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.

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