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Nikki and the Robots

Here we write about Nikki and the Robots development and other news. Be sure to subscribe! Visit our reddit forum and join IRC for even more info!

Posts Tagged ‘game design’

Inspiration, Butter and Level Design

Monday, July 4th, 2011

Context: Our level design contest (rules are here) will be over in about three days (a timer is here).

Something caught my attention when I last went shopping: butter. The packaging and name inspired me to design a level.

  • ROOMBOTER ("butter" in Dutch) sounds like the kick-kraftwerk word ROBOTER ("robot" in Germany). Robots are important in our game Nikki and the Robots..
  • The packaging design aesthetics remind of pixels and tetris; blocks in a grid. Many of the existing levels in Nikki and the Robots are similar.

ROOMBOTER Nikki and the Robots level preview

You can download this level [mirror 1|mirror 2].

Copying existing designs is not how I would usually create levels. The instant inspiration I got compelled me to do it in this case though.

When did you last have spontaneous inspiration for game locations/levels lately? Do you rather get ideas from nature or man-made things?

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Nikki's Second Batch of 9 Contest Levels

Friday, June 24th, 2011

On June 6th we started a level design contest. July 7th is the deadline and everybody is welcome to submit as many levels as they like via email, webchat or forum. Text and video tutorials are available.

Since releasing the first batch, we received nine levels (one of them in two versions):

Nine Nikki and the Robots levels

To test them, you have to unzip the archive [mirror 1 | mirror 2] to the following directory:

WINDOWS: %APPDATA%\nikki-free-levels\userLevels\

LINUX/MAC OS X: ~/.nikki-free-levels/userLevels/

Just copy the path into Explorer's (CTRL + L) or Filer's (CMD + SHIFT + G) location bar to enter that directory.

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Nikki's First Batch of 10 Contest Levels

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

On June 6th we started a level design contest. It runs until July 7th and everybody is welcome to submit as many levels as they like. Text and video tutorials are available.

We received ten levels so far via email, webchat and forum:

Nikki's first 10 level design contest submissions[full size]

To test them, you have to unzip the archive [mirror 1 | mirror 2] to the following directory:

WINDOWS: %APPDATA%\nikki-free-levels\userLevels\

LINUX/MAC OS X: ~/.nikki-free-levels/userLevels/

Just copy the path into Explorer's (CTRL + L) or Filer's (CMD + SHIFT + G) location bar to enter that directory.

There are also some user-made levels that are not part of the design competition:

Looking forward to more submissions!

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Nikki's First Open Level Design Contest

Monday, June 6th, 2011

We're starting our first level design competition! Fire up the editor and create something amazing!

We will pick 10 winning level designs (possibly even more), whose creators will each receive a free copy of Nikki and the Robots (the full game), and they will be included in the game's credits.

One Three of the level builders will also win a fancy Nikki and the Robots t-shirt!

Our level editor is easy to use and we have made a short tutorial [links: GDocs | Readability | IndieDB] and an instructional video [links: Vimeo | YouTube | IndieDB].

You can send us your levels via email, upload them to a hosting site and send us the links, or you can post them to the forum. For hosting files we recommend, or

In your submission, please include:
  • Name (for attribution/credits)
  • Email address (for contact)
  • The phrase "These levels are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Unported 3.0" (CC BY)

The winning levels will be included in updates of Nikki and the Robots. We will also create retouched versions with additional graphics and content and then include these levels in the story mode of the full Nikki game.

Authors will be given notable attribution both in the game and on our website.

No Clones Allowed!No Clones Allowed!

Everybody is welcome to submit as many original levels as they like. Allow other games to inspire you - we all do - but no clones, please. :)

This competiton ends on July 7th 2011.

If you have any questions about the contest, please feel free to contact us via comments, email, forum or the freenode #nikki chat room (Lurk! We're bound to appear sooner or later). PS: we have a German language version of this announcement here.

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Making Levels for Nikki and the Robots

Sunday, June 5th, 2011
Arrows for the Level editor Tutorial

Arrows for Tutorial

We made a short tutorial for Nikki's  editor with instructions on how to create, navigate and save levels and place robots, tiles and other objects.

You can also browse the tutorial on IndieDB or via Readability.

We made a video tutorial as well:

[links: Vimeo | YouTube | IndieDB]

Only a little bit.. and the level competition can start.

Got any questions about the editor? Want to show off your first creations? Use the comments, email us or post to the IndieDB forums!

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Nikki 0.3 "Edward"

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Nikki and the Robots 0.3 is out! [get it here] Soon we will start a level contest which is why we gave this release the name "Edward".

We decided to abandon batteries as energy source for robots to avoid slow pace and annoyingly repetitive gameplay. Instead Nikki's targets are:

1. Collect Batteries


(as many as possible)

2. Use Robots


(they do not require ⌁energy)

3. Press Switches*


(to complete levels)

Collecting battery cells will serve high-score lists and <SPOILER>in the story mode it will allow for progression; a certain amount of batteries will be needed to enter the next part of the game</SPOILER>. We will explain the meaning of switches another time..

Battery Counter In-Game

0.3 Changes include:

  • Battery counter and timer inside levels
  • High-score display in level selection and level-end screens.
  • Bugfixes! One of the most horrible ones prevented linking robots to terminals in the editor.
  • Player-configurable controls
  • Death zone (lower limit for levels)

The level competition will start soon and it will affect the future development of Nikki greatly, so please test-ride this release [again, get it here] as hard as you can! Bugs go to Launchpad or our IndieDB forum (did we tell you we got a forum?).

Level editor tutorials will be released very soon as well!

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Building on Community Content

Monday, May 30th, 2011


We flexed our brain muscles for some new ideas to ensure that Nikki and the Robots will be as complete and charming as we are anticipating, without pushing the release date into 2012+. The plan to create four episodes and then sell them has been dropped in favor of a new release concept, which emphasizes an open development philosophy and community involvement:

This development strategy of Nikki and the Robots is based on the following:

  1. Community Levels Everywhere: Nikki will feature a level server to exchange community levels created with the editor. We will pick the best and upgrade them to be included in the story mode.
  2. Step-by-Step Story: The story mode will have episodic releases and each episode will be a combination of upgraded community levels and new content made by us.
  3. Partial Protectionism: The story mode will be available for pay. The sweet-looking graphics of the story mode won't be available for editing and sharing right away. However, we are likely to make more assets free-as-in-freedom as the game's development progresses.

Our following steps will be a new Nikki release, writing extensive tutorials for the editor and our first level design contest. Expect all of these things to happen very soon!

We are pretty excited about this new idea! Have you spotted a weak pillar in our plan? Or perhaps you can tell us of a project that tried something similar? Your thoughts and comments are more than welcome!

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Game Menu

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

We are currently implementing the game menus. We tried to achieve a distinct old school look, that - while being very minimalistic - doesn't look unintentionally plain. The above image is a mockup of what we came up with. We hope, you like it!
(The new menus will be deployed with one of the next updates.)

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