Tutorial Starbound and Tiled : Getting Started/Tiles

Discussion in 'Starbound Modding' started by HerrJunky, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. HerrJunky

    HerrJunky Void-Bound Voyager

    EDIT: This tutorial assumes that you have already unpacked the packed.pak file. This tutorial will not teach you how to do it ! Just search for tutorial there are a lot of good ones out there !
    Hey !
    I found that there are a lot of Questions regarding Tiled and Starbound, but there aren't any very good tutorials out there, so here I am!
    This Tutorial is going to be a basic one, just how to set everything up and stuff, but how to put the actual map in the game won't be covered here.
    In a later tutorial... :nuruwink:


    What is TILED ?
    Tiled is a free to use Software used to create maps for different types of 2D maps,but we just care about Starbound maps.
    (It's actually free, but donating is possible and you should consider it !)
    Website :

    EDIT: Use the version 0.15.2 as it works best together with Starbound.
    Thanks to soldierfast90 for working it out!


    The newest version of Tiled v1.0.3 (29. august 2017) works well for me ! I will recommend the newest Versions from now on, but if you have errors, try out v0.15.2 since it is kown to work well with Starbound.

    Once you have installed TILED go ahaed and open it.
    It should look like this:


    Now we need to create a new File:


    It'll prompt you with this:


    Now Explanation Time:
    -Orientation is basicly the way the tilegrid is orientated, Orthogonal means row by row like a real grid.

    -Tile Layer Format is the format TILED uses to compress the stored information.
    Base64(zlib compressed) is the rigth for you as Starbound uses zlib-compression.

    -Tile Render Order is the order the Tiles are rendered in, i don't know if it works with different orders
    (Left Down , Left Down etc.) but trust me, it's Rigth down. :nurudapper:

    -Map size: the size of your map, of course.

    -Tile size: I don't know what it does when it comes to Starbound, but just leave it at 8 px,okay ?

    Next Step:
    Click on Ok.
    Your Map should look like this:


    Thats your very own dungeon! Impressing right ?
    Ahm no...
    You don't have any Tiles or Objects to choose from yet, so your dungeon is going to be very empty...

    We'll change this very soon, but first we need to change something :


    delete the "Tile Layer 1"

    right-click and create a new tilelayer, call it back.
    create a new tilelayer and call it front.
    you may want to add objects later, so create a new objectlayer and call it objects.


    "front" and "back" are reserved names, you have to call your layers front and back, otherwise Starbound wont recognise them as layers.

    Every Starbound map consists of these two layers:

    -front: this is where your solid blocks are going to be placed, without blocks in the front layer, the player is just going to fall through your map!

    -back: you background tiles are going to be placed here.

    -objects: your objects have be placed in here.

    Go on the Map Tab and klick "Add External Tileset"


    It'll open a dialog.
    Go to your Starbound directory.
    Open the folder called "tiled".
    then open the only folder in there called "packed".
    The path:


    There you go ! This is the folder with all the official tilesets from the Developers.
    Select intresting looking files:nuruconfused:,
    there are a few basic files you should always have in your map:


    -Materials is a collection of Tilesets containing most (all ?) of the Tiles(Blocks) Starbound has.
    -miscellaneos is a set containing Tiles such as the invisible boundaries, the player spawnpoint etc.
    -liquids are basicly all of the liquids Starbound has.

    Click on open and all the Tiles are going to be loaded.
    You can view and select them in the window called Tilesets in the right lower corner of you window.


    Now you can actually draw your map/dungeon:
    Tiled offers some tools for doing so:


    Explanation Time :
    I'll go from left to right:
    -Create a new File
    -Open a File
    -Save your File


    -Commandwindow: Tiled can run commands to create stuff, not very useful in our case I think.
    -Random Mode:
    This is actually a good tool, what it does is when you have multiple tiles selected, Tiled randomly selects one,so you don't have to care about it yourself.
    -Stamp Brush: This is your default tool, like the pencil in Paint.
    -Terrain Brush: Absolutley useless when working with Starbound, i think.

    -Fill Tool: As the names says, this tool will fill areas.
    NOTE: In the latest version of Tiled the filltool causes a crash sometimes, you're maybe better going with an older version of Tiled.

    -Eraser: Erases stuff...

    -Rectangular Selection: Selects an regtangular area.
    -Magic Wand, selects all tiles, connected to the selected tile.
    -Select Same Tiles: Selects all same tiles in your map.

    -The rest isn't connected to Tiles and will be explained in a later tutorial.

    Your dungeon maybe looks a bit like this now: :nuruhappy:


    But hey ! Whats the red "PS" tile there ?!
    Well thats why i said you should select the tileset "miscellaneous"!
    It's the location where the player will start.
    there are actually a few other important tiles i'll explain now:


    -White : Its just a blank tile, SB will fill this tile with air when generating the dungeon.#
    -Pink : useful when you'r making a dungeon that should spawn naturally,because this tile say's:
    "Hey Worldgenerator! Replace me with whatever you've been told to place here! "
    This Tile forces the generator to put a tile from the originally biome in.
    -Greyish Box: a invisible boundary to keep players or entities or whatever in the area.
    -PS: The above mentioned player startpoint.
    -AIR: Forces the Generator to put air in this point.
    -SO: Forces the Generator to place a solid block there.
    BI: Places a biome specific item.
    BT: Places a biome specific tree.
    SV brown, red and green: places biomespecific tiles.
    Second white tile: places an air tile, but with a lower priority, this means the Worldgenerator can overwrite this tile.
    The C's:Dungeon part connectors, will be explained in a later tutorial.
    AIR Greyish: Places Air in the background.
    SO greyish: places a solid tile in the background.
    Grey Box: Another invisible boundary.
    Grey/blue Box: Invisible boundary for water.

