The Sunnylands (K4 levelpack)

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Quillax
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The Sunnylands (K4 levelpack)

Post by Quillax » Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:58

Happy Keen Day, everybody! :birthday To celebrate this day, I decided to release a Keen 4 levelpack, known as The Sunnylands, which took me about a year to make, is one of the few Galaxy projects I have actually finished, and I overall had a fun time making it. :D The levelpack contains just about as much levels as the original Keen 4 and has a new story. Here's a download link:

Download!
View The Sunnylands on the Quillax Ship!

I hope you'll enjoy it, and feedback is appreciated!
Last edited by Quillax on Fri Apr 06, 2018 2:39, edited 1 time in total.

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Roobar
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Re: The Sunnylands (K4 levelpack)

Post by Roobar » Wed Mar 14, 2018 13:16

Oh wow. An actual release. I'll definitely play and comment when i can. Btw are there any new tileset graphics?

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Quillax
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Re: The Sunnylands (K4 levelpack)

Post by Quillax » Wed Mar 14, 2018 14:01

The tileset has a few minor modifications, such as the sky color and "NO DIVING" sign. It does have new story images and a new title screen, though.

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Re: The Sunnylands (K4 levelpack)

Post by KeenRush » Wed Mar 14, 2018 15:45

Dude, these levels are incredible. I encourage everyone to try this, this is one of the best Galaxy level sets I've played. I thought I'd play a few levels now and the rest later but I ended up playing them all (except for the secret level or what I assume is one -- didn't find my way there on the first play) -- just couldn't stop. I'll play these levels again for sure. There's such an attention to detail, I can't verbalize it better but these levels have such a good sense of proportion and balance and design that it makes me lightheaded. So many good ideas achieved with the original tileset. There are funny moments in the dialogues and the ending graphics are great. :)
My newest mod - Planet Of Agony: https://pckf.com/viewtopic.php?t=4165 | codename H.Y.E.N.A.

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Re: The Sunnylands (K4 levelpack)

Post by Nisaba » Wed Mar 14, 2018 16:22

that's entirely true.
it's so much fun playing these levels. a very enjoyable ride through a well balanced and perfervid designed levelpack. this pack shows a good sense of the use of spacing plus item and enemy placement. I love the hidden areas. also those many little and that one huge funny moment (one has to zoom out to get a bigger picture). good stuff! great level designs. and if one is eager to be more challenged, simply switch to hard mode.
it's your debut Galaxy feature and it's already really compelling. @PCKF members: we have a talented level designer around!
:birthday happy keenday
"We have come to conquer you all and bring you lots of candy!" | about me | my current project: play Keen mods on a GameBoy |

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Re: The Sunnylands (K4 levelpack)

Post by Gridlock » Wed Mar 14, 2018 20:13

Awesome to see another Galaxy release! I'm maybe 7-8 levels in and really enjoying it. These levels have a very authentic, easygoing Keen 4 feel with a great balance of difficulty and just the right amount of exploration. There have been a few times when I've been really impressed with the subtle ways you manage to guide the player. The levels I've seen haven't been big/extravagent, but they feel very well thought-out and are really nice aesthetically. I can't wait to play more. Thanks for this pack, and I hope you keep going with modding and level design!
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Re: The Sunnylands (K4 levelpack)

Post by Shikadi-Network » Wed Mar 14, 2018 20:58

I also really enjoyed the levelpack so far. I just played four levels at this point and every level was
great in there on way, I looking forward to play the rest of it. Very nice and happy Keen-Day. :)
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Re: The Sunnylands (K4 levelpack)

Post by troublesomekeen » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:03

Sure is bright and bouncy in the Sunnylands!
Pyramid of Secrets: https://youtu.be/do1Pq_peIXg (spoilers!)
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Re: The Sunnylands (K4 levelpack)

Post by KeenRush » Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:34

I played them all again yesterday. So very good. The item placement is close to perfection. I'm trying to learn a thing or two from these levels. :freud

Quillax: Do you sketch/plan the levels beforehand or simply invent as you go? I'm interested in people's methods.
My newest mod - Planet Of Agony: https://pckf.com/viewtopic.php?t=4165 | codename H.Y.E.N.A.

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Re: The Sunnylands (K4 levelpack)

Post by Nisaba » Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:30

That's a very good question indeed. What about you KeenRush? Do you sketch/plan the levels beforehand? I for one need something given to build a level around. That's why I love to rip abandoned stuff and see what I can squeeze out of it... (tip to the community: send me your lost files and I'll finish FitF)
"We have come to conquer you all and bring you lots of candy!" | about me | my current project: play Keen mods on a GameBoy |

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Re: The Sunnylands (K4 levelpack)

Post by KeenRush » Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:08

With my past mods I've just built without planning -- and without too much thinking. I might've had an idea for a small part of the level, like a puzzle of some kind, but that's it, after that one idea everything else in a level was improvisation. With the previous mod I was more or less the same but I had slightly more ideas per level and even some quick, bad sketches about how I wanted the level to twist and turn, but nothing much. And I tried to think differently, work in a different style, and pay attention to the player (see how well that went!), so in that way it was really different. For my next mod I'm trying to plan every damn level before I start building, and I plan to build nothing but a skeleton of the level (using one background tile, one solid, one platform, etc) and keep shaping it until it gleams, and only then will I texture it with themes and decorations. (And I try to make them easier still.)
My newest mod - Planet Of Agony: https://pckf.com/viewtopic.php?t=4165 | codename H.Y.E.N.A.

