Patchwork Mod IV for the PCKF's 20th Anniversary

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Patchwork Mod IV for the PCKF's 20th Anniversary

Post by Grandy02 » Sat Jun 08, 2019 13:17

When I did some research for the KeenWiki's PCKF article, I realised that 2020 will not only be the year of Keen's 30th anniversary, but also of the 20th anniversary of the Public Commander Keen Forum. The move to the newly created PCKF (the previous one) was officially announced on the 15th of April, 2000. Of course, it was predated by the InsideTheWeb boards, whose system was very different, much more simple and less organised. On the other hand, the ezboard-based PCKF already used the basic structure and the name which were inherited by the current forum.

I thought about a tribute and the Keen 1-3 Patchwork Mods put together by Levellord (and later also Levellass) came to my mind. I contributed to two of them and it was a cool experience. :)

They were released between 2004 and 2008. A lot of things have happened since then, many more Keeners got into Galaxy modding. So why not take the challenge of creating a Keen 4 Patchwork Mod, more than 10 years after the third one?

Before any levels are made, the various sprites should be collected at first, I think. There are about 20 actors in Keen 4. When Levellord curated Patchwork Mod II, there was a list of the sprites and one could see which graphics are done or in the works, so that multiple people won't work on the same one, if I remember correctly.

When the actors are finished, anyone who wants to make levels would receive the latest state of the mod and be able to work with the actual creature replacements, including those with changed size and behaviour. Thanks to the vast number of tiles available in Keen 4, each participant could also give their level(s) a unique appearance this time. And the musical ones could contribute their songs, too.

Regarding the plot and theme, what about something like this: The planet "PCKF II" is inhabited by the Keeners, fans of the Defender of the Universe. They are preparing the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the day they made "PCKF I" their new home. Party decorations are all over the place. However, the not-so-fun-loving Shikadi kidnap the eight immortal "Guardians of Keenishness" and scatter them across the planet. The Guardians preserve the stability of PCKF II, a world that exists thanks to the power of creativity. Suddenly, the creations of the Keeners turn against their creators and everything is thrown into chaos. The mastermind behind the evil deed is Mortimer, of course, with the intention of destroying the community made up of his archenemy's biggest fans. :mortlol: Keen receives a distress call by the Keeners, it's up to him to find the Guardians and restore Keenishness.

But a coherent plot would not be the focus of a Patchwork Mod, it's all about the fun with pixel art, level editing and composing.

What do you think? I'm sure the result would be amazing, no matter whether it gets finished until April 2020 or whatever occasion is used. Maybe you think the theme is stupid and it should be something entirely different. Well, all what I wrote are just suggestions. But anyway, the last Patchwork Mod came out more than a decade ago and I always wished for a sequel. :)
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Re: Patchwork Mod IV for the PCKF's 20th Anniversary

Post by proYorp » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:24

This sounds like a fun idea. Now, the thing is to get enough submissions from everyone to complete it.... I got the impression that a lot of people have been pretty busy recently, but now that the Northern Hemispheric summer is rolling in maybe that will change somewhat. Myself, I've been pretty preoccupied lately, but I think if this got off the ground I could probably do a sprite.

Are you thinking of changing the tiles? If so, I would suggest maybe not having all tile sets specifically drawn for this. Sets of Galaxy tiles take significantly more effort to create than any Vorticons tiles do, because you have to take all the slopes and variants into consideration, trying to make them fit together in all their configurations, not to mention the shading... and I say that from experience. This, for me at least, is probably the most daunting part of mod graphics, and does not seem like a good fit for any projects with a deadline.
I propose taking most of the tiles from other mods and stuff, especially for generic surfaces such as grass, stone, and metal, recolouring if need be. (Plus mods are still created by the community, so I feel like it wouldn't take away from that aspect of it.) And then only having special tiles, such as a unique design for a machine or something, drawn specifically for this. Unless anyone really wants to design a set of tiles.
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Re: Patchwork Mod IV for the PCKF's 20th Anniversary

Post by Grandy02 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 16:44

Thanks for your interest, proYorp. :) I had a discussion about this with Nisaba on KeenWiki. I didn't pay enough attention to the fact that these times are different from the mid-2000s when most modders only worked on the significantly less time-consuming Vorticon mods. Not only that a Keen 4 Patchwork Mod would require much more effort than the previous ones, but Keeners are also busy with their own large-scale projects (in addition to real life).

