Commander Keen in Keen Dreams

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Commander Keen in Keen Dreams
Commander Keen in Keen Dreams cover
Developers
id Software
David Gow
Publishers
Softdisk
Hard Disk Publishing
Release dates
DOS 1991
Windows September 30, 2015
Linux September 30, 2015
macOS (OS X) April 19, 2016[1]
Commander Keen in Keen Dreams at Wikipedia
Commander Keen
Commander Keen in Marooned on Mars 1990
Commander Keen in The Earth Explodes 1990
Commander Keen in Keen Must Die! 1990
Commander Keen in Keen Dreams 1991
Commander Keen in Secret of the Oracle 1991
Commander Keen in The Armageddon Machine 1991
Commander Keen in Aliens Ate My Baby Sitter! 1991

Key points

Also known (unofficially) as Commander Keen: The Lost Episode or Episode 3.5
Game's source code was released by Softdisk. It can be downloaded here.
Despite being listed in settings, support for in-game music was cut prior to release along with digital effects support for the Sound Blaster & Sound Source devices.[2]

General information

Commander Keen wiki
Public Commander Keen Forum
Steam Community Discussions

Availability[edit]

Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Retail
DRM-free
Run in DOSBox.
DOS
A shareware version is available here.

Version differences[edit]

Steam version is native port (not DOSBox).[3]

Essential improvements[edit]

Patches[edit]

Unfortunately Keen was from an era of computing before downloadable patches were a norm. Instead, a fully patched version of the game would be sent in the mail. The old version had to be uninstalled and deleted and the updated copy installed in its place. As the update is already the full game, it would be illegal to distribute it. Luckily, Several dedicated fans have made homebrewed patches to update (or downgrade if you want) every official keen game. These patches edit the files to make the changes, no warez used! The original discussion thread for them can be found here.

You could alternatively use the shareware version above, but note that unlike the other shareware episodes, you need the registered version to get the latest version. This episode also has additional nagging ("Don't forget to register your copy!") screens.

Episode launcher[edit]

A launcher for the entire Keen series can be found here (runs in DOSBox). For a modified version of this same launcher that also supports this game (for people whom don't have the native Steam version), try the following:

Episode launcher
@ECHO OFF

:MENU

CLS


REM All episodes must be in the same folder contrary

REM to the original launcher this one was based on.


ECHO.

ECHO  ===========================================================================

ECHO  ======================= COMMANDER KEEN COLLECTION =========================

ECHO  ===========================================================================

ECHO.

ECHO         Invasion of the Vortices (1-3):

ECHO.

ECHO     1 - Commander Keen 1 Marooned On Mars (1990)(Apogee Software)

ECHO     2 - Commander Keen 2 The Earth Explodes (1990)(Apogee Software)

ECHO     3 - Commander Keen 3 Keen Must Die (1990)(Apogee Software)

ECHO.

ECHO         Goodbye, Galaxy! (4-6):

ECHO.

ECHO     4 - Commander Keen 4 Secret Of The Oracle (1991)(Apogee Software Ltd)

ECHO     5 - Commander Keen 5 The Armageddon Machine (1991)(Apogee Software Ltd)

ECHO     6 - Commander Keen 6 Aliens Ate My Baby Sitter (1991)(Formgen)

ECHO.

ECHO         Other (The Lost Episode):

ECHO.

ECHO     7 - Commander Keen Dreams (1991)(Softdisk Publishing)

ECHO.


