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

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