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Re: Return to the Shadowlands

Posted: Sun May 30, 2021 21:31
by Tormentor667
I am totally hyped!

Re: Return to the Shadowlands

Posted: Tue Jun 01, 2021 2:24
by Quillax
Ever since you announced this project, I've been really pumped for the new levelpack (or source mod, I should say)! I can't wait to play something new from the great Ceilick! And it looks like you're planning to make even more! This is going to be fantastic!

Did K1n9_Duk3 program all the Keen 4 enemies from scratch? I've been wondering how the Keen 4 stuff got transferred to the source code stuff. Will the source code for this mod be released when the mod is released, like what happened with Atroxian Realm? It would be interesting to see something close to how the Keen 4 source code might've looked along with how the stuff works. Same thing goes for episodes 5 and 6.
Ceilick wrote: Mon Apr 12, 2021 0:22 So I'm for sure going to replace one enemy, the Korath, and will try to sneak robo Blue in (and change the title screen otherwise). Replacing the Korath will be little Ampton's older brother Big Ampton (looking forward to revealing the design for this), and as for Robo Blue, I'm envisioning keen seeking missiles.
When you said Big Ampton, I'm picturing this scene from the Bugs Bunny cartoon Hare Lift (and Devil's Feud Cake) that featured a robot that looks very similar to an enlarged Little Ampton. I wonder if that might've been the inspiration for your design of Big Ampton. Or I could be wrong -- I guess I'll have to find out.

Re: Return to the Shadowlands

Posted: Tue Jun 01, 2021 3:48
by Ceilick
:D

I do plan on doing a Keen 5 and Keen 6 continuation of the story, and both will be enhanced levelpacks of their source material.

This is kind of a fuzzy definition of levelpack, to explain further: I try to utilize every in-level tile the original games came with at least once, with a few exceptions, and most levels should feel like they're part of a levelpack. But I also added a lot of material; without expanding the tileset sizes, I've used nearly every available tile space to add something. And with the world map, most of the map tiles are from the originals, but most of the level entrances offer various degrees of newness. After playing this you'll have a much better idea of what the future holds for the Keen 5 and 6 followups.

I'm especially excited for some new enemies in Keen 5 like Big Ampton (he's much more burly and mean looking than that Bugs Bunny robot, who, speaking of which, I always felt would fit right at home in keen 1), and to work with Keen 6 in general, since Aliens Ate my Babysitter has some of the most interesting alien environments, creatures, and graphics but has never had a game that really makes them shine (it also has the most hellish tileset organization of any Keen galaxy game, which I plan to reorganize and make more intuitive for future modders who wish to work with it).
Did K1n9_Duk3 program all the Keen 4 enemies from scratch? I've been wondering how the Keen 4 stuff got transferred to the source code stuff. Will the source code for this mod be released when the mod is released, like what happened with Atroxian Realm? It would be interesting to see something close to how the Keen 4 source code might've looked along with how the stuff works. Same thing goes for episodes 5 and 6.
K1n9_Duk3 really deserves a round of applause for this, as he has reconstructed the Keen 4 source code and tweaked it to my needs. As long as I have his permission, the source code for this project will be available. I would personally be thrilled to see this utilized for other Keen 4 projects.

Re: Return to the Shadowlands

Posted: Tue Jun 01, 2021 14:38
by Tormentor667
Any chance of getting a preview video? :)

Re: Return to the Shadowlands

Posted: Tue Jun 01, 2021 17:59
by Ceilick
If I knew anything about video editing I would create a trailer showcasing some action, but honestly I'd rather everyone get to experience the levels themselves for the first time rather than through any demo footage.

Maybe some extra screenshots when I'm off work tonight :p

Re: Return to the Shadowlands

Posted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 3:30
by Ceilick
Here's some teaser screenshots that reveal very little :p

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One song remains! Release date on the 4th, 5th, or 6th.

Re: Return to the Shadowlands

Posted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 14:27
by Tormentor667
They are revealing enough to keep me hyped :) I am really curious how this plays and feels :)

Re: Return to the Shadowlands

Posted: Tue Jun 15, 2021 17:47
by proYorp
Ceilick wrote: Tue Jun 01, 2021 3:48 I'm especially excited [...] to work with Keen 6 in general, since Aliens Ate my Babysitter has some of the most interesting alien environments, creatures, and graphics but has never had a game that really makes them shine (it also has the most hellish tileset organization of any Keen galaxy game, which I plan to reorganize and make more intuitive for future modders who wish to work with it).
100% this. A tileset reorganization is actually something I had also planned to make (and then to also release as a template). Frankly all the tilesets are a bit of a mess. I had an idea I sketched out like a year ago about dividing the tileset into different zones for terrain, hazards, functional tiles, etc. The only problem is that rearranging the tiles in the bitmap, making sure the same tile properties go onto the new positions properly, remapping the animations... oh boy it would all be a huge pain. I wish there were better tools for doing things like grabbing huge chunks of tiles and moving them somewhere else in the tileset; properties, graphics, and all.


...Also something else I had planned to make (and partly why I thought about doing the tileset organizing) was a levelpack for Keen 6 where Keen has to rescue Spot because the Bloogs kidnapped him for revenge.

