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iKeen main window.

iKeen is a Win32-based Keen 1-3 level editor written by Xtraverse in 2004.

It is easy to use, and has the best map mode editing of most editors. However, it has been known to crash often, especially when switching between tile and sprite mode. Further it has trouble displaying graphics under Vista.


Simply run iKeen.exe to open up the program. When it loads, you can create a new level or open one using the toolbar or the file menu. When you create a new level, you'll be asked to choose the width, height, and Keen episode. The width must be from 24 to 170 and the height must be from 17 to 170. Press OK to continue.

The Interface

The interface consists of four parts: The menu, the toolbar, the sidebar, and the status bar. You can toggle the visibility of the latter three from the view menu, however for the most part these are vital to using the program.


This functions as the tile and sprite selector. You can resize the sidebar by dragging the left border of it. Click the blue dropdown at the top to change from About to Tiles to Sprites.

The tile selector has three elements to it. The largest is a box showing all the tiles available for the level you are editing. Use the scrollbar to see tiles that aren't currently visible. To select a tile, click the tile you want to select. iKeen has four active tiles you can select. All tools use tiles in the following way - left-click, right-click, shift + left-click, shift + right-click. You can select tiles using these keypresses and mouse clicks.

You'll notice when yo select a tile that one of the four boxes above the tileset changes. This area shows your four active tiles. Finally, at the top is a button that allows you to copy an area. To use this, select the upper left corner of the area you want to copy for tile 1. Select the bottom right corner for tile 2. Then click the button, and the area you copied is stored in the clipboard. We'll talk more about the clipboard when we get to the select tool.

The sprite selector is a little different. It will change very much depending on what episode you are editing and whether you are in map mode or not (see 3.7). When not in map mode, you will see an editable box with a number, a button that says bridge, and a spritesheet showing all creatures you can put in the level as well as Commander Keen. Click a creature to use that sprite. You can type your own sprite number in the box (0 - 65535), or you can have the program generate a bridge sprite for you. To do so, click the "Bridge" button. Then, in your level, click the tile the bridge should start at. Finally, click the tile where the switch is, and iKeen will insert the proper sprite there.

If you are using map mode, you'll see quite a different layout for the sprite selector. There's the same edit box where you can choose a custom sprite. Below, however, is a list of various sprite items which will vary between different episodes. For the level and level blocker items, you choose a level (1-32, not 20) in the edit box to the right. Episodes 1 and 3 will allow you to choose a teleport, however they work quite a bit differently. For episode 1, you choose the location it teleports you to (out of three, however these coordinates can be changed by modding) and the tile the teleport returns to after you use it (out of two, the first is used for regular ground and the second is used for arctic areas, but the tiles it uses can be changed through patching as well). For episode 3, each teleport has an ID (0-15). There can be a maximum of 16 teleports because of this. When creating a teleport, you choose its ID and the ID of the teleport it goes to. The last sprite you can choose is the Messie sprite, only available in episode 3. When you select Messie, you choose whether the sprite you're going to insert is part of the path Messie moves along, a location where Messie pauses (like where it eats seaweed in Keen 3), and a location where Commander Keen can get on and off Messie. That just about wraps up the sprite selectors.


The statusbar has three sections of information. The first shows what tile and what sprite is under your mouse. The second shows a count of points and ammo in your level. This uses the data from the Statistics Editor, which you can access by right-clicking on this status block. The statistics editor allows you to define tiles as giving a certain point value and a certain amount of ammo. You select the graphics profile in the first list box (see 3.0). Select the Keen episode in the second box. Then use the two listviews below to edit the data. Double-click a field to edit the value in it. To delete a line, click the delete button at the right. To add a line, click add tile. You'll see a tileset in front of you. Select a tile, hit OK, and that tile will be added to the listview last clicked in with a point/ammo value of 0. When you are done, hit the "Close" button.



The select tool allows you to move, cut, copy, delete, and paste tiles. To start, drag a box of the tiles you want to select. Once you have a selection, you can start a new one by dragging a box starting outside of the original selection. You can add to the selection by holding the Control key and dragging another box. You can remove from the selection by holding the Shift key and dragging another box. You can invert a part of the selection by holding the Control and Shift keys and dragging another box. To move a selection, hold your mouse over it, then click and drag the the new location. If you have tiles selected, you can use the menu or the toolbar (or Delete/Ctrl-X/C/V on the keyboard) to cut, copy, paste, and delete. This works similarly to any regular graphics program. Right-click to end a selection. Note that selections do not deal with sprites, tiles only.

