Keen 9: Battle of the Brains

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Post by Eurysilas » Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:58

You sound really irritated…. :/

Here were my thoughts-

1. The standard "Drops/Life Flask/Vitalin/Keg O' Vitalin" items. They were handled in a mediocre fashion in Krodacia. They were also only ho-hum in Battle of the brains. I think it would be fine if in Krodacia and Brains they were the "orbs" (which I actually have an entire backstory for that fits in well with an existing backstory in TUIT). The "Flask/Keg O' Vitalin" can be an entirely new item I already have a rudimentary conception of. The Viva/Queen Viva" item replacements were just fine. No need to change a thing there.

2. The Krodacian Magi/Stone Krodacian. In a word, lame. The Magifly was pretty funny, but that's where the joke should've stopped. I also have a backstory already in mind for replacements of both of these that ties in with existing TUIT backstory, if you're interested.

3. Cybloog + BioGarg- These really are pretty cool, but an opportunity should be used to tie them in with the Overlabs. Yes, yes, I get that Mortimer designed them, but according to some information obtained in 9's secret level, Mortimer also designed the Overlord, yet it seems as though the Overlabs actually did all the genetic work, if you get me. Good job on the Genetics Station in general, BTW. Very spooky. ;)

4. Mortimer has a Universal Toaster Cannon, he doesn't have a Universal Toaster Cannon…Which is it? I think the concept was pretty damn cool, and wouldn't be hard to tie in to how things play out in Keen 9 (though it does seem to contradict a scrap of info in 9's secret level, which would need to be handled).

5. The ending to Dead in the Desert… Um. Where to start on that one…. :/

Corny. Don't misunderstand, keeping Barker in the story was the right thing to do (introducing him in the first place during 7 was an extremely good call!), but the Oracle Janitor strains the story, and Princess Lindsey + Spot snaps it in half. I would suggest just putting Barker and the Janitor in, and just have them show up in two separate locations. Or, replace Lindsey and Spot with two Vorticon Agents who were assigned as back-up to assist Barker in searching for Keen (who until the ending sequence has dropped off the face of the universe, for all intents and purposes). I mean, I think this is a more legitimate objection than most listed here, because you portray the interior of the BwB as much bigger than it actually is if you look at any reference pictures. At most Keen would be able to fit three (including himself!), so 5 plus an entertainment center really is pushing it.

6. General script clean-up. It's actually serviceable right now, but large swathes of it have awkward phrasing and very minor errors. This I could help with BIG TIME. :)

It probably sounds as though I hated the series. Not at all! On a scale of 0 to 100%, TUIT gets a 90%, and that's judging it by Tom Hall standards! You should feel fantastic about the work you've done.

On the music- if a soundtrack for each episode has been released, I have yet to find it. A half-baked release was attempted here with 8, but ran into so many problems it seems to have died. 9 is only available in its native IMF format, which I can't actually play. Someone did a botched upload on Youtube, but some of the songs cut off too early (hence- "botched").

Another thing- any plans to do like you did with 8 and package the executable of 9 in with the main download? I had a bit of a rough spot using the method described in the Readme of Keen 9 v1.

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Post by elecdude33 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 15:56

I don't think Ceilick is irritated so much as he may be thinking that at this point it's done, at least for the forseeable future? There are always things to improve, but generally people don't want to keep working on the same mod/mods for ever after releasing them. That plus being busy with other things.

Ceilick, feel free to correct me.

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Post by jony121 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 21:49

Hello guys, first time poster here. I also have a confession to make, I am not a fan of commander keen. My girlfriend however is a die hard fan and when roughly one year ago I had found for her two new episodes of commander keen... let's just say she was pleased.
At that time I saw this thread and saw that this project was currently in progress. Everyday (or at least it seems like it) she asks me about this final episode.

Is this episode finished? As in she will play it and find out it has no ending yet or something as severe as that.
Also I am a little dumb, if it is finished, could someone link me to the download? I am getting confused with all the beta stuff.

A massive thank you to Ceilick from my girlfriend, me and our resulting daughter.

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Post by Keening_Product » Thu Apr 19, 2012 23:54

jony121 wrote:and our resulting daughter.
Her name had better be a Keen reference.

The game is finished - check out the first post in this thread for the link.

There are also many, many, many other mods out there, so once you three have finished with this there's still more to do. :)
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Post by Ceilick » Fri Apr 20, 2012 0:17

Not irritated at all. But I do find some of your points unclear.

1. How are the crystals in Keen 7 mediocre? How are the orbs "ho-hum" in Keen 9? You seem to imply that both Keen 7 and 9 should have orbs, but this would break Goodbye Galaxy tradition. What do you have in mind for the extra life items?

2. How are the Krodacian Magi lame? I've planned to reanimate them, as the current animation is rather lazy, but they're my favorite Krodacian rank. What is your idea for a replacement?

