[WIP] Commander Keen: Galaxy Reimagined (Demo now available)

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namida
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[WIP] Commander Keen: Galaxy Reimagined (Demo now available)

Post by namida »

So, I think it's time to finally reveal my project (beyond a few random screenshots / no-context vids I shared on the Discord).

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Demo download (Windows only, requires .NET 7.0): https://nv.wtf/GalaxyReimaginedDemo-240117.zip
The demo allows you to play six levels (not including the world map or BWB Megarocket). Three Gnosticenes can be rescued, and four of the levels are possible to get all the points on.

Actual gameplay videos:
Crystalus (1st checkpoint to roughly midway point): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRRpXsmo128
Guard Post I (start of level to roughly midway point): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJLhTud5BL4
(More videos that are more "technical demonstration" than "gameplay" are scattered throughout the topic.)

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Progress:
Levels:
- Shadowlands: 8 of 10 complete, map complete, BWB complete
- Fribbulus Xax: 5 of 10 complete, map complete, BWB complete
- Omegamatic: 2 of 8 complete, map complete, BWB complete
Enemies:
- All enemies implemented (except for Treasure Eater, which I've decided not to implement)
Other elements:
- Options menu still needed
- Ending sequence still needed
- Some bugs still exist
- Other minor improvements remain to be done

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First, a quick introduction, since I'm not that well known here yet. I'm namida - yes, that namida from the Lemmings community - and Commander Keen 4 was the first non-edutainment game I ever properly played. I was a member here a very long time ago back around 2001ish I think, back when I was an utterly immature kid, under the name Shockshund.

Primarily as practice / experimentation with developing a platformer game, I've been working on "Commander Keen: Galaxy Reimagined". This game will follow Keen's adventures after the end of the Vorticons trilogy, as an alternate timeline where the story follows a similar general outline but with different specifics compared to the official canon. I am still hammering out the exact details of the story, so more detail will come later. (However, I will say - don't expect it to be a revolutionary amazing story. It will mostly be "excuse plot" level of stuff; I'm focusing more on the level design and gameplay here.)

This will not be a mod; it's a fangame in the older style of using one's own engine. I'm creating this in C# using the MonoGame library for sound/graphics/input handling. This does mean the gameplay physics will not exactly match that of the DOS games - I am going for a similar feel, and I feel like I've acheived this quite well, but do not expect an exact clone.

The game will pick up with Commander Keen making an emergency landing in the Shadowlands, while pursuing mysterious aliens through the galaxy. Stranded with a non-working ship, and none of his usual gear, Keen must find a way to get off the Shadowlands and continue his pursuit.

For the most part, this game will use the existing official graphics, although there will be a few minor customizations / additions. I guess - even though it's an original game with its own engine, it may be better to think of this almost as a level pack with some unique features.

Similar to how it doesn't exactly follow the original game's story, the world map is a rough recreation rather than an exact rip of the Shadowlands, and there are fewer levels (as well as a couple that don't directly correspond to any official level).

I'll reveal more information as the project develops - some things I am intentionally keeping secret for now as I want them to be a surprise; some things I just haven't decided yet (I'm very much the "make it up as I go" type when it comes to this kind of work) - but for now, here's a couple of preview videos (these are the same ones I've shared in Discord, for those who already saw them there).

https://youtu.be/VxkZZY3sLhA
https://youtu.be/oRyEu8P4AHI
Last edited by namida on Sun Feb 25, 2024 23:42, edited 31 times in total.
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Nospike
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Re: [WIP] Commander Keen: Galaxy Reimagined

Post by Nospike »

That's a lot of slug poop. :)
Looks a bit like Keengine. The physics indeed look close to the original albeit the gravity seems lower. You've done quite a bit of work already, the enemy behaviors seem on point just like Keen's movement and things like the point items effects. Nice job.
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Re: [WIP] Commander Keen: Galaxy Reimagined

Post by Nisaba »

Oh, a new approach to an engine for the Galaxy games. It's always nice to see our favorite game rebuilt in a different programming language. The glimpses you've given us so far already look promising. I'm looking forward to further updates!
out now (link) : Image
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Re: [WIP] Commander Keen: Galaxy Reimagined

Post by namida »

Image

The Shadowlands in Galaxy Reimagined. There are less levels, but that will be made up for in other ways. ;) Also, the general concepts of some of the missing levels will be integrated into other levels instead.
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Re: [WIP] Commander Keen: Galaxy Reimagined

Post by namida »

I'm now at four levels (plus the Shadowlands map and BWB megarocket) complete, with work started on a fifth.

