Tile

Mission, or barrel, roof tiles

A tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic, clay, stone, porcelain or even glass. Tiles are generally used for covering roofs, floors, and walls, or other objects such as tabletops. The word is derived from the French word tuile, which is, in turn, from the Latin word tegula, meaning a roof tile composed of baked clay. Less precisely, the modern term can refer to any sort of construction tile or similar object, such as rectangular counters used in playing games (see tile-based game).

Tiles are often used to form wall and floor coverings, and can range from simple square tiles to complex mosaics. Tiles are most often made from ceramic, with a hard glaze finish, but other materials are also commonly used, such as glass, slate, and reformed ceramic slurry, which is cast in a mould and fired.


Roof tiles

Fancy Japanese roof tiles The largest (6000 m²)
wooden shingle roof
in Europe: Zakopane, Poland

Roof tiles are designed mainly to keep out rain, and are traditionally made from locally available materials such as clay, slate, or wood (wooden tiles are called shingles). Modern materials such as concrete and plastic are also used. Some clay tiles have a waterproof glaze.

Because of their long history, a large number of shapes (or "profiles") of roof tiles have evolved. These include:

  • Flat tiles - the simplest type, which are laid in regular overlapping rows. This profile is suitable for stone and wooden tiles, and most recently, solar cells.
  • Roman tiles - flat in the middle, with a concave curve at one end at a convex curve at the other, to allow interlocking.
  • Pantiles - with an S-shaped profile, allowing adjacent tiles to interlock. These result in a ridged pattern resembling a ploughed field.
  • Mission or barrel tiles are semi-cylindrical tiles made by forming clay around a log and laid in alternating columns of convex and concave tiles.

Roof tiles are 'hung' from the framework of a roof by fixing them with nails. The tiles are usually hung in parallel rows, with each row overlapping the row below it to exclude rainwater and to cover the nails that hold the row below.

There are also roof tiles for special positions, particularly where the planes of the several pitches meet. They include ridge, hip and valley tiles.

Floor tiles

6"x6" porcelain floor tiles

These are commonly made of ceramic, clay, porcelain or stone. Clay tiles may be painted and glazed. Small mosaic tiles may be laid in various patterns. Floor tiles are typically set into mortar consisting of sand, cement and oftentimes a latex additive for extra strength. The spaces between the tiles are nowadays filled with sanded or unsanded floor grout, but traditionally mortar was used.

See Laying tile

Wall tiles

Tilework on the wall of the Bond Street tube station

While ancient Roman building bricks were broader and thinner than modern ones and are therefore usually called tiles, the term wall tile is normally applied to finishing tiles. These are usually ceramic, but other materials such as mirrored glass or polished metal can be used. Wall tiles are usually glazed, and are often patterned by painting or embossing. Pictorial tiles, consisting of many tiles that the installer assembles like a jigsaw puzzle to form a single large picture, are available.

Modern wall tiles are fixed to a wall using a synthetic bonding agent tile adhesive for dry areas, or a cement-based mortar for areas prone to moisture, such as bath or shower walls. The spaces between the tiles are filled with a fine cement called unsanded grout. The excess grout is scraped off with a hard rubber block called a float immediately after applying; further, the grout is wiped again with a moist sponge before it completely hardens. The sponging provides added moisture to strengthen the grout as it cures. Finally, a cloth is rubbed over the wall tile to remove any haze which may remain from residual grout.

Decorative tilework

Ancient mosaic in the British Museum. Typical tilework on buildings in Santarém, Portugal.

Decorative tilework typically takes the form of mosaic upon the walls, floor, or ceiling of a building. Although decorative tilework was known and extensively practiced in the ancient world (as evidenced in the magnificent mosaics of Pompeii and Herculaneum), it perhaps reached its greatest expression during the Islamic period.

Some places, notably Portugal, have a tradition of tilework on buildings that continues today.

In the United States, decorative tiles were in vogue, especially in southern California, in the 1920s and 1930s. Prominent among art tile makers during this period was Ernest A. Batchelder.

Islamic tilework

Tilework of Hazrat Masoumeh shrine, Qom. First constructed in the late 8th century.

