Unity 2017.2 brought the Tilemap tool and with it, a major workflow change to many 2D developers. And they report that it makes an incredible difference. Without Tilemap, it can feel like you’re a 3rd-grader carefully filling in a coloring book between the lines of each tile. With it, you can spray-paint your layout and let Tilemap worry about things like corners or even collisions.
Russ Scammell, Unity’s technical product manager for 2D, explains why we developed Tilemap and what you can do with it in this Unite Austin interview:
When we originally introduced experimental versions of Tilemap in betas, creators immediately took to it. For example, the tool played a major role in the creation of the 2D shape-shifting platformer, Phased, which was showcased at Unite Europe 2017.
The creators were Tim van het Kaar and Joshua Boren, who worked on it in their spare time. Tim is a student and Joshua holds down a full-time job, so they worked on Phased at night and on weekends, and every other free moment they had. During development, they decided to try the preview version of Tilemap and found that it saved them 10-20 hours of development time per week.
“We soon realized that we could extend it with brushes and features that matched our own workflow, and it was making it very easy to prototype and iterate on new levels,” van het Kaar says. “That meant we could just try out a feature in a separate scene and then once everything worked, put it in the main level, and we didn’t have to break things before they were ready.”
Interested in learning new features like Tilemap? Remember that we hold regular live seminars on our Live Training site! All past sessions are always available in the archive. In this one, Matt Schell shows you how you can paint levels using the tile and brush tools which allow you to define rules for how tiles behave when placed, creating platforms with dynamic edges, animated tiles, random tiles, and more.
For step by step advice on how to use Tilemap to create 2D levels starting with a sprite, check out this post by Andy Touch!