A New Zealand gamer is hard at work on a project that's sure to make fans of old-school platformers sit up and take notice: A remake of the id Software classic Commander Keen.
A New Zealand CGI forum member by the name of Laz revealed the "very small scale" project back in September, describing it as a tribute to one of his "past-time heroes, Billy Blaze, aka Commander Keen." Laz is handling every part of the production himself and thus, as you might expect, progress tends to be rather haphazard. "Progress stopped over a month ago when I hit a snag I was in no mood to fix at the time. I was on a roll for about a month, managed to get assets in a game shell, got my char running (sliding) around in t-pose and jumping about, I even started work on my first NPC," he wrote. "I'll dribble work as it happens."
The Billy Blaze of the remake is a little more mature than he was in his first game, 12 years old instead of eight, and despite the vastly improved visuals of the updated version Laz said that he wants to stick with "EGA restricted colors" for Keen's clothing, which are virtually identical to the original.
The project is still in the very early stages and could fall victim to anything from a legal objection from id to a simple loss of interest, but two videos posted on YouTube showing off animations, background design and Keen's wristwatch interface look very good and would seem to indicate a certain degree of seriousness on the part of the creation. I'm not what you'd call a big fan of platformers in general but as someone who played his fair share of the original Commander Keen back in the day, this is one remake I wouldn't mind taking for a spin someday.