I am writing this article not for the purpose of telling you how to make a custom J2E file, or where to get the program you may use to make them (it is easy to obtain anyway, if you ask the right people). I am writing this article to inform you of the pros and cons of making your own episode file, and some generall advice on them, as well as some troubleshooting to do with bugs related to them.
Jazz 2 Episode Files
A jazz 2 episode file, or a .j2e, is what JJ2 uses to run single player episodes. They may be accessed from the single player menu, and up to 7 (8 counting Home Cooked Levels) may be on it. They are basically a quick way to access collections of single player levels, and can be useful if your home cooked levels list is crowded or full, like mine is. Otherwise, they are a major pain if you have too many, since accessing the single player menu will automatically crash JJ2. Weither you should use them or not depends on how worthy your level pack really is. Is your pack of extremely high quality? Will people like it? Is it long? If so, many people will have no problems with your inclusion of an episode file. However, if your level pack is unworthy, people will probably be annoyed with you. This is something you must bear in mind, since it could very well affect the review scores if your work.
-When using a custom J2E, make sure you clearly warn people that you are using it, and suggest they remove an older, unused custom J2E to replace the one you are including. Tell them that too many custom episodes will crash jj2.
-Provide an alternate way to access your level pack (if one choses not to use the custom episode you provide) via the homecooked levels list.
-Only use a custom J2E for a level pack with high quality, and make sure the said level pack is well tested, so it doesn’t have any serious problems. Make it professional.
-If you made a TSF
episode, tell people to put the J2E file in their TSF
folder! I have seen people make the mistake of not mentioning this before, believe it or not. Plus, TSF
has a lot more space on the episode selection menu.
-If you are one of those people who likes to make a classy installer program to install the level pack, consider adding a feature in the installer which prompts you if the system the episode is being installed on has too many episode files.
Is jj2 crashing when you try to access the single player episode list? This probably means you have too many episodes. There are a few easy ways to solve this problem. The first method, which I reccomend, is to move or change the file extention of one of your episodes. Change the extention to something like .jj2e so you can still recognise it. Alternatively, you can delete the file. Make sure it isn’t an official episode though! The easiest way to check if it is or not is to simply look at the timestamp. In any case, this will solve the problem if it reduces the number of items the episode list has to 8 or less.
Although some people frown upon custom J2E files, they can be an asset to a level pack, assuming it is justified by the level pack being super-great. If you are unsure on weither you should include the custom episode file or not, don’t include it. If you are pretty
sure, go ask someone.
Finally, I would like to say if you happen to have a copy of the J2E maker, do not give it out unless you get to see the level pack someone wants to use it for. Give the program away only if you think the level pack is worthy.