Early Atroxian Realm Sequel Thoughts

You can discuss anything about fan-made Commander Keen games here.

How do you feel about a full Atroxian Realm sequel?

Absolutely want one
28
82%
Probably interested
3
9%
Maybe interested
0
No votes
Probably not interested
1
3%
Don't want/need a sequel
2
6%
 
Total votes: 34

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Re: Early Atroxian Realm Sequel Thoughts

Post by troublesomekeen » Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:34

I love your artwork! :love
especially the profile on the Janitor (though the angle of his hand doesn't quite match the straightness of the mop
and Lt.Barker is just priceless. Do save a copy of this version when you make further changes. That anhk won't save you, Preacher Barker!
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Re: Early Atroxian Realm Sequel Thoughts

Post by KeenRush » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:54

Liking the art and the title. I think the angles look good. By the way, if Keen is not pointing his hand as if his index finger were a gun (like when kids play guns and pretend their hand is a gun), then his index finger should be to the left side of the hand. For me pointing with right hand feels most natural when the hand is flat with knuckles pointing upwards and thumb is crooked underneath index finger.
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Re: Early Atroxian Realm Sequel Thoughts

Post by Alessandro » Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:17

I li ke the image of Voyage to Veota :birthday

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Re: Early Atroxian Realm Sequel Thoughts

Post by Grimson » Mon Sep 04, 2017 18:23

Oh. Ohhh. Oh my goodness :eek Why must I always be away from PCKF when all the exciting stuff happens :-| It will take me some time to read all the posts, but I can tell you I'm very excited about the news.
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Re: Early Atroxian Realm Sequel Thoughts

Post by Shikadi-Network » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:56

I enjoyed the Alphamatic and Atroixan Realm was also great, even I couldn`t play it by myselfe,
becauce I had problems with the colors. :( Getting headache everytime. But nonetheless I would
love to see a Sequel about it.
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Re: Early Atroxian Realm Sequel Thoughts

Post by FanofSMBX » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:48

Well, I have a few thoughts about it?

1. Engine - I'd recommend more Unity or Godot (which is almost to 3.0 new release). I know the Dreams engine is more nostalgic, but the memory stuff being removed could mean that the debug hours are devoted to new stuff instead of DOS stuff.

2. 3D models and lighting - IDK this feels a little wrong. Not that Keen wouldn't have done this once 3D accelerators came out but it feels a little anachronic to keep to EGA and MIDI in that case.

3. Multiple characters - let's be frank this is always a hige challenge unless you force characters. Most of the time there is one character who seems to shine above the rest unless the game makes you choose otherwise and one who obviously stinks. Like Luigi and Toad in Mario 2. Unless you're okay with that I would recommend against it. If you do a Sonic Adventure thing where the game chooses the character and sometimes has characters play similar locations but new level and gameplay it can be very interesting, but unfortunately those games got hated on (the 1st due to having some bad character modes to play and the second for interloping bad characters with the fun ones in the same level sequence)

4. Plot - the thing that seemed weirdest was VitaCorp being a conspiracy. VitaCorp always made me feel like it was just a Shikadi company (as in Keen BotB) or a front for Mortimer when talking to the Shikadi due to a company selling Omegamatics as being way more worse than Mortimer's plots. Also rather curious as to how 10000 Atroxi (is that how you say it) would be resolvable.

5. Graphics - a lot of the screens I've seen of AR seem to be heavy on the darks and focus on red, brown, gray, dark blue, and black. Part of the EGA appeal was that it gave the designers a good excuse to use the light half of palette as well and also yellow, green, magenta, and cyan. This was also my complaint with Keys of Krodacia whete the colors brown, blue, gray, and black were often seen. But even that mods did very well due to creatures being colorful, plus things like cyan mushroom forest, colorful flying base (that level with the flying Krodacians), and green acid pools. The darkest levels were the Shoal and Reef which being contrasting (even to many other levels using brown) made them seem like the scariest levels which was appropriate due to having Ogobogos and potentially final set of levels. Point is you have to have colorful levels like in BotB or it makes the dark levels seem not spooky but just dull due to being common.

I wish you very much luck.

