Atroxian Realm (Version 1.1 Released)

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Gridlock
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Re: Atroxian Realm

Post by Gridlock » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:02

For Keen Day :birthday , I am finally releasing an updated version of Atroxian Realm (version 1.1). It's been over 3 years since the game's initial release, so that might be one of the longest turnaround times ever for an updated version, but I suppose late is better than never. :-o

Download:
Atroxian Realm (v1.1)

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=down ... JRDBbyt25P

WARNING: The modified executable is NOT compatible with the saved games from the official release version. You should create a backup of your saved games before trying out the modified executable.

------------------------

Huge thanks to K1n9_Duk3, who approached me about fixing the pesky sound-related lag bug and was then willing to fix a bunch of other code bugs in the game. This was the main motivating factor in getting me to finish this new version. He also suggested some other improvements, a few of which could still be implemented in future releases. Either K1n9_Duk3 or I will be releasing the updated source code shortly, but these fixes could potentially be beneficial for any other projects current using this engine. I'll let K1n9_Duk3 elaborate on any further details.

For those of you who have already completed Atroxian Realm, you won't find any drastically new or altered content (unlike what I'm planning for The Alphamatic), but there are several fixes and a few improvements/additions.

Some of the most notable changes:

- No more random slowdowns or jerky scrolling.
- Improved memory management to avoid crashes.
- Added an additional story image to the ending sequence that T-Squared had started but ultimately didn't make it into version 1.0
- Atroxus is 25% slower and no longer spawns shockwaves on Easy difficulty
- Explosion from killing an Axtroxian can now kill Keen (as originally intended, but not implemented in version 1.0)
- Fixed several typos and mispellings in the story texts
- Fixed Krile Ghost bugs.
- Fixed falling platform bug.
- Fixed floating Magmine (after loading a checkpoint) bug.
- Stunned creatures now do the little jump without a delay (Hornet, Atroxite).
- "Commander Keen" text stays blue at the end of the Terminator intro.
- Two button firing works.
- Minor cosmetic changes.
- Several tile bugs in levels have been fixed. I might have missed some since most of the screenshots that were linked in this thread are now dead links.
- A few level design tweaks, including additional checkpoints in Kridonea Ruins Part 2


The full changelog of source code changes is also included in the download.

------------------------

If you do find anything wrong (or I just forgot something), please let me know. This time, I don't think it'll take me 3+ years to address any further bugs.

On a personal note, it's rather odd to consider how much time has already passed since the initial release. I had kind of moved on from this game in the past couple of years, but it's been a nostalgic experience revisiting it. It's been wonderful to be able to share this with people here and even discover other people across the Internet who've tried it, and that means a lot to me. I've worked on a lot of game projects (and I'm now doing it in a professional capacity), but I think this might still be the project I'm most proud of. Thank you to everyone who helped and everyone who played it!
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Armageddon Begins Again. The Alphamatic has arrived.

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

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K1n9_Duk3
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Re: Atroxian Realm (Version 1.1 Released)

Post by K1n9_Duk3 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:37

Oh boy, it's finally here!

I don't have too much to add to the Gridlock's post, but there are a few things I wanted to mention.

I actually haven't even tried to contact lemm, the original programmer on Atroxian Realm, to ask if he had already fixed the lag bug. Maybe I should have. We'll know for sure when lemm drops by and tells everybody that I just spent about a week re-inventing the wheel... :crazy

If anybody has any questions regarding the source code, feel free to ask and I'll try to answer them.

Also, I wasn't able to reproduce the bug that caused the game to just freeze completely. It might have been caused by some serious bugs in the checkpoint code, which are fixed in version 1.1, but if you ever encounter a freeze, please take your current CHKPOINT.CKD file and your most recent savegame and send them to me so that I can investigate this and hopefully fix it in a future release.

The full source code for version 1.1 can be found here. Note that only the source files (.C, .H and .ASM) are actually version 1.1, all the game files in this archive (.CKD) were taken straight from the v1.0 source release. I apologize for the inconvenience.
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Re: Atroxian Realm (Version 1.1 Released)

Post by szemi » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:14

Finally! :birthday
Yeah, piece of cake!

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Re: Atroxian Realm (Version 1.1 Released)

Post by NY00123 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 20:51

Happy Keen Day for all!

It is great to see that this has been updated. I already completed this mod beforehand, but to the ones reading this, you should still consider checking this out.

As for the fixed bugs: I don't recall any sound-specific lag-bug atm, but wasn't there a problem with the occasional short visual stutter that would be hard to reproduce?

IIRC, I figured out how to fix the latter, and lemm applied it to his codebase. Maybe I just mis-remembered it eventually being updated in a later revision of AR.

I do recall this specific stutter-related issue to come from differences between revisions of id Software's code. Reason is that AR, as a source-mod, was started from a weird hybrid of the public Keen Dreams and Catacomb 3-D sources, including the so-called "ID Engine" files from Cat3D, which are probably of a revision earlier than any of Keen 4-6's (except for the Keen 4 demo version). IIRC, a bit later code piece was the answer (probably from Keen 4 1.2 / Keen 5 1.0, or maybe Keen 4-6 1.4).