"Thanks for the snack.
Next time, use your own
sandwich.
-The Bloogs"

Stop stealin' mah ideas. :p

Re: Return to the Shadowlands

Posted: Tue Jun 15, 2021 18:23
by Ceilick
Also something else I had planned to make (and partly why I thought about doing the tileset organizing) was a levelpack for Keen 6 where Keen has to rescue Spot because the Bloogs kidnapped him for revenge.
:O

I've already begun my tileset for this episode and while it's a bit messy because of additions I've made (new hazards, new platform sets) it might be a solid starting point if you plan to do a pure reorganization project.

I did this for keen 5 already as well, even completing each platform set insofar as missing pieces go. I've even remapped maybe 50% of the tile properties in this case, which actually was a lot easier and took less time than expected. The copy paste feature in Abiathar is invaluable with this task, and just opening a second instance of abiather to reference original properties for remapped tiles was helpful.

Let me know if you'd like to use these if you plan to go ahead with your project, I'd be happy to share.

Re: Return to the Shadowlands

Posted: Sun Jun 20, 2021 20:15
by NY00123
Looks like re-organization of Keen 6's tiles seems to have the support from at least two individuals. Comparing to Keen 4's, Keen6 still has separate groups of tiles for separate themes, but there are also others which are separated, and differ from e.g., the bridges as in Keen 4.

I guess the main disadvantage is that it won't be possible to make a level without modifying CGAGRAPH/EGAGRAPH at all; Not necessarily a common practice today, but maybe it'll be possible to replace just a subset of the levels or the graphics in the future; Either by using a special tool for DOS, or via a source port with such features.

Even if we ignore this, re-arranging the tiles without modifying CGAGRAPH/EGAGRAPH should still be possible, at least in theory, if it's supported by a level editor. Such an editor might also support longer grids of tiles and/or pre-defined tile groups.

Re: Return to the Shadowlands

Posted: Sun Jun 20, 2021 20:35
by K1n9_Duk3
I think we don't need to rearrage the tiles at all, we just need a map editor that allows the user to select from a rearranged "palette" of tiles instead of (or in addition to) the tileset. Think of it as a pseudo-tileset that you can edit like a regular level. That would allow the user to arrange the tiles in whatever order they prefer. And we wouldn't be breaking compatibility with the base game, since the original tilesets remain intact.

Re: Return to the Shadowlands

Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2021 6:18
by proYorp
Ceilick wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 18:23 Let me know if you'd like to use these if you plan to go ahead with your project, I'd be happy to share.
Thanks, I'll keep that in mind. Although I don't think it's likely I'd actually work on this anytime soon. I have other Keen projects I'm focusing on this year.... :evil

I had been planning to totally redo the platform set arrangement to try to come up with a system that is both more compact to allow for more custom tiles to be added, and more intuitive especially. (I am aware that you made something like this quite a while ago, but I wanted to do my own take on it because I have slightly different goals.) Although maybe I should save that for a Version 2 or something because spending so much time trying to perfect things seems to result in never finishing anything at all....

Like my Keen 6 levelpack. :rolleyes At this point I think I'll have to come up with a new story or there will be no end of "Ceilick already did this." I'll have to wait and see how many of my ideas can be salvaged by the end of this trilogy. I'm just gonna say, if you're planning for your first level to be a certain "Blooglet Lake" I'm going to have to be very annoyed. :p


NY00123 wrote: Sun Jun 20, 2021 20:15 I guess the main disadvantage is that it won't be possible to make a level without modifying CGAGRAPH/EGAGRAPH at all
Part of my template idea was to include (besides the modified graphics files) versions of the default levels modified to use the new tile arrangement, to make it really easy to start from. Besides being a starting point to add new tiles for levelpacks, I also wanted to make a "blank" template with the tile type zones marked out to make it easy to start a tileset from scratch for full mods for the different epsodes (based on the amount of various types of tiles included in the base episode). I have this all planned out, I'd just need to do it. :dopekeen

Even if not a "real" tileset, I still think there should be full templates organized for a nice, clean, intuitive set to minimize time spent searching for a specific tile or trying to figure out the difference between visual duplicates, and available for people who don't want to do all that organizing. User experience. But a "palette editor" sounds like it would make the job easier.

Re: Return to the Shadowlands

Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2021 14:09
by Ceilick
proYorp wrote:I'm just gonna say, if you're planning for your first level to be a certain "Blooglet Lake" I'm going to have to be very annoyed
*Quietly crosses this off my level list*
K1n9_Duk3 wrote:we just need a map editor that allows the user to select from a rearranged "palette" of tiles instead of (or in addition to) the tileset.
I like this idea! Downloadable tile layout presets, multi tabbed to allow for organized sections like world map, desert terrain level, grassy level, etc, the ability to mix background and foreground into a 'stamp' for easy placement. The Keen Next editor had a feature similar to this that I used heavily for the keys of krodacia.

Re: Return to the Shadowlands

Posted: Tue Jun 29, 2021 14:10
by XkyRauh
This mod was fantastic! :)

Ceilick, your love for the series shone through the level design. I have to admit, some of the levels were a bit on the huge side for me, and I found myself getting confused/lost, but the overall pacing and play was excellent. Thank you for a wonderful experience!

Accessing the secret level was a fun little puzzle to solve. You gave ample clues, and the challenge was pretty balanced. Great work!!

Re: Return to the Shadowlands

Posted: Tue Jul 20, 2021 16:05
by neek
This is probably the best Keen levelpack I've ever played. It feels like a proper sequel to Keen 4 with the difficulty higher, more enemies, larger levels, and some changes in the aesthetic. :love