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Chocolate Keen

Description: Game engine for Commander Keen (1-3)
Download:       (TIPS: Use the right click menu if your browser takes you back here all the time)
Size: 427kb
Version: 0.9.4
Date: 16 Feb 23
Author: QuantumG, Lemm, NY00123
Submitter: cavemann
Category: game/platform
License: GPL
Distribute: yes
FileID: 2633
Comments: 0
Snapshots: 0
Videos: 0
Downloads: 12  (Current version)
12  (Accumulated)
Votes: 0 (0/0)  (30 days/7 days)

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Supported Commander Keen episodes: 1-3 (i.e. all of Invasion of the Vorticons).

Thanks for getting Chocolate Keen! It originally begun as an attempt at a
"port" of Commander Keen 1 to modern platforms, taking advantage of earlier
work done by QuantumG, later processed by Lemm. The last stage of the "porting"
was done mostly by NY00123, with the help of decompression routines found in
the Commander Genius project. Later, Lemm also added support for episode 2.
Episode 3 support was then added in a similar fashion.

Commander Genius (formerly named CloneKeen Plus) is an interpreter
for Commander Keen managed by Gerstrong, which started off CloneKeen
by Caitlin Shaw.

Chocolate Keen aims to be compatible with the original files
used by vanilla Keen 1-3, like SCORES.CK1 and CTLPANEL.CK1.

What is the current status of this
- Ignoring bugs and some potential inaccuracies, in the
current state Chocolate Keen should be a complete "port"
of unmodified vanilla Commander Keen 1-3, v1.31.
- About joystick support: It works the vanilla Keen 1-3 way, meaning it has
great limitations. This is done for the purpose of being (sort of) compatible
with the CTLPANEL.CK1 file format, and simply for acting like vanilla Keen.
One issue is that the joystick has to be "calibrated" before it can be properly
used. For another issue, the buttons and axes to use can't be chosen.
In practice, though, the input mapper can be used for resolving these.
- Furthermore, even after a calibration and some usage of an actual joystick,
once you quit the application and restart it, keyboard input is forced again,
so you basically need to re-calibrate the joystick. This is the behavior of
vanilla Keen, so it is replicated by Chocolate Keen. However, you can modify
this behavior from the Chocolate Keen launcher (compatibility options).
- As an alternative, again the mapper can be used, emulating keyboard actions
while a dedicated game controller is used in practice.
- In case the mapper is used, though, chances are that after replacing one
game controller with another one, you'll have to reconfigure the mapping.
- If you think that you may replicate some memory corruption artifacts like
"random" maps by using cheats... you should rather expect a crash. Sorry, but
modern multi-tasking environments don't forgive bad attempts to access memory!
- Even if no crash occurs, though, a different (non-vanilla) behavior is
expected for now.
- Note that the surrounding overscan border *always* appears. There are
actually some kinds of usages to it within vanilla Keen 1-3, which are also
implemented in this "port".
- It implies that a bit unusual screen resolutions may be used, like 336x214.
Fullscreen mode may NOT work as expected in that case. However, this is usually
not a problem, since the desktop resolution is used by default (with scaling),
and a custom resolution may be specified optionally.
- The overscan border dimensions may be inaccurately chosen, though...

How to toggle off/on fullscreen within the game
Hold Alt and press on Enter (assuming the default input mapper setup is used).
Note that it does *not* work within the launcher.

How to (un)lock the mouse cursor
Hold Ctrl and press on F10 (if not affected by the mapping). While the cursor
is unlocked, you can also click on the window for locking it.

How to force an immediate shutdown of Chocolate Keen (while in a game session)
Hold Ctrl and press on F9 (unless mapped differently).

Any explanation about the input mapper
See mapper_doc/how_to_use.txt for details about the mapper.

After updating Chocolate Keen, something's very wrong with input handling
Chances are you've upgraded to v0.9.3 or later. Beginning with version 0.9.3,
SDL 2.0 is used by default, rather than SDL 1.2. As a side effect, this means
that a new mapper file should be constructed, because SDL 2.0 scancodes are
used instead of SDL 1.2 keysyms for keyboard input mapping.

How to run the game
- On Windows you can extract the archive to some place and then
load chocolate-keen.exe, if you want to play Commander Keen 1 (v1.31).
For Keen 2/3 you need to have a copy of Commander Keen 2/3, version 1.31,
ready. Like Keen 1 which is found in a directory named KEEN1 within GAMEDATA,
a copy of Keen 2 should reside in KEEN2 (again to be in GAMEDATA), and
similarly a copy of Keen 3 should be in KEEN3.

- On GNU/Linux, the source code should be compiled.
For more details see "Building Chocolate Keen from sources".

Where should copies of the original games be in order located to make this work
As stated beforehand, in the GAMEDATA directory.

OK, but where are the saved games and more
These are located in the exact place from which Chocolate Keen is loaded.

Command line arguments
These can be used for overriding settings found in chocolate-keen.cfg, a
configuration file that should be generated after Chocolate Keen has properly
functioned. For instance, to override the fullscreen setting and disable that:

chocolate-keen -fullscreen=false

It is further possible to start a specific game episode, if available.
For instance, to load Keen 2:

chocolate-keen -startkeen2

Multiple commands line arguments can be mixed, like in this example:

chocolate-keen -startkeen1 -fullscreen=false -scalef=3

Finally, to show the launcher UI, add -showlauncher as an argument. For a
fullscreen launcher window add -showfulllauncher instead.
A few BAT files (bundled with the Windows build) can be used
as alternatives for showing the launcher, too.

How to record/playback demos
Beginning with version 0.8.6, a "Vorticons Keen demo mode" can be toggled on.
When it is done, some behaviors change (in comparison to vanilla Keen 1-3),
letting you record demos and playback existing ones. Originally, this feature
was implemented as a patch for vanilla Keen 1-3. As of July 29th, 2013,
the patch can be found on any of the following pages:

Furthermore, the second page (on also has a link to samples
of recorded demos.

The motivation behind this feature is compatibility testing. To be more
specific, one may now test if both vanilla Keen (with a few modifications)
and Chocolate Keen reproduce demo playbacks in the exact same way.

To record a demo, observe that the menu item "Continue Game" is replaced with
"Record A Demo" when this feature is in use. Furthermore, to play existing
demos hide the main menu by choosing "Restart Demo" and then waiting for a bit.

For Keen 1, valid demo filenames are DEMO0.CK1, DEMO1.CK1 and so on up to
DEMO9.CK1. Similar names are valid for Keen 2/3.

Note that while the chosen demo file format is simpler than the format
used by Keen 4-6, it it also less efficient in terms of storage.
In particular, don't expect to be able to record a 4 minutes long demo.
However, this format comes from code that was actually found in the
vanilla Keen 1-3 executables.

Known issue
- Troubles may arise if a single emulated event is mapped to two distinct
host events or more. This is the case, for instance, if physical key Left Ctrl
and a joystick button both trigger the emulation of Left Ctrl key press
in-game. Chances are the troubles are less significant if these are just
digital on/off switches which are in use (say non-analog keyboard keys and
joystick buttons), but once different host events are involved in some ways
(such as joystick axis motion or mouse motion) it may seem like certain buttons
or keys simply do no function at all, even if it's not the expected behavior.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License
as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2
of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software
Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA  02110-1301, USA.

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