Classic Kye


appeal screen
Kye v2.0 Registration Screen
Old addresses and phone numbers pixelated


The first known release of the original (or "Classic") Kye was Version 1.2 of January 1992, which was followed that February by the much improved Version 2.0, which added more playing features such as black holes and timer blocks, a graphical editor, and ironed out some bugs.

It was written by Colin Garbutt for Windows, which was at the 16-bit Version 3.0 at the time. It can also be run on later Windows versions up to at least Windows XP, as long as the DOS 8.3 naming convention is adhered to in all files used and the directory path. It could also be run at the time in OS/2 running 16-bit Windows in its virtual DOS machine, as it can be today in a modern operating system.

The original Kye, Version 1.2, with its included levels, can be downloaded here. This would only be for interest : Version 2 is preferable.

Kye Version 2.0 can be downloaded here.


Kye was published, like many games at the time, as Shareware. Before the Internet became widespread, such games were distributed free of charge by floppy disk on magazine covers, bulletin boards, or by hand, with a limited amount of gameplay included and/or limited functionality. Then, by registering for a fee, more gameplay and/or functionality could be obtained. In the case of Kye, its creator, Colin Garbutt, initially gave part of the registration fee to the Save the Children charity, and later generously gave all of it. In return for registration, he would send more levels to play. These are the "Registration Levels".

Later still he asked the registration fee to be sent directly to the charity if the registration levels were used, relying on the honesty of the user. This request still stands.

The Registration Levels can be found here. As well as on Classic Kye, they can be played on any version of Kye which supports the .kye file format (eg Python Kye, Xye). Please note that they are still charity shareware, which means that you should make a contribution to a children's charity if you download them. The charity may be a local one, and you are at your own conscience.

Problems with Classic Kye (Version 2.0)

Classic Kye did have some minor problems which did not much affect gameplay but are mentioned here because Classic forms a benchmark for later versions, and developers and level designers should be aware of them. Some of these problems might be considered "features" rather than "bugs".

K The Kye sprite itself is round, a green circle, and this has been perpetuated in most other versions. However, Kye behaves like a square block rather than a round one. Marbles (aka Rockies) roll past round blocks and rest on square ones, and they do also rest on Kye.
Perpetuated in all subseqent versions except in the Modified Python graphics.
F A The Shooters of Sliders (square) and Marbles (round) look identical except for some internal colour detail. It would have been clearer to have given the Shooters square and round shapes themselves.
Improved in Python Kye and Xye.
c a The circular arrows on the turning blocks are ambiguous (or just plain wrong). They are meant to show what direction sliders or marbles hitting them will turn. That is: clockwise or anti-clockwise; alternatively it can be thought of as left or right as seen by the slider. Whichever way you think of it, the Classic Kye arrows seem wrong, and when I play Classic Kye I can only remember the direction by reminding myself that it is the opposite of what it seems to be.
Improved in Python Kye and Xye.
f The One-Way door graphic does not show the direction of permitted travel. The direction can always be tested without commitment by trying to move into the doorway, so there is no gameplay reason why it should not have been shown. As it is, this feature is just a little frustrating and time-wasting.
Resolved in all subseqent versions, including Dr Floyd's and Christmas Kye.
F A Shooters (again!) nearer the top of the playing area shoot sliders/marbles more rapidly than ones near the bottom. This is quite noticable.
Bug deliberately replicated in Python Kye, resolved in Xye.
E C ~ The monsters move more rapidly horizontally than vertically, again quite noticably. Knowledge of this and the preceding "bug" can be used tactically by a player, and possibly in game design.
Bug deliberately replicated in Python Kye, resolved in Xye.
ballpush.png Logically, Kye should be able, by moving to the right, to push the round block around the rounded corner, just as Marbles (aka Rockies, being self-propelled round blocks) will do. As it is, they behave the same as if against a square corner.
Movement enabled in Xye.
ghosts.png Kye often leaves "ghosts" of itself, faint images, behind, which remain until something next passes through the point. It occurs when you click the mouse ahead of Kye but do not complete the movement. This does not affect play.
Resolved in Python Kye and Xye.
R Sentries push black holes along if the latter is still 'boiling' from having recently swallowed something. It is believed that this was a bug, but is now an established feature, used in level design and play.
9 The editor could not deal with more than one level in a set. In fact the editor, which is a menu item in the game playing screen, is greyed out if a game with more than one level is loaded at the time. So if you want to create a set of levels it is necessary to create them all as separate files and then concatenate them and save using a text editor. For other quirks, see its description the "Level Building" page.
Resolved in Python Kye and Xye.