NY00123's tests level

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
NY00123
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 427
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 19:36

NY00123's tests level

Post by NY00123 » Sat Apr 22, 2017 20:57

Download link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ellos4bfm3fgs ... 2.zip?dl=0

I'll simply quote from the README here:

======

A few possible comments on this level:
- From the ones who didn't know: Wow, this is a great way to build a little challenge!
- From some JJ2 players: Bringing the unofficial "tests" game type to the Keens? Yay!
- From other JJ2 players: Rats, now the Keens are also infected with this thing!

This is a single Keen 4 user-made level consisting of a few so-called "tests". In each such a test, you basically need to go from A to B, without touching any of the green-colored "warp" tiles. Touching any of these will (or at least should) warp you back to point A. There are warps of other colors that should be used, though.

As hinted above, this is inspired by various levels of a similar nature, constructed for Jazz Jackrabbit 2. These date back to 2007 or earlier.

Why work on such a level right now? Well, this is what happens after partially going back to JJ2, the excuse being the recently-conducted Anniversary Bash 19.

Running the game:
- Simply type "GO4" under a compatible DOS environment. This also covers DOSBox v0.74 and compatible. Starting a new game shouldn't be that difficult afterwards.

Known issues:
- Yeah, the graphics may be far from pretty, but this isn't the main target anyway.
- The winds may be a bit buggy in nature. This is a known issue.
- Hopefully all warps should be corrected, but there may still be a mapping (or possibly a patching) bug.
- As usual, there may be other bugs.
- Keen's momentum will appear to remain unchanged after warping. This may seem a bit unnatural, indeed, but the following should probably be mentioned: Test 10 takes advantage of this in a very clear way.
- On a related note, some debug keys (cheats) might make the game malfunction in different ways. So, watch out!
- Also, enabling the "No Clip" mode will *not* let you go through the warps. They'll still work as usual!

Difficulty:
Let's say that test 5 may include the first actual challenge, test 6 has its difficult part somewhere, test 7 is just a bit annoying and test 10 is probably the most difficult. The latter is actually a bit of a surprise, as it was originally guessed that test 10 won't be that difficult.

Is it possible to pass all of the tests:
The answer is a clear "YES"!

A few misc. notes:
- As originally released, this is just a combination of one user level and a set of EXE patches. EGAGRAPH.CK4 and AUDIO.CK4 remain unchanged.
- Originally, the "moon" tile property was morphed into the new "warp" tile property. It was eventually decided to rather modify the "door" tile property, though, since it's present in all of Keen 4-6, and the "Keen entering door" states were patched anyway.
- In fact, originally the plain pyramid "moon" floor tile itself (as present in Keen 4's level 11) was used for warping.
- A few other tile properties got morphed into the winds. In fact, original tiles were re-used as-is, with their original "tile property" values. This should make it easier for you to guess which tile properties were re-used, when you encounter the winds...
- Gem holders were effectively disabled, freeing up code space for the new warping functionality.
- It can be said, in a way, that other kinds of tests were already made for Keen games. See e.g., KeenRush's "Fall Up" mod for Keen 1.

Tools used (mostly due to past familiarity with them):
- CK4PATCH.
- TEDSETUP and TED5.
- CK456TLI (for temporary applying the "moon" tile property to another tile).

Other information used (mostly for the patching):
- Portions of a couple of disassemblies of Keen 4.
- Small segments of the Omnispeak sources.
- The KeenWiki's patches database.

User avatar
Nisaba
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 615
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 23:34
Location: The Outpost
Contact:

Re: NY00123's tests level

Post by Nisaba » Sat Apr 22, 2017 21:42

warp, warp, warp!

oh wow! this is inventive! thanks for sharing this fresh and surprising gameplay. I like the idea a lot. this has a whole lot of potential to it. as this is an early stage of the development I'm very excited which direction this might take, cause it's already a really fun and entertaining way of modifying these Keen games.
you sped up the movement cycles didn't you? and man those raindrops gave me a hard time. and unfortunately there are no difficulty choices, because I couldn't made it past the first pole section. the falling physics won't let me change directions fast enough to avoid those obstacles. even F10+J didn't help. and I would like to hear what the janitor has to say. you might want to lower the difficulty level quite a bit. but since this is a first test run I won't complain at all.
contrariwise I'm really impressed by the changed gameplay and I'm looking forward to see more coming soon!
Lindsay wrote:Welcome to the tests!
Avoid the warps,
just don't get
disappointed later
"We have come to conquer you all and bring you lots of candy!" | avatar | about | current project

User avatar
Roobar
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 2662
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 16:12

Re: NY00123's tests level

Post by Roobar » Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:36

Given that I've played Jazz 2 test levels (I was amused when I first played such), I know exactly what to expect from this mod. I have thought about making similar mod with a ever increasing difficulty, but It's good that someone else actually made it.