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Re: Early Atroxian Realm Sequel Thoughts

Post by Gridlock » Sun Dec 17, 2017 19:26

I do appreciate the interest and comments. Currently, I'm not working on this project at all, and there's a decent chance I won't go any farther with it. In addition to graduating from college this spring, I have three separate game projects I'm working on outside of Keen, so this game hasn't been on my mind for a while.
Engine - I'd recommend more Unity or Godot (which is almost to 3.0 new release). I know the Dreams engine is more nostalgic, but the memory stuff being removed could mean that the debug hours are devoted to new stuff instead of DOS stuff.
I agree, moving to a modern engine would be so much nicer. Back in August, I made some effort to interpret the Keen Dreams source code for movement/physics so that I could recreate it exactly in Unity. Ideally, the Dreams source code would allow me to make a near-perfect recreation of the Galaxy engine in Unity. However, I didn't have much luck understanding it and didn't make much progress.
3D models and lighting - IDK this feels a little wrong. Not that Keen wouldn't have done this once 3D accelerators came out but it feels a little anachronic to keep to EGA and MIDI in that case.
Perhaps. I think it could be a cool stylistic evolution if integrated well.
Multiple characters - let's be frank this is always a hige challenge unless you force characters.
I still haven't figured everything out about this, but I was thinking of two circumstances. Sometimes you would be required to play a chapter of the game as one character (for example, the four non-Keen characters might each get their own independent chapter). Other times, the game would enable some way of switching between them. The characters would all control pretty much the same (think Netkeen), but each would have one special ability. Instead of the pogo, Barker might have, for example, some kind of ankh invincibility ability. The level designs might require switching between different characters to solve puzzles or find secrets.
4. Plot - the thing that seemed weirdest was VitaCorp being a conspiracy. VitaCorp always made me feel like it was just a Shikadi company (as in Keen BotB) or a front for Mortimer when talking to the Shikadi due to a company selling Omegamatics as being way more worse than Mortimer's plots. Also rather curious as to how 10000 Atroxi (is that how you say it) would be resolvable.
Yeah, so this has been where I've struggled a lot. I have this huge plot mapped out that would explain everything, but it's also incredibly convoluted and huge in scope. The plot has already gone through several drastic changes, and it still might need another since I'm having second thoughts about the current one.
5. Graphics - a lot of the screens I've seen of AR seem to be heavy on the darks and focus on red, brown, gray, dark blue, and black. Point is you have to have colorful levels like in BotB or it makes the dark levels seem not spooky but just dull due to being common.
Yeah, for better or for worse, AR went against what a lot of other EGA games have done stylistically. There were times when the dithering and lack of contrast made the game hard to play, not to mention that the dithering took forever to do. I would probably take a different approach to the sequel's visual style to improve on some of these issues and make doing the artwork more time-effective.
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Armageddon Begins Again. The Alphamatic has arrived.

Atroxian Realm: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3536
The Alphamatic: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4086

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Re: Early Atroxian Realm Sequel Thoughts

Post by Gridlock » Mon Dec 31, 2018 21:11

So, with it being the new year and all (and almost 3! years since Atroxian Realm's release), I thought I'd give as best of an update as I can on this project in case anyone is still hoping for info. As far as progress... well, there's been very little concrete progress to be honest. I'm still largely stuck on the pre-production (figuring out the story and creative details) as well as getting a working engine. This is by far the most complicated and ambitious project I've ever thought about making, and there are so many moving pieces to the story that I haven't quite figured out how to get everything to fit in place without feeling convoluted or spread too thin (not to mention overscoped). Engine-wise, I'm still determined to avoid using the original Keen engine or the modified AR engine due the limitations and general instability caused by memory issues. Given my proficiency with Unity, it's still my platform of choice, but a while ago I definitely struggled with figuring out how to translate the AR Keen engine code into Unity. I wouldn't be satisfied with anything less than a perfect recreation of the Galaxy engine. That's led me to think about alternative gameplay styles.

In real life, I graduated from college earlier this year and joined an awesome indie game development company/publisher as a programmer. To self promote a little, you should check them out (http://serenityforge.com/games) and maybe even consider supporting some of their games (I would recommend a Case of Distrust, the King's Bird if you enjoy really challenging but addicting platformers, and Pinstripe, which was recently released on Switch). I can't talk about what I'm working on right now, but I will say that I've gotten some inspiration about how Keen could potentially work in a more 3d perspective while still preserving the artistic feel of the Galaxy games. Octopath Traveler might be the closest comparison I can make. This is very much an experimental idea barely even fleshed out and tested in engine, so that's all I'll say for now in case I totally scrap it. However, it would be a way around the problem of doing a perfect engine recreation.

