Redrawing Keen 1 sprites

You can discuss anything about fan-made Commander Keen games here.
Post Reply
User avatar
aintnofuntime
Grunt
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2019 16:00
Contact:

Redrawing Keen 1 sprites

Post by aintnofuntime » Sun Mar 10, 2019 17:02

Hey, chums, it's been a minute (I used to be "Allstories" on this forum). I haven't really toyed around with Keen mods in a while, but several months back I thought it would be fun to play around with redrawing graphics from Keen 1 as an exercise:

Image

Image

I had the thought to redraw all of the tile graphics, but idk if I'll ever get around to that haha. I did take a stab at fleshing out all of Keen's sprites, though.

Image

Definitely open to suggestions. I still want to play around with a better way to handle the death sprites as well as the frozen sprites. One problem I'm struggling with, primarily, is how to handle the anti-aliasing. I think it looks good when Keen is standing against a light background, but the dark grey pixels kinda pop when against a black background:

ImageImage

I suspect there's a way to use the game's faux-transparency effect to make dark pixels turn black against black, for example, but idk if that's feasible with the engine as-is or if it would require patching. Is there documentation on how the transparency works?

Lemme know if y'all have thoughts or feedback. If I get it in a state that I'm satisfied I'll upload it if anyone wants to use it for their own mods. :)

User avatar
Roobar
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 2880
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 16:12

Re: Redrawing Keen 1 sprites

Post by Roobar » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:59

Keen looks like a fat lemming now :crazy . I like what you've done with the dog. It looks more angry now and threatening.

User avatar
troublesomekeen
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 1169
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:01
Location: Three-Tooth Lake
Contact:

Re: Redrawing Keen 1 sprites

Post by troublesomekeen » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:08

Oh my yes. There's quite a number of mods with redrawn Keen sprites and those always get good positive attention.
These look superb. You're right about those grey pixels though. I wouldn't know what to do about that, but I LOVE your take on this so far. :love
You better have these imported so that I can play your re-skinned Keen1, or else.
And you've gone beyond just Keen himself! A few more frames for the Vorticon and the Garg and we'll be in top shape.
I forget if/how transparency works in Vorticons.... Oh yes! Now I recall!

The tile you place is the one you see in the level. The very next tile to the right uses the colors black and white: Black for what pixels are seen, and white for the transparent pixels. This is something you see in the tileset if you extract the bitmaps from the game.
Image
Commander Keen in... Canteloupe Quest!

User avatar
K1n9_Duk3
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 524
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:30
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Redrawing Keen 1 sprites

Post by K1n9_Duk3 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:39

aintnofuntime wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 17:02
I suspect there's a way to use the game's faux-transparency effect to make dark pixels turn black against black, for example, but idk if that's feasible with the engine as-is or if it would require patching.
I don't think it's possible without massive patching. You can only use transparency effects to make pixles brighter, not darker. You would have to invert the game's color palette (and invert the colors on all the graphics) if you wanted to make things darker. You could also rewrite the sprite drawing functions, but that would be a huge amount of work and could cause other issues.
Hail to the K1n9, baby!
http://k1n9duk3.shikadi.net

User avatar
aintnofuntime
Grunt
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2019 16:00
Contact:

Re: Redrawing Keen 1 sprites

Post by aintnofuntime » Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:19

Hmm, sounds like it would be more trouble than it's worth then. I've gone ahead and removed all the gray anti-aliasing. Here it is in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEr78qsDO3o

And here's ver 1.0 of my sprite set if anyone wants to use it or has suggestions for improvement:

http://dylangart.com/commanderkeen/keen ... g_v1.0.zip
Image

Another question, while I'm at it: is the sprite of Keen from the back actually used anywhere in the game?

User avatar
proYorp
Vortininja
Posts: 124
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:56
Location: mspaint.exe

Re: Redrawing Keen 1 sprites

Post by proYorp » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:15

Allstories? Wow, you're like, one of the OG Keeners. :eek

Those are some neat sprites. That's a really unique style you got going on there. I especially like those point items.

In regards to the antialiasing, from my experience with messing with Keen sprites, I think that sort of thing would only really work in a non-patched game if any smoothing was only done on the inside of the outlines, so that the part that touches the background is just solid black, and the color and smoothing would be connected so it doesn't pop out. It would be cool if the type of antialiasing you have here would actually work, unfortunately I don't see a way to make that possible without what would be, according to K1n9_Duk3, quite a lot of patch work.
"Friendly. Very friendly. Too friendly." :yorp

User avatar
aintnofuntime
Grunt
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2019 16:00
Contact:

Re: Redrawing Keen 1 sprites

Post by aintnofuntime » Thu Mar 14, 2019 0:51

Haha it feels weird to think that I could be considered "OG" by any metric, but on the other hand, I released my first Keen mod when I was 14, and I'm currently 29, so more than half of my life has elapsed since I've been on the PCKF. That's pretty wild. :dead2

Benvolio
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 611
Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 12:43
Location: Ireland
Contact:

Re: Redrawing Keen 1 sprites

Post by Benvolio » Thu Mar 14, 2019 19:09

aintnofuntime wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 0:51
Haha it feels weird to think that I could be considered "OG" by any metric, but on the other hand, I released my first Keen mod when I was 14, and I'm currently 29, so more than half of my life has elapsed since I've been on the PCKF. That's pretty wild. :dead2
Hello! I was a big fan of "The Last Moon" back in the day! Great to have you drop by... I also see an almost simultaneous reappearance of the maker of another great mod from that era - Kohntarkosz. And yes I believe I also got my first mods out at age 14 and am now a month off being 29 myself!

