Posted by Rampant Coyote on October 18, 2010
Yes, I’m doing two Frayed Knights updates in a row. One problem with being so focused on making a game is that it leaves very little brain-power left over to think about other things to talk about. Right now conversations with me kinda go like this:
Person 1: “Jay, how was your weekend?”
Me: “Uh, Frayed Knights.”
Person 2: “Jay, did you get that wrapper completed for the interface into the client’s API that was due Friday?”
Me: “Uh, Frayed Knights.”
Person 3: “Hey, Jay, what new indie RPGs have come out in the last month or so?”
Me: “Uh, not Frayed Knights.”
Person 4: “I love you, honey.”
Me: “Uh, Frayed Knights.”
Yeah, I realize this is an unhealthy state of affairs. I mean to rectify it. Fortunately, I usually manage to pull through and say something else that will NOT get me ostracized, fired, or divorced.
My buglist for the game has now doubled in size, in spite of me spending more time fixing bugs than trying to find them. This is not alarming. This is simply my beloved game telling me, “Welcome to Alpha, punk.”
Of particular amusement to me this weekend was going through the tiny sliver of the game that was featured in the Frayed Knights Pilot, the “Temple of Pokmor Xang,” such a long, long time ago. Believe it or not, I have barely looked at this part of the game in something like a year-and-a-half. (Has it been that long? Ugh.)
A reminder on what the pilot was supposed to be: from my perspective, this game is kind of a sequel to the pilot. The pilot served an unusual purpose for me. See, I may be a long-time RPG fan and an experienced game developer, but I have never written a full-fledged RPG before. Hackenslash doesn’t count. Nor do those ancient experiments on my Commodore 64 back in the day. I felt I needed to cut my teeth on something significant, release it to the public, and get feedback. So, like a pilot for a TV series, the Frayed Knights pilot was made to test the idea on an audience, see how the audience responded, and see what key things would need to be changed should it go into full production. Now, what you saw in the pilot WILL be in the full release of Frayed Knights 1, albeit with many changes. But the whole game is a new-and-improved thing based on the technology and experience gained working on the pilot.
In revisiting the pilot, I discovered a couple of things. First off, it was a nice reminder of the amount of detail I’m supposed to pack my dungeons with. Many of the later areas aren’t quite as well detailed, and they need to be. So I’ve got some more work to do. I believe that each dungeon should tell its own story – a story that exists apart from the player’s involvement. And even the Temple of Pokmor Xang is missing some of that.
Another point of note is how so much of the way I’m doing things has evolved since then. In fact, some parts were literally broken because the code had become obsolete and removed from the game many moons ago. Oops! Fortunately, it wasn’t a huge task to bring them back up to modern standards. There are quite a few more changes that need to be made to the temple itself, but nothing else too drastic.
I was also able to note a handful of bugs and issues with the pilot that I actually shipped with. How did I let that happen? Some were really simple fixes.
But lets assume you were to ask me, “Hey, if I were to play the old pilot and then play through that segment in Frayed Knights 1, what differences would I expect to see?” Then I might offer the following laundry-list as the main answers (though having forgotten how the pilot actually played, I’d have forgotten a lot of changes):
- Movement is faster, movement and looking around is a LOT easier, and can be customized by the user.
- Combat has changed substantially, though it retains the same basic feel (abstract positioning, ranks of enemy monsters, turn-based). But aside from that – well, there’s just a lot more to it, requiring more tactical play.
- More intelligent AI (especially with spellcasting), and enemies tend to be much more unique in terms of abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Pus golems, in particular, will have a gross new special ability…
- More special effects and better feedback on actions
- The ability to level up (with a new ability you can choose at every level).
- More hidden secrets.
- An optional special area inaccessible until later in the game.
- The town of Ardin is VASTLY expanded, though you still won’t be able to wander around much the first night.
- You can actually buy and sell from the merchant.
- A brand new inventory system.
- Different areas of the dungeon have titles / announcements as you enter and leave them.
- You should be able to see (and avoid) some encounters before combat begins. And yes, some of the monsters are on regular patrols.
- A little more history and stuff to poke at in the dungeon (and a LOT more in the town).
- The journal will actually update as your quest changes and you discover new things (and you can add your own notes, if you feel so inclined)
- Some loot will be randomized. So it won’t be exactly the same every time.
- Some general bug-fixes and miscellaneous improvements to the dungeon and game.
- And the best part – the story continues from there.
Of course, these are JUST changes to the slice of the game you experienced in the pilot. The game is much, much bigger than that, with about a dozen more dungeons in the game (some smaller, some much larger), outdoor adventuring areas, lots of quests, monsters, NPCs you can talk to, puzzles, spells, items, and overall goofiness.
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