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What are some tools I can use to create 2d tile based maps?

Please provide the information below, and try to limit to one tool per answer.

  • Name
  • Link to website
  • General features
  • Export format
  • Anything else you deem noteworthy
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closed as off-topic by Byte56 Oct 14 '13 at 2:23

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9 Answers 9

up vote 23 down vote accepted

Tiled Map Editor

From the website:

  • General purpose tile map editor with XML-based map format
  • Supports orthogonal and isometric maps
  • Custom objects can be placed with pixel precision
  • Full undo/redo and copy/paste support
  • Add custom properties to tiles, layers, objects or the map
  • Automatically reloads tilesets when changed externally
  • Resize or offset your tile map later as needed
  • Efficient tile editing tools like stamp and fill brushes
  • Supports input/output plugins to open and save files in custom formats
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5  
If you are going to use this with XNA, I'd suggest using TiledLib. The library comes with a full content pipeline extension project that will parse and build the .tmx file along with a runtime library that allows access to the data in the map file. tiledlib.codeplex.com –  ElementCy Jul 14 '10 at 21:23
    
+1. This is an excellent tool. You can write your own map exporter plugin, if you so wish, + it's open source so you can tweak it to your own/team's needs. –  Jānis K Jul 30 '10 at 17:15
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Minimal Javascript Tile-based Map Editor

http://samlancashire.com/mapeditor

I made this for my own game, but decided to polish it up a bit for general use. It's very simplistic, but will get the job done.

Exports map as two-dimensional javascript array. The array items contain the coordinates of the tile relative to the tileset. For example

map1[x][y] = '0,0'; //would be top left tile in tileset
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Tume. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TUME Worth it if just for watching their tutorials on how they approached certain problems (they use layers in many more ways than for tiles, which is very smart as it allows you to be game agnostic without forcing a paradigm on the user). Interesting features, used for numerous commercial games back in the day. No parallax editing (would be hard anyhow, as the parallax layers are generally driven by logic - you'd need your game as a plugin - which brings me to the following point - your game makes a great map editor. I have always done in game editing, it allows you to "live preview" and sets you up for user generated content to boot.

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My old favorite was Deluxe Paint (that dates me). I currently use Paint Shop Pro which has a handy 'convert to seamless texture' feature. Not as good as a true tile-symmetry editor, but good in a pinch.

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Nothing beat Deluxe Paint! It was the best pixel pusher ever. –  Skizz Jul 30 '10 at 19:46
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Cosmigo's Pro Motion is one of the old-school favorites, even though it's more of a paint tool than a level editor proper. Great for sprites as well as tiles; lots of "grid" functionality. Their features page details a lot of this, and talks about new tile map functionality:

* RGB channel depth can be selected from 222 to 888
* 16 color PNG support
* Optimize tile based graphics for hand held systems that have a limited number of colors per tile like Gameboy Advance etc.
* Support for tile painting to create endless textures
* Tile map editor with auto optimization, mirroring, felxible export
* AnimStrip files can be created containing frames side by side in a bitmap, PNG/BMP
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Tile Studio

Free, Open Source

Basic pixel editing features for creating tiles. Supports importing from BMP,PNG,etc. Exports your tile maps as source code in various languages.

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It might be worth creating your own level editor and integrating into your game - then you can also allow players to create their own levels.

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Ogmo Editor

From the website:

Here's How It Works

After deciding to use Ogmo Editor for a game, the first step is to write up a "project file" for that game. A project file is just an XML file defining all the tilesets, objects, layers and settings for a project. Once you've got that done, you open it in the editor and you're good to go - you can start creating, editing, saving and re-opening levels. If you need to, you can add new tilesets and objects to your project along the way and all your old levels remain compatible, so you aren't required to define every asset you'll eventually use right away.

Getting Your Levels Into Your Game

Exported levels are just XML files, and the format is largely defined by you in the project file. Ogmo Editor was designed with Flash in mind, but most modern programming languages have robust XML support. If you're lost, check out the tutorials section - there might be an article on using Ogmo Editor with your language or library of choice.

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