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.
I decided to review this level, I like to do that by seperating the review into two parts. First I want to talk about what went right and secondly what I think could be better. That said, let’s start the review.
What did it get right?
Inside the freezer has a theme that builds upon. Using the multiple tilesets, it mixes the cold blue tint frozen feel of the level together with the steel/industrial feel of a freezer. The music works for this level and everything together makes this levelname quite believable.The colouring in this level is pretty, because it blends well together (although a small nitpick would be that the dark blue platforms are a bit too dark and the fans in the background are too bright). For the most part it has a nice offset between a brightness in sprite layer and a dark background. This creates depth in the level. Always try to think of what you want to place together and what you want to seperate, make distinct choices so the player can more easily understand the level. This makes the level look more clean and professional. I hope to see more of that in the future. So far from all Dragusela’s levels on J2O, this is his best implementation of theme and it really shows he grows as a levelmaker to make distinct areas and adds tiles within that theme.
The gameplay, for a some parts definitely looks better than your previous levels. This level feels easier to move around in, it is more open, it is more practical. It flows better than other levels. This doesn’t have uncounterable camping like before. I can remember in your first levels it used to have powerups in extremely safe spots, luckily this level doesn’t have that.
Where is room for improvement?
Although this level does some things right, it also shows a lot of room for improvement. There’s a certain randomness to a lot of the level aspects, which makes it feel chaotic and unprofessional. It’s a bit much to name, so I’m just going to start a list of things you can expect to find in Inside the freezer: Secret warps that have no visual indication (I had to look in MLLE to find it), ground tiles that also unexpectedly become foreground tiles, inconsistency with one-way floors, confusing layer speeds that move slower than the layer behind it, ceilings that randomly stop existing and turn into foreground, floors that could be just floors but instead has bridges behind foreground scenery (also had to look in MLLE to find this), the unconvincing perspective that a huge background is seperated from the sky by a mere 1 tile waterfall, inconsistency on whether steel support beams are masked or unmasked, missing masks to prevent players running in the edges of the map, missing mask edits for inferno to stop players from standing near ceilings, dead ends without any pickups, springs that don’t reach high enough or are too high or are missing completely, the copter respawning too slow, pulse lights that don’t do anything because the ambient lighting = 100, ricochets causing bullet desyncs in multiplayer. Wew, this is quite a lot… I think it can be helpful to look into these again and imagine how this is from the player perspective and what you can do differently. I think most and foremost: Try to stop combining your layer 3 with layer 4 this much. They are not interchangeable and shouldn’t be. Layer 3 should only really be mixed into the playable area to hide small areas or for small scenery, not hide entire masked layouts.
Anyway, I hope to see more levels and I hope to see you continiuing levels, because I can definitely see some improvement.
Funny, but not useful in any way. I don’t want the rating system to undermine great uploads, that’s why I’m giving this a 7. I think these type of uploads work better with N/A only.
Purplejazz nails it again on level theme and aesthatic, this level looks great and has a great vibe to it.I feel like the gameplay elements could have been explored more with this tileset. The gameplay felt a bit uncohesive as I was jumping and shooting into blank areas. This is enjoyable as a casual level, but comes short for being great for me.
This sole program kept content creation in jj2 alive. Fills the gap to make jj2+ and content creation streamlined. Everything that is here is already top notch, i hope to see future updates that make tileset/palette editing even easier. Nevertheless this deserves a 10.0 already.
This is a useful script, although i’m not a big fan of how the emotes look. Turning them off is possible, but only for you. A better solution in my opinion would be if they didn’t replace the old emotes, but were a new set. For communication purposes I like it more if the sender and receiver see the same message.
One of the most professionally made levels to ever come out. Aesthatically this level sets the bar for levelmaking higher than ever before. A good working layout for this levelsize is expected and is indeed solid. Gameplay and visuals go hand-in-hand here. PurpleJazz is one of the few leveldesigners that pays attention to every necessary detail.
I’ve recently given this level some thought and decided to write a review on it. To start off, this level does not have any glaring negatives. Everything in this level certainly works to an extent. The theming is superb. PJ shows again how good he is setting up a theme, put attention to detail and make a nice polished level around it. The combination of tile elements and colouring gives this level a new and fresh feel. From my experience this is not an easy thing to come up with and to deliver constantly, but PJ shows he can surprise us with each upload.
To me, where there is a surprise in theming and eyecandy, it somewhat lacks in gameplay. It’s certainly not bad, however i’m certain we’ve seen every gameplay element in this level before in another level. That is except for the carrot area. But i’m going to be honest that despite how clever the carrot area is, the risk going into the dead end is too short to really have a big influence on gameplay.
