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 Viewing node Cool layer tricks

Cool layer tricks

Layers are not just used to mask the entrance of secret areas; you can also use them to make some interesting effects. If you haven't read the basic layers tutorial
I suggest you to read that one before reading this. In this tutorial I will show you how to make four kinds of "special effects" (well...special?) and with the things you may learn from that you will probably know enough to make some cool stuff yourself. Not every tileset can be used for this; if you want to make rain, for example, you will need a tileset with rain tiles in it. Let's get started ;)

Choose one of these "effects":

Rain and lightning

The first one, rain and lightning, is relatively simple. This will give the level a somewhat creepy atmosphere, if you use it in combination with the "set light" event.

1) Open JCS and start a new level. The tileset we will use in this tutorial is Corrupted Sanctuary by Disguise, but any tileset with rain and lightning tiles (fig 1) can be used.

fig 1 - A rain tile and a lightning tile.

2)Press CTRL+5 to open the properties window of layer 5. The rain will fall down to the right side, so set the x- and y-speed accordingly (fig 2). Because Corrupted Sanctuary uses rain tiles of "one drop per tile", you will need a rather big layer size. If the tileset has rain tiles like in Medivo (fig. 3) you can make the layer size the same as the size of the rain tiles (For example, with the medivo rain tiles the layer should be 2x3). Close the layer properties window.

fig 3 - rain tiles in medivo

fig 2 - settings of a layer with rain

3) Use the "5" key on your keyboard to switch to layer 5 in the tile window. Place some (flipped, or they will fall to the wrong side) rain tiles here and make sure they tile together.
4) Save the level and run it to see if the rain works. If it doesn't work, you have done something wrong :)
5) The lightning! This is even easier than rain. The lightning needs to be placed on a seperate layer, preferably a layer behind the rain. In this tutorial we will use layer 6 for this. Since the lightning fits in one tile the layer size can be just 1x1. The x- and y-speed doesn't matter, but be sure you check the "Tile X" and "Tile Y" checkboxes because the lightning needs to be "everywhere" in the level. An example of the settings is shown in fig 4.

fig 4 - Properties of a layer with lightning tiles

6) The lightning needs to "flash", like real lightning. To do this, you'll have to use an animation. First find a tile that has just one color, preferably white, and make it translucent (right click on it, slecte Tile Type and Translucent or press T). Now make an animation with it. It should be something like in fig 5, but you can make your own variation of it. You can make the animation very short (only 6 tiles), because you can set the "Frames to wait between two aniamtion cycles" to a
high number so the lightning flash comes only once in a while. The animation speed should be something between 10 and 20 (fig 6).

fig 5/6 - a lightning animation/the animation settings for lightning animations

7) Now place the animated lightning tile on layer 6. Save and run your level and enjoy the effect ;)

Flying rocks

This is one is even easier than rain, but it also looks cool. Some tilesets have "rocks" included (fig 7), and when you place them on a moving layer it looks quite cool. Since corrupted Sanctuary (tutorial 1) doesn't have the "rocks" I mean we will use a tileset by Blade, "The Space".

fig 7 - animation tiles for a flying rock

1) First make the animation of the rock. This is easy and I won't explain you how to do it. If you don't know how to make animations, view the tutorial at Howto JCS.
2) The rock needs to "move", so the layer should have an auto x- and y-speed higher than 0. In this tutorial we will use layer 5, but you can use any layer except layer 4. The rock needs to move to the lower-right corner, and it should fly through the screen again and again without constantly being on the screen, so you will need a big layer size. The layer properties should be somewhat like in fig 8.

fig 8 - Properties for a layer with flying rocks

3) Now place the rock(s) on layer 5. Use as much rocks as you want, but don't exaggerate. Now save and run your level and have fun :P

Airplanes and other airships

If you played SXR or Another Story you saw the "space ship" flight at the end of the episode. I will explain you how to make this here. We will use mirrows "McKinley" set now to make a level where you are sitting in a landing helicopter that lands on the ground after the desired time..

1) First give the layers we will use the right speed. We will use layer 1 and 2 in this tutorial. The helicopter should stay on your screen while going down, but it shouldn't follow you when you reached the ground. Make the x-speed of both layers 1 and the y-speed 0. The size of the layer should be just big enough to let the helicopter fit on the screen. For example: If the lower-right corner is on position 5,5, the size of the layer can be 5x5. Don't check "tile width"and "tile height" (fig 9).

fig 9 - properties for helicopter layer

2) Now put the helicopter on layer 1. Put it in the lower-right corner. Also put the picture of Jazz sitting in the helicopter on layer 2 and be sure it fits with the helicopter (fig 10).

fig 10 - the result should look like this

3) There is now a helicopter on the foreground, but you don't have the feeling you're in it while playing the level. So put a Jazz level start at position 4,4 and a suckertube with y-speed 10 on layer 4 at position 4,5. Also put some suckertubes that lead you to the suckertube at pos 4,5 around the start position, to make sure you will follow the suckertbe while playing (fig 11). Also add some balloons around the suckertube so you have the feeling you're actually going down.

fig 11 - suckertubes surrounding the start position

4) Put some more suckertubes in a straight line down, and add a textured background so you'll see some movement in the background while landing.
5) When you have a line of 20 suckertubes or something, you can add the "ground". The player should not be able to get back in the helicopter and it needs to be out of sight, so the last 2 suckertube tiles should move to the right and next to them we'll place some "wind right" tiles. Set the speed to 15 (fig 12).

fig 12 - events

6) Save and run your level.


Some levels have "waterfalls" in them. This is obvious if the tileset used has some animated waterfall tiles, but you can also create a waterfall using the textured background of a set. A good example can be found in the second level of this pack. Now how to create this? Well, it's quite simple.

1) Create a new level with a tileset that has a textured background.
2) Now make the textured background, or a part of it, translucent (SHIFT+T). The tiles need to tile together
3) Layer 3 is often used as a second sprite layer, so we'll use layer 2. Make it 40 tiles wide and 8 tiles high and check the "tile width" and "tile height" checkbox, because the waterfalls should be seen through the whole level. The waterfalls should fall down, so set the Auto y-speed to -2.
4) Place the translucent textured tiles at layer 2 and make sure they tile together correctly.
5) Make some platforms to stand on and run your level.

Indeed, you can make endless variations on these things. Use them in your levels ;)

Added on: 3 March 2003 13:39. Made by Flash.