Storyline and Level Theme Consolidation

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Deltamatic
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Post by Deltamatic » Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:26 pm

Let me rephrase that.

How big can a Yorp statue message be?
And if we have Yorp statues in every level, we'll probably need some extra teleporters to make sure Keen does the slug quests in order.

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Post by lemm » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:25 am

As much as we can fit on a screen; the size of the box can be modified easily enough.

There will need to be an extra file to hold all the text though, because there is not enough room to patch it in.

Also, we could make text boxes scrolling, like the story and help files. That way it would be easy to edit the statue text, and I would recommend it.

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Post by Deltamatic » Mon Jan 04, 2010 2:07 am

Yorp statue messages, in the format of Level: message


Crashed BwB: Ugh, and I lost my pogo, too.

Forest: Brr it's cold! Why did I have to wear short sleeves?

Geyser: Aah, my trusty old pogo stick. Must've dropped from the megarocket during the crash.

Tree city: It's time I headed west, the people in that city need help.

Slug town 1: I need to reach the great western city across your bridge. "Very well, but I won't grant you passage lightly. We want sweet revenge on our prankster rivals, the Licks, for their poisoning our well with really bad soda. Fetch an ultra-spicy pepper from the swampy cemetery, and then we'll talk."

Estuary ford: I don't like running errands, but I guess I have to.

Cemetery: "This is an invitation-only funeral, stranger. If you crash the party we'll boot you out."

Slug town 2: Here it is, Slugface. "You will address me as 'Your Majesty', and just for that you have to pepper the Licks' banquet before your reward." Aaw man! "At last we shall reveal ourselves to the Licks. At last we shall have our revenge."

Lick city: "Have you seen those stupid Slugs? Lying cheats. Ever since they accidentally dumped some really bad soda in their well, they've wanted to take out their frustration on us."

Lick moat and gatehouse: "Just what do you think you're doing, waltzing in and shooting around? We'll show you a thing or two!"

Lick castle: "Oh. Hello there, crazed maniac. Could you do us a favor and perform your shenanagins away from the dining hall? Decent people are about to have a banquet."

Slug town 3: Okay, so I peppered the Licks' banquet. "Muahahaha. Ahahahaha! BWAHAHAHAHA!!!" Yeah, yeah. Now let me across that bridge. "I said we would talk, not let you across the bridge." You... you... "Get me lifewater from the ruins. I hear it can bestow immortality. Then you may cross." ...slug! "Goodbye."

Slug town 4: "Ah, excellent!" [The Slug King takes a swig.] "Hmph, I don't feel any more immortal. Well, what of it. You may cross the bridge now." About time. "And I am rid of your sickening presence forever." The feeling's mutual.

Foothills: "It isn't right for a princess to just be left like this." Hi there. "An actual PRINCESS, without one servant! This is an OUTRAGE!" I'm Commander Keen. "You may address me as Princess Lindsey, or Your Royal Highness." Sure. I'll just be moving along now. "Silly peasants."

Mine shaft: "You again." Nice weather, eh Your Royal Highness? "Simply a DISGRACE!" Oh great. You're still going on about how you don't have servants? "Supposedly so I can 'develop character', or some such tomfoolery. It's obvious that I am the PINNACLE of social grace." Riiiiight.

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Post by Deltamatic » Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:55 pm

