Commander Keen 1-3
This is the main page for Commander Keen 1-3. For a complete list of all pages related to these games, visit the Commander Keen 1-3 category page.
Commander Keen episodes 1-3 was a revolutionary series that launched ID Software. The games made use of a number of formats and novel features that were to be adapted to other games ID produced. Keen is notable for being the first sidescrollling EGA game on the PC, and for cementing ID's love for EGA graphics (Most previous games had CGA, EGA and VGA graphics options, all later games were EGA, or had a separate CGA version.)
In them, the hero, Commander Keen, must collect stolen parts of his spaceship hidden on Mars (1), stop a Vorticon ship blowing up earth (2) and finally storm Vorticon VI itself in search of the cause of all this trouble, the mysterious Grand Intellect.
This section lists the major file formats used in the game.
- B800 Text - 4000-byte internal files are text screens shown at exit.
- Commander Keen 1-3 Level format - LEVELxx.CKy are game levels.
- Commander Keen EGA Header the EGA header is used to read graphics files
- Keen 1-3 Tileinfo format - information about the properties of tiles are stored internally in the executable
- Commander Keen 1-3 Score format SCORES.CKy stores the game's highscores
- Keen 1-3 Saved game format SAVEx.CKy store the game's save files. Keen is one of the few early ID games to allow this.
- Inverse Frequency Sound format - the sound file is stored internally and uses Apogees 'inverse frequency' sound format
- Full-screen planar EGA Most graphics are in this format, compressed or rearranged in various ways. For example, the 320x200 screen graphics are this compressed with Keen 1-3 RLE compression, the EGALATCH AND EGASPRIT files use this too. Note that the screen's plane size is 8000 bytes, 192 bytes are just 'padding'
- Keen 1-3 RLE compression This is used to compress the ending and previews screens and is a modified form of RLE.
- Keen 1-3 LZW compression Used in episode 1 to compress the graphics files
- Text is contained in the executable, the executable is compressed with LZW compression, and can be uncompressed with UNLZEXE.
- The 1.34 executable is compressed with PKLite compression; the ARCHIVE.EXE file that packages the game is a self extracting PKLite archive.
Most of the file formats here were reverse engineered by the Keen modding community.