Sprite positioning refers to how sprites are positioned in level relative to their sprite value placement or other sprites. As an example, since the game is divided into 16x16 tiles, a sprite whose height is NOT a multiple of 16 cannot be placed so that its feet touch the ground. This can be a problem with sprites that must sit or need to touch the floor. While changing sprites and hitboxes can solve this, the original games often use a parameter to add (Or subtract) height from the sprite so it will sit on the ground. Other patches relate to where a sprite spawns from another sprite, such as the Foot in Keen 4. These are more likely to include a horizontal component to make things look nicer.
Position values work the same way as all variables in Keen games; positive values are down or right and negative values are up or left.
Positioning in Vorticons
In Keen Vorticons it appears the value is a three byte patch composed of two parts. The first is a one byte value giving the number of pixels in the position. The second is a two byte value where each 1 change is worth 256 pixels.
#Plenty of time shield %patch $851A [$F8] #Vertical position %patch $851C [$FFFFW] %patch $852A [$F8] #Horizontal position %patch $852C [$FFFFW]
In this case the shield appears at $FFFFF8, $FFFFF8 relative to the player's sprite (That is, 8 pixels above and 8 pixels left of the player.) Notice how the two values add together; this is important. A naive patcher may think that in order to make the shield appear 8 pixels down and left of the player all they would need to do would be to change $F8 to $08. However this would make both values $FFFF08, or 248 pixels left and above the player, far offscreen. Instead the $FFFFW should be changed to $0000W To give both variables the value of $000008W.
Positioning in Galaxy and Dreams
In Keen Galaxy (and Dreams) this parameter is present for most sprites and is a two byte (word) patch that gives the added height in 16ths of a pixel (Thus one pixel down is $0010W) Positive values move a sprite down to the ground, negative values move it up. Sometimes these values can be 'reversed' due to a quirk of the game. The following is an example of a Galaxy patch, using default values.
#Arachnut spawn height: %patch $1053E [$FE8FW] #1 tile, 7 pixels up