Aliens and Their Just Desserts

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Ceilick
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Aliens and Their Just Desserts

Post by Ceilick »

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Aliens and Their Just Desserts will be part 3 of my source mod trilogy using the original location and graphics from Keen 6.

Featuring:

A Continuation of the Story: Keen finally reaches Fribbulus Xax to complete his mission.

All New Levels: Keen will explore an area of the planet to the east of where he was in Keen 6, gaining access to this part of the world through the first level, Bloog Foods Drive-Thru. He’ll get to explore locations such as Bloog Bay, Fribbwood Park, Bloogberg, Xax Radio, Fleex Corp, Fort Flect, and Bloogworld Amusement Park.

New Graphics: An additional platform set (a recolored version of the main cyan set), new world map level entrances, new point item variations, and various other additions.

New Menus: Through source code modification, this Keen 6 style mod will feature an F1 help menu with all the same features that episodes 4 and 5 have!

New Enemies: Some possibilities include Bloog variations, Grabbiters, Keen GBC’s Hovva and Casta robots, a creature based on Keen GBC’s version of the Fleex, and others. I’ll post again on this later so we can discuss new creature possibilities in detail.

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Questions for you:

What are your thoughts on this project?

Do you have any ideas on what to include?

What elements of Return to the Shadowlands and Operation Station Infiltration would you like to see return?

How can this mod improve over the previous episodes?

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Current Progress:
  • Complete reorganization and optimization of the tilesets
  • Many additional foreground tiles
  • Creature sketches and animations
  • Graphical and text groundwork for the F1 menu implementation
  • The end story is fully written
  • Story art is roughly 50% complete
  • The world map is roughly 50% complete
What Needs to be Done:
  • Establishing the game engine
  • Implementing the menus
  • Writing the intro story
  • Completing the story art
  • Completing the world map level entrance graphics
  • Misc tiles
  • Tile properties
  • Finish new creature animations
  • Coding new creature behaviors
  • Level design
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Re: Aliens and Their Just Desserts

Post by Tormentor667 »

Oh yes!
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Re: Aliens and Their Just Desserts

Post by Roobar »

Certainly want to see more Bips! Like a whole town of them lol. And more use of Bobbas (and maybe variations of it). And Blooguards with forks and knives. Bloogs with shades? Different colored bloogs? Bloogs that can actually fly if they want? Nospikes, but without their spikes? Grabbiter maybe this time recognizes you and actually helps you instead of blocking your way? But maybe a new Grabbiter that is different and wants the second biggest pizza this time? Or maybe find a Nospike, who lost his spike and wants his spike back. Bring him a spike and in return he will crush a rock that's blocking a way? Longer Giks that you could use as a transportation service?
Ceilick
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Re: Aliens and Their Just Desserts

Post by Ceilick »

Alright, lets get right into the cast of creatures!

I definitely plan to use more of the creatures that were under utilized in the original Keen 6, including Bips/Bipships, Blorbs, Bobbas, Flects, and Nospikes (although, with the exception of the Flect, there isn't a level that specifically focuses on any of these).

Speaking of Bobbas, my intention at the moment is to use the Bobba Fortress level entrance graphic from Keen GBC as "Fort Flect", however I could revert it back to the original concept. My reasoning behind the switch is that I consider Bobbas/Babobbas to be 'animals' while the Flects appear to me as one of Fribbulus Xax's sentients, hence why they might have their own fort.

When it comes to adding new and variant creatures, my goal has been to enhance the existing cast and try not to overshadow them. I feel I went a little overboard in OSI (Operation Station Infiltration), but that said, I have quite a collection of sketches prepared for AaTJD:

Image

On top we see the Grabbiter, which you may be able to discern I based off of Keen 4's Treasure Stealer. I’ve always interpreted Keen 6’s version as a hostile alien who is completely or mostly immobile, allowing Keen opportunity to negotiate with it using the sandwich. In this mod, I’d like to include Grabbiters as enemy creatures that appear in levels. My current vision for them is a deadly, invincible creature that is mostly stationary but capable of hopping from side to side to lunge at Keen when he gets too close.

Next are the Bloog variants: Bloog Woman, Bloog Punk, Bloog Factory Worker, and standard Bloog. These variants all behave the same as the standard Bloog. I briefly attempted a Bloog wielding a knife and fork, but struggled to get the utensils looking right. I also tried a Bloog with more feathered arms, but it ended up looking quite bizarre and not in a good way. What are some other potential variants?

