Operation Ocflore

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loop4ever
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Re: Operation Ocflore

Post by loop4ever »

MARVELOUS! MAGNIFICENT! This mod was outstanding! I loved it all. I finished the whole thing last night and now I miss playing it; wish there were more! :lol
As for bugs, I was fortunate to not stumble across any that haven't already been mentioned. One thing which has already been said, is the difficulty with the keys, and I tend to agree. In two levels I felt it was a bit too hard getting to them. I eventually figured it out, but I believe others may have some more trouble and it could possibly get too frustrating. last little nitpick: the neural stunner scarcity can be a fun challenge but I kinda wish that we'd get a tad bit more stunners.
Never the less, this mod was one of my absolute FAVORITES! It was remarkable, and I can't believe that there was barely any patching done because this mod felt so unique, and the graphics the sprites, it was all beautiful, just WOW! The music and sound effects where perfect too! I could keep praising the quality of this mod for days! :lol

Excellent modding Bubbatom, just perfect!

ps. :

Are we ever getting a sequel! :p :D :lol

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Re: Operation Ocflore

Post by Benvolio »

I really love this mod, so immersive and well realised. All aspects of this are top quality as good as any of the best previous Galaxy mods. The levels are really really fun and in particular I find amusing how the lines between traditional Keen-style bonus point areas and vital strategic areas are blurred. I also find the foes insanely good, especially the pathing of the Enkri which really commands ones full concentration to deal with. I also find the Petra-peds hilarious. The graphics are very rich and detailed and although I understand people's concerns about being able to tell things apart from backgrounds, I think that adds a little to the challenge of the game when it arises and again demands ones full attention and dare I say it, use of a good well-calibrated monitor. Getting caught out by the faeces of the Snorkels is, for instance, more of a challenge than in Keen4 as this time they're a bit more camouflaged.

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Commander Spleen
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Re: Operation Ocflore

Post by Commander Spleen »

From the couple of levels I've played so far I agree it can be difficult telling the background from the foreground. Doesn't bother me too much and it's probably not a big deal for most Keeners. Just requires a bit more caution and checking whether things are solid rather than taking a leap of faith. Depends whether you want to make it a bit more inviting to casual players in this modern world of short attention spans as to whether it's worth the effort of tweaking things.

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Nisaba
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Re: Operation Ocflore

Post by Nisaba »

thanks a thousand for sharing sketches, illustrations and intermediate results! this gives me (and the community of course) a very good glimpse of the production process, how things evolved, where ideas came from, which cul-de-sac roads needed to be left behind, how an idea came to life.
those sheets tell a story about your love for detail, your ingenuity for variety plus at the same time those sheets illustrate an impressive level of precision.
without a question it's insights like this that really inspires me to dive even more into the depth of detail of my own project bitmaps. (big shout-outs also to Ceilick, Dr. Colossus, Gridlock, Levellass, KeenRush, Spleen, Bernie, Mr. M, XkyRauh and all you pixel-artists out there.)
I can and I will learn so much from your sheets. again, your art development folder is a blessing. thanks so so much for sharing.

pls allow me to ask some questions:
which graphics programs did you use throughout the process?
how did you came about the idea of swapping colours?
how many attempts did it take to find the right colour scheme?
what's your main source for gathering inspiration?


and out of curiosity: how come you didn't use this version of the egg?
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"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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Bubbatom
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Re: Operation Ocflore

Post by Bubbatom »

Oh yeah I forgot to mention that anyone can feel free to use any of the graphics in those bitmaps for their own projects. There's a fair amount of stuff in there that I didn't end up using in the game for whatever reason.
Nisaba wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:56
again, your art development folder is a blessing. thanks so so much for sharing.

pls allow me to ask some questions:
which graphics programs did you use throughout the process?
how did you came about the idea of swapping colours?
how many attempts did it take to find the right colour scheme?
what's your main source for gathering inspiration?


and out of curiosity: how come you didn't use this version of the egg?
Image
Not a problem! It's good to look back on all of that development and I thought the community would find it interesting!

