Tile Map Editing Enhancements

Tile editing is the primary reason I use Pro Motion over other editors, but I think there are lots of area where it could be considerably improved.
I’ve already nagged Jan about most of this but I figure others may be able to add to it.

I’ll refer to “Pick/Place Tiles in Map” mode as “tile mode” and “Modify/Create Tiles” mode as “pixel mode” as those handles are real mouthfuls.

Fix Tile Boundary Drawing (this is the biggest issue!)

  • Currently Pro Motion can’t draw a stroke over the boundary between instances of the same tile. The stroke gets clipped to the top-most then left-most instance. This is a serious issue as it prevents making a tile seamless with itself, which is pretty fundamental in tile-based graphics.
  • This even more important now with stylus support, as it is working with strokes where it’s most problematic, pixel-by-pixel mouse work isn’t much affected.
  • The other tile map aware editors GrafX2, D-Pixel and Pyxel Edit all handle this correctly.
  • Doing it correctly is just a matter of drawing the stroke to the tile multiple times offset by the instance position.

Unlinked Editing Mode

  • Any edits to a tile with multiple instances would replace the tile with new copy of the original and applies edits, leaving the original unchanged.
  • Would allow a much looser workflow by freely creating tile variations on tiles in place on the map without needing to manually create duplicate tiles or to turn off sync mode.
  • The way things currently are I spend most of my time editing with sync mode turned off, as the workflow for creating new tiles otherwise is just clunky.
  • Could be integrated with the current duplicate mode, just do this in pixel mode, leave tile mode behaviour as is.

Tile Mode/Pixel Mode Switching

  • Never automatically switch modes. Switches to tile mode when grabbing a tile-sized brush and switches to pixel mode when grabbing a zero sized brush. This is the single most frustrating thing in Pro Motion, just switch modes when I damn well want to switch modes.
  • Hot key to switch modes, it’s not currently possible to assign one, so have to mouse away from where you’re working to click the button.

Separate Tile Mode and Pixel Mode Brushes

  • Remember current brush separately for tile and pixel modes.
  • Allow switching between tile editing and tile placement without having to constantly change brush.
  • Most tool and pixel mode brushes are essentially useless in tile mode anyway.

Distinct Tile and Pixel Modes

  • Currently the two editing modes are kind of weird, you can draw pixels in tile mode but unless you happen to draw something that exactly reproduces an existing tile the edit is reverted. This seems quite useless to me. It’d make much more sense to me to restrict tile mode to just working with tiles.
  • Keep tile mode for tiles and pixel mode for pixels.

Tile Mode Tile Picking

  • Pick tiles off of canvas same as picking colours in pixel mode.
  • If you want to pick a colour from a pixel it seems reasonable to switch to pixel mode to do so.
  • Box grabbing single tiles is awkward and can easily result in picking more than one tile or none. If you accidentally grab a zero tile wide or zero tile high brush then Pro Motion switches to pixel mode, which only makes this more frustrating.

Pixel Mode Tools in Tile Mode

  • Allow use of tools such as rectangle, ellipse and fill to work on tiles in the same way they do on pixels. Draw a filled circle of tiles, flood fill to replace tiles, etc.
  • After all an indexed image and a tile map are essentially the same thing, just 2D arrays of indexes.

Tile Library Window Arrangement

  • DONE! Make the arrange windows function affect the tile library window.
  • Remember the tile library window open state.

Convert Tile Map Project to Regular Image Project

  • You can currently convert a regular project to a tile map project, but you can’t do the reverse.
  • You can export as an image and open it as a new project, but that looses layers.

Saving With Sync Mode Off

  • Allow saving of project while sync mode is turned off, currently just shows an error message saying to turn sync mode back on.
  • If I can manually turn it off, save, then turn it back on again, then I can’t see why it can’t just save in the first place.
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Indeed there is much potential to improve this and it’s promised that I will grab this topic as soon as it is possible. Some of things are easier than others. Such changes will be done earlier. It would indeed be great if the input is continued in the meanwhile.
BTW I plan to create a small workspace manager that allows you to define differen window placements. This way you will be able to define a workspace that places the windows to suit your tile mapping needs, or “small animation” or “single layer” or “full screen X”, “full screen Y”…

Another open topic is: Animated Tiles.

Another minor thing I just noticed (I basically never use it) the Spray / Air Brush tool refuses to work with tile map projects. This just seems arbitrary. With properly implemented boundary drawing this should be no more of a problem than any other tool.

Tile Resizing

  • Allow changing size of tile in tilemap projects (at the moment can only change image size in tiles, scale image option is disabled in dialog).
  • Handy for roughing out at a higher res with stylus then downscaling and cleaning up on pixel level.
  • Can already do by saving as image, resizing image and reconverting to tile map, but would nice convenience if the extra steps could be avoided.

Compacting Palette

  • Allow using Colors -> Remove duplicate Colors -> Compact with tilemap projects.

As an update to the previous wishes in this thread:

Tile Mode/Pixel Mode Switching
–> done with 7.1.3

Distinct Tile and Pixel Modes which connects technically to Separate Tile Mode and Pixel Mode Brushes
This would only be possible if the brush knows that it contains tiles which it does not at the moment. Including this seems possible but it has tons of special cases to solve.
The idea behind the two modes was: you either build the map by tiles or you modify/draw tiles. Both is typical to tile map editors, I think. There you can either edit (mostly single) tiles in a special tile editor or place tiles (as they are) in a special tile map editor mode.

Tile Mode Tile Picking
–> done with 7.1.3, although it does not switch to tile modify mode which was not wanted at topic Tile Mode/Pixel Mode Switching.

Pixel Mode Tools in Tile Mode
This has always been possible using the fill mode “Brush pattern” of filled rectangle/flood fill. For ellipses you need to draw an ellipse having a tile as a brush and use the lock grid for dot alignment. Then you can fill the ellipse with flood fill and the fill type “Brush Pattern”.

Saving With Sync Mode Off
–> done with 7.1.3

Fix Tile Boundary Drawing (this is the biggest issue!)
Will be available publicly with the very next update (I hope). This also allows to use spray then.

Tile Resizing
Compacting Palette
–> both added to the feature wishes