One thing I'm doing in this pack is, much like in Keen 1, you won't start with the pogo or neural stunner. You'll need to find them in levels. Some levels won't be possible to complete without the pogo either; though I've always made sure this becomes apparent very early in the level.

Speaking of which, lives and ammo will work a bit differently. Some aspects of this can already be seen in the preview videos. You start a level, you get 5 lives and 5 shots, and they don't carry over to other levels. You can't pick up more ammo either; those 5 shots are all you get for the level. The lives function more like a health meter - if you hit an enemy (or deadly tile, etc), you bounce off with the usual death animation and lose a life, but when you hit ground, you continue from that spot. Only if you run out of lives, Keen falls all the way off the screen and you must restart the level. (I haven't yet decided how the Dopefish will work with this; possibly just an outright one hit kill.) Checkpoints do exist (represented by Princess Lindsey); if you restart from one, your lives start again from 5, but your ammo only resets to what you had when you reached the checkpoint. Score / items collected will be preserved, but all enemies will respawn.

Score is also per-level, and once you've completed a level, you can see what the maximum possible score was. You can also replay levels, including that you can come back later with the pogo and/or stunner which may sometimes be necessary in order to get everything.
Commander Keen: Galaxy Reimagined - a reimagining of Goodbye Galaxy and Aliens Ate My Babysitter
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Re: [WIP] Commander Keen: Galaxy Reimagined

Post by namida »

Image

There seemed to be an impression on Discord that this game would only cover Secret of the Oracle. This is not the case. It's Galaxy Reimagined, not Oracle Reimagined. ;) I have mostly implemented Keen 4 stuff so far, but there are some Keen 5 and 6 features implemented. Likewise, although all proper levels I've worked on so far are set in the Shadowlands, I have started on the world maps for the other two worlds, and done their BWB Megarocket levels (important, as these levels are used to travel between the worlds).
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Re: [WIP] Commander Keen: Galaxy Reimagined

Post by szemi »

It's the most insane project after Nisaba's FITF!
Yeah, piece of cake!
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Re: [WIP] Commander Keen: Galaxy Reimagined

Post by namida »

szemi wrote: Sun Jan 14, 2024 9:38 It's the most insane project after Nisaba's FITF!
In fairness, not every level will be recreated (and those that are are simply inspired by the theme / maybe some elements of the original levels, rather than being anything close to a remake). For example, in the Shadowlands map I posted above, you can see that Border Village, Chasm of Chills, Miragia, and the three levels in the lake are missing; and that two of the pyramids were also removed while a new one was added, and the lake is now a level in and of itself. It's probably going to be on par with 1.5 to 2 official games, rather than 3, in terms of level count.
Commander Keen: Galaxy Reimagined - a reimagining of Goodbye Galaxy and Aliens Ate My Babysitter
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Re: [WIP] Commander Keen: Galaxy Reimagined

Post by namida »

I preliminarily (as in, testing is still needed and that may lead to tweaks) completed Crystalus now. Here's a screenshot (already shared in Discord) of it in Tiled, which I'm using to create the maps.

Image

Notice how the level here takes inspiration from both Crystalus and Miragia. This is similar to how, with Border Village being absent from this game, Slug Village incorporated some inspiration from it. It's also very large - I partly chose to make it so large because I don't intend to use the crystal graphics for any other levels. Fun fact, it's the first level I've made that has more than one checkpoint. It's actually quite a short level if you just want to reach the exit; but it's much longer if you try to save the Gnosticene (which of course, you will have to do sooner or later) or even more so, get all the points.

