Sunday 3 August 2008

DDD 42: Final note

42. 15 January 2008

I have started making the example single player level for Fortress of Forgotten Souls release. As I predicted, I would encounter problems and have to make changes to the tileset. So far these things have been changed from the first final version of the tileset: a bug out of the two tiles wide rocks inside the dirt ground, a new tile that makes possible to end a fence to down direction, and most of all, tiles that connect grass and brick platforms to each other. I desperately would like to add also tiles where brick wall connects to dirt wall, but there simply is not space for that :(
Making the example level has progressed poorly, when I started making the first castle part. Seems that I have lost my touch with JJ2 level making and I should take it easy. The part I did today was so lame, that I erased the whole thing, setting me back abour 20% from finalizing the level. I'll think about something better tomorrow. This example level has been in works since 12th of January, and I would believe I get to finish it by 18th or 20th.

3 August 2008 note: Yeah folks, this marks the very end of Dungeon development diary. It has been fun, I hope you had too. I am still unsure about how many people were reading this blog during the last fall and the spring because not so many commented on the entries. I, however, promised to do this, and I possibly couldn't break a promise :) Nevertheless, finishing this is a relief to me.

Strange Tales of Blade doesn't stop with this entry. There will be probably a pause in posting anything here, but when there's something to tell to Jazz2 gaming people, be sure that it will be posted here. Starting now: Developing the next tileset has begun (alongside with a new diary) ;)

Monday 21 July 2008

DDD 41: The Finishing Line

41. 12 January 2008

And so the Dungeon is finished. Or should I for once use the correct name, Fortress of Forgotten Souls. The tileset is finished at least when looking in numbers, as now all 1010 tiles are used, and would I say, efficiently. I didn't expect to finish this this early, but I spent a lot of time working on the tileset today. And voilà, this is finished. The only problem I am having now is the dysfunctional 8-bit water. It doesn't work. For some reasons the "tops" of the waves become overcoloured indicating that there is something wrong in the Fortress palette. Strangely enough, everything works underwater, the grass, warp background, dirt. All but the bricks. It remains to be seen if I intend to do something with this. I may lose some points at J2O for partially not functioning tieset palette. I doubt, however, that this is a pretty trivial problem now in the year 2008, when most of the people have very powerful computers capable of showing JJ2 in 16-bit color mode.

So, let's write down what led to the finalization of Fortress. First I drew next to the large cross a smaller grave stone. It doesn't look that spectacular, but I accepted it anyway. Then I came up with an idea of a fence which I created with haste and a small amount of tiles. In addition, it is easy to expand the fence to a complex construct, so I consider these tiles extremely well used. Then I thought about some stuff to put inside the ground and created two sets of stones, one for the masked and one for the unmasked dirt ground. They ended up looking real nice, if you restrain yourself from putting them absolutely everywhere. The darker large stone (2*2 tiles in size) is the last tile to be finished in the tileset.

At some point today I re-designed the water drops. The earlier ones looked too much like clustered water. I did some stars for a clear night sky background option. Two of the stars can be animated. Brilliantly the single animation pictures can also be used as still stars. That's genious! :)

It's also the time to think about the whole creation process of Fortress. I am pretty pleased with this finished tileset. It is extensive for varied use, lots of stuff everywhere. Although not so extensive in stuff and colors as Twilight Park was, it doesn't bother me. Fortress couldn't have been a colourful tileset at any point. I was fortunate to think about changing the warp background color to red as it provides a great change from the very greyish nature of Fortress. Now that this darker tileset is done, I can return to lighter themes, like the forgotten island I was thinking about in December.

The Fortress of Forgotten Souls shows again that it is impossible for me to stick in the plan. I made some great concept art, but in the end I didn't follow that stuff so much. Fortress looks good once finished, but on the way to finishing line I had tons of worries about the way the tileset was turning out. Mostly I am now thinking about all the missing human (or hare-like) stuff in Fortress. Originally I had ideas of skulls and bones and coffins in this tileset but at some point I just dropped the idea. It is a dark tileset, but for some reason there is no space for skeletons. Weirdly enough, in Twilight Park there was. This must mean Blade isn't that sharp after all but all soft rubber :D On the contrary to all my Fortress troubles, the grass/dirt land was created mostly without pain. It all looked very grim in October but got better after that. Because of the October grass land troubles I think I left the tileset making for a whole month.

With this diary I can track down how long it took to create Fortress of Forgotten Souls. The answer is close to 45 working sessions. I would have thought that I would have needed more sessions, but no. This means that I made the tileset at 22,444 tiles speed for one session. But now that seems to be very much. When thinking about the used time, one session took averagely some two hours. Some sessions were longer so let's keep to 2,6 hours. With this it can be calculated that Fortress is a fruit of 112,5 working hours. Again, that's not so much to me. It's like I would have done the whole thing in four days and 16 hours! This sounds absurd when remembering that Fortress was in active creation from August to January. Of course the whole Fortress process was way longer than 112 hours as the Fortress idea was conceived in December 2006. Let's think about that next.

Originally the idea for Fortress of Forgotten Souls is pretty old, probably five years. For some reason the Fortress idea came back to me after Twilight Park and in the military service (that was nine months in '06-'07) I started to think what it should look like. I had strong intentions to have the tileset ready in summer 2007 but many things got in between resulting in that I had virtually nothing done at the beginning of August. Some of the reasons are as follows. In the spring I was studying to be a student in university of economics (that was not successful). In June I was used to do nothing with the tileset but the promises for a new tileset in J2O forums kept me trying a little at least. In the summer I did only unsuccessful tries to start the stabile creation. These were the same I showed in this blog about a year ago. In addition there was trips to various places and hanging around with friends. I had no job at the time and that should have enabled me to do something, but no :) During these many years of Jazz Jackrabbit 2 tileset making I have come to realize that I have to have a strong inspiration to do even one tile that looks good. That inspiration is hard to find. As proof it has been now two years from the release of Twilight Park. Man, I am slow. It's hard to know why everything started to work in August. I just said to myself that this has to start working and then tried until it did.

There are four stages in Fortress of Forgotten Souls creation. The planning continued from December 2006 to August 2007, the first development stage in August that year, the second starting in October and lasting until November and the third development stage started in December and stopped with the finishing of Fortress today. The most important stages were the second and third where the tileset got its finalized look and I made the tileset theme clear for myself. Everything started in the first stage, but at that time things were messy and undecided.

In the first stage the basic bricks and the first graveyard background were finished. The progress was pretty good, but the happy stage of getting forward was stopped with the beginning of my studies at one particular university of applied sciences. That was indeed also very happy time with hanging out with like 50 new people from which many became my friends. Being hardly 20 years old, checking out the girls and hanging out in parties (many, many parties) took a lot of my efficient time away.

The second stage of Fortress development included a lot of improvements. The creation of dark background bricks and finalization of all masked brick tiles resulted in a somewhat working tileset. I started working with the dirt ground but lousy success in that area depleted my inspiration for some period of time. In the end of the second stage Fortress was fully playable and included all the important stuff but nothing else.

