Friday, September 19, 2008
Frayed Knights: Back From the Dead
So here's the latest update on Frayed Knights, the comedic indie RPG in development from Rampant Games (an older work-in-progress "pilot" available here).
Frayed Knights has been dead for a couple of weeks.
Not dead as a project, but for me, Frayed Knights has been non-functional for a couple of weeks. Merging my heavily modified 1.5 codebase for TGE and the 1.52 codebase for TGE plus the AFX special effects code, plus TGB 1.3 (the last version that was pretty compatible with TGE) overlayed on top of that felt a little like making a time machine out of a DeLorean. But since even a used DeLorean costs over $25,000, this option was more economical. Plus, I didn't run the risk of splitting up my parents before I was conceived and thus unmaking myself in a time-travelling paradox.
With the stress and long hours of the previous day job behind me (and let me tell you - the loss of that stress literally felt like the relief of a physical burden - I can't tell you how much BETTER I've been feeling the last three weeks), I've felt the strength and desire to proceed to the next phase of Frayed Knights' development. This allowed me to tackle the merge which I had been putting off. But the resulting problems frustrated me and reduced me back to "tinker" mode - I'd work on a map a little bit, make some design notes, add to my "wish list," and then go back to surfing the web and playing Wizardry 8. Yes, I can procrastinate with the best of 'em.
The saddest part? Fixing things, once I committed to doing it, only took a couple of hours. I am once again reminded that I work best on a milestone schedule, with a list of tasks I am (loosely) committed to completing by a certain date.
So what does this merge give me? Well, besides a bunch of bug-fixes and optimizations for a planned Mac build, it gives me access to some new and improved interior changes used by Torque Constructor. Since I've had some waking nightmares with the "legacy exporter" in Constructor, this will hopefully improve my content development pipeline. There are some improvements to lighting, particularly with static meshes.
And then there's the AFX code. In a nutshell, it includes a whole slew of changes to the decal and particle system - primarily, though there's more to it than that - that allow some pretty awesome spell effects. There's a screenshot to the right of AFX in action in the Torque demo.
With that done, I'm back to working on some core technology. I am considering some massive changes to how AI works, how combat plays, and how inventory management is handled. I also need to finish the journal system and the transition map system now that we'll have more than two areas to go between.
Since I work best committed to a deadline (it stops me from "tinkering"), for next week I'm going to finish the design work and the rough-out of the Tower of Almost Certain Death and the first wilderness area, get trading completed with NPCs, and get started on the revised journal system. That ought to keep me busy.
And I'm gonna get back to trying to post an update weekly (or at least semi-weekly), as I was before I went into soul-sapping crunch-mode hell. Public reporting of progress keeps me from falling back into "tinker" mode.
For those who haven't tried out the demo yet, community member Demiath has uploaded a YouTube video of the first five minutes of the Frayed Knights Pilot. Which I think is extraordinarily cool. Feel free to go there and comment on how cool Demiath is, or your predictions on how Frayed Knights is going to outsell Diablo 3 when it is done (hey, if you are gonna dream, dream big...). It also helps to watch someone else play the game to remind me what things I need to fix / improve. Here it is in all its embedded glory (you will want to switch to high-quality mode on YouTube to be able to read the text):
And that's it for now. TTFN!
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