DISCUSSION: Keen 6 level design.

Discussion and analysis of graphics, story, levels, and so on.
User avatar
Quillax
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:48 pm
Contact:

Re: DISCUSSION: Keen 6 level design.

Post by Quillax » Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:38 pm

Okay, I think it's about time we move on to the next level, which appears to be our final destination: Bloog Control Center. Oh, and here's the level on Abithar Online!

This level has a rather eerie atmosphere, with the music, darkness in the first room, eyeballs, and hands (the latter two of which bring up some questions that are never answered in the game; are they fake props, parts of a creature that is now dead, or what?). There's quite some stuff in this level that's never seen elsewhere in the whole game; besides the hands and eyeballs, there's also the literally flipping bricks and a couple backgrounds. With those stuff, this level feels rather special, which is especially nice for a level that serves as the finale of this adventure.

As for the level design itself, it wasn't too hard if I remember correctly. Some might find that to be disappointing for a final level, but I think this level is meant to be more about the atmosphere rather than being a set of expert-level challenges, something that some Keen levels go for (the domes in Keen 1 are a notable example of this). The door puzzle isn't too bad, I'll say, especially when you take note of how the corrected door is indicated by points that form an arrow above (which is rather clever; I may not have noticed if it weren't for some post on this forum that pointed that out). I remember finding that secret area in the dark room thought the jump cheat and wondering where is the door that leads you out of that vent duct for a very long time. The way to getting there without cheats is rather well-hidden, although I think the passage to that is rather tight (I've tried numerous times and only got between the spiky balls like only once or so), but since there's so many goodies in that secret area, that's probably intentional.

55Aavenue
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:19 pm

Re: DISCUSSION: Keen 6 level design.

Post by 55Aavenue » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:52 am

This one is very nostalgic for me, I have vivid memories of playing this level and beating Keen 6 for the first time as a kid. I remember thinking this level was very cool. I liked the start just having a black background, made it seem ominous.

Looking at it now I think it holds up alright, certainly nothing too special but it does the job of a final level. As Quillax said, I agree its nice to have some elements that are unique to a final level like the hands and eyeball platforms. I also had never noticed the points indicating where the doors go until right now. As a kid I just used to spam the up arrow pretty much going through all the doors until I got where I wanted. As a kid I thought that some combination of going through those doors would spit you out the vent at the top in the first section with all those points, as I had also only found those by cheating.

User avatar
XkyRauh
Posts: 1113
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2003 9:14 pm
Location: San Diego, California

Re: DISCUSSION: Keen 6 level design.

Post by XkyRauh » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:42 pm

Thanks for wrapping up the levels, Quillax! :)

The music in this level has always tickled me, particularly when we found out that the Morse Code in the music was intentional and actually says something. I agree with the viewpoint that this level is intended to be more atmospheric than difficult. For that reason, I appreciate it greatly.

The real challenge here is if you are a completionist and want to get all the points. The drop between the spike balls is stupidly difficult (and yet easily achievable at the same time through save-scumming)... I don't like it at all. There's no reason to put that number of points hidden beyond such a simple-and-difficult obstacle. Secret areas should be rewards for going off the beaten path and either ascending to new heights or traversing an off-screen path... having a secret area off the BOTTOM of the screen feels as if it breaks every standard convention of platform gaming and I'm loathe to accept it.

Looking at the door puzzle, I find it both amusing and lazy that the fourth and second doors just kind of cross each other in a loop. At least give us some sort of side route to navigate! I have to admit, I never spent a lot of time really probing through all the different possibilities. Once I made the connection about the fudgcicles, I just charged ahead.

Of all the required Keygems, the only one that feels unfair is the Blue one, outside the first door. Given the way the level begins, with the "Danger D" sign and the stretch of spikeballs below, a beginning player might assume the entirety of the lower section is barren and deadly. Putting the Blooglet at the far side, underneath the door, asks a player to resist the temptation to enter the door on the other side of the primary obstacle AND look down (or purposefully jump down)... that seems a bit of a stretch, with no hint/guidance. Something as simple as a lone point item on the underside, beneath the door, would entice exploration and appease me. :)

This level does what I feel all final levels should do--it introduces a few new graphical elements, a unique song, and offers a feeling of conclusiveness to the level. I consider this level's length to be nearly perfect. If a level gets much longer than this, I start to become distracted or bored.

User avatar
Quillax
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:48 pm
Contact:

Re: DISCUSSION: Keen 6 level design.

Post by Quillax » Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:39 pm

You're welcome, Xky Rauh!

Yeah, I suppose there is a bit much too points to get after passing a really simple obstacle at the start. I find it rather difficult to get all of those popsicles that form an arc, so if I missed any I don't bother to go back down again. I personally don't mind having to go below the screen, but I can see why it may bother some people. I agree with what you said about the blue Blooglet, Xky.

Anyway, are we gonna do the remaining levels (BwB, High Scores, and perhaps the world map?) or will this be it? I think we should at least do the BwB, since that does have a hidden challenge.

Post Reply