OK, I really don't know how to make it through this test: https://s30.postimg.org/ma5e6qkdt/ck4patch_000.png What am I supposed to do here?

NY00123
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 427
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 19:36

Re: NY00123's tests level

Post by NY00123 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 18:39

Hey there,

Thanks for trying out this level so far! I should say that, erm, as a proof there's a way to beat the level, I've recorded a demo of myself doing so. It's currently just a DEMO0.DMO file in a modified EGAGRAPH.CK4. I might upload a video a few days later. Note that the demo ends a little bit before the actual level end, since it wouldn't be possible to save the demo to a file otherwise.

Let's also add a random side-note: Yeah, turns out I've mistakenly left the (unused) world map in GAMEMAPS.CK4, heh.
Nisaba wrote:
Sat Apr 22, 2017 21:42
oh wow! this is inventive! thanks for sharing this fresh and surprising gameplay. I like the idea a lot. this has a whole lot of potential to it. as this is an early stage of the development I'm very excited which direction this might take, cause it's already a really fun and entertaining way of modifying these Keen games.
Thanks for your comments! Truly, this idea was brought right from user levels for JJ2, but I guess it's still something that (weirdly enough) doesn't occur every day.

With a few small modifications it should be possible to make such test levels for Keen Dreams and all of 4-6. I shouldn't forget Keen 1-3, too; They are quite suitable for tests, given the possible physics-related tricks, although some earlier mods already seem to take advantage of the physics!
you sped up the movement cycles didn't you?
Can you elaborate on this?
and man those raindrops gave me a hard time.
I know; The current buggy implementation seemed like the most trivial one to do. Not sure how to make a "proper" and less-buggy one atm (except for maybe copying some physics-related routine and then adapting it).
and unfortunately there are no difficulty choices, because I couldn't made it past the first pole section.
Now this is interesting, is there any JJ2 tests level with various difficulty choices? Well, I guess there are a few, but if not, then this is surely an idea. I won't be surprised if there's already at least one JJ2 level with one set of tests per character (i.e., Jazz, Spaz and possibly also Lori for TSF users).
the falling physics won't let me change directions fast enough to avoid those obstacles. even F10+J didn't help. and I would like to hear what the janitor has to say. you might want to lower the difficulty level quite a bit. but since this is a first test run I won't complain at all.
contrariwise I'm really impressed by the changed gameplay and I'm looking forward to see more coming soon!
Yeah, I wasn't sure about the cheat codes. As said above, though, a few of these can lead to unexpected behaviors. Also, in order to be able to skip the warps with F10+N, I'll actually have to *add* a little bit of code. Just a few bytes, there's probably enough code space, but I guess it's still a small thing.

I do agree that test no. 5 can be difficult. It currently tends to take me some attempts until I make it. I can assure that it's possible, though. Basically, studying how do given key presses affect Keen's motion, not just momentarily but also in the (near) future, is a key point. Test no. 10 (admittedly the most difficult) is an even more significant example of this. Thanks again for your interest!
Lindsay wrote:Welcome to the tests!
Avoid the warps,
just don't get
disappointed later
Hahaha, the old unused message has been quoted!
Roobar wrote:
Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:36
Given that I've played Jazz 2 test levels (I was amused when I first played such), I know exactly what to expect from this mod. I have thought about making similar mod with a ever increasing difficulty, but It's good that someone else actually made it.
I've seen that you're at least lurking at JCF, heh. Great to see I'm not alone on this!

OK, I really don't know how to make it through this test: https://s30.postimg.org/ma5e6qkdt/ck4patch_000.png What am I supposed to do here?
Thanks for trying this level out! And yeah, this test might be the most tricky one. As said above, studying how do given key presses affect Keen's motion in the near future is vital. Even then, I realize that figuring out the right sequence can be difficult. At the least, try to think what you should do so Keen does *not* warp back to the beginning in each "room" of the very last test.

Quillax
Vortininja
Posts: 88
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2015 14:41

Re: NY00123's tests level

Post by Quillax » Mon Apr 24, 2017 22:25

I tried this out and beaten the tests (proof, if you're interested) a couple days ago, and I thought it was rather neat! :D The patches that were used are rather cool to me, and I found the ending to be rather amusing. I'd love to see this get expanded. I thought the difficultly was fine, if it was taken as a late level (although it's a test level, so I'm not sure if it's going to be kept in the final version or not).

