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How to design Towns and Interiors.

By CyberMan16

Many people have problems with designing maps altogether, but this time Iím going to help you with towns and the insides of houses. Iím going to teach this subject in a way so that even if youíre new and have NO idea what youíre doing, you can still make a good map. Towns and interiors are all pretty much done the same way in the end, and this is the easiest way to tell you how theyíre generally done. Iím not going to tell you how to draw houses, those vary with chipsets, and to tell you the truth, Iím not the greatest at drawing them.


Well, firstly thereís the size. Iíve seen people make the foolish mistake of making a town on one 20x15 screen. Donít do that. Clear? Good. Any decent map should be at least 40x40, and if you canít think of that much for the town, just add random NPC houses or something creative.

With that out of the way, thereís the layout. You can have houses scattered around randomly, which is just fine, or you can add some kind of organization to them. However, donít make it just boring rows and rows of houses, make them unique, branching off down different streets with other areas like fields or backyards to accent them. This should generally be done if you really know what youíre doing. If not, then a random scatter of houses to start you off is just fine. Never underestimate the select/cut tool on the palette. These can quickly move houses to your liking. Connect the houses with roads, or dirt roads if a very rural village.

Now to decorate it. If not situated behind a forest, add trees as randomly as possible. You can make thick rows for forests with small trees like the ones in RTP, but if you arenít using that (and I hope youíre not) then just scatter them in a blocking fashion. Other than that, trees can be a difficult thing to master and theyíre a very difficult thing to describe correctly. All I can tell you is, if you donít think you should put a tree somewhere, donít.

Now add bushes, flowers, fountains, small streams and other decorations around. This is a bit easier, you can put perhaps a flower pot on either side of a door, or something. Just make sure when youíre trying to randomly scatter things around, donít add things in clumps just because you think they need to be there. Iíve seen this happen in many maps, people adding a 3x3 block of barrels to make a scene less empty. Itís a nice thought, but things shouldnít be added in clumps like that. Itís not attractive or creative. Also remember that lakes, dirt patches and grass patches are NEVER perfectly square, or anywhere near it. These should be as randomly shaped and added as possible.

Now, try to be interesting. Make some cool events, like butterflies or some kids scripted to play tag, and any other technical event crap you can think of to make it interesting for your player to explore the town.


Interiors have some pretty simple rules. First, NEVER make a 4 corner room. ALWAYS use the empty space tiles (those black things that fill in areas behind walls, with the little square icon in the possibility chart in the database). Some people have outside just behind the walls, showing the grass, trees and stuff that you could see from an aerial view of the house. In general, thatís not really recommended, usually rooms like that are perfectly square, and it makes it look more realistic with the empty space tiles (You think it wouldnítÖ)

Try to make your architecture fancy, simple 4 corner rooms are very dull. Feel free to start with a box, cross, L or any shape you want to begin with, and start carving your room from there. This really helps if you donít know what you want. Add walls and divide houses up into rooms, trying to make the rooms in different spots with different sizes, while also trying to avoid 4 corners if possible. Decorate your room, remembering the same principles from the Towns section, and when in doubt, make your room smaller. Walls shouldnít be too long, and donít have your wall completely lined up with random objects (unless the object is very long, and your wall is very small, of course)

Finally, a good tip if you donít know it already, when creating the interior of a town, make your map really big, fill it with those black empty space tiles, and start carving out all your rooms on that. That way, you donít need to make all those rooms, and it looks a lot more organized. If you do this, add events last, that way you can use your cut too to move rooms as close together (without one room being visible from another) and then delete the excess space.

Well, thatís everything, the only other piece of advice I could give you would be to play a professional RPG or something and study how they do it. Good luck, and try not to go insane from boredom and monotony like I did.