To answer your questions:

Believe it or not the graphics were all done in MSPaint. Very time consuming and limited in many ways but it's what I've been using for keen graphics for years!

I always thought the default 16 colour palette could have been improved. When I was thinking about starting this project I knew that I wanted a light brown to use for sand and rock and saw cyan as an unnecessary colour so I subbed the new brown in. That is the only colour change and didn't take long at all to work out with a bit of help from lemm!

With this project taking as long as it did I had inspiration from so many sources, too many to list! Obviously there was the Keen Galaxy games and countless Keen mods for level design. Outside of Keen, Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee was a big one for the environments, especially the forest areas. For the soundtrack I made up a document with various pieces of music that I thought would inspire the composers:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/tbe6w9xgxjp3c ... .docx?dl=0
A fair bit of videogame music, and even music from some of my favourite pinballs was used as inspiration!

I didn't use those versions of the egg because the one I ended up going with could be used in a lot more environments without looking too out-of-place.
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Re: Operation Ocflore

Post by proYorp »

Yay it’s finally out! I’ve played a couple of levels so far (also recorded DOSBox while I played so you can see an example of how a player approaches the levels, and I’ve added text commentary of my experience via YouTube closed captions: https://youtu.be/rLt6_huU3IQ . Additionally Roobar recorded video as well so there’s another thing to check if you want video feedback, Bubbatom.)

So far it seems just like the previews indicated: beautiful detailed environments, extremely well done graphics, a visually rich experience. I find that the slightly altered palette with the additional shade of orange adds a lot more of a natural feeling to things such as wood and sand. The music so far has been nicely atmospheric as well (although there seems to be a slight volume imbalance between songs. I’ve heard there’s some utility that is quickly able to alter the volume of IMFs, if that’s ever on a list of things to look into).

I’ve noticed that there have been a few areas that are uniquely challenging due to the shape of the terrain combined with the difficult placement of an enemy, and I find this interesting. Usually in mods I either see use of puzzles for a level challenge, or sections requiring one to maneuver around/take out enemies (while also taking advantage of the specific behavior of the enemies, in the better mods); but here I’ve noticed a few small areas that due the to layout, circumvent the way I would normally deal with whatever enemies are in place, almost making it into a puzzle to find new ways to get around them, and this is something I haven’t noticed in other mods to my recollection. I’ll try to write more conclusive thoughts on this when I’ve actually finished the mod, but it seems like a unique design theme.
Also those flying Enkri guys are so deadly omg.

Regarding the clarity of objectives, my interpretation from the story text (mainly after re-reading, as I didn’t think too much about in-game applications the first time) is that to help the resident species you have to find 3 artifacts (Council Members, I’m guessing), or, to assist the Ormch you board their ship (...the Foot maybe?) If this is accurate, then yeah it probably would be advisable to include it in The Game text, to make it more clear that these are indeed the things you need to keep in mind during gameplay.

I have also had some trouble with distinguishing solid objects. Mostly with things that looked solid but weren’t. For instance, the shooter things in the second level (I thought they looked deadly and avoided them. I figured them out, but if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have found the switch past them) or the roof of the hut right at the start of the first level. I’ve had this problem in the old demo as well. A horizontal wood plank floating in the water just off a dock looked solid (which cost me a life), and the white prism key blended in with the background so I didn’t even realize I had collected it.
A common convention used in many mods is that black outlines means solid/interactive object, so it’s a bit confusing when sometimes there are outlined objects that don’t do anything. In any case I think it is important to have good contrast between decoration and function. If the slight issues here are ironed out and made more intuitive, I feel like that would bring this mod even higher in terms of quality.

Random question, why is the palette alteration done with an external program, rather than a patch? This also has a funny side effect, if after exiting Ocflore you change directory in DOSBox to start a different game:
Image
"Friendly. Very friendly. Too friendly." :yorp

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keenmaster486
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Re: Operation Ocflore

Post by keenmaster486 »

I'm testing the game on my 286 right now.

