Keen GBC beta version elements

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Grandy02
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Keen GBC beta version elements

Post by Grandy02 » Fri Apr 19, 2019 13:59

In early 2015 I added a section called "Gallery" to the KeenWiki's article on Keen GBC development. I don't know if this was noticed by many visitors - Keen GBC is, well, not that popular and not everyone regularly checks KeenWiki for changes. If you haven't seen it yet, please take a look:
http://www.shikadi.net/keenwiki/Keen_GB ... nt#Gallery

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I uploaded various promotional screenshots of Keen GBC I gathered around 2007. These screenies published before the game's release are not from the final version, but from one or multiple beta versions. On first glance, the most obvious difference is that the colour palette of the point items is not always the same (red and yellow), but seems to depend on the level the items appear in. A few enemies are also coloured differently (such as Droid 2 and Droidican Soldier in the screenshots above).

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Among the most interesting differences are the creatures nowhere to be seen in the released game, of course: A sturdy brown monster found in The Plasma Crystal Mines and another floating robotic fellow (probably stunned) from Techno Lab.

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Additionally, Activision had an official Keen GBC site featuring five screenshots. None of them was taken from the version they published. The background used for Shikadi in Space is completely different from the finished one, also note the Shikadi Master floating high above the ground. And the Plasma Crystal Mines screenshot not only includes Keen with a yellow rather than white helmet (the same goes for three other pics on Activision's page), but there's a weapon to pick up, too. Limited ammo in Keen GBC like in the other games, or even multiple weapons?

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Co-developer Smilie Ltd. put a little GIF slideshow of beta screencaps on their website not long after Keen GBC's release. For some reason they used manipulated screenshots, Keen's sprite was modified in every image to appear a little more detailed (now with actual Packers helmet stripes, but no sprite in Keen GBC uses so many colours). One of the pictures depicts the Fiery Canyon on the map with two torches and the caption "Underworld". Somehow I didn't really notice this file until recently.

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Last but not least, there's Martin Turner's archived page (support artist of Keen GBC). It includes an unused Droidican sprite, possibly an earlier Droidican Elite, statues closely resembling it can be found in The Imperial Palace. But the original filename is also interesting: "vort2.gif". And the filename of the Droidican Soldier's animation is "vort1.gif" (this was already pointed out in a 2010 discussion). Maybe Keen GBC was originally intended to feature Keen 1-3 aliens rather than just references to them (such as "Dorp" and "Darg"). Furthermore, the colour scheme of the Fiery Canyon map landmark seen on the page is different.

So, could it be that at least some of these beta version elements are still hidden deep in the game's code? Or even previously unknown graphics (potential use for mods and fangames)? I can at least confirm that the gun does appear in the tile viewer of the VBA emulator.
I have no doubts that there are people who would be capable of digging into the data in order to extract all the game's graphics or modifying addresses to make the unused tiles, sprites or levels appear in the game, in case any of these exist.
But are there Keeners who are working with Game Boy (Color) ROMs AND who are willing to take that effort for the least popular official Keen game? Though I read that some PCKF members do actually like it (well, I like it enough to do research on it, it's not a terrible game, and it's a part of Keen's history anyway).

Or am I talking about old stuff and this was all done before?

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Oh, and don't forget the angry robot from the cover art and title screen you never get to encounter in the actual game...
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Re: Keen GBC beta version elements

Post by Keening_Product » Fri Apr 19, 2019 15:36

I've never played or known much about Keen GBC, but thank you for this really neat post! Was an interesting read. Didn't realise the release box art had an enemy which never appeared in the game haha
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Re: Keen GBC beta version elements

Post by Grandy02 » Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:56

Keening_Product wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 15:36
I've never played or known much about Keen GBC, but thank you for this really neat post! Was an interesting read.
Thanks! :)

Here's another interesting find - this is the Omegamatic Warp Drive ("The Hub") in the game, seems to be a single-screen map:
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But actually, there is more:
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And it is still not the complete map. I haven't found all pieces in the partially jumbled set of tiles shown by VBA's Map Viewer. Someone experienced in the use of of those tools and GBC ROM hacking could do much better. Any Keeners among us with such knowledge?

Keen GBC will turn 18 soon. It would be really cool if something "new" appeared after so many years...
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Re: Keen GBC beta version elements

Post by troublesomekeen » Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:31

This is really cool! Thanks for this.
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Re: Keen GBC beta version elements

Post by Nisaba » Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:33

also thanks a thousand for your hundreds and hundreds of edits. I regularly check the wikis Recent Changes section and noticed that you've contributed a ton of valuable information over the years. very much appreciated!!
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Re: Keen GBC beta version elements

Post by Grandy02 » Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:43

troublesomekeen wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:31
This is really cool! Thanks for this.
Thanks, I'm glad that you like it. :)
Nisaba wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:33
also thanks a thousand for your hundreds and hundreds of edits. I regularly check the wikis Recent Changes section and noticed that you've contributed a ton of valuable information over the years. very much appreciated!!
Thanks for your post, too. I see that you've also added a lot of content since February 2016 (shortly before my absence), keep up the good work. :)

If there is no Game Boy ROM hacker in our community, maybe someone of you knows a guy or gal from the scene and could ask them to take up the challenge of extracting all of the game's graphics and stuff.
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Re: Keen GBC beta version elements

Post by szemi » Sun Apr 28, 2019 13:51

For ROM hacking, you can try romhacking.net. I'm a member there as well.
Yeah, piece of cake!

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