They're back! Duck Commander, along with their new companies Fin Commander and Strut Commander, star in their new television series Commander Life. The show displays exhilarating hunting action along with the corporate antics of the Commander Companies.
Runtime: 30 minutes
Commander Life - Commander Keen - Netflix
Commander Keen is a series of side-scrolling platform video games developed primarily by id Software. The series consists of six main episodes, a “lost” episode, and a final game; all but the final game were originally released for MS-DOS in 1990 and 1991, while the 2001 Commander Keen was released for the Game Boy Color. The series follows the titular Commander Keen, the secret identity of the eight-year-old genius Billy Blaze, as he defends the Earth and the galaxy from alien threats with his homemade spaceship, rayguns, and pogo stick. The first three episodes were developed by Ideas from the Deep, the precursor to id, and published by Apogee Software as the shareware title Commander Keen in Invasion of the Vorticons; the “lost” episode 3.5 Commander Keen in Keen Dreams was developed by id and published as a retail title by Softdisk; episodes four and five were released by Apogee as the shareware Commander Keen in Goodbye, Galaxy; and the simultaneously developed episode six was published in retail by FormGen as Commander Keen in Aliens Ate My Babysitter. Ten years later, a homage and sequel to the series was developed by David A. Palmer Productions and published by Activision as Commander Keen. Invasion of the Vorticons was the only game developed by Ideas from the Deep, and was based on programmer John Carmack's creation of adaptive tile refresh, a technique that allowed IBM-compatible general-purpose computers to replicate the smooth scrolling of video game consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game's success caused designer Tom Hall, programmers John Carmack and John Romero, and artist Adrian Carmack to found id Software. Their obligations to Softdisk, where they had worked during development of the game, led to the creation of Keen Dreams as a prototype for the second trilogy of episodes. The final episode was split off during development into a stand-alone retail title, and plans for a third trilogy were cancelled after the success of Wolfenstein 3D (1992) and development focus on 3D first-person shooters such as Doom (1993). The final Keen game ten years later had oversight but little development work from id. Critical reception and the series' legacy has focused on the two main trilogies of episodes, with Vorticons having large success as a shareware game and impacting the success of Apogee (now 3D Realms) and its shareware model. The second trilogy sold fewer copies, which was blamed by id and Apogee on its split into two parts, and the 2001 game received mixed reviews. The MS-DOS games have been re-released in several compilation packages, and all but the sixth episode are still sold through modern emulation releases on platforms such as Steam. References to the series have been made by dozens of other games, especially to the Dopefish, an enemy in the fourth episode, which has been termed one of the video game industry's biggest in-jokes. An active modding community has grown around the series, producing editing tools and unofficial sequels.
Commander Life - Invasion of the Vorticons - Netflix
Billy Blaze, eight year-old genius, working diligently in his backyard clubhouse has created an interstellar starship from old soup cans, rubber cement and plastic tubing. While his folks are out on the town and the babysitter has fallen asleep, Billy travels into his backyard workshop, dons his brother's football helmet, and transforms into... COMMANDER KEEN--defender of Earth! In his ship, the Bean-with-Bacon Megarocket, Keen dispenses galactic justice with an iron hand!
The Ideas from the Deep team could not afford to leave their jobs to work on the game full-time, so they continued to work at Softdisk, spending their time on the Gamer's Edge games during the day and on Commander Keen at night and weekends using Softdisk computers. The group split into different roles: Hall became the game designer and creative director, John Carmack and Romero were the programmers, and Wilbur the manager. They invited artist Adrian Carmack from Softdisk to join them late in development, while Roathe was soon removed from the group. Ideas from the Deep spent nearly every waking moment when they were not working at Softdisk from October through December 1990 working on Commander Keen, with Wilbur forcing them to eat and take breaks. The game's design was largely driven by Tom Hall: Romero and especially John Carmack were focused almost exclusively on the programming; Wilbur was not involved in the game's design; and Adrian Carmack joined late in development and found the project's “cute” art style, till then mostly created by Hall, far-removed from his preferred, darker, style. Hall's personal experiences and philosophies, therefore, strongly impacted the game: Keen's red shoes and Green Bay Packers football helmet were items Hall wore as a child, dead enemies left behind corpses due to his belief that child players should be taught that death had permanent consequences, and enemies were based loosely on his reading of Sigmund Freud's psychological theories, such as that of the id. Other influences on Hall for the game were Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century and other Chuck Jones cartoons, and “The Available Data on the Worp Reaction”, a short story about a child constructing a spaceship. Keen's “Bean-with-Bacon” spaceship was taken from a George Carlin skit about using bay leaves as deodorant so as to smell like soup. Keen was intended to be a reflection of Hall as he had wanted to be as a child. The team separated the game from its Super Mario Bros. roots by adding non-linear exploration and additional mechanics like the pogo stick. A suggestion from Miller that part of the popularity of Super Mario Bros was the presence of secrets and hidden areas in the game led Hall to add several secrets, such as an entire hidden level in the first episode, and the “Galactic Alphabet”. The level maps were designed using a custom-made program called Tile Editor (TEd), which was first created for Dangerous Dave and was used for the entire Keen series as well as several other games. As the game neared completion, Miller began to market the game to players. Strongly encouraged by the updates the team was sending him, he began heavily advertising the game in all of the bulletin board systems (BBS) and game magazines he had access to. The game was completed in early December 1990, and on the afternoon of December 14 Miller began uploading the completed first episode to BBSs, with the other two episodes listed as available for purchase as a mailed plastic bag with floppy disks for US$30. After the arrival of the first royalty check from Apogee, the team planned to quit Softdisk and start their own company. When their boss and owner of Softdisk Al Vekovius confronted them on their plans, as well as their use of company resources to develop the game, the team made no secret of their intentions. Vekovius initially proposed a joint venture between the team and Softdisk, which fell apart when the other employees of the firm threatened to quit in response, and after a few weeks of negotiation the team agreed to produce a series of games for Gamer's Edge, one every two months.
