Treasure Eaters and Shikadi Masters

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Re: Treasure Eaters and Shikadi Masters

Post by Quillax »

Thanks for moving the posts from the Keen 4 Least Favorite Level thread to this one, Fleexy!

So, I looked at the patch for the Shikadi Master spawn code, and by just changing one value, I made it so that it's always active even if off-screen. Here's the patch that does that:

Code: Select all

#Shikadi Master Spawn code -- now it's active no matter how far away it is!
%patch $12A87 $55 $8B $EC $33 $C0 $50 $9A $06B91DCDRL     $83 $C4 $02 $8B $1E
              $40 $9E $C7 $07 $0013W  $C7 $47 $02 $0002W  $8B $46 $06 $B1 $08
              $D3 $E0 $89 $47 $0A $8B $46 $08 $D3 $E0 $05 $80 $FE $89 $47 $0C
              $B8 $2AF4W  $50 $53 $9A $090B11C4RL     $83 $C4 $04 $5D $CB
It definitely makes the QED level harder, and also more tense and exciting. Hearing the sounds those creatures make -- even if they're not visible -- really adds to the tenseness! I could only beat it on Normal, Hard is just... really hard! Even then, I lost quite a few lives on Normal! The only real problem I have is that a Shikadi Master can teleport to the area with all the points and ammo -- below the fire helixes and red gas flames -- and can trap you if it appears to the right of you. Also, I don't know if this is because of DOSBox or what, but the game seems to lag more in some areas.

While the standing Shikadi Master's hitbox is about 16 pixels wide, I just noticed that the teleporting sprite's hitbox is about 48 pixels (3 tiles) wide! So that would mean it's impossible for a Shikadi Master to teleport to a vertical passageway that's only up to 2 tiles wide (if we don't count any covering foreground tiles), I think. Multimania, does the Shikadi Master check with its hitbox or sprite size? I was thinking it might be the hitbox, but maybe I'm wrong.
Ceilick wrote: Sun Nov 14, 2021 15:15 [long, but interesting comment about Shikadi Masters and Treasure Eaters]
Yeah, I remember the bottom section of the Krodacian Overlabs being very engaging. The Master/Overlord poses a threat and can appear in many different places, but it can't trap you, aside from maybe when you are to the right of the bridge (and that's only if it shoots). Meanwhile, in the two other levels you mentioned, I remember usually waiting for the Master/Overlord to move out of the way. It's been a while since I played Battle of the Brains, though, so maybe my memories of those levels are just fuzzy.

The Treasure Eaters are pretty weak and thus can easily last for only a few seconds. I agree that they work best when they're in an area that requires Keen to do a little navigation in order to be able to shoot those creatures. It would be interesting to play a level with Treasure Eaters that's similar to the second building of New Vorticon from Keen 3. I don't think I've ever seen such a level in any Galaxy levelpack/mod!

Putting Treasure Eaters into water levels is a bit of a mixed bag for me. On one hand, you can't shoot, so those creatures last forever. On the other hand, however, since they can't be stunned, some items would be impossible to get no matter how quick you are. That could be frustrating, not to mention it restricts level design. Do you remember what made you put the Treasure Eaters/squids into the water levels in The Keys of Krodacia? For me and The Sunnylands, I think it was mainly because the Flooded Fort is the only non-early level that doesn't need gems, aside from the Dumb Well (another water level). Plus, the Flooded Fort is the second-to-last level I made, and I didn't want to make any major changes to previous levels, nor did I want to drop my vision for The Pyramid of Ends (which is the last level I made).

I haven't played Return to the Shadowlands yet (but I'm planning on doing so someday!), but I'm sure the Treasure Eaters are much more versatile when they only teleport to the nearest item and can't take gems. The way they are programmed in the original Keen 4 does make it seem like they were only intended for a specific level.
55Aavenue wrote: Sun Nov 14, 2021 21:22 [another interesting comment about Shikadi Masters]
I haven't played The Armageddon App yet, but that level looks very interesting! I agree that Shikadi Master A works very well in the area he's placed in, from the looks of it. As for B, a Shikadi Master might actually make a good alternative to a laser cannon if used correctly, or patched to never teleport and shoot periodically rather than randomly. Such a patch might actually be neat for a Shikadi Master replacement in a mod.
proYorp wrote: Mon Nov 15, 2021 3:57 Oh lol. Thanks for the consideration. To be honest I don't mind when threads go a little off-topic. (It seems like a natural course of progression for conversation to flow, and in a casual friendly forum like this it's fitting. It feels more human that way....)
You're welcome! I kind of agree that going a little off-topic is a little more human and there are some cases where I don't mind it, depending on what the topic is. Especially if not much else can be said about the original topic. However, since this topic was getting a bit popular, I felt like it would be more organized to have it in its own thread rather than clumped within a thread about an unrelated topic. It might also make it more attractive to those interested in this particular topic -- I probably wouldn't be expecting a discussion about teleporting creatures if I clicked on a topic called "Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?"
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Re: Treasure Eaters and Shikadi Masters

Post by Ceilick »

Quillax wrote:Do you remember what made you put the Treasure Eaters/squids into the water levels in The Keys of Krodacia?
This was almost 20 years ago now, so I can't say for certain, but most of the reasoning behind all my creatures at the time was based around how I could use existing behaviors to present something that seemed new. It just made sense to replace a cloud of smoke with a cloud of ink (and it was easy to draw, haha). So placing the Squids/Treasure Eaters in the water where they couldn't be killed was just circumstantially an interesting choice.
Quillax wrote:I haven't played Return to the Shadowlands yet...
Genuinely looking forward to your thoughts when you do! I'm particularly proud of it.
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