Proposed story text, awaiting Spleen's approval as to officialdom. Suggestions, constructive criticism welcome if you don't think it should be official.
I wrote:Billy Blaze, eight-year-old genius, held a shiny green object that looked like a squirt gun glued to a minerature satellite dish up in the light. "Aah," he said. "Took it long enough, but my neural stunner is perfect."
"Billy?" someone shouted from down the hall.
He hid the stunner and dropped an old Vorticon HyperPistol into the trash. "Yeah, Mom?"
"It's time for bed. Go to sleep."
"Right." Billy stretched, kicked off his shoes and wriggled his way under several layers of sheets. He wondered if anyone would realize what had happened up in space. He wondered whether anything else would need his saving, or if it was only a matter of time before some other threat loomed...
There was a city. A beautiful city. Spires and fountains hung as delicately as crystals from a chandelier, nodding to the paths spinning around them. Billy felt he could stand gazing at them for days.
It all rocked like an earthquake hit. Billy stumbled one way and then another while an army marched down towards him. Everywhere he looked evil was being done: masterpieces shattered, homes incinerated, innocents enslaved. The steadily advancing troops were almost upon him, and as he scrambled away another tremor sent him into empty space. There was nothing to break his fall for miles--
Billy started from his sleep, a voice echoing through his mind. "You who saved worlds, might you take pity on Gnosticus IV?"
"Hello?" he called. But his room was empty.
The alarm clock read well past midnight. He stepped out of bed and through a window noticed the moon gleaming on his pogo stick outside. A Vorticon star chart hung on one wall, and towards the left a star was labeled GNOSTICUS. Billy gave a slight nod before snatching the neural stunner, taking up his pogo, putting on his brother's football helmet, and transforming into Commander Keen, Defender of Earth!
An hour of boredom later, Keen finally arrived at Gnosticus IV. "I've gotta come up with something to do on these long space voyages," he muttered while guiding the Bean-with-Bacon down into the atmosphere. From what his scans told him, the planet's largest city was just up ahead. Sure enough, clouds parted to reveal the same city he'd seen in his dream. As his megarocket prepared to land, Keen was interrupted by a sickening crunch and airbags to the face.
The entire nose section was crumpled like paper, suspended along with the Bean-with-Bacon midair. Keen sighed. "Just my luck, there's some sort of force field. I could be a mile above ground, and I've got to get down somehow. I guess that even with a destroyed nose I could manage a smooth landing." He punched a few buttons in sequence on his joystick and the megarocket fired reverse thrusters.
It groaned and shook from side to side. Keen looked up, astonished, only to discover the nose was staying put while the rest ripped away from it. "How--force fields don't work that--" The spaceship completely sheared from its nose and fell away. Meanwhile the gaping hole in front burst into flame, flipping the whole thing end over end. "AAAAAAAH!" Keen struggled with his controls and managed to activate the sputtering main engine while his trusty rocket spun closer and closer to the ground.
Trees whipped by underneath him, and the Bean-with-Bacon, now little more than a crashlanding chunk of rubber cement, snagged on one. Battery acid and plastic tubing flew in all directions. Keen saw the rapidly approaching surface, winced, and clung to an airbag under him for dear life. After a few seconds that seemed like eternities, he finally impacted.
The wind was knocked out of him. Stars filled his vision. The airbag sailed back up and into a tree, bashing his head against the trunk. "Ugh. Good thing I remembered to wear my helmet." Burning wreckage was scattered across the clearing below Keen and he still felt woozy from being knocked around. "Well, welcome to Gnosticus IV."
While I'm posting, there's a question that's been rattling about in my mind regarding the world map: How many tiles need to be in between Tile A and Tile B for the player not to see Tile B from Tile A?
Last edited by Deltamatic on Sat Jan 09, 2010 3:17 am, edited 2 times in total.

Draik
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Post by Draik » Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:22 pm

Nice. Does Keen ever get any sleep?

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Post by Deltamatic » Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:55 am

That's why in a future episode of the trilogy point items are caffeine-themed. ;)

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Post by Dr. Kylstein » Sat Jan 09, 2010 2:12 am

Keen sighed. "Just my luck, there's some sort of force field. I could be a mile above ground, and I've got to get down somehow. I guess that even with a destroyed nose I could manage a smooth landing."
It sounds very wrong for him to sigh and soliloquize in the middle of a crash.

I suggest giving Keen a brief excited reaction ("What was that!? ...a forcefield?"), and then have the narrator describe how "Acting quickly, Keen begins an emergency landing, fighting to control his damaged vessel." Word however you will.

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Post by Deltamatic » Sat Jan 09, 2010 4:33 am

The idea was that he'd be stuck way up there, do his soliloquy, and then back up out of the field without the nose (crash ensues). Made that clear in an edit.

