Happy Keen day! Beta testers required!

Here is where to post about the latest Commander Keen fangame or modification you've finished, a new website you've made, or another Keen-related creation.
Post Reply
Kohntarkosz_
Grunt
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 22:04
Location: Canada

Happy Keen day! Beta testers required!

Post by Kohntarkosz_ » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:36

Allow me to introduce my new Keen 4 mod, "Bounty Hunting Brouhaha". Beta is available here (run PATCH.BAT):

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1usw3R ... 6Yq4kNPdGg


Plot summary: a low-stakes mission turns out to have high-stakes consequences.
Artwork: fairly conventional. A few of the backgrounds are colour-flattened 3D renderings, which I can post a tutorial on if anyone's interested.
Level design: Less conventional. Maybe a bit more puzzle-oriented than usual.
Difficulty: fairly easy, though I've no idea whether it's beatable in hard mode.
Number of levels: Only one of the original Keen 4 level slots is unused. You only need to beat eight levels to beat the game, although, it's hard to explain which eight…
Number of secret levels: two
Music: All original. This is the only category of asset where I regularly end up making more than I can use. I may start doing periodic IMF dumps so other people can use them.
Recognizable pop tunes plagiarized with slight alterations: Several
Penguins with teeth: Yes

If you're interested in Beta Testing: First of all, THANK YOU EVER SO VERY MUCH! All volunteers will appear in the credits, and the first five volunteers can have a "message to the world" (autograph, self-portrait, graffito tag, marriage proposal, you name it) embedded somewhere in the final version of the game, if they wish. (Max area: 16 tiles per message.)

While you test, please be on the lookout for:
* The game not starting at all because the ZIP package is corrupt or incomplete
* "Insufficient memory for..."
* Collision/clipping/masking issues
* Tiles not doing what they look like they ought to do
* Game-breaking bugs
* Garbled text
* Guidelines/discolorations on tiles with special properties (I use them a lot so that I know what's what during the level-editing stage, and I'm pretty sure I erased all of them)
* Traps that feel cheap
* Levels that are impossible in hard mode
* Secret level transportation system not working properly (The one in the cave should take you to the cottage at bottom right, and the one in the garden should take you to the stripey place)
* Whether the wind-tunnel level is unplayably glitchy or just mildly glitchy

Deadline: Uhh...oh, I know! April 13th, which shall henceforth be known as "reverse Keen day."

Optional extra credit assignments: There is quite a bit of room on the BMP list, so if anyone wants to make me a few more illustrations for the story and end text, that would be greatly appreciated. (Turns out I can't draw in any perspective other than isomorphic.) I'm not thrilled with the way the title card turned out either, so if anyone wants to draw me a new one, you get EXTRA extra credit!

Personal notes: Keen Galaxy modding provides pretty much everything I'm looking for in a late-night creative outlet, so I'm feeling pretty fired up about it. (I'm already storyboarding the sequel for this. It will be...structurally interesting.) Let me also say how encouraging it is to see this little community still going strong. Who is responsible for paying web hosting fees for this site and for shikadi.net? I want to send along a little token of goodwill, but I can't find the donate button.

Happy Keen day to all, and to all a good night!

User avatar
proYorp
Vortininja
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:56
Location: mspaint.exe

Re: Happy Keen day! Beta testers required!

Post by proYorp » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:11

Now this sounds very neat. I think I'll check this out in about a week or so when I have a bit more time, and then I'll be more able to take detailed notes on things.

Most of the beta-testing I've seen happen around here is done with a private release to a few select people, so I find it very interesting that you've opted for a more public testing release. I'll be interested to see how this goes.
"Friendly. Very friendly. Too friendly." :yorp

User avatar
55Aavenue
Vortininja
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:35
Location: Canada

Re: Happy Keen day! Beta testers required!

Post by 55Aavenue » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:32

This looks well done! I love the world map idea of having the colored gates that open by beating the levels with the corresponding flag holders.

User avatar
troublesomekeen
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 1165
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:01
Location: Three-Tooth Lake
Contact:

Re: Happy Keen day! Beta testers required!

Post by troublesomekeen » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:05

Super cool! (I love it when keeners drop out of nowhere with a whole bag of goodies on their very first post. It's no rare thing, funnily enough.)
A lot to work with here. Looking great for it's first outing, and that patch file ain't no slouch for being a mod in beta.

Great work on the music. Extra IMFs are always useful. Every new mod ought to have new music.

I forget who holds up shikadi.net. Is that Fleex or Malv or neither?
Image
Commander Keen in... Canteloupe Quest!

