The Ice Factory is about 20 years old!

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Quillax
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The Ice Factory is about 20 years old!

Post by Quillax » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:53

On January 14, 1998, a Keen 1 level was released by Xky Rauh, known as The Ice Factory. This level is not only the first custom Keen 1 level released on the Internet, but also the first custom Commander Keen level (at least one that isn't just an edit of an existing level). I personally think the release of The Ice Factory is one of the most important moments in Keen modding history, as it's been proven that one fan can make a Commander Keen level. About the level itself, I think it was rather clever, making creative utilization of the ice cubes. Because of that, I say the level still stands out even after numerous levelpacks and mods were released.

It's been now about 20 and a half years since that time and while it might seem a bit late to celebrate the level's 20th anniversary, I feel like we should acknowledge this important moment, since otherwise Keen modding may possibly take a different turn (or even not exist). I'd like to thank Xky Rauh for making such a revolutionary level, and I'm sure that even years later, The Ice Factory will still be remembered!

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Re: The Ice Factory is about 20 years old!

Post by KeenRush » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:25

Yep, it's a milestone. While I wasn't around the time it was released, I've played it later on and it's one of my favourite fan-made levels. It's a great level and the clever way it used ice shooters stunned me.

Sigh... Missing Xky's levels... And good Keen 1-3 mods/level packs overall. Has everyone other than me switched to Galaxy? :confused
My newest mod - Planet Of Agony: https://pckf.com/viewtopic.php?t=4165 | codename H.Y.E.N.A.

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Re: The Ice Factory is about 20 years old!

Post by NY00123 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 18:59

Well, this is surely long, and I'm not even talking about the time since the initial release of Keen 1...

Generally, I was way more into Galaxy/Aliens, but I'm also familiar with Vorticons, of course. Let's finally check this level out!

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Re: The Ice Factory is about 20 years old!

Post by szemi » Thu Sep 06, 2018 23:27

Well, a side note, I tell you that Keen 1 november beta was released on November 20, 1990. And that's why I released my Keen 1 Gold Edition on November 20, 2017. So happy anniversary for that, too!
Yeah, piece of cake!

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Re: The Ice Factory is about 20 years old!

Post by troublesomekeen » Thu Sep 06, 2018 23:47

By golly it has been twenty years. What a way to start it off!
and then afterwards 1999 looks like it was an incredibly busy year.
I hadn't even played Keen 2 or 3 back then and there were already mods?
KeenRush wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:25
Sigh... Missing Xky's levels... And good Keen 1-3 mods/level packs overall. Has everyone other than me switched to Galaxy? :confused
The two go together so well. I started out working on Galaxy but have only released one vorticon mod. I love that about modding Vorticons. It's there when I need to throw something together quickly. It's nice to take a break and step back from the complexity of Galaxy and power through a neat little vort mod (which get can very complex, too!).
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Re: The Ice Factory is about 20 years old!

Post by Roobar » Fri Sep 07, 2018 15:51

KeenRush wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:25
Has everyone other than me switched to Galaxy? :confused
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Btw Keenrush, what happened to Keen 3 insa lev? Why don't you initiate it?

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Re: The Ice Factory is about 20 years old!

Post by KeenRush » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:53

^ :lol So true.
troublesomekeen wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 23:47
It's there when I need to throw something together quickly. It's nice to take a break and step back from the complexity of Galaxy and power through a neat little vort mod (which get can very complex, too!).
By any common logic people should be doing what is esteemed as less complex, easier, faster. :confused I don't know what's wrong with anyone. Joking aside, Vorticon modding can be about just as complex, depending on what one does with it. Sure, building Galaxy levels is a bit more complicated, but with today's Abiathar it's easier than ever before. It's a different kind of challenge.

