Capitalism 2

Capitalism 2 is my grim addition to the social commentary of the original.

My graphical approach mimics the visual assault of the original with higher detail.

The busy, claustrophobic, low-quality graphics of Capitalism add tremendously to the feeling you’ll get by playing it.

Years ago a Knytt Stories level, Capitalism, was made by a man known as Googoojoob. It was an art game that pitted players against the oppressive side of economics in the “free world”.

Capitalism 2 is my grim addition to the social commentary of the original. It was also my entry in a Knytt Stories competition where the premise was to confine the level to a single room. Thus, this is an extremely short level focusing on one critical moment in the playable character’s daily routine, the moment she can choose to break the cycle. Try to find both endings.

Download Capitalism 2 3.8MB requires KS+

And, here’s the level mine is based on. If you’ve never played Capitalism, then you should play it first. If you have played it, even long ago, then it isn’t necessary to play it again. Capitalism 2’s opening scene acts as a refresher course.

Download Capitalism 1.3MB v2.1 requires KS or KS+

Endless Winter

Endless Winter is a round-robin Knytt Stories level over two years in the making.

Dear Juni, My land has fallen into an unending winter. I need your help. – Mrs. Soup

Juni from the title screen. All cutscenes featured this style of character design.

An inhabitant of the icy realm.

Beneath the snow, abandoned labs wait patiently.

Endless Winter is a round-robin Knytt Stories level over two years in the making. Many many people have played a part in its development giving the level a slightly eclectic feel. However, the story and the winter theme tie it all together nicely. The gameplay is mostly easy environmental, but there are several points where players can choose a hard challenging path.

Although the game is not very ambitious in scope, the globe spanning collaboration became a beast of a job, especially when the growing sentiment was for one cohesive plot. I initially got on board as a graphics contributor with no intention of doing any level design. As the problems started to arise, I started making suggestions. In the end, as it floundered, I took over.

You can see my hand in the story, which was written around the divergent designs made by many designers before a plot was considered. The key piece of graphics is a winter tileset by Smashy. I created complimentary tilesets to add ice, caves, buildings, and ruins. By request I made a bunker style lab which was so popular the level ended up being filled with labs. My largest contribution is the cutscenes. I enlarged screen shots from the level, but added higher detail characters. This resulted in my most professional looking cutscenes to date.

I want to credit a few people. Bulbapuck started the project and fostered a spirit of creativity through his easy-going direction. Headgrinder kept the project alive in the middle and developed the underlying themes of the plot. Sergio Cornaga helped me tie up the loose ends with some excellent contributions and humor. The majority of the ambient background music is by Sion, and was used through the public license he so graciously attached to it. Complete credits are available at the end of the game.

A final note: This level plays in the official 1.2.1 Knytt Stories release. But, some custom NPCs are more lively with my KS+ mod.

Download Endless Winter 22.7MB

Knytt Stories + (beta)

Tim McDowell releases Knytt Stories +, an updated version of Knytt Stories which gives designers the power to make the levels they want while maintaining the fun and simplicity of the original.

Back in 2007 Nicklas Nygren released Knytt Stories, a solid platformer with a simple level editor. In 2012, Tim McDowell has released Knytt Stories + (KS+), an updated version of the original. Over the last 5 years many many user made levels have been released, and though terrific games have been and are still being made, there were many features level designers wished for. KS+ gives designers the power to make the games they want while maintaining the fun and simplicity of the original.

What’s New

Custom Graphics: While the original KS allowed use of original tiles, backdrops, and simple animated images; there were many graphics that were unchangeable. In KS+ nearly every graphic can be replaced with your own images. Firstly, the playable character can be replaced with a sprite sheet of your own making, and this graphic can be switched during game play. Secondly, by pairing sprite sheets with standard game objects, like enemies or non-playable characters, you can give behaviors to your graphics. Thirdly, special objects like power-ups can be replaced including their icons in the inventory.

Maps: What Metroid-vania style game would be complete without a map? Apparently KS was, but now it is more complete with a map system in KS+.

Custom Sounds: As in the original, music and ambiance can be customized, but now you can have custom sound effects. Before you could choose between 4 sound effects when a special object know as a “Shift” was triggered. Now you can add any sound you want, but please observe copyright laws.

