TileMapPattern in Godot – Complete Guide

Tilemaps are an essential component of many 2D games, especially when it comes to creating intricate and vast game worlds. In Godot 4, a new class, TileMapPattern, offers developers a powerful tool to manipulate these tilemaps with greater efficiency and ease. This tutorial will explore the capabilities of TileMapPattern, demonstrating how to leverage this class to create, modify, and optimize your 2D game worlds. Whether you are just starting on your game development journey or you are a seasoned coder looking to refine your skillset, the TileMapPattern class in Godot 4 is a valuable asset to your toolkit. So, let’s dive in and discover how TileMapPattern can enhance the way you work with tilemaps—bringing your game environments to life.

What is TileMapPattern?

The TileMapPattern class is a resource in Godot 4 which contains information about a specific arrangement of tiles, often referred to as a pattern. A pattern can be thought of like a stamp that holds a particular design—this design being made up of individual tiles that can be quickly added to or removed from your tilemap within a game project.

What is it for?

Think of TileMapPattern as a blueprint for building sections of your game world. It simplifies the process of duplicating complex sections of a tilemap, making it easier to construct large or repetitive areas without manually placing each tile. This resource is especially useful for games that rely on modular level design, where consistency and pattern repetition are crucial.

Why Should I Learn It?

Mastering the TileMapPattern class will allow you to:

– Work more efficiently by reusing tile patterns across different parts of your game.
– Handle bulk manipulations within your tilemaps, saving time and preventing errors.
– Bring a level of polish and consistency to your game’s environments that would be difficult to achieve manually.

With the TileMapPattern class, the process of level design becomes a more streamlined and enjoyable task. You can focus on the creative aspects of building your game’s world while the technical heavy lifting is handled by the class’s intuitive methods. Let’s get ready to harness the power of TileMapPattern and make your game development process smoother and more efficient!

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Creating TileMapPatterns

Before we can stamp our patterns onto the tilemap, we need to create the patterns first. Let’s dive into how we can initialize a pattern in Godot 4.

var pattern = TileMapPattern.new()

Now, we need to add tiles to our pattern. You can define a single tile or multiple tiles with their coordinates on the pattern.

# Define a single tile with a Vector2 position and cell value
pattern.set_cell(Vector2(0, 0), tile_index, flip_x, flip_y, transpose, autotile_coord)

# For multiple tiles, you can call `set_cell` multiple times
pattern.set_cell(Vector2(1, 0), another_tile_index)
pattern.set_cell(Vector2(1, 1), yet_another_tile_index)

Applying TileMapPatterns

Once our pattern is ready, we apply it to the tilemap. We use the `paint()` method, which requires the start position and the pattern itself.

var tilemap = $TileMap
tilemap.paint_pattern(Vector2(10, 10), pattern)

If you have a large pattern that needs to be stamped repeatedly across different areas of your tilemap, you’d do something like this:

var positions = [Vector2(10, 10), Vector2(20, 20), Vector2(30, 10)]
for position in positions:
    tilemap.paint_pattern(position, pattern)

Manipulating TileMapPatterns

Manipulation of patterns is equally important. Say you wish to flip or rotate a pattern before applying it. Here’s how we can achieve that:

# To flip the pattern horizontally

# To flip the pattern vertically

Rotating the pattern is as simple as:

# To rotate the pattern 90 degrees clockwise

And if you need to clear the pattern for any reason, to reset it maybe, use:


Optimizing with TileMapPatterns

Finally, you might want to optimize your tilemap by merging adjacent tiles into a single rectangle, reducing draw calls. Godot 4 facilitates this through `merge()` and `optimize()` methods:

# Merge two patterns into a new pattern
var merged_pattern = pattern.merge(another_pattern)

# Optimize the pattern to reduce draw calls

Using `optimize()` ensures your patterns are as efficient as possible, which can be critical for performance, especially in larger tilemaps.

