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

Activity

I’m not dead. I just haven’t had the will to keep this site up to date. To be honest, I’ve worked on a lot of gaming stuff, but very little of it has been completed over the last year.

It’s high time I update this site with what I eked out last year. This should come as no surprise, all my finished projects were for Knytt Stories. I finished The Dying Core and a few tilesets. The biggest announcements I have are that I’ve nearly completed a mod of Knytt Stories and begun working openly on a large KS project, The Tree of Knowledge.

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

The Dying Core (demo)

She awakes from a stasis chamber and is immediately summoned by a large machine which is losing power. It instructs June to find 4 other machines and turn them on, there by becoming a hero.

The main machine providing a key.

The yellow key leads to this yellow area.

Heir apparent to An Underwater Adventure by Nifflas.

This is a level I made for a competition at the Knytt Stories forums. The rules were quite extensive, but the jist of them was to create a level about the keys. There are 4 keys in Knytt Stories in 4 colors; yellow, blue, red, and purple. Each key was to have it’s own area based on it’s color. The areas were to be found in sequence, one area unlocking the next.

My level revolves around a new character, June. She awakes from a stasis chamber and is immediately summoned by a large machine which is losing power. It instructs June to find 4 other machines and turn them on, there by becoming a hero. That’s all there is to it. The main machine provides June a key to start with, and an additional key for each sub-machine she successfully activates.

The level is not finished yet. The due date for the competition arrived so I submitted it as a demo. You can find a link to the demo below, but I recommend waiting for the finished product. I have no estimate at this time of when the level will be completed. The graphics are originals by me, Tim McDowell. The graphics are an expansion of a collection I made for a request. They are very much a derivative work based on graphics by Nifflas, the creator of Knytt Stories. The finished level is planned to have an intro scene much like the one in my first level, A Knytt in Time. There will also be 2 endings. I also plan to use atmospheric 8-bit track for the music selections. These have been difficult to find.

Download The Dying Core (demo)