Page 1 of 1

Help me get mods to work

Posted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 13:47
by Webster.Pastapali
Hello, i love Commander keen. It was a big part of my childhood and surely a large part of my present-day psyche. I’m going back and playing Keens 1-5 which I purchased on steam. I’d like to also play Ceilick’s Univere is Toast trilogy, Keen dreams and keen 6, and all the pckf community’s favorite full level replacement mods.

Last night I beat Keen 1, and as a prize, I downloaded version 1.7 of the Marooned on Mars mod that uses the keen 4 or 5 engine to recreate keen 1. I’m a bit computer illiterate. So, disclaimer there... but I downloaded, extracted the files, and it appeared on my desktop. When I clicked the file and tried to run the game, it said something about not being compatible with my windows, something about 64 bit—
I can’t imagine that my computer is incapable of running it. It’s a fairly new and sleek computer with a newer windows running on it.
Could I please get someone from the community to help walk me through this? Your help and patience would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Webster

Re: Help me get mods to work

Posted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 18:04
by DarkAle
Webster.Pastapali wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 13:47
Hello, i love Commander keen. It was a big part of my childhood and surely a large part of my present-day psyche. I’m going back and playing Keens 1-5 which I purchased on steam. I’d like to also play Ceilick’s Univere is Toast trilogy, Keen dreams and keen 6, and all the pckf community’s favorite full level replacement mods.

Last night I beat Keen 1, and as a prize, I downloaded version 1.7 of the Marooned on Mars mod that uses the keen 4 or 5 engine to recreate keen 1. I’m a bit computer illiterate. So, disclaimer there... but I downloaded, extracted the files, and it appeared on my desktop. When I clicked the file and tried to run the game, it said something about not being compatible with my windows, something about 64 bit—
I can’t imagine that my computer is incapable of running it. It’s a fairly new and sleek computer with a newer windows running on it.
Could I please get someone from the community to help walk me through this? Your help and patience would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Webster
You must load the .Bat file with Dosbox. Also my computer doesn't support the 64 bit, so I use Dosbox and it works

Re: Help me get mods to work

Posted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 22:20
by K1n9_Duk3
Okay, this is how I would do it:
  1. download and install DOSBox (your steam version should have come with DOSBox, so you could skip this step)
  2. hold down the windows key and press E to open the explorer
  3. if you don't know where to find dosbox.exe on your harddisk, open your harddisk (or "this PC") in the explorer window, press F3 (or CTRL+F) and enter "dosbox.exe" into the search field
  4. open the folder that contains your DOSBox.exe
  5. open up a new explorer window and navigate to the folder into which you have extracted your Keen mods
  6. arrange the windows side by side
  7. you can now drag and drop files or folders from one window onto(!) DOSBox.exe in the other window and DOSBox will automatically mount the file/folder and try to execute that program (if it was a file)
  8. mods usually need to be started via a batch file (.BAT), so drag and drop that batch file onto DOSBox.exe to play them
You should also be able to drag and drop files or folders onto a shortcut to DOSBox.exe. You can place that shortcut on your desktop or in your mod folder, whatever feels more comfortable for you.

You can create a shortcut by clicking the right mouse button (or the left button if your mouse is set to left-handed) onto DOSBox.exe, holding the button down and dragging the cursor to where you want to create the shortcut. Release the right mouse button and select "create shortcut" from the context menu.

Edit: I just found this tutorial video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB3ofbsnwa4

Re: Help me get mods to work

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 13:17
by Webster.Pastapali
Spectacular. This worked. I am sorry for the late response. I really appreciate the detailed instructions. I now have keens 1-5 and a handful of modded levels to get started. I am stoked. Next step for me-- find keen dreams and keen 6.
Thank you

Re: Help me get mods to work

Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 2:18
by playkeeneveryday
DOS noob here sorry in advance. Trouble running keen 10 in dosbox. What are the next steps after these:

>extracted keen10 files in keen 10 folder
>copied Keen6.exe into keen 10 folder
>mounted drive and keen 10 folder

When I run keen10 in dosbox it runs the ck6patch and goes to the opening screen but gets stuck initializing with no end.