Draw/Pick up Tiles

This tool allows you to draw tiles, or pick up tiles already in the level. Simple, right? Use a combination of Shift/No Shift and the left and right mouse buttons to choose the active tile (described more in depth in the tile selector in 1.1). If you are not holding Control when you click, you will draw that tile on the level. If you are holding Control, you will pick up the tile below your mouse.


With this tool, drag from the starting to the ending point of a line to create one. Use active tiles as stated above.

Flood Fill

Click in the location you want to fill with your mouse and it fills. Use active tiles as stated above.


With this tool, drag from the starting corner to the ending corner of a box to create one. Use active tiles as stated above. Rectangles are modified by the shape settings (the buttons to the right of the tool buttons on the toolbar). If the first shape is selected, only the border of a rectangle will be drawn. If the second is selected, a solid rectangle will be drawn. If the third is selected, a rectangle will be drawn that is filled with the opposite of the active tile (if active tile is 1, opposite is 2, opposite of 2 is 1, opposite of 3 is 4, opposite of 4 is 3).


Works exactly the same as rectangles except it makes an ellipse.

Complex Solids

Complex solids allow you to make complicated boxes that use special tiles for corners and edges without much trouble. First we'll talk about the complex solid editor. This editor consists of a tileset, a box with 9 tiles, and a list below showing all Complex Solid profiles that have been created. Complex Solids are not specific to an episode, so you choose which episode the tiles are shown in from the list box at the top right. To change which profile you are editing, select a profile from the list box. You can also add and delete profiles using the small graphical buttons. To change which profile is currently active, select a profile and click the "Set Active" button. To edit a profile, first select the one you want to edit. Then select which tile you want to change in the box above the profile list. Finally, select a tile from the tileset to use. When you are done with everything, click the "Close" button. Creating Complex Solids is very similar to making selections. First draw an initial box. Control allows you to add to your solid, Shift removes from it, and Control+Shift inverts. When you are done, right-click the mouse and the Complex Solid will be added to the level.


The final tool, the sprite tool allows you to draw sprites. Left-click to add a sprite, right-click to delete one. If the active sprite is 0, left-clicking deletes sprites as well. Note that only one Keen sprite (255) is allowed in a level at a time.


Layers are a funky addition to iKeen that haven't been seen before in a Keen editor. If you want to experiment drawing something in a level you're working in, but you're not sure if you want to keep it, simply click the "New Layer" button (to the right of the shape buttons in the toolbar). When you're done, the three buttons to the right of New Layer can put the tiles into a selection, add them to the level, or simply delete them, respectively.



File >> Import New Tiles/Sprites allows you to use the graphics from your own modification in this editor. You have profiles that you can add, edit, and delete just like for Complex Solids. When you add a new one, it'll have the same data as the default profile. To edit a profile, select it and click the "Edit" button. You'll see a screen that will show you the tileset and Keen sprite for each episode in the profile. To import new data, select the episode you want to import to, then click the "Import" button. Next, select the directory your Modkeen data is in and hit OK. You may have to click the episode in the listbox again to see the new graphics.

Import/Export Tile Clips

If you have a selection, you can save this selection to a file called a "clip of tiles." Then, anytime in the future, you can import this clip back in to iKeen. This is basically like being able to save your clipboard to a file and then loading it again later. The import and export options are in the file menu.

Test Level

iKeen has an option to do a quick level test. To use this you must set the locations of DOSBox and your Keen EXEs (or BATs) using the Preferences dialog (see 3.5). Note that you should not have important levels in the directories the Keen EXEs you selected are in, because iKeen might write over them without warning. When you select "Test Level" (from the file menu), iKeen will guess what level number you are using based on the filename you opened (if you made a new level, iKeen will assume level 1), then load Keen.

Find and Replace

Selecting Find and Replace (from the edit menu) will allow you to replace all occurences of one tile in your level with another. The Find and Replace dialog looks almost exactly like the tile selector and is pretty self-explanatory.

Change Level Size

This dialog, accessable from the edit menu, can add or remove tiles from any side of your level. It's so simple to use it doesn't need an explanation. Use negative numbers to delete tiles, positive numbers to add tiles.


The Preferences dialog will currently let you change shortkeys and the locations for Keen 1, 2, 3, and DOSBox. To change keyboard assignments, select the tool from the list box you want to change to shortkey of. The yellow box will show the current assignment. To change it, click the "Get Key" button. Then press any alphanumeric key. If the key you pressed is already assigned, you'll be warned. Either way, press the button again to confirm. You can also clear a keyboard assignment with the "Clear button.


Zooming can be done from the menu or using the set keyboard assignments. You can zoom a level anywhere from 1/16 size to 16x size.

Map Mode

Map mode determines the way iKeen draws sprites. Toggle it with the "M" button in the toolbar. If you load a "LEVEL80" level, iKeen will automatically assume Map Mode.

External links