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Wanted: Mod PlayTesters

Posted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:29
by Nisaba
Hi, fans of high-quality Commander Keen Mods,

Currently, a large number of KeenWiki updates are being carried out. Fortunately many things can be done in a bulk change with MassEditRegex to save some time. but there are a couple of things, that need to be done manually.
One of these is finding out the current status of a couple of One-Level-Mods. we need your help for that. best thing is. It's gonna be fun. and it takes only four to five minutes time.

Your task as a PlayTester:
  • play one of the One-Level-Mods listed below
  • rank its current status (complete, beta, alpha, abandoned)
  • post your result here
  • add a short description why you gave this or that status

Status info:
  • Complete = should be obvious
  • Beta = if it has levels or graphical changes but looks like it should have more
  • Alpha = if it's buggy,
  • Abandoned = if the status is otherwise unknown, it's obviously not complete, and it's been more than a few years since it was released

every helping hand is appreciated!

Re: Wanted: Mod PlayTesters

Posted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 17:23
by Levellass
Just checking a few of these in my levelpack's folder, these are my opinions.

Adurdin: Complete, but hard as heck. (No KeenRush, but darn man.) One single big level addition to the game, all other levels remain intact. The level is most certainly possible, avoids major graphical glitches and has a logical progression to it, but it requires considerable skill to complete and can be a bit plain in places. (All the flames and electricity are the same animation frame, tsk!)

Airefresco: Beta at best; more likely alpha. This is again a level that's structured and complete, but incredibly basic. I could whip something like this up in literally five minutes. It's full of blank, empty space, scads of dangerous enemies and the exit is surrounded, for no reason, with glitchy electric arcs. In that sense It's one single, very cheap level that has problems; it shows a distinct lack of effort.

Bounders: Complete, but damn. This level is very, VERY easy to mess up, right from the start. Ad it's very difficult to figure out what you have to do. There's also scads of enemies and shooters all piled up in one place and lots of pointless things. Given this I might be tempted to score it as an alpha, since the level itself has some very odd graphics choices and is, yet again, a single level. KeenRush would make this level easier, just in making it flow better.

CKGuy: Why are you doing this to me? Complete. I have bad memories of this level, what was WRONG with people? It's another one that's so damn tricky, right out of the gate. How do I get those three cards? Just 2? Ok then. Wait... NOW the third? I can go up but... red door? Dammit! This level involves so much backtracking and obscure tricks. A lot of thought went into it, but daaamn. Also this is why I think level borders should be in Keenwiki images, LOOK at all that stuff going on! But we cut them out, why? A lot of my Galaxy levels rely on such trickery!

Dagneilius: Complete, sweet relief. Very basic, and again, levelPACK? There's just one. It's a solid level whose graphics make sense with a basic enough structure. It does have some cheap tricks in it near the end but its a pity there aren't more levels.

Garg: You hate me don't you? Complete, but really deserves a beta. I am quite confident given the solid design of this level that the author did what they intended to do. However this was not very much; the level is about as simple as it can get, a literal 10 year old has done better. (I think we all know who that is.) It really needed a lot more... well level DESIGN. I could crank something like this out in MINUTES.

Now, off to play some CandyJunk...

Re: Wanted: Mod PlayTesters

Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 21:42
by Nisaba
great! thanks a million for the feedback.

just a word to BlueBounder's level. I'm not quite convinced with your voting. is it actually buggy, or does it just look odd? beta? alpha?

and then there is Garg's... 5 minutes through together kinda level. general question about mods like this: shall we keep such low value levels on the Wiki? I mean, it's plain, dull, not worth noting for anything at all... sorry Garg, but it's really far from being good. I wouldn't even know how to improve this level, rather than starting from scratch.

added one further mod for some rating reasons (Oasiz)

(I wish Mark the CandyJunk would have bequeathed us a couple more of his quality level designs)

Re: Wanted: Mod PlayTesters

Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 20:35
by Levellass
For BlueBounder, the level is complete to me; there was no feeling that things remained undone. This is in itself a complete level. That said however it's not a POLISHED level; this is what I'd expect someone to make on their first try, to play and then realize 'Wait, these things need changing.' As I said it's remarkably easy to cook the level, even right at the start, and it contains some amateur details like massive collections of identical enemies and platforms. It's complete, but really should have been made MORE complete.

Now as for LQ levels, I think they should be kept; they're very illustrative of the progress we as a community have made. You can see a lot of amateur design mistakes a lot of 'This is how NOT to make a level' errors, things I thought would be awesome when I was 10 (And there'll be like... a bajillion Gargs right here!) They show how we grew from muddled beginnings to proper level design to early mods to what we've managed today. Anyone remember the first edited Galaxy level? Tweaked with a hex editor to remove the BWB? The first spark that unleashed all the galaxy goodness we have now.

Now let's go over that Oasiz stub...

Re: Wanted: Mod PlayTesters

Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 22:30
by Nisaba
Ja, ja... I guess you're right. Learning ones history... and man, we came a long way. haven't considered that aspect until now. Alright, alright, I'm convinced.
Thanks again for your detailed feedback/review. This helps a lot getting things done.

Re: Wanted: Mod PlayTesters

Posted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:48
by Quillax
Here's what I think about the ones that aren't marked with a valid status yet:

BlueBounder's 1st Levelpack: Complete. Its structure seems complete and it's possible to beat. The room with a lot of lasers and Vorticons seems a bit much and I do agree that it can easy to mess up, but I don't think they're really enough to make it marked as something other than complete.

GARGapplesauce's CK1 Levelpack: When I was playing this, I thought of it as complete; it's quite possible to beat and it kind of has a sensible structure. However, after reading Levellass' feedback on it and observing the level map, it does look like it could have a bit more and can use some improvements, such as the item distribution (too many Teddy Bears and Rayguns that can be easily gotten). It reminds me of the many mods and levels I made way back in the early 2010s. The author did say that there will be more levels, but that was quite long ago, and I'm not sure if he's still working on it or not. I'd say this should be marked as a beta, although it's kind of close to being classified as abandoned.

Oasiz's Mod: Abandoned. The level seems complete (although it is kinda hard and long), but the worldmap is clearly incomplete and some of the graphics aren't replaced (such as the creatures). There's also this topic in Keen:Modding, which shows the author was gonna do so much more with it (and also renamed it to "Vodka").