InsaLevs - collective Keen 2 minimalism level pack

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Pick your winning level

Poll ended at Sun Oct 08, 2017 23:40

Level 01: PaquoCastor
0
No votes
Level 02: Shikadi
0
No votes
Level 03: Levellord
0
No votes
Level 04: Levellass
0
No votes
Level 05: Quillax
0
No votes
Level 06: Roobar
0
No votes
Level 07: KeenRush
0
No votes
Level 08: Nisaba
2
22%
Level 09: troublesomekeen
2
22%
Level 10: Commander Spleen
3
33%
Level 11: proYorp
2
22%
Level 12: Levellad
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 9

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Commander Spleen
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Re: InsaLevs - collective Keen 2 minimalism level pack

Post by Commander Spleen » Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:26

Play Online Here


I have completed all of th with videos. Firstly, my own to demonstrate that it's doable:

https://youtu.be/6vAxlMKDlaI

Next up, Nisaba's level. I think I may have transcended all of the consciousness playing this with save states.

(Previously thought this was Roobar's. That one was equally comedic, coming soon.)

https://youtu.be/K3bZjjlngdg

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Re: InsaLevs - collective Keen 2 minimalism level pack

Post by Nisaba » Tue Sep 26, 2017 13:56

ok, here you have it. the updated title image version of the collective K2 minimalism level pack:
http://files.shikadi.net/keenwiki/Packs ... -03-17.zip
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Re: InsaLevs - collective Keen 2 minimalism level pack

Post by PaquoCastor » Tue Sep 26, 2017 15:54

So, I actually managed to beat two thirds. Funny how when we have a warmer color scheme and an extra sprite we make an overall easier set. So many good levels here, but proYorp did what I was going for last time much better than I ever could, so there goes my vote. It was hard because Quillax, Nisaba, and troublesomekeen's levels were all great fun, and Levellad fits minimalism to a T. But I'm a sucker for multipaths and shortcuts.

Shikadi and Levellord's levels were good too, a bit easy. Levellass' felt more like a concept level like the Fortress of Mystery. And Spleen's use of glitches reminds me of things I would rather not. It is, nevertheless, creative use. I couldn't get far in Roobar's, fine level I just can't pull of that many consecutive jumps. Finally Rush made a level that was the kind of difficulty that makes me say life is too short, I'd rather try my hand at Stardate 20X6 on Hurt Me Plenty again. Or, more apropos, actually finish my vort-style hard runs of Keen 4 and 5.

Now if only I can stop trying to make levels in my distorted view of what makes a good Sardonic the Edgy Hedgy level.

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Re: InsaLevs - collective Keen 2 minimalism level pack

Post by Roobar » Tue Sep 26, 2017 16:55

A few insights on some things.

The most controversial level for me, without a doubt, is Commander Spleen's Level 10, followed closely by KeenRush's Level 07.

Level 10: Commander Spleen. At first, I thought it was a troll level. I really tried to get out of there, but didn't succeeded at my first attempts. Later I discovered how to get out of that box. That turns out to be awesome, but also makes the level relying on a glitch to be passed which, in a way, sucks. I don't particularly feel good about using such mechanic. It's neat, but you can introduce such pass-through-wall in your mod, not in a collective pack and a competition. The question is: whether there should be a rule stating "No use of glitches." or not?
The other neat aspect of his level is the "calling" of the scrubs when they're not on the screen. This shows a higher level of understanding of the game mechanics. The "scrub shower" at one point of the level was also a funny idea.
For all these reasons, that's' arguably the most innovative level in this pack. That's why it probably should be the winner of the competition for some people, but I still have a salty taste of me trying countless times getting out of the box, no matter how simple it looks now when you know how to make it. This also gives some more ideas for levels...

Level 07: KeenRush - the level begins great, imo. One scrub that must be avoided and then be used for a bigger jump, while avoiding deadly tiles. If you miss it - you're out. If you're too late - you're out. If you're less careful - you're out. Additionally, the minimal use of tiles adds to the "minimalism" name and feel of the competition, living up to its name. Unfortunately, no matter how good the beginning is, the level keeps the difficulty too hard further on. You must be either KeenRush or GOD to make it pass through. IMO, generally talking, after you show a hard beginning in a level, you must lower the difficulty a bit. But KeenRush keeps it way too much challenging to the very end. And for such a hard level, the level itself is not small either, so making it almost impossible. For me, at first at least, this was the clear winner of the competition because of simplicity and clever use of scrubs. Yes, really hard, but cool. But... after seeing the rest of the level and how hard it is, that ruined it and now it's not my favorite.

