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Modern Interpreter for the Commander Keen Games (Vorticon and Galaxy Games)
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             Commander Genius                
    (c)2008-2016           Gerstrong

    (c)2013-2015           Hagel
    (c)2014-2015           Mancus

Porting and Support:
    (c)2010-2016           Pelya (Android-Distro)

           Released under GNU/GPL           
           Build: ${CG_VERSION} 

Welcome to Commander Genius!

Commander Genius is an open-source clone of
Commander Keen which allows you to play
the games, and a majority of the mods
made for it.  All of the original data files
are required to do so, however, we convienently
include Episode 1, 4 and Dreams for your enjoyment 
in case you have downloaded a bundle. 
We also include the unofficial mod Keen 7, so more is to enjoy!

So far Commander Keen 1-6 are fully supported. Keen Dreams is starting to work 
but still might have most of the issues. So far you can play all the games through.
Also the menu lacks of a lot of features. Please configure input and 
sounds using the other games.

There is an alternative called Reflection Keen which supports Keen Dreams on which
the code is based. The merge of that code into CG is what we have been working on.

Commander Genius runs on Linux/X11, Windows, 
Android, with plans to release on other platforms 
in the future. If you think you would like to port it,
please send us a message and we will do our
best to help you.

The main goal of Commander Genius is to copy
the original gameplay feeling as much as possible,
and extend it further so you get a native implementation with
even more features like:

- Mod Support with nice extras
- OpenGL Acceleration
- SDL 2.0 Support
- New graphical Effects
- Multiplayer Support (Up to four players helping in the quest)
- High Quality Packs which make the game look better, 
  provide better sounds and even music you might that never existed in the original games
- Ingame Menu for vorticons Keen as well as a new HUD for those
- Named save slots
- Unrestricted Joystick Support
- and a lot more

- Our Mission -

The mission of Commmander Genius held by
opensource developers is to revive
the gameplay experience of the games we had
in the 90s when those Keen games were popular.

With experience we mean, we try to leave the graphics retro but take
advantage of newer hardware meaning there are some enhancements over
the original games. There is also Chocolate Keen (Keen 1-3) by NY00123 which tries
to be as original as possible including even the frame rates as they were. 
Also RefKeen should be mentioned by the same author. It runs Keen Dreams and some of 
the Catacomb game series.

Now modern hardware offers much more, than what we had since back in the 90s.
Commander Genius tries to take advantage of that modern
hardware and bring an awesome bit of old school
experience to the Commander Keen games.

Because Keen was made for DOS and Linux could have more nice platform games, here is another alternative.
With mod support and more extensions for those, because no DOS required, a lot more can be done.

Imagine Commander Genius like a platform base for the keen games how it would be on modern
hardware. That means there are some differences. The physics are close to the original but
you might notice some details of you are an elite-expert on Keen games in original. 
I think CG delivers a faster gameplay than the original ones. 
Since the framerate for graphics is higher it feels
a bit more like that. Some people might not like that, so I recommend them to stick with dosbox
or use dosfusion which we also provide. More explained later in this readme.

Now it is a bit hard to define what that experience is obviously, because many people
experienced that gameplay differently in the past. Some people had soundblaster, others didn't.
Some loved the joystick support, others prefered to use keyboard.

So getting an experience like old school for everybody is difficult.

What does Commander Genius do then? Interpreting those games on modern systems.
It can draw more colors on your screen and fix some issues the original 
games had back then. For example Vorticon Keen has two-button firing as option. 
All buttons can be mapped to any input device in Commander Genius.
Also the mouse can be used at some extends.

The original Keen games also have some bugs and given that the hardware 
was very limited back then, it has some weird frameskips too. There are many details
that are different when playing Keen with Commander Genius. So the conclusion is as follows.

If you really want a vanilla feeling, even feel the lack of hardware support and 
eventual slowdowns, we encourage you playing Commander Keen on Dosbox. 
Many people are out there that think to be the right way to play it that way.
Also for some mods it might be the only way.
Still though Commander Genius has a patching system in which some mods run very well.