That’s the basic rundown of creating and applying TileMapPatterns in Godot 4. These foundational skills will enable you to start crafting intricate game worlds with ease. In the next part of our tutorial, we will dive deeper into advanced pattern manipulation and optimization techniques. Stay tuned to hone your Godot 4 expertise even further!

Advanced Manipulation of TileMapPatterns

Working with TileMapPattern allows for advanced manipulations that can greatly enhance the design process. For example, you might want to combine patterns or selectively apply them based on gameplay mechanics. Here are some advanced techniques and their corresponding code:

To combine one pattern with another, the `merge` method is your go-to. This can be incredibly useful when constructing complex structures from simpler ones:

// Assume pattern and another_pattern are already defined TileMapPatterns
var combined_pattern = pattern.merge(another_pattern)

Sometimes, you might want to erase specific tiles within a pattern. This is done using the `erase_cell` method:

pattern.erase_cell(Vector2(0, 0)) // This will erase the tile at position (0,0) in the pattern

Depending on the gameplay, you might only want to stamp the pattern if certain conditions are met. Here is an example where we check if the starting position is empty before applying the pattern:

// Check if the position on the tilemap is empty before painting
if tilemap.is_cell_empty(Vector2(10, 10)):
    tilemap.paint_pattern(Vector2(10, 10), pattern)

In games with destructible environments, you might want to remove a pattern from a tilemap. We can achieve this by using the ‘erase_pattern’ method:

// Erase a previously painted pattern at the given position
tilemap.erase_pattern(Vector2(10, 10), pattern)

Querying and Using Patterns

Godot 4 allows querying the existing patterns from tilemaps which can be useful for saving states or creating dynamic environments:

// Retrieve a TileMapPattern at a specific position from the tilemap
var retrieved_pattern = tilemap.get_pattern_in_area(Rect2(Vector2(10, 10), Vector2(5, 5)))

After retrieving a pattern, you might wish to quickly verify its properties like dimensions or if it’s empty:

// Check the size of the pattern
var pattern_size = retrieved_pattern.get_size()

// Check if the pattern is empty
var is_pattern_empty = retrieved_pattern.is_empty()

To further automate level creation, you could implement logic to randomly apply different patterns, enhancing the variability and richness of your game world:

// Assuming a list of predefined TileMapPatterns
var patterns = [pattern_1, pattern_2, pattern_3]

// Randomly select and paint one of the patterns
var random_pattern = patterns[randi() % patterns.size()]
tilemap.paint_pattern(Vector2(20, 20), random_pattern)

These more complex operations allow for dynamic and sophisticated manipulation of game levels. By mastering these concepts within Godot 4, you open a new realm of possibilities for creating engaging and immersive 2D game environments.

As you grow more comfortable with TileMapPattern, combining these techniques will become second nature. The flexibility and power offered by Godot’s tilemap system make it one of the standout tools for 2D game development. Keep experimenting with these methods to see how they can fit into your unique design workflow!Moving beyond the basics, we can integrate TileMapPattern with Godot’s signal system to create responsive and evolving game environments. For instance, we can listen to specific events and alter tile patterns dynamically in response.

Consider a scenario where a pattern changes whenever a player picks up a power-up. We can connect a signal to a function that modifies the relevant patterns:

// Assume 'power_up_collected' is a signal emitted when a power-up is collected
power_up_collected.connect(self, "_on_power_up_collected")

func _on_power_up_collected():
    // Alter the pattern in a predefined way
    pattern.set_cell(Vector2(0, 0), tile_index_with_power_up_effect)
    // Repaint the altered pattern onto the tilemap
    tilemap.paint_pattern(Vector2(10, 10), pattern)

This approach offers a high degree of interactivity and can be used to make game worlds that react to player decisions, events, and other stimuli.