When I was making my first playthrough, I noticed a trend in this competition. And the trend is the use of multiple paths. Most of the levels have these (mine included), and in a way this actually give us more than 12 levels, if you try to play through different paths. My level, which have 3 paths, is supposed to be constructed like this: the upper is the easiest and the lower is the hardest. However, I noticed that the middle is way too easy. Maybe even easier than the upper, which wasn't meant to be.

I want to briefly mention two levels that stand out in my mind now and have greatly utilized multiple paths:

Level 05: Quillax's level. It got two main paths. The lower is the easiest and then the upper is much harder and require skills. But in it's hard in a good way. Probably my favorite type of hard. You can definitely beat it, though if it was a little bit easier on some later parts, would not have been a bad idea. But that's probably me because my skills still suck most of the time. So because you can choose whichever way you want to go, and both ways got something to show, this is one of the levels I'm considering voting.

Level 09: troublesomekeen level. This puts you in the middle of the action, where you have to choose which way to go without knowing where you actually need to go! So this is definitely a trial and error one at the beginning and is not a typical level. But the difficulty is very well balanced. It seems hard at first, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes pretty much passable. It also utilizes the scrubs very well. Another big plus is that it's not too big. Probably the perfect size for such level and the best use of multiple paths. If you got the skills, you'll probably be able to beat it in mulpiple ways and/or using shortcuts. My vote for now toward his level. I haven't voted yet though.

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Re: InsaLevs - collective Keen 2 minimalism level pack

Post by Levellass » Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:27

I would note that my level has a trick to it that makes it pretty easy to complete once you figure it out; I was aiming for the smallest level possible that had multiple strategies to win.

Has anyone beat KR's level? I had to add a patch to insta-reoad the level to speed up attempts.
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Re: InsaLevs - collective Keen 2 minimalism level pack

Post by KeenRush » Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:36

@Roobar: Yeah, my level is not good design in the sense that it's too difficult. The dangers in it would ordinarily - nowadays, I mean! - warrant at least three levels. But since ideas just kept pouring and because I've crafted more playable levels for months, I just let go and only cared that I can finish it (and have, several times). I tend to screw up during the two jumps towards the end were you must launch impossible pogo from on top of scrubs to just barely jump over those walls of fire. My favourite part of the level is where you have to sort of chase a scrub that's running up the stairs and you have to get past it because there'll be a jump where you'll need the said scrub and there's only one chance for it. Can't say this actually sound much fun... :disguised

@Levellass: Well, I have, of course. :) Any particular place where you keep dying?
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Re: InsaLevs - collective Keen 2 minimalism level pack

Post by troublesomekeen » Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:59

I like Nisaba's level. There's a big emphasis on patience, timing, and speed. It has the very keen room-by-room theme which I've been trying to do for these challenges, but abandoned those efforts in favor of crazy, nonsensical, out-of-control, maniac, mish-mash, unfinished design.

(Spleen gets my vote. Playing that level is like a playing a different game. It's not too difficult, the pogo glitch is easy enough ((does press the dang button when Keen's head is at the ceiling)) and it's so cleverly crafted that I haven't had a Scrub hiccup yet. My only problem is unlocking the last Scrub, not knowing where the exit was.)
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Re: InsaLevs - collective Keen 2 minimalism level pack

Post by Commander Spleen » Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:36

KeenRush's level:

https://youtu.be/z0_xzMVOR0I=

9 friggin' minutes. It does approximately all of the things that I hate about level design.
troublesomekeen wrote:My only problem is unlocking the last Scrub, not knowing where the exit was.
Damn, I tried to make the teleporter visible at the start. In the original design it was below the start location so you were most likely to find the solution before realising what the problem was.

It was tempting just to leave it as a simple joke level and put the exit just off screen after jumping through the roof, but there was much more to explore and after playtesting the first experiment and noticing the scrubs don't activate if they're too far out of view, it was too good to pass up.
PaquoCastor wrote:And Spleen's use of glitches reminds me of things I would rather not.
Knowing that I triggered PTSD in someone is better than any trophy.

