DarkAle's New Keen 5 Levelpack

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DarkAle
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DarkAle's New Keen 5 Levelpack

Post by DarkAle »

SURPRISE! :birthday
It's been a while since the last time, hasn't it? Well, now I'm back and I brought something with me. After almost three years here you are:

DarkAle's New Keen 5 Levelpack - Revision 1:
https://download1519.mediafire.com/p1sq ... ision1.rar

Trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGwWMGbaucM

Do you remember the levelpack I made in 2019? I decided to rebuild it from scratch but with a novelty compared to last time: this levelpack is not a classic mod made with patches, actually it's a source code mod! This means there is no play.bat, KEEN5E or CKpatch. To start the game, just open the "RCK5" file in DOSBox, like in Return to the Shadowlands and Atroxian Realm after all.

Anyway, I decided to take a break with the trilogy because, actually, yes, I was working on Keen 15: The Final Showdown, however I wasn't happy with the first few levels I had created so I decided to make a levelpack of Keen 5, which seems to me the easiest to mod, as training and I must say that I've seen a lot of improvements. I hope you feel the same way as soon as you finish playing it. By the way, do you remember the final screen of Keen 14: Secret of the Sorcerer where I was talking about a surprise? Well here it is, this is the surprise!
Enjoy! :D

Special thanks to:
Nisaba, who lent me some graphics of her Keen 5 Deluxe!
Fleex, who helped me with a broken QED bug
Ceilick, who gave me emotional support and attempted to help me with that bug before Fleex revealed the fix to me
K1n9_Duk3, who released the Recreated Keen 4-6 Source Code, with which I made this levelpack
Special thanks also to all the community, that continues to release magnificent new mods every year. Thank you so much to all of you! :lindsey
Last edited by DarkAle on Sun Jan 01, 2023 11:07, edited 1 time in total.
Commander Keen in... Robot Apocalypse!
Episode 13: The Ultra Omegamatic viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6802
Episode 14: Secret of the Sorcerer viewtopic.php?t=13031
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Syllypryde
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Re: SURPRISE!

Post by Syllypryde »

I will download it soon. Have a lot of things to take care of in the meantime. Will let you know what I think.

Volte moved to a bad spot error in level 6- Energy Supply Hub. It happens within 5 seconds. This makes the level unplayable.
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DarkAle
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Re: SURPRISE!

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Syllypryde wrote: Sat Dec 17, 2022 17:12 Volte moved to a bad spot error in level 6- Energy Supply Hub. It happens within 5 seconds. This makes the level unplayable.
Thank you for advising me. Are you playing on easy? If yes, the error happens due to a bad Volte placement on this difficulty, but if you play the level on normal or hard it works fine. Anyway I'll fix it and release a new version when more errors like this crop up
Commander Keen in... Robot Apocalypse!
Episode 13: The Ultra Omegamatic viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6802
Episode 14: Secret of the Sorcerer viewtopic.php?t=13031
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Re: SURPRISE!

Post by Ceilick »

I started on this last night on normal mode, and I think this is a pretty keenish levelpack so far! I've played everything up through the secret level, so it looks like I have 2 more levels to go. I think you did a great job with level length, decorative areas, challenges/difficulty and creature balancing. A couple of spots had me wishing I had played this before completing the levels on my own project--I would have liked to incorporate some of them!

I've enjoyed all the levels so far except for Energy Supply Hub; I did not like the goplat setup in this one because it was both hard to navigate and hard to deduce what to do. A quick fix to this might be to let the red goplats move lower so that it's more obvious you need to get to the purple ones, and so that it's easier to get back to the red ones from the purple.

I did play the secret level, which I really liked the concept for. You stumped me as to how to get there though; I knew where I needed to go and what I needed to do but I just could not figure out how! I used the f10+y cheat to figure it out and it was right under my nose :O

Some minor inconveniences I noticed were that some of the levels are missing exit signs, many switches do not have letters to indicate what they do (maybe this was on purpose), and a few levels require backtracking that felt a little too long.

Since this project was deliberately for improving your level design, I would encourage two things:

1. Be aware of how often and for how long the player must travel in areas they've already been. Sometimes it is just boring to go in a direction for a few minutes just to get a key and have to go back on the exact same path. The same thing with travelling a few minutes just to find a door and having to go back the way they came for a long way just to find the fork in the path that leads to the key. Having to backtrack too much can lead to the player getting lost and confused too. Not all backtracking is bad, and I think in general you did very well with it in this project, but it is something to keep in mind.

