Foray in the Forest (development thread)

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Quillax
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Quillax »

To those who want to see it in motion, you can do that with XkyKeen4, which is where the sprite came from. Just note that some frames are either incomplete or never replaced, but not a whole lot. I just tried it out and it's actually pretty fun to play with! I love it when he shoots, gets on a ledge, or goes through a door (note: the doors would've been replaced by chutes, hence the jumping). He does look more casual and younger than the original sprite (although some of the frames have a bit of a heroic look), but if the story takes place at the time I think it does (before Keen 4, right?), then it's quite fitting.

To some extent, I understand the comments from DoomJedi and Soul Monster. I was quite surprised, like "Oh, you changed the sprite? Ok... :confused ", but I'm getting used to it and I think I understand Nisaba's point about the story. That and it goes well in what seems to be a collage of abandoned mod assets (given that it's all in 16 colors, they blend together nicely, and any clash is rather minimal I'd say). For some reason, I never felt "protective" over Keen, neither the XkyKeen sprite nor the original sprite, not even in the darkest mod stories. Maybe it has to do with the cartoon look and the fact that Keen can help himself very well? I think proYorp makes a great point in that some people look younger than they actually are. I understand where DoomJedi is coming from, though.

I'm not the biggest fan of the chibi/cute style either (I know, my Keen sprite falls under that category too, but that was like 7 years ago), but I find it much more tolerable in a low-res sprite. I think it's because with a low-res sprite, there's less room for detail (so no extremely sparkly eyes) and it has more of an abstract look. The abstraction leads to a lot of room for imagination, so however you like to think about it, it could either be an extreme anime look or a more simple cartoon look (the artwork in XkyKeen4's KeenWiki page seems to suggest the latter, though).

In the end, though, I understand that every person has his/her own opinion, and I'm glad Nisaba understands that. I think it's really nice that she's going to offer two versions that will make both sides happy! :)
proYorp wrote: Fri Oct 22, 2021 22:25
Pandakeen wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 18:42 I like the XkyKeen4 sprite, and I think it deserves to be used in a finished mod for once. I'm all for it,
For what it's worth, I agree. If I recall correctly, the player sprite in XkyKeen4 was unfinished. Did Xky come in to finish the sprite?
One time when I checked the PCKF Discord, I remember Zilem posting a sprite sheet of the finished version of the sprite. Maybe she finished it?
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Nisaba »

DoomJedi wrote: Wed Oct 20, 2021 19:41 [...] But visual baby style just pressed extra buttons in that direction.
He lost his "cool" of a sort.
@DoomJedi
Well, I have a slightly different view of the matter. XkyKeen doesn't look like a baby in my eyes. On the contrary I always had the feeling that the original sprites show a boy around the age of 12 and not an 8 year old.
Sure, in the self-perception as a child it may seem different. But for me in a side-by-side comparison XkyRauh's interpretation comes much closer to an 8 year old lad. Just consider the oversized helmet Billy borrowed from his older brother. From my point of view in the original Galaxy trilogy it only comes into its own in the cutscenes. In the game itself, the helmet seems to fits like a glove. In my conclusion XkyRauh scored a good goal with these new Keen sprites. And like Quillax mentioned XkyKeen can definitely look cool. Maybe this particular screenshot doesn't fully express the whole potential ... but what can a simple screenshot express ...

Again, I do understand your concerns. But perhaps from this perspective and with these associations mentioned, my decision may be more understandable and maybe even acceptable. Anyways, I do hope that you give both versions a chance. And I'd be more than happy to discuss your impressions of this major change once again after you have the chance playing this very mod (hopefully sometime soon)
Last edited by Nisaba on Thu Oct 28, 2021 19:21, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Nisaba »

proYorp wrote: Fri Oct 22, 2021 22:25 If I recall correctly, the player sprite in XkyKeen4 was unfinished. Did Xky come in to finish the sprite?
@proYorp
Yeah, XkyRauh produced most of the necessary sprite animation frames. In addition to those Zilem conceivably complemented some missing parts of the set some time ago. But of course FitF requires some bonus sprite graphics as I added some neat little extra interactions here and there. So I had to draw a few additional XkyKeen graphics as well. I also updated both XkyRauh's and Zilem's sprite sheets in terms of shading, size and detail to keep the whole set consistent.
does this answer your question?
proYorp wrote: Fri Oct 22, 2021 22:25 For me, I had already come to notice that Foray in the Forest seemed to be becoming quite a collage of (abandoned?) community assets [...]
yeah, this always has been one of my if not the main goal of my works. There is so much potential in this community. it would be a shame if all of this creative output would just get lost along the way.
proYorp wrote: Fri Oct 22, 2021 22:25 For me the main disconnect is that Xky's sprite seems very light and happy, and some of the environments in Foray look very dark and gloomy. That's the only thing I can really think of that would make it out of place, and maybe that is, in essence, what the issue is.
indeed, one or two places will feel a bit gloomy and slightly dark but definitely non-Atroxian like. The overall tone should look and feel as lighthearted as the Secret of the Oracle. therefor I handpicked over 30 songs which supposedly underline this jaunty tone. Quite a few of them were composed by some very talented musicians especially for Foray in the Forest. If you ask me they all sound marvelous and add so much to the overall atmosphere.
proYorp wrote: Fri Oct 22, 2021 22:25 TLDR I'm all for the XkyKeen. :dopekeen
Sweet. I hope that my work can live up to your expectations.
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Nisaba »