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Post by CommanderSpleen » Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:47 am

++Dr. Kylstein

It reads too much like a novel, and in that sense it is well written. However, IMKO it needs to be more like a comic, keeping to the simple and concise style of the original games. Maybe with some small visual aids (whatever can fit into the font bitmap).

A voice in Keen's head seems too generic for this story. Perhaps the oracle could project a hallucination of his alarm clock delivering the message on its screen or something. Then it could melt away the walls and roof and surround him with a glimpse of the city, followed by a map to the location through some other means which he then must copy down. (Or memorise, being a supergenius and all, but for some reason I get the impression Keen has a certain taste for hard copies of things, even if he doesn't need them to use the information.)

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Post by Deltamatic » Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:24 am

Okay, I studied the original games' story texts and came up with this. My main fear about it is that it could be too similar: while definitely we want to create a Keenish feel for the trilogy, going with the standard Vorticons feel is iffy.
I wrote:COMMANDER KEEN
in
"Trilogy Name"

Billy Blaze, eight-year-old genius, working diligently for several months has created an interstellar starship from old soup cans, rubber cement and plastic tubing. Whenever he hears a call to adventure, Billy travels into his backyard workshop, takes up his trusty pogo stick, dons his brother's football helmet and transforms into...

COMMANDER KEEN--defender of Earth!

Already have wrathful Martians, devestation-bent Vorticons and even his nemesis Mortimer McMire learned the hard way that evil doesn't pay, for in his ship, the Bean-with-Bacon Megarocket, Keen dispenses galactic justice with an iron hand!

Episode One: (episode name)

Billy had just finished his latest invention, the Neural Stunner, and was ready to try it out when his mom sent him to bed. (Bummer.) But he dreamed of a beautiful city full of spires, fountains, twirling paths and, oh yeah, a brutal invading army. Billy woke up only to have his alarm clock display words rather than the time! "I've had daylight savings problems before, but this is just over the top," he said as he watched mysterious messages form on the timepiece.
"YOU SAVED OTHER WORLDS PLEASE HELP US NOW AT GNOSTICUS IV", it read. "Well, thanks a lot," huffed an unamused Billy. "The least you could do would be to give me a map." "OH SORRY FORGOT ABOUT THAT" read his alarm clock. "GALACTIC COORDINATES 31415926" "Hmm, I think I know the place. Bye, crazy alarm clock." And Billy was off to his clubhouse.

WHAT HAPPENED TO KEEN

An hour of boredom later, Commander Keen finally arrived at Gnosticus IV. "Man, I've gotta think of something to do on those long space voyages," he remarked as he guided the Bean-with-Bacon to the planet's largest city. It was exactly what it had looked like in his dream. Just as Keen was coming in to land, there was a sickening crunch and airbags flew in his face! The megarocket's nose was stuck in midair, holding up the rest of the rocket with it. "Weird, must be some sort of force field," Keen puzzled while firing reverse thrusters. "I should be able to land even with a--WHOAH!"
The nose was left in the air, ripping a hole in the spaceship! It fell end over end groundward, but just when Keen thought things couldn't get any worse, the hole burst into flame! He managed to ignite the sputtering ion engine, only succeeding in blasting the Bean-with-Bacon faster and faster away from the city. And the ground wasn't getting any further away, though come to think of it, some trees were even higher. One of them snagged onto the crashing craft, setting off a tremendous explosion that ripped the megarocket apart and sent Keen flying!
He clung to the airbag for dear life, hit the ground with an "Oof!", bounced into a tree and hit his head on the trunk. "Good thing I remembered to wear my helmet," Keen murmured woozily. He looked out on the burning wreckage of his spaceship. "Not fair. Force fields don't even work that way." He sighed. "Well... welcome to Gnosticus IV."

WHAT KEEN MUST DO

Whoever was asking Keen to help them lived in the big city. Since the Bean-with-Bacon crashlanded heading east, the best direction to go would be west.

THE ADVENTURE BEGINS...

You know what to do. Let's rock.

