Learning KNP FAQ

Klik & Play ("KNP" to its friends... and I know you'll be one of them) is really NOT that tough to learn. It does have a bunch of quirks, and seems a little intimidating and arbitrary at first, but at its heart, it was meant as a tool for kids to make games. But its powerful enough that you can do some really interesting stuff in it.

This guide was written by kirkjerk, in part as a refresher before a KotM event. Anyone is welcome to edit this and add in new details or correct any mistakes.

There are some other good references for KNP online:
Steven Chan's Klik & Play Programming Page - has tips, the Cosmo Bowden FAQ, and a bunch of Demos
ICT Mindtools Klik & Play Home probably has better walkthroughs than what's presented here.

Run the KPSchool.exe. Click Next when appropriate. One thing to keep in mind is KNP is a Windows 3.1 app so it will view filenames longer than 8 characters with that weird ~ notation. You might find it convenient to mostly use directories with small (< 8 characters) names, both as an install location for KNP, and then for the game files of yourself and others.

Well, start it up. Click "Create a Game".

Probably the best thing to do is start playing with KNP as you read the next bits. (Frankly, I don't know everything about the program, so take all this with a grain of salt.)

Here's a hint: SAVE OFTEN. Not too often, but every once in a great while, KNP will crash, and it really sucks to lose a lot of work that way.

KNP is very Editor centric. You have the Storyboard Editor, where you edit the "Frames" (aka "Levels", aka "Boards" or "Screens") There's the Level Editor, where you add things (characters, enemies, backdrops, etc) to your Level and tell the game how the different items are moving -- if they're player controlled, computer controlled, etc. Then there's the "Step Through Editor" and the "Event Editor". Both of those are ways of setting up happenings within the game... people shooting, getting shot, hitting walls, etc etc.

All these Editors are available from the "Goto" button menu. There's also a "Goto Level" button (available once you have more than one Level, a "Play Game as Finished" button (only available from the Storyboard Editor) and a "Play Level as Finished" button which lets you try things out.

You usually start on this screen, with one Blank Level (Frame).

To add a new Level, go to "Tools", click on the leftmost button, and then click the existing frame you want to insert the new frame before. (This menu also lets you put in a picture or an animation... those aren't used too much, so you're on your own with them.)

Once you have a complete frame, you can also hit Edit|Copy (or Ctrl-C) and Paste to make a copy of the Level with all the stuff and events in it. Very handy!

Each Frame has a right click menu. Level Set-Up lets you give a frame a unique title (displayable in the title bar) and even a Password so people can jump right to it. Also the right click menu is how you go to the stuff and event editors.

What CAN'T you do is more like it!

But seriously. This is where you add the stuff. The nouns, as opposed to the Events that you use the other two editors for. There are many options on this screen, so we'll only be getting an overview here.

The most obvious feature are the Libraries on the left side. It has its own scrollbar, and clicking any of the icons will bring up a set of Objects along the top.

There are two types of objects: Active Objects and Backdrop Objects. Only Active Objects have animations and can be moved around and interact. (The turquoise running guy represents active objects, the turquoise hills and clouds represents backdrops... (it's a little confusing because the first few Libraries only have backdrops.)) Also, if you click the button at the top left, you can see just the things that are already on screen.

So click the little mulleted soccer guy, he's fun (scroll the library down if you can't see his icon) This brings up the "Sports and Players" set. Click and drag any of the athletes onto the playfield (or, click the athlete and then click again on the playfield where you want it to start.)

Right click on the athlete. Here you'll see a menu. "Movement" is the coolest bit here... most of the movement modes are pretty self-explanatory. "Platform" is probably the coolest. Click the "Platform" button, and the settings menu comes up. (By default, Jump is Button 1. And also by default, Button 1 is Shift, and Button 2 is Ctrl, but you can redefine keys.) If you want you can click "try movement" and get a feel for the settings.

We now should have the basics of a "run and jump around and do nothing!" game. Back at the editor, hit Goto|Level to play as finished. The guy plummets straight through the floor. Err, probably not what we had in mind.

The easiest way to fix this is to hit the Step Through Editor. The level will run, and the guy falling through the floor (err, "is leaving the play area on the bottom") is an Event that the game knows about. We'll talk more about this dialog later, especially all the buttons in the middle that represent what the reactions to the Event can be. For now though it autoselects the most logical action for you: Stop the mullet guy. Closing the popup window accepts the current selection and returns you to the Editor. Now when you hit "Level", the guy lands on the floor, which makes a bit more sense.

(There's kind of an odd bug where if you haven't set the floor collision, other platform properties don't seem to work quite right. So for a platform game, it's probably best to follow those steps first.)

You can then add some background objects for the guy to run on... drag something nice and horizontal from the Backdrop objects, then right click and hit "Obstacle|Platform". Or drag something nice and vertical and right click to make it a ladder.