This also gives a bit of a behind-the-scenes peek into how the levels are constructed. Note the presence of an actual foreground layer. Also how multiple icons can be placed on a single tile, and this is in fact necessary for many objects, eg. platforms need an initial direction indicator (unlike K5/K6 though, they don't need a direction indicator on every single tile they pass through; I just place one on every tile to make it easier to keep track of their path. In the absence of one, they would just continue in the same direction they're already going), and it's also possible to place two directions on the same tile, and use a switch to toggle between them, rather than just a fixed behavior of "switch inverts the direction".

That brings us up to 5 levels, not including world maps / BWB Megarocket levels, complete now - Slug Village, Hillville, Lifewater Oasis, Pyramid of the Moon, and now Crystalus. As I mentioned on Discord, I'll likely release a demo after I complete one more level, which will be either Sand Yego or Pyramid of the Sun.
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Re: [WIP] Commander Keen: Galaxy Reimagined

Post by Nospike »

I like this level. It actually resembles what I wished Crystalus would look like when I was younger. :D It's one of my least favorite Keen 4 levels but this looks much more interesting, lots of platforming but not so many empty spaces and blind spots that are hard to navigate, a much more open and airy atmosphere, more in line with what you'd expect from looking at the level's world map representation.
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Re: [WIP] Commander Keen: Galaxy Reimagined

Post by Tormentor667 »

This all looks very promising :)
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Re: [WIP] Commander Keen: Galaxy Reimagined

Post by namida »

namida wrote: Mon Jan 08, 2024 21:51if you restart from [a checkpoint], your lives start again from 5, but your ammo only resets to what you had when you reached the checkpoint. Score / items collected will be preserved, but all enemies will respawn.
As development has progressed, I've decided to change how ammo works here, and instead make it so that ammo also resets to full (which for now I've still left at 5, though I'm considering whether to up it to 9) when resuming from a checkpoint. 5 ammo for the whole level was fine when dealing with slugs and licks; but it quickly becomes insufficient when dealing with blue birds in a huge level like Crystalus... of course it should still be possible as the player should not have to die / reload the checkpoint to complete the level, but the other concern is that some levels have cases where an enemy must be shot to complete the level (eg. Pyramid of the Moon has a gem holder on a small platform that also holds an Arachnut) and it's probably not great if the player has to restart the entire level because they used up all their shots before realizing the level contained such a situation, then got a checkpoint.
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Re: [WIP] Commander Keen: Galaxy Reimagined

Post by namida »

Just dropped another preview video. This one shows a small segment starting about 1/3rd of the way through Crystalus (to be precise, it starts from the first checkpoint), and also includes the pogo and stunner, which (depsite having been implemented already) weren't shown in previous videos.

https://youtu.be/DRRpXsmo128

EDIT: Bonus video. I made a typo while implementing the Mimrock, with amusing results. (The level in this video is one that exists solely for testing purposes, hence the low effort on the cosmetic aspects.)

https://youtu.be/goVL6trbvY0
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Re: [WIP] Commander Keen: Galaxy Reimagined

Post by Mobiethian »

This is looking really good! I am impressed and I do encourage you to keep up the great work! :)
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Re: [WIP] Commander Keen: Galaxy Reimagined

Post by namida »

I feel this game has now progressed enough to release a demo version.

Download link: https://nv.wtf/GalaxyReimaginedDemo-240117.zip

This demo allows you to play six Shadowlands levels (plus the Shadowlands world map and its BWB Megarocket level) - Slug Village, Crystalus, Hillville, Lifewater Oasis, Pyramid of the Moon, and Sand Yego. There are some known bugs that are either minor or rare, but please report any bugs you do encounter in case they're ones I'm not aware of.

Requires .NET 7.0, and at this stage is only available for Windows. (I can consider a Linux build if there's demand, if it doesn't work well under WINE, although I'd expect it would work fine. Mac is not going to happen, sorry.) System requirements should be fairly light, though the only testing I've done in this regard is capping my PC at 10W TDP and seeing how the game runs (it still runs completely smooth, just with very slightly slower load times) - if it doesn't perform well on your PC, let me know your specs so I can build a better picture of this.

Other feedback besides bugs / performance is welcome too, of course.
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