NY00123
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 427
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 19:36

Re: NY00123's tests level

Post by NY00123 » Fri May 05, 2017 13:31

I've just uploaded a video recording of a play-through to YouTube (I also created a DEMO0.CK4 file for this): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGfU841MqR8

Note that the discussion with the janitor is not there, otherwise I wouldn't be able to save the demo to a file like DEMO0.CK4. It's also a good chance for the curious players to try harder, heh.

I also haven't uploaded the files letting you watch DEMO0.CK4 in-game. Maybe I'll do so in some form, say by releasing an updated revision of the level (without actual changes to the level itself).
Quillax wrote:
Mon Apr 24, 2017 22:25
I tried this out and beaten the tests (proof, if you're interested) a couple days ago, and I thought it was rather neat! :D The patches that were used are rather cool to me
Wow, it is great to see you've had fun while going through the tests, and have even beaten all of them!
and I found the ending to be rather amusing.
Heheheh, at least we both know what kind of an ending it is (even if short). :p
I'd love to see this get expanded. I thought the difficultly was fine, if it was taken as a late level (although it's a test level, so I'm not sure if it's going to be kept in the final version or not).
I don't see myself making changes to this level as-is. Rather, this should be used as an inspiration for more test levels to come, which don't have to be created by me at all.

User avatar
Roobar
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 2662
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 16:12

Re: NY00123's tests level

Post by Roobar » Fri May 05, 2017 15:04

Whaaaaaaaat? I still don't get how to get through that last part! I've spend more than 2 hours and you beat the whole level within 3 minutes!

NY00123
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 427
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 19:36

Re: NY00123's tests level

Post by NY00123 » Sat May 06, 2017 8:45

Roobar wrote:
Fri May 05, 2017 15:04
Whaaaaaaaat? I still don't get how to get through that last part! I've spend more than 2 hours and you beat the whole level within 3 minutes!
Well, it wasn't the first time I went through this level, so earlier practice at least somewhat helped. I do agree that precision matters, and knowing when to press/release specific keys/buttons is important, especially in the last test.

I'm not sure this will assist for the last test, but I haven't disabled in-game saving. (Maybe I should've done that?)

Side-note: Was there a patch made for Keen 4 (or 5/6), adding a visual report of currently pressed keys/buttons (from keyboard/joystick/gamepad)? Or more precisely, a patch reporting the "released/pressed buttons states" of a few buttons, like button0 (jump) and button1 (pogo)? Maybe the scorebox can be patched to show these, although it doesn't appear in demo modes.

This also reminds me, that I should've probably disabled the ability to shoot (you can see a mistaken shot in the recorded demo). Of course, shooting may still have its use in other tests, theoretically.

User avatar
Roobar
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 2662
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 16:12

Re: NY00123's tests level

Post by Roobar » Sat May 06, 2017 8:48

I've watched it in slo-mo, I've tried several key combinations, please send me a message of the key combinations. 10x!

OK here's the exact place I failed:

https://s21.postimg.org/3o35ngasn/Capture2.png

I can't manage to touch that gray thing. If someone can help with it. 10x!

Edit: OK never mind. After more trial and error, I finally found what I'm supposed to do. :bloody

NY00123
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 427
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 19:36

Re: NY00123's tests level

Post by NY00123 » Sat May 20, 2017 9:26

Roobar wrote:
Sat May 06, 2017 8:48
Edit: OK never mind. After more trial and error, I finally found what I'm supposed to do. :bloody
Great to see you've also solved this!

BTW, I have a play-through video up now. DO NOT WATCH if you don't want any spoiler to be revealed. However, this does *not* cover any discussion with the janitor, again due to technical limitations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGfU841MqR8

I'll further mention some ideas for any future test level(s) to be made:
- As already mentioned above, different tests for different difficulties (possibly in separate levels).
- Less buggy winds? (Not sure how easy/difficult this will be to implement.)
- There are chances that a single JJ2 user-made level has different tests for different characters (Jazz, Spaz and possibly also Lori). Maybe a similar thing can be implemented for the Keens, say with world-map Keen, the "usual" Keen sprite (and optionally a swimming/flying Keen).
- Oh wait, I think 1-2 mods from Levellass involving the world-map Keen aren't very far from that!
- Make flying tests similar to JJ2's ones involving the helicopter, hoverboard, etc?
- Support high scores of different kinds: Collecting points or achieving other optional goals in the way (less is better), measuring the times for completing the tests (less is better), measuring the amount of warps *back* to the beginnings of tests (less if better).

Post Reply