To give a short summary on the rest of the level: We’ve seen the triple pathfloors before, we’ve seen the scale of pathways before, the linearity & width around gap placements in paths, the typical spring on every end of a path to go up. It’s not an understatement that the pathing in this level is extremely simple and likely won’t suprise neither challenge anyones skill. There is nothing to me layout-wise that makes me think like… “Oh, that’s new and clever”.
Of course one could argue that this was the plan all along to keep it simple for players. But in my opinion this is a step down in professional levelmaking as we’ve known. The next step in JCS is also about inventing and you need to be taking some risks. This can be great if it pays off and I think we’re not done reinventing multiplayer levels to a big audience. This layout however is as risk free as it can get. I feel like PJ can be more creative to bring new and fresh gameplay elements to the table.
And even if we look at the entire JJNet mappool levels now, where does this level stand? I hate to say it but it really doesn’t feel like it brings a new choice to the table. If i want my typical open layout flatground level, with somewhat equal scorepacing and expected player skill, then there is a lot to choose from already. I could also go with Facing worlds, Byzantine Blues, Starlit CTF, All Your Base, Gauntlet, Ancient Museum, Dragon eyrie and to some extend Stronghold CTF. These levels also have very limited chokepoints and are quite easy to learn.
To put this into perspective: Right before the clanwar CC vs CDF, many of the old warteam members came back one day before it to train the entire mappool. I remember especially Vegito was hesitant at first learning the new levels, but we came to the fast conclusion that a lot of these in the current pool play the same way. Eventhough we struggled in Butrinti, we liked it a lot more cause it felt like there was room for tactical improvement. We have ideas on how to control that level more optimally and where to position ourselfs around chokepoints. I think it’s nice when a level does that. This is why i rather would have wanted something new to the mappool. This is just hard in a level that doesn’t challenge you to adapt much to the level. Galeloch works, but feels generic with what we’ve seen. To me this could have been a 9+ level if it had great gameplay to go with the theme.
Of course despite this PJ is still a very professional JCSer and this level was made very professionally. I just hope we take the next step in JCS by taking some creative risks and making them work. PJ is one those JCSers who can certainly do that.
I know some effort went into this. It has a lot of levels and a lot of scripts too. Although the level designs are really repetitive and boring. The jj2 gameplay core is lacking here.
Violet kicks all of our asses in angelscript, but not quite with the basic jcs. We, generally speaking are all very amazed by the ridiculously cool script. But if you take away the scripting part, the level itself is far off from evilmikes SP works in JCS. There is more to offer for the jj2 future!
Agree with PJ.
This level only involves gameplay, almost nothing next to it. the same tile used in every wall is really a bummer, this could have looked great and playable otherwise. Some parts of the layout are just huge and bland. and i dislike how it’s a little too tunnely overall.
Don’t rate your own levels.
Definitly one of the best CTFs in 2011 so far. Great layout.
Only objections are that an almost slopeless set can be chaotic at times with so many springs and that the music annoys me after a while but w/e.
Mad props to the ec, especially for this set. Eventhough I think some ec parts are a little overdone, it doesn’t matter. Download this now!
Everything added is somewhat taken from A_Fix_carrotus. The example levels don’t really show off the new possibilities. (for example with the additional horizontal tree logs). there is also no rearrangement in the tileset, or additional tiles i haven’t seen before.
So all in all these are just mainly pallette swaps, and even those are directly taken from tileset packs like Diamß by pyromanus. this makes easterius look like carrotus, which shouldn’t be like that. Even in pallette swaps where the blue/pink/purple theme still appears i am not sure if the contrast is right or for example, fits with a grey background.
It’s fun to have A_carrotus fix copy with chocolate bunnies.. But with easterius it’s grass turning green like carrotus, pallettes taken from some other sets, additional tiles taken from other sets and questionable color schemes. I don’t think I should give you much credit and appreciation.
No DR since these tilesets are imo not a must have.
Copying directly from jj1 is sometimes hard because of the different events jj2 has, but it is nowhere near to putting your creativity in your own, self made levels.
I promised jake to review this. (even though i almost forgot exactly what I had in mind).
I wanted to clear this up first:
I’ve received some backstabbing lately because of the harsh way I gave my opinion on this. No, I am not trying to bring this level down to the ground. No, I am not trying to claim i’m a better levelmaker. No, I am not trying to act pro here. But this review will not be entirely positive. All levels have their downsides. Most of it is said in the quick reviews already. I will try to expand this review a lot more compared to the quick reviews and bring it in different ways.
Flashback: This reminds me a bit of what happened to me in the past, Planetary pack. I think talking about this might help you since it also helped me after that.
