Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Appendix N – Breaking the Old-School Fantasy Game Code

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 14, 2017

For the Frayed Knights games, I really wanted to capture the old-school spirit of not just computer RPGs, but also the style of tabletop D&D games I remember playing and envisioning as a kid. Things were different back then. If you read the old modules (both by TSR and third-party publishers), the original rulebooks from […]


Filed Under: Books, Design, Impressions - Comments: 7 Comments to Read



RPG Design: Letting the Bots Fill In the Details

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 24, 2017

Procedural content generation (PCG) is what will save computer role-playing games, if it doesn’t kill it first. What I mean is this: RPGs are really, really content-heavy. Exploration is a major element in classic RPGs (although, as Guido Henkel recently pointed out, the dice-and-paper tradition they are based on is more oriented on problem-solving). This means the […]


Filed Under: Game Development - Comments: 2 Comments to Read



Guido Henkel on a New / Old Way To Design RPGs

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 20, 2017

Guido Henkel, designer of the original Realms of Arkania CRPG series and producer of the critically acclaimed cult favorite Planescape: Torment, has put together a list of things modern RPGs are getting wrong… and how they ought to be able to get things right. The thing is… not a whole lot of what he’s saying […]


Filed Under: Design - Comments: Read the First Comment



Gamedev Addicts Anonymous…

Posted by Rampant Coyote on January 24, 2017

[At the weekly meeting of Game Dev Addicts Anonymous] Hi, I’m Jay. Hi Jay I’ve gone nearly 30 days without game development. Congratulations! No, it’s driving me crazy! It’s mainly because my primary development computer went on the fritz and died and I’m waiting on a replacement. I haven’t touched it because I couldn’t transfer my […]


Filed Under: Game Development - Comments: 6 Comments to Read



Josh Sawyer Interview at RPG Codex

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 30, 2016

If you are interested in understanding the mind of a professional, veteran computer RPG developer, you should head over to RPG Codex and check out this fantastic interview with Josh Sawyer. It’s lengthy, and well worth it if you are at all interested in the nuts and bolts that go into making a commercial-quality computer […]


Filed Under: Design - Comments: 3 Comments to Read



Programming a Computer with Nothing

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 7, 2016

I don’t know why this irritates me, but it does. Several times over the last few weeks, I’ve seen memes like the one on the right, generally from programmers who think it’s cute.  As if it really was a mystery. But… if you are not a programmer, or you are a programmer who actually doesn’t […]


Filed Under: Programming - Comments: 2 Comments to Read



Bit Rot (and Frayed Knights 2)

Posted by Rampant Coyote on November 7, 2016

“Bit rot” is a joke we programmers make about code. Code is digital, of course, and so you don’t have to worry about the deterioration of it over time and usage like you might with hardware. Parts don’t wear out. Amazingly, code that supposedly hasn’t been touched for a long time in software which has […]


Filed Under: Frayed Knights, Programming - Comments: Comments are off for this article



Adapting Advanced Dungeons & Dragons to the computer in the Gold Box era.

Posted by Rampant Coyote on November 3, 2016

These articles (I’m late linking to them) are about the “Gold Box” official adaptation of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons to computers. While they are officially entitled, “Why the Economy Sucks in SSI’s Gold Box Games,” they mostly talk about how the dice & paper evolved and how SSI adapted it – and the compromises they had […]


Filed Under: Design - Comments: Read the First Comment



Mapping my Own Creative Process – How I (Don’t) Work

Posted by Rampant Coyote on October 17, 2016

I think I’ve discovered something about how my brain works. I don’t know if it’s cool or stupid, or just plain weird. All three, probably. Except cool. Maybe it’s cool that I’m finally figuring it out, and now I just need to know how to adapt to it. I’ve been Game Mastering RPGs for local […]


Filed Under: Design, Dice & Paper, Game Development, Writing - Comments: 5 Comments to Read



No Man’s Sky – Suggestions

Posted by Rampant Coyote on September 22, 2016

It’s been a month since the overhyped procedural universe game No Man’s Sky was released, to the disappointment of many. I’m not going to comment on what was done right or wrong here in managing expectations. I’m still playing. It’s an easy, go-to game to jump in and play for a few minutes (which usually stretches […]


Filed Under: Design, Impressions - Comments: 4 Comments to Read



Being a Part-Time Indie: Finding the Rhythm

Posted by Rampant Coyote on September 7, 2016

One of the reasons I really enjoy the Day Job is that … for the most part… it doesn’t depend much on employee heroics or people working 50-60 hour workweeks to survive. Given my senior status here, I work hard to make sure that’s NOT the case. Usually. However, sometimes the craziness happens. That’s pretty […]


Filed Under: Game Development, Geek Life, Writing - Comments: Read the First Comment



A Bag of Blocks – Tips for Generating Quality Procedural Content

Posted by Rampant Coyote on August 9, 2016

I guess my very first experience with “procedural content” – at least the one that stuck in my memory – was Appendix C of the 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide. Starting with an entrance template, you randomly rolled up to see what lay beyond every open section of the dungeon, and […]


Filed Under: Design - Comments: Read the First Comment



10 Classic Game Development Post-Mortems

Posted by Rampant Coyote on August 3, 2016

For many years, Game Developer Magazine and Gamasutra published Postmortems. They were always fascinating insights into the struggles of teams making some of the most popular games of the era. While there were fascinating tidbits unique to each game, a lot of the struggles and “best practices” were common, almost to the point of being […]


Filed Under: Game Development - Comments: Comments are off for this article



Game Design: Chrono Trigger’s Design Secrets

Posted by Rampant Coyote on July 27, 2016

Even if you aren’t a fan of classic JRPGs, this article provides some valuable insight into the design elements that went into Chrono Trigger, and made it stand out as a classic more than twenty years after its release. While the approaches they chose aren’t universally applicable, it does demonstrate how some very conscious, careful […]


Filed Under: Design - Comments: 3 Comments to Read



At What Cost Survival?

Posted by Rampant Coyote on July 25, 2016

Okay, depending on the game, I like survival mechanics. It’s a not-insignificant part of why I love the Ultima Underworld series so much. Maybe there’s an effective Maslow’s Hierarchy for RPGs or something, but having that base level struggle, particularly at the beginning, can be pretty fun. It’s becoming more common lately. I think this […]


Filed Under: Design - Comments: Comments are off for this article



Games vs. Stories, Revisited

Posted by Rampant Coyote on July 21, 2016

I have often posited that you can have a great game, or a great story, but not both. Having spent some time improving (well, reducing the suck level of) my fiction-writing chops, I think I’m ready to offer a more informed opinion: You can have a great game, or a great story, but not both. […]


Filed Under: Design, Writing - Comments: 5 Comments to Read



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