Commander Genius wants to be more like a new Jump'n'Run game that interprets 
Commander Keen. Billy Blaze visits all the levels you played before in the 
DOS-Version taking advantage of your powerful computer or your smartphone. 
That's the strength of Commander Genius! if you are one of those people who want
to experience Commander Keen some new ways, then this software is for you!

The Dosfusion is a compilation of dosbox code into Commander Genius. It uses
SDL 2.0, is a bit more recent compared to the original one, so you can get more out of it. 
You have some other grapical filters, the ones CG was built for and a mapper like in dosbox,
sharing the experience you love to know. Many thanks to Qbix and his team
for his awesome program and especially some help. 

Unfortunately on Android Dosfusion does not work.

- History -

The first engine was CloneKeen by a developer named Caitlin Shaw.
Since the engine was left abandonned for most of the part, Gerstrong
took it and created the fork called CloneKeenPlus and fixed some problems
CloneKeen had. This fork comes from the 0.83 Version. A 0.84 version
has been released since. That code was never taken into here, because
it was never required.

After CloneKeenPlus, Commander Genius was born. 
It is a complete rewrite of the engine in C++. The transition to
Commander Genius means a transition from C to C++ code mostly using OOP.
After all this coding, we have retained only a small portion of the
original CloneKeen code (about 0.02%).

There exist other similar engines, like Refkeen and Chocolate Keen from
which CG learned and tried to improve the overall gaming experience

- License -

The Commander Genius source code may be freely 
distributed and modified as per the GPL, just
remember to give credit to the original
authors. We work very hard on on this project
and we deserve at least those credits!

Also give credits to the others who provided
us with some code. They deserve it as well.

- Setup  -

You have two options:

1.- Get one of the bundled versions, run it's setup and you can play episodes 1, 4 and 7.
Those games are in a directory where you can put more Keen games and even mods. That subdirectory
is called "games". 

If you happen to use ubuntu you might want to use our PPA so you always get updates.
Add it using the command line and typing: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gerstrong/cgenius

Mageia and Arch Linux also have some packages by third-party maintainers.

On Windows you usually find that directory under "Documents\Commander Genius". If you use Linux open the directory "~/.CommanderGenius". We call it <CG-Data>. Androids datapath usually is "/Android/data/net.sourceforge.clonekeenplus/files"

Depending on yout that directory ist created by default when you launch CG for the first time. There should exist the "games" subdirectory. If it is not there create it. Into that directory put your Keen games. The preview images for launcher menu are created automatically as soon as CG detects the intro screen.

If you want to accustomise your keen games by for example adding more episodes consider the next step

2.- We suppose you already have installed the copy of your game, so what's next?

Setting up the data of the game:

 * Copy the directory of the games to the "games" subdirectory of CG.
   If you own the registered versions, you can play all episodes, 
   otherwise download the shareware version and copy them there. 
   You also can use mods. If you have a bundled version, 
   you already should be able to play episodes  1 and 4, as they are installed in that directory.
   If you connect your Android Device to the PC normally you find a directory a path called like
   Copy the games there were the shareware versions are and you should be fine.

   You should note that following versions of Keen work at best:
   Keen 1 - Version 1.33
   Keen 2 - Version 1.33
   Keen 3 - Version 1.33
   Keen 4 - Version 1.4 (EGA)
   Keen 5 - Version 1.4 (EGA)
   Keen 6 - Version 1.4 (EGA)
   Keen Dreams - Version v1.13 (EGA)

   Other version might work, but we cannot guarantee. If you happen to own another version, I would
   recommend it patching it first. There are free patches for that around the net
   Also Keen 6 works on CG. Don't use the 1.5 version, this one is not supported, sorry!
   Get the 1.4 version instead.