So far:
  • Palette commands don't work on a 286, I guess they require a 386. So I have to run the game manually with ck4patch ocflore.pat, and all the colors look off.
  • Game runs out of memory trying to load the first level. Not a surprise as I have only the default 640K and no XMS/EMS (will be remedied later), but still... vanilla Keen 4 runs perfectly.
I'll keep testing and trying different things to make it work.
I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.
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Bonevelous
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Re: Operation Ocflore

Post by Bonevelous »

Finally just started playing it. It's really, really good. I love the music, the visuals, and the level design thus far. It's got a lot of good secrets, makes me want to explore the whole level- which is a good thing :D
Check out Flixxy the Fox: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6378

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K1n9_Duk3
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Re: Operation Ocflore

Post by K1n9_Duk3 »

keenmaster486 wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 18:44
Palette commands don't work on a 286, I guess they require a 386.
Yup, COLR.COM uses 386 code.

By the way, if you have a DOS configuration where Keen 4-6 are able to detect both XMS and EMS, please let me know. I can't get the games to use XMS at all (except in DOSBox, obviously).
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keenmaster486
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Re: Operation Ocflore

Post by keenmaster486 »

K1n9_Duk3 wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 21:25
Yup, COLR.COM uses 386 code.
OK, so... what could be done to make those things work on a 286?
I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.
Very silly indeed: https://audaxeundum.wordpress.com/

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K1n9_Duk3
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Re: Operation Ocflore

Post by K1n9_Duk3 »

keenmaster486 wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 5:13
OK, so... what could be done to make those things work on a 286?
Put this at the end of your patch file and don't use any of the .COM files:

Code: Select all

# call my replacement instead of the original VW_SetScreenMode
%patch $39DB $1E0A07ACrl
%patch $7A69 $1E0A07ACrl

# my VW_SetScreenMode replacement (44 bytes):
%patch $1E84C
	$55			#	push	bp
	$8B $EC			#	mov	bp, sp
	$FF $76 $06		#	push	[bp+arg_0]
	$9A $1D0600ACrl		#	call	VW_SetScreenMode
	$58			#	pop	ax
	$83 $3E $E812w $05	#	cmp	videocard, 5
	$75 23			#	jnz	done
	$56			#	push	si
	$BE $013Dw		#	mov	si, offset vgapal
	$B9 2w			#	mov	cx, 2
	$BA $03C8w		#	mov	dx, 3C8h
				#palloop:
	$AC			#	lodsb
	$EE			#	out	dx, al
	$42			#	inc	dx
	$AC			#	lodsb
	$EE			#	out	dx, al
	$AC			#	lodsb
	$EE			#	out	dx, al
	$AC			#	lodsb
	$EE			#	out	dx, al
	$4A			#	dec	dx
	$E2 $F4			#	loop	palloop
	$5E			#	pop	si
				#done:
	$5D			#	pop	bp
	$CB			#	retf

# the VGA palette data we want to use
%patch $2EFAD
	$02 $00 $26 $00
	$03 $3F $20 $10
This patch overwrites unused parts of the old VW_SetScreen, so don't use it without my customized screen update code! This is only to be used in Ocflore, anyway.
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Nisaba
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Re: Operation Ocflore

Post by Nisaba »

@Bubbatom this wasn't any help, was it?! --> https://keenmodding.org/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=3380
"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: Operation Ocflore

Post by Gridlock »

I just finished the mod on normal difficulty. It took me several hours to beat all the levels, including the secret level.

