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What advantages does this have over Unity's tilemap system?

(2 edits) (+3)

Until earlier this year my answer would have been "What tilemap system?", but now that Unity also has a tilemap system, and even extended it with support for isometric maps just 3 days ago in Unity 2018.3, it is an interesting question. If you're using Unity anyway, then I would suggest trying out both Tiled (possibly together with SuperTiled2Unity) and the Unity tilemap tools to see if you can find an answer.

In general, there are several basic advantages to using Tiled:

  • Tiled is free software. This means anybody is free to change it and to redistribute changed versions. The tool is effectively yours, while Unity is theirs. There are also no restrictions on what you can do with Tiled, or how much you can earn before it stops being free.
  • If you use Tiled, the maps you develop for your game are not locked into Unity. They are stored in the open TMX map format or as JSON, with support libraries available for most programming languages. You can develop your game using any language or framework and publish to any platform you like.
  • Tiled runs on GNU/Linux, in addition to Windows and macOS.

There are many features in Tiled that are missing in Unity's tilemap support,  but obviously Unity will have some features that Tiled doesn't currently support as well (like scripted brushes, but they will come to Tiled soon). Both projects are actively maintained and continue to be improved.

Okay, thanks for the clarification! Those are all good points.

However, Unity does run on GNU/Linux. In fact, I'm on a Linux machine right now that has Unity installed.

I'll start using Tiled next time I make a tile-heavy project :)

Alright, I had looked at the download page and did not notice a download for Linux. After some searching I've now found the beta releases for Linux on the forum. The latest one is many versions behind the macOS and Windows releases, but it did run (although I do have this problem). Anyway, it wasn't my most important point, but it does mean I may find time to try out Unity's tilemap support at some point. :-)

About tile-heavy projects, note that Tiled is also a pretty decent level editor for levels that are not tile-based. I know the name may suggest otherwise, but you can work with shapes, points, polygons and arbitrarily scaled and rotated images to build your levels. The Sticker Knight example project demonstrates this very well. In Tiled 1.2, many usability improvements have been made to this area and I do plan to expand on that in future versions as well.