Simple Plot Is Simple, Also Map (Episode 1)

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CommanderSpleen
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Simple Plot Is Simple, Also Map (Episode 1)

Post by CommanderSpleen » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:04 am

We were just discussing the story/plot in the IRC channel (which more people need to get onto in order to discuss this project--it'd speed things up greatly). The consensus is that it should not be as involved and complicated.

<Mink>Yeah, IMKO, the written plot needs to take a backseat to letting the levels/locations tell the story.
<Speeln> The map needs to be more like Keen 6, in terms of levels or other obstacles blocking passage, but not being so closely tied with an overall story.

I would like to simplify the slugs vs licks in particular, and make the map obstacles as close to the level-blocks-passage and get-an-item-to-pass formula as possible.

Just putting that out there for now, so we don't go trying to tack so many details to everything and start considering simpler solutions.
Last edited by CommanderSpleen on Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by lemm » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:45 am

John Carmack wrote:Story in a game is like a story in a porn movie. It's expected to be there, but it's not that important.
Also can everything be finalized by next week?

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Post by doomjedi » Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:41 am

John Carmack wrote:Story in a game is like a story in a porn movie. It's expected to be there, but it's not that important.
I remember such discussions on Wolf3D modding forums as well.

I personally love stories very much, they add meaning to a mod...a mission, a mystery... and not just random running and shooting.

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Post by CommanderSpleen » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:44 am

I don't agree with the absolute nature of that Carmack quote, but there is definitely a balance to be struck. At the moment we've got too much emphasis on story and not enough on raw gameplay.

I'm almost inclined to scrap the prank bit, as it's just causing too much hassle with the map structure. It would be interesting enough to have a switch hidden in the village to activate the bridge and allow Keen to pass.

If it stays, it should be just the pepper prank (no counter-prank option and no 'LOL I WAS LYING YOU CAN"T CROSS TEH BRIDGE" twist), and there needs to be a way of preventing the player from accessing the target lick castle before being aware of the quest. Perhaps a light source to allow Keen to get through a dark forest that obscures it?

The later part of the game was suggested to involve a mission to collect a certain amount of lifewater. Amusingly, this had the opposite effect of the slug/lick situation where we were trying to manufacture a plot device to justify it. I'd like to drop this idea and go with the Keen 6 approach stated above. The path to the mineshaft is obstructed by several blocking levels and one or two item-based obstacles (probably using ship parts as the required items).

Note that the player doesn't actually know at first what the overall objective is, except this vague outline:

Keen travels to an alien planet following a distress call, crashes his ship and has to find an alternative route to his destination, the capital city.

A yorp statue can inform the player of the possibility of using a series of underground tunnels to access the city, and maybe suggest a landmark or direction to follow. Besides this, it's a matter of exploration.

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Post by doomjedi » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:27 am

A yorp statue can inform the player of the possibility of using a series of underground tunnels to access the city
For a City...maybe Sewers Tunnels can be an alternative....

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Post by CommanderSpleen » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:28 am

Then:

A yorp statue can inform the player of the possibility of using a series of underground tunnels to access the city via its sewer system.

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Post by doomjedi » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:35 am

For the Sewer system, one can get easily lost without it's schematics, which can be an item to find before you'll allowed to pass to the entrance to the sewer system (other items can be a torch for light, boots for the waste, compass and facemask to protect from smell....etc.....).

The system itself can have different areas for different purposes....from waste to maybe some other creative ideas of liquids and materials Licks can use.

To get to the sewers (we have alot of enemies to fit that theme) you need to pass set of underground caves with crystals.... and to find the secret tunnel that connects to the entrance to Sewer system.

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Post by CommanderSpleen » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:43 am

Some good ideas. They're beyond this thread's scope, though. We need to solve Episode 1 first. But feel free to start another thread about the later episodes' storylines if you want to explore them further.

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Post by Deltamatic » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:09 pm

Assuming this plot:

Keen crashes in a forest, explores, maybe finds a slug and a lick arguing with each other. Also directions to city.
Goes to slug village. Told to pull prank on licks for slugs' revenge, in exchange he can cross the bridge.
Keeps going through lots of other levels to get to distant lick castle.
He pulls prank and comes back. Allowed to cross bridge.
Goes to mine shaft, falls down into underground.
Victory screen.

Then we won't be rushing around to make all sorts of things work out with the slug/lick conflict, but we could use something to add interest. World map creativity as suggested would be spot-on. Multiple paths to lick castle?

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Post by CommanderSpleen » Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:01 am

After discussing the matter on IRC a bit, I'm thinking more along the lines of:

- Keen crashes in a forest, explores, maybe finds a slug and a lick fighting with each other (lemm patch).
- A slug bridge and a lick castle/village/something block further passage at strategic points on the map. Told to pull prank on their opponent for revenge, in exchange he can pass.
- Other stuff. Blocking levels and clearly goal-oriented obstacles.
- Finds and enters mine shaft, falls down into underground.
- Victory screen.

This way, the slug/lick conflict bit is contained and relatively dynamic (instead of being a linear Help Slugs->Help Licks->LOLWHAT->Cross Bridge.)

There are parts of this that need fine-tuning, but I think lemm has most of the necessary patching covered, and the main point is that this becomes the first segment of the game.

I whipped up a node-map to illustrate the basics of a suitable map structure for the first section. giv denotes an item that is provided inside the level, while req indicates which item is required to complete it. Extra non-essential levels, or a more complicated path to the target prank levels can be added quite easily.

I just noticed I forgot to put a req on the bottom two levels. The left one should have 'req: bad cola' and the right should have 'req: pepper'.

http://www.planetkeen.com/projects/comm ... -04-16.png

(Damn you K:M disallowing me to integrate images and URLs)

What we need to do next is brainstorm some more map obstacles. I believe a new thread is in order for this.

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Post by doomjedi » Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:53 am

CommanderSpleen wrote: The left one should have 'req: bad cola' and the right should have 'req: pepper'.
You need the art?

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Post by CommanderSpleen » Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:55 am

Yes, go ahead and whip something up if you like. We may also need to come up with an item to symbolise the completion of each quest.

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Post by doomjedi » Fri Apr 16, 2010 3:31 pm

CommanderSpleen wrote:Yes, go ahead and whip something up if you like.
Can you tell me the general art concept limitations/base? Cola should better be a bottle or a can...? Pepper should a "hot chili pepper"-type, or black pepper in a pepperrizing-bottle?
We may also need to come up with an item to symbolise the completion of each quest.
Can you elaborate on that? A "status" sprite for each particular item or one general item to somehow represent them all? You mean currently those 2 items?
What we need to do next is brainstorm some more map obstacles.
I'm sure I can come up with ideas....I'm always full of them :)

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Post by lemm » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:47 pm

How about a glowing chili pepper :p

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Post by Deltamatic » Sat Apr 17, 2010 3:13 am

That nodal map doesn't make sense to me.
I guess Keen starts at the central green space.
If so, the player could play both bridge levels and then complete both quests to get across both bridges, or even complete the quests before learning about them.
The player has to:
1) be informed of his decision
2) not be able to support both slugs and licks
3) only be able to complete the quest after the quest is assigned to him

I second the chili pepper.
One of the progress blocking things could involve Gnosticene Ancient ruins.

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