DISCUSSION: Keen 6 level design.

Discussion and analysis of graphics, story, levels, and so on.
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Re: DISCUSSION: Keen 6 level design.

Post by levellass » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:49 pm

I am fond of this level too overall.

As 'The Bloogdome' I expected a more arena-like atmosphere, like The Thunderdome from Mad Max, it at least should have had some Bloog-related imagery.

However, like Xky, I also appreciate the mix of artificial and natural themes. The level strikes me as an older, more natural Bloog construct that was taken over by the Fleex and modernized. Some imagery reflecting this could have added a bit of atmosphere, something perhaps involving a more direct clash with purple tentacles spreading over grey panels or spots of recent construction. (Alternatively the other domes are artificial constructs that fell into disrepair in which case providing them with some rusty remnants of technology could have given a different feel to them.)

I'm not a fan of the thick dome walls, as with the other domes we should be able to see the outside. (Plus some basic spikes. I too would welcome some Nospikes stuck in walls.)

As a showcase for the Nospikes this falls flat; while interesting I feel they would work far better in a more open, platform-based level. There Keen could jump over and avoid them as well as lure them off of edges to fall satisfyingly long distances. We see, from he sheer number of shots needed to stun, that Nospikes were meant to be avoided or tricked rather than simply blasted through and using this as a gameplay mechanic would have been inventive. (However given that they were a 'reward' for playing on medium or hard their integration to a level was always going to be limited.) There are some nice moments with these guys, but still.

This would have made a better showcase for the Flect, given the difficulty of getting above them. This would force strategy since the player would have to hop over, lead and avoid them in many situations. The dome is passageway-like yet also open in many points.

As a whole I rate the level high, it is relatively short and uncomplicated, as opposed to say Bloogton Tower or Mnftg which can drag on. The area at the bottom was, as far as I recall, the first time I'd seen Platforms go where Keen couldn't (While staying on the board, pretty much.) It was a welcome challenge and had a different atmosphere. (Again natural, below.. As if it had been forced to retreat there as the above was modified, both figuratively and literally subsumed by technology.) All-in-all I find it a fun level to breeze through even though there's room for improvement. Its brevity and pacing make up for its shortfalls where as more solidly built levels that drag on can irk.

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Re: DISCUSSION: Keen 6 level design.

Post by Ceilick » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:17 am

1. Keen came to Fribbulus Xax on a weekday. The Bloogdome would ordinarily be packed to capacity on the weekend, but it's off-season right now, and so all Keen has to contend with are a few Nospikes doing personal training.

Good point Levellass, the level design really is more conducive to Flects than Nospike, although for me this change alone would even further distance the level from my expectations for the "Bloogdome".

Not to harp on the point, but I also didn't mean to suggest the organic/artificial theme couldn't work, just that...its very haphazard here, especially as opposed to any of the other levels in Keen 6 which combine these themes. Additional tiles are needed to help blend these themes for this level. We see the kind of things that would work at the start and end of the level, with the red i-beams, but we could use more. More I-beams, maybe some weird angled ones connecting platform to platform, or some kind subtle transitional tiles, or areas of decay as Levellass mentions. That isn't to say there isn't value in the minimalism and 'less is more' trend so often seen in Keen, but as the level stands, for me, the themes feel smashed together like a bad fan level.

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