Atroxian Realm (Version 1.2 Released)

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Dig386
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Post by Dig386 »

Hello everyone!
I've just completed the Atroxian Realm on Medium level and going to publish the video. From my viewpoint this mod is amazing and I would like to thank the authors. Source code release is also very interesting and promising.

Impressions:
1) Physics of the engine exactly repeats Keen 4-6
2) Amazing usage of EGA colors and nice music
3) Adequate difficulty. Amount of checkpoints are enough to compensate long levels. The hardest levels are Ruins II (very few checkpoints at sections with firing poles, very narrow platforms etc.) and Catacombs (the last key in the complex maze with a lot of hazards)
4) The boss is tough and requires not only fast reflexes but strategy

Found bugs:
1) Game sometimes crashes at Atroxian Mines after destroying the generator (out of memory error).
2) If you pass one of three levels with Atroxius screens by F10+E cheat the game thinks that skipped screen was not played (although it is impossible to complete level without seeing it)
3) At catacombs level Krile Ghost sometimes can resurrect the drone crashed by pogo. It is rather reproducible and I've seen it several times.

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Post by Gridlock »

i. in Krilewood Forest (Abiathar: Ancient Forest 1)
there is a little pole bug. it leads to nowhere but causes this enjoyable lil shaking.
Oops, that pole is supposed to go down to a secret passageway down there. Thanks for the catch!
ii. after a long way reaching this secret spot in Cargo Transit B (Abiathar: Cargo Transit A)
I suddenly discovered a minor typo.
That is actually supposed to say "Krile." There's a distinction in the game between "Krisle" (planet) and "Krile" (alien race).
iv. not sure what this is suppose to be (Abiathar: Atroxian Mines)
Here's a hint: it's related to getting the 3-up that's up there.
My goodness, the second ruins level is tough! It took me at least 40 tries to get from the last checkpoint to the exit.
Since I've heard a few complaints, I'll probably go back and see if I can make some changes for the next release to make this easier.
This may be a matter of taste, but I find a lot of the level graphics messy and confusing.
I do think this is a valid complaint, and there are spots where I think the contrast can be a little problematic. That being said, as Keening_Product mentioned, some of the chaotic graphics were an intentional stylistic choice to create more natural and hopefully immersive environments.
I like the references to metroid and I'am pretty sure the bird aliens were an hommage to the legendary Chozos. The keenish hidden itempassages were extended in a morphballelike metroidesque manier, which was great.
Indeed, Metroid (as my favorite video game series alongside Keen) was a heavy influence on this game. The Chozo definitely influenced the Krile design, though I there was also some influence from Prime 2's Luminoth.
Unfortunately in a single playthrough my game crashed once (out of memory etc.) and in the catacombs I had to use godmode to pass a certain Axosis on the way to the green gem and I couldn´t find any way to get rid of it no matter what I did. (I don´t want to spoiler anybody).
Hmm, someone else also encountered that crash, though I'm not sure what can be done to fix it. As for the Axosis, do you think you could get me a screenshot or description of where it is?
If you´re still into modding after 5 years of work I would be glad to see keen facing the new enemy mentioned in the outro and I am sure you and the community would produce an awesome "Commander Keen in Quantum Quagmire"(?).
You're quite perceptive with that title, as it is one I've strongly considered for a follow up. Regarding a potential sequel, I do have an idea in mind of what I want it to be, but I simply cannot invest in another mod of this scope right now, much as I want to. But we'll see; it might happen in the future if enough people are interested.
At catacombs level Krile Ghost sometimes can resurrect the drone crashed by pogo. It is rather reproducible and I've seen it several times.
Hmm, I noticed this one recently and thought we managed to fix it, but I guess not. Thanks!
Image
Armageddon Begins Again. The Alphamatic has arrived.

Atroxian Realm: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3536
The Alphamatic: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4086

Dig386
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Post by Dig386 »

I've uploaded my playthrough of Atroxian Realm v1.0 on youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... KBBGb31j7N

It has been made on normal difficulty and contains only levels that are required to finish the game. Because the game crashed in Atroxian Mines and I had to restore the game state by debug codes and hex editor it contains some abnormalities in Atroxus story screens.

I've tried rely only on checkpoints and don't use savestates inside levels. Only Ruins II and Catacombs were played with savestates.

P.S. I have video of the bug with Krile Ghost
Ghost appears near crashed drone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvE4zLmHfgQ&t=34m
Drone restored: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvE4zLmHfgQ&t=36m
And there is the sound of the ghost between this two moments.

I've clearly seen this moment directly too, but I'm not sure that it is present on my video.
Last edited by Dig386 on Tue Jan 26, 2016 9:19, edited 1 time in total.

