The BPSA: Please indulge me whilst I ramble

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Benvolio
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The BPSA: Please indulge me whilst I ramble

Post by Benvolio » Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:54 pm

This afternoon I decided to amuse myself by playing a spot of Keen2 for the first time in a while. A game that I truly love. So the notion of the Big Purple Space Amoeba began to intrigue me. What is this BPSA? We do not speak of it very often and yet it is one of those wonderful little nuggets of imagination nestled throughout the Keen series which really warms my heart. Is the BPSA evil? Is it inanimate, conscious or something in between. How much does mortimer know about it? The keenwiki article is largely speculative, indicating that the BPSA has not made itself known save for the story of the Tantalus Rays.

Anyway, I then recalled another of my very favourite games of my youth (and no I wasn't around in 1984)... Boulder Dash. There is a level in that lovely CGA adventure in which a purple amoeba proliferates, with the player challenged to contain it to facilitate completion of the level.

Please see this video from 17:00 on to witness the general concept involved.
https://youtu.be/MBRbXiW1QrY?t=17m


So the following occur to me:

1) How cool would it be to make a BPSA mod? (Or more likely for a genius like KeenRush to make one)? Would it be possible to code for such an amoeba in Vorticons engine? To have it proliferate slowly in-level?

2) What mechanisms could there be to contain it? Perhaps Keen must shoot to deploy a tile that will block the amoeba's progress, at the expense of a unit of ammunition? Perhaps it would be possible to have falling blocks contain it as are used in Boulder Dash. Code for this is largely extant in the Vorticon Commander's castle. Or perhaps instead of containing it, Keen would simply have to avoid it and maybe be able kill it cell by cell with his raygun. Perhaps in earlier levels the amoeba would hinder tasks (e.g. collecting 'ship part' tokens); then in a final level the amoeba could be a boss.

3) Although the keenest thing to do would be to make a spin-off mod "Keen and the Big Purple Space Amoeba", it would also be an interesting notion to replicate the actual Boulder Dash concept in Keen levels.

4) Also fascinating would be the recreation of Boulder Dash in the Keen map setting, leaving the in-level gameplay out altogether.

I'm sure nobody here is particularly passionate about Boulder Dash. It certainly evokes warm memories for me. But maybe someone will think that a BPSA game is an interesting notion!

:P

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levellord
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Post by levellord » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:00 am

I like BD.

Looking at what's been done with mods recently, and apparently 'source code' of some kind, I'm guessing this is as easy said as done. The only question is who will make the levels for it. Levels suck.

Benvolio
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Post by Benvolio » Thu Sep 03, 2015 6:36 pm

Hi Levellord! I didn't expect much notice to be taken of my post let alone that it would achieve what is sadly now a rarity - a Levellord comment. Great to have you still dropping by the K:M. Anyhow, I would imagine that making levels with such a novel concept in mind would be quite a popular one. Perhaps the Level Lord herself would enjoy the task.

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troublesomekeen
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Post by troublesomekeen » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:10 pm

Wait, those things are Big Purple Space Amoebas? I've never even heard of that.

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Post by levellass » Fri Sep 04, 2015 6:28 am

They are cells FROM the BPSA, presumably it is a gigantic entity. (The result of a Galactus sneeze perhaps?)

There are two ways to tackle this; a sprite that duplicates over and over until a maximum of about 70 cells are active in the level OR a sprite that slowly eats away at level tiles, replacing them with BPSA cell tiles. The second approach would be less behaviorally complex.

A sprite based approach could be interesting, one cell that randomly doubles. If Keen is not fast enough at getting it then the two cells will double faster and so on. Once it starts duplicating Keen will have to act quickly to prevent destruction. (It would be possible to overwrite the small DONE marker so that if Keen destroys the cells before exiting a level a 'won' marker appears otherwise a BPSA splodge appears on the map showing the level has been overrun.)

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MoffD
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Post by MoffD » Sat Sep 05, 2015 12:15 am

troublesomekeen wrote:Wait, those things are Big Purple Space Amoebas? I've never even heard of that.
I always assumed they were some sort of weird plasma globe that was powering the tantalus rays. Nice idea with the level tiles, it would be fun to see that in a mod.

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