Tiles Status

From The Battle for Wesnoth Wiki

This page is aimed to be a place for the terrain artists to co-ordinate their work and share ideas, and to work out guidelines for terrain art.


  • shadows: direction up and left at a 45 degree angle. Use alpha shadows with approx 60% transparency and soft edges.
  • Do not use black outlines. Show edges by providing contrast through shading
  • Give a sense of perspective. (not a pure top-down view)
    • Generally a 45 degree isometric projection. Sometimes cheating and ambiguity are neccesary.
    • Flat, textured terrain should have that texture "squashed" twice as much vertically, to give the proper sense of depth.


The scale of wesnoth graphics should be roughly consistent within the following three categories: terrain, buildings and units. Only the former two are relevant here. This means that terrain, buildings and units will all be out of scale with each other. This is neccesary because it's the only way to distincly represent these three kinds of things with the very few pixels we've have to work with. This kind of "unrealistic" scale is very common among video games.

  • Terrain - will need multihex for some terrain, particulary hills/mountains.
  • Buildings - The new villages (human and elven) could be a good baseline here.


Recently Added

  • spring grassland (Ggf)
  • swamp merfolk village (Vsm) — used existing art
  • illuminated cave hills (Uhi) — used existing art
  • Elvish Castle (Cv)
  • farmland - small plants
  • bridges over deep water and swamp (using existing graphics)
  • New snow mountains: frame
  • Stone bridge over chasm
  • Deciduous Forest with spring, summer, fall, and winter variants
  • Evil/Barbaric castle appropriate for Orcs or Undead

Recently Updated

  • Cave floor (Uu) — more stalagmites and cracks to differentiate it from a normal flat terrain
  • Swamp (Ss) — to encroach less on surroundings
  • Road (Rr) — better transitions and a duller look
  • new lava transitions (eleazar)
  • new lava/castle/chasm transitions (mog)
  • ice - dual layered: mog

Pending commit

  • Paved road by yobbo. This one is currently suffering from the limitation that a given tile can only have a specific background tile. It should be possible to draw this on several types of bg tiles.

Being worked on:

  • wasteland: Frame
  • Water transitions in general, mainly dual layered transitions with ripples: Pekka
  • Wood paneled walls: Scott.

Proposed additional tiles

  • Interior:
    • Interior walls: at least a wood paneled and fitted stone version.
    • Furniture for interiors. (technically these would be items)
    • Interior floor: Wood and carpet?
  • A wooden bridge. Especially for use in cave and not over water (perhaps a hanging bridge)
  • "Carved" cave, less wild and inhospitable than the current "natural" cave. Perhaps illuminated by torches or glowing things.
  • Dark Forest. Like the current forest, but sinister, possibly perpetually in darkness.
  • above ground chasm, for use outside. (edit: i'm not sure that's neccesary)
  • mud for use in caves, alias of swamp.
  • Flat variants:
    • Ashy ground: used for scenes of distruction freqent in scenarios
    • splotchy grass only partially covering the dirt.
    • Farmland:
      • plowed ground
      • plants ready to harvest
  • Transitions
    • water to chasm transitions
  • Dirt transitions are lousy
  • Many transitions take up far too much space.

Tile sets

While terrain should work reasonably well adjacent to any other terrain, special care should be taken that a tile will work well next to it's most frequent neighbors.

Name Base Hilly mountainous Forest covered Villages Additional tiles
Normal Grassland hills mountain forest elven, human swamp, dirt
Snow snow snow hills snow mountain snow forest snow-covered elven and human ice
Desert desert desert hills desert mountain - desert villages oasis
Tropical Savanna - - tropical forest tropical forest swamp
Underground cave floor Rocky cave - Mushrooms cave & dwarven village cave wall
Wasteland wasteland - - dead forest (WIP) undead? village lava, igneous rock (hardened lava)

Where do we want to go next?

I think it's time to sit down and get down some ground rules for style, coloring, shading etc of the terrain gfx. With fx the new villages we see a quite different approach to shading and texturing. I think jetryl is heading in the right direction here. This increase in quality does however mean we need to start paying more attention to getting consistency in the terrain art.

Jetryls new villages and my new mountains represent the direction I want for terrain graphics:

  • More detailed
  • More realistic
  • Increased use of shading, texturing and smoother coloring
  • Move away from the black-outline look.
  • More terrain variants that fit well together.
  • Move more terrain to multihex. We have the opportunity to do some great stuff with this.
  • A possibility is to make more terrain sets like the desert. Having complete sets for winter, desert, temperate etc means we can have an internal consistency and have trans that looks very good. I'm noticing that it is increasingly hard to make trans that looks well against everything else. It often ends up with something rather bland that kind of fits all. Making sets which looks great internally and good enough against other sets should be possible.

Proposed Changes to the Engine

  • There has been much discussion about making the maps consistently 2 layered. I believe this would be an overhaul of the terrain rendering engine. (a lot of the work that's been done would be more logically done with a different method if we had 2 layers to work with.)

(Eleazar) The desire for a 2nd layer is primarily motivated by trying to get things on top of the ground (bridges, trees, villiages) to match the surrounding ground/water tile. My knowlege is imperfect of the coding or even WML aspects, but i think i do understand graphically how the terrain works (or fails).

Currently we do have double-layered tiles, such as the forest, villages, & bridge. In most cases were an extra layer is desired, the top layer is the defining layer for MV/Def. However in some cases the underlying layer should contribute to MV/Def, so there would need to be a way to indicate in the terrain definition which should occur. Terrains, like the forest,"f" could have a default base tile like the grassland "g" but when defining the map, the desiger could choose an alternate base tile "f+d" to put the forest overlay on a desert base. In most cases the default Base Tile would work fine (defined by terrain.cfg) I think this would get terrain designers all the control they want, without some of the complexities of an independant second map.

(SkeletonCrew) The engine is being change to support multi-letter terrains.

The current status: WIP but in the final stage.

See also

This page was last modified on 2 May 2010, at 01:35.