Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Frayed Knights Development: Stuck in a Dungeon

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 12, 2013

I’ve been staring at the same dungeon walls for months now. I began to feel as if I were trapped in a literal dungeon.

The dungeon in question is a test case area in Frayed Knights 2 that has lots of little interactive objects already set and ready for testing. It’s sort of like a child’s activity center, specifically for development and testing. As a developer, it’s a very handy place. But I’ve been using it (and nothing else) for a LOOOONG time now. I’ve been feeling a little stir crazy.

Real life has conspired against me for the last six months. As many of you know, I’m still a part-time game developer. I don’t make enough as an indie to come close to replacing my day job’s income. And, most of the time, the day job (making simulators) still leaves plenty of time for game development. But since the release of Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon, the workload has been extra-heavy.  I’ve been on the road to Thailand, France, and Georgia on major projects, or working the long hours at the home office to get those projects done.

The impact on home life and game development, especially over the last six months, has been far from insignificant. Fortunately, slow progress is not zero progress – most nights I managed to get at least a token effort put into the game. And during some stretches of time off, like Christmas and Thanksgiving, I made some lovely progress in just having a solid block of uninterrupted time to work on the game.  But the rest of the time, it’s been a slow slog, making progress inch by inch. It’s a level of effort that I call “tinkering” rather than development. Unless you are making a very simple game, tinkering will not get it done.

This can be pretty demoralizing. Like I said, I’m still working on some basic functionality that should have been done months ago, but it takes me all month to get something done that should take only a week (or less). Fortunately, a couple of halfway decent weeks with actual time to put into things have done wonders. It’s amazing how, after long stretches of slow progress, sudden sprints can feel like breakthroughs of epic proportions.  I’m hoping this is a trend that can continue.

New UI, New Platforms

The new user interface has really changed the feel of the game.  I think it has made combat far more interesting, as I’d hoped. If nothing else, it acts as a mental break to stop it from being just “attack, attack, attack” even in the case of easy combats. Maybe when it becomes a lot more familiar, it’ll be easier to go into mental autopilot in combat, but for now it really does seem to make the combat more thoughtful.

One of the challenges I’m facing now is working out details for making the interface work on tablets and the Ouya as well as on computers. I don’t want to neuter the PC experience for the sake of tablet compatibility, but I want to avoid making life too hard on myself as I work on the non-PC-based versions. To that end, I’m working on an approach that is one part happy medium and one part flexible – it won’t port straight across, but the changes to the non-PC versions shouldn’t have to be very extensive.

As to the alternative versions, here’s the plan: I intend to release versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux simultaneously (or as near to simultaneously as I can get). They will be the ‘launch platforms.’ I’m dead-set on making Mac and Linux equal platforms for the release: I want to migrate away from being Windows-centric, and I do not have any kind of faith that Windows will be the dominant platform for future PCs.

Release for Android tablets, Ouya, and iPad should follow not too far behind, but this will be my first time releasing on those platforms, so it may take a little extra time for each release.

And if the above section about how real life laid the smack down on me in terms of development doesn’t give you a clue: no, I don’t have a planned release date yet. But I do have a hell of a lot of vacation time accrued… 🙂


Filed Under: Frayed Knights - Comments: 9 Comments to Read

  • Patrick said,

    When you say, “Georgia,” are we talking state, or country?

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Woulda been fun to go to the country Georgia, but we’re talking Savannah, Georgia, USA, this time.

    Seemed like a really nice place, but I didn’t see much of it. Mainly the inside of their operations facility at the port.

  • Noumenon said,

    Have you built and released a smaller game for Windows-Linux-Mac-Android-Ouya-and-iPad? It seems like your philosophy would recommend that. I am recommending it because I am on Windows, so from my perspective porting can only delay Frayed Knights 2 and introduce compromises that harm my experience. Are there any other games that are released on such a broad variety of platforms, even those with larger development teams?

  • alanm said,

    good luck, keep at it

  • Darklord said,

    Still think you should Kickstart this, I’m sure you can easily get enough to make this your main career. You could offer FK1 as an immediate bonus reward once the Kickstarter ends.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    I’m a little hesitant on the KS front. If I went the KS route, it would be for one of two things:

    #1 – Content for the game, as that’s my usual budgetary constraint, or

    #2 – Remake of FK1 using the FK2 engine. ‘Cuz it’s that awesome. At least, I think it is. I’m looking forward to sharing more stuff with you guys (maybe even a web-playable demo) so you can see how it plays…

  • DGM said,

    >> “I’m looking forward to sharing more stuff with you guys (maybe even a web-playable demo) so you can see how it plays…”

    Translation for the programming-impaired: “Hey, DGM, up for some more alpha testing?”

    Answer: Sure, why not. 😛

  • Darklord said,

    FK1 is a great game, and I would welcome seeing it remade in a newer engine. I’d happily buy it and play it again. 🙂

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Thanks, Darklord. That made my day. 🙂