Commander Keen In: Bad Carma(ck)

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Commander Keen In: Bad Carma(ck)

Post by Flaose »

First of all, I apologize to those who played the pre-Alpha that I dropped last year on IRC, as this is nearly identical, but to those who haven't seen it,


As some of you may know, I've been working (very slowly) on a Keen 1 mod. Unfortunately, I've probably bitten off far more than I can chew, but I present to you my dream for a mod.

First of all, some known bugs:
- The end game gets stuck in an infinite loop (I appear to have screwed up a patch somewhere, I'm not entirely sure what the reason is, though)
- The text isn't formatted properly in the text boxes (this is due to sheer laziness on my part. Since they won't be in the final game, I won't bother)

Next, the download link!

You're going to have to use your imagination, as no graphics have been changed yet!

Now, for those of you are still with me, a complete version of my current design spec:

Bad Carma(ck) Design Spec.

Commander Keen, finding himself brought back to life after being hanged by Adrian Carmack in DOOM II, sets out in a life-sustaining mecha-suit to get his revenge in this Keen 1 mod by Flaose.

Full Introductory Story:
The throbbing pain was unbearable.

“Ugh, my head!”
Commander Keen slowly opened his eyes; blinding lights attacked his dilated pupils without mercy.

“Commander Keen! You’re awake!” Lt. Barker, Commander Keen’s ever loyal Vorticon retainer, rushed to his side. Spot, Commander Keen’s ever loyal pet Yorp, huddled shyly in the corner of the room.

“Lt. Barker! Where am I? What’s going on? Wh…” Suddenly realizing something was amiss, Keen looked down,

“Where’s my body?!”

“Now, Commander Keen, you’ve been through a lot lately and I think…”

“Where’s my body??!!”

“I think you just need to calm down a b…”

“Where’s my body???!!!”

“Fine. I’ll tell you. It’s kind of a funny story, actually,” began Lt. Barker, “Sometime after you rescued Molly McMire from the Bloogs, Adrian Carmack–who of course was your original artist–decided that he had had enough of your cutesy ways and wanted to put an end to you once and for all. Not content to just snuff you out quietly, he cloned you three times, sent all four of you a hundred-and-fifty-years into the future, hanged you by a noose, and forced your great-grandson to kill you all in order to escape from a strange parallel dimension. Luckily your head wasn’t damaged, and that exoskeleton somehow managed to travel to the dimension you were in, attach you to its metal frame, and come back. And here we are.”

“Well,” said Keen, “one thing is for sure, I didn’t find that story the least bit funny. Also, Lt. Barker, you’re not making any sense.”

“I’m sorry Commander Keen, but if you’ll remember I really tried to avoid telling it to you.”

“You’re right, you did.”

“What I want to know,” started Lt. Barker thoughtfully, “is where that exoskeleton came from in the first place.”

“Oh,” replied Keen, “I found it in my grandfather’s attic, covered in bullet-holes and blood. I fixed it up, made a few modifications, and programmed it to come and find me if my heart were to ever stop beating.”

“Oh, so really you had no reason to freak out as badly as you did when you found yourself in it.”

“Well,” Keen responded with a sheepish grin, “Perhaps not.” Suddenly, he became quite serious, “Adrian Carmack eh? Well he’s beat me up for long enough. I think it’s time to give him a taste of his own medicine, some Bad Karma, Commander Keen style!”

“In fact,” said Lt. Barker, “You could say he’s in for some Bad Carma(ck)!”

“Don’t quit your day job, Lt. Barker. Come on Spot, we’re headed to the main office of id Software!”

Commander Keen, now a full-blown cyborg, clanked out the door in his exoskeleton, Spot following warily behind.

Story (continued):
At the end of the introductory level, Commander Keen will realize that he has been lured into a trap, and is forced to enter a teleporter that renders his mecha-suit’s powers useless and sends him to the forgotten catacombs of the id building.

Exciting, never-before-seen patches, a focus on exploration where death is a minor inconvenience, destructible walls, keycards that are permanent, and invulnerability is item-based. It’s a whole new way to play Commander Keen!

Unlike the base game, Bad Carma(ck) doesn’t rely on collecting “x”-number of items to win the game, instead the emphasis is on exploration. While most items are necessary to complete the game, they are means to an end, rather than the end itself.

Rocket Propellant: (Pogo replacement) A container of fuel for one of Armadillo Aerospace’s many space projects, forgotten in a buried storage closet, one container will provide enough fuel to indefinitely power the rocket-booster of Keen’s exoskeleton.

Energy Cell: (Raygun replacement) The power of the Plasma Gun and BFG 9000 in DOOM, one energy cell will give Commander Keen a near-infinite supply of ammo.

Big Purple Space Amoeba Cell: (Joystick replacement) The mother of all collectables, this small piece of the BPSA will be enough to power all of the exoskeleton’s systems, including the suit’s force field, which will protect Keen from all danger but the greatest of falls.

Security Clearance I-IV: (Keycard replacements) found in various places of the id Software underground, all four will be required to make it back into the basement of the building itself. Unlike in the original game, keycards aren't "used up" when going through a door.

