Kisekae UltraKiSS (latest version: 1.0) by William Miles
(downloadable as installation packages for Windows, Linux, MacOS)
This viewer is different from other KiSS viewers in two important respects.
Firstly, it isn't intended solely as a KiSS viewer. What the author had in
mind was an image manipulation program, for which the layered KiSS format
was a suitable base. Secondly, although the viewer itself is free, the
editor as a whole is a commercial product, and the editing tools in the
free beta versions will stop working after a certain date.
What this means for KiSS fans is that the features
added in this viewer - FKiSS5 and support of other sound/image formats, to
name a couple - are not standard (F)KiSS, and must not be expected to
become part of standard KiSS viewers. Calling the added syntax "FKiSS5" was to
give it a label, not to suggest that KiSS viewer programmers should implement
it. Sets using the extra features of UltraKiSS will mercilessly break
the standard viewers. However, the viewer itself is meant to be backward
compatible in the sense of supporting all previous FKiSS levels, so that it
can open any normal KiSS set.
UltraKiSS was written in Java, and will run under any OS that has a Java VM.
It supports all standard FKiSS levels up to FKiSS4, which means that Windows,
Mac and Linux users can now make and view FKiSS4 sets. Some FKiSS commands
have had their options extended to deal with old FKiSS issues (like whether
FKiSS actions should be able to move an object beyond the playfield boundary)
and the new FKiSS5 syntax allows loops, nested if-endifs, indexed variables,
string variables and string manipulation. Most viewers double as KiSS-making
tools to some extent, but UltraKiSS is a complete editor; as well as a viewer,
it contains a text editor, an image editor (under construction), a palette
editor that I've found incredibly convenient, an archiver, an internal media
player for most of the formats supported (the rest requires the separate
installation of the Java Media Framework), and a debugger (also under
construction). The helpfiles include a complete FKiSS syntax reference. Among
the formats supported are MP3 (for smaller soundfiles), BMP, JPG, and
animated gifs, of which the frames can be referenced by letframe() and
setframe(); archive formats supported include zipfiles; it is now
possible to make a KiSS set without using any of the traditional KiSS file
formats. As long as the artist maks it clear that such a set is not
playable on other viewers, UltraKiSS is a program worth checking out. Lastly,
recognizing the fact that the Internet is still the main source of KiSS sets,
UltraKiSS will, if there is an Internet connection, open a set straight from
System requirements: at least 266 Mhz processor, 128MB RAM. All this memory
and CPU power is needed not so much by the viewer itself as by the sets it runs;
I've successfully started UltraKiSS on a PC with 16MB RAM, only to find there was
no memory left to open a KiSS set! To avoid bugs in older Java versions, the
viewer needs at least version 1.3.1_03 of the Java 2 runtime (version 1.4 is
preferable), and, optionally, Java Help and the Java Media Framework, all
downloadble from Sun Microsystems.
The viewer itself can be downloaded from its own site,
Archive support: internal (the Archive Manager)
Enhanced palette: yes
Bugs and idiosyncrasies:
The more features a viewer has, the more bugs can creep in. Most of the bugs that
have turned up so far have been corrected; there still is a cosmetic problem
with transparent cels (when they overlap, the transparent background becomes
visible). UltraKiSS has a problem with huge sets and/or very fast alarms, the
kind of set only PlayFKiSS can handle; this is mainly due to the Java version,
using the latest Java version can double the graphic performance. FKiSS4 support
may not be 100% correct. Many features simply haven't been tested thoroughly yet.
Be sure to check "UltraKiss Known Issues" under "Release Notes" in the documentation.
- Like John Stiles' Mac viewer, this viewer supports negative object coordinates.
- Like a number of viewers, this viewer has a setting to allow the user to drag
objects off the playfield, but here the option is on by default.
- To allow smooth playing of media files, this viewer has multiple event handlers,
so it can carry out two or more tasks at the same time. This means it can also
carry out two FKiSS commands at the same time, rather than one after the other.
If one command depends on output from the other, this can be a problem! For
FKiSS-intensive sets, set the number of eventhandlers under "Options|FKiSS" to
"1" (the default value is 2).
- This viewer is extremely configurable; the default values for the minimum and
maximum fix value are 100 and 32767, but they can be altered. Artists using
UltraKiSS to write backwards-compatible sets should make sure they use the
default values when testing the set.
Click here for a screenshot.