What is Commander Xeen ?

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Hagel
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What is Commander Xeen ?

Post by Hagel »

Just stumbled across this project:

http://www.aderack.com/game-maker/index ... ander_Xeen

Has anyone of you guys heard of it before?

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tulip
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Post by tulip »

Never heard of it.

Hehe, the main character looks like I'd imagine Billy's older brother.
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Hagel
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Post by Hagel »

Jep, he looks like a real football player. (e.g. the brother keen stole the helmet from ;) )

It seems to be some kind of fangame from '95 which is pretty awesome. The music and the keensprite are really cool but the gameplay is terrible (there are two jumpkeys - one for vertikal, the other for diagonal jumps :P)

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Levellass
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Post by Levellass »

Bleargh. Who coded this?
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Post by Keening_Product »

For old Game Maker it's not too unimpressive.
Levellass wrote:Bleargh. Who coded this?
Whoever it was, they could speak French.

There are a few links in the wiki entry - could be someone in one of those?
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Levellass
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Post by Levellass »

I find it impressive they managed to play CMF files.
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Hagel
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Post by Hagel »

It seems to be some belgian Programmers group called Ppp. They did a lot of weird Projects and one of them was this game.

This "Game maker" seems to be a programm which is not affilated to the game maker by mark overmars (the one most of you may know). Isuppose it was kinda similar to Programms like click and play concerning the weird bugs in the game (two ammo counters for shooting left or right, two different jump buttons, yorps wont move until attacked and so on)

Its kinda funny nobody ever saw this before...

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Levellass
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Post by Levellass »

Has anyone seen that Little Big Planet Keen level? I lost the link.
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Post by ejrt »

Yeah, this is a tribute game designed by the Belgian design group PPP Team with RSD Game-Maker, the (even then) quite old DOS-based game creation system. The engine has its well-documented eccentricities, which Xeen's designers worked around or ignored -- rather well, I thought.

Until recently Xeen never saw wide release. It's only when one of its authors began to post about his work in reverse engineering RSD's file formats that the team's old work became public knowledge.

RSD's engine is really meant for top-down action adventure games like Zelda or God of Thunder, but its loose coding and vague boundaries mean that a clever user can trick it out to do all manner of unintended things. Even some 21 years after its release, some users are still finding new ways to bend the engine -- and getting better at hiding the seams. Because, you know, why not.

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Post by Nickssoft »

Release date: October 10th, 1995
This came before Commander Keen 2000?

So this was the first Keen Fan game? :dead2

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Post by StupidBunny »

Yeah this thing is ancient. I'm amazed it didn't get uncovered by anybody until just now. Goes to show what kind of Keen-related gems are still hiding out there...

...course the controls are pretty crappy in this. I'm not sure how to judge it since I know very little of the software that was used to make it, though given the age it was probably fairly limited (not to say that people were working miracles with K&P and such 10 years on :P )
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Post by ejrt »

There are two key limitations at play here.

One is that control mapping is very limited; you can't map an animation to a combination of keys, or several animations to the same key under different circumstances. It's one key, one animation. So if you want unique animations and movements for different directions, you need to assign different keys.

A standard workaround, then, is to design three jumping animations -- left, up, and right -- and to assign them to 7, 8, and 9 on the numerical keypad. Not ideal, but it's functional. With a few exceptions, you'll see this in almost every side-scrolling platformer using RSD's engine.

http://www.aderack.com/game-maker/java/nebula.php
http://www.aderack.com/game-maker/java/tuck1.php
http://www.aderack.com/game-maker/java/blobs2.php

More problematical is the attack sequence. As before, to define a unique sequence for each shooting direction you need to map a separate key for each directional. Not a big deal if you're into games like Robotron or Smash TV, though it is a little annoying. The problem comes when you tie those moves to a counter.

Each animation sequence has its own optional counter; you can't tie a sequence to multiple counters, or multiple sequences to the same counter. So if you have two commands -- shoot left and shoot right -- each will drain at its own rate, depending on how often the player hits the key.

Whereas the key mapping is more of a subjective annoyance that you can get used to, the counter issue is a genuine technical problem.

In this case I think the best workaround would have been just ditching the counter. Still, the game is short enough and has little enough shooting that I don't think it's a big deal.

P.S.: You might also get a kick out of this.

http://www.aderack.com/game-maker/index ... ole_My_Hoe!

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Levellass
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Post by Levellass »

The limitations on that engine are some of the stupidest I have ever seen. Even coding simple text games in BASIC I could make shoot left and right use the same counter. What the heck were they thinking?

P.S.: You might also get a kick out of this.
Ok, none of the games made with this make sense.
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Post by ejrt »

The decisions are at times baffling, yes. On the other hand, this thing had smooth full-screen four-way VGA scrolling... in 1991, the same year that Goodbye Galaxy came out. And remember what a big deal that was, from a technical perspective. In '92, Jill had choppy windowed four-way VGA scrolling and it seemed impressive.

Also softening the blow is that the actual design tools are amongst the most intuitive and user-friendly I've seen in a game creation system. They're certainly a world more satisfying than Mark Overmars' Game Maker.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlmrkAtaeQs

If they could keep the design environment (with a few minor tweaks and improvements) and completely revamp the game engine, it would be kind of an amazing piece of software.

There was a pretty radical revision in the works around 1995. Everything was about to go node-based, from character animations to AI to music sequencing. Music would evolve in real time in response to in-game flags -- something that to my knowledge was popularized years later, in games like Soul Reaver and Skies of Arcadia.

Then the lead programmer got busy with grad school, and everything went on the shelf. So we're left with this weird, buggy, yet surprisingly flexible game engine -- and a design environment that may be more enjoyable to play around in than the games that it produces.

It's one of those things that is so unusual that you kind of have to just accept it for what it is, rather than what it isn't.

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Post by cyborgjeff »

hey yes, that's right a long time ago my brother n I have released the adventure of Xeen Commander :)

I'm absolutly fan of Keen Commander since early 90ies then when we begin to create so video-games with the GameMaker one of my project was to realise a 256 color tribute to the Keen Saga. My brother Pype, great pixel designer realised the charachter Xeen that we decided to be brother of Keen, that will travels the different world to find back his bros.

I've made some levels and design, that suite well to the 3 first adventure of Keen, after... i have switched to other project ;)

Xeen Commander was online since lot of year in fact, but may be i don't realy made a lot of pub for it in specific forums :)

And for fun, here is the songs i've written for this game that could not be included. In fact, i realy hope my brother Pype could included S3M player in GameMaker, but we should use the CMF player included

http://www.studio-quena.be/cyborgjeff/s ... -nostlagy/

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