Points: As all levels are re-enterable and the player has infinite lives, points don’t really have any meaning, and as such haven’t as of yet been completely designed. In order to justify the reappearance of point-items each time an area is entered, the idea of a fast-growing fungus and manufactured drugs (or perhaps a combination of both) has been entertained.

Commander Keen will encounter a limited number of foes from id’s past.

(Robot) Trooper: (Butler Robot replacement) From Rescue Rover, these robots have taken a break from dognapping and been repurposed to patrol the basement of id Software. Fortunately, they can’t harm the exoskeleton, only push it around. Unfortunately, neither the exoskeleton nor its weaponry can destroy these advanced robots.

Undead SS Guard: (Tank Robot replacement) Last seen doing Hitler’s bidding, these Wolfenstein 3D guards have been resurrected by dark magic, given advanced laser weaponry, and been let loose. The good news? These zombies are rather stupid, shooting randomly and rarely checking for threats. The bad news? Even stupid zombies can be dangerous when they’re using guns, and Keen's energy weapon has no effect on their ravaged nervous system.

(Pinky) Demon: (Garg replacement) From DOOM, this monster walks around aimlessly until spotting a target. His demonic bite will rip a chunk out of Keen’s unshielded armor, so be careful!

Decoy Carmack: (Vorticon replacement) An android decoy of Adrian Carmack, programmed for close combat, this robot will take a few hits before going down, and is dangerous to the touch!

Adrian Carmack: (Yorp replacement) Being a regular human being, if you manage to reach Adrian Carmack you will find it frightfully easy to eliminate him.

Other Stuff:
I experimented with other ideas, such as having Keen move slowly until finding a battery to properly power his suit but, put simply, a slow-moving Keen was no fun to play. However, pieces of the code still exist in the patch file. I was also originally hoping to have a few musical themes that play in the various level-types (id Software building, caves, factory, core/hell), but if I even finish the graphics and levels it will be a miracle, so one thing at a time. It will probably also integrate the wonderful Vorticons 2 patch, though the final decision hasn’t been made. Obviously, this mod takes many of its design cues from older id games (though, oddly enough, the exoskeleton is mostly inspired by the Ride Armor from the Mega Man X series), however it’s really intended to be an homage to games such as The Legend of Zelda and Metroid, where finding new items unlocks new possibilities, a slower paced, more thoughtful Keen game.

Special Thanks:
Mink - For an amazing patch that completely changes the way to enable the GOD cheat
levellass - For her tireless work creating and posting patches on the KeenWiki
lemm - For various amazing patches, some used directly, some used as bases for others
Galaxieretter - For helping me in the search for a music composing program
KeenRush - For opening my mind with FallUp, and unwittingly inspiring me to create this mod
Various other modders and patches - For allowing me to plagiarize their work without more specific credit :)

If you helped me out and I missed you, let me know!
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Post by Gridlock »

Woah. I'd never even heard of this project and had no idea you had an interest in modding, Flaose. What you are doing does seem incredibly ambitious, but also incredibly cool. For me, the most intriguing aspect here is the metroid-styled progression. The shootable bricks are certainly a call-back to metroid and have a lot of potential for level design. Also, the idea of 4 universal key cards really opens the game up to new types of level design. It actually reminds me a lot of Metroid Fusion, where you had 4 different kinds of doors that could only be opened once you unlocked them at a certain point in the game. Speaking of points, I hope you find a more creative way to implement them into the game, maybe as items that unlock new abilities or something else important to progression.

Being a huge Metroid fan, I hope you incorporate many aspects of that design style here. The NES game could be a great reference. Each level of the game could be like its own separate area that hides a number of secrets and rooms the player has to explore in order to find the items they need. Maximizing the potential of this idea could take a lot of thought and planning, but I'm sure you are up to it.

I can't promise anything with my own massive mod project and a busy schedule for the upcoming year, but I'd enjoy helping out with the graphics and level designs if you ever need my help.
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Post by Ceilick »

I'm one of the privileged few to have seen this previously, and man, this blew my mind. The ingenuity is phenomenal and, if I ever get back to my own Keen 1 project, I plan on utilizing a lot of the features seen here.
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Post by tulip »

Man this has some neat ideas. I'm thrilled to see some new mechanics being woven into my favourite keen engine.
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Post by Flaose »

Thanks for the positive feedback, guys! And Gridlock, I may take you up on your offer (obviously in the future). Most of all I just wanted to get the patch file out in public so that others could be inspired by and use the patches.
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Post by VikingBoyBilly »

I don't care if anyone else uses the patches. I want to see this finished just to see Keen in the hitler suit :vikeen
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Post by Paramultart »

I am thoroughly anticipating this mod and all it has to offer.
The story and absurd tie-ins with Doom alone make it worth it to me.
In my opinion, there are already enough mods taking themselves seriously, and this approach seems the most appropriate method to showcase all of these crazy new features you just listed.

I'll be keeping my eye on this thread. :spot
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Post by Levellass »

I shall scan the patch file and add relevant patches to the wiki. It is good that this is not a KeenRush style patchfile. (That is everything uncommented so nothing can be used.)
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Post by Cobalt »

These are some really interesting concepts and I hope this gets fleshed out into a full mod.
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