Nicklas Nygren (better known as “Nifflas“) is one of my favorite indie game dev. I’ve seen some talks from him on Youtube about video games, creativity, etc. and I always share 100% of his thoughts about gaming and the importance of atmosphere & secrets in games.
I’m sure you’ve already heard about his “Knytt” series (if not, check it) but today, we are here to talk with him about his new release… and many other things!
Hi Nifflas! I’m really happy to have you today for this new interzioq! Could you please introduce yourself briefly for those who don’t already know you.
Hi! I’m Nicklas Nygren, and usually create 2D games with a focus on atmosphere and exploration. My most recent games are affordable Space Adventures which I developed together with Knapnok games, and I’ve just released Uurnog on the Humble Store.
So let’s talk about Uurnog: is there any meaning behind this name?
I think it’s meant to be the word “Wrong” but spelled completely wrong. The W became a double U (pun intended), and some letters rearranged themselves. Mike Krolikowski (@mikekrolik) came up with the game for the Title Jam, which was a jam about coming up with game titles held by Simon Nielsen (@1000tongues)
I really love the graphic style of the game and, obviously, some aspects of the gameplay remind me of Super Mario Bros 2. You’ve already been inspired by SMB2 when you made your game FiNCK : what is so special about SMB2 for you?
SMB2 was probably the only good game I had on my NES as a child, and I knew it inside and out. Since I still love its mechanics, I want to explore them further, and will probably return to them in the future as well!
What inspired you to have dynamic music in Uurnog and to create the algorithmic music program?
I’ve built up ideas for alternative ways to do music software for a long time, but the previous dev platform I used didn’t really have the features I needed to try them out. So, when I finally switched to Unity in order to work together with Knapnok on Affordable Space Adventures, I finally learned a set of tools where I could try these ideas out. Alongside ASA, I prototyped music software, and gathered enough knowledge to allow me to create what is now featured in Uurnog. The idea to rely on algorithms instead of placed notes was inspired by the youtube video 15 Sorting Algorithms in 6 Minutes by Timo Bingmann. David Kanaga’s (@dkanaga) work in Dyad also showed me a different way of thinking about game music.
On the Uurnog site you wrote that the last Ghostbuster movie was part (amongst other thing) of your inspiration while making this game. I find it cool that you say that about a movie that received so many “extreme” negativity from some people… May I ask you what inspired you in this movie?
First, I actually rather enjoyed the movie. It was just fun and silly. The way the movie was colored though was amazing. I found myself pausing the movie just to take in its use of saturated greens, and the blend of smoke and glow. It’s so opposite of the cyan/teal and desaturated trends so common in movies now.
Let’s talk a bit about yourself if you don’t mind 🙂 That may be a tricky question but… I’m not specificaly speaking about videogames but : why do you “create”?
I create because I have to. To be honest, I don’t even know why. When I was young, my favorite toy was Lego. I picked up tracking software (a type of music software) as a teenager, and game development in my early 20’s. So, I’ve never not created, and I don’t really function well without it for periods longer than a few weeks. Some of my friends knows this well.
Could you tell us what is your oldest memory about video games or the first game you played? What’s the game you’ve got the more fond memories about?
That’d be the VIC-20 I had when I was really young. I actually think my uncle had made a game on it (or that’s how I remember it at least). It was a take on Space Invaders. Unfortunately, I lost the game since I was under the impresison the tape was magical and transformed whatever its content was into a game. So, I decided to overwrite the data with a song about riding trains, because I wanted to play a game about that.
What is the best or your favorite secret you ever found within a game?
I still remember the Special Zone in Super Mario World fondly. Back then I didn’t even think a game could have a secret area within a secret area.
You also make music : what are your favorite video games tunes?
Probably the music David Kanaga created for Proteus and Dyad.
Except music, any good book or movie to recommend (in any genre)?
Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan North. The world needs more chose-your-own-adventure books. Many more.
Speaking of recommendations : any game (indie or not) we should try? (and why do you like it)
Since I just created a game inspired by it, I have to say Lyle in Cube Sector. It’s one of the early indies and a must-play.
I’ve seen some really inspiring talks by you online : any piece of advice for someone who’d like to try making video games?
If you’d like to join a bigger company, I have no idea how it works. Game education maybe? If you’d like to start indie, pick up an easy tool like Game Maker. Follow some tutorials and make games on your spare time. So many games. Tiny games. I can’t stress the tiny thing enough. Post them online and show them to your friends and watch them play it. You’ll get to know yourself and the process so much better than if you start out with a big game before you develop a good sense what it takes to make one.
According to wikipedia you’re living in Sweden. I must say that I’ve always had a deep love for the scandinavian landscapes (I’m from France) and I had the chance to visit Norbotten once and it was one of the best travel I’ve ever made (around Båtskärsnäs in fact) Anyway : could you tell us if the place where you’re living inspires your art and, if yes, how?
Currently I’m moving back to Umeå in northern Sweden after having lived in Denmark for a while. I think the tone of my games are affected by where I’ve developed them and my previous time in Umeå resulted in a slightly more melancholic feel.
If you could visit any place around the world, where would you go & why?
Try to go as far north in Sweden as you can either during mid winter or mid summer. The light or intense darkness is a very nice thing.
And finally : what is your favorite Swedish meal?
Surströmming! I’m not kidding.
Many thanks for taking the time to make this interview. Feel free to share some links to any of your work here:
My latest release is Uurnog > http://uurnog.com
Interview by izioq.