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Re: InsaLevs - collective Keen 2 minimalism level pack

Post by KeenRush » Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:04

Commander Spleen wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:36
9 friggin' minutes. It does approximately all of the things that I hate about level design.
You did notice there were no blind drops with killing tiles below? I've improved a little! Anyway, thanks for the video, I felt I was watching an AI learning to play platformers while learning to move using trial and error. :lol
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Re: InsaLevs - collective Keen 2 minimalism level pack

Post by Nisaba » Wed Sep 27, 2017 13:07

@Spleen:
where is that patched save state DOSBox thing coming from?!
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Re: InsaLevs - collective Keen 2 minimalism level pack

Post by PaquoCastor » Wed Sep 27, 2017 20:38

Now, knowing the trick, I almost beat Spleen's level, almost.
Commander Spleen wrote: Knowing that I triggered PTSD in someone is better than any trophy.
Something something.

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Re: InsaLevs - collective Keen 2 minimalism level pack

Post by Levellass » Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:06

KeenRush wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:36
@Levellass: Well, I have, of course. :) Any particular place where you keep dying?
Okay, so you know that part where you fall down the 'well' of deadly tiles and active a little 'train' of Scrubs? And they go through a little bunch of solid tile squiggles before the impossible pogos? That spot KeenRush, that spot...

IS ABOUT THE ONLY PLACE WHERE I DON"T DIE!
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Re: InsaLevs - collective Keen 2 minimalism level pack

Post by Commander Spleen » Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:47

PaquoCastor wrote: Something something.
I'm going to allow this.
Nisaba wrote:where is that patched save state DOSBox thing coming from?!
It was a while ago that I set it up but I'm pretty sure this was where I got it:

https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=53116

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Re: InsaLevs - collective Keen 2 minimalism level pack

Post by proYorp » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:14

PaquoCastor wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2017 15:54
So many good levels here, but proYorp did what I was going for last time much better than I ever could, so there goes my vote. It was hard because Quillax, Nisaba, and troublesomekeen's levels were all great fun, and Levellad fits minimalism to a T. But I'm a sucker for multipaths and shortcuts.
Firstly, great to see you've joined the forums! In the first contest, your level was one of my favorites. My level in Round 2 was actually partly inspired by your first level, from the "multipaths" that I enjoyed. I actually didn't think I pulled it off as well as you did. Yours had a lot more choices and variety. So that's kind of funny how that worked out. Thank you for your vote. :)

shikadi wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:58
Proyorp's level: [...] looking at the map afterwards, was it possible to take a longer route than i did?

It looks like you took just about the longest route possible. Near the bottom of the main structure, just after the three jumps on the squares with X's on them, the intended path to take was to ride the four Scrubs over the deadly checkered floor and that would shortly bring you to the exit. But it looks like both you and Roobar went to the right at that point. That was supposed to be sort of an emergency exit if you missed the Scrubs, but apparently it ended up looking like you were meant to go that way. So in effect I guess the Scrub train is a shortcut rather than the main route, though I didn't plan it that way.
This experience has taught me something about level design. I'll have to take this into consideration in the future. Thanks to everyone who recorded a video playthrough of my level to help me figure this out!


On to the reviews:

#01, Paquo Castor
Like your first level, lots of different paths to take, which I like. The jumps in this one seem about the same difficulty as the first level (which wasn't terribly easy either), but this level is just so much harder. It's pretty impressive how deadly the supposedly harmless Scrubs are when surrounded by dangerous tiles, especially with no ammo.
I like how although there are many possible routes to the exit, the level itself is fairly linear with an easy sense of direction to the exit-- just keep going right.

#02, shikadi
Significantly easier than your first level. I like the style your minimalist levels have had, with jump puzzles centred around patterns and designs. This one is a nice length and fair difficulty. For a quick replay, this is probably my favourite level.

#03, Levellord
A fun quick little level, with just a little bit extra to explore giving it a certain charisma. Very minimalist indeed.

#04, Levellass
Surprising short. For a minute I couldn't comprehend that the exit was actually meant to be reached so soon after the start. ("Is it a trick? A shortcut?") I explored the whole rest of the level before realising that it was actually the only way to the exit.
That being said, before when I was playing Ye Olde Pirate Modde I noticed that your style seems to work best with smallish levels with a central theme, at least those were my favourites out of YOPM. And I guess that's exactly what this is, though I wasn't imagining quite this small.
The Scrub conveyor belt was cool. That was something I hadn't even thought of.

