Operation Station Infiltration

You can discuss anything about fan-made Commander Keen games here.
Ceilick
The Dude
Posts: 1643
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 20:10
Location: Seattle

Re: Operation Station Infiltration

Post by Ceilick »

Hmm, I thought I had some issues in Return to the Shadowlands with too many creature types, but I may be misremembering. I think I would like to keep creature diversity at relatively the 'standard' though.

As for the Shikadi, I always felt like they were criminally under utilized in Keen 5 considering they're the primary antagonists of not just the episode but the Galaxy series. They only appeared in 4 levels.

This mod will feature them somewhat more prominently.

SecOps 1 will be the first security stop Keen must bypass, and it felt fitting as a first appearance for the shikadi. The Shikadi take the threat of Commander Keen a little more seriously this episode, taking security operations into their own hands.

The Shikadi will also be present with the four main machines, SecOps 2, the Crew Quarters, and the final level, Defense Grid Control.

The Shikadi don't appear in the level "Electro Kennels" simply because I want it to be a Shockshund themed level and felt the Shikadi themselves being present wasn't necessary. If I do include this level, btw, one of the design goals is for it to have a similar feel in terms of difficulty, progression and challenge as Keen 3's Cape Canavorta.

That said, of the levels presented here, the two I may not include are the "Crew Quarters" and the "Electro Kennels". If included, these will be optional levels. I'm also not especially fond of the name "Crew Quarters" but haven't come up with something I like more, whether themed as crew quarters or something else. Open to suggestions.

I for sure plan to have 2 optional levels: The Robotics Bay and the Biologic Containment Bay. These will be early levels, shorter, and just for fun.

That gives a total of 12 required levels, 2-4 optional levels, 1 secret level, and the BwB level.
User avatar
DarkAle
Vortininja
Posts: 302
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 17:40
Location: Ancient Fortress
Contact:

Re: Operation Station Infiltration

Post by DarkAle »

How could I have missed all of this?! All this work on enemies you've done is amazing!
Ceilick wrote: Fri Mar 04, 2022 6:13 Image

If this mod features new enemies, I for sure want to include the different Robos and Big Ampton. I'm most happy with those. The others I'm iffy on and only want to include a couple; I don't want to crowd out the original cast of enemies. What creatures look the most interesting and like they belong in Keen 5 to you all?
I really like robots' behavior, Big Ampton, the Axon (Very nice name :D), the unnamed robot and the Ohmbre (I love this one :love), I quite like Sparky Mark II and I don't particularly like Sparky Jr, Sparky II and Sparky III
Ceilick wrote: Sat Mar 05, 2022 22:05 As you all know, this mod intends to strike a balance between new and old material. That said, would you rather see:
  • 4 completely new machines to break the fuses on?
  • 4 slight variations to the original machines?
  • the original machine graphics left alone?
I vote for the first option, 4 new machines!
Ceilick wrote: Mon Mar 07, 2022 3:00 Image

Far left: aiming down, the straps might be too silly.
Middle: aiming down, shoots downward.
Far Right: Aiming level, shoots a wave pattern. (I may further alter the gun in this case)
I prefer the last one. I think it has a better design than the others
Ceilick wrote: Mon Mar 07, 2022 3:00 Image

I don't know that this is my final selection for creatures (I added Sparky II, Sparky III, Sparky JR as the optional ones here), but this gives an idea of how I plan creature utilization. With Keen galaxy, it's hard to include more than a handful of enemies in a single level, for memory reasons and for level consistency (IMO), and as can be seen from the chart, this number of enemies already is pretty crowded. While I could spread thin some of the creatures to make room for new ones, I feel like, in general, I want to feature creatures in 3-5 levels each at a minimum, and each level should have 3-6 different creatures in it.
I like this graph you make to put enemies in mods, it makes the levels more balanced in terms of difficulty

I'm looking forward for new updates
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
The Dude
Posts: 1643
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 20:10
Location: Seattle

Re: Operation Station Infiltration

Post by Ceilick »

Thanks for your thoughts, DarkAle! When I have time I'll update with some creature revisions based on yours and others' feedback.

In the meantime, here's a Keen Day sneak peak at the World Map:
Image

I didn't want to stray too far from the original design and purposely avoided the, albeit clever, station designs like those seen in Mink's Puzzle Pack and Keen Asylum. That said, I still wanted my map to incorporate some fresh ideas while avoiding repeating the great ideas seen in the Alphamatic and the Ultra Omegamatic's designs. I feel the map inversion and inclusion of 'Bays' satisfies that.