And again the place of my studies got a better of me (or more specifically, the social events surrounding the studies :) The end of November and the beginning of December had so many events in it that I was not thinking about my half-way ready tileset at all. It would seem that if I am having too much to think about, the tileset progress is in jeopardy. I can conclude, that when nothing happens in my life, tileset making is easier. In addition of the university, many computer games occupied me along the way. From August to January I actually finished all of these games: Psychonauts, Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2 Episode One, GTA San Andreas and Jade Empire. In addition, at some points of the autumn I played a lot of Stepmania, the PlayStation2 dance mat game converted to personal computers. All of these games took tons of my time, and especially while playing San Andreas it was more fun to return to that game, not to Paint Shop Pro and Fortress.

The third and last stage of Fortress development got its full power from the christmas vacation, a time when all the social stuff ceased for a few weeks. At the same time I got a great mood of doing something new to the tileset every day. The third stage included at last success with the dirt/grass ground, almost all eye candy (with the exception of the spider web I designed in October). As you can observe from this blog, every screenshot of Fortress here looks simple before getting to the end of December. Finally I got the background layer stuff in order, that had bugged me since the beginning of making of Fortress. Even this stage included some paralyzing phases but for some reason this time the recovery (heh) did not take weeks, but days. And so we arrive at this point we're standing now.

I haven't started making the example single player level yet, but that shouldn't take too long. The thing that will take more time is that making the example level is actually beta testing of my tileset. I don't need to externalize the beta testing as I discover all the problems when moving forward with the level design. For this reason it is important to make a good and varied level for the tileset release. I can notice that I need some new tiles, but there is not much space to juggle with. Still I am greatly bothered by the 8-bit color mode related problems, but I will probably just ignore the whole thing. 

I have liked a lot of making this tileset, and at this point I believe I will be back with more tilesets soon enough. At that time my operation system has changed to Windows Vista and my monitor is a widescreen one, but I am not yet ready to say goodbye to Jazz Jackrabbit 2. If I have been in the circles for a ten years, why stop now? I know that someday the last of my tilesets will be released, but I will not bother myself of thinking about that. Until that time I will enjoy drawing these tileset, seeing them become better day by day and finally see the opinions of JJ2 community at Jazz2Online. Finishing a tileset (Fortress was finished quite exactly at 22:02 tonight) is one of the most rewarding experiences I know. Why, that's a harder question. It could be the striving to make a finished product for so long and starting from a point where the tileset looks impossible to make reality. The strong effort turns into something tangible, that's just something.

This entry is not the last in this Fortress creation blog, although the end is very near. If I write something here after this, that's because of the little things added alongside with making of the example level for J2O release. The last spring, when I published the idea of making a tileset creation diary, I soon came to thoughts that maybe the promise was not a good thing. I am beginning to see that this is not the case. If these texts and images survive in my hard drives or in the internet for long enough, these will be a lot of fun to browse through. All the other folks could be more interested in comparing the screenshots.

So, thank you and goodbye! Making of Fortress of Forgotten Souls was a great part of my life in the autumn 2007, and I had a lot of fun. To the very end I add some music I was listening when making this tileset. Usually I keep my Winamp running all the time I am making tilesets, but only certain tracks deserve mentioning here. The numbers mark the stages these songs influenced. The X's cannot be affliated with any stage. I love all of these songs, they gave me a fire giant strength for all the fall :) 

1. In Flames - Suburban Me
1. Second Spring - Irresistible

2. Mike Foyle - Shipwrecked (John O'Callaghan vs. Mike FOyle Club Mix) or (Gareth Emery Remix)
2. Mike Foyle - Love Theme Dusk

3. Norther - Going Nowhere
3. The Mystery - Feel 4 You (Original Vocal Mix)
3. Loituma - Ievas Polka (Basshunter Remix)

X. Woody Van Eyden - Unfinished Symphony
X. Kissogram vs. Woody - If I Had Known This Before (Woody's Fumakilla XTC-Express-MiX)
X. Led Zeppelin - When The Levee Breaks
X. Led Zeppelin - Good Times Bad Times

Sunday 22 June 2008

DDD 40: Bunch o' gravestones

40. 11 January 2008

A creative day in perspective of tileset progression, although not so much space was used. I did a small stone for layer three and two gravestones for layer four. The cross and the gravestone were created easily with help of reference pictures found with browsing Google. Especially the gravestone looks good. The cross isn't bad, but its shape brings jawed edges and even my beloved anti-alias drawing style didn't cover it all up. Now there are 46 tiles of empty space. This is just great :)

22 June 2008 note: that gravestone I am talking about in this entry is seen in the 36th screenshot provided above. The text is actually just font Symbol, and it reads Hyvä Tampere, meant to mean "Good job, Tampere". Tampere is a city located in Finland. The reason this text is there is unknown for me. I could have put there something that would have amused me or mean something to me or somebody else, like the whole JJ2 community, but for some damned reason I just came up with this, and put it to the tileset :)

Thursday 19 June 2008

DDD 39: Trees

39. 9 January 2008

Nothing else today but making of three different trees for layer four. It was actually very simple task, but full of working in pixel size scale. There are possibilities to add the trees to brick and sand ground. 67 tiles to go!

19 June 2008 note: Dungeon development diary is going to be back for three times after this entry. To your knowledge, the entry going with number 41 is a gigantic text about finishing Fortress of Forgotten Souls and if this development hasn't been interesting, that entry might be :)

Wednesday 18 June 2008

DDD 38: Small but vital additions

38. 8 January 2008

The updates today are small in size, but still a good start for the eye candy part of Dungeon. I have 98 tiles empty space (aiming for the size 1010 tiles like before) left to work with. I did some grass and weed originally for layer five, but they fit well the the fourth one also. In addition I made the tileset more efficient by replacing duplicate tiles with actually new ones, like the normal brick platform can no grow grass. Brilliant idea to my opinion, and I can't believe I didn't think of it earlier. The 34th screenshot shows these fractures a bit.

I did some foreground stones for layer three and two spiky bushes for layer four. They proved to be a nice addition to the tileset. Tweaking the warp background, smoothing of sawed edges. The last thing I did for today was a gravestone for layer three that looks like a milestone.

Sunday 15 June 2008

DDD 37: Ditching the wall

37. 7 January 2008

I have been working in the past days without making diary entries. I am summing it up now. For example, I was completely broken yesterday so that I had no intentions on writing anything anywhere. I almost didn't have the motivation to draw, but I did the sloping grass lands anyway. Today the slopes got their rocks on them, and a new eye candy element window was finished very quickly. 32th screenshot show that the dirt ground can now be shadowed, if there are bricks above.

