Custom Map Creation Overview

This is a quick-start guide and overview of how to create a custom space in Gather. For creating your own space using once of our templates, click here to see our article on Creating a Space. Additionally, feel free to peruse our various map maker tutorials on YouTube.

Terminology

Space -  A self-contained virtualized world created on Gather. Has an associated URL. Contains one or more rooms.

Room - An individual map with its own background within a Space. In, of itself, does not have a directly associated URL. Rooms can be connected to other rooms in the same space and occasionally to other Spaces.  

A Gather Room must have at minimum, a background and at least 1 spawn tile effect.

Custom Map Creation Process Overview

Creating a custom map for Gather is a four step process:

  1. Create a Space: Go to gather.town/app and create or edit a space. You can start with any of our templates, or start from scratch (blank map).  You can also add rooms to existing spaces.
  2. Create a Background (and foreground, optionally):  Create the layout and style for the room you’re working on.
  3. Add Tile Effects:  Indicate where Gather should allow avatars to walk or not walk (i.e. walls) and any other special effects that should happen when avatars enter certain tile locations.
  4. Finally, add Objects: This includes chairs, tables, and interactable TV’s, games, whiteboards, and more.

1. Create a Space 

When you create a space, you can choose from any of our templates or start with a blank space. If you select "Start from Blank," you will see options to start with empty rooms that have a background consisting of 4 walls and a floor in the standard Gather style in the listed size or start completely from scratch where you would need to or to upload your own background image or create one using our Background Painter (in beta). The size of the background will determine the size of the new room.

2. Create a Background 

Gather backgrounds can be thought of as the image that Avatars ‘walk on’ - they are displayed below avatars and can have Tile Effects applied to them.  Each Gather Room will have only one background and can also optionally have one foreground (an image that Avatars walk ‘under’).

There are two ways to create a background at this time:
1. Using our Background Painter [Beta]
2. Uploading your own custom image

Background Painter [Beta]

You can easily create a custom background straight inside of our Mapmaker by using our Background Painter which is currently in Beta.  Click here to learn more about our [Beta] Background Painter!

Using a custom image created outside of Gather

A Gather background (or foreground) is a flat image, so you can also create your background outside of Gather and then upload it to “Blank” room. Images should be:

  • A PNG  or JPEG file (Foregrounds must be use PNG for transparency)
  • Scaled to fit a 32x32 pixel tile system (so height and width should both be multiples of 32)
  • Files should be under 3MB
  • Dimensions should be under 3200x3200 pixels
  • Foregrounds and Backgrounds MUST have the same dimensions

You can use any photo editing program to create your background and foreground images. The third party program 'Tiled' is extremely helpful; you can use it to create 'backgrounds' that are aligned to the appropriate resolution. We’ve also seen beautiful maps made in Photoshop, GIMP, Illustrator, even scanned photographs and hand painted art!  As long as it’s scaled to match our 32x32 pixel grid and in PNG or JPEG format, you’ll be able to upload it as a background or foreground.

We suggest Tiled, which is a 3rd party program that is great option for building custom maps once you have a tile set to work from.  Tiled will automatically scale your map to fit a 32x32 pixel grid.

You can find and use our public tileset here: https://github.com/gathertown/mapmaking

Additionally, you can find non-Gather created Tiled assets that are available from other websites such as:  https://itch.io/game-assets/tag-pixel-art

We also have a tutorial on how to use Tiled, led by one of our in-house mapmakers  that can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1lYhaaZIUE0p0gsaDzOgiXZHZ5T8JpWWc/view?usp=sharing

Note: We cannot provide support for Tiled, since it’s not a program we published, but there are many great resources available online

What size are your squares? How do I size my background?

Every square in Gather is 32 pixels by 32 pixels. When creating your custom background, we recommend you use multiples of 32px in all directions. Tiled will do this automatically. 

How to I upload my background?

You can upload your custom background by clicking on the upper left corner of the mapmaker and selecting the appropriate option.
An animated image that shows opening the menu in the upper left corner of the Mapmaker and selecting "Upload Background."

3. Adding Tile Effects

Tile effects are effects that affect the your guests' experience of your Space while on Gather. They range from blocking off areas to creating private conversation areas. You can found out more about tiles in the article: What are Tiles?

Or learn more about particular tiles types by clicking here.

4. Adding Objects

You can add a variety of objects to your Space. We offer a large variety of objects found through our object picker, or you can upload your own image assets. You can learn more about objects by clicking here to see our Objects 101 article.

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