Dig386
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Post by Dig386 »

Hagel wrote:in the catacombs I had to use godmode to pass a certain Axosis on the way to the green gem and I couldn´t find any way to get rid of it no matter what I did. (I don´t want to spoiler anybody).
From my viewpoint the level is passable without god mode. About axosis: in their case the sequence of its desactivation by ghost is important (know from my experience and from the comments in source code).

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Post by Nisaba »

Nisaba wrote: ii. after a long way reaching this secret spot in Cargo Transit B (Abiathar: Cargo Transit A)
I suddenly discovered a minor typo.
Gridlock wrote: That is actually supposed to say "Krile." There's a distinction in the game between "Krisle" (planet) and "Krile" (alien race).
thanx for the response.
but even though it's suppose to say "Krile" the letter "K" is displayed incorrectly (a dot is missing). spoiler: screenshot
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Post by Hagel »

Talking about the Axosis:

This is not my playthrough, but this is the Axosis I could not defeat by any means: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvE4zLmHfgQ&t=31m36s

I played the level in easy mode. After activating the green switch I remember climbing up and down the poles, standing still for a while and then started jumping around because I expected that I had to trigger some certain hotspot. I even went back to other places where Krile ghosts turned up but I could not make it appear.

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Post by Syllypryde »

I have completed the game in easy and already began my normal run. I had an unfair advantage to most keeners because i was actually one of the few who playtested the game. In fact, the alpha version of the game is still on my computer. Even though the story sequences, the in-game texts, the checkpoints, and many of the creature graphics were absent in the alpha, the level design as a whole is intact for the most part. Even though the f10-Y cheat is disabled in the final game, I already know where pretty much all the hidden areas are because most of them remained in the final. Because of this I also had a bare minimum of trouble finding the hyper stars.

On one important note the boss level was retweeked to be challenging as Gridlock promised me, because as I told him if it was as easy as it was in the alpha it would be so anti-climatic no one would want to replay the game. He is challenging. My first confrontation with Atroxus I lost all 67 lives. That is right, ALL 67 lives. Now I can beat him only losing a few lives here and there. I believe the key to beating him is brutal aggression, go toe to toe, keep after him and do not be afraid of being killed. The second you go on the defensive he will kill you guaranteed.

As for Kridonea Ruins (B), yes, it's checkpoints are few and far between, but the game does warn you to use your checkpoints carefully. If you do so the end of the level will not be as hard people are claiming.

On play testing the alpha I suggested to Gridlock that the two Cargo Transit levels were too hard and even though they are optional levels the fact they were too hard would mean everyone would skip playing them altogether. They have been tweeked somewhat but I must have gotten better at traveling on the zip pads because neither level are as hard as I remember them, though they are both still challenging.

Overall, this game far exceeded my expectations, and that was even before I played the final version. It was definitely well worth the wait.

As for bugs I only stumbled onto a few. I got an out of memory error after completing Atroxian Base. Already mentioned there was a pole error in Krilewood Forest which is supposed to lead to a hidden underground area. There is also a typo in the ending sequence. Plus I also did stumble upon the Krile ghost error others mentioned.
What is Directive X_M?

Dig386
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Post by Dig386 »

Syllypryde wrote:I believe the key to beating him is brutal aggression, go toe to toe, keep after him and do not be afraid of being killed. The second you go on the defensive he will kill you guaranteed.
I agree: defence strategy is senseless. But I think that not only agression but some tactics is required:
1) Don't allow Atroxus fly too low and regularry climb the poles: it will simplify attack from the bottom (if you are on the pole the boss will chase you and will fly higher)
2) Be aware that the boss changes its attack to the end of the battle (begins to throw fires very often). You must pass under him to stop fire throwing and begin your attack again.

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Post by Grimson »

Looking back at the previews from 2011, I have to say the game has improved by giant leaps. I don't mind it having been in progress for so long, when the end result is such a refined product. Also, I have to take back some of my criticism regarding the early level graphics; they are far superior to the more plain ones in the old 2011 previews.

So far I've played up to the Kridonea Gateway* (all on hard difficulty), and I have to say it's been a blast! This is one heck of a platformer. The level designs are ingenious, especially where each level has a central theme or subject in it (like the central elevator on Emerald Canyon, or the conveyor lines in the Cargo Transit levels). Although some were very confusing (like Security Layer and Atroxian Base), the blinking arrow signs really helped, without them I'd been utterly lost on these levels X_x

The only time I've experienced any technical problems with the game was when I approached the yellow sewer sludge(?) in Kridonea Gateway, causing the game to freeze. Despite that setback, I have to say you've done a pretty damn good job with improving the functionality of the engine.