Edit: Hongry Bloog

Image

Next is the Keen GBC Hovva and next to it my Keen Galaxy version of it, followed by the Keen GBC Casta and my Galaxy version of it. The Keen GBC lore behind these are that they are Fleex designed robots for “use in their labs”. In this mod, I conceptualize the purple Casta as a deadly, indestructible Blooglet toy (like the Vorticons and their deadly Jacks) which behaves somewhat like a Slicestar (perhaps moving in a gentle wave pattern while travelling from side to side). The green Hovva as a deadly, shooting guard robot that hovers and is destructible. Should there be more Fleex designed robots?

Then comes the Keen GBC Fleex, which I think doesn't really resemble the Galaxy version of the Fleex much at all. I've colored it purple and call it a Gwurp, the living, deadly sludge biproduct of Bloog industrial waste.

After that is the Munchy, resembling a hamburger with teeth. I imagine this creature as a type of guard dog kept by the Bloogs with an appetite to match theirs.

Then is the Schnozzola, a deadly insect-eyed creature who might hop about similar to Keen Dreams' Tomatooth.

And last is the Oculchomp, a creature which shimmies up and down poles. I made two versions of this creature, though only one would appear in game if selected.

Which of these do you all like best? Which don't you like? Have ideas for additional creatures or variations? Whether it's a creature concept, a creature behavior you feel compliments the original cast, or your own sketches, I'm open to suggestions!
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Re: Aliens and Their Just Desserts

Post by Lower IQ than 314 »

The in-level Grabbiter looks cool. Something about its eyes looks menacing.

The Munchy looks like it could be to the Bloogs what Shockshunds were to the Shikadi. Hopefully less aggravating, fingers crossed...

The Schnozzola's design reminds me of the Sand Wraith from Dead in the Desert. It's the blue skin with green eyes.

I like the second version of the Oculchomp more than the first. It's like an Orbatrix with Arachnut coloration and mouths.

Something I'd enjoy seeing in this mod is the Robo-Bloog from GBC, given the proper Galaxy treatment. It's the only GBC boss that I thought looked cool and was also the only boss I had any real difficulty with. It kind of fulfills a sort of "heavy-hitter" enemy that Keen 6 lacks. Keen 4 had the Dopefish; Keen 5 had a joint effort between the Robo Reds in the middle of the game and the Shikadi Masters at the end, as underutilized as the Masters were. Keen 6...doesn't really have anything like that. There's the Bobba, of course, but it's too rarely used and often easy to avoid to really fill that role. If you were to ask me which Keen 6 enemy I had the most difficulty with, I'd probably say a toss-up between the Giks, Fleex and Orbatrix, but the Giks were essentially just regular enemies that were both hard to avoid and also somewhat useful in hazardous arees, the Fleex are essentially just beefier-than-average mooks, and the Orbatrix can be easily tricked into getting stuck in walls. GBC's Robo-Bloog could potentially fill that void, provided it's somewhat reworked in the Galaxy engine -- maybe a final challenging opponent for the mod trilogy?

Sorry, I'm passionate. :lol
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Re: Aliens and Their Just Desserts

Post by DarkAle »

Really nice designs! I love these new enemies, especially the new Bloogs, the Oculchomp and the Schnozzola. I also like the Grabbiter and the Munchy and I quite like the Hovva and the Casta. You are an incredible creature designer, your art skills are great!
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Re: Aliens and Their Just Desserts

Post by Gridlock »

Love the creativity in those sprites! Keen 6 seems like it might be the most fun game in the trilogy to expand with new creatures and locations.

I had a few random thoughts/ideas. Feel free to use if any sound interesting:

Blooguards
These enemies were always a bit frustrating because you never knew when they were going to strike. Giving them an additional wind-up frame for a fraction of a second could give the player time to get off the ground, potentially making them feel a lot more fair.

Ground stun mechanic
The entire mechanic of stunning Keen in K6 is pretty unique. If it could be expanded in less frustrating ways, it might offer creative new challenges. For example, maybe tile-based pistons slam into the ground, forcing Keen to stay off the ground at timed intervals?

Flect:
The mirror mechanic of reflecting Keen's shots is also really underutilized and something that could be expanded in new ways. For example, it'd be really cool to have a mirror angling mechanic where you could shoot at angled mirrors and the shots travel around the level.

Switches and temporary tiles:
Keen 6 switches are unique in that you can pogo off of them when they're in the "up" position to use as temporary platforms. Maybe this could be expanded as a platforming mechanic without the switch portion?

Bips:
Maybe bips could be used as a resource, instead of just something to squash? For example, maybe you shoot down a bipship, guide the bip to an unused moving platform, and then it takes control and starts making it move?
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Re: Aliens and Their Just Desserts

Post by _mr_m_ »

Timed big yellow switches, or just timed switches in general?

If there is code that instructs turrets in Keen 5/6 to fire shots at specific intervals, would it be possible to set an on/off time interval for switches? BioMenace seemingly has an implementation of this turret firing code, but it instructs shots to be fired at random time intervals.