I didn't really take as many screenshots as I should have, but here's a few:

https://gyazo.com/c0d109c666aa4e31f7b385c524994650

There's a tile bug here. Keen can fall through the floor into the secret passage.

https://gyazo.com/43ebd7f883f68742dd69fca4e17c3dd5

This part was exceptionally difficult, and I had to use God mode to get past it. I kind of got the impression that these drones weren't supposed to kill Keen on contact, given that there were one or two spots where there was candy that was seemingly impossible to get because these enemies have a kill hitbox. Speaking of these enemies, wooooow that part in the secret level with a bunch of them was hard as heck.

https://gyazo.com/24657858b9982458933c867056e236d9

This was a cool moment and a great way to introduce this behavior. At first, I thought "Huh, this is a lot like the magmine from Atroxian Realm. I wonder if they explode when they touch each other, and.... agh! They turn into arachnuts!"


By far, I think this mod's greatest strength is its visuals. Just... wow. The world map and level graphics are really jaw dropping at times. The three dimesionality and shading of these tiles make these environments so organic and complex. It's just stunning. I'm truly amazed you were able to get these into tilesets and make it all work.

I would sometimes agree about it being hard to distinguish platforms, but it was only a few isolated incidents for me. The green tree branches could sometimes be really hard to see (to the point that I didn't even notice them until I stared for several seconds). I also jumped onto a wooden board in water that I thought was a platform, but wasn't. However, on the whole, it wasn't typically an issue.

The music is pretty enjoyable. There's some pitchbending (I think that's what it's called?) in some tracks that sounds really neat. And overall, I found the music very pleasant to listen to, though not much of it has stuck with me since finishing the game.

Overall, I enjoyed most of the levels. I think you have a very distinct style of level design with lots of open areas and exploration. Things weren't always clearly labeled, and some doors could be confusing, but I almost always found the level designs intuitive enough that it didn't take me long to figure out where I was supposed to go.

If I have a very minor critique, I did feel that most of the levels kind of blended together, both in terms of setting and overall design style. They were all really good levels, but I think I'd struggle to remember a lot of their distinct features. There were a few that stuck out, such as the big wall you have to get over, or the part where you climb the high-tech looking tower. And then there was the underwater level, which was probably the most enjoyable (and beautiful) underwater level I've ever seen in Keen. The patched dopefish were way less of a nuisance, too. I was actually hoping there might be more underwater levels.

Difficulty-wise, I found this mod on the harder end, even on normal difficulty. I had to resort to near constant save states, and I died a lot. I think partly it's because the enemies in this mod are especially fast and lethal, and they have a tendency to ambush you from offscreen. I also got hit by a lot of dart shooters, sometimes because I didn't even see the graphic indicating there was a shooter there. The difficulty doesn't really bother me that much given that I tend to abuse savestates, but I think it's something to note. Of course, I'm very guilty of making my mods way too hard unintentionally...

I appreciate all the lore and thought you put into the story. I'm not really sure I followed a lot of the nuances or how it connected to the actual levels, but it is nonetheless neat to see that kind of depth and creativity.

Overall, I had a lot of fun with this. For whatever reason, I've found it harder in recent years to motivate myself to play all the way through mods, but I blasted through this one in a single day. I think this project sets a new standard for what's possible visually in Galaxy mods.
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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: Operation Ocflore

Post by K1n9_Duk3 »

Gridlock wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 0:43
https://gyazo.com/43ebd7f883f68742dd69fca4e17c3dd5

This part was exceptionally difficult, and I had to use God mode to get past it. I kind of got the impression that these drones weren't supposed to kill Keen on contact, given that there were one or two spots where there was candy that was seemingly impossible to get because these enemies have a kill hitbox. Speaking of these enemies, wooooow that part in the secret level with a bunch of them was hard as heck.
You do realize that you can just shoot them, right? The very first demo (level 1) shows Keen shooting the very first drone in the game.
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Gridlock
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Re: Operation Ocflore

Post by Gridlock »

You do realize that you can just shoot them, right?
:O

I, uh, went through the entire mod without actually trying to shoot them. So yeah, guess that makes things considerably easier, lol. Guess I'm making too many assumptions based on normal Keen 4 enemies.
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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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