|xlmmitosis.j2l||Mitosis||23.52 kB||25 Jul 2020|
|WSF03.j2t||Windstorm Fortress III||127.12 kB||22 May 2020|
|mellow-d_-_pilot.xm||pilot||400.39 kB||27 May 2020|
|xlmmitosis.j2as||0.83 kB||25 Jul 2020|
|MLLE-Include-1.5.asc||12.62 kB||25 Jul 2020|
|xlmmitosis-MLLE-Data-1.j2l||MLLE Extra Data||10.19 kB||25 Jul 2020|
A smallish 1v1-2v2 sized CTF with a roughly (translationally) symmetric layout.
I decided to review this because I think it deserves a review. Since Jgke is an experienced levelmaker, I’m going more into detail.
The visuals in this level are overall solid. When starting the level, you directly notice how Jgke has seperated the background layers by using a blue tint. Although tinting the background has been a fairly common trick by now, this is still a clever design choice. Jgke is aware that by using the tint, it creates a lot of visual depth. It not only puts the background further away, but also makes the playable area pop out to the front more. Although players are not always aware, it does a lot to feel connected towards a level. Seperating layers professionally is one of those checkboxes. Mitosis does this through colour, but there are a lot of ways to do this, for example: through scale, brightness, saturation or just overall level of detail. So for any levelmakers reading this, always ask yourself: “How does this look from a player perspective?”.
To go more into depth, this question can be expanded to “What can players see in the 800×600 canvas at any position in the map?”. This is crucial to jj2, because the maximum resolution is 800×600. Considering this, I still see a lot of room for improvement for Mitosis and i’ll try to explain what exactly. Behind the blue tint is a bunch of scenery placed into two seperate layers. Something that is noticeable right away is that the placement of this scenery looks a bit chaotic and uncohesive. As a levelmaker, I instantly notice that this takes away from the overall feel of this level for multiple reasons: 1.For some reason the bricks don’t have the usual shadows on them anymore like in the sprite layer. 2.It feels like both layers were made seperately, without actively keeping the parallax view or the viewability in the 800×600 resolution in mind. This results in background eyecandy that feels a bit off. While moving around you’ll notice that the layers fall into each other, float in the air, obscure each other, or fall off the 800×600 resolution. Since it’s also a bit oversized, it’s hard to imagine the continuation of the scenery patterns. The difference in layer speeds makes it extra confusing. Between the first and second scenery layer is no difference in scaling/colouring/brightness/saturation that I’ve talked about earlier, yet they have different speeds from the player perspective. The combination of these factors make this background not as visually convincing as it could have been. I think there are several levels with backgrounds that do this a little bit better, closest reference being the level “verdoemenis”. So on the background overall: tint is nice but I hope these tips help a bit on how to implement it even better in the future.
The visuals of the sprite layer + background walls look good enough, but it feels like there is just too much blending of tiles from the tileset in each part of the level. I feel like it could have been easier if you showed a bit more restraint in the eyecandy usage. I’m missing some visually memorable landmarks in Mitosis as a side-effect, but this is not a huge issue in a level this small. Choosing distinct visuals goes hand-in-hand with gameplay, because it’s part the same thought process. Therefore I decided to describe this further under gameplay.
The gameplay here is decent, it’s noticeable how Jgke put effort in optimizing the flow in this level. Eventhough this level has a lot of slopes, It’s unlikely you will ever bump unintentionally into diagonal ceilings. I couldn’t find any flow issues in events like springs/tubes, they are all adjusted nicely. The main pickups like powerups and carrots are also well visible.
However, I can’t help but feel that the gameplay in Mitosis feels uninspired. This is because the layout is very limited to a single style throughout the entire level. I’ve talked earlier that visually the parts of the level are also not distinct. As a result, it doesn’t fill different locations with their own distinct gameplay assets (and can’t due to the singular layout and visual blend). When you look through the layout in the editor, it’s very noticeable how every area kind of masks the same and every area tries to blend in a lot of tiles from the tileset at the same time. My tip is to have be more restraintful about the tileset use or make choices in it, it will make a level look more convincing and understandable. For example: A tileset like diamondus forces you to use thin masks if you want trees, tree areas and ground areas play very different in diamondus and that’s very interesting for gameplay. In a tileset like windstorm fortress it’s not so easy to see, because the tileset does not force you to use it’s tiles in a certain way or for certain masks. This is why it’s important to think about how and where you use these tiles for, both visually and layout-wise. For example, you can decide with windstorm fortress that you use the red tiles and the grey tiles in very different ways and parts in the level. Mitosis doesn’t really do this and thus it’s also less tempting to think about the step after on how to connect gameplay to masks. For example after that it’s where you can start thinking about the masks, the scale, maybe the red area having vines but other areas don’t, grey area with loads of springs.etc. There are a lot of ways to expand on the theme once it’s convincing.
Mitosis doesn’t really stand out because it seems to be missing some of it’s design processes.that seperate the good from the great. However, there is not really much to hate about Mitosis either. Everything is decent and there aren’t any bad design choices.Mitosis is a fairly standard CTF level that plays like your above average CTF level and it is certainly enjoyable enough to play in sometimes.
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.