3. If you're saying that there should be visuals for Cybloog's and BioGargs in the Overlabs: there are no tiles left to do this. Additionally, it was intended that the Overlabs is merely a Krodacian facility, established by Mortimer and run by Krodacian Drones, for creating Overlords. Glad you enjoyed the levels in this zone!

4. The blue prints in Mortimer's Workshop for the Universal Toaster Cannon is an easter egg based on a suggestion from Syllypryde in which he said it would be funny if Mortimer had called the idea stupid in Keen 7 only because he had actually attempted such a thing and found in unfeasible.

5. What's wrong with corny? The original Keens are full of corn. I don't understand how the inclusion of Lindsey or Spot damages it--the inclusion of two entirely new, inconsequential Vorticon characters seems far more thematically weak, to be frank. Lt. Barker taking Keen's BwB Megarocket from Krodacia and searching for Keen's location is part of the back story, I wouldn't say he "dropped off the face of the universe".

The interior of the BwB is intended to be bigger than it looks from outside, in typical cartoon-realism fashion.

6. Could you provide the instances of script clean up you want to see?

I don't mind criticism, and I hope you don't mind my rebuttal to it. I'm open to change if I find it agreeable.

I do not plan to include the Keen 5 executable at this time for legal reasons.

Edit: Missed your post, Jony121. Welcome to you and your girlfriend, and congratulations on the daughter. The project is in a 'complete' stage, and though it may be updated with minor things in the future, it is completely playble right now, ending and all.

You can download it here: ...

Pay careful attention to the readme, since Keen 9 takes some extra setup that Keen 7 and 8 does not. If you have any trouble or questions, let me know :)

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Post by Eros » Fri Apr 20, 2012 0:25

yeah, everybody knows that keen follows clown car logic.

just look at how large the levels are on the outside, then compare with the insides of the levels!
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Post by Eurysilas » Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:31

1. The only gems there should be in Keen are the ones that activate doors. Period. No offense, but when I first saw them, I had absurd visions of keen carting around pockets and pockets of loose gems (along with one or two 1-up gems and a couple of door keys). As he goes through the levels he continually mixes them up, and then at the very end some Krodacian smart-ass says "Uh....You know those are just quartz rocks, right? 0-o". In other words, I thought the idea was...Well, since we're being blunt, ridiculous.

Yes, my implication is that for 7 and 9, they should just be orbs and the new item I'll talk about in a bit. Yes, you're quite right; this is indeed breaking Keen tradition. But, uh...So what? To be honest, tradition breaking for a good reason is always A Good Thing (TM). I mean, you've already done the Keen tradition proud; that goal has been accomplished with complete and total success. Don't be afraid to switch things up a bit.

Anyway, you seem to want concrete implementation stuff-

In my mind the whole time I was playing Keen 9, I would think "Wow, those orbs sorta look like they're made of Vitalin…". Thanks to my runaway imagination, I began to imagine they were, in fact, some sort of raw, unprocessed form of Vitalin- either the main ingredient or the unrefined substance itself. Because, surely any Keen fan worth his weight in Neural Stunners knows that Vitalin isn't naturally occurring in the state VitaCorp sells it in; it's in a jar and sounds like some sort of intergalactic health food staple. So I thought "Those orbs are unrefined Vitalin. *That's* what VitaCorp makes it from…". So I thought that plot point would be neat to insert in the trilogy somewhere.

As for the 1-up replacements. Now that I think on it, the orb cluster would do nicely in both games as well. It's just a concentrated pocket of Substance 91 (S-91)- my term for raw Vitalin and what I imagined VitaCorp Scientists naming it.

2. Because Keen is a sci-fi parody, not fantasy parody. Magi use…Well…Magic. 0-0 I mean, the Magifly is magical too, but is so funny in a cutsy-vicious sort of way I honestly was willing to overlook that and just laugh my ass off.

I think it would be cool if you were somehow able to make it into an Overlord prototype. But don't come right out and SAY that's what it is- not until Keen 9. Have their origins be mysterious 'till then. It's more creepy and suspenseful that way. :D And before you ask, the "stone" version of them should be some sort of camouflaged state- that way it's far harder to avoid bumping into them and "waking" them up, because you have to look alive to see them in the first place unless they're already active (and thus dangerous). And to keep the difficulty level sane when encountering them, just have the duration it takes for them to become "active" (ie actual animation time) be slowish.

3. Well, not visuals per-se, but some sort of plot point that alludes to it, either in Barker's text, or in the enemies section, etc. It doesn't have to be very drastic, really.

4. ….You know what, I'm just gonna go ahead and concede this one. XD

That's way funnier than what I had in mind, and a script cleanup would make the joke easier to get anywho.

