Release of my unfinished mods - "Botafloria" and "Mura"

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Nospike
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Release of my unfinished mods - "Botafloria" and "Mura"

Post by Nospike »

Hi everyone,

It's not Keen Day yet, but... this'll be little more than an appetizer, so it's fine. :p I hope you're all doing well.
Starting some seven years ago I'd been working on a few Keen modding projects, namely two Keen 1 mods called Botafloria and Mura. Neither of them has been completed or seen any sort of public release as I eventually quit modding to focus on other things, but because other Keeners have contributed quite a bit to both of them, I felt it was unfair that no one has ever really seen the results of our efforts.

Without further ado, here is a release of Botafloria and Mura in their unfinished state:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1V-42zt ... sp=sharing

Botafloria has 6 and a half levels complete, Mura is essentially a one-level-wonder. I've added readme notes to both with more potentially useful information if you'd like to try playing them.

I would like to thank everyone who has ever assisted me with my modding efforts for their selfless work and consideration, and everyone else as well for participating in this amazing community. :) Happy premature Keen Day 2021. :birthday
Last edited by Nospike on Sat Mar 13, 2021 11:19, edited 1 time in total.
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Nisaba
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Re: Release of my unfinished mods

Post by Nisaba »

oh yeah. fresh food! yummy

I noticed some IMF files. this is exciting. thanks for sharing. gotta inspect both folders soon
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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Nisaba
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Re: Release of my unfinished mods

Post by Nisaba »

boy, both mods look exciting and feel as if they are not far from actually being finished.

I especially adore the MURA project.
the theme is outstanding. I'm always partial to a reduced colour scheme. and this one hits the spot. it has this spooky kinda vibe to it. I love the fact that you have to crawl to search certain places. also the animation looks and feels so fluent, which is fantastic. this mod definitly comes with a couple of splendid ideas.
i took some screenshots from the first level, which can give a good idea of what to expect.

Image . Image
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Image . Image


can you inform us about what is missing to make this a full mod? what's on your list that hasn't been done or needs to be addressed?
Last edited by Nisaba on Fri Mar 12, 2021 8:16, edited 6 times in total.
Foray in the Forest progress:
92% Programming || 95% GFX || 92% Levels || 98% Creatures || 90% Story || 94% Music || 95% SFX || 96% Extras

Other projects:
- Play Commander Keen on a GameBoy
- The Lynx Nyx
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Re: Release of my unfinished mods

Post by Benvolio »

Very excited to try these. Thanks for screengrabs Nisaba. Hopefully, as in my own case, the release of stagnant unfinished mods clears some headspace for new modding projects to take shape.
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Re: Release of my unfinished mods

Post by Nospike »

Thanks Nisaba, glad you liked it. :)
Nisaba wrote: Thu Mar 11, 2021 23:50 can you inform us about what is missing to make this a full mod? what's on your list that hasn't been done or needs to be addressed?
As far as Mura is concerned, the one existing level is pretty much final, but there's been little to no work done outside of that. Each level was going to have its own theme and tileset (with the simple black-and-white aesthetic remaining dominant, that is), lots of patching, sound and graphics work was going to be needed to properly visualize the story, which should take a dark turn about halfway through the game. Basically all I had was a bullet list of things that should be done/added, and some written lore which I was going to incorporate into the story and design. In its current state the game is maybe 20% complete.

As for Botafloria, that still needs 3-4 tilesets, 10 levels and patches, and sounds. Oh, and a title screen. :o
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Re: Release of my unfinished mods

Post by Benvolio »

The following is a review of sorts with some spoilers.

Mura

I love this Mura project. First of all the atmosphere laid down by the story sequence/text is fantastic. You've created a character that generates some interest and curiosity from the get-go. I love the smoke and mirrors that went into games of the EGA era, really drawing on the reserves of the imagination to create something cinematic and magical. You've followed this tradition nicely. The inclusion of a little bit of psychology -however minimalistic- in Mura's storytext, helps this effect. The spell is shattered, for obvious reasons that I'm obviously not complaining about, when we loudly enter the traditional mars map.