@Roobar: I'm glad someone remembers! I've thought about it every month or so. You're right, it's about time to run it. I try to do that next month. :dopekeen I'm too preoccupied with something else right now... :goth
My newest mod - Planet Of Agony: https://pckf.com/viewtopic.php?t=4165 | codename H.Y.E.N.A.

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Re: The Ice Factory is about 20 years old!

Post by Quillax » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:35

KeenRush wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:25
Sigh... Missing Xky's levels... And good Keen 1-3 mods/level packs overall. Has everyone other than me switched to Galaxy? :confused
Yeah, I do really enjoy Xky Rauh's stuff and have fond memories of them (especially Episode X and Null). Sometimes, even to this day, I wonder what would XkyKeen 4 have been like it were completed...
troublesomekeen wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 23:47
and then afterwards 1999 looks like it was an incredibly busy year.
Yeah, 1999 does seem to be quite a productive time for Commander Keen levels. I'm guessing the release of Keen MakeOver must've helped with that, since the only other level editor at that time displays levels with ASCII characters, which, I bet made it difficult to work with. One thing that I find to be strange, though, was that the gap between the releases of The Ice Factory and Flaose's Original Level Pack is a whole year in addition to four days! :O Were people busy with other stuff and needed a lot of practice with KeenEdit or what?
KeenRush wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:53
@Roobar: I'm glad someone remembers! I've thought about it every month or so. You're right, it's about time to run it. I try to do that next month. :dopekeen I'm too preoccupied with something else right now... :goth
Ooh, I have been thinking about InsaLevs III every once in a while and if it's ever gonna happen. I'm definitely looking forward to that! :D

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Re: The Ice Factory is about 20 years old!

Post by proYorp » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:56

Somehow I've never played The Ice Factory before this thread. Now that I have, I agree it is a very creative level; even more so than many other levels released in the last 20 years, especially considering it was the first of it's kind. I'm actually surprised I haven't seen any other mods/levels that extensively use the ice cubes like that (unless I missed them).

KeenRush wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:25
Has everyone other than me switched to Galaxy? :confused
Do people switch to Galaxy though? I've worked on both Vorticons and Galaxy projects, though the only thing I've released so far was that "demo version" of Keen 4 Retro.
I agree with troublesomekeen, because while making a Vorticons mod can be extremely complex (even more than Galaxy sometimes) it can also be much simpler than Galaxy. Especially for someone like me that would prefer to do all original graphics.
Interestingly enough, it seems there have still been more Vorticon Mods per year on the average than Galaxy. Using information from the Vorticons and Galaxy mod lists from KeenWiki (only counting full mods of both for simplicity):

(Year) (V) (G)
(2009) (9) (3)
(2010) (5) (0)
(2011) (3) (2)
(2012) (4) (1)
(2013) (6) (5)
(2014) (8) (1)
(2015) (1) (0)
(2016) (0) (3)
(2017) (3) (1)
(2018) (1...) (0...)

Not sure how much these lists have been kept up to date (and by extension, how accurate this little chart is) since The Commandeered Planet wasn't on it, but I've definitely noticed that Vorticons mods do seem to get released much more often. So don't worry KeenRush, there's no shortage of Vorticon mods. :)


Roobar wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 15:51
what happened to Keen 3 insa lev?
I also have been wondering about this every so often, ever since the last one, which was like a year ago. :eek I've been really looking forward to using Ankhs this time, as KeenRush previously suggested (like a year ago).
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Re: The Ice Factory is about 20 years old!

