ROM Hacking Tools – Part 2: Adding tiles (A-Map)

A simple and quick guide on how to add tiles in ROM hacks!

As you may know, the graphical part of a ROM Hack is very important. It can lead a hack to success. After learning the basics of AdvanceMap, it’s time to learn how to add tiles (custom map graphics).

What we will need: AdvanceMap, TileHelperAdvance, Microsoft Paint (or any other image editing program) and of course some tiles!

Introduction to palettes

First I want to explain the use of each palette. There are 2 sets of palettes in our ROM. The first set is the palette from the number 0-6 (Tileset0). The second set is from the number 7-12 (tileset1). In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to edit the Tileset1 (so 7-12 palette). Also each palette contains 16 colors. Keep in mind that the first color in each palette is the background color and it’s transparent.

The tileset0 contains all the colors of the main tileset – for example, trees, grass, mountains, signs, etc. Tileset1 contains some colors of the secondary tileset (which differentiate based on the map you’re editing). For example, Pallet Town’s secondary tileset contains the colors of the two houses and Oak’s lab.

As I said before we are going to edit the tileset 1 (secondary tileset). However this method has some advantages and some disadvantages. In my opinion I believe that that editing the main tileset is more important but I’m showing you this method to understand the whole process.

On the one hand, editing the secondary tileset is quicker or maybe easier because there is no need to replace any of the existing tiles. Furthermore, there is more free space to add tiles. On the other hand, there is a big problem. This problem is that we can’t insert all tiles to all the maps with this method because the connection between maps wouldn’t work correctly.


Step-by-step tutorial

  • First of all find the tiles you want to use. There are a lot of artists who create tiles. Before you start, be sure that the tiles are public and it is okay to use them. You will also need credit the artists.
  • I’m going to use Magiscarf’s tiles. (Sometimes some of the tiles are totally free to use.) After finding the tiles you want to use, open your image editing program and crop the tiles you want to use.
  • Replace the background with a neutral color. I use pink. Now, save the image.1
  • After that open TileHelperAdvance. Open the image and tap “Convert tileset”.3
  • Now what? You saw a message pop up, right? Don’t worry, this is normal. Now save the new image and palette (be sure that you save the palette as an AdvanceMap file, either 1.92 or 1.95, depends on what version you’re using.)4
  • Next, open AdvanceMap and open a map. I’m going to use Pallet Town. Go ahead and tap this button.6
  • In our case we are going to select a palette from 7-12 because we want to add tiles and not replace any. I’m going to use palette 7.
  • So, go to palette 7 and select “Palettes” -> “Load current palette from file”. Then select the palette you saved with the tool TileHelperAdvance.
  • Next, go to “Picture” -> “Save tileset 2”. Select a location to save and after that, open the file just saved using your image editing program.8
  • Then paste the tiles you saved from TileHelperAdvance.
  • After that go to “Picture” -> “Load tileset 2” in AdvanceMap and select the tileset you just edited.
  • Scroll down under the palette 7. You should see your tiles there. Now scroll down the under the blocks map too until you find some free space to add the tiles. (Tip: If you can’t find free space go to Blocks -> Change amount. Then change it to the max amount.)7
  • Now, to select the tiles hold ctrl and drag with right click. Then select a free space in Block maps and left click down the “up” unless it’s a grass tile or something like that.12
  • Next, we notice that some of the tiles has a black background and will look really ugly in the map. Don’t worry! Just select a grass tile and put it under the “Down” like I did.13


You have just inserted your first tiles! It wasn’t that hard, was it?

Here is how the tiles look like in a map for our example.


This tutorial aims to help you understand how to add new tiles. However the tiles we just added is only for the maps that are using Pallet Town’s tileset (tileset 1: 0 and tileset 2: 1 at the header tab). In the next tutorial I’m going to show you how to replace the main tileset.

Edited by 5qwerty and bobandbill.