Making Multi-Level Bridge Tiles
January 3, 2022
December 28, 2021

Making Multi-Level Bridge Tiles

Making Multi-Level Bridge Tiles



January 3, 2022

When maps have multiple levels of elevation, you'll eventually want to have bridges. But how do you make your character both walk on the bridge, and under the bridge? Let's learn how!

If you want your maps to have several levels, especially withcliffs or dungeons, you might run into an issue. Let us have a closer look at this map:

Since the stairs allow the player to switch levels, they should be able to walk on and below the bridge while being on the same map.

If we go with just our standard settings for this tileset, we can clearly see that that does not work at all:

They can leave the bridge whenever they want to the side and are not able to go below it.

There are several ways that we can use to fix that, and they all have their advantages and disadvantages.

1. With events

If we have a look at the map we are working with again, we can clearly see some bottlenecks the player has to pass through. I prefer using a “bottleneck” that is right where the player changes the levels for two main reasons:

  1. If we have several bridges, they are all affected by this smaller amount of events, saving us events.
  2. If we have not only our hero displayed but have the party following, triggering the switch right at the end of the bridge makes the trail of characters vanish behind the bridge that just changed its passability.

Also, one single event for turning off/on is not enough, as the player could possibly enter it, trigger the change and leave it in the direction they came from, having them ending up with the wrong passability for the layer they are on.

This is ensured by having a row of events that turns your switch OFF, a neutral ground in between and a row that turns your switch ON. Those rows have to be closed and there must be no way around. If Reid walks up the stairs and decides to turn around while standing on “ON”, he cannot enter the bottom level without passing OFF and therefore turning the switch off and vice versa.

Both events react on “Player touch” and are as straightforward as they can be, they simply either turn the Switch we use for the bridge on or off.

Then we need to change the setting of the tile, before it was passable in all directions, now we have it at passable in all direction, but we need to change it to:

As you can see I just changed it for the one tile we use here, the others are still at default.

Our bridge event then gets two pages:

The first page uses the event tile as image, but overwrites its passabilities with “above character” (the default passibility is not a star) and “through” (default does not allow the character to leave to the left and right). On the second page these settings are not set and we can go with the default options for them. So the normal bridge passability for walking on top of it becomes active with the switch being turned on.

Additional tips:

  • To ensure that the terrain passability below is “normal” and according to your map, map the terrain as if the bridge was not there and simply place it as events with additional tiles in case of “open sides”.  As you can see behind the event on the bottom, I used an additional mountain edge to hinder the player from just walking up that open cliff tile.
  • If your player can use a quicktravel event to get out of your map or if they could enter it on different levels, you need to make sure that the switch has the right value on map-enter.

But… what if…

Depending on the amount of tiles that make up your bridge the amount of events on your map could easily grow a lot. For example here, due to the bridge being bent and having some additional light and shadows, we also would have had to set up a lot of events with different images as well. Now imagine we might have a huge canyon like area with several different bridges which would clutter our map with events that are pretty annoying to set up and depending on the amount of these and size of our map could cause lag for players with an old computer if we have a lot of other stuff going on on that map.

We could maybe try to use parallax overlays that we turn off and on or have one event with the bridge image and the others “just” with the passabilites, but there is a much easier way.

2. Tileset swap

To handle such a situation in an easy way, we simply take our tileset in the database and copy it into an empty slot. They are exactly the same sets, besides the passability settings for the bridges:

Of course one is the Passage and the other is the Passage (4 dir) shot, but it should be clear what we are aiming for here.

Now all we have to do is to place our trigger events, which are set up in the same places as for the other variation, but this time don’t trigger a switch but simply force a tileset change. Since the tileset images don’t change, the player won’t notice the change at all.

Reminder: if you have a cave or something else where you have a map change and then go back on the second level, make sure to change the tileset on re-entering the map as well!

Those two approaches both do the same job, but they have advantages and disadvantages:

One of course uses up a possibly large amount of events, the other uses up a tileset slot. I usually go with the Switch and Event-based solution for smaller bridges and maps, and if it is a larger map or a lot of events, I prefer the tile swap approach.

Make sure to place your trigger points in a way that they have to be passed on level change and ensure there is no way around them or to enter a layer with the wrong priority settings.

Make sure your priorities are set right on entering and reentering the map as well!

Also, remember that both ways will make other events unable to pass below a bridge if the characters are on the upper layer!

With all these in mind, bridges won’t be a problem for you!

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