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In this tutorial you will learn...

• How to start a new project
• How to create and set the properties for a new map
• How to place simple objects on layer 2

So, first things first - you need to create a new Project. (If you want to create a proper RPG game then you need to do quite a bit before this, but that's advanced planning and I'll go into that later.) So, click on the 'New' button at the top-left of the screen, or you can use the 'File' menu if you like. Once you've clicked that, you'll be presented with a dialogue box like this...

You need to think of a name for your Project / Game. Don't worry too much about that now - just call it something like 'New Game' or 'Project 1'. You can always change it later. When you've done that, you'll get presented with a screen looking like this...

(Note: The little    that you can see in the middle of the map is where the player will start from when you start a new game whilst playtesting the game. You can do this, if you want, by pressing the little green arrow at the top of the screen (next to the musical note) or pressing F12 on your keyboard. Your player will start from the position you specified with the  . If you want to quit from playtesting, press 'Esc' to bring up the menu, and then select 'End Game'. Then select 'Shut Down'. I'll go into more detail about playtesting your game later on, in a different tutorial.)

Now, game making properly begins. Go down to the bottom left corner of the screen, and you should see a folder with your Project's name, and below it, a page icon with the name MAP001 next to it. This is your first map! Right click on this, and select 'Map Properties'. Here you can modify all the things that make a map an actual map, rather than a rectangle of grass.

Firstly, let's call the Map something more imaginitive. Type the new name in the box. I called mine 'Lilika Forest'. Now, we can't really have a dark and mysterious forest with trees and objects from a Grassland, so we need to change the tileset. A tileset is a set of tiles that make a map. I'll tell you more about all the different materials in RMXP in another tutorial. Anyway, click the drop-down arrow beside where it says 'Grassland', and select something that suits the name. I'm going to select '003: Forest'. When you've done that, you can change the size of the map using the Width and Height boxes. This doesn't have to be exact; you can always come back and change it again later. I find 30 x 35 good dimentions for a decently-sized map, but I'm going to use 22 x 20 for this map.

Now, music! After that, check the checkbox beside the 'Auto-change BGM' option. This will automatically change the background music (BGM) when you step onto the map. Then, using the arrow, select a piece of background music. This music helps to set the scene, so pick one that suits your map's name. I will select '055-Negative04'. If you want wind or rain sound effects in the background, you can select them in the same way below, underneath the 'Auto-change BGS' option. This will continually play in the background alongside the BGM. Don't worry about the 'Troops' and stuff on the right hand side - we'll deal with that later (if you're feeling confident with this, you can have a look at it now, in my Random Battles tutorial).

When you've typed all that in, press 'OK' and RPG Maker will extend the map to meet the size specifications you entered. The space will be white, so select the grass from the Tileset on the left, and click the fill bucket icon at the top. Then, press the layer 1 button. Now click anywhere in the white space.

...And this should fill in all the space with a grass tile. Now we can get onto placing objects! Click anywhere on the map to place an object.

You see that ugly white box? That's because we placed the object on layer 1. Layer 1 doesn't pay attention to transparency settings, but layer 2 and 3 do. So if you want to place an object with white (transparent) around it, choose layer 2 or 3 - layer 2 for most objects, layer 3 for other things (I'll talk more about layers in the next tutorial). Also, you'll need to select the pencil icon instead of the fill bucket, otherwise you'll have a map full of ferns! To undo a mistake, select 'Undo' from the Edit menu, or press Ctrl + Z.

Now click anywhere on the map. If you've followed the instructions well, it should look something similar to the picture above. Congratualtions! You successfully placed a tile on your first map. Now for bigger things, consisting of more than one tile. Let's use a tree as an example. Select the upper-left hand corner of the tiles, and drag the mouse across it, selecting the whole image. You need to have it selected as below...

When you've done that, move your mouse to the map (which still sould be on layer 2) and you'll notice that the cursor has changed in size. Click, and a tree appears. Well done - you're getting there!

Place a couple more things, but stay on layer 2. If you want to use autotiles (the tiles on the first row of the tileset) use layer 1, if they have ground around them. If they have white around them, use layer 2. I'll cover the concept of layers in the next tutorial. Place a few more trees, a couple of rocks, and some plants, but don't overlap them. We'll do overlapping in the next tutorial as well. If you want to see what your map looks like without the shading, switch to the 'Events' layer. You can't place objects on this layer, so you'll need to switch back to layer 2 before you place anything else.

Here you can see that I have labelled the autotiles. You'll get the hang of things by experimenting. Also, you can see that I've added a few more things to my map, all on layer 1 and 2. The view is shown from the Event layer.

Congratualtions on your first map! You've successfully made a start on building a map - and making a game!

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