TL;DR: my goal is to gain the knowledge necessary to make these kinds of mountains from scratch.

Hello all,

sorry if this has already been asked, and sorry for any incorrect grammar.

I've been searching hard all over for tutorials and dissecting tilemaps but i just can't figure out how to actually go about making an original tileable mountain range.

some examples of what I'm trying to figure out;

first, a fire emblem map, this is ideal for the kind of maps i want to make for a project, but it just doesn't make sense to me how it looks so damn great and is tileable.

enter image description here

second is the same map tiles, dissected to 16x16 tiles;

doing this helped me find that the maps are not the normal 16x16 i thought they where, only increasing my confusion as to how the original arts started making them...

enter image description here

and third; the same 16x16 tileset, now dissected to 8x8 tiles... now its basically to small for me to make heads or tails of it, spent a few hours trying to put them together like a puzzle, but i can only make small mountains when the tiles are... so indistinguishable to me. I'm just still having a hard time understanding how they tile to extend into large mountain ranges.

enter image description here

enter image description here

if anyone has experience or input or even tutorials, just anything, I'd really appreciate it


I've found this tutorial (scroll down to Exhibit C: Mountains). It appears that Fire Emblem does use regular tiles for mountains, but there are many different types of mountain tiles and rules you must follow to make them look good.

Here are the mountain tiles:

mountain tiles

I assume you know all about transition tiles. That's a given for these mountain tiles, to transition between the grass and mountains, but there are additional tile types for mountains.

If you look carefully, the mountains in Fire Emblem form ridges that go from North to South. The light shines from left to right, so the left-slope is bright and the right-slope is dark. There are ridges that transition from a left-slope to a right-slope. Putting the three together, you get something like this:

simple ridge

In addition to ridges, there are valleys, which transition from right-slopes to left-slopes. If we add a column of valleys and an additional column of ridges, we get this:

two ridges

Here's the tricky bit: there are different types of ridge and valley tiles, ones that move the ridge/valley to the left, middle, or right. Mix it up a bit and you can get something like this:

wendy ridges

If you look carefully, there are three ridges here, but it looks like the first two merge near the top. You can use peaks to provide that illusion, or to break up a ridge. Here are the peak tiles:


Finally, make sure you have variations for each tile type. This helps break the seams and provide the illusion that they are not made of tiles.

That's how Fire Emblem does its mountains; you could come up with your own system to do ridges that go from East-to-West, or maybe a more complicated one for mountains that could go every which way.

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    \$\begingroup\$ geez, this is a perfect answer, examples, direction, and links to more info. was not actually expecting this kind of answer coming back from my weekend, but this is pretty dope, i think our projects graphics just leveled up. and everyone else, thank you so much for your answers as well, they are all exceptionally helpful. \$\endgroup\$ – Izzy-The-Hedgehog May 29 '18 at 3:40

I don't know how Fire Emblem did it, but Battle for Wesnoth uses what they call "multi hex" to build mountain ranges.

From https://wiki.wesnoth.org/MultiHexTutorial (note that Wesnoth uses hexagonal tiles)

Suppose there are these mountain tiles, where the edges are designed to produce no seams:

multi hexes

A larger patch of mountains can be formed by fitting these tiles like a jigsaw puzzle:

placing multi hexes together

It's possible that Fire Emblem used the same technique, although it's hard to identify what tiles they've used. To me that shows its high quality of artwork.

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