Keen Mods


A Keen 1 mod originally intended as an entry for a 24-hour modding contest in 2010 that spiraled into a full mod. It took about three months, which was still an accomplishment given my usual decade-spanning (and counting) development process for other mods. The basic graphics were already designed a couple of years earlier for a vaguely conceived minimalist retro themed mod idea, and the contest gave me the impetus to put them to use.

It was released on the 20th anniversary of the first Keen trilogy's release: "since it's the 20th anniversary of Keen:Vorticons today, I'm obnoxiously declaring this the official mod for the occasion, a reflection of the age and yet enduring timelessness of the Keen series."

The levels are based more around exploration and puzzle solving than gauntlet style hazard dodging and aside from a exception there aren't any enemies. The Keen player sprite is borrowed from the XkyKeen mod series, which is still my favourite fan-made sprite.

There are 16 new levels with an overhead map in which Keen explores a grey/green GUI environment, plus bright arcadey PC speaker sound effects and a suitably surreal ending sequence.

Download Video Review by VikingBoyBilly Keen Wiki Page PCKF Release Thread Level Design Discussion

Monky Business (OrbKeen)

This was the first mod that I began in August 2003 upon first discovering the Keen community and the existence of ModKeen and other tools for editing the games. I relesed a beta version about a year later, which is effectively a prologue to what will eventually be the final game if it the project ever reaches a conclusion. I work on it intermittently, but it takes a low priority among other IRL things and projects that have a better chance of seeing more immediate results.

More recently the heavy plot and dark visuals have been rather draining on my mood, so it is challenging to concentrate on in comparison to the more colourful and idyllic settings of my other mods, so they tend to be what I work on instead when I have the time and energy for modding.

The first episode is entitied "An Essence of Mayhem" and follows a sci-fi/fantasy story involving a race of space magi who have enslaved a species of energy beings, channeling their life essence into a resource that runs their cybernetic machinery.

It took a week or so after finding the modding tools to figure out what the mod would be. The idea was sparked by a corn chip at a friend's party that was shaped like one of the large Vorticon-replacement monks. As with so many things computer-related, it was a borderline mystical experience to suddenly bring this magical world alive and reshape a game that had already contributed to shaping so much of my life.

The concept continues to evolve as I discover more scifi that touches on similar themes in more depth than I had considered. Gradually it will take shape into my own flavour, but as it has already taken on opus-like proportions there's no point hurrying it now.

Download Keen:Modding Discussion KeenWiki Page 2011 Preview Video


This was another Keen 1 mod originally intended as a short mini-mod project and grew beyond the original scope. Unlike Mondochrome, it was much harder to confine once the boundaries had exploded. It was partially released as a playable demo for Keen Day 2010 but I haven't done much more work on it since then.

You play as an eyeball on a spring with the ability to duck and slide through small gaps in walls. A lot of patching has been implemented, notably the ice cannons repurposed as moving platform launchers and a tricksy exit door security system. There is some added music composed by DaVince and all new PC speaker sound effects.

Download PCKF Release Thread Tutorial Video ModDB Entry KeenWiki Page