Best isometric (iso) tilesets for tilemaps
- Best hexagonal (hex, hexagon) tilesets for tilemaps
Here’s a list of orthogonal and isometric tilesets that support Tiled’s terrain feature.
Tiled Tutorials & Documentation
Tiled is by far the most popular tilemap editor. Sometimes information is hard to come by however. This warrants a special section dedicated to learning and making the most of Tiled.
- Introduction to Tiled Map Editor
- Tiled Keyboard Shortcuts
- How to use the Terrain Editor in Tiled
- (Advanced) How to use Tiled’s automapping feature
Trigonometry & Technology for Tilemappers
You do not need to know/learn the items below if you are using TilemapKit! These resources are included as convenience for those who would like to write their own renderer. And those curious about the mathematical concepts behind TilemapKit or tilemaps in general.
- A wealth of tilemap math can be found on Amit Patel’s homepage Red Blob Games.
- Isometric ‘n Hexagonal Maps (part one, part two) are a sweet introduction to these two types of tilemaps, their similarities and differences.
- Isometric Tiles Math gives you the rundown on how to convert from screen to isometric grid coordinates and back.
- This post explains how hexagonal are set up in Tiled (which is somewhat counter-intuitive).
- Mazes, mazes, mazes: what they are, how to generate them, how to solve them. If you are interested in the topic, that site will give you all the references for further inquiries on your web search engine of choice.
- Oh … who are we kidding? Of course you’ll google it.
- Wang Tiles are … haha, very funny … you use them to create seamless terrain transitions. Look around on the site for examples, and check the Wikipedia article on Wang Tiles for the definition and origin.
Here’s a full list of OpenGameArt authors/contributors, licenses and source links for the images used by TilemapKit.
- CC-BY-SA 3.0
- CC-BY 3.0
- Yar (Isometric 64×64 Outside Tileset)
- GameArtForge (Isometric Cubes – Set 01)
- Calciumtrice (Animated Warrior, Dungeon Tileset)
- Attribution Notice: Animated Warrior by Calciumtrice, usable under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
- Attribution Notice: Dungeon tileset by Calciumtrice, usable under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
- TheInquisitor (RPG Maker XP World Map Tile Set)
- Public Domain
Please let us know if you notice any images that may have missing or incorrect attributions, thank you.