Thank You For Playing

Amateur game design for the technically impaired

Posts Tagged ‘indie

Interview with Nicklas “Nifflas” Nygren – Creator of Knytt Stories and Within a Deep Forest

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knytt-small2.jpgAnyone who has read just about any one of our posts knows that we’re big Nifflas fans, so it was a great honor when he agreed to be interviewed. I won’t bog you down with a bunch of blah blah blah, since you’re obviously here to see what Nifflas has to say, but it is tempting. I could rant for paragraphs about this; however, I guess I’ll just go with the following.


Thank you, Nifflas, for participating, and thank you, visitors, for reading.


“It actually took me around 7 years to realize I should keep my projects small.”


Nicklas Nygren was born in 1983 in Gävle, Sweden. Today he lives in Umeå, working with the intellectually handicapped at a newspaper. His game portfolio includes Knytt Stories and Within a Deep Forest.


You’ve done a wide range of work for your projects, including visual and audio art, besides the general design and engine creation. Is that a result of the difficulty of finding other people or are you just passionate about the entire gamut of game creation? Do you find it easier or more difficult to bring in outsider help as you become more well known?


It’s pretty easy to find help as long as you can convince people that you will actually finish your game. The thing is just that I like the graphics and music creation process so much that I want to do a lot of it myself. However, as you can see in the credits list of all my games, I’ve got tons of help as well.


About how much time do you spend working through the different aspects of game creation? How much time do you spend, for example, on level design as compared to the visual art?


The different aspects are very closely connected to me, when I do all those things in a rather random way. I often create graphics at the same time as designing the level by jumping back and fourth between Photoshop and the level editor. The same goes for music as well. By this reason, it’s quite hard for me to estimate how much time I spend for each thing, but I guess I spend more or less an equal amount of time on each thing.


Is there some overarching philosophy you follow when designing games? Something to guide you as you create?

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Written by justindopiriak

March 26, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Puzzle Scramble

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Puzzle Scrambler

Here’s a quick one…
I have always been a fan of procedurally generated content; Diablo, Nethack, Dwarf Fortress. This idea is simple: to construct a procedurally generated puzzle game which constantly evolves and challenges the player.The puzzles will be simple, generated by predetermined algorithms. Some of the puzzles could be as simple as figuring out the next number in a sequence, to analyzing patterns in shapes. The objective would be to navigate through the maze of puzzles as quickly as possible. Each sequential level will include more puzzles, timers, harder puzzles and more variety.

I am thinking that by having this game text only would add more of a hardcore puzzle feel to it. Graphics would perhaps detract from the game play. Navigating menus through text and typing answers manually would give it sort of a “hacker feel.” Perhaps the story could include something of that connotation.

Puzzle Scramble

If you haven’t noticed this game is semi-inspired by Professor Layton and would be playing in a similar way.

Here are some examples of sequence puzzles that I had in mind.

Written by brunokruse

March 8, 2008 at 2:14 am

Indie Game Archive

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While I was doing my usual reading of the Penny Arcade forums yesterday I stumbled upon this: a large collection of indie games available for download without hassle. While some of them are remakes, there is still a ton of great content. There is no better way to learn a dev environment than remaking your favorite classic anyway!

If anyone knows of any other large databases like this one, please share.

Written by brunokruse

March 4, 2008 at 7:14 pm

Posted in Cool Beans

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Matt Thorson over at Helix Games Inc. has been developing indie games in Game Maker for quite some time.

Before I even knew Game Maker existed, I stumbled upon his game Jumper. Jumper really showcases what the Game Maker environment can do in terms of solid 2D design. I was surprised to see a game run this smooth and glitch free in Game Maker and I am excited to see what else can be done in the engine.

The game is extremely easy to learn, the only controls you need are the arrow keys. The objective is to complete each level by navigating 2D game designs most famous obstacles, mazes, pitfalls, spikes and of course electricity. Each level also as a blue gem to collect, collecting them all earns you 100%. The blue gems however are for pros only, the earlier ones offer a stiff challenge while some of the later ones are absolutely impossible to get (but are still fun to try for replay value).

Jumper is by no means an easy game. The level design boasts a Contra like difficulty which can occasionally cause you to punch your computer monitor in fury. I am glad we are finally past the days of three lives and game over as Jumper offers you infinite chances to complete each level and hone your skills. The levels are split into groups of five, each having a different theme and music. The extremely challenging levels offer a sense of accomplishment upon completion.

Thorson was nice enough to post the source code of Jumper 2. Even though the game was made in an older version of Game Maker it can still be examined and modded in the newest version. This simple game has a cult following, the Jumper forums are bustling with game ideas, tips and posts begging for sequels. Do yourself a favor and play this game, a simple idea executed very well. I recommend starting with Jumper 2.

Written by brunokruse

March 3, 2008 at 3:09 pm