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Re: Atroxian Realm (Version 1.1 Released)

Post by K1n9_Duk3 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 21:38

NY00123 wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 20:51
As for the fixed bugs: I don't recall any sound-specific lag-bug atm, but wasn't there a problem with the occasional short visual stutter that would be hard to reproduce?
Yes, "sound-related lag bug" means that visual stuttering. Gridlock called it sound-related because the stuttering would (almost?) never occur when playing without music. It was also far less likely to occur when playing with a high cycles count in DOSBox. I tracked this down to an issue in the VW_SetScreen routine. The code that waits for a VBL before setting the panning register could miss the VBL if the CPU was handling a sound/timer interrupt at the time the VBL signal was present. If music is enabled, the interrupt takes a lot longer to execute, which makes it far more likely to miss the VBL. It can actually miss multiple VBLs in a row, which leads to the very noticeable stuttering.

I modified the code to keep track of how many times the TimeCount variable is increased while waiting for the VBL and abort the wait if the variable is increased more than once (which means more than 1/70 of a second has passed and the code definitely missed the VBL). I know that Keen 4-6 v1.4 use a very convoluted delay routine in VW_SetScreen that also checks a timer variable, but I vaguely remembered still having issues with these versions from time to time, which is why I didn't want to copy that code into Atroxian Realm if I could find a different solution.

Oh, now I remember: Some people were having issues with the v1.4 code on actual hardware (see these threads on Vogons and PCKF) and I patched the code from the Keen 4 demo into v1.4 to fix it. Maybe that was why I didn't want to copy the v1.4 code. The code from Keen 4 v1.4 and the Keen 4 demo are obviously different, and I think there was yet anyother version of the code in Keen 4 v1.0/v1.1, and BioMenace uses yet another version of that code that can't be found in any version of Keen. The guys at id must have run into several issues here.

Atroxian Realm 1.1 actually skips waiting for a VBL before setting the panning register by default, and waits for a VBL after the panning register is updated. Because if I let it wait for a VBL before the panning is updated, I would get some jerky scrolling every time the game misses the VBL (which means the display updates with the wrong panning value for one frame). And if I don't wait for a VBL at all, the game might start drawing to what it thinks is an invisible part of the video memory while that area is still being displayed, which led to some serious sprite flickering in the boss level. I'm not sure if my code would work correctly on actual hardware, but I haven't noticed any issues when running it in DOSBox so far.
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Re: Atroxian Realm (Version 1.1 Released)

Post by T-Squared » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:34

Yeah, I'm sorry, Gridlock. :no

Life has caught up to me.

Lots of things have happened. I've had a lot of projects (including retrocomputing) and even got a new job that helps me with language study, and pays actual money. :P

Plus I lost my subscription to Adobe, so that means that I've had to take a few steps backward in terms of program versions. (I have to use my old 2009 versions of the programs on an old 2006 Macbook now.)
I also kind of... uh, shot myself in the foot when I disconnected from the project folder on Dropbox...

I will say that I REALLY like the art that you did. It looks AMAZING!

The images I had originally planned to put in were:
  • A picture of the electric barriers outside Kridonea City
  • The Honor Guard for Keen at the Great Ziggurat
  • A crowd of Krile cheering as the New-BWB flew away, the first version of which you edited. (For those reading, I hadn't put the crowd in yet, so it wasn't edited that much.)
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Re: Atroxian Realm (Version 1.1 Released)

Post by troublesomekeen » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:35

I took the Atroxian plunge today. It held me under for hours. I never play Keen for hours! Enjoying it immensely. Some level design concepts/themes are simple yet require so much space, but despite the level size, I still feel connected to the game, figuring it out and feeling like I'm progressing through--not just puzzles--but DANGEROUS puzzles, making the finish line an uncommonly rewarding.... :foot

...it's superb! :dopekeen
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Re: Atroxian Realm (Version 1.1 Released)

Post by Gridlock » Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:05

Yeah, I'm sorry, Gridlock. :no
Hey, no worries. As far as I'm concerned, the game was already complete in terms of story art. But, since you had that last partially finished image, I thought it would be a shame to let it go to waste and not find a way to include it. It would have been cool to see those other two images, but I think the game has plenty of amazing story art as is, thanks to your help.
I also kind of... uh, shot myself in the foot when I disconnected from the project folder on Dropbox..
Lol, I'd mostly forgotten that folder even exists. For those reading, there was an AR Music dropbox shared folder that ended up becoming the hub for pretty much all of the game's development back in the day. Maybe I'll have to comb through the files and see if there's anything interesting worth sharing. I don't remember if I ever shared really old builds of the game. Some levels went through pretty drastic changes due to memory limitations, especially Atroxian Mines, which was originally a bit bigger and flowed differently.
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Armageddon Begins Again. The Alphamatic has arrived.