The biggest change in Dungeon for a while was scrapping the layer six great wall. I came to that solution when I couldn't make it look good enough in the time I was concentrating on it. So it had to be a bad idea. I replaced the wall with near layer 5 gravestones and normal stones, and the result looks magnificent. This is the way it should go. With the background stuff finished, I can finish the last remaining tiles, eye candy tiles. The layer 5 can get something more, and I will add for the level makers convenience an option to not to use the warp background. Stars and moon will appear. Maybe I'll update the rain tiles.

Saturday 14 June 2008

DDD 36: Concentrating on background stuff

36. 5 January 2008

I didn't have so much time to give to Dungeon today, but the following was done. The warp background, as I said yesterday, came easily to its final smooth version. I did a 512*512 tiling texture with the program XFader giving the brightest and darkest colors for it from my 8 bit Dungeon palette. After this reducing the color scale with Paint Shop Pro 8 was easy and was finished with haste. The earlier version looked rude, because I had done the palette entries for the warp background before and then copy-pasted Twilight Park's warp background with the PSP8 function "maintain indexes". Result - real bad. A mysterious bug breaks the 8-bit warping background every now and then, but it seems that I can fix the problem every time it occurs. Annoying it is of course. This happens when I save the source image file .pcx.

I also made towers for layer six wall. They look somewhat good, but I should not let them be just yet. I probably don't have to shade them so that they seem round. Overall the layer six wall disturbs me. I still have to find good ways to make it look more logical and prettier.

My christmas break from my university of applied sciences is ending soon. I hope the tileset progress doesn't get halted because of it. This could be possible, but I now that I finished Jade Empire in a week (yes, I managed to play it simultaneously with the creation of Fortress of Forgotten Souls :P), I have no intention on starting to play some new game and get carried away with it, like GTA: San Andreas kind of did. I have recently acquired Elder Scrolls VI: Oblivion Game of the Year Edition, and starting to play that now could prove a bad decision :)

Wednesday 11 June 2008

DDD 35: 8 bit points of interest

35. 4 January 2008

I fixed the palette, and now I at least won the "7 colors too much" notification from the tileset compilation window. To my luck the 8 bit version is now closer to my vision (the one I actually drew!) when compared to the 16 bit color circus! What the heck is going on with this thing?! Anyway, I finished the layer 7 and there shouldn't be anything to be fixed anymore. I dreamt about a background castle, but when I drew one, it didn't look good enough. I feel that when the other tiles in the background are so simple, I can't even create a good looking castle. Maybe some palette tweaking could result in something good but at this point I didn't consider it worth of my time. We'll see if this continues to bother me.

I also noticed, that the warping background looks good with the background stuff I been creating in the last days. In addition the 8 bit warp background doesn't fully work. Maybe fixing that will help with the mysterious 8 bit - 16 bit color problem. Maybe. I don't know what to expect anymore. Now I feel I would make the warp background again from the beginning but with the current palette colors. That is pretty easy job when I get started with it. After that I must concentrate on the last of the last essential tiles and eye candy. I think I need a sloping grassland tiles, so that the grass scenery would not look blocky. There is no possibility to add a sloping sand land. I feel I would not have the space for the ordinary sloping land. Finally I must think about possibility to look through the ground insides, where players can explore sand and gravel. Some empty spots to see through to the graveyard? Anyway, finishing of Dungeon draws close.

Friday 6 June 2008

DDD 34: Mysterious color problem

34. 3 January 2008

Not so much new in the tileset today, shadows for hills in the layer 7. The rest of the time I tried to fix the mysterious color problem. Check the screenshot for more information on that weirdness. It occurred to me that the strange color tile (positioned 10, 97 in Fortress Of Forgotten Souls) is causing this and I decided to create it anew. I copied the color tile from Twilight Park with Paint Shop Pro 8's maintain indexes -conversion. I probably have to check if all colors in the palette really are in that tile. I'll save that for later moments with more motivation.

Thursday 5 June 2008

Tileset 6: Wasteland

Finding the fun in writing these retrospective entries again, I am back to tell you all about Wasteland I can remember.

I still amaze myself sometimes with my working esteem back in the days (essentially year 2000). A whole lot of tilesets in addition with several single player things and battle packs. Between the fifth Blade tileset Desert and the next tileset Wasteland, I took some time to create the much praised Blade's Battle Pack. Nowadays I am pretty critical on anything about the Blade's Battle Packs. I think it's generally very okay, since they are made in a early point of my tileset making "career" and include the first, and also less developed tilesets and levels made by me. In addition, today I appreciate single player levels over battle levels. This opinion really could drive me into creating Energized Action 2! :) That'd be fun, I've made three more tilesets since that 2003 level pack.

It is likely that Wasteland was under development simultaneously with Blade's Battle Pack. My notes say that it took me one month to make Wasteland, a pretty long development cycle comparing to earlier releases. Not to complain, because I would release the seveth tileset, Woodlands, seven months after Wasteland. And from that, you all know, the developing times tended to stretch longer and longer. The thought about a techno style tileset is probably inspired by Dethman's famous 7th Lava Fall tileset, a truly classic Jazz Jackrabbit 2 tileset even with its flaws of somewhat raw structure (my guess about that: imported graphics from another application and dropping down the color amounts). I feel I could mime 7th Lava Fall way better nowadays, but at the end of 2000, Wasteland was all I could do. Not that I was making a copy anyway :) I was satisfied with the finished Wasteland. It is my first tileset that starts to resemble my later tilesets. This is because during Wasteland creation process I suddenly noticed, that I am not using enough shades of each colors. This made me move from the regular 8 shades of each colors (JJ2 basic palette had previously dictated my shade use) to 16 shades per colour. I had started to make the basic tiles of Wasteland but then took some time to enhance the tiles with more colors. The picture here shows a part of the original mask picture of Wasteland. It still has the 6-shade versions of all tiles. The result was superior comparing to my earlier works, and actually this led me to update all the warp backgrounds of the previous tilesets. I shipped those new versions with Blade's Battle Pack 2 in early 2001.

There is not much to tell about the drawing process, I feel it progressed very smoothly. Apart from the enhanced colors, there is little new in Wasteland. It is a basic block structure tileset like Aztec and Rocks. Tilesets like that are easy to start with and continue. To think it, the pipes are a new and essential thing to my tilesets. They play a important role in masked tiles and as well as eye candy. When making a Wasteland level, pipes and the background metal blocks must be used creatively as no else eye candy is available. I probably started to make the tileset a way where I did not plan any special eye candy stuff in it, and hence I couldn't think of anything when the tileset creation progressed.

From all of my tilesets, it feels like it is Wasteland I couldn't lay down to rest. There was always something to mess with. The basic versions of Wasteland are very alike. The initial release was released in 10 November 2000, as a expansion to Blade's Battle Pack - something I wouldn't have done today. Those battle level compilations were a honour thing for me back then, for the time of 2000-2001, and after that I have concentrated on the single player side of Jazz Jackrabbit 2 as it is closer what I would like to play. Released as "Wasteland" in Jazz2Online, it fared pretty good. Scored with 8.4, it was my top tileset achievement at that point. Like with the other tilesets, a got a lot of positive feedback on Wasteland. That has always encouraged me to create even more tilesets. After the first release a slight update was with Blade's Battle Pack 2 in February 2001, and finally that final release with Energized Action in 2003. My tileset building was pretty established at the end of 2000, and I didn't need to change much, only some little mask problems with tiles representing vines.

