Tom’s Work

Tom is working on a cool new massively multiplayer online game.

Here’s his company!

KingsIsle Entertainment


42 responses to “Tom’s Work

  1. Mike Richardson

    December 13, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    I couldn’t think of a better place to do this so I’m not sure if this is the appropriate place to ask this question. I’m a big fan of anachronox and wonder what would the possibility be of it maybe coming to xbox live arcade? I don’t know who officially owns the game or even if it could be ported over to that format but I personally think it would be a big success on their platform through the live arcade. Would that even be a possibility?

  2. Al

    February 18, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    I wonder if Tom is the one from Milwaukee that played Guitar with a band on Milwaukees South Side, His father Royce Hall also played guitar,
    and was a barber

  3. tommune

    February 18, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Nope, sorry — my dad was a professional engineer.

    I’m from the Milwaukee area, never played in a band. My brother and sister got all the music talent from my folks, heh.

  4. Al

    February 18, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Was Toms Fathers name Royce Hall

  5. tommune

    February 18, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    Nope. This IS Tom, btw.

  6. Russian Ivan

    April 21, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Ну ты Том молодчик здравый, знаю тебя по игре Deus Ex

  7. pizza2004

    July 8, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    So Tom, I sent you an email. It was from chad at neejean dot org. Could you maybe check on that and see what you think of it. I sort of think that you should get involved with a lot of the community to show id software just what they are missing by not releasing another Keen game!

  8. tommune

    July 8, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Okay, will check, I get SO much spam……

    Well, who knows what getting bought out will mean at id?

  9. pizza2004

    July 10, 2009 at 2:37 am

    Hey Tom, I was wondering about Commander Keen’s siblings. It is widely accepted by the community (although if you say otherwise that will be final) that Keen has an older brother and a younger sister. Does he have any other siblings? Also, I would like to know the names of all of his family members (although I have it that the dad’s name is Arthur and the mom’s name is Susan) if you would be so kind.

    • Jorpho

      July 11, 2009 at 12:59 am

      The names of Arthur and Susan are cited in that oft-repeated blurb from the official Wolfenstein 3D hint manual. Click my name to go to the relevant section of the Apogee FAQ.

  10. pizza2004

    July 15, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Am I not going to get a response to this question? If not then please tell me, and I won’t worry about it.

  11. tommune

    July 15, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    I don’t recall any other names, would have to dig through my attic right now… but if the Keen community doesn’t know them, they were not likely named…..

  12. pizza2004

    July 16, 2009 at 1:01 am

    You could always come up with some, although you don’t have to if you don’t want to. Oh, and anything you say will be considered cannon, at least by the community.

  13. pizza2004

    July 23, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Okay, could you at least just make up a name for his older brother and younger sister that we can use until more official names come? This would be a great help, because it is hard to do what we are doing without names.

  14. pizza2004

    November 17, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    Hey so Tom, I was just wondering what you would think of the Original Keen Trilogy as well as the Galaxy Trilogy being released on the iPod Touch and iPhone? I noticed that they have developed and released classic versions of Doom and Wolfenstein for the platform, and they are currently releasing Keen through Steam using DOSBox.

    You may or may not have heard of CloneKeenPlus (aka Commander Genius) which is an open source interpreter built to run the original keen games via the original data files. I joined that team a little while back and we currently have builds for Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, and some portable thing called the Wiz. One of our Team members has also just within the last two days released an unofficial iPhone version that can be used on Jailbroken iPhones. I would also like to port it to Nintendo DS and Wii homebrew, and if possible PSP, and it will at some time be available for the Pandora.

    Currently it only runs Keens 1-3 and we are going through a major overhaul of our internal engine, making it have much cleaner code and the such. Now, it adds multiplayer support (very rough, not a high priority to polish it up yet) support for better graphics as well as stretching without becoming blurry (something that happens with DOSBox) and a few other things. We will release a new version sometime soon that makes Keens 1-3 have most if not all of the features that Keens 4-5 have as well as more features new to both. We have already implemented ingame menus in the SVN version, as well as changing the controls to match Keens 4-5 and other things as well. We also hope to implement support for Keen Dreams, although that will be a little difficult because no one understands the compression format used on it. When we do add support for it, we will make sure that all of the discovered bugs within it would be fixed so that it would run as well as the rest of them.