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

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Re: Atroxian Realm (Version 1.1 Released)

Post by T-Squared » Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:19

Gridlock wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:05

Hey, no worries. As far as I'm concerned, the game was already complete in terms of story art. But, since you had that last partially finished image, I thought it would be a shame to let it go to waste and not find a way to include it. It would have been cool to see those other two images, but I think the game has plenty of amazing story art as is, thanks to your help.
Actually, you may be getting updated versions of the art in a few days...
Cosmo II: HUMANIZED!!! Progress:
Graphics: 15% Complete
Story: 100% Complete
Music: 5% Complete
Programming Modifications: ??% Complete

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Re: Atroxian Realm (Version 1.1 Released)

Post by Snortimer » Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:20

I, um... I finally played this for the first time today, playing on Normal level. I'm only about 4-5 levels in, but...

I can already tell that this is everything I could have wanted (without even knowing that I wanted it) in an "official" Keen sequel. The atmosphere and the insane level of polish is what pulled me in to start with. It really felt like entering another world, the same feeling I got playing these games when I was young (and goodness knows it gets harder to experience that as one gets older). The enemies so far are so different from any in the original games, I really am not reminded of anything (in my previous favourite Keen fangame/mod, Ceilick's "Keen 8", many enemies' Keen 6 heritage was still kind of evident). It really is like starting all over again, and having to discover their behaviours and weaknesses. Well, I suppose there is that one enemy that reminds me of those green aliens in Keen 3's final level, with their slow-moving deadly energy bursts, except these ones go up rather than sideways.

The levels feel HUGE, and yet seem to be consistently laid out in a way that the use of any key or switch is not too far from where I find it, though I first saw it way back; they seem to go in strategic loops so that the levels feel really big right up until the shortcut is activated. I seem to make my way through them fine even if I am confused about what happened exactly.

The flag restore mechanism is kind of useful, though it works best for me when there's a 1-up immediately after the checkpoint - that allows me to "safely" try the next section without breaking the flow of the game by going back to menu. As it is, I still found myself going back to menu+saving+restoring in the sections where there is no 1-up close to a checkpoint.

If the real point of the checkpoints is to make the game flow smoother and stop people from exiting to the menu to save/load so often, I don't see why 1-ups after each checkpoint can't be made more common (maybe in future games that use them).

There are so many secrets to find, and it's a lot harder to get at them than I'm used to. The very first level, especially, really stumped me.

The music is excellent. So many memorable tunes. Oh, and the art is really good (one small exception being the first in-game appearance of the "guide"... he looks just a little crude in one of the drawings).

Anyway, those are my first impressions. I am pretty astonished that this got made.

On a sidenote, I'm playing this in Dboxfe on my OpenPandora handheld. It runs pretty well.
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Re: Atroxian Realm (Version 1.1 Released)

Post by Snortimer » Sun Mar 31, 2019 12:30

Kinda frustrated with Cargo Transit A... I have a vague suspicion that I haven't learned how to use those "air conveyor belts" correctly, as I keep falling through them before the belt ends. Is there any video around so I can check if I'm doing it right? (these things are annoying... just when you enjoy going fast, they drop you and the ride ends... I wish they were sometimes placed in some sort of arc that corresponded to Keen's jumping arc, so you could actually do some tricks with them)

I see a red gem just before the exit that I suspect opens up a secret passage to somewhere important, but I see no way to get to it... I assume I'm meant to jump across the big chasm using the air conveyor belts (why else would they be placed there?), but it seems impossible to get far enough...
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Re: Atroxian Realm (Version 1.1 Released)

Post by Nisaba » Sun Mar 31, 2019 14:31

Snortimer wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 12:30
[...] Is there any video around so I can check if I'm doing it right? [...]
indeed there is video footage. you can choose to either check out happy Keening!
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Re: Atroxian Realm (Version 1.1 Released)

Post by Nisaba » Tue Apr 02, 2019 20:44

BTW, I nearly forgot: https://youtu.be/YTE0QXF_FJc?t=48. TSK: hilarious!!!
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Re: Atroxian Realm (Version 1.1 Released)

Post by Snortimer » Tue Apr 02, 2019 20:47

Thanks for the links, I think they will help.
Nisaba wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 20:44
BTW, I nearly forgot: https://youtu.be/YTE0QXF_FJc?t=48. TSK: hilarious!!!
I really liked that part of the level too. I really wish that idea (the little platforms that keep you from falling if you do everything right) was used more than just once in the entire level.
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Re: Atroxian Realm (Version 1.1 Released)

Post by Snortimer » Wed Apr 03, 2019 23:11

Nisaba wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 14:31
[*]Hairmonster's Let’s Play:
https://youtu.be/Phia82iPXdI
At 11:50 there... How does he do it? I'm really at a loss, I've tried it countless times. I can never get closer than the 2nd-last white sparkly thing, and even that rarely. What's the theory behind making that jump?
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