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Suburb Shenanigans

Posted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 22:38
by Bubbatom
Merry Christmas!

Commander Keen in “Suburb Shenanigans”

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Latest Release / Download: https://www.dropbox.com/s/4gpfx9249jbnp ... s.zip?dl=0

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Keen 5 is required in order to play Suburb Shenanigans. You’ll need to copy KEEN5E.EXE into the Suburb Shenanigans folder. If you don’t own a copy of Keen 5, you can buy it from here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/9180/Commander_Keen/

It is recommended that you play the mod with DOSBox as it has not been tested on original hardware. DOSBox can be download from here: http://www.dosbox.com/download.php?main=1
Simply drag and drop Suburbs.bat onto the DOSBox executable to start playing.

Enjoy playing Suburb Shenanigans!

There will most likely be a few bugs or tile issues I’ve missed while cleaning this thing up over the last couple of days so let me know if you find any problems.

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I’ve spent the last two days and nights churning out the last few major issues with this mod just in time for Christmas! I’m very glad to finally deliver on this project as it’s been close to 7 years since I began this mod! The bulk of the project was completed within the first 2 years but the remainder dragged out due to a number of reasons. Trying to incorporate a boss fight at the end of the game and a lack of motivation are largely to blame for the long wait! On top of that most of my Keen focus shifted to my next project, The Ocflore Project, when I started hitting brick walls. The pinball hobby has also taken me for a wild ride the last couple of years, a true addiction that has hindered my ability to work on keen-related stuff!

This mod didn't turn out the way I planned. I imagined it a lot bigger, with half of the game taking place in the suburbs, and the other half taking place at Billy's School. This wasn't possible due to the tilesets being too small for these two halves. Instead, you're getting the first half. I’m also disappointed that I couldn’t focus my interest on this project enough to include a final boss fight. I feel the end of the game is possibly lacking due to this. If anyone is interested in messing around to include a boss then be my guest, I’ll happily include it if it holds up!

I had a lot of help from Levellass at all stages of this project, without her I wouldn’t have been able to finish the mod! Her patching knowledge is outstanding and the patches that allow for connected levels and V-card doors are integral to the game. Thank you very much Levellass!

I was very lucky to have _mr_m_ and thehackercat compose music for me. These guys deserve a very big thank you for the wonderful tunes they provided for the mod!

Thanks to everyone on the forums for the feedback, criticism and new ideas, without you I wouldn’t have had the motivation to finish this. And thank you all for waiting so long for this, it really has been a long time!

I hope you enjoy the mod!

Re: Suburb Shenanigans

Posted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 23:21
by szemi
Let me honour you with a short video! :) https://youtu.be/9bywZo1_XuM

Re: Suburb Shenanigans

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:55
by 55Aavenue
Wow what a christmas present!! :D

Re: Suburb Shenanigans

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 8:02
by Nisaba
Yay!
Finally the time has come! This has to be Christmas ... '92! :christmas

Re: Suburb Shenanigans

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 8:17
by Roobar
Oh yeah! I've been waiting for this for so long! This Christmas is going to be Keenmas!

Btw Bubbatom, you need to fix your avatar. It's not displayed.

Re: Suburb Shenanigans

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:04
by troublesomekeen
Moon tiles not working :'(

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Re: Suburb Shenanigans

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:20
by Roobar
Oooh, I was having such a blast with this game, but unfortunately the game crashed after the first load:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0bbUg1ovoo

:'( :'( :'(

The mod is really, really cool otherwise.

Re: Suburb Shenanigans

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 14:02
by XrackProject
<3

Re: Suburb Shenanigans

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 20:12
by proYorp
Holy cow!! I was, once again, literally just wondering about this. Merry Keenmas! :D :christmas

Re: Suburb Shenanigans

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 20:59
by Benvolio
Darn how foolish of me to move to a different country (the UK) and leave my copy of Keen5 behind. But judging by what I see in Szemi's video this looks utterly exquisite and I look forward to giving it a proper play as soon as I can! I mean, there have been many attempts at displaying suburban normality in EGA platformers and all of them (Keen3 included) look far more forced and staid than this. Well done and Merry Christmas one and all!!!!!!!!!

Re: Suburb Shenanigans

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 22:21
by Roobar
I don't think that there are that many attempts at recreating suburbs. I think the closest attempt is Keen -3, which is a good demo mod, but Suburb Shenanigans is like a whole new level beyond what Keen -3 offers! Like there are so many details in the houses - its insane! And better proportions and usage of space as well. There are better music and pick-up items, and you can easily differentiate enemies. And unlike Keen -3, you can use your pogo and neural stunner!

The world map is also the best you can imagine of a town/village and the best implementation yet. I don't think this can even be surpassed! I mean the closest we've seen is from Valentine's mod, which is OK I guess, but didn't felt particularly well designed. Whereas this is just a masterpiece. The award for best map representing suburbs on Earth goes for this mod!

Now that's not without saying there are some flaws in the levels. My main issue is with crashes. I think bees sometimes can crash the game and sometimes at least one level said "insufficient memory". And in that level there was a place where the game crashed as well.