    Save your File:

    Go to your mods folder, create a dungeons folder if it doesn't exist already.
    Create a new folder inside your dungeons folder called the same as you're going to call your map.
    Then open Tiles again, select "File" and "Save File"


    You will be prompted with another dialog:


    Sorry if your confused by all that german, i don't want to change my whole computer to english and i think you're all familiar with the Windows explorer, right ?


    Select the .json extension instead of .tmx when your saving your map, as Starbound won't load your map without the .json format.

    Always save your file in the final location, as copiyng you file later will result in some nasty bugs.

    Save your File and there you go ! You've just created your very own dungeon/map.

    I'm working on several other tutorials focusing on Tiled right now, so stay tuned!
    Next Time i will focus on objects !

    PS: I'm sorry for my bad english sometimes!:nurushock::nurudapper:
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
  2. projectmayhem

    projectmayhem Spaceman Spiff

    Any chance of you making a Tileset tutorial for making custom tilesets to use in starbound?
    GeekyRaptor likes this.
  3. xaliber

    xaliber Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Hey, I haven't been around for a couple of months here.

    Per Starbound 1.3 update, are we still advised to use Tiled v.0.15.2 or can we used newer version of Tiled (1.0.2)?
  4. Marinebeast

    Marinebeast Existential Complex

    Thank you for this! I want to start getting into making small dungeons sometime soon, so knowing how to approach this is really nice.
    I hope one of your tutorials will show how to spawn NPCs / populated dungeons, because that's what I'd like to get into!
    GeekyRaptor likes this.
  5. HerrJunky

    HerrJunky Void-Bound Voyager

    I'm sorry for not responding for so long, but here i am. :nuruhappy:
    The Problem is, that the issues why i'm recommending v0.15.2 are caused by Tiled not by Starbound, so updates to Starbound 1.3 wont change anything. But try Tiled v1.0.3 or whatever is the latest version and check wether your running into errors, if not, than you're probably good to go.
    EDIT: I've tried Tiled version 1.0.3 and it works for me. I will recommend version 1.0.3 but if you're experiencing issues, v0.15.2 is a safe option !
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
    xaliber likes this.
  6. HerrJunky

    HerrJunky Void-Bound Voyager

    Yes, you're right, i was working on different 'real-life-tasks' :nuruwink:, but i'm going to dive back into Starbound and new modding tutorials will come for sure !
  7. DeadSomething

    DeadSomething Subatomic Cosmonaut

    the tilesets aren't to be found inside starbound - i can't follow your tutorial :(
    in the folder "common\starbound\packed" are some subfolders with .png files, but not even one .json file.
    there are also folders "liquids", "materials" and "miscellaneous" too, but only .png files in them.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2017
  8. DeadSomething

    DeadSomething Subatomic Cosmonaut

    i'm currently "painting" a ship for a new race now just to see if it would even be possible. can you confirm this is a good way for creating a new ship?
  9. Enderson2795

    Enderson2795 Yeah, You!

    Hi Dead Something, I came across the same issue that you had. I just did a search in unpacked assets for materials.json and found it pretty easily. The folder with the tilesets is found at the path: unpacked assets > tilesets > packed. I hope this is helpful!
  10. DeadSomething

    DeadSomething Subatomic Cosmonaut

    thanks, i already found that all tutorials seem to assume the user already unpacked the assets (without mentioning it as a prerequisite).
  11. HerrJunky

    HerrJunky Void-Bound Voyager

    Forgot about it ! Thanks now new modders reading this tutorial should be pointed to an unpacking tutorial first. though i think new modders shouldnt start with dungeons. :nuruwink:
  12. Kordharin

    Kordharin Big Damn Hero

    It's strange… Isn't Tiled supposed to be able to open the .json files?

    The "materials.json", "liquids.json" and "miscellaneous.json" files are greyed-out. I can't select them.

    EDIT: Oh, wait… I figured it out.

    Attached Files:

  13. Joseph K

    Joseph K Giant Laser Beams

  14. SyntaxError73

    SyntaxError73 Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    I also would like to know if this works for making ships. I am uninterested in custom dungeons and I need to create a new ship for my race mod.
  15. Kordharin

    Kordharin Big Damn Hero

    I believe it does work for custom ships. All you need would be to make the different stages of the ship's layout, as well as the ship's visual appearance.

    Visual appearance is usually made as an image.
  16. golol

    golol Void-Bound Voyager

    The jsons don't appear
  17. Kordharin

    Kordharin Big Damn Hero

    Oof. Are you sure you're looking in the correct folders? Sometimes the *.json files are greyed out if you don't have the correct search mode on.

    Try clicking "Map", and then "Add External Tileset…" Go through this path: Starbound/assets/packed/tilesets/packed

    The 5 *.json files there are the ones you're looking for.
  18. ExToRtIoN_NuKeZ

    ExToRtIoN_NuKeZ Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Not sure if I have to wait for a while or not but is this normal? I've been waiting for 5 minutes straight but their .png files won't load. I'm using Tiled 1.0.1, and this problem still occurs in 1.2.1. Most likely I missed something and I might be stupid

    Attached Files:

  19. OrangeJuice

    OrangeJuice Master Chief

    Just as a PSA, Tiled 1.2.1 saves object properties with a different syntax from what Starbound uses. You need to update to version 1.2.2 and when you save your dungeon choose the JSON map file [Tiled 1.1] *.json format.

    The error you're having is that Tiled isn't finding images at the location your Tileset is telling the program to look. Tileset files should be in /Starbound/assets/packed/tilesets and the tile images should be in /Starbound/tiled/packed/materials
  20. ExToRtIoN_NuKeZ

    ExToRtIoN_NuKeZ Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Yeah I just realized that. Gosh I'm such an idiot lol

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