Admittedly, while I love working in games as an actual job, it does leave me a lot less energy to want to work on personal projects. This is especially true for personal projects with no commercial value to an IP I don't own with a tiny audience. Working at an actual games company definitely puts these factors much more on my mind. That doesn't mean I don't want to do this sequel, but it definitely creates doubts when I'm trying to figure out a project this massive in scope and ambition (maybe I'll find a way to lower the scope without compromising the vision).

So, in short, there's not a lot to update on. I've frequently been revisiting this project and letting it churn in my mind, often coming up with various new angles to try to get everything to work. I've written many pages worth of different story variations and even partial scripts, but the overall vision hasn't quite clicked yet. It may be that I'll just need to start making it and figure out the rest as I go, not unlike what I did with Atroxian Realm. If this project is going to happen (still up in the air), I'm thinking maybe I need to set a goal for myself. With the big Keen anniversary about 2 years away, it might be a reasonable goal to have a playable vertical slice of the first chapter or two by then depending on how real life goes.


Finally, kind of a random question, but it could help me with an aspect the plot. If you had to think of a foil/antogonist to Princess Lindsey, what kind of character would that be? It could be an already-existing character in the Keeniverse or something completely new, potentially related to a race of aliens/creatures. Lindsey has so little known backstory or even personality that it's hard to come up with compelling sub-plots for her. I vaguely remember someone writing up some fanfaction for Lindsey where she was from earth, but I'm wondering if people have other ideas about her origins and what kind of adventures/conflicts she might have had in her past. For whatever reason, I've sort of imagined her being a princess from some sort of exotic space city/society like Wakanda or Alderaan, and I could potentially see some kind of story emerging from a backstory like that.
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Armageddon Begins Again. The Alphamatic has arrived.

Atroxian Realm: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3536
The Alphamatic: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4086

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Re: Early Atroxian Realm Sequel Thoughts

Post by Roobar » Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:26

antogonist to Princess Lindsey
Prince Lind

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Re: Early Atroxian Realm Sequel Thoughts

Post by proYorp » Tue Jan 01, 2019 11:17

Gridlock wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 21:11
In real life, I graduated from college earlier this year and joined an awesome indie game development company/publisher as a programmer. To self promote a little, you should check them out (http://serenityforge.com/games) and maybe even consider supporting some of their games
Awesome! I was hoping you'd let us know about the original games you'd be working on. :) I took a look at their site, and Pixel Galaxy looked like something I might enjoy and was on sale for something easily within my price range, so I bought it. :D So there's $1 of support from me. :crazy
Have any of their released games had your work in them, yet? Also, do you think you might be doing level design for them? One of the things that stood out to me the most about Atroxian Realm was how well-designed the level structure was, so I'd be very willing to consider buying a game that you'd done levels for.

Gridlock wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 21:11
I will say that I've gotten some inspiration about how Keen could potentially work in a more 3d perspective while still preserving the artistic feel of the Galaxy games. Octopath Traveler might be the closest comparison I can make. This is very much an experimental idea barely even fleshed out and tested in engine, so that's all I'll say for now in case I totally scrap it. However, it would be a way around the problem of doing a perfect engine recreation.
Looking at gameplay videos of Octopath Traveller, it looks like a most fascinating way of combining pixel art and 3D. I'd definitely be intrigued to see a Keen game made in that style (it looks like it'd be rather labour-intensive though). Would you abandon the EGA palette in that case?
I see it also has character switching. Are you thinking of doing something more in that RPG style, or would it still be a platformer with the same jump, pogo (or whatever), and shooting mechanics?

Gridlock wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 21:11
Finally, kind of a random question, but it could help me with an aspect the plot. If you had to think of a foil/antogonist to Princess Lindsey, what kind of character would that be?
Hm. Well, being royalty and thus some sort of leader, I imagine she'd go up against a whole variety of threats. And since she's a magical princess, those could range from mythological creatures to diplomatic issues. There's such a wide range of possibilities it's a bit hard to think of any of them (and I suppose that's exactly the problem isn't it?)
Maybe Roobar's onto something. Perhaps "Prince Lind" could be an unwanted suitor who wanted to marry her for power, and this evolved into a mutual hatred. It sounds a bit corny even as I'm writing this, but it's an idea; and I suppose it could theoretically be done well.

Gridlock wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 21:11
I vaguely remember someone writing up some fanfaction for Lindsey where she was from earth
Yep, that's KeenRush's intro to "Goodbye Blue Pearl!"

