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Jill Of The Jungle 4

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:38
by Roobar
Hello everybody and Happy New Year!

So are there any Jill of the Jungle fans here? Back in October elecdude33 posted a topic about him making his own level editor. More specifically one for Jill of the Jungle. I posted that I was excited to make a few maps. Moving forward to December, K1n9_Duk3 actually has managed to make an excellent, windows based editor, that is really easy and intuitive to use (unlike the build-in one or even Camoto, sorry). You just load or start new maps, edit them, save them and you're good to test! So given the limitations of the game itself, I was able to make a few levels in a short time:

UPDATE
V1.21: 13.05.2019
- Fixed an elevator issue on the world map that in some siturations could have blocked the way.

V1.2: 20.01.2019
- added 1 new level (level 5). Now the pack has a total of 6 new playable levels (+ 1 new level as the world map)
- fixed several tile issues
- fixed 2 objects bugs

Download Jill 4 v1.21

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Jill 4 is a level pack. This is probably the first level pack for Jill ever? No new graphics or sounds or any other type of modding. Just download and play. You don't need any additional exe or other files.
The editor is not included. K1n9_Duk3 has released it (see below).

Note: I was not able to change the entering level texts as they turns out to be hard-coded in the game's executable. So according to K1n9_Duk3, I would need some patch executable to change those names. He said something about JNxPATCH utility (based on CKxPATCH), but I don't know how this stuff works. So maybe someone knows how these works and will be patched later.

Btw, if anyone wants to test it and make a map, I can include your map in this level pack, so we can further expand this. Ok that's it. I hope you enjoy this little episode!

Previous (old) versions:
https://d.pr/free/f/pswZyM - Jill 4 v1.2
https://d.pr/free/f/SbvcgO - Jill 4 v1.1

Re: Jill Of The Jungle 4

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 18:40
by Hisymak
Aah, pretty nice thing!
I really think I could have decided better to start implementing Jill of the Jungle level editor back then, rather than Hocus Pocus or VGFM one. For some reason this game seems to be much more popular and tempting to make mods and custom levels for, than those two I mentioned. Those, however, were much more attractive for me (with level design and graphics) to start with, while Jill looked rather simple and less interesting. What a shame.
But anyway, I'm quite excited to see K1n9_Duk3's level editor for Jill, either from technical point of view, and to see whether I could have made it the same or even better quality.
And about the level pack itself. I played through it, and it was pretty fun, and the level design was pretty solid, just like those could be considered as original levels. I think I really liked the design of the level made of red bricks. I only lacked more levels or places where you can turn into a creature (fire bird and frog), which was my most favourite part of this game.
It has always been my childhood dream to either play some completely new levels for my favourite platformer games (including Jill), or being able to create my own levels. I remember building levels from my toy construction kits and pretending I'm playting them. Althrough the possibility is now here, I grew up out of all my ideas and imagination.

Re: Jill Of The Jungle 4

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 21:27
by Roobar
Thanks for the feedback. I have an idea for a level using the bird, but I may do it later, if there's interest in this.

For now, I've updated the release with several tile fixes, switch and item fixes, and now checkpoints save your progress and items. Also in this release, I've applied a patch made by NewRisingSun that fixes a lot of things, most significantly some music issues and the red devils, which now takes 6 hits instead of 1. The download link is updated in the initial topic.

Re: Jill Of The Jungle 4

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 17:00
by PaquoCastor
Just finished this. Seemed a little harder than vanilla. That's probably a good thing. Those devils are as annoying as they are in Jill 3.

I like Jill enough that I might make some levels when this editor comes out.

Re: Jill Of The Jungle 4

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 17:39
by Roobar
Thanks for trying this. Yes, they're really annoying, but are manageable. What is vanilla?

Re: Jill Of The Jungle 4

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 17:55
by PaquoCastor
Roobar wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 17:39
Thanks for trying this. Yes, they're really annoying, but are manageable. What is vanilla?
Vanilla as in OG. That is to say the original levels. Also, I totally played this with my fight stick.

Re: Jill Of The Jungle 4

Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:53
by elecdude33
Wow, it's really cool to see a Jill of the Jungle levelpack! I've always thought it had some gameplay elements that would be neat to experiment with in levels.

These are some solid levels I'd say, I enjoyed playing them. On the long/large side, occasionally bordering on making me feel a bit lost, but I thought you did a good job of generally keeping things enjoyably challenging rather than tipping over into too frustratingly difficult. Though, I did save in-level, so I don't know if I might've found them too frustrating if I'd not done so and had to start the levels over every death. Even if I would've, though, I don't consider that a problem level design wise, since if a game allows in-level saves then it's fine to design levels that might be more frustrating if a player isn't using them. No in-level saves could be considered a self-imposed extra challenge in that regard.

I did encounter some sort of bug or something in the hub level, where if you jump up and to the right as soon as you start there seems to be an invisible level entrance up there that glitched out the game. There also seemed to be a presumably unintended occurence in level 4, the red brick level, in which a switchable wall disappeared when it seems like it shouldn't have yet, causing me to not need to go down past the bouncing balls and spikes to trip the yellow button.

Re: Jill Of The Jungle 4

Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:23
by Roobar
Hey thanks for playing and the feedback.

The first bug, where if you jump to the left from the beginning, is indeed caused by an invisible level checkpoint. It will be fixed in the next version.