User avatar
Roobar
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 2858
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 16:12

Re: Happy Keen day! Beta testers required!

Post by Roobar » Fri Mar 15, 2019 19:58

Wow. There's plenty of things to explore. It turns out your mod is actually much bigger than expected, even though it's beta. There are some clever new additions like sloped bridges. And I like the silly story. Plus there's crypto currency humor. And... Commander Keen 20 000?!? What is that? It seems that you're not really new to the modding/game dev or this forum after all.

I can see also the Canadian influence by the sushi monster just because I know there are a lot of Chinese people there and also because by the way you thanked in the topic (which, too much thanking they say, is typical for Canadians).

There are a lot of SGA writings as well and clever puzzles.

As for the bugs... Well, I haven't found any game breaking ones so far and I have completed 5-6 levels. But there are so many incorrect (unfinished?) tiles that I don't know how you will be able to fix them all by April 13th. But I'll be really curious to see the finished version.

Kohntarkosz_
Grunt
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 22:04
Location: Canada

Re: Happy Keen day! Beta testers required!

Post by Kohntarkosz_ » Mon Mar 18, 2019 15:57

Thanks for the feedback guys!!

Roobar -- could I possibly trouble you for a screenshot of the tile issue? It's possible that it doesn't look the same way on your end as it does on mine. "Perfect tiling" of large patterns was never the goal (even the official Galaxy games don't always achieve this, you'd need 4-8 variants of every tile type) but I know a couple of my textures use black outlines inconsistently. I was waiting to fix this until I figured out a way to get my graphics software to 'tell' me exactly where the problem is happening but I'll probably end up just doing it the slow way.

The combination of "graphics style with an abundance of black outlines" + "tile masking algorithm where transparent pixels also have to be black" might just be the Galaxy engine's biggest structural problem, at least on the graphics side. I'll bet it slowed down ID Software's art team too! The things you learn when you tear apart a game...

User avatar
Fleexy
Tool Smith
Posts: 1362
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:21
Location: Abiathar C&C
Contact:

Re: Happy Keen day! Beta testers required!

Post by Fleexy » Tue Mar 19, 2019 15:42

Welcome to the forum, and wow, nice work! :eek

Regarding the mask for graphics, I am happy to report that amazing people like Levellass have produced easier-to-use methods. Keengraph is an alternative to ModKeen that lets you use a special (non-EGA) color to indicate transparent pixels, with no need for a mask column. Such tileset bitmaps look like this.

User avatar
loop4ever
Grunt
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:20

Re: Happy Keen day! Beta testers required!

Post by loop4ever » Wed Mar 20, 2019 17:11

WOW this mod is a masterpiece!! :love
Ok, so to my surprise I found nothing wrong with any tiles they all seemed impressively well done, no unfinished tiles that I could find, and I played all levels in hard which were all beatable.

as for bugs I found very few. One I noticed was that the sushi dragons would get stuck once in a while, usually when they would start flying next to a wall. Maybe the hitbox is causing problems? I also found a dragon in Twisted Temple level 8 that doesn't spawn correctly, it seems to spawn stuck in the ground (circled in red). Image

Another thing I noticed was that creatures get stuck in the wind tunnels and can't get out. It's actually a bit humorous. :lol Image

these are minor bugs, your mod is very well made and I think the April 13th Deadline is very achievable.

User avatar
Roobar
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 2858
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 16:12

Re: Happy Keen day! Beta testers required!

Post by Roobar » Wed Mar 20, 2019 20:46

Ok, so to my surprise I found nothing wrong with any tiles
Well, what can I say....

I think the biggest problem is with these walls: a tile that should be foreground tile is not foreground.
Image

Image

I think these tiles doesn't tile well and these are in many places:
Image

You can go there where I don't think you're supposed to go:
Image

Bridge bad tile:
Image

Under the left side of these bridges a missing foreground tile:
Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

This tile should be in the foreground I mean the next one to the right:
Image

Image

These were the most obvious, but not all of the tile bugs I found...
"Perfect tiling" of large patterns was never the goal
You asked for "* Collision/clipping/masking issues".

User avatar
loop4ever
Grunt
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:20

Re: Happy Keen day! Beta testers required!

Post by loop4ever » Wed Mar 20, 2019 21:25

I didn't notice them because in my taste they're not really a big deal, but you're also right Roobar, these tiles might be a bit of an annoyance (to some people more than others). I do agree that any tile that affects the game play, like the green water thing you walked into, needs fixing. It's good you point out even the minor bugs in the game because this is the whole point of testing it.

User avatar
K1n9_Duk3
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 503
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:30
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Happy Keen day! Beta testers required!

