Are there definitive, unambiguous terms for hexagon tile orientations?

by Don Jewett   Last Updated May 17, 2018 12:13 PM

I have been working on a tile map editor and plan to support two orientations for hexagons. I have seen various terms used, but these all seem ambiguous to me.

  • Horizontal, Vertical (ambiguous: does this mean they line up horizontally, or stack horizontally?)
  • Flat, Pointed (ambiguous: Are they flat on the sides or top and bottom?)

I would like to find unambiguous terms for the following two orientations for hexagons -- ideally, these would be definitive and succinct (I could refer to these as "Flat on Top" and "Pointed on Top" but would prefer something more technical and authoritative).

Flat-Top Pointed-Top

Edit: I was holding out for something more technical, but it's hard to argue with Amit. For me, "pointed" sounds more formal than "pointy," so I am going to use the following (a decision reinforced by DMGregory's answer): Flat-top and Pointed-Top.

Answers 1

While I don't know of any truly official convention for classifying these, in the mathematical sense, I'll take Anko's advice and write up what I do know...

Amit Patel (Red Blob Games) wrote what I'd consider the definitive guide to using hexagonal grids in games. This guide uses the nomenclature:

  • flat topped
  • pointy topped

So while it's not super technical-sounding, I think it's as close to authoritative as we're likely to find. The terms are also understandable and unambiguous even without specialized technical knowledge, which is a huge win.

If you want something less informal, you could try names along the lines of "staggered columns" vs "staggered rows" but I think this is substantially less clear.

April 19, 2016 03:30 AM

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