5. Perhaps it's the way we view the two characters (Lindsey and Spot) in the first place. Spot is a Yorp. He masquerades as Keen's pet dog for a reason; while generally pretty pleasant, Yorps are not very bright. Gargs aren't either, BTW; but compared to Yorps they're Einsteins. Unfortunately, they're also perpetually pissed off. I imagine Spot being the "happy idiot" of the Keen series. He's lovable but has no clue what's going on. It's completely out of character to have him show up.

Princess Lindsey I've actually always thought was a pretty weak addition to the series. One of the few decisions of Tom's that I never really "got". She seems to have no backstory, and feels really out of place. She's just a levitating black woman…With a fairy wand 0-o.

And the additional Vorticon agents wouldn't be inconsequential; they'd show up in Keen 9 in place of Lindsey and Spot. It makes perfect sense for the Vorticons to give Barker back-up; neither he nor they know where in Hall's name Mortimer just chucked Billy off to, and getting Keen back is mission critical (it's made clear they have no idea Keen is specifically on Calidune; hence the "dropping off the face of the universe" comment you misunderstood). But really, if additional agents bug you, you could just make Barker and Janitor guy show up twice instead. It would make the dialog at the end of Dead in the Desert awkward, though.

6. Yes, when I next play I'll take some screen captures or something. ;)

Your stance on the Keen 5 executable puzzles me. :/ I interpret your reply to mean that V2 of Keen 9 will still use the "old" method for getting the mod applied. Ostensibly, I suppose you wish to avoid copyright shenanigans (see Square-Enix and the whole "Crimson Echoes" debacle). But from what I can tell, you've already crossed this bridge by providing an executable for Keen 6 to produce Keen 8. As far as I know, of the _Goodbye, Galaxy!!!_ series, only Ep. 4 was cleared for redistribution. Eps 5 and 6 were not...

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Post by TerminILL » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:08

6 is more of a gray area, since the distribution rights lay with (and died with) FormGen or some such. As such, it's impossible to purchase a first-hand copy of 6, meaning the only "legal" way to obtain it is secondhand, where no money goes to the original creators anyway. The "lost sale" that is the concern with piracy is a non-issue. (One could argue that the money from new sales of the remaining Keen games doesn't go to the original creators either, but I'm sure lawyers wouldn't see it the same way :P)

(Also, largely unrelated, but 6 technically lies outside the Goodbye, Galaxy! duology, although I guess it usually gets lumped in for most purposes, being based on the same engine.)
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Post by Duplex » Fri Apr 20, 2012 15:59

I'm back after six months of absence to just say that Ceilick did a fantastic job with the whole trilogy. Sure, there are minor flaws present, but that was also the case with the Goodbye Galaxy games. Ceilick and his team just made do with what they had and did so with flying colors. They have no obligation to further improve what is already the best continuation the series could ever hope for after two decades of pretty much nothing.

Ceilick, I hope you feel that it wasn't a fruitless endeavor. On the contrary, you inspire me and your work is the only thing left now that rekindles the 90's kid in me. The rest of my childhood characters have either disappeared off the face of the planet or they have turned into something I can no longer recognize. The Unofficial TUIT trilogy, on the other hand, proved to me that only we can cater to our own tastes... not impersonal corporate entities that create and nurture great IPs, only to inexplicably abandon them for several years.

What I'm trying to say is I had no right to simply critique your work without providing the proper accolades first. And for that, I'm sorry. You did your part with Keen and for that I am forever grateful. Now go and pursue any endeavor your heart desires.

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Post by Eurysilas » Fri Apr 20, 2012 17:42

Was this post aimed at me indirectly, or...?

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Post by Duplex » Fri Apr 20, 2012 18:06

No, not really. Why would you think that?

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Post by jony121 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 19:06

Hey Ceilick, she fuqn loves it! Thank you so much.
Not to go too far off thread but are there any other MODs you would recommend? Is there anything that could possibly match the quality of this trilogy?
Thanks again! 8)

Oh, and she told me to mention that if it was a boy we were going to call him keen.

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Post by elecdude33 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 20:00

jony121 wrote:Oh, and she told me to mention that if it was a boy we were going to call him keen.
I'd recommend Billy over Keen, but hey, I'm no babynaming expert.

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Post by Syllypryde » Fri Apr 20, 2012 20:13

It is all a matter of taste really. Not everyone is going to be happy with everything in UTUiT. Me personally, I like it better than the original official games, but do not get me wrong, I do like the official games as well and somehow always will. Ceilick is free to choose how he wants to revise his trilogy, but for the most part (there are exceptions) I am pretty much satisfied with how everything is right now.

As for mods to recommend? Any of them... Vorticons as well as Galaxy.
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Post by StupidBunny » Fri Apr 20, 2012 20:30

Nooo, you should name your child Mortimer. :mortlol Or if it's a girl you could call her Shelley (Molly or Lindsey would be too predictable.)

And if you hate your kid a lot you could call him/her Dopefish or something.

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