The second bug, however, is weird. Seems like if you're shooting and killing enemies can trigger that gate. I'll need to look further into this.

Re: Jill Of The Jungle 4

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 23:00
by K1n9_Duk3
Hisymak wrote:
Tue Jan 01, 2019 18:40
But anyway, I'm quite excited to see K1n9_Duk3's level editor for Jill, either from technical point of view, and to see whether I could have made it the same or even better quality.
Well, you can finally check it out here.

I'm pretty sure you could come up with a better user interface. Since the tool was written without a GUI toolkit, most of the interface is just something thrown together to get the job done. The biggest problem for you would probably be getting the objects in the editor to be drawn using exactly the same sprites as they would in-game, were the actual sprite can vary greatly depending on the object's settings. As mentioned elsewhere, Jill's levels are in the same format as the saved games, which means my editor is about as complex as the original games when it comes to drawing the tiles and objects...

@Roobar: The frogs (or any object, really, including explosion effects) can trigger the yellow "button" objects by touching them.

Re: Jill Of The Jungle 4

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 16:58
by Hisymak
K1n9_Duk3 wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 23:00
Well, you can finally check it out here.

I'm pretty sure you could come up with a better user interface. Since the tool was written without a GUI toolkit, most of the interface is just something thrown together to get the job done. The biggest problem for you would probably be getting the objects in the editor to be drawn using exactly the same sprites as they would in-game, were the actual sprite can vary greatly depending on the object's settings. As mentioned elsewhere, Jill's levels are in the same format as the saved games, which means my editor is about as complex as the original games when it comes to drawing the tiles and objects...

@Roobar: The frogs (or any object, really, including explosion effects) can trigger the yellow "button" objects by touching them.
Thanks for this, I tried the editor a bit, looks ok considering it's not a classic Windows GUI application. However only one thing that really annoyed me is that it constantly consumes full power of a CPU core, and fan on my laptop is running constantly because of that. It would be great if it could be fixed somehow.
One thing that I got surprised and a little disappointed about (not editor but the game itself) is that levels have fixed and limited size of 128*64 tiles. So I feel it's probably the biggest limitation factor of a custom map design, as you need to compact your level into this size. Even since early time I always thought that Jill has the smallest and shortest levels among most platformer games I played, as the average playtime of a single level is one minute or even less. Vinyl Goddess from Mars, on the other hand, has no strict limit on map dimensions, you can have a map as big as you want, as long as it fits available memory. The biggest limitation factor on VGFM is actually maximum of 150 objects in a map.
What probably most interested me is the research about the objects in maps, like how they work and which data do what on them, and how to draw them. I read through the detailed description of all object types in your readme file. Did you do all the research during writing the editor, or you knew all that already? I see there's description of map format on modding wiki: http://www.shikadi.net/moddingwiki/Jill ... Map_Format but not sure if everything is there. If I made my own editor, I would probably need to do all that. Which I really did during writing of my Vinyl Goddess from Mars - editor I remember figuring out meaning of different bytes in level file, and meaning of all possible values and object types, was really funny and adventurous task, oh that was good times. I tried to describe all that on modding wiki too.

Re: Jill Of The Jungle 4

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 19:08
by Roobar
Hisymak wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 16:58
One thing that I got surprised and a little disappointed about (not editor but the game itself) is that levels have fixed and limited size of 128*64 tiles. So I feel it's probably the biggest limitation factor of a custom map design, as you need to compact your level into this size. Even since early time I always thought that Jill has the smallest and shortest levels among most platformer games I played, as the average playtime of a single level is one minute or even less. Vinyl Goddess from Mars, on the other hand, has no strict limit on map dimensions, you can have a map as big as you want, as long as it fits available memory. The biggest limitation factor on VGFM is actually maximum of 150 objects in a map.
I think, the biggest problem of VGFM is the level design and partly the graphics. While VGFM levels are bigger, they're much more boring and forgettable. You're constantly running in a look-alike uninspiring environments with little to no variations. When I played it, I never really felt interested to see the next level because they were all boring and almost alike. Only the world map looked more interesting to me, but it still felt a bit plain. Whereas in Jill, the levels are much more memorable. Anyone who has played Jill many years ago, will remember now the world map, the first level, the annoying frogs, the weapons, the boulder level, the levels where you turned into a bird or fish, etc. I don't remember anything special about any particular level in VGFM, neither what weapons were there or which were good or bad etc. Add to that the gameplay was not that particularly better (you got some kind of sliding after you stop running) and that's why this game never really got that popular.

Re: Jill Of The Jungle 4

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 22:03
by K1n9_Duk3
Hisymak wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 16:58
However only one thing that really annoyed me is that it constantly consumes full power of a CPU core, and fan on my laptop is running constantly because of that. It would be great if it could be fixed somehow.
I added some code to reduce the CPU usage in version 1.1 (basically skips drawing when there was no user input).

Re: Jill Of The Jungle 4

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 0:46
by MoffD
Very nice guys! JotJ doesn't get enough love imo, so hopefully this will get some nice mods going

Re: Jill Of The Jungle 4

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:10
by elecdude33
Thank you very much to K1n9_Duk3 for releasing this editor! More user friendly than the built-in level editor (though it's still rather amazing that a built-in level editor was hidden in the game with such a simple command to access it and yet was as far as I know undiscovered for years) or JillEdit. I have been experimenting with it so hopefully I can put together some levels.