Episode Two: (episode name)

(episode preview)

Episode Three: (episode name)

(episode preview)

Commander Keen says:
"Episode Three is just amazing!"
As you can see we haven't cleared up what the names are for any of the three episodes or the trilogy as a whole.

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Post by CommanderSpleen » Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:58 pm

Hahaha, much better! Got a busy day tomorrow. I'll take a closer look when I get a chance.

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Post by Dr. Kylstein » Fri Jan 15, 2010 3:26 am

After some rambling in the rantage thread, I've decided to advocate some changes to the story that I think will make the planned trilogy more cohesive and dramatic. I've also fleshed out the second and third epsiodes a bit. Here's my summary of how I think it should be:

The goal of the invaders is to acquire the Lifewater, secret to the Council's immortality, and a closely held treasure of Gnosticus IV. In the first episode, it's significance is not revealed. That episode simply establishes some of the background of the planet, and features Keen desperately trying to reach the city. The Slug and Lick conflict should be ongoing in the background of the entire episode, regardless of Keen's participation. It makes the planet seem more alive. At the end Keen falls into the middle of the Lifewater's history, buried underground.

In episode two, the levels are caverns, mines, buried alchemy labs, etc. that slowly reveal the history of Lifewater on the planet. By the end, it becomes clear that the the Lifewater is a very valuable substance, the secret of the Oracle Council, and the objective of the invaders. Episode two could benefit from having colorful denizens of the underground, whose aid must be enlisted to escape. The development of Lifewater would be told primarily through the scenery, without it's power becoming explicit until episode three.

In episode three, the trilogy climaxes as Keen must finally fight to prevent the invaders from gaining immortality and save the city. The city's history and the existence and history of the Council would be background story, possibly conveyed through NPCs as well as scenery. The invasion is naturally the main thread. After they are defeated, Keen confronts the Oracle Council with what he's found in episode 2, and they explain how they came to use Lifewater, and what measures were taken to prevent them from abusing their power. (That's just something I'd want to ask them about, and it could explain why they were unable to defend themselves, twice.)

I think the Oracle itself should be a conspicuous but unexamined presence. It's powers will be mentioned in passing, perhaps as explanation for the message in episode one's prologue, but it should not be seen in action 'until' Keen4. The idea is that it should feel like that part of the story is only resolved by Keen4's ending.

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Post by Deltamatic » Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:28 am

Originally the invaders were coming after the Oracle, but this works better--all the plot surrounding lifewater and the mineral in it isn't wasted. The invaders could want immortality not just for themselves, but for their troops and bioships, making them an unstoppable army.
The only problem I see is that there aren't any in-level messages in episode 3 (unless the final level message could somehow be patched to give different messages for different levels), but the episode 3 information could be transferred from NPCs to story text.

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Post by CommanderSpleen » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:14 pm

Another quick fly-by post for the moment.
Deltamatic wrote:Originally the invaders were coming after the Oracle
Initially, this could be what Keen is led to believe. It's only when he discovers the implications of lifewater and its related phenomena that he understands the true scope of the situation.
Deltamatic wrote:The only problem I see is that there aren't any in-level messages in episode 3
Hmm, a good point. I wonder what happens if you set a tile to a statue property in Keen 3...

I like Dr. Kylstein's approach to the story structure, but a thorough review will have to wait for now.

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Post by Deltamatic » Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:22 pm

I've given some thought to the slug-lick conflict. The choice between them could be presented by a Lick NPC in the waterfall level, when Keen's on his peppering quest. It could say that the Licks weren't the evil creatures the Slugs made them out to be, and the Slugs themselves had a bad reputation. Then in the Lick city level another Lick could say that if he wanted to join the Licks, he could go through a one-way teleporter next to the castle and be across the river rather than running errands for Slugs to get across their bridge. And if Keen goes through the one-way teleporter, he ends up on the other side, in a group of levels now partitioned off from the others, filled with Licks who can give some more info on themselves, the Slugs, congratulate Keen on his choice because Licks are undeniably superior, etc. It would end up at the mine shaft, same as the Slug path, but Keen would enter the mine shaft level from the opposite side.

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