 * If you want to use some patched mods just copy them as separate games to that path.
   Remeber that due copyrights mods usually do not come with the games to path. Like in Dosbox, you 
   have to copy the original game data with the patches into one path.
 * If you want improved sounds and music, just download the High Quality Pack (HQP) 
   and extract it to <CG-Data>. The resource files should be copied to the appropiate paths.
   Be aware that CG handles global HQ files and per game files, depending where the resources get extracted.
   Read that readme of HQP for more information in how to use those resources.
   Using HQP you might have to copy some resources to the specific game directory so
   CG would detect it. For example you might want to copy ck1tiles.bmp to <CG-Data>/games/keen1/.
How to launch Commander Genius (If you didn't compile it):
 * Go to the program's directory.
 * Under Windows you start "CGenius.exe", under Linux "./CGenius"

Getting the most recent Source Code:
 * Well, as many projects it is hosted at GitHub.
 * From the Linux command line type:
   git clone git://

How to compile it under Ubuntu:
 * This is based on the source code that we provide on our website
 * As we know which packages are needed, because we use Ubuntu, here is an extra guide. 
 * Install through Synaptic or "sudo apt-get install" following packages:
   Common dependencies:
 	- build-essential
 	- libvorbis-dev
        - libogg-dev
        - libgl1-mesa-dev               
        - libboost
        - libcurl
        - zlib
   For SDL 1.2:
 	- libsdl1.2-dev
 	- libsdl-image1.2-dev

    For SDL2:
        - libsdl2-dev
        - libsdl-image2-dev

 * extract my source code into "CGenius".
 * cd into the source directory "CGenius"
 * Run "cmake -DUSE_SDL2=yes" depending on how you want to compile.
 * Run "make".
 * If everything went fine you should be able to see an executable in the build directory.
   Copy the game data files to <CG-Data> if you didn't already and run Commander Genius.
   Even without any data copied CG should run but tell that there are no games then.

Compiling CG on any Linux/UNIX (other than Ubuntu):
 * If you want to compile the game, you need to have all the standard
   development libraries and GNU C Compiler (at least version 4) installed 
   on your system.
 * You need to install the "vorbis", "SDL" and "Mesa/OpenGL" development libraries to get 
   it successfully compiled.
 * extract my source code to "cgenius". 
 * cd into the "cgenius" subdirectory.
 * Run "cmake -DUSE_SDL2=yes"
 * Run "make".
 * Then, you can run "CGenius".
We also provide CMake for Wiz. If you want to compile it for embedded systems.
We had support for Linux and Win32, but since there is a bug when build, for
different Linux build (32-bit or 64-bit) we only use it for embedded systems.
Also check out the CMakeLists.txt for more information.

Normally when you start Commander Genius you see the launcher menu in which you can choose the Keen games that were detected in the subdirectory.
The CGLog.txt also tells you what CG detected on the system and gives feedback on further events that might occur.
It is good to take a look at that file if something in CG goes wrong.

Optionally you can pass launch arguments to Commander Genius. These are:

dir=<game-directory>	This will launch the game of the given directory, in case it can be started, 
                        otherwise it will go to the game launcher with a warning shown.
                        vg.: "CGenius.exe dir=games/keen4"

finale=<on/off>		If you want to directly show the finale of a game pass this parameter:
			vg.: "CGenius.exe finale=on"

Example: If you want to start the game of the path "C:\games\keen5" type:

CGenius dir=games/keen5

Remember, the path must be known by the game launcher. Absolute paths of games, can be defined in the cgenius.cfg in the [FileHandling] Section.
We might improve that in future.

Being cross-platform, there are many methods to detect different resolutions on a system.

Generally it is not necessary, because many resolutions are already supported, but if 
you want to support other resolutions that you don't find in the options list just modify the
"cgenius.cfg" file by hand. CG always reads this file and checks whether your card and 
monitor support it and if possible use it. But, use it at your own risk.

We had to go that way, because there are many system that through SDL do not always return the correct list 
of possible resolutions though CG tries to read that list, so you might be lucky and everything for 
your case is supported.