There will be a secret level too, but I didn't want to spoil that, so it's removed from this image.
sbartus
Vortininja
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2009 17:47

Re: Operation Station Infiltration

Post by sbartus »

The occupants of space stations are weightless. Presumably this should also apply to whatever Shikadi have built. What do you think about making one or more levels with weightlessness/microgravity? The dynamics of control might be similar to the Well of Wishes in Keen 4, with perhaps some additional aids like poles.
User avatar
Nisaba
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 1510
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 23:34
Location: The Outpost
Contact:

Re: Operation Station Infiltration

Post by Nisaba »

... floating Little Amptons... whoouuuiiii...
Foray in the Forest progress:
92% Programming || 99% GFX || 96% Levels || 98% Creatures || 93% Story || 94% Music || 95% SFX || 98% Extras

Other projects:
- Play Commander Keen on a GameBoy
- The Lynx Nyx
User avatar
Nospike
Keen Minecrafter
Posts: 1370
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2010 13:56
Location: Czech Republic

Re: Operation Station Infiltration

Post by Nospike »

I'm definitely looking forward to playing this one. :)
Ceilick
The Dude
Posts: 1643
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 20:10
Location: Seattle

Re: Operation Station Infiltration

Post by Ceilick »

sbartus wrote:What do you think about making one or more levels with weightlessness/microgravity? The dynamics of control might be similar to the Well of Wishes in Keen 4, with perhaps some additional aids like poles.
I love this idea, especially with the poles. Dr. Colossus did something like this in his "Terror from Outer Space" mod, specifically with the Well of Wishes mechanics but without the poles.

If this project becomes a source mod, this is something I will definitely consider for the secret level.
sbartus
Vortininja
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2009 17:47

Re: Operation Station Infiltration

Post by sbartus »

Ceilick wrote: Thu Mar 17, 2022 20:22
sbartus wrote:What do you think about making one or more levels with weightlessness/microgravity? The dynamics of control might be similar to the Well of Wishes in Keen 4, with perhaps some additional aids like poles.
I love this idea, especially with the poles. Dr. Colossus did something like this in his "Terror from Outer Space" mod, specifically with the Well of Wishes mechanics but without the poles.

If this project becomes a source mod, this is something I will definitely consider for the secret level.
Thank you. In Keen 4, Keys of Krodacia and Return to the Shadowlands the water levels are required to complete the game, so if possible, I would use microgravity in at least one required level. I even wouldn't mind more of them - after all, in real space stations microgravity is everywhere. If you limit yourself to just one required level, I would put it on the world map where the Gravitational Damping Hub is (i.e. close to the end) and make sure it has some special music (like GDH has - Just Snoopin' Around).
Is it hard to include Well of Wishes-like mechanics? Is this just a matter of copying the code from Keen 4 or something else?
Ceilick
The Dude
Posts: 1643
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 20:10
Location: Seattle

Re: Operation Station Infiltration

Post by Ceilick »

So I'm hardly an authority on the matter, as I've never programmed anything myself in source code, but:

I think low gravity levels could be accomplished without using Well of Wishes code at all and just coding the 'gravity' to be a lower value for certain levels. These levels would be played with all the normal Keen movement functions, just with more floaty jumping/pogoing/falling. I imagine starting one of these levels would flash a message "Warning: Low Gravity!" and the level would feature a lot of verticality with poles to grab onto and fling from, and I think Shikadi Mines and Spirogrips might be fun enemies to pair with this mechanic.

I don't think I'd want to use this mechanic too much though, as consistent use of this modification to gameplay feels more appropriate to a mod along the lines of Mink's Puzzle Pack or Keenrush's Fall Up.
Gridlock
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 607
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2010 2:20

Re: Operation Station Infiltration

Post by Gridlock »

I don't know if it would exactly fit with low gravity, but I'm reminded of an idea I had with the jump cheat in Keen Dreams. IIRC, in that game, you only get one jump press where you can go as high as you want, but you have to land first before you can rise again. Basically an infinitely high jump. So, if you bonk your head on a ceiling, you first have to find a safe landing spot before jumping again. I could imagine some interesting level designs emerging from that. Maybe it could somehow be tied into a low gravity mechanic. Or maybe your jump doesn't even end until you hit a ceiling. Seems like something that could support an entire mod's worth of puzzles.

I'm quite excited about everything you've shared so far. There was a point where I considered doing custom enemies for the Alphamatic, but it being a patch-based mod made that unfeasible. Same with checkpoints, which I wish I could have added to offset the difficulty.

Also, have you considered any ideas for the QED level? I settled on trying to make it like a mini-boss in The Alphamatic, but another early idea I had was a maze of ductwork (probably 2 tiles tall/wide) snaking around the level. Keen would have to navigate the parts of the level outside the ductwork to guide a mine from the start to the QED. It might have also incorporated the piston mechanic that I introduced in the expansion levels (the cyan obstacles that you switch on and off). The problem with that idea was the uncooperative mine AI and collision, though that could potentially be solved with enough effort in the source code. It's an idea in case it sounds interesting to you.
Image
Armageddon Begins Again. The Alphamatic has arrived.