Re: Help me get mods to work

Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2020 0:33
by K1n9_Duk3
playkeeneveryday wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 2:18
When I run keen10 in dosbox it runs the ck6patch and goes to the opening screen but gets stuck initializing with no end.
The Keen 4-6 code had a serious bug in it that would hang the system if the game tries to quit with an error message before switching into graphics mode. It's possible that some files (AUDIO.CK6, EGAGRAPH.CK6 or GAMEMAPS.CK6) are missing and the game tried to quit with an error message telling you that the file is missing, which caused the system to lock up. Or perhaps some of the files you're using have become corrupted or mixed up. The HEAD and DICT files must match the other files, otherwise the game might enter an infinite loop, trying to read the data based on incorrect header information. You might have accidently copied the regular Keen 6 data files into your mod folder when you copied the executable. Copying/extracting all the mod files from the original zip file into your folder and replacing all of the existing files should fix that.

It's also possible that you were using the wrong KEEN6.EXE for the job (patches generally only work on one specific version) and that's causing some problems. You need version 1.4 EGA. The newest download of The Dead in the Desert Community Levelpack on the KeenWiki comes with a KEEN6.EXE that seems to work fine in combination with my unofficial bugfix release of Mirror Menace, so you could try those and see if it works on your end as well.

Re: Help me get mods to work

Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2020 0:43
by Nisaba
I assume you are referring to Mirror Menace, aren't you?
first off, make sure that you are using version 1.4 of KEEN6.EXE
second, you need to UNLZEXE the KEEN6.EXE like so:

Code: Select all

Z:\>mount c "C:\the directory\the game is in"
Z:\>c:
C:\>UNLZEXE KEEN6.EXE
when done, run the Keen10.bat file and you should be good to go.

be warned however. this mod is known for being unstable. it has been reported by a number of people that this mod crashed from time to time for several reasons. quite recently the author of this mod announced that he isn't willing to fix any of those reported bugs and crashes. so, yeah... "use at your own risk"

Re: Help me get mods to work

Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2020 21:50
by K1n9_Duk3
Nisaba wrote:
Thu Dec 31, 2020 0:43
second, you need to UNLZEXE the KEEN6.EXE
No, not necessarily. The CKPATCH tools have had built-in UNLZEXE support for quite some time now. The version of CK6PATCH that comes with Mirror Menace handles the compressed KEEN6.EXE perfectly fine. However, if you're trying to use a cracked version of KEEN6.EXE then you might need to decompress it manually if CK6PATCH doesn't recognize it.

Re: Help me get mods to work

Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2021 0:37
by Nisaba
K1n9_Duk3 wrote:
Thu Dec 31, 2020 21:50
No, not necessarily. The CKPATCH tools have had built-in UNLZEXE support for quite some time now...
Yeah, I know. But as it doesn't hurt to unlzexe the *.exe I decided to educate the most common way to get Keen mods up and running, instead of talking about the exception to the rule. Meant to keep things simple for the novice, as it can feel quite a bit overwhelming when you start your DOS journey.

...Well, so be it. With both information equipped @playkeeneveryday should be ready to dive into the wonderful world of Keen mods. Enjoy your ride! And of course feel free to ask further questions

Re: Help me get mods to work

Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 18:53
by playkeeneveryday
Thank you! Got it working. I didn't have to do that Unzlexe thing. What is unzlexe?

Re: Help me get mods to work

Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 22:55
by Nisaba
In a nutshell unlzexe decompresses the executable before it can be patched. This is/was required by certain CKPatch versions to do a proper in-memory patching job.

Re: Help me get mods to work

Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 22:58
by K1n9_Duk3
playkeeneveryday wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 18:53
What is unzlexe?
It's a utility that reverses the effects of a program called LZEXE. LZEXE can compress executables so that they take up less disk space (and the compression also made it slightly harder for hackers to modify the executable since it would have to be decompressed first). UNLZEXE basically reverses the process and gives you the uncompressed version of the executable.

LZ stands for Lempel-Ziv and descriibes a set of lossless data compression algorithms published in papers by Abraham Lempel and Jacob Ziv. 8)

File sizes mattered a lot more back in the days of floppy disks, relatively small hard disks and dialup BBS services. The LZEXE compression reduces the size of KEEN6.EXE to about 40% of it's original uncompressed size. So compressing the executable might allow you to put the entire game on a single 720k or even 360k floppy disk, while the uncompressed version would not fit.