I love the novel way you automatically enter the level and the sinister disempowerement the player feels when one dies and immediately has to re-enter the same level. I assume this is intentional.

The level itself is mysterious and very much evokes the unexpected. The V2 slopes are nicely done and the minimalistic art is lovely. The modified physics throws me off a little when jumping and results in constant death in any jumping sections. This isn't a complaint however, as I need to be flexible and recognise that Keen was not the only platformer ever made, and not every platformer (mods included) must use Keen1's precise physics. I'd love if this project was brought to completion by somebody...

Botafloria

This Botafloria demo is amazing! So full of promise! You enter the first level and BAM suddenly it's like you're playing Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure. Amazing music, graphics, music, sounds. The level concept of the first level is very traditional and that's no bad thing. The ladders are so simple yet inventively effective. In general you're clearly a very creative and skilled modder. The recoil when shooting is excellent though I find it slightly amusing for some reason. We progress to level 2 and... it's very brown, I feel like I've switched from Cosmo to Keen Dreams now. The combination of the jaunty music and the sunshine roots the mod in a childhood evoking aesthetic (think Old Macdonald Had a Farm and a touch of Teletubbies*).

Moving on we reach an industrial level and now we know this was a full on top notch project. Although the aesthetic of the level is not Cosmo-ish, the diversity of the level themes on display is. The music in this one is incredible, really quite sophisticated electronica. The one occasional loud arpeggiated synth bit every time the music cycles makes me laugh and worry that I've received a mail on Outlook or one of these modern Zoom type softwares that our computers are filled with nowadays. Anyway this music combines with the heavily animated art to make a highly stimulating experience which I love. It makes me feel ashamed of my own drab levels... the MS dos prompt on the computer is a lovely touch and warms the heart.

Anyway. In summary this is an incredible package of unreleased material, showing huge promise, and mandatory for anyone who likes mods to check Nospike's stuff out! Please stick with us Nospike and, even if not inclined to mod again yourself, it's always valuable to us to have experienced voices around to help each of us dissect the output of the (hopefully not dwindling) modding community!

* Yes I was far too old to be watching Teletubbies when it came out but we didn't have fancy satellite TV so it had to suffice until Pokémon came on later on in the afternoon.
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Re: Release of my unfinished mods - "Botafloria" and "Mura"

Post by Nospike »

Whoa, thank you for your detailed writeup, Benvolio. I must say I wasn't expecting this kind of response at all. Glad you enjoyed it. :D
I can see how the lack of worldmaps is a putoff even in an unfinished project. Always wondered if that's something most modders usually work on firsthand rather than setting it aside for last.
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Re: Release of my unfinished mods - "Botafloria" and "Mura"

Post by Roobar »

the sounds of botaflora are really cool
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Re: Release of my unfinished mods - "Botafloria" and "Mura"

Post by proYorp »

Hey, this is neat! I always approve the release of abandoned projects, rather than letting them sit forgotten and hidden to never be appreciated, especially when there's music involved!

Just peeked around at Botafloria a bit. This was one I'd wondered about what had ever happened to it (and for some reason I keep wanting to spell/pronounce it "Botfloria"). The first level is adorable; the graphics, the sound effects, and the music all together create such a bright cheerful atmosphere. (Really love the chipper sound effects.)

Cool how two of the songs seem to be slightly remixed versions of each other. If I'm not mistaken, GameBird did some music for this, correct?

Benvolio wrote: Sat Mar 13, 2021 10:33 (hopefully not dwindling) modding community
Oh, I don't think there's any concern of that! Just looking at all the stuff from the last year, let alone just this Keen Day, things are more productive than I've ever seen! It'll keep me busy for a long time getting through it all. And more mods and modders in the future, that's for sure! ;)
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Re: Release of my unfinished mods

Post by Nisaba »

just a random train of thought:

I was wondering, how do you feel about releasing a full version of Mura?