While this is a lot better than the eyecandy or layouts from my levels back than (or both in some cases). I feel it has the same gimmick problem, and this is not coming out of nowhere. The rest of the reviewers seem to share the same opinion. The idea’s are interesting but the question is, is it a good idea to mix it all together? This level is intended to be a serious duel level. But you should ask yourself if it adds anything great to the gameplay. I know some parts will sound a bit harsh but I’m only trying to be helpfull with this review.
Getting someone stuck in the pit with the crate can be fun, but remember it can be used against you aswell. And then it’s not that fun anymore. In fact, i don’t think people like to take that into account, same for the rest. It’s like you play a game with obstacles while you don’t want to focus on obstacles, I think this is what people frustrates as soon they lose their focus on gimmicks and Die or get hit because of that. This is the same for hor-springs and copters. If they accidentaly hit a hor spring you can’t stop running, It’s fun if you see someone else making a mistake like this, but the other player probably feels like this shouldn’t have happened if “that stupid thing would not be in his way”. Copters are kind of the same, you can be very depended on the copter but you can be unlucky with the spawn. If you need it fast and die while waiting the killer probably feels good because he was fast enough, and the other player feels like “why the hell couldn’t that fucking copter spawn on the right moment”. And then they will eat their clothes and shoe’s etc.. you know the drill :).
I think the advice I can give is that the player shouldn’t be too depended on the map but the map should be depended on the player. Gimmicks only lose the players focuse, if you have to jump around pits than your focus goes partly for not falling in a pit. Of course you can tell those players to concentrate better and it’s their fault for not having a good focus. But if you give players the choice of focusing on stragety and playing itself or doing this while paying attention to gimmicks like not falling in the pit or accidentaly miss the copter. Then they go for the more clean maps. I personally think the more idea’s you make in a level the more attention needs to go to these and the less focus stays on playing. That’s why I think that excessive usage of idea’s isn’t a good plan. Because the more means the less they can handle it. (keep in mind that they also need to learn it). A player also feels more bad by getting killed by the level than by the player -> he can blame the level. The player is not easy to avoid because players are the reason to stay online, but maps are easily avoidable by picking another level.
Imo since it’s duel related I won’t say anything here about the tubes with bases, since in duels that can work. But I think it’s less liked for teamgames -> because you can miss timing because of that. But since it’s duel related and that you don’t need to time RTS I think this is a good idea for a duel level. The music in this level is good and the eyecandy is pretty good aswell, Sorry i keep the good parts short but when there is nothing to blame then there is nothing to tell either :). The layout is simple but good. After all you did these parts very well.
All in all I can conclude the good parts outweight the bad parts, and it’s not a very bad level at all. But it probably starts to frustrates people after a while. Even without the gimmicks and the map being completely gimmick-empty I don’t know for sure if the layout makes the level spicy enough by itself.
The reason I compared this with planetary levels is that in the past i liked gimmicks too, and I still have a soft spot for gimmicks honestly. I think you and some other jj2 players have no problem with this either. I am not saying that excessive amoun of idea’s and gimmicks are bad out of nowhere. They are bad because they drive most people on jj2 in a negative feeling. And I think you got to understand where that negative feeling exactly comes from to understand what makes a lot of gimmicks in one level bad. I think you for example need to understand where Purplejazz and CelL are talking about, why it’s hectic and so on. That’s the whole points of this review and I hope you get it.
You show impressive skill and I look forward to see more levels of yours!
young boy nr.2 =d
The power ups in the tubes are mainly blaster power ups, so it wasn’t really intended to camp under it. It was mainly to use the tileset back as theme in the level.
Yes, it’s campy although i don’t see the problem, it’s not like you sit anywhere for ages. And there are a lot of famous campy levels. I can’t help that the jj2 commnunity has a taboo on camping.
The music can’t be converted to a jj2 supported type, the program won’t allow you either way because the pattern data is much more advanced. Something regular mod files can’t handle and play. Nevertheless i wouldn’t be able to convert it anyway myself because it has been made with the latest version, which i don’t have myself. the only way to play xrns is with the tracker and the only format it can convert to is .wav.
The music choice is simple, the samples are ‘spacy’ and toxic. The main reason is that the music is kind of colourful and so is the level. No sir, i might get why you don’t like the gameplay all that much, but the music choice is just fine. The wide collection of choice doesn’t only exists of heavy metal songs in my levels (y).
There are a lot of tilebugs / one of the most generic layouts i’ve seen. Eyecandy based you shouldn’t have picked such a hard-to-use set if you can’t work with it properly. I came across this because it was set in the tournament. But stop the ego and let’s face this level is not even near as good as the rest of the tournament levels, no offense
@jimbob: why don’t improve your level when you notice it has flaws? Are you actually saying you don’t want to ‘optimize’ the quality of your level?
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.