NOTE:You can draw a rectangle to select a bunch of objects at once, or ctrl click to add things to your current selection ALSO NOTE: there's nothing stopping you from letting the player control lots of characters at once.

Now your guy is always facing right, which is kind of dumb. Right click and hit Edit Animations. As far as I know, none of the default characters have extra animations (like "jumping") but hey.

The Animation editor has a lot of features. You can have up to 32 directions, though for a basic Platformer you'd probably stick with the basic 4 (it has some neat tools that say "make rotations of the current animation for all 8,16,or 32 positions this guy can go). To let the guy face left, go to the walking Animation, and the compass shows you which way it stands for. Hit Edit|Select All then Edit||Copy, click on the leftmost dot on the compass, and hit Edit|Paste. (The standard Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V work, though Ctrl-A for Select All doesn't.) Once the guy is copied, hit "Reverse horizontally". Easy! You can also double click any frame of animation to edit it with a Paintbrush-type program. Not So Easy!

The other useful right click menu items are New Level Object, which makes a clone of the current thing, and Resize, which does about what you'd expect. (PROTIP: try changing sizes greatly for comic effect!) "View" lets you arrange whats in front or behind.

Unfortunately, you have fewer options for computer controlled characters. You can have something bounce around, or you can set paths. The Path setting tool bar is a little odd. The first push button lets you draw one line at a time, the second button lets you draw more of a sweeping curve. Both of these show the path, with little square notes that will fill in if you use the third button to make a pause. By default, an object traces the path and stops. If you just click "Loop the Movement" it will then restart the movement from where it left off. If you also click "Reposition at end", it will jump back to where it started, or "Reverse at End" will do about what you expect a button named "Reverse at End" would do.

It has some useful stuff. You can create a few different kind of backgrounds, (the Quick Backdrop feature is pretty nifty, regular Backdrop and Active Object are just easy ways of starting from scratch. Text lets you put text on the screen. Q/A is... kind of weird, you can set up a multiple choice pushbutton quiz, and have events in response to Bad or Correct answers. Score, Lives, and Timer have visual indicators for all those things.

You can use both type of editors in a single game, they're both ways of editing the same information.

As we've seen, the Step Through Editor is an easy way of setting up events. You make something happen on screen (most often some kind of collision), the game perks up and asks "what do I do?" The Event Editor is a bit more "engineery", showing a big grid of all the interactions at once, with checkboxes showing which interactions are set for some kind of reaction.

Lets go to the Event Editor. Run your game and make something new happen. The Event Control at the bottom lets you page through the various events you've already setup.

In the middle you see a row of buttons indicating groups of Actions to take. At the end of the list you'll see the actors involved in a collision:
The leftmost button lets you pick a sound to play. If you go to [KNP]\samples\, you'll see a number of directories with a ton of sound effects to choose from. Hit "Play" for a preview.
The next button, the kid's head, lets you change the players score (adding or subtracting) and add or subtract a life.
The next button, the tennis rackets, gives you options like going to other frames (levels) , restarting or ending the game.
The egg lets new objects appear on screen. You can have them show up at a specific place on the screen (X,Y coordinates) or set the position and tell KNP to remember the X's location relative to another object on the screen. You can pick from existing objects in the game or from one of the libraries.
For the actors, you can have things change their movement, get destroyed, or even shoot. The shooting is pretty flexible, "bullet" objects can go a specific direction, the direction of the thing shooting them

It's pretty cool, and a little more flexible in setting up a new event.

It's a grid. All the Events are listed on the left, and the Reaction categories (play a sound, create an object, etc) stretch across the top. If you click on one of the reaction categories, only events that provoke that kind of reaction will be listed, click the category again to get the full list.

You can hit the + button or New Condition to make a new event. Now, the icons here are for Event categories, not Reaction categories, if that makes sense. The wrench is special., the rackets are the level starting or stopping, there's a timer, the egg deals with the presence of objects, mouse and keyboard are very useful for alternate forms of input, while the player head lets you respond to the joystick or some "# of lives" kind of things.

There really are too many types of Events to discuss here, you really have to explore and figure out what might be useful or funny to include in your game. Overall there's quite a bit of flexibility in what you can set up.

Right clicking on the grid itself lets you modify and delete squares.

One thing you might notice as you explore are the "alterable values" (aka variables) A B and C. The annoying thing about these are that they are NOT preserved as you go from screen to screen! There are 4 players though, and each has a score and a # of lives, so if you're not using all of them you can sneak some information in there. You can even use these to get random numbers if you play your cards right. (for an item, hit Values, set Value, Edit, Retrieve Data from an Object, Special Wrench, "Generate a random number", then indicate the range. Easy!)

Go to FIle and hit "Save a Standalone Game". Note that while it does make a traditional .exe file, at least its .img and .gam file need to be in the same directory for it to run. See the main N00B FAQ for information about Zipping files.