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...