Wasteland is also pretty rich with unreleased or semireleased add-ons. Many of you may remember the Wasteland Second Edition. Remaining still on my computer, withdrawn from the Internet, I can get the information that I made that version in July 2001, most probably just after Woodlands release. Leaving Wasteland without background stuff bothered me half an year, and in the summer 2001 I tried to fix my previous decisions to what I thought was best for the tileset. So I added stuff for two background layers by actually copying the round hills from Desert and creating weird looking factory buildings. I added the new Second Edition to Blade's Battle Pack 2 with the release of Forest in September 2001. People at Jazz2Online seemed not to like much the update and this quickly led me to abandon the Second Edition. The strongest thing I did was not to include the hills and the "giant paper bags with straws", like Cell wittingly said, to the definitive release Energized Action. Summing this mess up, I was not completely satisfied with the lack of background stuff in Wasteland. That led me to create that missing art, but didn't notice them to be unimportant early enough. and lo, the Second Edition mess is complete.

A Wasteland Evening was also made. I never released as I looked it as a test would it look interesting enough. I thought not, because a color modification should change lots of colors, but in Wasteland's case, there was only on used, grey. It is a miracle I managed to make Wasteland look interesting with basically one color. So, Wasteland Evening exists and works well with this more warmer appearance. The screenshot here shows the tileset applied on Energized Action level "Grey Matter Adventure". Also the Second Edition screenshot was based on the level by the way.

Like with Desert, I chose a work of the Finnish artist Quasian for Wasteland. Called "Second Time", I actually used it as a music in my less known capture the flag level Blast The Bunny. In short, I created it because I wanted to use Mez's MEZ02 better I did in an ancient SP episode of mine "Another Dimension", in secret level "Hulabaloo". Accessed from the first level, "Spike Beach". The reason for re-use was simple, I thought Second Time fitted Wasteland good, and no one would mind if I would have same music in two levels. Especially when Blast the Bunny was not so popular amongst J2O community.

5 June 2008 note: As I am now talking about the block structure tilesets, I could notify you about my future tileset plans. I have told you about Winter War and Seven Depths of Abomination plans, but there are also thoughts on revisiting Aztec and making it new and shining. That'd be cool, maybe it could be a anniversary release in 2010 :D In the mean time, maybe I take that Viking idea you've been telling me about into consideration... :)

Tuesday 3 June 2008

DDD 33: Background taking shape

33. 2 January 2008

Background work, the real stuff. The layer 5 trees got shadows and hanging vegetation and by instant the picture for that layer was close to being finished. There can still be something that needs tweaking, but layer 5 is finished after I've done some gravestones to break the 2D-ness of the picture. The tree shadows antialiasing took a long while, so that remains the largest effort to Dungeon that I made today.

I also tested how the castle wall in layer 6 should look like. I made four different variations, but nothing seemed to look good and fitting. For now I decided that the wall should be of clean color with only texturing in some places like the 28th development screenshot shows.

I did a few tricks to layer 7 material. It is now eight tiles wide and some distant trees and stones were made. Even though not finished, the background layers look good together already. Ditching the old graveyard was a right decision. I have a really good feeling about the progress of Dungeon and there should not be a long time until the tileset release. Personal matters could still interfere with this, but I hope not. For your knowledge, there is one particular girl who is responsible for Dungeon release delayment for even two months :D

Sunday 1 June 2008

Tileset 5: Desert

I am paying a visit to my old computer and so I can now explain something about tileset five, Desert.

Pretty soon after finishing Glacier in early September 2000, I started to think about the next tileset. There is little information left what were the alternatives I thought about concentrating on, but making the decision didn't take long keeping in mind that the first released Desert version was done on 29 September 2000. I have notes that say that finishing this tileset took a long time. Heh, "hardly" says Blade in 2008. The initial inspiration to start making the tileset was once again influenced by Donald Duck comic artist Don Rosa with his series "The Three Caballeros Ride Again", published in Finland just at that time. What impressed me in that was the way all the Mexican cliffs and rocks were drawn. They were done a way I thought would look cool in a new tileset. Mostly I replicated Don Rosa's style in the background layer desert landscape. Many of you who can get your hands on the particular comic series will probably not recognise any similarities with what I did with Desert and what is in "The Three Caballeros Ride Again", but there they are, Don Rosa influences.

In many ways I consider Glacier and Desert brother tilesets. They are of the same size, contain same type of tiles (I've always had the feeling that Desert is Glacier turned hotter) and have similar eye candy content all the way to the lone flower. They were released between small intervals. From these two, Glacier has always been more pleasing to me and Desert is some kind of middle work with little progress in graphics compared to the previous release. Apart from all this bashing Desert still achieves a nice atmosphere and the tileset can be used to make a good basic desert level in your episode :) In my case, Energized Action. What was new in Desert was the tampering of the original Jazz Jackrabbit 2 palette color entries. For unknown reason I changed only the greens that affect barrels. Pretty surely it is accidential that the result made the tileset feel dryer as anything that would appear lush and lively (foods and carrots) now look like they have had lots of heat in the recent time and not so much water.

I released Desert in Jazz2Online for the first time in 29 September 2000. Since then there have been at least three new versions. All the versions are 1; the initial release, 2; Blade's Battle Pack update in late 2000, 3; Blade's Battle Pack 2 update in early 2001 and 4; Energized Action final version from 2003. The initial release in Jazz2Online was in fact named "Burning Desert" emphasizing the fact that I no longer released my tileset with useless example levels, but functioning battle levels. This was done for the first time in the later releases of Glacier. I started to do this because the fall 2000 was my "golden time" in Jazz Jackrabbit 2 Internet multiplayer. Although never really becoming a formidable Jazz2 internet player and never joining any clans, I had lots of fun (e.g. Blade & Aiko tha iSDN Army (tm) :P). For the Internet reasons I started concentrating on battle levels and this later resulted in creation of the Blade's Battle Pack - well - battle packs.

Burning Desert did well in J2O. Today it has a average score of 8 with seven reviewers. Some remarks were made on the music choice and the eye candy content. As many of my early tilesets, Desert had many problems I left undealt. A major one was the broken warp background in 8 bit color modes. This was finally fixed with the Blade's Battle Pack update with the JJ2 community figure Iceman's aid. The next time Desert popped into general public in Blade's Battle Pack 2 with 20 more tiles. These are 100 per cent essential tiles that should have been in the first release. Like with rest of my tilesets, a final version of Desert was released with Energized Action single player episode in 2003. As I was starting to get better in planning my releases, not so much changes were made to Desert version 3. The new 4 updated the masking to flawless and added further 10 more essential tiles. Nothing mind blowing, but especially dealing with flawed masks is really important for comfortable use of any tileset. It appears that I had some plans on making a night version of Desert. A file named DesertNight.pcx on my computer indicates this, although the insides is identical with the day version.