2. It can be fun to have multiple paths leading to the same space. This is something that I'm working on improving in my own design too, and it can be a challenge due to the extra space in the level it can require and because if done wrong it will lead to the player getting lost. But I think short optional areas that don't lead to dead ends, but are just optional paths, would contribute to your design.
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Re: SURPRISE!

Post by Syllypryde »

DarkAle wrote: Sun Dec 18, 2022 13:16 Thank you for advising me. Are you playing on easy? If yes, the error happens due to a bad Volte placement on this difficulty, but if you play the level on normal or hard it works fine. Anyway I'll fix it and release a new version when more errors like this crop up
Yes, I was playing on easy. I am a wimp! Starting the normal run now.
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Re: SURPRISE!

Post by DarkAle »

Thanks for your replies guys. I'm glad you like it, Ceilick!
Ceilick wrote: Sun Dec 18, 2022 15:39 I've enjoyed all the levels so far except for Energy Supply Hub; I did not like the goplat setup in this one because it was both hard to navigate and hard to deduce what to do. A quick fix to this might be to let the red goplats move lower so that it's more obvious you need to get to the purple ones, and so that it's easier to get back to the red ones from the purple.
Yeah, I wasn't really happy about the goplat areas in this level.
Ceilick wrote: Sun Dec 18, 2022 15:39 I did play the secret level, which I really liked the concept for. You stumped me as to how to get there though; I knew where I needed to go and what I needed to do but I just could not figure out how! I used the f10+y cheat to figure it out and it was right under my nose :O
Yes, the secret level. I've had this idea since the time of the Ultra Omegamatic
Ceilick wrote: Sun Dec 18, 2022 15:39 1. Be aware of how often and for how long the player must travel in areas they've already been. Sometimes it is just boring to go in a direction for a few minutes just to get a key and have to go back on the exact same path. The same thing with travelling a few minutes just to find a door and having to go back the way they came for a long way just to find the fork in the path that leads to the key. Having to backtrack too much can lead to the player getting lost and confused too. Not all backtracking is bad, and I think in general you did very well with it in this project, but it is something to keep in mind.

2. It can be fun to have multiple paths leading to the same space. This is something that I'm working on improving in my own design too, and it can be a challenge due to the extra space in the level it can require and because if done wrong it will lead to the player getting lost. But I think short optional areas that don't lead to dead ends, but are just optional paths, would contribute to your design.
Thanks a lot for your suggestions. I will try to make the levels I will do in the future keeping in mind what you told me. Anyway, Can I make you a little request? Could you tell me which were, in your opinion, the best levels of the levelpack and the worst ones? Just to understand what your tastes are in terms of level design
Commander Keen in... Robot Apocalypse!
Episode 13: The Ultra Omegamatic viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6802
Episode 14: Secret of the Sorcerer viewtopic.php?t=13031
Ceilick
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Re: SURPRISE!

Post by Ceilick »

From what I've played so far, the levels I enjoyed most were all the defense tunnels, Plasma Transition Center, Tritium Production Plant, and Gravity Deck. The weaker levels for me were Protection Core, Energy Supply Hub, and I actually didn't really enjoy the Shikadi Ship even though it made complete logical sense to design it the way you did (it just wasn't as fun as others).
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Re: SURPRISE!

Post by robertl81 »

Questa è la tua miglior Mod a cui io abbia giocato. Piacevole da giocare e soprattutto, non troppo difficile. Aspetto di vedere la versione corretta dall'errore che ti butta fuori dal livello in modalità facile

---

Mod edit: English translation via Google Translate below. -Fleexy

This is your best Mod I've ever played. Pleasant to play and above all, not too difficult. Waiting to see the version fixed by the bug that kicks you out of the level on easy mode
Last edited by Fleexy on Wed Jan 04, 2023 22:31, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: English translation
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Re: SURPRISE!

