Posted by Rampant Coyote on October 1, 2010
I took a day off of the day job last week just to focus on Frayed Knights development. I was able to pretend to be a “full-time indie” for a day. It’s amazing how much more productive eight hours of semi-uninterrupted time in a single day is for development than the same amount of time scattered across several evenings when you are part-time. It really helped me get over a hump. The distant light at the end of the tunnel felt distinctly closer.
So maybe I was feeling a little overconfident when, in spite of the tons of missing or placeholder content and little missing things like major character abilities, I told Kevin (Xenovore) in chat, “You know, if I were to really push it and go crazy, I could have Frayed Knights playable, start-to-finish, by the end of the week.” Playable is a far cry from “complete,” but we’re still talking about a major milestone here. My schedule seemed clear enough, and I was kinda feeling like I was on a roll.
I probably jinxed myself by saying that.
The gods of game development conspired against me. My wife and I had completely forgotten about a Tuesday evening get-together we’d committed to. And Wednesday night we had an emergency at work that required a late night, which left less time and a lot less energy to work on the game. Real life does that, and it can play havok with part-time indie dev efforts.
So that didn’t work out quite the way I’d hoped. The good news is that after I whined last time about needing more and better tools for putting together all the diverse elements needed to make an RPG work, this week I spent some time enjoying all the groundwork (and previous “black triangles”) and tools I’d already built. I really do feel like I’ve crossed some kind of threshold, and may finally be on the downward slope. Hopefully that means things will continue to accelerate, in spite of little complications of part-time indie life.
The big challenge now is tying things together. While all these different pieces of story and gameplay were part of a cohesive story arc in my mind and design doc, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to convey this to the player, who may experience them all in a completely different order than I envisioned. I have almost no budget and precious few assets to work with, so I am making do.
Occasionally, I’m pretty happy with the results.
What, you were expecting the Lord of the Rings movies or something?
Okay, yeah – I’m definitely annoyed that after so much time in development, I’m not delivering some kind of masterpiece. It’s not gonna be that. I’m using decades-old low-tech, low-budget storytelling tricks, building on an antique game engine in my part time to make something that’s kinda goofy and cheesey. But hopefully it’ll prove amusing, unique, and most importantly fun.
And maybe by NEXT week, I’ll be able to play the whole thing from start to finish, and see it as a whole. I’m kinda terrified.
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