CAUTION: This is recommended for advanced users who know what they do. The team won't bother
if you use a wrong configuration, because you just manually edited it.

Before you play the game, you should take a look at the controls. Normally LAlt, Ctrl, Space and Enter
are the action keys. You can also assign joystick buttons, axes and hats to those actions or just
change the keys to your liking. The changes are global to all the Keen games.

There are a full assortment of cheat codes available. Some cheats must first
be enabled with -cheat or through the options->game menu. C+T+SPACE and G+O+D will
always work.

Vorticon Keen (1-3):
KEY        	ACTION             DESCRIPTION
G+O+D	   	godmode		   In god mode you are invincible!
C+T+SPACE  	All Items      Gives all items, similar to the original.

Galaxy Keen (4-6 and Dreams):
KEY        	ACTION             DESCRIPTION
F10+G	   	Godmode        In god mode you are invincible!
F10+I	  	All Items      Gives all items, similar to the original.
F10+J	  	Fly	       This will make Keen fly at any time
F10+N	  	No Clipping    With this cheat you will go through walls. Be careful, you might also fall
                               through the floor sometimes
Android Users: Sorry, but no cheat there that work. Plans are to change that in future.

The game can be saved from the menu at any time.
Keen will be saved at the exact position it was left.
In the vorticons engine it will save the game within the level as well.
On Galaxy it works like known.

- FAQ -
Q: Commander Genius is slow? Please help!
A: You can decrease the fps under settings->video. OpenGL may also help on some systems with ScaleX disabled. 
   Try to lower the resolution, a lower filter, or decrease some stuff in the sounds section.
   Stereo sound requires additional calculations than mono sound. There are many things you can do, to speed up
   the program. Also HQP requires more resources.
Q: When can I play Keen Dreams?
A: Yes you can. Not all versions are supported but the supported version has some little enhancements as well.
   If you forget to collect some of the bombs in a level you can replay that level making the game better to play
   in my opinion.
- BUG! -
So you really found one or more bugs? Please report us those at
GitHub issues and they might get fixed. 
Depending on the priority, we are going to fix them as soon as possible. 
Sending us the "CGLog.html" or "CGLog.txt" file might help tracking the error.
Also remember to test the lastest version from the testing repo we sometimes provide. 
Your error might have been already fixed there. If there is no testing version after the release, 
just report it. ;-)

Of course you can send an email, but Github at this stage is more useful for us.

Many thanks to people who has helped me so far in this project with their

Albert Zeyer
Sciz CT
Markus Arnold (ThinkLabs. Thanks for your generous contribution)
DSL (Nice icon contribution)
Qbix and his Dosbox team (For creating Dosbox, which made dosfusion possible)
Commander Spleen
Napalm (More Keen Data Structure Information)
Hans de Goede (The Fedora Guy)
Levellass (Keen EXE-Information)
ZidaneA (For his music tracks!)
Iv4n (wiivn)

Retired Devs:
Albert Zeyer

Also many special thanks to Martin Hauber (Tulip), Hagel and Mancus Nemo who has been 
supporting me all the time in testing the Windows version of CKP 
and giving me access to a lot of information about the games. 
Without you it wouldn't be that great!

And also special thanks to Chad Ian Anderson (Pizza2004) in helping us so
much in many points of the game.
Every time I had chance to test his port in Mac it was awesome. I like his work!
Even in difficult times he always supported us. I hope to read from him some time again...

Furthermore special thanks to Scott (Pickle) and Albert Zeyer
for his changes. They helped out a lot on the quality of the code and performance incrate.

Also special thanks to NY00123 for helping to test many different versions and improving upon.
Too bad he invests his time on his own projects right now, but still awesome stuff he creates.
Also the Reflection Keen port helped to integrate Keen Dreams in CG, thanks for that hard work!

I'm sure, there were more people who helped us and we forgot to mention, but
many thanks to them also.

And many thanks to all of you, the project has become that awesome!

For questions, comments, or updates to the source tree
please contact: or go through
SourceForge at
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