What about power-ups? Maybe these would be deviating too much from the original Keen aesthetic, but it could lend for some innovative level design and gameplay, especially for a Keen game.
  • Temporary reflect projectiles power up? Maybe have a hallway full of turrets set to fire at random intervals and the only way to get through it is to find this reflect projectiles power up? Or, Keen is able to reflect projectiles, like from a turret, to one-hit enemies? If enemies, like the Flect, can have the ability to reflect projectiles, why can't Keen?
  • Temporary invincibility power-up? They could be used sparingly, such as to its use being the only legitimate way to access the secret level. There's a level in BioMenace Ep. 3 that requires you to find a hidden invincibility power-up just to complete the level.
  • A power-up that temporarily nullifies attacks that would normally stun Keen, e.g., Bloog Guard's ground pound attack?
  • Additional neural stunner projectile types? Add a Neural Stunner that does double damage; maybe only used in one or two levels, stuffed to the brim with Bloogs, Nospikes and other enemies that require more than one shot to stun? There were plenty of enemies in the original Keen 6 that required more than one shot to stun and could lend for some fun gameplay.
  • Throwable projectiles? Keen Dreams and BioMenace both did this, with the latter having both bullet and throwable projectiles.
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Re: Aliens and Their Just Desserts

Post by Ceilick »

Thanks for the responses so far, guys!
Lower IQ than 314 wrote: Fri Jan 13, 2023 18:10 Something I'd enjoy seeing in this mod is the Robo-Bloog from GBC, given the proper Galaxy treatment...It kind of fulfills a sort of "heavy-hitter" enemy that Keen 6 lacks... GBC's Robo-Bloog could potentially fill that void, provided it's somewhat reworked in the Galaxy engine -- maybe a final challenging opponent for the mod trilogy?
The main reason I hadn’t already included Robo Bloog in the lineup is because Battle of the Brains’ Cybloog is a direct inspiration from this creature, so I’m somewhat reluctant to do another version of it.

I also do not intend to have a boss battle in this episode; I would like to do a puzzle level similar to Keen 6.

However, you make a good point about Keen 6 lacking a big, scary, ‘heavy hitter’. I’ll get into this below.
Lower IQ than 314 wrote: Fri Jan 13, 2023 18:10 There's the Bobba, of course, but it's too rarely used and often easy to avoid to really fill that role.
I do plan to use the Bobba more, and will see what I can do about making it feel like the heavy hitter, but you may very well be right that it’s just too easy to avoid.
Lower IQ than 314 wrote: Fri Jan 13, 2023 18:10 ...the Orbatrix can be easily tricked into getting stuck in walls.
I do hope to have this bug fixed for this mod, but I feel the size of the Orbatrix rules it out as the big scary.

Re: The Heavy Hitter

I feel the Grabbiter is a great candidate for this, but it’s behavior may need to be more aggressive than I had originally imagined to fulfill this role. Would a significant departure from the Grabbiter’s stationary demeaner in Keen 6 be welcome? How would a big scary Grabbiter behave?

I’m also working to sketch a potential large organic creature that could fill this role, some kind of slobbery thing. Nothing that fills the bill yet, but I’ll keep drawing.

Lastly, after considering the heavy hitter concept I did begin to sketch a galaxy version of Robo Bloog, and after several iterations and with the help of the Keen Discord community, we came up with a robotic creature with two potential names: “Bloogborg” or “Robip”:

Image

As you can see, this borrows a bit from the Robo Bloog design but is also a significant departure. This mechanical Bloog is piloted by a Bip, and I imagine these mech-like devices are used by the Bips to better fit into Bloog society. Behavior wise, this creature would be indestructible and unstunnable. They might move around similar to a Bloog, however, they could also shoot their pinchers out to try to grab Keen, and then retract the hands back into themselves, potentially dragging Keen along with which would result in either an immediate death, or possibly a split-second opportunity to escape. What do you all think of this one?