    You can look at it at and if you feel like helping at all we would love to have you contribute. This could be your way of making some more Keen without actually doing it, like by helping us cement out the details of exactly how multiplayer would work. has the current ideas, and we would love to hear your thoughts on them.

    Now, I’m wondering, if id decided they would like to use our engine to release Keen on the iPhone (which I’m not going to get my hopes up on, but I figure that if we have done most of the work and all they have to do is approve it and submit it to apple to be approved maybe they will) then I’m wondering what the price should be. If this happened before we implement Keens 4-6 support then there would obviously be a lite version with just Keen 1, and then when we would update it with Keen 4 once we got support within our interpreter.

    But then, I think that the full version would cost about $3 and have the first three games (based on $5 for the first 5 on Steam) and then there would be an in app download of Galaxy available for $2 (and if the rights were ever received to sell Keen 6 and Keen Dreams, they would each be available for $1) which would allow people to not have to pay the full $5 to get all of them at once (and allow for the aforementioned way of getting 6 and Dreams should that become possible) and would help to increase the popularity of Keen once again.

    I just wanted to know your opinion on the matter, and I am going to email id somehow to tell them about this.

  15. tommune

    November 17, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    The only reason they haven’t been released is they lost the source code.

    No idea on price.

    But it would be cool if new folks could play it….

  16. pizza2004

    November 17, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    Are you saying they would have released the source code of Keen like they did of Doom and Quake and such, or just that the only reason they haven’t ported it already is that they lost the source code?

  17. TomTomTom

    November 18, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Yes, they would have released the source code if it was still around. Keen porting isn’t a focus of the company anymore.

    Have to ask them if they have bandwidth to spare for it.

  18. pizza2004

    March 1, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Well, I found someone who said that while id themselves has lost the code, John Romero has it, but won’t release it without John Carmack’s blessing. Is there a way for us to get this to happen? If so, then the code would be immensely helpful in the furthering of our Commander Genius engine, and would make many people very happy as well as allow for easier modding of the games.

    • Creaper

      March 17, 2010 at 2:34 am

      You should dig around for some old hard core fans. Sometimes some source can be leaked to them…. I have some source code for a different game that I won’t give out, but keep archived.

  19. tommune

    March 1, 2010 at 4:43 am

    I don’t think John has it… but once found and if it is salvageable, I’m sure it would be released to the public.

    We’ll just see if it gets found, usually happens when people move, heh.

  20. pizza2004

    March 4, 2010 at 5:31 am

    Well, I got this reply from John, and I’m wondering what you have to say about it?

    I don’t have the original Keen source anywhere, but Tom Hall might. He just found some old SyQuest cartridges that say Keen Source on them – he’s trying to recover the data from them.

  21. pizza2004

    March 7, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    Well, do you have anything to say to that? Or did you not see what I posted?

  22. tommune

    March 8, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Sorry, family in town.

    Yes, yes, I found a cartridge… but it’s on a defunct media (88MB SyQuest) written from a defunct computer (NeXT)… and the media is now 18 years old.

    So working on getting that hardware together somehow… but that is a challenge…

  23. pizza2004

    March 8, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Well, I don’t know if you know this, but NeXT became Mac OS X. I sure hope that you can get that, and it isn’t something stupid, but it is actually some of the original source code. Don’t you just hate when source code gets lost?

    This is excellent news, and I will be waiting to hear of the result. If we finally get the source code to keen, the world will be a much better place.

  24. tommune

    March 8, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Yep, totally know that…

    Hope it works out!

  25. Deltamatic

    March 13, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Any progress on getting the source? We’re all interested. 🙂

  26. tommune

    March 15, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Will let you folks know when there’s progress for sure!

  27. whgarcia

    May 27, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Let me just say that Commander Keen is what got me into PC gaming and by looking at your works I pretty much grew up playing games you worked on for the PC! Wolf3D, Spear, and even though you didn’t really enjoy it… Doom. But I had a lot more fun playing ROTT with my friends during the era of dialups. hehe Now I just noticed you work on an MMO I beta tested a few years back but still play once in a while with my younger relatives and some of my other adult friends. Hope you keep making games that make me come back without knowing it! lol

    Oh and If you guys need anymore testers let me know! 😉

  28. tommune

    May 27, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Aw thanks man!