Gridlock wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 21:11
For whatever reason, I've sort of imagined her being a princess from some sort of exotic space city/society like Wakanda or Alderaan, and I could potentially see some kind of story emerging from a backstory like that.
That could definitely work. I like that idea. That then begs the question, what was she doing on Gnosticus IV? (Although I guess I'm assuming you mean that this would be a different planet. Which it certainly could be.)
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Re: Early Atroxian Realm Sequel Thoughts

Post by Gridlock » Tue Jan 01, 2019 19:10

Awesome! I was hoping you'd let us know about the original games you'd be working on. :) I took a look at their site, and Pixel Galaxy looked like something I might enjoy and was on sale for something easily within my price range, so I bought it. :D So there's $1 of support from me. :crazy
Thank you very much. :)
Have any of their released games had your work in them, yet? Also, do you think you might be doing level design for them? One of the things that stood out to me the most about Atroxian Realm was how well-designed the level structure was, so I'd be very willing to consider buying a game that you'd done levels for.
Apart from some very minor code support for the King's Bird, most of what I've been doing is not public yet. I'm definitely involved more in a technical than creative role, but the great thing about going indie is that there's much less rigidity with roles. As for level design, I think that'd be great, though there isn't anything I'm involved in right now on that front.
Looking at gameplay videos of Octopath Traveller, it looks like a most fascinating way of combining pixel art and 3D. I'd definitely be intrigued to see a Keen game made in that style (it looks like it'd be rather labour-intensive though). Would you abandon the EGA palette in that case?
Octopath is probably a step farther in this style than what I'm thinking, as it applies a lot of very non-retro lighting and particle effects to its art. I'm more interested in exploring the use of 3d environments composed primarily of 2d assets. For this reason, I would actually like to stick to the EGA palette, though I guess it's possible I could expand the color palette slightly. The main technical challenge would be to strictly enforce the low resolution 320x200 perspective since some assets would actually be warping in 3d, and there wouldn't be a good way to make the pixels cleanly conform to a pixel grid. But, if I choose this approach, I want it to look very recognizably Galaxy. In fact, I'm hoping I can use/modify a lot of the existing Galaxy character sprites for Keen as well as those used in Netkeen for other characters.
I see it also has character switching. Are you thinking of doing something more in that RPG style, or would it still be a platformer with the same jump, pogo (or whatever), and shooting mechanics?
Character switching is still very important to me. It's going to take some thought about how it could work, though. A big inspiration for me are the old Mario and Luigi games, especially Superstar Saga. I've always wanted to make a game in that vein. The idea of an RPG battle system did occur to me, and I think it could be a neat fit for Keen, but that's also quite a lot of extra work. I want to experiment to see if I can get a more real time system with jump, pogo, and shooting to feel natural in a top down 3d space. There's definite challenges, and I think people who've played Superstar Saga would attest that the platforming has some perspective issues. My hope is that a 3d camera projection could help fix that. But this would require a lot of implementation and testing. Shooting in 4 or 8 directions is another thing that could be tricky to get right.


Appreciate the ideas so far on Lindsey. For whatever reason, I'm not convinced she was ever from Gnosticus IV but was instead there for some other reason. Regardless, I'm not sure that there's anything in the Keen lore thus far that really fits what I'm looking for, so I might need to invent something new. It would be really cool if we had a mod or something all about Lindsey and her story.
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Armageddon Begins Again. The Alphamatic has arrived.

Atroxian Realm: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3536
The Alphamatic: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4086

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Re: Early Atroxian Realm Sequel Thoughts

Post by Nisaba » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:20

Gridlock wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 21:11
In real life, I graduated from college earlier this year and joined an awesome indie game development company/publisher as a programmer. [...]
oh wow, that's exciting! I'm really curious: how did you manage to get the job? classic way with a job interview? did you know them beforehand? have you showcased you fabulous Keen creations? and how come you are more in technical than creative role? was this your decision? please share some insights!
:begging


:lindsey Princess Lindsey:
I've always imagined her to be some sort of a hologram. I mean, she really is a mysterious creature, isn't she?! she (gets) teleport(ed) to different places floating above ground and all out of a sudden disappears again. her only purpose seems to be to give guidance on Keens quest, which always gave me the feeling that she was send (as a Holo) by someone else. maybe the Gnosticenes, who knows? with that in mind some evil force (Mortimer) could have taken over and influence or even telecontrol this hologram. So Lindsey might turn into an evil possessed... or at least in something externally controlled in order to do some misguidance...
dunno whether these thoughts are helpful, I'm just writing off the top of my head.
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Re: Early Atroxian Realm Sequel Thoughts

Post by Roobar » Thu Jan 03, 2019 16:20

OK It's a good opportunity for some stupid Princess Lindsay speculations! (omg what I'm doing with my life). Here are a few theories.