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Gridlock and Mr M, these are great mod ideas! I’ll try to address what seems within the scope of this mod.
Gridlock wrote: Sat Jan 14, 2023 7:13 Blooguards
These enemies were always a bit frustrating because you never knew when they were going to strike. Giving them an additional wind-up frame for a fraction of a second could give the player time to get off the ground, potentially making them feel a lot more fair.
I will run some tests with Blooguard behavior with this in mind.
Gridlock wrote: Sat Jan 14, 2023 7:13 Flect:
The mirror mechanic of reflecting Keen's shots is also really underutilized and something that could be expanded in new ways. For example, it'd be really cool to have a mirror angling mechanic where you could shoot at angled mirrors and the shots travel around the level.
I like the idea of having to angle some kind of mirrors, perhaps with the use of switches, in order to get stunner shots in hard/otherwise impossible to reach places, perhaps activating a different kind of switch or door mechanism. I’m not sure if this is within the scope of this mod, but I will think on introducing something like this. There puzzle potential here particularly suitable to a final level.
Gridlock wrote: Sat Jan 14, 2023 7:13 Switches and temporary tiles:
Keen 6 switches are unique in that you can pogo off of them when they're in the "up" position to use as temporary platforms. Maybe this could be expanded as a platforming mechanic without the switch portion?
This is definitely a possibility. I’m imagining a special kind of platform tile with a bridge-like property that, when activated by a standard switch, can be changed into the solid/not solid state. When in the solid state, it would only remain solid for that first pogo bounce. What would a pogo-only platform look like? Would it make more sense for these to be timed platforms that could be jumped on as well, only remaining solid on a timer?
_mr_m_ wrote: Sat Jan 14, 2023 16:10 Timed big yellow switches, or just timed switches in general?
Definitely doable, and could be utilized in the way mentioned above, or for temporarily turning off hazards, opening doors, bridges, etc.

Aside from coding the timed features themselves, I think this would also require a complimentary system such as an on-screen timer indicating how much time the player has, or a ‘ticking time’ sound effect which speeds up as time is running out.

I’m not sure if this is within the scope of the mod.
_mr_m_ wrote: Sat Jan 14, 2023 16:10 What about power-ups?... Additional neural stunner projectile types?... Throwable projectiles?
I feel these are mostly out of the scope of this project. An Ankh like power-up has precedent and is a possibility, but personally I don’t really like the kind of level design that would support its use. Additional weapons would be fun, and I hope we see this in future source mods, but again, just deviates too much from what I want to do with this trilogy.
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Re: Aliens and Their Just Desserts

Post by proYorp »

Ceilick wrote: Sun Jan 08, 2023 15:46 New Menus: Through source code modification, this Keen 6 style mod will feature an F1 help menu with all the same features that episodes 4 and 5 have!
:birthday :birthday :birthday



The Oculchomp(?) looks considerably more creepy than is standard for the Keen games, if you're going for style imitation. It doesn't feel cartoony enough.

Also another nitpick, the Bloog Woman's lips look too big and stiff, they don't follow the curve/stretch of the Bloog mouth. WIP though? (Also, lol, seeing Bloog with dense makeup is just a little bit jarring for me because I think there is still some remaining part of my subconscious from when I was a little kid and thought all the Bloogs that didn't carry clubs were the "mommy bloogs". The Blooglets obviously had a family somewhere close by!) I like worker Bloog though.


Ceilick wrote: Thu Jan 12, 2023 18:22 I consider Bobbas/Babobbas to be 'animals' while the Flects appear to me as one of Fribbulus Xax's sentients, hence why they might have their own fort.
Weird, I've come to the opposite conclusion in my own "studies". :crazy Bobbas are often in high-security areas like the top of Bloogton Tower, and Flects are mostly in more "natural" areas. And the Flects look like hamsters and don't have as much depth in their behaviour.


Ceilick wrote: Sun Jan 15, 2023 15:55 Lastly, after considering the heavy hitter concept I did begin to sketch a galaxy version of Robo Bloog, and after several iterations and with the help of the Keen Discord community, we came up with a robotic creature with two potential names: “Bloogborg” or “Robip”
I like the sound of Robip! It's more fun to say than Bloogborg.



Also, random other thing, I remember quite a while ago I was talking about how I was planning to make a mod with (I'm assuming) a near-identical plot, and I said I'd be annoyed if your first level was also Blooglet Lake so you "crossed it off" your list. I just want to say though, I wouldn't actually want to stop you from doing your own take on it. Especially since it is based on Keen GBC. It would be silly to try to stop someone from taking inspiration from the same thing. I'm sure your version would end up very different anyway. :) My idea was mostly an in-name-only thing.



Edit whilst still an unpublished draft: I think my main issue with the Oculchomp is that it has too much going on. The teeth kind of crowd the whole thing. If it was just an eye with vinelimbs I could get behind that. Fribbulus Xax has a whole design scheme with eyes and lucid plants. Maybe it could even have little green "wings" or something with less detail but the teeth feel like too much. (Also, if it's moving up and down, the teeth don't really feel like they'd be at a functional angle for it to actually hunt and feed itself; it feels like they would naturally be vertically oriented, thus making them not visible to the player.) Would also require a name revision I guess. :p

I also feel like something's off with the hamburger dog but I'm not sure how to articulate that. :confused

Sorry if I'm getting too critical. :o
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