|Spyro's Diamondus.j2l||Spyro's Diamondus||6.21 kB||22 Nov 2022|
Second map by this user, and I have to say it’s an improvement compared to the first one.
Let’s start with the positives:
The level layout is pretty good. While the first map was pretty straightforward, being a straight line with some platforming for extra goodies in some rooms, this one feels more like a complete level. No branching paths that loop into each other, but there are some areas where you can go out of your way to get some extra goodies.
Luckily the pickups have been spread out much more sensibly this time, so there aren’t just a bunch of areas with a ton of goodies as if you entered a coin warp.
Same can be said for the enemy placement, while nothing challenging, they are competently placed.
Also, a coin warp and boss fight is present as well.
Now for some negatives:
The biggest one I can bring up is the difficulty, the lack of it to be more specific. While the enemies are much better placed than in your first level, there are a still a bit too few of them. There were multiple pretty long streches where I was just walking in a straight line because there were neither pickups nor enemies. If you are afraid the levels would become too difficult if you put many enemies in them, you still have the option to make some of the enemies be “hard difficulty exclusive” in the level editor.
While I don’t think the level itself looks ugly or empty, I did instantly notice that you only used layer 8 and didn’t do anything with layer 5, 6, 7. Diamondus is one of the best tilesets for beginners because the it has a lot of potential to be made interesting looking. The boss area for example stands out in a good way, since you had a bit of fun with how you made it look.
Here are 2 examples of what can be done with this tileset:
https://www.jazz2online.com/downloads/6921/cold-flash/ (this is an altered tileset, but most of it are still the original Diamondus tiles)
Some extra advice: Adding some secret areas make levels a bit more interesting. Use layer 3 to hide secret rooms, or just place warps in certain particular places for warp secrets. Don’t make them obvious, but give small hints through tileset patters.
As for the coinwarp, that isn’t part of the tileset (even though there is a partial tileset for it). All you have to do is place the warp, set the amount of coins and change the “ShowAnim” part from 0 to 1 to make the coinwarp rabbit appear, though this only works for 10, 20, 50 and 100 coins in the vanilla version of the game. If the coin warp requires any other amount of coins, then yeah what you did is a viable alternative.
A rather significant improvement over your first level. Improved level layout, improved item and enemy placement, improved the general use of events. It’s a competent decent level.
It’s always interesting to see the occasional level with a fundamentally different idea of what level design should look like. Some of that seems to be produced by a lack of technical knowledge—layer 8 and the coin warp stand out—but the long open passages also make possible a sense of uninterrupted speed that can go missing in JJ2 SP sometimes. This is not to say that every choice here contributes to that feeling—in particular, the float enemies take too many hits to dispatch quickly, and it would be nice to find some way to make the ammo alcove areas somehow flow back into the main level so the player doesn’t have to completely reverse direction—but it still does feel like something that could be worth pursuing, especially with an easy to use tileset like Diamondus that doesn’t make it hard to have super big levels. This is very fast (and drastically overestimates the difficulty of the tuf boss) but everything certainly works in it and it’s nice enough to spend a minute or two in. All the trees are a good touch.
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.