I mean, this already is an outstanding project and I love to have this a finished product to upload to our beloved KeenWiki. The dominant black-and-white aesthetic is just superb.
Of course I don't think about a full blown 18 Level mod with all that is to it. Instead just finish what's there and stay true to what this mod is all about. A showcase of what is possible with a reduced set of graphics. I'd say make this also a minimalist game along the line of a proof of concept project. What I mean by this is simply blank the worldmape out. The player could jump right into the level without any warm up. This might underline the mysterious look and feel it already vibrantly expresses.
In other words stay true to the one-level-wonder idea and keep it exactly that way, but erase the worldmap as it is only an accessory part but unnecessary element. Also give the player only one life to keep things interesting. This might all it takes to make this beta-staged mod stand on its own two feet. at least to me this would feel very exciting.

well, I'm curious about your opinion about all that

Image . Image
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Image . Image
Foray in the Forest progress:
92% Programming || 95% GFX || 92% Levels || 98% Creatures || 90% Story || 94% Music || 95% SFX || 96% Extras

Other projects:
- Play Commander Keen on a GameBoy
- The Lynx Nyx
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Nisaba
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Re: Release of my unfinished mods - "Botafloria" and "Mura"

Post by Nisaba »

I guess all I'm saying is that I'm in love with your mod concept. I even took inspiration of your torch animation graphics and polished the ones which are featured in my own mod.

your mod is a great inspiration!
Foray in the Forest progress:
92% Programming || 95% GFX || 92% Levels || 98% Creatures || 90% Story || 94% Music || 95% SFX || 96% Extras

Other projects:
- Play Commander Keen on a GameBoy
- The Lynx Nyx
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Nospike
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Re: Release of my unfinished mods - "Botafloria" and "Mura"

Post by Nospike »

Hey ProYorp, thanks for checking this out. :)
proYorp wrote: Sat Mar 27, 2021 5:51 Cool how two of the songs seem to be slightly remixed versions of each other. If I'm not mistaken, GameBird did some music for this, correct?
GameBird made all of the music except for Guile's Theme... :lol I tried making some original music of my own but it didn't really fit the theme of the game or the standard of quality I wanted to keep up. I don't think any of it is included in this release.
The "remixing" was done by using K1n9_Duk3's Mid2IMF tool instead of IMFCreator to convert the midis. :) It uses a different default IMF instrument set or something and thus produces pretty cool results with some songs. I bet you could do some proper magic with this but I don't understand it all very well.
There's some more background info and a full blown Keen help section in the readme file, if you haven't checked it out.

@Nisaba, thanks again. I have to admit I'm just not the ideal type of person to lead an art project, which a Keen total conversion mod really is, especially with how modding has flourished and the focus has been able to shift from wrestling with the original game's code towards producing the most original and interesting content possible. My work tends to suffer from too much ambition and progress being too painfully slow while the results are amateurish. I had so much planned for Mura and now I don't even remember where exactly I was going with it. I'm not sure I could effectively condense it into a few levels without sacrificing the thrill, though.
I have recovered (probably) all the modding tools I used for this and most of the content itself, I'm missing some story and lore writeups for Mura and some of the graphics, which pains me greatly because there were some really cool tiles and sprites made by VBB that gave me an immense amount of inspiration, especially the design for the humanoid species native to the Ruins. But the gist of it is, I guess I could continue. Maybe I'll have a new-old outlet for my spare time this summer, we'll see. :p Thanks for playing.
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Re: Release of my unfinished mods - "Botafloria" and "Mura"

Post by Benvolio »

*Ahem*
Keenwiki wrote:Nisaba is also known for picking up abandoned and unfinished mod attempts.
Even if Nospike does as you suggest... perhaps it's time you delve into some Vorticons work of your own Nisaba! I can imagine you'll do an excellent job.
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Re: Release of my unfinished mods - "Botafloria" and "Mura"

Post by Nisaba »

;]
Foray in the Forest progress:
92% Programming || 95% GFX || 92% Levels || 98% Creatures || 90% Story || 94% Music || 95% SFX || 96% Extras

Other projects:
- Play Commander Keen on a GameBoy
- The Lynx Nyx
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