Post by KeenRush » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:12

troublesomekeen wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 23:47
I hadn't even played Keen 2 or 3 back then and there were already mods?
Forgot to reply to this: Nope, mods came a couple of years later once the ability to change graphics arrived.
proYorp wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:56
Somehow I've never played The Ice Factory before this thread. Now that I have, I agree it is a very creative level; even more so than many other levels released in the last 20 years, especially considering it was the first of it's kind. I'm actually surprised I haven't seen any other mods/levels that extensively use the ice cubes like that (unless I missed them).
You're right, I think. My memory is far from perfect but I can't remember extensive use of ice cubes. The secret level (don't ask me how to get there, I can't remember!) in my mod Fall Up utilizes ice cubes and changing gravity. My level pack IceKeen uses ice cubes in several levels, sometimes in ways not seen anywhere else, I think.
proYorp wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:56
So don't worry KeenRush, there's no shortage of Vorticon mods. :)
I'm still troubled... :scary The Morticore and Spleen's Keendroid (and my Planet Of Agony) are the only things I remember from the past few years. And when looking at that list, no wonder; they're the only things in recent years that have new graphics and new levels. And there is Swan Song, which went completely past my radar (I have to play it). Keen 1 Gold Edition is a very good set of levels but it's essentially a level pack using Keen 1 graphics, there is no way around that. And that's perfectly fine, of course, but if looking for mods in the traditional sense, it doesn't count. That's it for productions that are mod-like. Regentropfen is cool, but it's about five minutes of playing. (And the alpha version of my unfinished K2 mod is nothing but that, an alpha version of a stopped mod.) Well, getting even a few productions is better than nothing. But I don't understand how there's not a steady stream of new modders, one would think a game of Keen's legacy and existing tools and all the released mods would tempt people. :confused

And yeah, I see what you people mean with Galaxy being more complicated. It is in the sense that you need to do more and know more about the engine to get things working. The graphic layers, the different kind of collision boxes (if I'm not mistaken), etc. But then again, what is the difference? (Getting philosophical here.) The tools are different, there are more things to do? But if one learns it, it's just like riding a bicycle. Does it remain like the difference of driving a bicycle on an even road versus trying to go downhill slopes in a forest? Is it that to modify Vorticons requires knowledge that is easier to learn and put to use? Do we need some kind of supertools to get the process even easier? *emotikeen with hand on chin, looking thoughtful*
proYorp wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:56
I've been really looking forward to using Ankhs this time, as KeenRush previously suggested (like a year ago).
Same. :) I'm really intrigued of what we'll see this time around. The Ankh will be the core of it, as planned.
My newest mod - Planet Of Agony: https://pckf.com/viewtopic.php?t=4165 | codename H.Y.E.N.A.

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Re: The Ice Factory is about 20 years old!

Post by Commander Spleen » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:10

I've decided to reboot OrbKeen as a Krodacia mod.

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Re: The Ice Factory is about 20 years old!

Post by Syllypryde » Mon Sep 10, 2018 14:30

KeenRush wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:25
......Sigh... Missing Xky's levels... And good Keen 1-3 mods/level packs overall. Has everyone other than me switched to Galaxy? :confused
Though I prefer Galaxy, I have played and beaten the official Keen1 - Keen3 and I have also played and completed dozens of Vorticon Mods. I have played all of yours mods, Keenrush. Extinction is the only mod of yours I have beaten. I got 7-9 levels through Fall Up, 9-10 levels through A New Dope (264 IQ points if I remember correctly), only 5 levels through Episode Smile, 3-5 levels through Fastest Gun in the Universe, and 11 levels through Yorphius II.

I started a thread several years ago listing what mods I had completed, and updated it several times. Maybe I should bump it up and update it again.
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Re: The Ice Factory is about 20 years old!

Post by Roobar » Mon Sep 10, 2018 15:18

Commander Spleen wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:10
I've decided to reboot OrbKeen as a Krodacia mod.
That's really, really interesting. Are you in the beginning of a Galaxy mod or are you already 50-60% or more done? What is the estimate release date? What will you do with the existing beta mod? Will you release it as well along with your Krodacian mod when it is out?

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Re: The Ice Factory is about 20 years old!

Post by Commander Spleen » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:48

Changed my mind. It'll be an Isis II mod.

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Re: The Ice Factory is about 20 years old!

Post by Roobar » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:51

But can you make it a Kardashian mod instead?

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