But beside crashes, there are some objects that don't looks like they hurt you, but they do. Like those roses. They are not particularly clear that they can hurt you. Or the first time you'll meet the helicopter, which isn't animated. I thought it was part of the background scenery. And sometimes you might miss those mini volcanoes, if you don't pay attention.

And then, there is at least one level, which doesn't spawn ammo at the beginning of it. And the ammo is generally pretty rare I must say. That makes the game a bit more difficult as I often end up with 0 ammo (sometimes I miss or shoot too much). I believe a little bit more ammo should be added (at leas in the secret areas).

Btw, 2 years ago I said https://i.postimg.cc/JzcMJ5ZQ/Annotatio ... 010130.jpg when the game was 99% done. 2 years later the Christmas is indeed saved lol.

Re: Suburb Shenanigans

Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2018 19:27
by Zilem
troublesomekeen wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:04
Moon tiles not working :'(
Maybe your using the wrong keen .exe ;p

Re: Suburb Shenanigans

Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2018 21:25
by Gridlock
I've played several levels so far, and I'm really impressed with what you've accomplished here. I really didn't believe it would be possible to pull off such intricate and complicated designs from a gameplay perspective, but it works amazingly well. The suburb setting is brilliant and also kind of disturbing in a darkly hilarious way (no wonder Keen goes on outer space adventures... Mars isn't half as dangerous as his neighborhood).

Sadly, I've reached a bug-related impasse. The Scudders level is unstable, and I've had it freeze at times during gameplay. Currently, my save file is within Scudders, but I get a crash every time I try to load it, which appears to be related to not having enough sprite slots available. I had previously noticed sprite flickering periodically throughout the level or some sprites failing to be rendered at all. I'm playing on normal difficulty.

So far, I'd also agree about the relative scarcity of ammo. I've been hovering around 20 ammo for most of my playthrough (with heavy use of in-level saving and loading), which makes things tight and certainly adds to the sense of difficulty. I don't know if that's the feeling you're going for.

Re: Suburb Shenanigans

Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:24
by Bubbatom
Thanks for the feedback so far guys! I'll have to have a look at how to approach some of the problems and bugs mentioned after I get back from a holiday in about a week!
Roobar wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 8:17
Btw Bubbatom, you need to fix your avatar. It's not displayed.
Really? It shows up alright in my browser.
Roobar wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 22:21
Like those roses. They are not particularly clear that they can hurt you.
Yeah, I'm not sure what I can do about the roses as I found it pretty difficult to convey their prickles.
Roobar wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 22:21
I believe a little bit more ammo should be added (at leas in the secret areas).
I thought this might be the case, adding ammo to the secret areas is a good idea and I will definitely get onto adding some when I'm home.
Gridlock wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 21:25
Sadly, I've reached a bug-related impasse. The Scudders level is unstable, and I've had it freeze at times during gameplay. Currently, my save file is within Scudders, but I get a crash every time I try to load it, which appears to be related to not having enough sprite slots available. I had previously noticed sprite flickering periodically throughout the level or some sprites failing to be rendered at all. I'm playing on normal difficulty.
I've had a bit of trouble with this level and I thought I'd squashed all of the issues that it posed. I had to cull a few of the unique tiles from this level as it was causing "insufficient memory" issues. Obviously I need to take a look at the sprites too!

Re: Suburb Shenanigans

Posted: Wed Dec 26, 2018 20:48
by 55Aavenue
So I think I actually got pretty far on my run through, I got through a lot of levels and found the back pack! And wow am I impressed with this mod. The graphics are amazing, and the enemies very creative and funny. The house interiors are so cool. I think my favorite level was Scudders, such cool detail in the backgrounds. The sewer level was also really cool and a nice change after a lot of house levels. The music is fantastic and I liked the altered sound effects too. I also like how there are so many different points items, and the animation when you collect the energy drinks is really good.

While I didn't experience any crashes on the Scudders level, my run ended in the same fashion as Gridlocks on but on the Golden House level. First with sprites not rendering, insufficient memory for background music, and now just freezing every time I try to load my save file (also playing on normal). I've actually tried two run through attempts and both times I could not get past Golden House due to crashes and freezing.

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I made a lucky shot and zapped an unrendered dog! :lol

One other little issue I noticed was if Keen gets stunned by a water balloon while climbing a pole tile, he will fall through all solid tiles and out the bottom of the map. Here is a video of it happening: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Coje6G9pPNw
Bubbatom wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:24
Roobar wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 22:21
Like those roses. They are not particularly clear that they can hurt you.
Yeah, I'm not sure what I can do about the roses as I found it pretty difficult to convey their prickles.
Maybe a section in the help menu that outlines what some of the hazards are? (roses, water, solar panels etc.)

I also agree ammo is a bit lacking, a little more would be nice.

I also wanted to suggest maybe having a sign in front of the mid level checkpoints? Like how there is an exit sign before the level end. The checkpoints are reached in the same fashion as the level exits are by walking to edge of the screen, but I think labeling them with a sign would be nice. As it is now, you don''t always know when you're going to hit one.

I also noticed 2 of the songs are significantly louder than the others. The one that plays on Deserted Block (and I think also Golden House?) and the one in the sewer level.

This is a great mod, and I think a few issues in the beginning are to be expected when pushing the limits of the game this much. I think you've done some outstanding work here!