In September 1990, John Carmack, a game programmer for the Gamer's Edge video game subscription service and disk magazine at Softdisk in Shreveport, Louisiana, developed a way to create graphics which could smoothly scroll in any direction in a computer game. At the time, IBM-compatible general-purpose computers were not able to replicate the common feat of video game consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System, which were capable of redrawing the entire screen fast enough for a side-scrolling video game due to their specialized hardware. Carmack created adaptive tile refresh: a way to slide the majority of the visible screen to the side both horizontally and vertically when the player moved as if it had not changed, and only redraw the newly-visible portions of the screen. Other games had previously redrawn the whole screen in chunks, or like Carmack's earlier games were limited to scrolling in one direction. He discussed the idea with coworker Tom Hall, who encouraged him to demonstrate it by recreating the first level of the recent Super Mario Bros. 3 on a computer. The pair did so in a single overnight session, with Hall recreating the graphics of the game—replacing the player character of Mario with Dangerous Dave, a character from an eponymous previous Gamer's Edge game—while Carmack optimized the code. The next morning on September 20, the resulting game, Dangerous Dave in Copyright Infringement, was shown to their other coworker John Romero. Romero recognized Carmack's idea as a major accomplishment: Nintendo was one of the most successful companies in Japan, largely due to the success of their Mario franchise, and the ability to replicate the gameplay of the series on a computer could have large implications. Romero felt that the potential of Carmack's idea should not be “wasted” on Softdisk; while the other members of the Gamer's Edge team more or less agreed, he especially felt that their talents in general were wasted on the company, which needed the money their games brought in but in his opinion neither understood nor appreciated video game design as distinct from general software programming. The manager of the team and fellow programmer, Jay Wilbur, recommended that they take the demo to Nintendo itself, to position themselves as capable of building a PC version of Super Mario Bros. for the company. The group—composed of Carmack, Romero, Hall, and Wilbur, along with Lane Roathe, the editor for Gamer's Edge, decided to build a full demo game for their idea to send to Nintendo. As they lacked the computers to build the project at home, and could not work on it at Softdisk, they “borrowed” their work computers over the weekend, taking them in their cars to a house shared by Carmack, Wilbur, and Roathe, and made a copy of the game over the next 72 hours. The response from Nintendo a few weeks later was not as hoped for, however; while Nintendo was impressed with their efforts, they wanted the Mario series to remain exclusive to Nintendo consoles. Around the same time as the group was rejected by Nintendo, Romero was approached by Scott Miller of Apogee Software, who wanted him to publish more levels for his previous Pyramids of Egypt—an adventure game where the player navigates mazes while avoiding Egyptian-themed traps and monsters—through Apogee's shareware model. Miller was pioneering a model of game publishing where part of a game would be released for free, with the remainder of the game available for purchase from Apogee. Romero said he could not, as Pyramids of Egypt was owned by Softdisk, but that it did not matter as the game he was now working on was much better, and sent Miller the Mario demo. Miller was impressed, and the Ideas from the Deep agreed to create a new game for Apogee before Christmas of 1990—only a few months away—split into three parts to match Apogee's shareware model of giving away the first part for free to attract interest in the whole. Hall suggested a console-style platformer in the vein of Super Mario Bros., as they had the technology made for it; he further recommended a science fiction theme, and developed a short introduction that convinced the team to make Commander Keen in Invasion of the Vorticons.
Commander Life - References - Netflix