The above screenshot of Burning Desert exhibits the first version charasteristics of Desert. Here the altered basic color entries are visible with the brown barrel and the first version warp background is less smooth than it would later be. Mostly, as I told before, the largest changes made in Desert over the years remain in the mask side of the tileset.

There is not much to say about the music choice of Desert, System 51. Is is an energetic rock release from Finnish musician Quasian. I have no clue how I came across this release, but one possibility is that I was browsing through Assembly computer event (held every year in Helsinki, Finland) music competitions, where Quasian had success in 1998 with this track. In today's point of view I feel System 51 is way too loud and restless. Today I'd choose something more smooth but oh well, seven and half years have passed. Quasian seems to be so different name, that Google finds him easily. There's a homepage left at and a entry in

Wednesday 28 May 2008

DDD 32: Introducing new graveyard

32. 31 December 2007

This year's last Dungeon modification contains making of layer 5 content. I started to make it as its own creation, but soon I realized I could use some of the old gravestones and such in this new edition. I am highly satisfied with noticing this, as I could add the crying angel back to the tileset. The new graveyard looks good, even though it is not finished. I have to shadow the trees better than I did before, and I should look can I get some leaves hanging from the trees. Additionally there has to be stones of different sizes everywhere so that the whole picture would not look like a flat painting (which it is of course :) This new graveyard is also more efficient (less green, more stuff) and contributes more to the Dungeon atmosphere and to the background idea which I am planning. The old one had too distant trees to put together with the great wall.

As a real surprise I noticed that I am not satisfied with the background grass green shade. It puzzles me as I just a while ago edited the color of this background to a better one. From the old screenshots I can see, that I changed the shade, but now this change seems to have reverted itself. The differentiation is visible when when one changes the colors to 8 bit mode. The background grass looks much better then. I must start modifying the palette, no one plays Jazz Jackrabbit 2 with 8 bit colours anymore.

28 May 2008 note: this diary entry introduces for the first time the Fortress of Forgotten Souls unfinished background structure with the castle walls in layer 6. Ultimately I abandoned this design because of I couldn't make the wall work. It did not look good at any point. Additionally a constant wall in the background wouldn't have done anything good for the big picture of the Fortress tileset as I have all the time planned that players should be allowed to exit the great decaying castles of Fortress of Forgotten Souls. A wall in the background layer would have destroyed that feeling for sure. More notes about the wall will ensue and you will read about the thinking that led to the wall abandonment.

Monday 26 May 2008

DDD 31: Dirt ground starts to work

31. 30 December 2007

I accidentially made a better hook than I made yesterday. The new circle is now a hook, and the earlier hook got demoted to a generic chain. I added vegetation to come out of the pillars and quickly it started to look good and not many tiles were wasted for that. Now there is more possibilities to mesh sand and grass lands. I will search for more ideas from the concept drawings in the coming days.

In the evening I made some essential mask tiles for the dirt ground and finally the flawed layer 4 foreground bricks were fixed (no annoying lines visible). One big change is that I dumped the current graveyard background picture, which I thought was good, especially the crying angel. It is not good enough and I've been thinking of changing it for a long time. The 26. screenshot shows that I am proceeding with the way of the first concept drawing. Layer 5 with big trees, rocks and tombstones. Layer 6 has a walls of a castle and layer 6 distant trees and maybe that faraway castle :)

I am now satisfied with the dirt ground even when I first thought it was missing something instrumental. Somehow all the puzzle pieces are now in order and the whole thing works. The simple texture is there in a small, but important role. Now I add the eye candy and everything really starts to work for itself!

Friday 23 May 2008

DDD 30: Chain works

30. 29 December 2007

Chain works. I did a vertical chain for the foreground layers and the big chains endings, if somebody would like to use things like that. The vertical chains must have something more, even though they work even now as eye candy and hook events. I wouldn't like those to be layer 4 stuff, but there is little to be done about that. Maybe some invisible (masked) tiles will fix this.

23 May 2008 note: All those "Dungeon Development Diary Entries" look boring. Good names from now on. I also consider to change the earlier names to different ones.

Wednesday 21 May 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 29

29. 28 December 2007

I did no eye candy after all. I noticed I still miss dirt ground essential tiles. So I ended up creating dirt land connections for vines and poles and spikes for grass and sand. I also had to better pillar connectivity with the dirt land. Even though lots of eye candy is yet to be made, the dirt ground works now really fine. Unlike I planned in the concepts, this dirt land doesn't feel like a wilderness between castles. Maybe when I get into the eye candy drawing this feeling will improve. I also thought that it would be idiotic to prevent the players from getting inside the inner dark dirt ground. And now when I have come to this conclusion, it is idiotic for not to create dark dirt ground floor tiles. If I don't do them, the dark dirt ground can be used only in the bottom of levels, and that just won't do.

So there are still some essential tiles to do before the turn shifts to eye candy. Now I really know this all is going to get really crammed up. I fear that I can't sacrifice space for layer 4 trees. They would be cool, but the eternal space issue prevails. What can I do with the layers 5-7 drawings? I see no space for them either :S

In the evening I added some tiles to Dungeon. Now I have the inner dirt ground floor tiles, and it is possible to wander inside the ground (some maskwork and voilá). It looks like it's important to do heavily cornered work in there, otherwise everything looks dull. Maybe some eye candy could improve that section as well. Although I know there can't be vine and pole tiles for the insides, but something has to be added.

Tuesday 20 May 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 28

28. 27 December 2007

At last back in the Dungeon creation business. The simplicity of the dirt ground has been bothering me now for a long time, and now it seems that the solution is to add pixels here and there. The result would look like sand. Maybe not the most beautiful one but it seems to work just fine. Next I should be drawing many kinds of props so that the player's attention is in them, not the ground itself.

I added today a possibility to add background dark bricks and pillars to the dirt ground. Right now connecting pillars to dirt ground generates a continuity problem in the pillar bricks. I will see that closer later or not. The problem doesn't bother me that much.

I can't make any more essential or heavily masked tiles for Dungeon anymore. Everything must do something with the eye candy unless I want my remaining space to be wasted. I have left something like 230 tiles of free space and that is way too low in comparison to the amount of eye candy I initially planned to create.

20 May 2008 note: I planned this entry to look into Desert, but I did not have the material I need for that article on my current computer. The Desert and the other tileset entries are back soon enough...

Monday 19 May 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 27

27. 19 December 2007

No progress in the tileset in while, unfortunately. I've been working with the Christmas time calendar and certain real life events and parties took my concentration away from Dungeon pretty effectively. In addition a game named GTA: San Andreas was too good to be resisted. But now at the brink of my two week Christmas vacation I believe that there will be lots of progress in the tileset creation. At least I don't have much to do for the Christmas time calendar anymore.

