While developing a small game using tile-mapping method a question came to my mind:

I would develop the game on Windows but wouldn't exclude adapting it to another platform.

What size(in pixels) would you recommend using for creating the tiles of a tile-mapped game(ie: RPG) with the following requirements?

  • Have an acceptable level of detail without having too many tiles.
  • Having a decent map size.
  • Allow adaptation of the game on a handheld(ie: PSP), smartphone or a computer without too much loss of detail or slowdowns.
  • Allow more or less important zoom-in / zoom-out.
  • Have a resolution of tile that permits either pixel-perfect collision or block-collision.

Anything from a good explanation to a game example is useful as long as it can fit the requirements.

This question may seem a bit simplistic, but I noticed that many Indies game developer were using inappropriate scales scenery.

Also sorry for the poor syntax and the lack of vocabulary of my question, being a non-native English speaker doesn't help when talking about computers programming.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ This question is just too vague. Depending on the circumstances I can justify any tile size between 8x8 and 1024x1024; on the other hand, there's really no reason to agonize over 32x32 versus 48x48. Just go with what the artist wants. Ask a specific question, and the answers can be useful. \$\endgroup\$
    – user744
    Commented Dec 20, 2010 at 15:32
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ Bare in mind that some of devices out there (even some PCs!) still have trouble handling non-power-of-2 tiles. Stick with powers of two for your tiles and tilesets: 8x8, 16x16, 32x32, 64x64, 128x128. This will help you if you end up moving to mobile devices. \$\endgroup\$
    – egarcia
    Commented Dec 21, 2010 at 0:06
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't go with what the artist wants. I'd go with what the game design dictates. The artist might want lovingly detailed 512x512 tiles, but gameplay dictates you should see things up to 10 squares away. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim Holt
    Commented Dec 21, 2010 at 1:28
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @egarcia: Atlasing is almost a requirement for tile-based games, and it's so trivial to do for them, that concerns about NPOT support are pretty irrelevant. \$\endgroup\$
    – user744
    Commented Dec 21, 2010 at 9:18
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Atlasing is putting multiple images into one texture. Without doing it, tile-based games have a stupidly large number of texture rebinds when rendering, and fixed-size tiles are easy to pack - even at runtime - so, you do it. Once you do that, it doesn't matter if your tiles are NPOT, because you're packing them into NPOT textures anyway. \$\endgroup\$
    – user744
    Commented Dec 22, 2010 at 0:32

1 Answer 1


You can calculate the tile size based on the screen resolution and the number of tiles that need to be visible. If you were putting up a chess board (8x8 tiles) on a 768 pixel tall screen, your tiles can't be more than 768/8 or 96 pixels, otherwise they won't all fit on the screen. How many tiles need to be visible is of course dependent on your game design.

So decide how many tiles a player should see at once, decide on the screen resolution, and calculate from there.

That said, I like 64x64 ;^)

I wanted to go back and edit this old answer to add a link to a nice post with tile making guidelines. It could be of use to anyone looking at tile size and tile design in general:

Liberated Pixel Cup styleguide

  • 11
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 -- There are analytical (and useful) answers to even somewhat subjective questions, and this is a perfect example. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nate
    Commented Dec 20, 2010 at 17:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Tim's answer certainly is factual, but I feel like if appropriate response to such a long and open question is "do basic arithmetic", there's a failure somewhere in the site's feedback loop. \$\endgroup\$
    – user744
    Commented Dec 20, 2010 at 20:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Joe et al. T Some answers are about answering the question by asking more questions, then showing what to do when those questions are answered. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim Holt
    Commented Dec 20, 2010 at 23:32
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ The failure is that people answer or give feedback based on their own opinions and interpretation of the question. And sometimes that turns into over complexification of simple problems or just polite "shut up n00b" replies. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim Holt
    Commented Dec 20, 2010 at 23:47

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