Atroxian Realm: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3536
The Alphamatic: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4086
User avatar
Syllypryde
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 942
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 18:33
Location: Michigan
Contact:

Re: Operation Station Infiltration

Post by Syllypryde »

Gridlock wrote: Wed Mar 30, 2022 2:40 ....I'm quite excited about everything you've shared so far. There was a point where I considered doing custom enemies for the Alphamatic, but it being a patch-based mod made that unfeasible. Same with checkpoints, which I wish I could have added to offset the difficulty....
Though The Alphamatic was supposed to be a mini-sequel to AR I thought it would be been cool to see actual Atroxians on the space station (though having Keen 5 enemy movements), showing there are other species of Atroxians in the universe, at least see them in the final 1-3 levels of the game. Since Atroxus' explosion was quite grand, it would have also been cool if some of his remnants had floated in space and made it to the space station, or some of the Quantium they mined was being used to power the station (showing Quantium reactors in various parts of the station).
What is Directive X_M?
Ceilick
The Dude
Posts: 1643
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 20:10
Location: Seattle

Re: Operation Station Infiltration

Post by Ceilick »

Update: Unfortunately I've made very little progress with this, for the significant reason that K1n9_Duk3 has been gone for some time and thus this project has no engine. While K1n9_Duk3's source code seems a likely platform to get this started, I'm afraid this is beyond my skill.

I've considered the possibility of making this a regular, non source mod, however, I'm really excited about the new enemies we've discussed and I'm not sure I want to do this project without them. While I could continue working on the graphics and levels, I'm reluctant and unmotivated to do so until the engine issue is resolved.

If anyone feels they're up to the programming task and would like to work with me, feel free to contact me!

Otherwise, I am considering jumping ahead with this series to the third episode, a Keen 6 levelpack "Aliens and their Just Desserts". The story in this series is mostly filler, so we won't be missing much by jumping ahead, and unlike the previous episodes, I hadn't had much planned in terms of additional, source mod required features for the third installment. What do you guys think?
User avatar
DarkAle
Vortininja
Posts: 302
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 17:40
Location: Ancient Fortress
Contact:

Re: Operation Station Infiltration

Post by DarkAle »

In fact K1n9_Duk3 has been down since July 2021 so if you want to keep the idea of the new enemies (which I love incredibly) and there isn't much story link between the two episodes, I'd recommend skipping to the next one. Otherwise it would be nice to make separate files for the story and the ending sequence like DitD's help file so that we know what happens between Operation Station Infiltration and Aliens and their Just Desserts
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
The Dude
Posts: 1643
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 20:10
Location: Seattle

Re: Operation Station Infiltration

Post by Ceilick »

I'm happy to announce Multimania will be taking over programming operations for this mod!

Currently I'm working to provide frames for all the new enemies so that Multimania can begin coding them. After consideration, these will be: Robo Blue, Robo Green, Robo Yellow, Big Ampton, Sparky Jr, Sparky II, Sparky III, and the Vlorg. If for any reason I need to make cuts, the Vlorg and Sparky III will be the first to go. For graphics, what remains are left facing animations for Robo Green and Yellow, Robo Green and Yellow's gun shots, and all frames for the Sparky II (walking, searching, dead). Completing these is my goal for this week.

Speaking of Robo Yellow's gun shots, I've decided to go with a sound blaster similar to the Cybloog from BotB. This will be 1-3 blasts of a large sound wave that travels horizontally and through walls but will terminate after a certain distance.

I know some of my above decisions regarding enemies above don't directly reflect some of our previous discussion, but I really appreciate everyone's contribution toward brainstorming! I hope some of the unused ideas will be helpful toward other projects, and if anyone would like to use some of the creature models and ideas I wont' be using, I encourage it!

Other Stuff:
  • The start and end story are drafted. Graphics for these are 50% done.
  • Other graphics still needing to be finished are 3 of the 4 destroyable machines and a QED replacement.
  • On the subject of a QED replacement; I haven't decided what I want to do with the final level. I could use a Shikadi Mine, or multiple Shikadi Mines, to destroy a machine, but I must admit I'm not enthusiastic about using the mines. Another option might be some sort of boss battle with a Shikadi Master. Perhaps the master's shots/sparks are used to destroy something. Or maybe something similar to Gridlock's Alphamatic in which the machine must be destroyed with many shots from the neural stunner (while contending with the Master or some other threat). Or maybe the Master needs to be defeated after a certain number of shots. Let me know what finale ideas you guys have!
  • Levels are in a similar state of completion as before: levels 1 and 2 are testing ready, level 4 is at 50%, and the Bean-with-Bacon level and the world map are complete. I have descriptive concepts for levels 3, 5-15. As mentioned previously, the final level, 16, doesn't have a concept yet. For level 17, the secret level, we've floated the idea for a low gravity level but I haven't finalized my decision on this one yet.
User avatar
DarkAle
Vortininja
Posts: 302
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 17:40
Location: Ancient Fortress
Contact:

Re: Operation Station Infiltration

Post by DarkAle »

It's all wonderful, I'm glad you've found someone who can help you with programming. I'm curious to see this mod finished. My idea for the final level: to access the QED room you must first defeat the Shikadi Master which will require more hits, but not too many. Then to destroy the QED another enemy will have to hit it / it will have to be destroyed by the Neural Stunner
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
Post Reply