AFAIK his code ought to work in Sphere. When I saw N E O use the layer name in his game I thought that was neat and never seen it before. Maybe the Sphere API is spotty on when it allows the name? Further, maybe there are certain engines that have that behavior and other engines that do not?
I believe referencing layers by name (especially in functions like SetTile) was going to be a 1.6 addition. I was using the 1.6b4 engine to test out Artyxx on Windows and to put it through its paces so I could have given a more thorough bug report re 1.6 improvements.
That said, it would certainly be easy enough to support it in minisphere.