A few weeks earlier invented the name for Dungeon. It just came to my mind in a far away place called Leppävaara. "Fortress of Forgotten Glory" was what I had in mind. Unfortunately I can't say really if that is the original idea, most probably is. I didn't write the original invention anywhere. Stupid me :) But now as I was writing this entry, I came up with "Dungeon of Forgotten Souls". This could be it, depending on how I plan to finish the tileset.

As I was accidentially listening to Rhapsody's "Heroes Of The Lost Valley" I started to think that would I here have the idea for the next tileset after Dungeon? It made me think of Don Rosa's Donald Duck adventure "
Escape from Forbidden Valley". A green valley with mountains around. Exotic animals, plants, trees and a colourful sky. Would be great to create.

A late addition: How about my old thoughts from the time when Dungeon was competing with these? I can't forget the idea of "Winter War". The cave tileset "Seven Depths" would be something different also (when I differentiate it from Damn tilesets)

Saturday 17 May 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 26

26. 20 November 2007

Many improvements are made with the dirt ground and now it works pretty seamlessly. I only miss the diagonal grounds, which have to be there before the finishing. Some problems remain. The the dirt ground looks too simple (That reminds me of Islands In The Sapphire Sea but as even more simplified) and the too symmetric placement of stones. The background layer graveyard finally got a better shade of green. Candy Chateau colors, begone!

17 May 2008 note: This entry ends second round of the development of Fortress of Forgotten Souls. The first was a short period in August and this second lasted about a month in October and November. Next time I would continue creating Fortress would be in the end of December. There were real life situations hindering, although nothing unpleasant. Only in the delay of Fortress of Forgotten Souls. This blog of course returns before one month is passed :)

Wednesday 14 May 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 25

25. 19 November 2007

Amusingly, my good feelings turned fast to negative feelings. The first dirt ground lawns looked pretty when I first made them, but the next three started to look very repetitive. Luckily my problem gets fixed when I change the places of stones on the lawn. So far I have only the basic land and decision must be made how extensive will the dirt ground theme be. And once again, I start to think about the space issues. This is quite the roller coaster!

The screenshot today shows crudely how I plan to proceed with my tileset. First will come the dirt walls, and I have to think, will I add dirt ceilings. Oh darn, there must be ceilings. But when all the utmost necessary tiles are done, I must concentrate on eye candy and the background layer stuff. Quite surprisingly at that point I have a finished tileset!

P.S.: Phew, I already forgot the sand land :S What will I do with that, I would very much like to add it to Dungeon...

Wednesday 23 April 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 24

24. 18th November 2007

Not much progress for today, but the little that was done was real important. The previous candy land ground I starting to shape up with a way that fits the tileset perfectly. At this point I couldn't figure out a texture for the inside ground but that I can worry later (yeah, really WORRY, because the Twilight Park texture took a huge amount of space). Right now I hide the single colouredness with skillful application of rocks and roots. Looks like I am influenced of the magnificent Swamp of the Sleeping Jaguar and my dear own Islands in the Sapphire Sea :)

Today I didn't worry so much about the space problems. Especially if I keep the outdoor tiles in order and won't let them grow too many, there should not be any problems! I am doing really fine now and it feels good to continue from this point forward knowing that I am doing a whole lot of good work.

Sunday 20 April 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 23

23. 17th November 2007

I had the joy of creating eye candy today. The pillars I have in the tileset got now additional broken versions to make the feeling of an old place more believable. Also the diagonal chain for foreground layers was done and that ended up looking way better I had imagined in my plans. There is also a vegetated version but that still needs some tuning. As the third thing for today the dirt ground is now clearly darker, and now it fits with everything else in Dungeon, and doesn't look like you've jumped from Apogee's Monster Bash to Mr. Dark's Candy Chateau :)

Friday 18 April 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 22

22. 16th November 2007

Howdy folks. This day's work included a lot of routine work with adding pole tiles to the Dungeon. Shocking or not, this was completed with copying the Twilight Park poles and changing the colors. The dumb wooden signs were changed to metallic or stoney, whatever one wants to think.

The concern about space is now even more increased. I am pretty sure that I do not have the space for everything I am planning for Dungeon. Actually I am 100 per cent sure, but there are things easier to forget than others. The question is, what to lose.

This day marks the day of first experiment with the dirt ground. Right now it is way too bright and its green grass is very much too green, like that of Sonic the Hedgehog. This leads me to change the 32 greens I have stored in Dungeon palette to more darker of grayish. Speaking of space troubles, I don't have the space to make the outeriors as detailed as I would like to. But let's wait and see how this turns out. Maybe it will not matter in the end. The whole idea of the dirt ground is to offer pauses from the dark insides of the Dungeon. I could probably achieve a atmosphere in which the player feels of going from a castle to another. That would be enough.

Thursday 17 April 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 21

21. 12 November 2007

I made the Prince of Persia spikes I mentioned earlier. Two versions to be exact. It is unsure if I should animate them also, that would be cool. I created more essential tiles in form of signs, but this first version was bad, as it was made of wood. How could there possibly be left anything wooden after people have left the place hundreds of years before? :) Finally, arrows for level makers to give directions were done with ease. They look nice, though.

As I finish poles and signs, I am starting to have all the essential tiles I need. What would I still need? Answer after looking a while at Twilight Park: Looks like I miss some good looking destruct scenery blocks and the vertical chains with a tile that would work with the hook event.

17th April 2008 note: Sorry pals, no picture today! But worry not, there are still like 20 screenshots to show.

Tuesday 15 April 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 20

20. 10th November 2007

Today and yesterday the tiles for event 'vine' were created (for some reason I did not make a diary entry yesterday). They are chains and I am thinking of using the same chain theme for a vertical version and to foreground eyecandy as well. I am again pondering the 1010 tile limit I am having with Dungeon. This starts to affect everything I am doing with the source picture (I have always used pcx format (Zsoft Paintbrush) in this phase, by the way). How do I fit all the planned tiles in this small space. The outside areas! Eyecandy! The tileset's going to be stuffed!

Anyway, the vine chains work well. I created also the first iterations of spikes. I feel unsatisfied with them, because they are nowhere near the creativeness of like Twilight Park's spikes (The sharp gardening equipment). These probably will stay the same till the release, but for the wider ground I'll make larger spikes. Maybe swords sticking out of the bricks? Or while I'm at it, I could design some Prince of Persia influenced long, nasty looking spikes. Yeah, that must be the way. I could put a skull hanging in a spike, aloso. Yeah, that sounds cool :)

15th April 2008 note: I feel sorry for not making the hanging skull idea reality. However, in the final release there are no signs of anything that would be like remains of people, and for that reason the lonely skull would not probably have fitted the tileset that greatly.

Friday 11 April 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 19

19. 8th November 2007

The progress today was small. I started to create destruct sceneries with ambition, but the start with copying the old blocks from Twilight Park and changing colors produced way too bright tiles. I have to darken these or make completely new ones. Now I wont, I lost all the will for now. The Blade signature tiles were done today. Some problems with that also, let me explain. At the moment Blade text sits on dark brick background making the text somewhat obscure. Otherwise this looks nice, and it could make it to the final release.