Perhaps because of the tenets of Moslem law (sharia) which disavow religious icons and images in favor of more abstract and universal representations of the divine, many consider decorative tilework to have reached a pinnacle of expression and detail during the Islamic period. Palaces, public buildings, and mosques were heavily decorated with dense, often massive mosaics and friezes of astonishing complexity. As both the influence and the extent of Islam spread during the Middle Ages this artistic tradition was carried along, finding expression from the gardens and courtyards of Málaga in Moorish Spain to the mosaics of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.

The mathematics of tiling

Certain shapes of tiles, most obviously rectangles, can be replicated to cover a surface with no gaps. These shapes are said to tessellate (from the Latin tessera, 'tile'). For detailed information on tilings see the tessellation page.

History of tiles

Tiles were developed as a product of earthenware pottery, either as an alternative use for fragments of broken pottery (called potsherds) or as an independent invention. Tiles have been used in construction for at least 4000 years, by the Romans, Greeks, Babylonians, Phoenicians and many other cultures.


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Tiles have been used in construction for at least 4000 years, by the Romans, Greeks, Babylonians, Phoenicians and many other cultures. This is a partial listing of them:. Tiles were developed as a product of earthenware pottery, either as an alternative use for fragments of broken pottery (called potsherds) or as an independent invention. Many communities of dedicated programmers have taken it upon themselves to patch the old Ultima games to run under modern operating systems, or to remake and/or revise their cherished series with modern gaming engines. For detailed information on tilings see the tessellation page.
. These shapes are said to tessellate (from the Latin tessera, 'tile'). In most cases, gameplay and graphics have been changed significantly.

Certain shapes of tiles, most obviously rectangles, can be replicated to cover a surface with no gaps. Console versions of Ultima have allowed further exposure to the series, especially in Japan where the games have been bestsellers and were accompanied by several tie-in products including manga based on Ultima. As both the influence and the extent of Islam spread during the Middle Ages this artistic tradition was carried along, finding expression from the gardens and courtyards of Málaga in Moorish Spain to the mosaics of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. They are The Second Age, Renaissance, Third Dawn, Lord Blackthorn's Revenge, Age of Shadows, Samurai Empire, and Ultima Online: Mondain's Legacy. Palaces, public buildings, and mosques were heavily decorated with dense, often massive mosaics and friezes of astonishing complexity. However, several expansions were released for Ultima Online, adding new features and areas to be explored. Perhaps because of the tenets of Moslem law (sharia) which disavow religious icons and images in favor of more abstract and universal representations of the divine, many consider decorative tilework to have reached a pinnacle of expression and detail during the Islamic period. UO spawned two sequel efforts that were cancelled before release: Ultima Worlds Online: Origin (cancelled in 2001) and Ultima X: Odyssey (cancelled in 2004).

Batchelder. See Ultima Online for more information. Prominent among art tile makers during this period was Ernest A. In Ultima Online, thousands of players interact online in Britannia. In the United States, decorative tiles were in vogue, especially in southern California, in the 1920s and 1930s. A MMORPG version of the world of Britannia. Some places, notably Portugal, have a tradition of tilework on buildings that continues today. There is also a substantial community of Ultima fans known as the Ultima Dragons.

Although decorative tilework was known and extensively practiced in the ancient world (as evidenced in the magnificent mosaics of Pompeii and Herculaneum), it perhaps reached its greatest expression during the Islamic period. The creator, Richard Garriott, no longer owns the rights to the game, nor participates in the development. Decorative tilework typically takes the form of mosaic upon the walls, floor, or ceiling of a building. A nickname that fans gave such trinkets is "feelies". Finally, a cloth is rubbed over the wall tile to remove any haze which may remain from residual grout. Made of metal or glass, they usually represented an important object also found within the game itself. The sponging provides added moisture to strengthen the grout as it cures. Starting with Ultima IV, small trinkets like pendants, coins and magic stones were found in the boxes.

The excess grout is scraped off with a hard rubber block called a float immediately after applying; further, the grout is wiped again with a moist sponge before it completely hardens. From Ultima II on, every main Ultima game came with a cloth map of the game world. The spaces between the tiles are filled with a fine cement called unsanded grout. The Ultima games were also famous for the trinkets included in the game boxes. Modern wall tiles are fixed to a wall using a synthetic bonding agent tile adhesive for dry areas, or a cement-based mortar for areas prone to moisture, such as bath or shower walls. The earlier Ultima games were ported to many computer types, including 8-bit Atari (Ultima I-IV), Atari ST (Ultima II-VI), Commodore 64 (Ultima I-VI), Commodore Amiga (Ultima III-VI) and IBM PC (Ultima I-V). Pictorial tiles, consisting of many tiles that the installer assembles like a jigsaw puzzle to form a single large picture, are available. All the games from Ultima VI on were developed on IBM PC compatible machines.

