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The Morticore

Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:25 am
by Quillax
Around a year and a half ago, I released a Keen 1 mod on my website and the PCKF, which is known as "Commander Keen & the Morticore" (or you can just call it "The Morticore"). It was bundled with a text document that explains how I got into modding and includes info about my first three mods (which were never released anywhere on the internet, and are unfortunately lost). I decided to release it on here for those that are more attached to this forum than the PCKF (if there is any, I have a feeling there is, but I might be wrong). Here's a couple links:

Download the mod!
View the Quinton Land page!

The Quinton Land page has a screenshot of the mod and a description of it. Anyway, hope you enjoyed it! Feedback is appreciated!

Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:41 pm
by Benvolio
Thank you, Quinton. There are a few big posters such as Stealthy71088 and Xky who have posted far more extensively in K:M. Most of those presominantly K:M users are people like Xky and Xtraverse and of course Levellord, whose involvement with the community has become very slight over the course of the past decade. It's still worth posting all new mods here, as it sometimes generates a unique, more technical discussion compared to the talk over in PCKF. Realistically, though, PCKF has become more and more the predominant channel of talk about modding. This probably correlates with the decline in numbers of mods published. For instance, we are in September and the only mod release for Keen1 (the biggest platform by numbers) is 'Swan Song' by Shikadi. That surely makes 2016 the worst year for mod releases since, uh, 2001. (EDIT: This refers to numbers of mods, obviously. I'm not commenting on the quality of Shikadi's mod - I havent played it. I must endeavour to do so).

Posted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 5:52 am
by XkyRauh
Hi Quinton,

I really like the layout of your levels! I feel that you did a good job of capturing the feel of Keen in the way your platforms and detail tiles are laid out!

A criticism would be the overabundance of points. I feel like half an extra life (two Mortimer dolls) is an excessive reward simply for reaching the exit. I stopped going out of my way to collect points after the first level, and still completed the mod with a score of 500,000+ points!

Most of the levels were quite easy, which is not a criticism coming from me--I find easier mods to be enjoyable. My biggest point of feedback is the Toreser dodging to obtain the green keygem in the penultimate level is a staggering jump in difficulty relative to the rest of the mod! I had a whole bunch of extra lives before I hit that part, and I definitely died a half-dozen times to RNG (and rusty Keen skills) before I escaped intact.

The end duel with Mort was a nice touch--I was wondering how the gem would be obtained! Very clever. :)

This is the first mod I'd played in several years; I think it was a great re-introduction to what, in my mind, makes Keen games so fun. Your level design is fun and readily accessible--thank you for that!

(Also, I like the pep in the step of your Keen sprite. He's cute!)

Posted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:20 am
by Quillax
@Benvolio: I think one reason why Keen mods have been declining was because of the Keen Dreams source code and the Keen:Galaxy Source Modding Package that were released. I think some people are working on mods with those, some of which might be trying to figure out how they work. It would be nice if one day, however, the rate of Keen mods releasing will increase.

@Xky Rauh:Thanks for the feedback, Xky! That kind of made me motivated to work on my Keen 3 mod for a very little bit.

I can definitely see what you mean by the high amount of points in the mod. I will try to cut down the points quite by an amount in my next mod.

Yeah, I can see what you are pointing out in the difficultly spike. I guess I should've either raised the ceiling a bit higher or put a hole somewhere in the ceiling, eh?

I can agree with your point of the cuteness of my Keen sprite. I would like to say that some inspiration for my Keen sprite was from your own Keen sprite. In fact, the mod has taken quite some inspiration from Episode X (it doesn't bother you, right?).


By the way, guys, there was something I've been wondering about for a long time, and was curious about. Has anyone managed to find a little secret area I hid in one the mod's levels? The only one that said they found it so far was one of the mod's beta-testers.

Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 7:59 pm
by Benvolio
Quinton wrote:It would be nice if one day, however, the rate of Keen mods releasing will increase.
If it doesn't, I might have to make another one myself

*a whole community groans in unison*

Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 12:29 am
by Nisaba
Benvolio wrote:If it doesn't, I might have to make another one myself.
You have my vote for: "The Adventures of Bunny Basher pt.3"

Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 1:01 am
by levellass
From what I've seen of the community, soon. Very soon indeed.

Re: The Morticore

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 6:28 am
by CommanderSpleen
Posted a summary of this mod on the Facebook page here and set it up for playing in a browser here.

It was refreshing to be able to play through an entire mod in a day. Some may find it too easy, but it was an enjoyable respite without requiring too much investment of time amongst other priorities and distractions. A great mod for younger players, which is something we could do with more of.

The difficulty jump for the last two levels didn't seem overly sharp to me, aside from the unfair but amusing garg trap. The boss behaviour was well patched and the level layout suited his abilities well.

Your graphical style has definitely improved since the previous trilogy. (I'm yet to play them, but have observed some screenshots.) In particular, keeping the background blank with occasional scenery details instead of using distracting mosaics everywhere was a very good idea. My suggestion would be to improve the level tiles on the map in the future, particularly the shading.

I agree with Xky's comment about the overuse of points. It was still fun to collect them all in most of the levels, but some just became too overwhelming and they soon began to seem somewhat irrelevant. Since lives are practically limitless anyway, you might as well use the infinite lives/in-level score patch, and then the points would be meaningful regardless of their abundance. (I'll probably add this to the browser playable version.)

My other main suggestion regards the story and hint text. Although it's a minor detail for a mod and the naive style has a certain charm, polishing and simplifying the story, hint and ending text can make a mod dramatically more satisfying. If you're interested in more feedback there I can post some specific suggestions.

The end sequence seemed broken. Was this a known bug? The text seemed to indicate that something should be happening graphically, but nothing changed at the light switch "click" moment.

Re: The Morticore

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 6:08 pm
by Quillax
Thanks for the feedback, CommanderSpleen! Looking back at that one Garg trap, I suppose it was kind of unfair, even though I thought that one arrow sign that was around the trap would tell players to immediately run to the right. Yeah, I do agree about what you said about the backgrounds. I could try to improve my map tile skills on my current mod.

I'd love to see your suggestions for the story and "hint" text. Something did change at the light switch "click" moment, although I suppose that it's not really that easily noticeable. Try looking closely at the black hole.

Re: The Morticore

Posted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:19 am
by Bubzrulz
SO far so good enjoying it