Quillax wrote: Tue Oct 26, 2021 7:25 @Quillax
I just tried [XkyKeen4] out and it's actually pretty fun to play with! I love it when he shoots, gets on a ledge, or goes through a door. [...] some of the frames have a bit of a heroic look [...]
Yeah, right?! If you actually play XkyKeen as a main character he seems very self-confident, daring and at times even heroic. Younger, yes, that's undeniably true. but full of energy and a thirst for adventure.
Quillax wrote: Tue Oct 26, 2021 7:25 but if the story takes place at the time I think it does (before Keen 4, right?), then it's quite fitting.
Without spoiling too much, my answer is: yes
Quillax wrote: Tue Oct 26, 2021 7:25 The abstraction leads to a lot of room for imagination, so however you like to think about it, it could either be an extreme anime look or a more simple cartoon look (the artwork in XkyKeen4's KeenWiki page seems to suggest the latter, though).
The cartoonishness is what interested me the most. All episodes have this lovely caroon'ish early 90's drawing style. Just remember the comic like appearance of the Bloogs, the way-over-the-top "brainiac" Mad Mushroom style or the nasty Robo Red, and yes of course let's not forget our iconic Dopefish. So when I initially discovered XkyRauh's Keen version I was immediately convinced that it was only logical to have a more cartoon-like-style Keen sprite set as well.
Of course, this does not suit everyone's taste. And that's ok.
Quillax wrote: Tue Oct 26, 2021 7:25 [...] it goes well in what seems to be a collage of abandoned mod assets (given that it's all in 16 colors, they blend together nicely, and any clash is rather minimal I'd say).
What clashes do you sense? I'd like to invite you to share your thoughts & concerns. constructive criticism is always very welcome.
Foray in the Forest progress:
92% Programming || 95% GFX || 92% Levels || 98% Creatures || 90% Story || 94% Music || 95% SFX || 96% Extras

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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Quillax »

Oh yeah, I love the cartoon style too! It's one of the aspects that make those games so appealing, even today! The way Keen looks in the Keens 4-6 title screens actually makes me think a little about the 90s Disney movies, with the somewhat-big eyes.

Image

The games in general, though, take a noticeable influence from Warner Bros. cartoons. I always love it when a Nospike runs off a cliff, stops for a moment, makes a question mark appear above its head, and then it plummets down to a hard hit! KER-PLUNK! It always make me think about Wile E. Coyote, definitely the kind of gag you would see in those cartoons. :)

About the clash, there actually isn't any from what I saw, looking back at the screenshots. When all you have is 16 colors, I think you're less likely to have any clashing visuals. I suppose some of the environments look more detailed than the sprites inhabiting them, but the same exact thing could said about the old cartoons. It would be hard to pack in so much detail into a little sprite while making it look good and readable anyway. There's still a consistent style, and if you can keep that through the whole game, you should be good. I guess all I have left to point out is that the Keen 4 tiles seem out of place with the new tiles, but I think it's more to do with the fact that I'm so used to seeing the Keen 4 tiles as they are for so long. I think all of the tiles in the mod are wonderfully integrated with each other, actually. It's just going to take some time getting used to seeing fresh, new visuals mixed with familiar visuals that I've seen and known for many years. I say you're all good, Nisaba! You're doing nothing wrong! :)

By the way, I just noticed only now that you updated the original post a while ago. What you've talked about there sounds very promising! You got 18 levels, but there's 30 songs!? Will some levels have multiple songs instead of just one per level, or are there many special situations that each have a unique song? Also, seeing that the last screenshot you posted has the color orange, will all of the game graphics be modified, if necessary, to work with that color, or will some levels use their own unique palette while the rest uses the default EGA palette?
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Nisaba »

Quillax wrote: Sat Oct 30, 2021 6:52 By the way, I just noticed only now that you updated the original post a while ago. What you've talked about there sounds very promising! You got 18 levels, but there's 30 songs!? Will some levels have multiple songs instead of just one per level, or are there many special situations that each have a unique song? Also, seeing that the last screenshot you posted has the color orange, will all of the game graphics be modified, if necessary, to work with that color, or will some levels use their own unique palette while the rest uses the default EGA palette?
oops. I think I need to update some info. so, right now we have 20 levels if you count in the high-score level as well.

yep, you've guess it right. Some levels will feature more then one song, depending on the location Keen currently investigates. Besides that some story elements will be underlined with a fitting songs as well.

and yes again, each and every level will come with its own unique colour palette. And at the same time each palette still consists out of 16 colour only. The advantage is to keep the looks still close to the original EGA styled games with their constant set of 16 colours. But at the same I'm able to give levels a slightly different atmosphere. This comes in handy especially when having a subterranean environment for instance. Just imagine a cave like location where the lightning feels a bit more dimm and gloomy. Whereas a place in the open can have this sunshine like colouful and contrasty style.
I'm very satisfied with the results. Big shoutouts again to K1n9_Duk3 who tweaked the engine for this feature

to give you an idea here's a screenshot of some colour palette code elements:
Image
Last edited by Nisaba on Sun Oct 31, 2021 8:54, edited 1 time in total.
Foray in the Forest progress:
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Quillax »

