|16 May 2018
|16 May 2018
|16 May 2018
|Aztec 2, variant 2
|16 May 2018
|15 May 2018
|08 Jan 2018
|16 May 2018
Welcome to Aztec 2, my first release for Jazz Jackrabbit 2 in ten years.
This thing you’re viewing here is my newest tileset made quite intensively in the last five months. My return to JJ2 tileset making has been long overdue, and I am ecstatic that I am able to be here, after all these years, to make this upload.
Aztec 2 is a 2630 tile tileset and it aims to be a successor to my first proper tileset, Aztec, originally released in the spring of 2000. Aztec 2 expands the scope of Aztec in all areas. Original 32×32 stone blocks make a return, but now you will also be able to create outdoors environments with rocky ground tiles and build trees with a size of your choosing and mix and match almost everything you can think of. Water is prominently depicted in the tileset with water pools, waterfalls and water related other animations.
Aztec 2 tileset is accompanied with a single player example level. The other j2l file is a variant of the same level with a different background setting.
In case you are interested to read more about Aztec 2 please view the zip readme file.
Thank you for playing.
Mostly technically proficient, quite versatile, and has a relatively simple, developed art style. While the leaves and water/waterfalls may try to emulate a certain style, I don’t like them. This is a very solid set that falls a bit from perfection in my opinion.
Simply beautiful. Do I even need to write a full-fledged review for this? Just look at it, it’s gorgeous. The best fan-made JJ2 tileset by a mile. Great job!
VERY detailed set with LOTS to choose from. It captures the theme very well! Magnificent!
Absolutely stunning, those are the first words that come in mind playing with this level. The eyecandy blast in your face. Blade proves once again that he knows what he is doing. Even after 10 years of absence he still has the tileset tricks. I’m so happy that this came out. We gonna see a new breed of amazing levels with stunning visuals.
What I also like is that Blade provides a small tutorial on how to use this set and how to work with it. This is not only great for the skilled and experienced level designer but also for the newbie this is good.
And ofcourse as an extra bonus from a good tile builder, he gives us a 2nd variation that I even like more :-)
The level it self is good and hard. You might give up on it a bit to quick, even on easy mode. I didn’t like the claustrophobic mazes, it felt a bit hard to navigate as Jazz Jackrabbit but eventually I got through it.
The background layers of Aztec 2 have taken on a life of their own since the tileset’s release, to the point that going into this review, I was crafting a narrative in my head about how they completely outweighed the rest of the tileset and people mostly struggled with how to use its vast variety of themes. But that was wrong! There are at least half a dozen levels that use Aztec 2 as a tileset primarily or exclusively. I just forgot about them somehow.
Maybe it’s just me that finds it overwhelming. Sure, there are a few sections that don’t need to be there because they hail from a time when layer 5 couldn’t be trusted as a reliable source of 1/1 layer speeds, but even putting them aside, there’s still a whole lot of stuff in here. But it’s not confusing, hard-to-use stuff by any means. It’s not all blocky (except the first section), but it’s all close enough to blocky that it’s easy to tell what goes with what. Tile order is pretty easy to follow, I can’t spot more than a handful of tiles that had to be shuffled into the next section to make the grid work. And besides being easy to use, the different tileset components (blocks, pillars, branches, foliage, etc.) all have lots of options for tiling in elaborate ways. There are a dozen or so different treetops. Rocks have short and long slopes at every angle. Tree branches can be diagonal. Water offers more options than any other tileset ever.
So why am I still kind of lukewarm about Aztec 2? Ultimately I think it’s the flat colors. They work fine for the water, which needs to be no more than a tint so it doesn’t obscure the actual gameplay behind it. Fine for the background mountains, which similarly shouldn’t be too distracting. The foreground foliage I can live with because you can have a lot of borders to break up the flat insides. Nothing is as flat as in Islands. But it’s the main blocks and the cave sections that don’t appeal to me, and they do happen to be the main building blocks of the whole tileset. They don’t look very solid and they don’t look very interesting. You have to put in a lot of time to make shapes that aren’t just rectangles, to keep things attractive, and granted you should be doing that all the time anyway, but it’s also easy to think that structures made of lots of stone blocks should be rectangular. It’s easy to get sucked into making sections of Aztec 2 levels that are nothing more than seas of undifferentiated brown.
Is it fair to criticize Aztec 2 for making it possible for level designers to not put in enough work? I’m not sure. If you stick to the more decorative stuff, the trees and the water and the gems and things, I’m happy. But it’s hard to make that carry an entire level. So do you combine with something else, and in so doing, sort of perpetuate the Aztec 2 Background Mountains issue? I dunno.
Aztec 2 is very cool. It can do a lot of things very well. It’s absolutely packed with cool little features and single-tile drawings, the antithesis of a tileset that’s nothing but textures stretched across shapes. It would be great to love it. But the flat browns are a turnoff for me personally.
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.