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Nicklas Nygren (born 6 January 1983), better known by the handle "Nifflas", is a Swedish video game developer. He is known for his freeware games Knytt, Knytt Stories, Within a Deep Forest and the #ModArchive Story series. Nicklas's most recent game is Knytt Underground, which is the second of his games to appear on a gaming console. He lives in Umeå, Sweden.
Nygren's career in game-making began with a number of small games he released as freeware. Many of these games were extremely simple - consisting of little more than a physics engine and a single level on which to test it, however it was in developing these games that several themes would emerge that would later come to characterize Nygren's work. Among other themes, the concept of the ball as a hero originated in these early games and the games became increasingly more atmospheric and ambient in nature. Early games include:
- The Turtle Philosopher- a simple platformer
- Pteranodon - a simple 2D, vertical-scrolling, single player, musical shoot 'em up game
- The #ModArchive series - early ball-based platformers
- #ModArchive Story
- #ModArchive Story 2: Operator Status
- Riddle - a simple puzzle game in which the goal is to discover the rules
- Geoffrey the Fly - a simple platformer
- Roll - a simple ball-based platformer
Early betas include:
- Dis - The player takes control of a man as he runs through a disintegrating train
- Goble - Precursor to The Turtle Philosopher, Goble also features the Nifflas ball.
- Pie War in Water - A 2-player racing game
- Within a Deep Forest 2 - An abandoned sequel to Within a Deep Forest.
Within A Deep Forest
Within A Deep Forest is a freeware game, taking place in the year 2500, after a devastating war has left the Earth a desolate wasteland. One of the survivors, the infamous and notorious Dr. Cliché, creates a time machine that enables him to travel many hundreds of years back in time in order to complete his most dastardly deed, the building of an underwater laboratory in which he has placed the most powerful bomb the world has yet known. "If ever this bomb should explode, the entire planet will freeze and all life will be lost. In this way, Dr. Cliché aims to eliminate beyond all reckoning the possibility of such a future ever coming to pass." As the game starts the bomb has been activated and the world lies in grave danger.
The bomb is in fact Dr. Cliché's second attempt as "his first attempt failed and instead lead to the creation of a ball, although, no ordinary ball." The player controls this ball throughout the game. The ball can be transformed into different substances with various materials found in the landscape. Many hazards, including spikes, water, lava, and certain creatures can kill the ball. There are warp spots (save points) at certain places in the game areas. When the ball is killed, it reappears in the last warp spot visited.
Note: The setting of the tutorial of Within A Deep Forest (Harara Mountains) is very similar to the home of the creature in Nicklas Nygren's other game known as Knytt.
Bigdownload.com highlighted Nygren's minimalist sound and graphics in Within A Deep Forest, and praised its sense of frustration and emotion.
A peculiar creature living on a unique planet, the Knytt (which roughly translates as "tiny creature" in Swedish) is abducted by an alien in a spaceship for no apparent reason and taken into outer space. While the alien is traveling through space, the spaceship is hit by a meteoroid and crashes onto another planet. Thankfully, the Knytt and the alien who has abducted it survive, but the spaceship is so heavily damaged that they are trapped on this new world. It is up to the Knytt to venture courageously through the various types of terrain and caves on this planet to retrieve the pieces of spaceship so that it can return to its home.
Knytt Stories features Juni, a character who shows up commonly in Knytt myths and stories. In the game, the player acts out these stories (also called levels or worlds) as Juni. The two stories that comes bundled with the game, "Tutorial - Learn How to Play Knytt Stories" and "The Machine - A Save-the-World Adventure," are fairly short, but the game comes with a full level editor and support for many extra levels in game, loaded from .knytt.bin files. This format is meant to allow for easy access to new stories designed by Nygren as well as to encourage community development of expansion packs and third party stories. To date, Nygren has released two official expansion packs, A Strange Dream (featuring the 4 stories: "A Strange Dream - That Night, She Had a Strange Dream," "An Underwater Adventure - ...In an Underwater Laboratory," "Sky Flower - Abstract and Slightly Pretentious," and "This Level is Unfinished - The Author Simply Lost His Interest"), and Other Levels (featuring the story: "Gustav's Daughter"). Nygren has also released a story, the purpose of which is to explain some of the advanced features available for level design. This story is entitled "Advanced Features Demo - Useful for Level Designers."
Nano Pack volume 1 is a batch of 2 games and an art collection. All of these open in relatively small windows. The games are "Knytt Nano" and "Nano Lasers." Knytt Nano concerns the attempts of a new, unnamed Knytt to return home. The second game is titled "Nano Lasers" and is a small puzzle game, the object of which is to cause a laser beam to strike a block, overcoming various obstacles. The art collection is entitled "Nano Portfolio" and contains a small amount of art, ranging from "Gubba" to pixel art. All of these pieces are made by Sara Sandberg who has assisted him with the creation of many of his previous games.
Knytt Underground combines the features of Knytt and Within a Deep Forest and was released on PC, Mac and Linux platforms in late 2012, with the PlayStation platforms seeing the first launch. In July 2012, Nifflas announced that he was working on Knytt Underground, and that it is his biggest game yet. It was released on the PlayStation Network for PlayStation 3 and PS Vita in late December 2012, and the console versions include extra content. The game was released on Steam on October 25, 2013. A Wii U version of the game was confirmed in August 2013, and is being ported by Nygren's colleague Mathias Kærlev. The game was released on December 19, 2013 in both North America and Europe.
