A Keen Day Experiment

This is where you can post your Commander Keen related stories, artwork, or other stuff that is related to Commander Keen but otherwise doesn't belong in another forum.
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KeenRush
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Post by KeenRush » Sun Mar 16, 2008 19:02

Yeah, I zipped mine, otherwise uploading it would have been practically impossible with my speed. So, yeah, I posted my run too. :)
My newest mod - Planet Of Agony: https://pckf.com/viewtopic.php?t=4165 | codename H.Y.E.N.A.

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XkyRauh
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Post by XkyRauh » Sun Mar 16, 2008 20:30

Good point, Malvineous. :\ I forget that some Keeners are still on 56k.

These playbacks are really interesting. I plan to post my interpretations with in a week, as well as take down the videos and stuff.

Thanks again to grafix for hosting all this!

elecdude33
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Post by elecdude33 » Mon Mar 17, 2008 16:29

This all sounds very interesting. I might record a run myself, although I'm not sure if I will or not. But I'm interested to see the end result and your thoughts on the recorded runs.

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Malvineous
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Post by Malvineous » Mon Mar 17, 2008 22:09

Can you leave the files up for a bit longer than a week? After you've released your interpretations, that's when we'll all probably want to go have a look at the videos to say "oh yeah, he's got a point there" :-)

Actually if you're downloading them all, maybe you could zip them up and re-upload the large ones - my connection is fine as far as speed is concerned (2MB/sec) but I have a download quota :-(

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XkyRauh
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Post by XkyRauh » Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:46

I'll work on doing just that, next time I'm at home long enough to do so. Another charitable Keener could do it, too. I'm sure grafix would appreciate the conservation of bandwidth, either way. :)

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DaVince
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Post by DaVince » Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:35

Commander Spleen wrote:K-Lite Codec Pack. Open them with the included Media Player Classic.
Hasn't the CCCP superseded the K-Lite codec pack by now?
Wow look at me I'm lurking

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XkyRauh
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Post by XkyRauh » Wed Mar 19, 2008 16:29

You'd think that, but I had no luck. DOSBox actually comes with the codec you need--just go to the DOSBox folder, and there should be a Video folder, and a link to "Install Video Codec." (This is all in WinXP)

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XkyRauh
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Post by XkyRauh » Thu Mar 27, 2008 19:10

Postmortem:

Sorry for the long wait with no posts. I've been busy. :(

For the most part, the things I was curious about were the following:
  • -Does the player go Left or Right first?
    -Does the player go Up or Down, when given branching paths?
    -Does the player fall straight down a chute, or hold a direction?
    -Does the player grab every single point or not?
    -Is the player prone to Exploration or Achievement?
    -Is the player Cautious or Bold?
Watching the videos really speaks for itself. The parts that surprised me were the following:

The initial starting location had points on either side. The difference was that the rightward path had a ceiling that was lowering (giving an entrance-like feel) and the left path was wide open (giving an unknown feel). Most players went right, into the cave area. KeenRush, ntimer, and StupidBunny were the ones who did not. I was surprised to see them jump out over the unknown for a slice of pizza!

There is a long vertical drop, both on the left and the right of the level.
--On the left side, there were balloons/lolipops to the left and right of the fall (which I was hoping to distract players with) and a book in the center.
--On the right side, there was fire to the left of the drop, which I was hoping would psych some players out and cause them to change direction.
Pretty much everybody ignored both prompts and dropped straight down. The only player who DIDN'T let go of the arrow keys while falling down a chute was Malvineous, who steered to the right to get the pizza as he landed.

I realize now, in retrospect, I gave mixed signals by having a book above the fire, and by allowing the player to see the lolipops/book on the left if they took the lower route first. Whoops!

The final area had a gradual hill of ground tiles, with a sweeping quarter-circle of 2-wide platforms arcing up and to the right. Most players went up the arc, even if they'd just dropped down from the area the platforms led up to! The exception here was KeenRush, who went straight for the exit. :)

Overall, the things I'm considering now, when creating a level:
  • -> The initial screen of a level should have a clear indication of direction for the player. An entryway, a leading line, something. Most players head for the cavern, not the open field.
    -> Hide secrets in lower places; everyone seems to prefer climbing, and will instinctively aim high.
    -> Ensure that drops into the unknown are safe if the player doesn't touch the controller. Don't put spikes/fire straight off the edge.
    -> Don't be afraid of superfluous platforms. Just because there's already two unique ways to reach an area doesn't mean there shouldn't be a third.
    -> Stacking crates against a wall is great player bait.
Thank you to everyone who participated! :)

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KeenRush
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Post by KeenRush » Thu Mar 27, 2008 21:17

XkyRauh wrote:KeenRush, ntimer, and StupidBunny were the ones who did not. I was surprised to see them jump out over the unknown for a slice of pizza!
:lol

Anyways, the experiment was an interesting one, as are the results. Thanks for all the explanations.
My newest mod - Planet Of Agony: https://pckf.com/viewtopic.php?t=4165 | codename H.Y.E.N.A.

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StupidBunny
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Post by StupidBunny » Fri Mar 28, 2008 0:31

Fascinating! There seems to be a lot more psychology to level design/playing than one would think. Make more interesting experiments! :D
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Grandy02
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Post by Grandy02 » Fri Mar 28, 2008 14:59

Might be a bit late, but I've just played the level (without knowing about it before, of course) and uploaded the file (grandy02.zip). :)

A very interesting experiment, great idea! I need to see how the other people played... :pogo
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ckguy
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Post by ckguy » Fri Mar 28, 2008 21:39

I'm currently in the process of uploading the videos onto my dailymotion account so that they're still available, but so that the ckfs account can be deleted to save grafix some $$$.

http://www.dailymotion.com/theckguy/

(edit) Done!

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XkyRauh
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Post by XkyRauh » Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:49

Haha fantastic; thanks, CK Guy!

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