But I still think Patchwork Mod IV could work as a long-term project, with new content being added bit by bit, and no fixed deadline. It could also become a tribute to Keen's 30th anniversary, but as I said, the story is just a suggestion and isn't that important at this point.
proYorp wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:24
Are you thinking of changing the tiles? If so, I would suggest maybe not having all tile sets specifically drawn for this. Sets of Galaxy tiles take significantly more effort to create than any Vorticons tiles do, [...]
I propose taking most of the tiles from other mods and stuff, especially for generic surfaces such as grass, stone, and metal, recolouring if need be. (Plus mods are still created by the community, so I feel like it wouldn't take away from that aspect of it.) And then only having special tiles, such as a unique design for a machine or something, drawn specifically for this. Unless anyone really wants to design a set of tiles.
Yeah, you're right. In this case it would be okay to partially reuse existing tiles. But at first, the sprites should be made, I think, then we could take the next step.

Any particular sprite you would like to create? I'd add your name to a list like this one:
Arachnut - KeenerA (work in progress)
Berkeloid
Blue Bird + Egg - KeenerB (done)
Bounder - KeenerC (work in progress)
Council Member
Darts - KeenerD (done)

If something is finished, it would probably be best to just post it here. Makes things easier and might encourage more people to contribute their work.

In any case, I'm glad that at last someone replied. :D
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Re: Patchwork Mod IV for the PCKF's 20th Anniversary

Post by troublesomekeen » Sat Jun 22, 2019 22:55

I want to reply! But I don't know how! It's positively puzzling. And unfeasible. I would have no idea how to proceed without a theme. But then if everyone stuck to a theme, where would the "patchwork" be? I love the old Patchwork mods. It's quirky, random, all over the place, fitted together with pieces that don't quite fit--it's beautiful. A Keen mod is so hugely colossal that I feel like it's too much to take on, but if everyone contributes a tiny percent, maybe something grand can come of it.

Many of the great enemy-altering patches we've seen involves reassigning frames and adjusting the cache. All spriters would have to agree that only the default number of frames are used for their own chosen sprite to work on before actually working on it. Suppose Mr. Wormouth Editor wants more frames for animating the lateral movement? The keener would have to know going in that he's not going to get those extra frames from something else and adjust plans accordingly. That's fine except that what happens if Miss Lick Editor Extraordinaire makes a sprite set and has a few unused frames leftover? They could have been loaned out to the Wormouth replacement! Oh it's terrible. Too difficult. Close up shop. We're done. Doomsday tomorrow.
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Re: Patchwork Mod IV for the PCKF's 20th Anniversary

Post by Grandy02 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:00

troublesomekeen wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 22:55
Many of the great enemy-altering patches we've seen involves reassigning frames and adjusting the cache. All spriters would have to agree that only the default number of frames are used for their own chosen sprite to work on before actually working on it. [...]
I also thought about this, we should stick to the original number of frames to simplify things. A creature creator can still request the use of patches that don't require extra frames, such as the Slug's speed and the Lick's jump height.
troublesomekeen wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 22:55
I want to reply! But I don't know how! It's positively puzzling. And unfeasible. I would have no idea how to proceed without a theme. But then if everyone stuck to a theme, where would the "patchwork" be? I love the old Patchwork mods. It's quirky, random, all over the place, fitted together with pieces that don't quite fit--it's beautiful. A Keen mod is so hugely colossal that I feel like it's too much to take on, but if everyone contributes a tiny percent, maybe something grand can come of it.
That's what I like about them, too. :) Regarding the theme in the first post, one could equip their monsters with party hats, party horns, balloons and other party stuff. Or just do whatever comes to your mind. And maybe some modders have unused sprites that were scrapped during development.
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Re: Patchwork Mod IV for the PCKF's 20th Anniversary

Post by Nisaba » Sun Jun 23, 2019 16:58

here's my proposal for a community mod,

wouldn't it be nice to create a hand drawn mod like seen in Planet Cloudius IX (big shout outs to @Roobar who gave me the idea):
Bubbatom: Image
Drawing a quick sketches won't take too long and isn't too much of a complex task, so people might join with less reservation. And I think everybody already drew something Keen related in their younger days, right? The result could be a very unique community mod with a personal touch of each member involved.
And as far as I remember we already had a drawing contest back in 2012. In my humble option it would be splendid to have a mod with ruff drawn graphics like those over here:
Wiivn:
Image
VikingBoyBilly:
Image
Gridlock:
Image Image
lemme know what you guys think about this idea?!
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Re: Patchwork Mod IV for the PCKF's 20th Anniversary

Post by Roobar » Sun Jun 23, 2019 17:08

Nisaba wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 16:58
like seen in Planet Cloudius IX (big shout outs to @Roobar who gave me the idea)
You mean only making a drawings or an actual mod? Because making that drawing as a level was one of the hardest things to make. I've been working on this for so long (shortly after 2012, when I saw that drawing). Even in the recent game patches I've been fixing small things here and there... :dead It took me countless edits and it still needs some work (like the door or some places that didn't aligned too well). And that level can be played and finished within seconds.