Saira is a 2D puzzle platformer. First announced during the final stages of work on NightSky, the game was initially known as Project Q. It was released on 12 December 2009. The eponymous Saira is a photographer who, as a result of a mysterious accident, found herself as the only remaining person in the entire galaxy and has to find out what happened. Saira features six endings and a unique graphical style that combines traditional 2D animation with high resolution photographs taken by Nygren—the press-release stated that the game was "developed almost as much in the outdoors as indoors". A level editor was included with the game.
In May 2010 Nygren released FiNCK ("Fire Nuclear Crocodile Killer"), a two dimensional puzzle platformer inspired by Super Mario Bros. 2 and the indie game Lyle in Cube Sector. The game, together with a level editor, is available as a free download; however, custom level support has to be purchased.
NightSky, a physics-based puzzle platformer, was released on 6 January 2011. The game had a long development history; first announced in 2007, it was known variously as Skymning and Night Game. On 5 May 2008, Nygren released three minigames that were going to be part of the project, but were abandoned due to incompatibilities with the new engine. In 2009, news appeared that the game would only be released for Wii, only in late 2010 it was announced that the PC version would appear first and was released on the Steam digital download service on 1 March 2011. The Wii version was eventually cancelled but later arrived on the Nintendo 3DS in 2012.
In NightSky, the player controls a glowing sphere which can accelerate and decelerate, and sometimes has the ability to invert gravity. The goal is to guide the sphere through 10 different worlds, each divided into 13 three-screen sections, each section containing a challenge or a puzzle. The soundtrack was made by Chris Schlarb; the game was produced by Nicalis.
- Car Game - a mini game created by Nygren for a game-design one hour competition
- Bagatelle - a mini game originally created by Nygren for inclusion in Night Game as an unlockable.
- Cannon - a mini game originally created by Nygren for inclusion in Night Game as an unlockable.
- ClickDrop - a mini game originally created by Nygren for inclusion in Night Game as an unlockable.
- Det Officiella EDGE Dataspelet - a mini game programmed by Nygren for EDGE festivalen.
- Avoid the Evil Space Eel - a rhythm mini game created by Nygren for the No More Sweden competition.
- The Mushroom Engine - an updated version created by Nygren of an earlier game by another author, Jump On Mushrooms: The Game
- R-Type 3.141592653589793238469 - a mini game created by Nygren for the No More Sweden 2009 competition.
- The Great Work - a platformer made for a documentary film by Bautafilm.
Nygren has also been credited on the following games:
- Bonesaw - a hockey-themed adventure game
- Floating Islands Game - a puzzle game similar to Lemmings
- Heroes in Guitarland - a music game similar to Guitar Hero
Apart from contributions to the original scores for eight of the games he has made, Nygren has also created seven stand-alone albums of ambient music. He claims influence from jazz records among others. Additionally, he has released an album of bonus tracks intended to accompany four of the seven albums by providing stylistically similar extras. He has also released a collection of sound effects used in his games. Nygren has been engaged in music creation for the past ten years.
Nygren's early works were primarily composed using Fast Tracker 2; however, his later works often use non-computer hardware. All songs including those from his games are freely available for download online.
The stand-alone albums include:
- En skog, märklig och djup
- One Hour Compos of Nifflas
- "Knytt Happens: Knytt Underground Rolls to PS3, PS Vita Today – PlayStation.Blog". Blog.us.playstation.com. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
- Interview with Nifflas - CTG Music Community
- Within a Deep Forest for PC - Within a Deep Forest PC Game - Within a Deep Forest Computer Game
- James Murff (Jul 31, 2009). "Freeware Friday: Within A Deep Forest". bigdownload.com. AOL. Retrieved 2010-05-03. "Within a Deep Forest is a freeware classic on par with the big names. Its developer knows exactly what he is doing, and crafted an excellent, incredibly hard platforming game that stirs right to the soul"
- "Knytt Underground Steam Green Light Video". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
- 23 interviews: Nifflas. 16 February 2009. Retrieved 17 February 2009.
- Is Knytt a Boy or a Girl?
- Jay is Games - Games tagged with 'nifflas'
- Knytt for PC - Knytt PC Game - Knytt Computer Game
- Knytt Stories for Windows - MobyGames
- Knytt Stories for PC - Knytt Stories PC Game - Knytt Stories Computer Game
- Nifflas Profile
- Knytt Experiment at MobyGames
- Knytt Experiment build 13
- Nifflas' Support Forum: 2 screen shots & short game info
- "The Weblog Nifflas to Create Knytt Underground for PlayStation, PC". IndieGames.com. 2012-07-26. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
- "Knytt Underground on Steam". Steampowered.com. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
- Whitehead, Thomas (2013-08-13). "Ripstone Confirms Details for Knytt Underground and Pure Chess on the Wii U eShop". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 2013-08-28.
- Saira Press Release.
- GameSetWatch: FiNCK: Nifflas Reveals Super Mario Bros. 2-inspired Game
- Road To The IGF: Nicalis Duo On Night Game's Serenity
- "NightSky on Steam". Store.steampowered.com. 2011-03-01. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
- The Official EDGE Computer Game at MobyGames
- Avoid the Evil Space Eel at MobyGames
- Nifflas' Games: The Great Work
- Bonesaw at MobyGames
- Floating Islands Game at MobyGames
- Heroes in Guitarland at MobyGames
- The Cave Story interview - we get the full skinny from Nicalis frontman Tyrone Rodriguez, and Pixel himself
- "Index of /files/Music". Niffpage.greywool.com. 2008-12-05. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
- Nifflas' website
- The UnOfficial Nifflas Game Page, including MP3s, games and maps
- Nicalis homepage
- Nicklas Nygren at MobyGames