#05, Quillax
A well-balanced two paths, the top one unexpectedly hard but very short and the bottom one much longer and quite a bit easier. Both are very well balanced in their difficulty-to-length ratio.
Also, I like the blocky pictures. All hail King Scrub!

#06, Roobar
After your talk before of making a vengefully hard level, I sort of suspected there'd be some sneaky trick awaiting. I appreciate that it's right at the beginning of the level so if you do lose, it'll only be a couple seconds lost.
The downward drops are a little bit hard to judge whether they're completely safe, but it seems that if one follows the pattern of the level -- how every fifth column is safe -- if one utilises that to plan their jumps it makes it more fair.
Some of the pathways in this level seem almost like secret areas in the way their entrance is placed, not immediately obvious.

#07, KeenRush
Now this is a classic KeenRush level. I was hoping for a good challenge, and I wasn't disappointed. As far as I've gotten in this level so far, I've loved it. Also used G-O-D to skip on around to explore and play from there. This level is a combination of timing, precision, and insanity. Fun! :mortlol
Now here's something that might sound a little crazy: KeenRush, I think you're just really good at making hard levels. The way you design your jump puzzles in such clever and compact arrangements just amazes me sometimes. Like the Scrub challenge at the beginning of this level. Devious, to be sure, but a clever setup and I can appreciate that.
(By the way, I'm eagerly anticipating your new mod. I would've said so before, but sometimes lately I've barely had enough time online to read PCKF, let alone post anything.)
I haven't won this level yet. Usually takes me a couple weeks or more to win a good KeenRush level. I just can't figure out how to get past those two fiery Scrubs a ways above the start... any hints, KR?

#08, Nisaba
A veritable gauntlet of trick jumps further complicated by moving objects. Save states seem like a good idea for this level. Besides KeenRush's, this is the only level I haven't won yet.
The map room was really cool. That really helped to get a grasp on how far along I was in the level, which was a unique experience. Usually you don't know that until you've gone through the whole level once.

#09, troublesomekeen
I don't think I've ever had this much trouble getting past the beginning of a level. The Scrubs to the left seem to render in rather unpredictably somehow. The jumps underneath the fire pit by the start require such precision I've only been able to do it once. The little nook to the right is arguably the easiest way out, but the first time I went that way for some reason I started thinking I was going the wrong direction and ended up dying while trying to get back. So all three ways out were a series of starting and failing and starting again.
The level as a whole wasn't bad, but having all my fails at the beginning made it hard to feel like I was making any progress.

#10, Commander Spleen
Took me under a minute and a half to figure out how to escape the Box. :mort
This level was really well designed. The way it leads you to go certain places to unlock Scrubs that then let you get to new parts of the level was really something. Although it also leads you right into an ambush... but after falling for that once, it wasn't too hard to figure out a way around it.
This level demonstrates a superior understanding of level design and the Keen physics and engine. I love how you really have to use your brain to solve the puzzles rather than just walk around and try to find the way to the exit. Congratulations Spleen, you've got my vote. :birthday

#11, proYorp
My level, entitled "Airborne Robots". After doing a maze last time, I decided to try something a little more straightforward with less dead ends. I did try to implement some use of multiple paths to keep things interesting, mainly in the form of short diversions and emergency exits (at least that was my intention :crazy).
Did anyone find the secret bonus area? :D

#12, Levellad
This was a fun thirty seconds. Very well designed for a first level, I think. Simple and straightforward but not boring.
I hope the Lad someday decides to join us here. Is he much of a Keen fan or did he do the level just because?
"Friendly. Very friendly. Too friendly." :yorp

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Re: InsaLevs - collective Keen 2 minimalism level pack

Post by troublesomekeen » Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:33

The easy levels: https://youtu.be/2wplmfLOIXI

Same. proYorps was maybe my second favorite, just because I found it mighty fun to play.

@proYorp
Strange that the Scrubs are being foobish. I tested the beginning of the level six hundred times. It's the easier part of the level. You simply have to ride the descending Scrub of Death, and jump at the last second to the ascending Scrub of Life. All the other routes are purely rubbish and I should have walled them up so that there's less confusion.
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