1. Humans are actually living on Gnosticus IV and she's not a hologram. Obviously the planet is very similar to Earth, both in size and in placement in a solar system, which allows that.

Image

The only major difference is the gravity, which is kind of similar to Earth's, but a bit less, thus allowing Keen to jump higher. The people living there are actually ancient Egyptians, who were living on Earth thousands of years ago. Around 2500 BC they were so advanced that they made the pyramids. But the Egyptian pyramids were not giant tombs or catacombs, but interplanetary teleportation beams that were used to travel between planet(s).

Image

At that time, they were clever enough to figure a place in our Galaxy that may be good enough to be habitable by humans (Gnosticus IV). So they build the pyramids on that specific location in Egypt in order to travel to that planet. So some of them have used the pyramids to teleport to that planet and are living there ever since. Hence, that explains the pyramids in Keen 4. Their idea was to build pyramids on Gnosticus IV, so that they will eventually be able to travel back to Earth.

Further evidence that humans have populated the planet are the houses/villages. The slug statue was build to honor the slug slime (poo) which is really precious for the people there. They figured out a way to use it as a an unlimited fuel. You can see some glimpses of how actually technologically advanced are they in some places in Gnosticus IV. For example, look at that platform/pod:

Image

Let's see what's inside one of those:

Image

Clearly the pod's tanks are filled with slug slime which is used as a very, very long lasting fuel. In combination with a small engine and slightly less gravity force then Earth's, this allows them to fly in the air. They were used to move huge piles of blocks in order to build the pyramids.

Image

That's how the pyramids were build. In conclusion, in the game the princess is indeed a human and she's standing on one of those fueled pods. That's how she is flying in the air.

2. Theory no. 2: She's just inflatable balloon/doll. That explains why she's floating in the air and that's why she disappears after Keen touches her (she pops like a balloon).

3. She's Keen's "dream" girl. The girl next class he's in love with and is just part of his imagination (yes, yet another dream) along with everything else in Keen 4. But we all know Keen is made by Tom Hall, so...

4. Lindsey is actually albino, but has a sun tan:

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Re: Early Atroxian Realm Sequel Thoughts

Post by proYorp » Thu Jan 03, 2019 17:07

Nisaba wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:20
Princess Lindsey: I've always imagined her to be some sort of a hologram.
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Re: Early Atroxian Realm Sequel Thoughts

Post by Gridlock » Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:52

That pyramid theory is the best thing I've seen in quite a while. I'm not sure how, but I totally want to work those pyramid teleporters into the game somehow.

Lindsey being a hologram is interesting. I've basically just accepted the uTUIT canon that Lindsey is an ally of Keen, but it's cool to think about.
oh wow, that's exciting! I'm really curious: how did you manage to get the job? classic way with a job interview? did you know them beforehand? have you showcased you fabulous Keen creations? and how come you are more in technical than creative role? was this your decision? please share some insights!
My focus in college was on interactive media with a game design concentration as well as computer science. Programming (at least in more modern languages), is something I really enjoy, and I was able to use that in my major classes to build up experience in solo/team projects and put together a solid portfolio showcasing both creative and technical work. To be honest, Keen was just a footnote due to its hobbyist nature. Your portfolio, your experience (internships help), and your "brand" are probably the most important factors in getting noticed. From there, it's about demonstrating your soft skills and culture fit. Getting a job in the game industry is... not easy, especially given the incredible amount of competition. Creative roles are especially difficult to get if you haven't already proven yourself capable in a professional setting. In many ways, it's a chicken and the egg situation: you need professional experience to get a job, but you can't get a job without professional experience.

So, you have to find any path you can to get a foothold. I was fortunate to be able to get noticed at the right time, do some interviews, and get an offer. I'm really happy with where I am because, even though my job is more programming-oriented, there are still opportunities for creative input, which is something you get a lot less of at a big company. I'd still like to do more creative things like level design in the future, but I think major creative responsibility for a professional project is something I'd be very wary to take on due to the huge levels of stress and responsibility. Technical work has its own challenges, but it's sometimes nice not to have to worry about the stress of the creative process as much, especially when people's livelihoods depend on it.
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Armageddon Begins Again. The Alphamatic has arrived.

Atroxian Realm: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3536
The Alphamatic: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4086

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