Wall tiles are usually glazed, and are often patterned by painting or embossing. Ultima I-V were originally developed on and released for the Apple II family of computers. These are usually ceramic, but other materials such as mirrored glass or polished metal can be used. The third and final trilogy (Ultima VII-IX), the "Age of Armageddon" (also known as The Guardian Saga), pits the Avatar against an anti-virtue deity known as the Guardian. While ancient Roman building bricks were broader and thinner than modern ones and are therefore usually called tiles, the term wall tile is normally applied to finishing tiles. The three principles of Truth, Love, and Courage echo the quests of the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion from The Wizard of Oz; though Garriott denies that they were the original source. See Laying tile
. The eight virtues are loosely based on the Hindu concept of Avatarhood, which involves sixteen paths of purification, with the final (sixteenth) path being to become one with God (according to 'the Official Book of Ultima' by Shay Addams.) The character of the Avatar is basically a Christ figure without any religious overtones.

The spaces between the tiles are nowadays filled with sanded or unsanded floor grout, but traditionally mortar was used. The character had to attain the eight virtues of honesty, compassion, valor, justice, sacrifice, honor, spirituality and humility. Floor tiles are typically set into mortar consisting of sand, cement and oftentimes a latex additive for extra strength. The next three games (Ultima IV-VI), the "Age of Enlightenment" trilogy, add a revolutionary moral element into the fantasy game genre. Small mosaic tiles may be laid in various patterns. Ironically the antagonists of the first three games appear to do nothing but reside in their castles, while the protagonist has the option of stealing and murdering. Clay tiles may be painted and glazed. The first three games (Ultima I-III), the "Age of Darkness" trilogy, are the typical "kill the evil overlord" fantasy games.

These are commonly made of ceramic, clay, porcelain or stone. The Ultima series can be divided in three parts. They include ridge, hip and valley tiles. As time passed, that hero would overcome several obstacles and fight several entities (both in Britannia and in other planes), and gain the title of Avatar, becoming the embodiment of virtues. There are also roof tiles for special positions, particularly where the planes of the several pitches meet. The ruler of that world is called Lord British, and his pleas would be answered by a stranger coming from another world known only as Earth through a magical portal. The tiles are usually hung in parallel rows, with each row overlapping the row below it to exclude rainwater and to cover the nails that hold the row below. Ultima tells the story of a hero who would be summoned by the ruler of a different world known first as Sosaria, later as Britannia, whenever troubles would arise and put in danger the peace of the land.

Roof tiles are 'hung' from the framework of a roof by fixing them with nails. . These include:. Today, Electronic Arts holds the brand. Because of their long history, a large number of shapes (or "profiles") of roof tiles have evolved. Several games of the series are considered seminal games of their genre. Some clay tiles have a waterproof glaze. Lord British.

Modern materials such as concrete and plastic are also used. Ultima was created by Richard Garriott, a.k.a. Roof tiles are designed mainly to keep out rain, and are traditionally made from locally available materials such as clay, slate, or wood (wooden tiles are called shingles). Ultima is a series of fantasy computer role-playing games from Origin Systems, Inc. . The Time Lord.
. Zipactriotl.

Tiles are most often made from ceramic, with a hard glaze finish, but other materials are also commonly used, such as glass, slate, and reformed ceramic slurry, which is cast in a mould and fired. Johann Schliemann Spector, a.k.a. Tiles are often used to form wall and floor coverings, and can range from simple square tiles to complex mosaics. Dr. Less precisely, the modern term can refer to any sort of construction tile or similar object, such as rectangular counters used in playing games (see tile-based game). Smith, Iolo's talking horse. The word is derived from the French word tuile, which is, in turn, from the Latin word tegula, meaning a roof tile composed of baked clay. Shamino.

Tiles are generally used for covering roofs, floors, and walls, or other objects such as tabletops. Minax. A tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic, clay, stone, porcelain or even glass. Mondain. Mission or barrel tiles are semi-cylindrical tiles made by forming clay around a log and laid in alternating columns of convex and concave tiles. Iolo. These result in a ridged pattern resembling a ploughed field. The Guardian.

