NY00123's tests level

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NY00123
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NY00123's tests level

Post by NY00123 » Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:59 pm

Download link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ellos4bfm3fgs ... 2.zip?dl=0

I'll simply quote from the README here:

======

A few possible comments on this level:
- From the ones who didn't know: Wow, this is a great way to build a little challenge!
- From some JJ2 players: Bringing the unofficial "tests" game type to the Keens? Yay!
- From other JJ2 players: Rats, now the Keens are also infected with this thing!

This is a single Keen 4 user-made level consisting of a few so-called "tests". In each such a test, you basically need to go from A to B, without touching any of the green-colored "warp" tiles. Touching any of these will (or at least should) warp you back to point A. There are warps of other colors that should be used, though.

As hinted above, this is inspired by various levels of a similar nature, constructed for Jazz Jackrabbit 2. These date back to 2007 or earlier.

Why work on such a level right now? Well, this is what happens after partially going back to JJ2, the excuse being the recently-conducted Anniversary Bash 19.

Running the game:
- Simply type "GO4" under a compatible DOS environment. This also covers DOSBox v0.74 and compatible. Starting a new game shouldn't be that difficult afterwards.

Known issues:
- Yeah, the graphics may be far from pretty, but this isn't the main target anyway.
- The winds may be a bit buggy in nature. This is a known issue.
- Hopefully all warps should be corrected, but there may still be a mapping (or possibly a patching) bug.
- As usual, there may be other bugs.
- Keen's momentum will appear to remain unchanged after warping. This may seem a bit unnatural, indeed, but the following should probably be mentioned: Test 10 takes advantage of this in a very clear way.
- On a related note, some debug keys (cheats) might make the game malfunction in different ways. So, watch out!
- Also, enabling the "No Clip" mode will *not* let you go through the warps. They'll still work as usual!

Difficulty:
Let's say that test 5 may include the first actual challenge, test 6 has its difficult part somewhere, test 7 is just a bit annoying and test 10 is probably the most difficult. The latter is actually a bit of a surprise, as it was originally guessed that test 10 won't be that difficult.

Is it possible to pass all of the tests:
The answer is a clear "YES"!

A few misc. notes:
- As originally released, this is just a combination of one user level and a set of EXE patches. EGAGRAPH.CK4 and AUDIO.CK4 remain unchanged.
- Originally, the "moon" tile property was morphed into the new "warp" tile property. It was eventually decided to rather modify the "door" tile property, though, since it's present in all of Keen 4-6, and the "Keen entering door" states were patched anyway.
- In fact, originally the plain pyramid "moon" floor tile itself (as present in Keen 4's level 11) was used for warping.
- A few other tile properties got morphed into the winds. In fact, original tiles were re-used as-is, with their original "tile property" values. This should make it easier for you to guess which tile properties were re-used, when you encounter the winds...
- Gem holders were effectively disabled, freeing up code space for the new warping functionality.
- It can be said, in a way, that other kinds of tests were already made for Keen games. See e.g., KeenRush's "Fall Up" mod for Keen 1.

Tools used (mostly due to past familiarity with them):
- CK4PATCH.
- TEDSETUP and TED5.
- CK456TLI (for temporary applying the "moon" tile property to another tile).

Other information used (mostly for the patching):
- Portions of a couple of disassemblies of Keen 4.
- Small segments of the Omnispeak sources.
- The KeenWiki's patches database.

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Nisaba
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Re: NY00123's tests level

Post by Nisaba » Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:30 am

warp, warp, warp!

oh wow! this is inventive! thanks for sharing this fresh and surprising gameplay. I like the idea a lot. this has a whole lot of potential to it. as this is an early stage of the development I'm very excited which direction this might take, cause it's already a really fun and entertaining way of modifying these Keen games.
you sped up the movement cycles didn't you? and man those raindrops gave me a hard time. unfortunately there are no difficulty choices, because I couldn't made it past the first pole section. the falling physics won't let me change directions fast enough to avoid those obstacles. even F10+J didn't help. I would love to hear what the janitor has to say. you might want to lower the difficulty level quite a bit.
BUT since this is a first test run I won't complain at all. contrariwise I'm really impressed by the changed gameplay and I'm looking forward to see more coming soon!

levellass
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Re: NY00123's tests level

Post by levellass » Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:03 am

Aaah nice, strangely enough I patched warp tiles into a mod of mine a month ago (For something similar, they let the player return to the left of the level for another challenge.) I expect to have a whole host of tile-related patches to share with everyone soon so this is a very welcome thing to see.

You may want to consider having Keen start in different places on different difficulties, that way you can use versions of different tests for each difficulty, the levels should be big enough for that. SO far only dabbling, I am so, so busy...

NY00123
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Re: NY00123's tests level

Post by NY00123 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:50 pm

Lemme partially quote from the PCKF post (including (most of) my response to Nisaba)...

Thanks for trying out this level so far! I should say that, erm, as a proof there's a way to beat the level, I've recorded a demo of myself doing so. It's currently just a DEMO0.DMO file in a modified EGAGRAPH.CK4. I might upload a video a few days later. Note that the demo ends a little bit before the actual level end, since it wouldn't be possible to save the demo to a file otherwise.

Let's also add a random side-note: Yeah, turns out I've mistakenly left the (unused) world map in GAMEMAPS.CK4, heh.
Nisaba wrote:
Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:30 am
oh wow! this is inventive! thanks for sharing this fresh and surprising gameplay. I like the idea a lot. this has a whole lot of potential to it. as this is an early stage of the development I'm very excited which direction this might take, cause it's already a really fun and entertaining way of modifying these Keen games.
Thanks for your comments! Truly, this idea was brought right from user levels for JJ2, but I guess it's still something that (weirdly enough) doesn't occur every day.

