Commander Keen in The Armageddon Machine

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Commander Keen in The Armageddon Machine
Commander Keen in The Armageddon Machine cover
Developers
id Software
Publishers
Apogee Software
Release dates
DOS December 15, 1991
Windows August 3, 2007
Commander Keen in The Armageddon Machine 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 as Commander Keen: Episode 5

General information

Commander Keen wiki
Public Commander Keen Forum
Commander Keen Fan Site
Steam Community Discussions

Availability[edit]

Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Retail
DRM-free
Commander Keen in Goodbye, Galaxy!
DOS
Steam
DRM-free after installation through Steam client (see notes)
Commander Keen Complete Pack. Pre-packaged with DOSBox.[1]
Windows

Version differences[edit]

Commander Keen in Goodbye, Galaxy![edit]

The retail release of the game, which includes the 4th and 5th episodes of the series: Commander Keen in Secret of the Oracle and Commander Keen in The Armageddon Machine.

Commander Keen Complete Pack[edit]

A compilation pack containing the entire Commander Keen series (excluding the final episode Commander Keen in Aliens Ate My Baby Sitter! and the "lost" episode Commander Keen in Keen Dreams).

All games in the pack are pre-configured to run with DOSBox.

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.

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 Keen Dreams (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 5, look here.

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

Source ports[edit]

Two reversed engineered source ports are available.

Omnispeak
Commander Genius

Game data[edit]

In-game options menu.
In-game options menu.
In-game general settings.
In-game general settings.

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
DOS
Windows <path-to-game>\base5
Linux (Proton) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/9180/pfx/[Note 1]

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
DOS
Windows <path-to-game>\base5\SAVEGAM*.CK5
Linux (Proton) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/9180/pfx/[Note 1]

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
Steam Cloud

Video settings[edit]

Input settings[edit]

In-game key map settings (1/2).
In-game key map settings (1/2).
In-game key map settings (2/2).
In-game key map settings (2/2).

Audio settings[edit]

In-game sound effects settings.
In-game sound effects settings.
In-game music settings.
In-game music settings.
Audio options Native Notes
Separate volume controls
Has the ability to enable "quiet audio" when using Adlib/SB for sound effects. According to the help file(s) it allows you to hear the music better.
Surround sound
Subtitles
Closed captions
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 Has a "SVGA compatibility mode" option in settings. The /COMP parameter performs the same function. 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
Certain EGA/VGA cards have issues with choppy scrolling (the "fix jerky movement" option is only for SVGA cards). A fan patch has been made to correct this issue here. Note this fix requires version 1.4 Apogee/non-GTi to work correctly.
Fans have managed to hack CGA composite video support into Keen 5. For more info and download, see this.

System requirements[edit]

DOS
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 3.0 3.3
Processor (CPU) Intel 8088 4.77 MHz Intel 286
System memory (RAM) 565 KB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 3 MB
Video card (GPU) CGA, EGA
Windows
Minimum
Operating system (OS) XP, Vista
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>/9180/ in addition to or instead of this directory. The app ID (9180) may differ in some cases. Treat backslashes as forward slashes. See the glossary page for details.

References