Tuesday 21 August 2007

Tileset 2: Beton


I have real news this time, Castle of Cadavers has really been in works for a week now. It looks promising! I had done many tests with various bricks for basic ground tiles, including the ones you saw a couple of blog entries before, but I came to a solution to abandon them all. Therefore the preview tiles are not going to be in the final tileset.

What has been done so far? Surprisingly, there is already 90 tiles ready for use. With those it is possible to build pretty crude castle environment, because there is basically no eye candy present, not just yet. I may show you some in-development screenshots about this stage later. Much progress must be made before the first screenshots will be released. Additionally, today I drew a landscape for a background layer. I will not go through the content not just now, as it is still a bit unfinished. I feel it is important that it is present in my tileset level tests even though it may be like 75% ready. All the black and grey is enough to make anyone annoyed! I have been keeping up a journal about the tileset progress. This prevents from forgetting stuff. For example, next I will be complaining for 1000 words about how I have forgotten everything about Beton creation progress.

Okay, Beton it is. My second official tileset, featuring a brownish ground where to walk, some concrete-like blobs for layer 4 background, and in the background layers some enormous steel elements (I wonder did anyone understand this during these years :) and mountains. I bet this tileset was far less popular compared to Aztec, as this is actually pretty little tileset with little possibilities to do exciting stuff to play. Compared to Aztec's several years of development, the first version of Beton was ready for release in one month. It is more simple than Aztec, and looking this Beton version 2 screenshot here tells everybody that the example level was build in approximately four minutes.

I have never given Beton so much attention, but I will try to concentrate to it now. It deserves it, after all. There are some things that are interesting to it. Some people may have noticed the slight resemblance between Beton and master Mez's tileset Mez03. It is not your mind playing. I tried to duplicate some parts of that tileset to Beton. Mostly the "copying" is visible in Beton ground tiles and the stuff you can put inside it. I knew it then like I know it now, the duplication is far inferior from the original. This didn't stop me much, I just drew stuff and soon after I had the finished tileset at my disposal. The finished tileset did not look so much like Mez's, so I was even happier (about not getting sued, heh). Probably inspired by Mez, there is also a night version of Beton. It looks actually better than the day counterpart. The kind Alienator of Universe Jazz gave Beton three stars, the best. Beton was first seen there around the beginning of March, 2000.
The current Beton version is, like the up-to-date Aztec, heavily modified from the original. During the years it gained 50 more tiles that are positioned in the bottom of the tileset. You could live without these late additions, but after all, they are essential tiles and should have been there in the first release. In addition, many cosmetic changes were made. The warp background, the background layer stuff and metal parts of the sucker tubes got more colours, now looking smoother than at first. The last addition, made with Energized Action, was numerous tiling problem corrections and masking corrections. The tileset is pretty much flawless now :) The final Beton is pretty nice to use. The tiles you would like to use are there, though eye-candy is still pretty scarce. I enjoyed making the pictured Energized Action level, Construction Site.

Since I am talking about Beton here, I might as well tell again the etymology of the tileset name Beton. I was a mere kid back those days (14 years), and didn't much think about the tileset names. Hence all the simple names Aztec, Beton and Rocks etc. I didn't pay much attention to the fact that there is no English word Beton. In Finnish there is, betoni. That means "concrete". Many sophisticated words (like science words) can be easily made English in Finland by taking out the last vowel of the word, like in my case 'betoni' to 'beton'. And so Beton was born.

Three songs enrich the past of Beton. One of them you have never heard in this context, the next you are very likely to be unknowing, and the last is most familiar to JJ2 community. The first track is Michiel van den Bos' "Run". Ringing any bells? :) Take your time to Google the name if you wish :) Yes, it is a track out of the original Unreal Tournament soundtrack, hailing from 1999. It was never meant to be released with the finished tileset, I just liked to hear the wonderful piece of module music while testing Beton. The next track was used in the first releases of Beton. It was called "Time Reflection" and composer was a Finnish guy Queek (of the group Probe). It was a slow track and had a dreamy atmosphere. I guess I wasn't so satisfied with it, because as of Blade's Battle Pack I Beton's official music has been "DreaM LanD" by DreaMSection. I like this track today, but it is definitely not amongst my favourite songs picked for the tilesets. Maybe I'll list these top5 songs later... Heck, I'll do it now :)

Now Blade lists his favourite JJ2 songs which he picked himself in the first place (lol)

1. World Of Dreams (Aztec)
2. The Summer Planet (Glacier)
3. Challenger (Woodlands)
4. Pools of Poison (Islands In The Sapphire Sea)
5. Static Universe (Forest)

The rest in order are: Organic (Twilight Park), Dreams Of Hope 2 (Space), Heatwave (Oasis), Mysterius Times (Rocks), DreaM LanD (Beton), System 51 (Desert) and Second Time (Wasteland).

I decided the order mostly by my affection to the songs. For example, lots of old memories surface when I listen to The Summer Planet. Some songs are just plain good, like Pools Of Poison. But more about these songs when their companions are introduced later in this blog.'

Well... what else? I think that's everything for now. See you later!

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