User avatar
aintnofuntime
Grunt
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2019 16:00
Contact:

Re: Redrawing Keen 1 sprites

Post by aintnofuntime » Thu Mar 14, 2019 21:42

Benvolio wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 19:09
aintnofuntime wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 0:51
Haha it feels weird to think that I could be considered "OG" by any metric, but on the other hand, I released my first Keen mod when I was 14, and I'm currently 29, so more than half of my life has elapsed since I've been on the PCKF. That's pretty wild. :dead2
Hello! I was a big fan of "The Last Moon" back in the day! Great to have you drop by... I also see an almost simultaneous reappearance of the maker of another great mod from that era - Kohntarkosz. And yes I believe I also got my first mods out at age 14 and am now a month off being 29 myself!
I remember your mods. You were very prolific iirc. I can't remember if I ever reviewed them (hey, remember when I had a website for reviewing Keen mods? lol) but I remember them being decent.
I actually replayed Last Moon for the first time in ages yesterday and I was struck by how decidedly un-fun it is, haha. The levels are sooo small and full of tedious precision-jumps, and the Garg/Vorticon enemies are never placed in a way so as to be a threat. I should play around with level-making again sometime soon. I'd be interested to see if I'm any better at it.

User avatar
proYorp
Vortininja
Posts: 124
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:56
Location: mspaint.exe

Re: Redrawing Keen 1 sprites

Post by proYorp » Thu Mar 14, 2019 22:14

aintnofuntime wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:19
Another question, while I'm at it: is the sprite of Keen from the back actually used anywhere in the game?
No, this sprite is unused, and the data is removed in Keen 3 (still around in Keen 2 though for some reason).

aintnofuntime wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 0:51
Haha it feels weird to think that I could be considered "OG" by any metric
Well, you've been a modder for a lot longer than I have, at any rate. Back in the early years when it just begun to be possible, even.
"Friendly. Very friendly. Too friendly." :yorp

User avatar
aintnofuntime
Grunt
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2019 16:00
Contact:

Re: Redrawing Keen 1 sprites

Post by aintnofuntime » Thu Mar 14, 2019 22:21

proYorp wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 22:14
Well, you've been a modder for a lot longer than I have, at any rate. Back in the early years when it just begun to be possible, even.
I wish I could know how much time I wasted as a teen manually typing in the command line for modkeen every single time because I didn't realize I could make a batch file to do it for me :crazy

User avatar
Plasma Captain
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 326
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 18:46
Contact:

Re: Redrawing Keen 1 sprites

Post by Plasma Captain » Thu Mar 14, 2019 22:54

Oh my gosh, it's all so adorable! These would be great in a mod...

Benvolio
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 611
Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 12:43
Location: Ireland
Contact:

Re: Redrawing Keen 1 sprites

Post by Benvolio » Fri Mar 15, 2019 20:47

aintnofuntime wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 21:42
Benvolio wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 19:09
aintnofuntime wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 0:51
Haha it feels weird to think that I could be considered "OG" by any metric, but on the other hand, I released my first Keen mod when I was 14, and I'm currently 29, so more than half of my life has elapsed since I've been on the PCKF. That's pretty wild. :dead2
Hello! I was a big fan of "The Last Moon" back in the day! Great to have you drop by... I also see an almost simultaneous reappearance of the maker of another great mod from that era - Kohntarkosz. And yes I believe I also got my first mods out at age 14 and am now a month off being 29 myself!
I remember your mods. You were very prolific iirc. I can't remember if I ever reviewed them (hey, remember when I had a website for reviewing Keen mods? lol) but I remember them being decent.
I actually replayed Last Moon for the first time in ages yesterday and I was struck by how decidedly un-fun it is, haha. The levels are sooo small and full of tedious precision-jumps, and the Garg/Vorticon enemies are never placed in a way so as to be a threat. I should play around with level-making again sometime soon. I'd be interested to see if I'm any better at it.
Of course and many if not most, were children when making these things. That is a big part of what makes them so special. Lol@"prolific" - it was definitely largely a case of quantity not quality, but hopefully my love for the format shined through nevertheless. I do not recall the levels of The Last Moon too well but graphically it was definitely ahead of the curve!

Regarding level editing, all my mods except my most recent (Gestrand op de Rode Planeet, 2013) were made using Andy Durdin's KeenWright for levels. A wonderful piece of software that I will always fondly remember. However, for the last mod I made, I used Mindbelt, and I have to say it allowed me to creat what I would definitely say are my best levels yet - the flexibility windows GUI allowed me to see the big picture (literally and figuratively) of my levels as I made them. I am sure a more intelligent person than I would succeed in making good levels without this additional assistance. So anyway I would suggest trying Mindbelt if revisiting levels. Of course I believe there are several other recent editors for vorticons but to be frank I am not familiar with them.

User avatar
DoomJedi
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 700
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:22
Location: Israel

Re: Redrawing Keen 1 sprites

Post by DoomJedi » Sat Apr 13, 2019 20:04

Looks very neat, really, great idea

User avatar
XkyRauh
Mortimer's RightHand Man
Posts: 361
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 16:32
Location: San Diego, California

Re: Redrawing Keen 1 sprites

Post by XkyRauh » Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:17

Can't even tell you how excited I am to see you post a run cycle as your first graphic. :) The dynamic poses you use for the re-done creatures really sell some characterization, even without animation. Great work!

Post Reply