Now what do we have here...a beta!

Here, you can get help with anything or just chat about the original Commander Keen games.
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Litude
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Now what do we have here...a beta!

Post by Litude » Sun May 23, 2010 1:31

So I was a bit bored today and started searching around the net for some old Gamer's Edge stuff to get a bit more insight into writing e.g. the game development articles for the wiki. I came across this floppy disk image of a disk that was apparently included with some magazine as a free sample of Gamer's Edge games... Now why would you want to listen to me babbling about Gamer's Edge? But wait, it does actually get interesting later...

So I read this post at Classic DOS Games and started wondering wondering exactly what kind of Keen stuff there was on the floppy image. To my surprise, it turns out that they hadn't used a clean disk to produce the sample disk this disk image comes from at least. In fact, they had used a disk they used during the development of Keen and then just emptied it and added their sample games.

After doing a quick check I noticed there were a bunch of overwritten file indexes which made references to different .CK1 and .CK2 files. Luckily, the method they had used to erase the files from this disk didn't actually destroy the data, but just render it inaccessible by normal means. :p

Most of the Keen 2 data had been overwritten by the sample games, but to my surprise most of the Keen 1 data was still intact and after scratching together the deleted files I managed to get almost a fully running game. Only EGAHEAD.CK1, EGALATCH.CK1, EGASPRIT.CK1, HELPTEXT.CK1 and LEVEL01.CK1 had been completely erased (well LEVEL01.CK1 had about 50% of it's data there but I didn't bother combining it with the finalized one), so I took these missing files from version 1.0 of the game.

Now I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get the graphics files together (usually graphics are what's most interesting in development versions of games), but it seems the other game files were actually quite different at this point as well. I don't know at exactly which stage the game is in this build but it at least looks pretty close to final with a bunch of minor level design differences in quite many levels.

The story section is no doubt the most interesting difference, you actually get a scene where a Vorticon comes to your ship and takes the vital parts and then leaves (explaining why these tiles without and with the parts exist in the final game).

Other points of interest is the lack of the GOD cheat and the fact that you can't complete the game.

You'd better believe it! :drool

P.S. If someone feels like taking another look at the disk image, please do! If by any chance the graphics files or any other file I didn't recover could be recovered that would be just totally awesome. :)

EDIT: Now includes original file modify dates and some of the corrupt files.
EDIT2: Now also includes almost completely corrupt Keen 2 files.
EDIT3: Fixed KEEN1.EXE and LEVEL90.CK1
Last edited by Litude on Sat May 29, 2010 14:48, edited 3 times in total.

Ceilick
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Post by Ceilick » Sun May 23, 2010 2:02

oh WOW. This is cool :drool

Watching the vorticon steal the parts off the bwb was just too cool to watch.

The first yorp message is: "In war, do not fire all your gleebs in the first ten nooms. Do not waste gleebs."

Casn't recall if this was in the actual game "A Yorpish whisper says: Look for Dark, Hidden Bricks. You can see naught but their upper left corner"

Also the world map is different: on the dark side of mars the one city is no longer optional.

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TerminILL
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Post by TerminILL » Sun May 23, 2010 2:10

Pretty sure the hidden brick message was in the final game.

Genius314
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Post by Genius314 » Sun May 23, 2010 3:29

The connection keeps timing out.
I think I'm being punk'd.

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Levellass
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Post by Levellass » Sun May 23, 2010 4:34

I too get a time out error. The dsk image seems alright, but I fear that someone is pulling my leg.

As an aside, do you know how much (If any) of the EGA files are uncorrupted? I could salvage bits if you know where they are.
What you really need, not what you think you ought to want.

Ceilick
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Post by Ceilick » Sun May 23, 2010 5:41

Last edited by Ceilick on Sun May 23, 2010 20:37, edited 2 times in total.

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Keenfan
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Post by Keenfan » Sun May 23, 2010 8:43

:eek This is such a great discovery!

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KeenRush
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Post by KeenRush » Sun May 23, 2010 9:54

Woah. :eek I can't the fixedbeta.zip downloaded... :( But if true, and I have no reason to doubt it, this is an amazing discovery!! :D Great work. Another rarity from the past, but the best one so far. I'll write more once I get to see it.

Fix the link, quickly! :dead2

Oh, and Ceilick, you're accidentally mirroring your Keen mod instead. :p
My newest mod - Planet Of Agony: https://pckf.com/viewtopic.php?t=4165 | codename H.Y.E.N.A.

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BrainRain
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Post by BrainRain » Sun May 23, 2010 9:58

Can't download fixedbeta.zip, cuz the timeout error
Could you fix the link please, matbe upload it to mediafire and share the link :p

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Levellass
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Post by Levellass » Sun May 23, 2010 10:32

It works! Joy! I shall have to poke the dsk image to see if there is anything else that can be salvaged. Do we have a new version to add to the Keen wiki?
Last edited by Levellass on Sun May 23, 2010 12:49, edited 1 time in total.
What you really need, not what you think you ought to want.

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lemm
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Post by lemm » Sun May 23, 2010 10:51

Nice find!

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Keenfan
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Post by Keenfan » Sun May 23, 2010 11:17


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Post by StupidBunny » Sun May 23, 2010 11:52

The story cutscene was neat, I wish they'd kept that in. :) The only other changes I've noticed so far are the new Yorp message, a couple differences in the menu and the fact that, if you go to <t>itle in the middle of the game, it simply goes straight to the title screen without saving your score or showing the high scores table or anything. I'll keep going through it, and see what else interesting there is...
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RoboBlue
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Post by RoboBlue » Sun May 23, 2010 13:59

Nice find! We should add this to the versions page. :)
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Grimson
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Post by Grimson » Sun May 23, 2010 14:14

I think there's some other differences in the story section too, for example I recall the explanations for the BwB parts, such as the battery and joystick, were different.
"All those thousands upon thousands of junk foods made for me on the various planets I explored make me wonder how I'm still alive."

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