CHOICE /c1234567q/n Choose a number (Press Q to Quit):

IF ERRORLEVEL 8 GOTO EXIT

IF ERRORLEVEL 7 GOTO KEEN7

IF ERRORLEVEL 6 GOTO KEEN6

IF ERRORLEVEL 5 GOTO KEEN5

IF ERRORLEVEL 4 GOTO KEEN4

IF ERRORLEVEL 3 GOTO KEEN3

IF ERRORLEVEL 2 GOTO KEEN2

IF ERRORLEVEL 1 GOTO KEEN1




:KEEN1

CLS

ECHO Starting Commander Keen 1...

call keen1.exe

GOTO MENU




:KEEN2

CLS

ECHO Starting Commander Keen 2...

call keen2.exe

GOTO MENU




:KEEN3

CLS

ECHO Starting Commander Keen 3...

call keen3.exe

GOTO MENU




:KEEN4

CLS

ECHO Starting Commander Keen 4...

call keen4e.exe

GOTO MENU




:KEEN5

CLS

ECHO Starting Commander Keen 5...

call keen5e.exe

GOTO MENU




:KEEN6

CLS

ECHO Starting Commander Keen 6...

call keen6c.exe

GOTO MENU




:KEEN7

CLS

ECHO Starting Commander Keen Dreams…

call kdreams.exe

GOTO MENU




:EXIT

CLS

exit
The executable names (keen*.exe etc.) may have to be edited to fit your particular version of Keen. There are many versions. You could also replace the executable calls with CKPatch scripts if you wish to keep a customized aspect of the game always that way when you run it.

CKPatch[edit]

CKPatch is essentially a tool needed to load some mods (such as total conversions, or even just simple hacking) into the Keen engine. It does so by "patching" the engine in memory, hence it's name. For simple single script patches for Keen Dreams, look here.

If loading of a mod/script fails, you may have to uncompress the keen executables using UNP or UNLZEXE.

Source ports[edit]

A reverse engineered source port is available. Alternatively the game's source is available and you could build you own version.

Commander Genius

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
DOS
Windows %APPDATA%/Commander Keen/Keen Dreams/
macOS (OS X)
Linux $XDG_DATA_HOME/Commander Keen/Keen Dreams/
Linux (Proton) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/356200/pfx/[Note 1]
It's unknown whether this game follows the XDG Base Directory Specification on Linux. Please fill in this information.

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
DOS
Windows %APPDATA%/Commander Keen/Keen Dreams/
macOS (OS X)
Linux $XDG_DATA_HOME/Commander Keen/Keen Dreams/
Linux (Proton) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/356200/pfx/[Note 1]

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
Steam Cloud

Video settings[edit]

Graphics option Option WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
320x200 only. The native version has an option for stretching.
Multi-monitor
Ultra-widescreen
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
Windowed
Native option in settings, or toggle with Alt+ Enter (when using DOSBox).
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Vertical sync (Vsync)
For DOSBox use an unofficial build (see the glossary page for other workarounds).
60 FPS
120+ FPS

Input settings[edit]

Keyboard and mouse Native Notes
Remapping
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
Can be disabled using the /NOMOUSE parameter.
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller
Controller support
Can be disabled using the /NOJOYS parameter.
Full controller support
Needs to be explicitly selected.
Controller remapping
For DOSBox use the DOSBox Mapper (see the glossary page for other workarounds).
Controller sensitivity
Controller Y-axis inversion
Additional information
Button prompts
Controller hotplugging
Not supported.[4]
Haptic feedback
Simultaneous controller+KB/M

Audio settings[edit]

Audio options Native Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Subtitles
Everything is text-based.
Closed captions
See note above.
Mute on focus lost
Can be enabled through DOSBox's priority settings (use the pause emulation option).

Localizations

Language UI Audio Sub Notes
English

Other information[edit]

API[edit]

Technical specs Supported Notes
DOS video modes CGA, EGA Compatibility with certain SVGA cards can be enabled using the /COMP parameter. Can also use the /HIDDENCARD parameter to force the game to accept the card if it doesn't detect a supported model.
64-bit executable

System requirements[edit]

Windows
Minimum
Operating system (OS)
Processor (CPU)
System memory (RAM)
Hard disk drive (HDD)

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 File/folder structure within this directory reflects the path(s) listed for Windows and/or Steam game data (use Wine regedit to access Windows registry paths). Games with Steam Cloud support may store data in ~/.steam/steam/userdata/<user-id>/356200/ in addition to or instead of this directory. The app ID (356200) may differ in some cases. Treat backslashes as forward slashes. See the glossary page for details.

References