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Re: Patchwork Mod IV for the PCKF's 20th Anniversary

Post by Grandy02 » Tue Jun 25, 2019 18:51

Nisaba wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 16:58
lemme know what you guys think about this idea?!
As I said before, it's a very nice idea and exploring hand-drawn levels would surely be a lot of fun. :)
Now that Roobar mentions it, it would probably take quite some time to adapt a big sketch to a playable level?
Would the creatures look like (animated) sketches, too?
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Re: Patchwork Mod IV for the PCKF's 20th Anniversary

Post by Nisaba » Sun Jul 14, 2019 17:17

Grandy02 wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 18:51
As I said before, it's a very nice idea and exploring hand-drawn levels would surely be a lot of fun. :)
Now that Roobar mentions it, it would probably take quite some time to adapt a big sketch to a playable level?
Would the creatures look like (animated) sketches, too?
what about each community member picks his/her favourite Keen Galaxy level (original game or mod) like for e.g. Keen 4's Hillville and copies / hand draws it with respect to the right dimensions and main structure? This way we could bypass the issue of making things fit in terms of alignment and stuff. Of course additional funny and neat little things would be very welcome, like, I don't know... maybe a new and hand drawn background or fresh arranged and jet unseen new hazards or something... same for creatures...
?
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Re: Patchwork Mod IV for the PCKF's 20th Anniversary

Post by Roobar » Sun Jul 14, 2019 17:35

I'm still not sure what you're trying to imply with the drawings concept. Converting a drawing into a level? That would work the best on KEENGINE, since it supports many colors and I can only make levels in KEENGINE anyway. Or converting a drawing into a level the levellass way?

Image
Image
Image

I can probably make a level of a drawing in KEENGINE using the Keen 4, 5 and 6 tilestets combined.

But by the look of it, no one is making anything yet. I don't see a clear direction. And I don't see many people here interested in helping in this so far either. In that case I can only suggest the safest route: to make a keen 1 anniversary level pack. People are familiar with it and levels can easily be made. Even I can contribute. And it will be still a tribute to the keen and it will be made on time. And don't set a level limit, so people can make more than one level. That way it will be more bigger and interesting.

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Re: Patchwork Mod IV for the PCKF's 20th Anniversary

Post by Nisaba » Sun Jul 14, 2019 21:44

Roobar wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 17:35
I'm still not sure what you're trying to imply with the drawings concept. Converting a drawing into a level? That would work the best on KEENGINE, since it supports many colors and I can only make levels in KEENGINE anyway. Or converting a drawing into a level the levellass way?
The Levellass way, but just the other way around. Choose an existing level, grab a pencil and hand draw this very level on paper. next scan it or take a picture of it. and finally do the KEENGINE magic, so Keen walks within your hand drawings. That's the main idea here.

As I know my fellow lazy and dronish Keen community, people will join as soon as they see progress and of course feel the weight of a deadline...
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Re: Patchwork Mod IV for the PCKF's 20th Anniversary

Post by Snortimer » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:07

I might be interested in this hand-drawn idea. I already have all the tools and skills needed to do it.

Tracing the original level to then do a hand-drawn version of it (that will later be scanned and put into the game) could be done in one of two ways:

1) For those who own a light table (or a glass table so that a light can be shined up from the bottom), one option would be to print out the original level on a piece of paper (or multiple pieces if it's a big one), then place it on the light table, turn on the light-from-underneath, put a blank paper on top of it, secure it so it doesn't move, and trace the main outlines. Once you're done the main outlines, you can take it away and finish your drawing normally.

2) Another option: Edit the colours in your favourite Keen level so that it's all shades of light blue (best idea is to make it greyscale, then make it light blue by changing the chroma), then print that out on a colour printer. Light blue will not be picked up by your scanner when scanning in black/white mode (comics and animation artists use this property all the time), so you can now draw your sketch directly on top of the light blue level that you just printed out. When you scan it back in, the light blue will be invisible (you should test that out before drawing anything, to make sure you have the correct shade of light blue). Alternately, make a 2nd layer on top of the original image of the level and sketch only the important parts of the level in light blue, then print out the sketch -- this could be less distracting when you're working on your own drawing.

If the level is too big for one piece of paper, the pieces can be scanned individually and stitched together afterwards in a paint program.

I take it, then, that lack of graphics memory will not be an issue because this will not be a mod of one of the Galaxy games directly?
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