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Re: The Sunnylands (K4 levelpack)

Post by Roobar » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:53

It seems that this is more or less universal way of thinking. For me, personally, it goes somewhat like this. First, I have some ideas. Then I try to structure these ideas. I draw a world map with major basic concepts. Then I think of a storyline and which themes should the levels be based on. Then I write all the ideas I have for gameplay, graphics, mechanics etc.. Then I start drawing tilesets. When a basic tileset is done, then I start designing a level around of an idea I have in my mind. It's rare when I draw a level map before I start designing a level. But when something more complicated comes into my mind, drawing it first helps when designing a level later. So that's basically it.

About the Synnylands levels: almost all of them are small and straight to the point. Well designed for sure. Some feel like they could fit perfectly as multiplayer maps. There are the occasional clever usage of tiles (the secret level for example). The difficulty is also fair, even easier than it should be, which is a good thing because most mods tend to be too difficult. But that's also the biggest flaw of the mod. Levels, although nice, become too predictable and same-ish. Sometimes, a little bigger map or two could have made the change. That said, the flooded fort is probably the most original and fresh take the mod took.

I still have a few levels to finish. So yeah. Very nice and compact levelpack. Congratulations for releasing it on 314 and saving the 2018th 314 day.

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Re: The Sunnylands (K4 levelpack)

Post by proYorp » Fri Mar 16, 2018 14:19

This is a very well-designed levelpack. The levels are fair and easy in difficulty and in length. I was able to beat it without in-level saving, which I don't think I've ever bothered to do on a first playthrough before (for Galaxy, that is). The story is amusing, and so are some of the level names. I like how pretty early on, the player is guided to learn that it's always safe to follow arcs and trails of candy without having to look down before jumping (unlike some levelpacks/mods, where such things may be traps).
Spoilers: I was especially intrigued by the Flooded Fort, which has all the workings of a regular level (poles, switches, etc.) even though it's an underwater level. You can definitely believe the place has been flooded. When that Smirky at the start stole the key, for a few seconds I was like "Oh, nuts!" before I realized that I wouldn't even have been able to stun him underwater, and the key wouldn't even work! I don't think I've ever seen a level like this before. Very original.

To summarize: an enjoyable and very easy levelpack with a few original tricks and twists.


Re: Level design techniques: For me, after I have an idea for the main "theme" of a level, I sometimes do a very rough sketch of the layout to get an idea of how everything would fit together. Several drafts of sketches sometimes, if it's a more complex level. Or if it's a relatively simple idea, I go straight to building the level.
KeenRush wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:08
I plan to build nothing but a skeleton of the level (using one background tile, one solid, one platform, etc) and keep shaping it until it gleams, and only then will I texture it with themes and decorations.
I've done something like this, and it definitely works well for early level design. That way you don't have to bother moving a bunch of decorations around if you decide to change something in the level. I'm not sure if the "one solid tile" idea would work as well for Galaxy levels, though.
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Re: The Sunnylands (K4 levelpack)

Post by Quillax » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:25

Thanks for the feedback, guys! :D

@Shikadi-Network: Glad you're liking it so far! I saw a video of you playing through the mod, and I can say that I'm looking forward to more!

@troublesomekeen: Hey, nice job finding nearly all of the secrets in the Pyramid of Secrets! You even found a secret that I actually forgot about until I saw your video (the two chocolate bars by the lower pole near the beginning).

@KeenRush: Before I design a level, my mind develops an image (and sometimes short clips) of what the theme and basic structure of the level would be. Most of the levels in the mod use inspiration from the original Keen games and even some mods (Clear City, for example, was inspired by Lifewater Oasis from K4 and Spud City from Keen Dreams Plus). Once I get an idea of how the level would work, I start to make it. First, it would be like a skeleton, with one platform tile used for walls, floors, and ceilings, slopes, doors, poles, and some other things. Eventually, I start to do other stuff with it, such as adding creatures, points, secret areas, and making the level look better. Levels 1-17 are made in the numbered order from first to last; I'm not really sure when did I make levels 0 (guessing it was after 18), 18 (guessing it's the first level I made), and 19, though.

@Roobar: When you say multiplayer maps, do you mean NetKeen maps? If that's the case, then I suppose some levels do look like they could be great for having 4-player NetKeen matches at, with some tweaking.

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Re: The Sunnylands (K4 levelpack)

Post by Ceilick » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:52

Hopefully I'll get to try this in a few days/by the end of the week.
Quillax wrote:Before I design a level, my mind develops an image (and sometimes short clips) of what the theme and basic structure of the level would be. Most of the levels in the mod use inspiration from the original Keen games and even some mods
I used to keep printed copies of the original Keen 4-6 maps and would 'study' sections of the level for their platform placement, pathing and open-space management. I'd then replicate, modify and combine various sections trying to make something original that still had the classic feel. I still do this too; after deciding the general theme and boundaries for my level (long? tall? square?), I'll take a look at original levels that share the same theme, level dimensions, or otherwise provide some inspiration.

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