Holy garg!!! :O :O :O

That palette stuff totally sounds radical! I hope it will be used to good effect, which very likely seems to be the case here! The more I know about Foray in the Forest, the bigger it seems to get! Seriously, this might be one of the most ambitious Keen mods ever made, if not THE most ambitious mod ever! I just hope it will deliver very well, but you seem to really know what you're doing! :) Can't wait for the release!
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Nospike »

I genuinely can't wait to play this game. :) Good luck with the development.
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Benvolio »

Amazing! I love palettes. I'll be fascinated to see how this works out in the final version!

Foray in the Forest will bring a completely new approach to fantasy gaming. We won't just chunk around the screen! All the people we meet will have their own lives, personalities and objectives. Smooth scrolling (pseudo)-256 colour screens - fancy that!

Foray in the Forest will be the finest PC Game yet.
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Quillax »

To come think of it, there is a patch that does a unique palette for each level (like what FitF does here) in Keen 1. I don't think anyone ever used it, though -- this would be the first time such a gimmick would be used.
Benvolio wrote: Sun Oct 31, 2021 12:38 Amazing! I love palettes. I'll be fascinated to see how this works out in the final version!

Foray in the Forest will bring a completely new approach to fantasy gaming. We won't just chunk around the screen! All the people we meet will have their own lives, personalities and objectives. Smooth scrolling (pseudo)-256 colour screens - fancy that!

Foray in the Forest will be the finest PC Game yet.
Good one! :lol :lol :lol It certainly looks like it's going to be great!
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

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Quillax wrote: Sat Oct 30, 2021 6:52 The games in general, though, take a noticeable influence from Warner Bros. cartoons. I always love it when a Nospike runs off a cliff, stops for a moment, makes a question mark appear above its head, and then it plummets down to a hard hit! KER-PLUNK! It always make me think about Wile E. Coyote, definitely the kind of gag you would see in those cartoons. :)
This is called "cartoon gravity". Or, in other words: "Animation follows the laws of physics - unless it is funnier otherwise". ;)
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Soul Monster »

Nisaba wrote: Wed Oct 27, 2021 8:43 Again, I do understand your concerns. But perhaps from this perspective and with these associations mentioned, my decision may be more understandable and maybe even acceptable. Anyways, I do hope that you give both versions a chance. And I'd be more than happy to discuss your impressions of this major change once again after you have the chance playing this very mod (hopefully sometime soon)
Thank you for handling this so maturely and for being so understanding, Nisaba. It's refreshing to be able to provide constructive criticism without worrying about having a paragraph of vulgarities sent back my way. Like I said, it's possible that those of us who have our concerns just need to see it in motion first. Either way, I'm playing this mod no matter what, this is the mod I've been looking forward to the most for a long time now, and I'm really excited that the release date could be just over the horizon.

I know that some points were brought up and it may not have been what you wanted to hear, but I still see just how much work you've put into this mod, and I'm blown away at how far it's come since that early demo. I'm so glad that you could also see things from our perspective, and are willing to create 2 versions just to please both sides. I promise that I'll give them both a chance, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on both of them.
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Snortimer »

Nisaba wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 8:07I'm curious. can you explain to me, why you favour the original Keen sprites over some new and updated graphics? is it more than nostalgia?
Part of it is the continuity - it feels more like Keen's continuing adventures if Keen actually looks like Keen.
Another part of it is that I just don't like the small-body and big-head look.

I've liked some mods where the main character was changed, particularly the "older" Keen in "The Ruin of Roib" (which also made sense conceptually from a story perspective), but I've just never really been a fan of this one - I couldn't identify with it that closely (although, I've only seen it in the Vorticon mods, I'm not sure if I've actually seen the Galaxy version in motion)

Also, the new screenshots look great, though I wish I could see the non-blurred versions. :) (I've never been a fan of blurring pixel art)
Last edited by Snortimer on Mon Nov 08, 2021 23:13, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Nisaba »

Snortimer wrote: Mon Nov 08, 2021 3:35 Also, the new screenshots look great, though I wish I could see the non-blurred versions. :) (I've never been a fan of blurring pixel art)
me neither. Unfortunately, there is a certain someone around who rips sample material and screenshots one-to-one and then uses them in their own mods before I could release my material. The blurry images are unfortunately a security lock to prevent this. And please don't get me wrong. I don't mind at all if creative work is reused in a fresh and new way. Modding is based on working with existing ideas, isn't it. But waiting until the game that provided the source material is out would be a nice move...
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Re: Foray in the Forest (development thread)

Post by Nowhere Girl »

I thought that maybe I could help with something. Some writing maybe... I don't know how exactly does the story go, but I love the Verbal, have been reading books since the age of five and keeping a diary since the age of nine, so I can write something interesting...
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