With a few small modifications it should be possible to make such test levels for Keen Dreams and all of 4-6. I shouldn't forget Keen 1-3, too; They are quite suitable for tests, given the possible physics-related tricks, although some earlier mods already seem to take advantage of the physics!
you sped up the movement cycles didn't you?
Can you elaborate on this?
and man those raindrops gave me a hard time.
I know; The current buggy implementation seemed like the most trivial one to do. Not sure how to make a "proper" and less-buggy one atm (except for maybe copying some physics-related routine and then adapting it).
unfortunately there are no difficulty choices, because I couldn't made it past the first pole section.
Now this is interesting, is there any JJ2 tests level with various difficulty choices? Well, I guess there are a few, but if not, then this is surely an idea. I won't be surprised if there's already at least one JJ2 level with one set of tests per character (i.e., Jazz, Spaz and possibly also Lori for TSF users).
the falling physics won't let me change directions fast enough to avoid those obstacles. even F10+J didn't help. I would love to hear what the janitor has to say. you might want to lower the difficulty level quite a bit.
BUT since this is a first test run I won't complain at all. contrariwise I'm really impressed by the changed gameplay and I'm looking forward to see more coming soon!
Yeah, I wasn't sure about the cheat codes. As said above, though, a few of these can lead to unexpected behaviors. Also, in order to be able to skip the warps with F10+N, I'll actually have to *add* a little bit of code. Just a few bytes, there's probably enough code space, but I guess it's still a small thing.

I do agree that test no. 5 can be difficult. It currently tends to take me some attempts until I make it. I can assure that it's possible, though. Basically, studying how do given key presses affect Keen's motion, not just momentarily but also in the (near) future, is a key point. Test no. 10 (admittedly the most difficult) is an even more significant example of this. Thanks again for your interest!
levellass wrote:
Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:03 am
Aaah nice, strangely enough I patched warp tiles into a mod of mine a month ago (For something similar, they let the player return to the left of the level for another challenge.) I expect to have a whole host of tile-related patches to share with everyone soon so this is a very welcome thing to see.
It is great to see you also have interest in similar modifications! I do recall recently encountering in keenmodding.org at least one, erm, interesting patch, if not more. Thought that scrolling/warping might be one thing, but I guess it's rather this one: "Moving Platforms can follow guided paths" (https://keenmodding.org/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=2441)

I also had the latter one in my mind, but you've actually bothered to implement the thing, and this is what really matters!
You may want to consider having Keen start in different places on different difficulties, that way you can use versions of different tests for each difficulty, the levels should be big enough for that. SO far only dabbling, I am so, so busy...
I see there's quite (well, a little bit) of a demand for this feature. Maybe someone will come up with a later tests level that covers this (and choosing one of multiple test levels is also a possibility).

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Bubzrulz
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Re: NY00123's tests level

Post by Bubzrulz » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:36 pm

this is very cool hard but good and great idea

levellass
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Re: NY00123's tests level

Post by levellass » Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:00 pm

If you're not using the map level then you can use the map tile space starting at $E199. Since it's in the same segment just change the pointer in the tile properties list and cap all the code off with '$5F $5E $8B $E5 $5D $CB' (This can cause issues since the affected tile codes stop the tile interaction instead of checking and returning to deal with other tiles. So if you're touching a warp tile for example an item tile next to it will go untouched since it's not checked for until Keen moves. This is in fact how gem holders work so it's no biggie.)

NY00123
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Re: NY00123's tests level

Post by NY00123 » Fri May 05, 2017 1:35 pm

I've just uploaded a video recording of a play-through to YouTube (I also created a DEMO0.CK4 file for this): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGfU841MqR8

Note that the discussion with the janitor is not there, otherwise I wouldn't be able to save the demo to a file like DEMO0.CK4. It's also a good chance for the curious players to try harder, heh.

I also haven't uploaded the files letting you watch DEMO0.CK4 in-game. Maybe I'll do so in some form, say by releasing an updated revision of the level (without actual changes to the level itself).
Bubzrulz wrote:
Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:36 pm
this is very cool hard but good and great idea
Thanks for checking this level out!
levellass wrote:
Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:00 pm
If you're not using the map level then you can use the map tile space starting at $E199. Since it's in the same segment just change the pointer in the tile properties list and cap all the code off with '$5F $5E $8B $E5 $5D $CB' (This can cause issues since the affected tile codes stop the tile interaction instead of checking and returning to deal with other tiles. So if you're touching a warp tile for example an item tile next to it will go untouched since it's not checked for until Keen moves. This is in fact how gem holders work so it's no biggie.)
Thanks for the suggestion, I assume you're talking about taking advantage of more space for additional tiles?
As I've just written in the PCKF, I don't think I'll make much more changes to the level. It should be an inspiration for others to make more tests levels. Also, I suspect that you can get away with very few tiles in such levels, although this depends on what you want to do.

I also tried to get away from the need to modify EGAGRAPH.CK4, and even keep the tile properties data as-is. Obviously I had to modify EGAGRAPH.CK4 in order to import some demo, though.

Benvolio
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Re: NY00123's tests level

Post by Benvolio » Sat Sep 02, 2017 6:50 pm

Very interesting idea for a modding projects to be sure!!

What I'm wondering is, have you or anyone else got any ideas how to graphically present such gameplay in the 2D setting? I think that is a difficult challenge to pull off. The obvious is some kind of "plasma" animated tile that would be incorporated into some sort of space-age level graphics. Is that what you envisage?

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