Post by K1n9_Duk3 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 21:52

I haven't played all that much, but I did notice an issue in level 2 (two line temple) where the background behind some of the bridges uses a red pattern instead of the bricks that make up the rest of the background around that bridge.

I also stumbled across an issue where the main memu popped up while I was in the middle of playing a level. I don't think I pressed Escape or any of the functions keys, so there might be an issue in your patch file that caused this to happen.

I'm saying this because I noticed some issues with the patch file in general. First of all, this patch instruction:

Code: Select all

%patch $35604 "RETURN TO GAME" $00 "HIGH SCORES   " $00
This instruction is useless. it turns part of the tile info data into the text strings, which is not what you wanted to do here. However, it shouldn't cause any issues, since the tile info is patched in at the end of the patch file and overrides this patch instruction.

Then there are some more problematic patches:
  • The level name for level 10 ("Iced Tea Bottling Plant") is partially overwritten by the name for level 11 ("Rick's Orbital Hideout"), causing the name for level 10 to become "Iced Tea BottlinRick's Orbital Hideout".
  • The level name for level 16 ("Cave of Uncer- \ntain Importance") is partially overwritten by the name for level 17 ("Sculpture Garden"), causing the name for level 16 to become "Cave of Uncer- \nSculpture Garden".
I will investigate the rest of the patch script more closely when I have time and see if there are any other bugs in there that would explain why the main menu popped up all of a sudden.

Edit:
Yep, there's a miscalculated jump offset in the patch file. To fix it, change this

Code: Select all

%patch $11792 $E9 $3D $01 		#clean platforms
into this

Code: Select all

%patch $11792 $E9 $3B $01 		#clean platforms
Also, the BAT cheat actually takes away all the key gems the player had instead of simply not giving any new keys. If you just want to leave the key gems alone, use this patch instead:

Code: Select all

%patch $7893 $5E $5D $CB 		#don't add any keys
Hail to the K1n9, baby!
http://k1n9duk3.shikadi.net

Kohntarkosz_
Grunt
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 22:04
Location: Canada

Re: Happy Keen day! Beta testers required!

Post by Kohntarkosz_ » Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:58

Out-bloody-standing. This kind of feedback is exactly what I wanted. Thanks so much guys!!

K1n9_Duk3 : The goal of the $35604 patch was to replace the words "return to demo" with the words "high scores". I have just inspected the Keenwiki page which inspired that patch, and it seems the address I want is $33CCA, not $35604. (I must have been looking at the Keen 6 section.) Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Thank you also for the corrections to the platform and the BAT cheat. Re: the level names, is this a problem I could solve by making the names shorter, or is it less straightforward than that?

Roobar : I apologize for the mixed messaging. What I probably should have said was "collision/clipping/masking issues more noticeable than those found in the official games." Thanks for taking the time to do the screenshots; everything you have pointed out so far falls under the heading of "stuff I plan to fix". I'm honestly impressed by how good your eye for detail is in this area. Whenever Volume Two is ready, I may bring it to you first...

Everyone who has posted in this thread so far can have a "message to the world" embedded in the final version of the game if they want one! PM me images'n'things!

User avatar
K1n9_Duk3
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 503
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:30
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Happy Keen day! Beta testers required!

Post by K1n9_Duk3 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 22:03

Kohntarkosz_ wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:58
Re: the level names, is this a problem I could solve by making the names shorter, or is it less straightforward than that?
Yes, making the names shorter would definitely fix the problem. But maybe you could try Startext and see if it can rearrange the strings for you so you don't have to change the names at all. I haven't used this tool myself, so I have no idea if it's gonna work.
Hail to the K1n9, baby!
http://k1n9duk3.shikadi.net

User avatar
Nisaba
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 860
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 23:34
Location: The Outpost
Contact:

Re: Happy Keen day! Beta testers required!

Post by Nisaba » Fri Mar 22, 2019 18:24

K1n9_Duk3 wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 22:03
Kohntarkosz_ wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:58
Re: the level names, is this a problem I could solve by making the names shorter, or is it less straightforward than that?
Yes, making the names shorter would definitely fix the problem. But maybe you could try Startext and see if it can rearrange the strings for you so you don't have to change the names at all. I haven't used this tool myself, so I have no idea if it's gonna work.
Startext should solve this issue. if however something should went wrong for whatever reason, I'd be happy to rearrange some pointers and text passages for you. so please let me know if you need some help with your patchfile.

ps.: I hope I'll find some spare time soon to give your mod a shot. really looking forward to do so!
"We have come to conquer you all and bring you lots of candy!" | about me | my current project: play Keen mods on a GameBoy |

Post Reply