Collectables: This is a new feature which expands upon the original game mechanics. In the original game the player can only avoid enemies and other dangers, so the game play is about navigating the level safely. This coupled with the power-up mechanism lends itself to explorative Metroid-vania style gaming. The addition of collectibles strengthens this nature, ensuring not only that KS+ will appeal to the same audience but also that new twists on level designs can be created for years to come. There are 3 kinds of collectibles and each has it’s own method of expanding design options. Golden creatures are golden versions of normal creatures. Golden doors will block the player’s path until the player has collected a certain number of golden creatures. Coins are coins. They can be used for commerce. Artifacts come in 7 varieties, and can alter the appearance of a location based on how many of a kind have been found.

Improved Menus: The menus looked great in the original, and that hasn’t changed here. Unfortunately, as one’s library of levels grows it becomes increasingly cumbersome to find a level in it. This has been remedied with buttons that filter levels according to recent activity, and a search function. You can also open a level directly from the installation dialogue.

Much Much More: Want pixel perfect scaling? You’ve got it. Want custom keyboard controls? It’s in there. There are way more new features in KS+ than you could possibly be interested in reading about. It’s better just to download it and find out for yourself.

What’s in the Download

This download includes the game executable and image files necessary for level editing. There are template images and instructions for making sprite sheets and using the new features. You will also find 2 knytt.bin files which are levels you can install that demonstrate the new features available in game. Most importantly there is a readme.txt. Please read this file.

Download Knytt Stories + here

The Dying Core

She awakens to the plea of a machine. It’s dying. Take a key. Turn on a sub-machine. Repeat. Sounds simple enough.

She awakens to the plea of a machine. It’s dying. Take a key. Turn on a sub-machine. Repeat. Sounds simple enough.

The core, it’s dying

In the corridors of a machine deep underground.

A machine sleeps below the waves, waiting to be powered on.

The Dying Core is a straight forward platformer. You traverse four sections each harder than the last. It’s built on a time honored method of Knytt story telling where each new area is opened by a key you recovered in the last area and each area is inspired by the color of the key it’s linked to. The difficulty curve starts pretty low, but rises to a challenging level by the end.

The premise is a little less than clear. One of thousands kept in stasis, the main character awakens to find a computer core with low batteries. It indicates that she should turn on four other machines like a thread running through a program loop. The vague situation is little to motivate and when surprises start appearing in the access corridors of the sub-machines, she’ll begin to wondering what it all means.

Besides relying heavily on custom graphics, This level benefits from a complete musical score written specifically for it. The long ambient 8-bit tracks composed by Will Bowerman, code name Ultigonio, match the settings perfectly. Simple and mechanical, each feels like a part of the whole, but each has its own identity indicative of the element its machine represents, earth, water, fire, and air.

Download The Dying Core 7.8MB

Shipwrecked

A basic survival-on-a-deserted-island story. Your focus is on the necessities of life and rescue. As the game progresses though, some mysteries start to develop.

Shipwrecked is a Knytt Stories level I made for a competition on the Nifflas Support Forum. The rules were simply that a certain tileset, A Beach and a Cave by Paul “Ripen” Noumowics, had to be used on every screen of the game. With 10 days left in the competition decided to take on the challenge and win it.

The hero of our story showing off her custom animation.

Deep in the jungle lies a cave entrance.

Shipwrecked is your basic survival-on-a-deserted-island story. Your focus is on the necessities of life and rescue. As the game progresses though, some mysteries start to develop. The island has a complex and dark history which is far more dangerous to our shipwrecked interloper than the initial struggle. In the end you’ll pit yourself against the evil that lurks on the island in an attempt to put things right.

The gameplay is in chapters which isn’t too common among Knytt Stories levels. Even less common, every cutscene happens in-game including full screen images with animation. In addition to this the game is filled with custom animations and graphics inspired by the A Beach and a Cave tileset. The ambiance is almost entirely original and really sets the level apart. Most of the game doesn’t have music because the ambiance fills the sound-scape so well. As music goes there is a memorable classical guitar track and an original tribal drum track. The simplicity of the instrumentation matches the simplicity of the environs and remoteness of our lonely survivor.

The level was originally released in May of 2010 as a beta. It won the competition it was made for, and has been hailed as one of the top Knytt Stories levels. Knytt Stories and the levels made for it are always free, so download and enjoy. If you like this level look for Harvest by Farik. It was a major inspiration for Shipwrecked. Finally, if you like the classical guitar track as much as I do, you can get a free high quality version at musopen.org.

Download Shipwrecked 8.6MB