At first I thought that I would be leaving warp background out of Dungeon, but today I made a quick warp background experiment. With the current palette the warp background looks very raw with its colors, but the feeling I wanted it to have is present. I think that this new magenta background not only increases the desolateness and melancholic feelings of the tileset but brings long awaited color to the very gray mix. I have now decided to include this in the final release of Dungeon. I must admit there is some pressure of me putting warp background in my tilesets. For example people didn't seem to like the fact the Islands in the Sapphire Sea didn't have warping background. One problem remains. This magenta color is almost exactly like to one in Medivo2.

Thursday 10 April 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 18

18. 7th November 2008

Today I did nine tiles more of those vegetation covered bricks I mentioned in the earlier entry. In addition there are now green plants for the vertical and horizontal brick lines. And also dark vegetation for the background dark bricks. Simple but good looking.

Concerning the vegetation ready so far, I am thinking about completely changing their color. The current is pretty good, but I am not yet sure, is that poison green shade the best for Dungeon.

Tuesday 8 April 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 17

17. 4th November 2007

Today I created a lot of vegetation and with awe I can say that suddenly the sterile dungeon transformed into a decaying, forgotten dungeon. This made me think that this tileset of mine is now well on the way. I think a release at the end of the year may not be so unrealistic after all. It is probable! My only concern on Dungeon now are its light colors. I think I will not interfere with that anymore, but now I am not so satisfied with all the light.

Next I will draw more vegetation. Right now I have nine different tiles of vegetation in the way that eight of them are walls, floor and ceiling blocks. I will need one more nine tile mix for variation. After this the drawing gets harder again. I will need to create the outdoor spaces which now feels like pretty huge challenge to me. Also essential tiles could prove to be a problem.

Thursday 31 January 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 16

16. 3rd November 2007

I did today a lot of interior tiles, which have dark bricks or black surface in the background. The solid bricks can now be made hollow anywhere the user wants with multiple different ways. This reduces the dullness of the same brick pattern going on and on indefinitely. The tileset is quite a mess because of this "flow of the mind" approach, but I have now no will to change it. I am now, however, satisfied with the tileset progress, and the Dungeon being a mess doesn't bother me so much.

I am worried about me using to much space with all the basic tiles. Almost half of all space is used and I would still need to compress outside areas, eye candy and background layer stuff into this. This is going to be really stuffed tileset!

Now I really should move on to do the vegetation and maybe the eye candy and outdoor spaces. And those essential tiles, I don't have any of them yet.

Saturday 26 January 2008

Tileset 4: Glacier

Away from the Fortress of Forgotten Souls for the duration of this entry.

Glacier was pretty fast in production after Rocks was finished. For a Blade release, I was designing something I hadn't done before, a complete world with tiles that are not independent blocks anymore. Of course Beton was like this, but with the artificial environment and the inspiration recieved from Mez's sets, I don't regard it as the step forward, but Glacier.

With the inspiration that came I don't remember where, it took probably one month to make the tileset from scratch to a complete Jazz Jackrabbit 2 release. I do not have much to tell about the developing phase of this tileset, but something what happened after the finalization of the first version. As most of my readers may know, the earlier tileset I did had many different versions. Some of them were corrections to the previous ones, some of them really were *different versions* with different stuff in them (varying backgrounds etc.). Initially, Glacier was a The Secret Files release. I probably did not understand the disadvantages this brought to everyone not owning TSF. At the same time, Universal Jazz stopped functioning, and quite shortly I was told about a new center for all Jazz 2 related stuff, Jazz2Online (This was probably you, EvilMike :).

It is this way I did my first J2O upload. This upload is no longer available anywhere, and the standalone Glacier upload in J2O known as "Frosty Fighting" is marked v1.2, the first tileset conversion of me not requiring TSF. It must have been all the reviewers that told me to switch back to Jazz Jackrabbit 1.23. I did, no TSF stuff after that. Anyway, the oldest Glacier version I have on my computer is marked v1.1. The TSF version misses dozens of tiles that are included in v1.2 and the final version (you could probably name that the version 1.3, if you wanted) delivered with 2003 release Energized Action. It also "features" a very mixed up palette what led for example stupid looking warp background when looking with 8-bit color modes. As all my other early tilesets, Glacier had a bad mask in the beginning. This was fixed with the above mentioned Energized Action.

Today I am still quite pleased with Glacier. The stalactites (yes, they are not ice) are actually very good looking, and all the ground ice is shining very convincingly. I did not surpass this graphical quality with the next tileset, Desert, I would say. What I could have done better was the treeline, which is completely tilted. In addition, I must have felt that all the black inside the ground is boring, so I created the icy stuff on the black background. You may have noticed or not, I have never used them when I have used the tileset in my levels. They look ugly and I myself can't find a good place to put them to!

As many other of my sets, Glacier has an unreleased color modification called Cavern. That was an experiment to see if the set could be converted to a cave. I did it, and it was easily done. For reasons unknown, I never used Cavern in any of my releases. Maybe I thought it was unimportant. And nowadays when I look at it, I can say the same: it does not bring anything new to the Glacier scheme. Anyway, I will share this picture of Cavern with you. It is the Energized Action level "The Great Glacier" as seen with Cavern tileset.

Glacier features the music track "Summer Planet" by DJ TheCrown. To my rememberings, I found it at ModPlug Central (now defunct). I immediately liked the track and tried it with my tileset and left it there. It still sounds very good in the background of Glacier and even though DJ TheCrown made the track while thinking a beautiful, hot summer (as mentioned in the .xm comments) it still sounds somehow chilly to me :) At least very energetic, that is an important thing.

Friday 25 January 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 15

15. 28th October 2007

I tried to rearrange the tileset, but that turned out to be surprisingly difficult. I quitted with that and did a lot of interior work (meaning tiles that connect the ground and background bricks) and to my horror the set looks now even more baffling than before. I am not satisfied with the current state of the tileset or its production. I probably should select another path and start to draw something entirely new, instead of gloating over these old tiles all the time.

Tuesday 22 January 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 14

Hello all,

Now everybody can see the finished state of Fortress of Forgotten Souls, as I released it at Jazz2Online yesterday ( The feedback has been awesome so far, thanks everybody! Here in this blog I continue to explain the developments in the tileset in October 2007. There are about 25 entries left to write :)

14. 24th October 2007

As the screenshot shows, the background bricks now have fully black parts. I built an extensive set of tiles to shape the black parts and additionally shape the corners of the background bricks when exiting interior spaces to outside air. This far it all looks pretty simplistic, but maybe eye candy will compensate all this. A little more variation to the background bricks, and I will move to make the dark parts to the solid layer 4 bricks. After all this the tileset should start looking like something :)

I believe I will scrap the idea of a steep slopes. They just don't look like something from the idea of Dungeon. In addition, there will not be diagonal parts in the ceilings. This will not harm the developing tileset in any way. I can always make something else.

