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TMP creation tutorial

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TMP's are one of the hardest visual assets to make from scratch due to the finicky nature of the available TMP editors, the pixel-perfect art, and also because of the lack of public information about them. this tutorial aims to change that; im going to cover the process of creating TMP terrain assets from scratch.

first, you will need to equip yourself with two tools; the XCC TMP editor, and the TMP builder. The XCC tmp editor can be found on the ppmforum home page and the TMP builder can be found.... uh.... here....[1]

anyways, lets build this piece:


first, go open up your TMP builder and create a new tile, a 3x3 one. the tiles will be created in the builder but have no image and be impossible to work with, so save this file to your desktop and open it with XCC TMP editor. you will see the tiles as a blank blue canvas at first in the editor.


in order to give them an image you have to paste in another image that has the exact same canvas size, if the size is wrong, the editor will reject the image. i find the easiest way to give a tile an image is to right click, copy z-data, then ctrl+V that z-data directly into the image slot. works like a charm. additionally, if you have XCC mixer open, you can right click on any 1x1 isometric tile and select "copy to clipboard" and paste it directly in.

so anyways, you get this:


now save that and go open the file in your tmp builder. use mouse wheel to scroll in. now that you can see the tiles, set the height value for them, and while you are at it set the left and right colors, too. (this will be the color of the cliffs on the ingame radar) cliffs use the "rock" terrain type. we dont need 'ramp type' for this tile, but i think you can guess what that function does. go ahead and form the tile and delete any unused tiles, then save it and open it in TMP editor again.

you get this: Image377.png

what you need now is the extra images, and the Z-data. for this, extract any vanilla side facing cliff piece, open it in tmp editor, click on one of the lower pieces in the tile, right click, and select "copy extra Z data". paste that in your image editor because you will need it.

it will look like this:


let me explain for a second what this is: Z-data takes the form of image data like you can see, and it controls image layering. the red sections will always render BEHIND units, straight black sections will always render IN FRONT OF units, and the white to black gradient colors form some gradient, typically behind units. important to note is that the red corners should always overlap with the tiles, and also important to note is that this z-data is 30 by 74 pixels which is an exact fit for the area they will be covering and no more.

now you need to make an extra image for the tile... but since the z-data is the exact right size and is image data, its convenient to right click the tile and just paste the z-data into the extra image slot. mirror the z-data image in your image editor to get the inverse image(remember the red part overlaps with the tiles) and use that on the opposite side. lastly, this particular tile will need a custom image/z-data piece that 60 x 74 pixels which you can make in your image editor easily.

okay. if you are still following along, your tile will look something like this.


now save it and open it up in your TMP builder again. here you can use the "Extra X:" and "Extra Y:" controls to move the extra image chunks. note that they will fit perfectly, and should be in integers of 15 if everything fits up right. now just move them into place, save it, and go back to your tmp editor.

what you have should look like this:


as you can see by the wonky red and grey lines where the z-data should be, i still need to put in my z-data. this time, copy it from your image editor again but paste it in as "extra z-data" and not as "extra image" and it will load in. now the tile is all configured and ready to take images. right click on it and select "copy complete" and paste that into your image editor. from your image editor you can overlay images onto the tile, flatten the image to a single layer, and paste it back into the tmp editor. one cool function of the editor is that it will automatically crop the images to fit the tile.

okay this is it. the last step. take this image render and paste it into the canvas and load it into the editor to get a copy of the custom tile at the top of the page.


well done. congratulations on completing this crash course in TMP making. you are now one of very few people that knows how to make TMP. if you dont also know 3d modeling but want to start a project, try asking your local graphics guy to set you up with some renders. thanks for coming to my TED talk