Platformer Tile Sets – Part 1

Designing and making assets for games is a really rewarding process.  Over a series of blog posts I want to share with you the process of making art for a 2D pixel platformer game so that you can experience it too!

The place I always start when I have an idea for a game is the basic tile set, so in this first blog post I am going to show you how to make your basic tile set.


I use a programme called GraphicsGale for my pixel art, but it can take a little getting used to when you start using it.  If you’re looking for a different programme, then Lospec has a list of awesome pixel art software here.

I am going to talk about palettes and software in a later blog post, but for now, lets just get started with making a basic tile set!

  1. First off, you’re going to want to set up a 16×16 pixel grid to work within, and then choose a base colour and make a simple 16×16 pixel square:

Tile1You want to place it in the centre of a 3×3 block as shown above, this will make it easier to work with later.

2. Next, we’re going to choose a lighter brown and start adding some stones, like this…

Tile2Play around with shapes until you have a lay out you are happy with

3. There is a lot of copy and pasting in making a tile set!  The next step is to copy your main tile and past it around the four edges so that you can see how your stones line up


As you can see, they aren’t lining up at all, so, working just on your middle tile, make the changes you need, and keep copying and pasting the tile around the edge until you have layout that matches up and looks the way you want it.  The finished layout should create a pattern that is seamless when the tiles are placed side by side.


5. Now we’re going to add some shading to give the tiles some depth.  In this example I am imagining that the light source is coming from the top right hand corner of the screen – this means that shading will go on the bottom left, and highlights will go on the top right.

Select a colour that is a little bit darker than your base colour and add some shadowing under the bottom pixels of the stones


6. Next we are going to add some highlights to the stones, so pick a colour a bit lighter than the stones and add it to the pixels in top right hand corner of your stones


7. Let’s add some lowlights to the stones as well, so select a colour a bit darker than the main stone colour and add some lowlights to the bottom left pixels of the stones.


8. Finally, the we’ll add some highlights to the soil along the top right pixels of the stones just to give a little more definition.


9. Now it’s time to check that your shading is lining up properly when the tiles are placed side by side, so copy your central square and past it around the edge again.  If there are gaps in the shading then.  When you are finished you should be able to create a seamless sheet of repeating tiles.


Next time we are going to start adding grass and edges to the tiles! Keep an eye out for Platformer Tile Sets – Part 2!


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