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In this tutorial you will learn...

• The basics of pictures
• How powerful they can be
• How to use them effectively
• How to make a dark cave

Welcome to my last Advanced Mapping tutorial (for the moment, anyway!). Here I am going to go over the basics of pictures in maps, and how they are used to get good effects. Pictures are pretty complicated, so I can only cover the basics here, but I'll try and write another tutorial later on, perhaps in the Specific Tutorial section on some other ways to use them.

Anyway, let's get going! I'm going to teach you how to make a dark cave with the effect that your player is holding a lantern. Now, I'll teach you how to make pictures like this in Paint Shop Pro later on, but for now, you can download this one and use it in your game. Just click on the picture thumbnail and when the image has loaded, select 'Save Picture As...' Make sure that the file type stays as .png, otherwise it won't work.

I think it'll work... anyway, if it doesn't, you'll just have to watch, I'm afraid. So, create a new map where you want this picture to go. I'm going to create a cave. Nothing fancy, but here it is...

Now I've got this, I need to import my picutre. Head over to the materialbase, and select Pictures from the menu on the left. Click Browse, and find your way to where you've saved the picture. It should import without bringing up a preview screen. If it does bring up the screen, just Clear both the colours and click OK. Now, head back to your map, and make a new event in the corner where you normally keep your effects events. For me, the top-right corner.

Go to the second page of event commands, and find Show Picture (it's the very top of the second column). When you click on it, you'll get this box...

The number of the picture is not important at the moment, so just leave it at 1. For future reference, the higher numbers will be the closest to the front (have the highest priority). The graphic is simple: the graphic for your picture. Click on the arrow and select the picture that you've just imported. Now, the other options we don't really need to change, but I'll explain them anyway.

The origin of the picture is where the top-left corner of the picture starts from. Usually this is set to Upper-Left, which it should be kept at. The Center option is for making the picture's top-left corner start from the centre of the screen. The coordinates should be left at zero. The X-Position is for how much from left to right the picture is, and the Y-Position is for setting how much from bottom to top the picture is. Of course, these have different effects depending on the origin of the picture. The variable positions do what they say, really - substitute values from defined variables and put them into the X and Y coordinate boxes. This is only for advanced pictures, which I'll go into some other time. Just leave them for now.

Finally, the Zoom, Opacity and Blending options do what they say. The X-Zoom stretches the picture across, and the Y-Zoom stretches the picture heightways (from top to bottom). Just leave these both as 100 for now. The opacity does much the same as it does in every other instance that it appears: sets the 'opaque-ness' of the picture. And finally, the blending can change from Add to Sub or normal, which is what we'll be using.

So, with that out of the way, let's get this picture working. The only thing that we need to set is the graphic, and apart from that, leave everything as it is and click OK. Set the event trigger to parallel, and get into the game. Does it work? If everything has gone according to plan, it should look like this...

Looks pretty good, doesn't it? Now, with a bit of graphic skill and layering pictures, we can get some pretty good effects, like with map names, little icons and the such. Take a look...

Not showing my Paint Shop Pro skills in the best light, but it doesn't look bad for about half an hour's work! You get the idea, anyway. Here I used two more pictures: the lantern one, and the map name one, and added them over the black one using higher numbers in the picture number box (the map name was number 2, the lantern was number 3). Have an experiment and see what you can do. Using the Move Picture command, on page two of the event commands, you can do some pretty neat things with pictures. Also take a look at the Rotate Picture command.

And one last thing to remember, pictures move WITH the screen, so you can't have things that need to stay in one place over the game screen, because pictures move with the player. Also, if you're doing the lantern thing that I did, you'll need to keep in mind that when you get to the side of the map, the player will continue moving while the picture will stop at the edge of the map. This is quite annoying, as it means that you have to extend your maps past the boundaries - but I'll talk more about that later.

My next tutorial will be on adding random battles to your maps. See you there!

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