Working with animations within tilemaps can also enhance your gameplay. Let’s look at how you might synchronize a pattern with an animation:

// Suppose you have an animated tile at index 5 that cycles through different frames.
var animated_tile_pattern = TileMapPattern.new()
animated_tile_pattern.set_cell(Vector2(0, 0), 5)

Now, use a timer to update this pattern in sync with the tile’s animation:

var timer = Timer.new()
timer.wait_time = 0.5 // Matches the animation speed of the tile
timer.autostart = true
timer.connect("timeout", self, "_on_timer_timeout")

func _on_timer_timeout():
    tilemap.paint_pattern(Vector2(10, 10), animated_tile_pattern)
    // Your logic to move to next frame of the animated pattern

But what if we want to interact with our environment in real-time? Godot’s TileMap class makes it easy to detect and respond to mouse clicks or touches. Here’s an example of how you might change a tile in response to a user’s input:

func _input(event):
    if event is InputEventMouseButton and event.button_index == BUTTON_LEFT and event.pressed:
        var clicked_position = tilemap.world_to_map(to_local(event.position))
        var tile_to_paint = tile_index_from_user_input // This would be set based on your game logic
        pattern.set_cell(Vector2(0, 0), tile_to_paint)
        tilemap.paint_pattern(clicked_position, pattern)

For games that feature random generation of environments, TileMapPatterns are a fantastic tool. Let’s create a simple example of a randomized pattern generator function:

func generate_random_pattern(width, height, tileset_range):
    var new_pattern = TileMapPattern.new()
    for x in range(width):
        for y in range(height):
            var tile_index = randi() % tileset_range
            new_pattern.set_cell(Vector2(x, y), tile_index)
    return new_pattern

We’re not just limited to 2D arrays of tiles. Godot 4 allows us to create isometric and hexagonal tile patterns too. The technique varies slightly to accommodate the different coordinate systems:

// Example for isometric tile patterns
var iso_pattern = TileMapPattern.new()
iso_pattern.set_cell(Vector2i(0, -1), isometric_tile_index)
iso_pattern.set_cell(Vector2i(-1, 0), another_isometric_tile_index)
// And so on...

These examples display just a fraction of the possibilities offered by Godot’s TileMapPattern. As with any tool, practice and experimentation are key to utilizing its full potential. Mixing patterns, responding to user input, animating tiles, and procedural generation are all facets of the robust tilemap system within Godot. Always remember to leverage these features to their fullest to create captivating and interactive game worlds!

Continue Your Game Development Journey

Congratulations on taking these first steps into the world of Godot’s TileMapPattern! As you’ve seen, there’s a whole universe of possibilities awaiting you in the realm of game development with Godot 4.

If you’re eager to take your skills to the next level, we invite you to explore our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. This curriculum is designed to provide you with a deep dive into the broader scope of game development, covering both the foundational concepts and more advanced techniques. With a vast array of topics including 2D and 3D game creation, UI design, and genre-specific mechanics, you’ll be equipped to bring your unique game ideas to fruition.

Don’t stop here! Supplement your learning by checking out our complete collection of Godot courses. These courses are tailored for developers of all levels to learn at their own pace, securing both knowledge and hands-on experience. Whether you’re just at the start of your game development journey, or looking to polish your skills, Zenva is here to support you every step of the way. Keep learning, keep creating, and we can’t wait to see the worlds you’ll build next.


Embarking on the adventure of game development is an endlessly rewarding pursuit, and mastering tools like Godot’s TileMapPattern is a testament to your dedication to the craft. Every tiling pattern you create and every mechanics you integrate brings you closer to realizing the vibrant worlds in your imagination. Remember, with each new technique you learn, you’re not just making games—you’re crafting experiences for players to enjoy and remember.

We at Zenva are thrilled to be part of your journey and eager to provide all the resources you need to succeed. Our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree is just the beginning. So, keep experimenting, pushing the boundaries of your creativity, and most importantly, have fun doing it! The path to becoming a game development wizard is laid out before you, and we can’t wait to see where it takes you.

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