Post by DarkAle »

robertl81 wrote: Mon Dec 26, 2022 19:27 Questa è la tua miglior Mod a cui io abbia giocato. Piacevole da giocare e soprattutto, non troppo difficile. Aspetto di vedere la versione corretta dall'errore che ti butta fuori dal livello in modalità facile
Grazie mille! :lindsey
Syllypryde wrote: Sat Dec 17, 2022 17:12 Volte moved to a bad spot error in level 6- Energy Supply Hub. It happens within 5 seconds. This makes the level unplayable.
Update: Revision 1 is now available :D
https://download1519.mediafire.com/p1sq ... ision1.rar
I corrected the Volte bug and added the exit signs in Protection Core, Defense Tunnel Tella, Defense Tunnel Boln, Gravity Deck and Dynamo Protection Gallery
Commander Keen in... Robot Apocalypse!
Episode 13: The Ultra Omegamatic viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6802
Episode 14: Secret of the Sorcerer viewtopic.php?t=13031
יצחק
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Re: DarkAle's New Keen 5 Levelpack

Post by יצחק »

I tried for a week and a half to run the game.
I downloaded the file, and it only downloaded a white document.
Before that I dropped some white documents, and a blue file.
But the activation button that I usually stick to dosbox - disappeared!
So how do you run the game?
I would appreciate a good link, with a video that explains how to activate the game.
Thank you!
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DarkAle
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Re: DarkAle's New Keen 5 Levelpack

Post by DarkAle »

From the Atroxian Realm release thread:
Instructions:
You will need DosBox to play this mod. Run via AREALM.exe. No further files or setup are needed.
Tip: On Windows, simply drag AREALM.exe onto the DosBox desktop shortcut to play.
Programming wise this levelpack is similar to Atroxian Realm so you only need Dosbox, then drag the RCK5.EXE file to your Dosbox shortcut on Desktop and the game will start
Commander Keen in... Robot Apocalypse!
Episode 13: The Ultra Omegamatic viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6802
Episode 14: Secret of the Sorcerer viewtopic.php?t=13031
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DarkAle
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Re: DarkAle's New Keen 5 Levelpack

Post by DarkAle »

Has someone played the last two levels? If yes, what do you think?
Commander Keen in... Robot Apocalypse!
Episode 13: The Ultra Omegamatic viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6802
Episode 14: Secret of the Sorcerer viewtopic.php?t=13031
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Re: DarkAle's New Keen 5 Levelpack

Post by Roobar »

I'd like to play this with Omnispeak, but I'm unable to make it run with it.

So far I'm really enjoying it. Well structured levels with plenty of secrets and variety. Not too hard, not too easy - perfectly balanced. At least the first four levels I've tried. I like some open areas with Robo Reds that felt new. Also noticed very few wrong tiles. Only few at the wall next to the exit of the first level (probably nobody noticed because nobody exits from there lol).
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Re: DarkAle's New Keen 5 Levelpack

Post by Roobar »

After finishing this level pack, I really like most of the levels! Good stuff. Makes me want to make some Keen 5 levels in keengine, if it supported all the enemies and stuff...

Anyways. While the second to last level stands out from the rest, it also stands out like it doesn't belong to this level pack. I mean in all of the other levels (except the secret one) you've consistently used what I would consider "classic" type of style of level design and usage of graphics. I mean all of these levels could be as well original Keen levels and will fit well. But then, all of a sudden you decided to experiment with that one level that uses different graphics. It kinda broke the level pack flow. It's now not a level pack, it's now what I would consider a mod category. Not to mention that it uses a different music unlike the rest (except the secret one and the last one). Don't get me wrong. I like it and I like variety, so it felt fresh. Only thing is it broke the flow in a way.

That being said, some of my fav levels are somewhere in between. Somewhere in the middle section of the game. I'm glad that you've kept the difficulty reasonable all the time. I played on medium, but at times wished I played on hard for some extra challenge. But then again, I would've probably not liked some parts.

The music of the last level also epic.

Looking forward to your next project. Looks promising and more... dark ale-ish :mortlol .
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Re: DarkAle's New Keen 5 Levelpack

Post by DarkAle »

Thanks a lot, Roobar!
Roobar wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 18:51 But then, all of a sudden you decided to experiment with that one level that uses different graphics. It kinda broke the level pack flow. It's now not a level pack, it's now what I would consider a mod category. Not to mention that it uses a different music unlike the rest (except the secret one and the last one). Don't get me wrong. I like it and I like variety, so it felt fresh. Only thing is it broke the flow in a way.
Oh yes. It was just to add something new to the style of Keen 5 and one more surprise for you
Roobar wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 18:51 Looking forward to your next project. Looks promising and more... dark ale-ish :mortlol .
Thank you so much, :D I really hope it will be a great mod!
Commander Keen in... Robot Apocalypse!
Episode 13: The Ultra Omegamatic viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6802
Episode 14: Secret of the Sorcerer viewtopic.php?t=13031
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