Pantiles - with an S-shaped profile, allowing adjacent tiles to interlock. Exodus. Roman tiles - flat in the middle, with a concave curve at one end at a convex curve at the other, to allow interlocking. Dupre. This profile is suitable for stone and wooden tiles, and most recently, solar cells. Chuckles. Flat tiles - the simplest type, which are laid in regular overlapping rows. Lord British.

Lord Blackthorn. Beh Lem. Batlin. The Avatar.

EUO (website) - A MORPG based on Ultima IV and Ultima V. It tells the story of several companions of the Avatar who are notably absent from Ultimas after Ultima VII, and their quest to root out Fellowship remnants who have fled to not one, but two of the lost continents of Old Sosaria. Lost Sosaria is an expansion to the Ultima storyline being developed by Withstand the Fury Dragon and Time Immortal. (4-10-2005).

Currently the project is in the pre-planning stage. This game will be developed with the Neverwinter Nights 2 game engine (due for release in 2006) developed by Obsidian Entertainment. The goal of this project is to allow free download of a module template based on the Ultima universe for multiplayer, single player, and hosted DM-lead games. Realms of Ultima is a Persistent World Template project under development by The Grumpy Strumpet.

Ultima: The New King is a planned new adventure chronologically set after Ultima IX. Ultima IX: Redemption is an effort to create an alternative Ultima IX, writing a new ending to the series "for the fans". Titans of Ether merges two former development efforts, both based on Morrowind game engine. Currently in pre-alpha, but they have released a demo of their technical systems.

The Ultima VI Project - a remake of Ultima VI also using the Dungeon Siege engine. The game was released on the 22nd of December, 2005. Ultima V: Lazarus - A remake of Ultima V by voluntary programmers using the Microsoft Dungeon Siege engine. Currently abandoned.

The System Shock Hack Project - An open-source, work-in-progress portable Ultima Underworld (and System Shock) engine. Underworld Adventures - An open-source, work-in-progress portable Ultima Underworld engine. Pentagram (website) - An open-source, work-in-progress portable Ultima VIII engine (may later work with Crusader games, too). Exult (website) - An open-source, portable Ultima VII: The Black Gate and Serpent Isle engine (works with the expansions as well).

Nuvie - An open-source, work-in-progress portable Ultima VI engine (works with Savage Empire and Martian Dreams, too). nu5 - A planned open-source, portable Ultima V engine. xu4 - An open-source, portable Ultima IV engine. u3project - An open-source, work-in-progress portable Ultima III engine.

Ultima Classics Revisited - An open-source, work-in-progress portable engine, currently covering Akalabeth (complete) and Ultima I (partial). Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss (PlayStation) — Released in Japan only. Japan only, cancelled in the US. Ultima: The Savage Empire (SNES) — A graphical update using the Black Gate engine for the SNES.

Includes plot changes and reduction in violence. Ultima: The Black Gate (SNES) — Gameplay adapted for the game pad. Includes plot changes and reduction in violence. Ultima: The False Prophet (SNES) — Gameplay adapted for the game pad.

Ultima: Runes of Virtue 2 (Game Boy, SNES). The antagonist is called the "Black Knight.". Ultima: Runes of Virtue (Game Boy) — Non-canonical, action based gameplay and puzzle solving. Ultima: Warriors of Destiny (NES).

Ultima: Quest of the Avatar (NES, Master System). Ultima: Exodus (NES). Ultima X: Odyssey (cancelled in 2004). Worlds of Ultima III: Arthurian Legends (cancelled in 1993).

Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds (1992). Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss (1991). Ultima Underworld:

    . Worlds of Ultima II: Martian Dreams (1991).

    Worlds of Ultima: Savage Empire (1990). Worlds of Ultima:

      . Drash (1983). Ultima: Escape from Mt.

      Akalabeth (1980). Ultima IX: Ascension (1999). Ultima VIII: Pagan (1994). Ultima VII, released in two parts, The Black Gate (1992) and Serpent Isle (1993).

      Ultima VI: The False Prophet (1990). Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny (1988). Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (1985). Ultima III: Exodus (1983).

      Ultima II:The Revenge of the Enchantress (1982). Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness (1981).

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