    Will do, heh.

  29. DaVince

    June 3, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Oh man, it would be so awesome if you somehow managed to salvage the original source code from that disk… It would certainly help projects like CloneKeenPlus to get a modern-age port of the games! 🙂

    I still love Keen, and I still wish that The Universe Is Toast got made to this day.

  30. pizza2004

    June 13, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Okay, so I just want to ask you if any progress has been made on the source since the stroke? Have you recovered well? Also, what would Commander Keen look like in HD, like handdrawn, how would you draw him?

    Just some questions I thought I would ask, heres hoping you get the rights back.

    Also, you probably didn’t notice, but someone found a test build of Keen1 on a floppy disk, the old one with the intro of the Vorticon stealing the ship parts. Why did you guys take that out anyway?

    Thanks for your consideration!

  31. tommune

    June 14, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Nope. I am still recovering, which is going well.

    Probably look cool.

    Yeah, that’s cool. No idea why it got taken out. Well, at least you got to see it!

  32. Gerstrong

    July 26, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Hey Tom,

    this really sounds amazing! I’m working on the reverse engineering of Keen 4 in Commander Genius. If we get that into CG it would awesome and revive Keen to a new era. Of course in the case you agree. It was your work and I respect that… 😉


    enjoy 😉

  33. Met

    August 23, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Woah, you were involved with Deus Ex too? It and keen in particular were what got me into computers and still I go back to them again and again. We loved Deus Ex so much we bought it at least 5 times in hard copy format, for every time a disc got to scratched or broke or passed on to a friend to spread its amazing-ness.

    Hope you are recovered/ing well. I’ve been teaching myself programming, loving every minute, and in the last few days been writing up a platformer engine for the DS, thought it might be awesome to port out (or rather write from scratch but use the old graphics and sounds) Keen 4 (at least) as homebrew. Do you know who’s got the rights and if this is the kind of thing people get sued over? Don’t want to offend anyone but do want to spread Keen enthusiasm and the great game.

    My baby brother (6) is scarily good at Mario Bros and platformer games on his DS and the such, but all those new flashy titles have been thrown aside lately since I took him on a retro trip and introduced him to Commander Keen. You’ve been involved with some amazing work, and it’s still loved today by old and new – kudos to you sir, you’re an inspiration.

  34. Erik

    October 20, 2010 at 11:28 pm


    I’m glad to see I’m not going to be the only person throwing up on the wall with praise. About a decade after I should have (ugh), I finally started playing Anachronox and I’ve been enjoying it far, far too much. Schoolwork? Studies?

    Eh… just five more minutes – I’m almost done with the ‘hive.

    Anyhow, I just wanted to say that even after all these years – when 3D technology has jumped by leaps and bounds beyond what was possible back in 2001, Anachronox still stands up on two-legs, smirks and proceeds to spit in the eyes of most modern titles. There’s just so much character and world interaction. I’d love for a sequel – Duke Nukem Forever is finally coming out so a man can dream, can’t he?

    Also, I hope you’ve had a successful recovery.

    Wishing you and yours the best,

  35. Robert "No. 1 Machop Fan" Whitehill

    August 21, 2011 at 6:13 am

    Can we know what the MMOG is going to be?

  36. Cody Peer

    December 10, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Hey, just wondring I could use the SGA in this project I’m doing for school. After I saw it in Minecraft, I had to learn it, and then I started some doodling.

    • ThatTomHall

      December 11, 2011 at 5:46 am

      Yeah, I think it is cool for a school project — simple substitution cypher! Good luck!

  37. Jeremy Klaver

    February 16, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Hi Tom!

    Commander Keen 4 is still my favourite game of all time. It raised me for a good part of my childhood, and it will live with me for the rest of time.

    What’s it been like looking back at a game like Keen, that’s touched a niche of people so much?

    I hope you feel wonderful about your life and career, and please know that game and many of your later works have meant a lot to me from as young as 5 years old.

    Jeremy Klaver
    jeremy.klaver at

  38. i

    September 6, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Are you going to be involved in Interceptor Entertainment’s reboot of Rise of the Triad?

  39. iLikeTheUDK

    September 6, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Are you going to be involved in Interceptor Entertainment’s reboot of Rise of the Triad?
    (sorry for the double post, I accidentally posted before I finished typing my username).


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