Sunday 20 January 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 13

13. 21th October 2007

I created slopes for the broad brick ground. They look nice. In addition I made different kind of ledges for the walls. This beginning of the tileset starts to look pretty hard to use and I should probably do something to it. The day before yesterday 19th I made a spider web out of a model Googled from the Internet. The result is satisfying even though I am nowhere near the starting of drawing the eye candy tiles. I am bothered by the emptiness of the background layers. The graveyard gives the image and feel I intended, but still lacks something. I may have to redraw that at some point in the future.

Next step in the tileset development is to move on to background bricks and the solid bricks and make all the vegetation to them. This may prove to be pretty troublesome task to do. I have tried the vegetation implementation before but with mediocre results. To this date there are no evidence left of this :)

20th January note: An interesting fact about the finished Fortress of Forgotten Souls is that it actually has no stair tiles. This is something pretty confusing as I realized this a short while ago. Stairs were never in the plannings and I have never made any stairs, so there are no stairs in Fortress! Geez, I gotta start thinking out of the box some time very soon!

Wednesday 16 January 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 12

12. 18th October 2007

These pillars were created accidentially in Prince of Persia look, and now I suddenly have a PoP prison in my use! More eye candy and this will be just great. I seem to be quite far away from my plannings. Dungeon looks pretty good now but it does not remind me at all about my concept drawings, those papers I started with. This is much more solid, and I think would not prefer it that way. To comfort myself I can say that I believe I could not draw a tileset like that in the papers. They show (at least to me) kind of Agama style approach to the tileset, and I have never done anything like that. Maybe there could be some kind of developments in the drawing style in the 14th tileset? Despite of everything, I do not throw my hope away. Dungeon will get better as soon as I start working with the eye candy, background graphics and the dirt land I have planned.

Sunday 13 January 2008

Fortress of Forgotten Souls (featuring Dungeon development diary entry 11)

Dungeon is finished.

Let's use that Header 2 font for once :) Yes, this is reality. The 1010 tiles tileset is now finished, and it will not see any major changes after this. Quite an intensive time of wrestling with Paint Shop Pro and other devices have led to this point. The first concept drawing done under codename Castle of Cadavers was made in December 2006. That was originally intended to be a picture of an actual coming tileset, as usual when I am working with something, the final result is something else. A long time of nothing happening ensued the conception, but Dungeon finally got into the development phase in August 2007. The base of everything was done during this time and everything else (aka meat on the bones) was done in October 2007 to January 2008. I will get to this as the diary progresses further. At this point I can say, that the Dungeon development diary has a total of 41 entries with the last one being a gigantic entry looking into the year 2007 and making of Dungeon. The diary is accompanied with 37 screenshots, and they will be seen here later, of course.

Now it really is not long time to the release in Jazz2Online. Watch that space :) And oh yes, let me tell you the real name of my 14th tileset. That's The Fortress of Forgotten Souls and the abbreviation being simply "Fortress". See you soon at J2O!

11. 17th October 2007

A long pause! My new school (that actually started only a day after the entry before this) dragged me to the real life for this two months recess. Many, many nice events kept me away from development of Dungeon, but in the end I think I have now refueled my inspiration to craft the tileset further.

I don't have that big updates today. The biggest is that one of the four differently decayed brick sets (the one that was intact) was deleted. This way I save a lot of space and the image of a decaying castle is seen clearer. The walls have now cracks. It is way better this way and I can't believe I didn't come up with this before.

The next step in the process is creating cracks for the walking tiles and making of some kind of pillars. Now Dungeon looks a lot like the original Prince of Persia :D Maybe later this will start to look something I made, not only copied.

Friday 11 January 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 10


Today the tileset moved nearer the completion again, 46 tiles to go.

10. 21th August 2007

The first time really working with the background layer stuff. Today I made a background layer image about an ancient graveyard site. It ended up pretty good. This is not yet ready, but could make it to the final release. The crown jewel of that drawing is the sitting angel on the gravestone. That is a detail inspired a Finnish painter Hugo Simberg and his "Wounded Angel". I additionally animated it to appear that she cries, and at least to me that looks awesome.

The unfinishedness of this picture is seen in the obelisk and the crypt. They lack something or they don't fit with the other stuff (small gravestones) to that ground. In the earlier entries I was worried about Dungeon progress, but this picture could be something that launches the faster development. When I get to make shadows for those twisted trees, the feel of the tileset is finally starting to build.

January the 11th note: This background picture did not make it to the final release. In the final release there is very similar graveyard picture, but what is viewed nearer. This one is like two or three layers of background art merged into one. That is not going to work that way. Some elements of this picture are reused in the new one, for example the Wounded Angel. That was too good idea to be scrapped.

Wednesday 9 January 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 9

Hello hunams!

Each day Dungeon comes nearer its completion. Currently there is 67 tiles of empty space (out of the target count 1010) left!

9. 20th August 2007

I now have a bunch of these essential environment tiles. I still have in my mind that this tileset will not be as goodlooking as I had planned and said and whined before. At the moment this tileset skeleton looks like Space with all these squares and box-shapes. Space was not bad, but it was finished now over five years ago! During that period of time I should have some new ideas and techniques at my disposal. Maybe the problem lies in the fact that I have worked only on the most basic tiles, in this case, the bricks. At this moment they all look alike, if the subtle cracks are not counted. I hope that when I draw all the vegetation I have planned Dungeon will get a whole lot better.

The first 90 tiles are finished. I think these are quite polished and I don't have to touch them anymore. The newest concern about this tileset is that how this approach to the Dungeon theme consumes so much tiles. There may be a space problem ahead... if I decide to keep the Blade standard of 1010 tiles per a tileset.

Friday 4 January 2008

Dungeon development diary entry 8

Hello everyone!

The tileset is really good on the way to the release as almost every essential tiles and masked tiles are done, and about 60% of background layer stuff is finished. During the christmas time I have been developing the tileset everyday bit by bit and I don't see why to stop that pace now. Not long to the release anymore... :)

8. 19th August 2007

Day of generic work. I rearranged the tileset a bit, and did three 3x3 tiles large variations of differently broken bricks. That took pretty much all the time I worked on Dungeon today. This kind of tileset work is something that most of the tileset creation is to me. Making different applications of everything. It is not necessarily fun, but important. It does not need so much struggling and planning with artistic aspects or such. That makes the work easier, but the amount of it is often very very large. You will probably understand this statement when you see the finished tileset before you. However, I feel that the bricks I made today will make it to the final release. No doubt some changes will occur before the release, but these are the ones.

4th of January note: It is way too early to say anything about Blade tileset beyond Dungeon, but I believe when that happens, there will be a new blog (or this one continues). During this creation process I have not saved the daily versions of the developing tileset, and today I understood that I should have done that first thing in the beginning. Well, no time to worry about this now. Let's see about that in the future...