Aside from the dark level graphics and story, what touches me most is the music. It's pure gold. Every track matches its level perfectly, like how Cargo Transit A is a fast-paced track for a fun, fast-paced level, or how Crystal Shrine makes you feel calm, yet uneasy, as if something sinister was looming in the distance. I also like the way the central Atroxian/Krile theme is included and played with in almost every track, it shows how morphable and ambiguous (in a good sense) the theme really is. And don't even get me started on Sky Sanctum. When I listen to this track, my insides get filled with weird mixture of melancholism, joy, dread and determination. The music is so deep and the level is so dark, it's perfect. Just...whoa. I hope GameBird hasn't stopped making music, I'd love to hear more from him/her.

In summary, this game is 10/10. And I seldom, if ever, give full points on anything. For what it started with and what it accomplished, Atroxian Realm truly deserves this. Thank you for making this game.

I will hopefully be able to comment some more once I finish the game.

*I cheated and played through the Sky Sanctum and the boss already, but I do intend to finish the game properly! That was the only time I cheated, I swear :o
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Post by megacyber »

I just finished playing through it on hard. Really enjoyed the level designs, the ingenuity with the puzzles, and the wide variety of enemies. Atroxus was a true pain in the ass.

However, I think I may have found a glitch, though I didn't confirm it. In the Sky Sanctum map, at the top portion with the two yellow doors, you have the opportunity to collect two yellow gems at the same time. Doing this in previous games would still only count as one, and you need both to open the two doors to finish the level. I don't know if this has been taken into account already, but if not players might end up with both and not be able to finish.

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Nisaba
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Post by Nisaba »

megacyber wrote:However, I think I may have found a glitch, though I didn't confirm it. In the Sky Sanctum map, at the top portion with the two yellow doors, you have the opportunity to collect two yellow gems at the same time. Doing this in previous games would still only count as one, and you need both to open the two doors to finish the level. I don't know if this has been taken into account already, but if not players might end up with both and not be able to finish.
I checked on that as well. no need for any worries. you can select both keys without having any disadvantages (video). Gridlock & co just did a heck of a job.
Last edited by Nisaba on Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:54, edited 1 time in total.
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Dig386
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Post by Dig386 »

I've found the bug in Sky Sanctum level: it is possible to lock Keen in the cavern (I can't exactly describe the method, but it includes bumping into ceiling during pogoing; in some moment Keen hangs on the edge of the cavern floor and goes up to the cavern):
Image
This thing is absolutely reproducible.

P.S. Just checked the situation with two yellow keys: it works correctly, I agree with Nisaba.

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Nisaba
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Post by Nisaba »

Dig386 wrote:I've found the bug in Sky Sanctum level: it is possible to lock Keen in the cavern. This thing is absolutely reproducible.
v. this is indeed a trap. you can enter via climbing, but you can never leave (proof: screenshot + video).
I guess this is not intended by the author, because there are several similar spots which in contrast can't be reached.

...

vi. further minor bug: while playing it on hard I accidentally slipped into another cavity. name of the level is Port Atrox. evidence can be found here and here.

vii. let's move on. same level, different area. gliding pole. moonwalk style. screenshot and video..
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Dig386
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Post by Dig386 »

Syllypryde wrote:I got an out of memory error after completing Atroxian Base.
So this error is rather common. I've not programmed Atroxian Realm engine but think that it may be caused by memory fragmentation: in the case of very intensive usage free memory may be fragmented and cause badly reproducible bug.

BTW, Atroxian Realm engine still uses real mode (as Keen 4-6 do) with 64KB memory segments. I suppose that work in 32-bit protected mode will radically resolve memory issues. But such conversion is definetly not trivial because assembly language and DOS/BIOS calls in the sources.

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Post by lemm »

Dig386 wrote:
Syllypryde wrote:I got an out of memory error after completing Atroxian Base.
So this error is rather common. I've not programmed Atroxian Realm engine but think that it may be caused by memory fragmentation: in the case of very intensive usage free memory may be fragmented and cause badly reproducible bug.
Probably. This caused a problem when loading the cinematic sequences. The levels in AR are really big.

Dig386 wrote: BTW, Atroxian Realm engine still uses real mode (as Keen 4-6 do) with 64KB memory segments. I suppose that work in 32-bit protected mode will radically resolve memory issues. But such conversion is definetly not trivial because assembly language and DOS/BIOS calls in the sources.
The easier fix that could be applied would be to apply the sprite-shifting patch that I made for Sign of the Vool in order to free up a bunch of memory.

But yeah, 32-bit protected mode would solve everything memory-related. Maybe the Doom engine could be modified to run Keen. (Or we could just use Omnispeak to make all of our mods from now on :dopefish )

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