Tales of the Rampant Coyote

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Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon Gets a Licensekeyectomy

Posted by Rampant Coyote on September 12, 2013

frayed_knights_menu_1024x768Just when you thought it was safe to go into the dungeon again…

Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon has been updated to version 1.06.

Incidentally, there was never a version 1.05.  If you have something labeled 1.05, it didn’t come from Rampant Games. I just completely skipped that version to avoid confusion.

So what does 1.06 do? Not a whole lot, to be honest. The demo hasn’t changed.

The biggest change is that the license key requirement has been removed. I think that will have pretty close to zero effect on most customers (since it’s a fire-and-forget thing, without any kind of ‘phoning home’), but it is one less thing you have to worry about. And yes, since most people consider it weak and unobtrusive, they also still consider it DRM, so I can now proudly claim that Frayed Knights is *DRM FREE*. So there.

Why the change?

Well, the game has been out a while now, and pirated versions have been out a while as well, so I figured if the back door is open wide, there’s no sense in leaving the front door locked.

Secondly, I’m looking at distributing Frayed Knights through a few other venues in the near future, and the lack of an “in-game key” simplifies that a bit.

The other changes are primarily minor balance issues and fixing a couple of embarrassing but subtle cut-and-paste errors. The rogue class (Dirk) is a little better at searching. Costs and effects of Brigantine and Fine Brigantine armor have been adjusted. Laminate Armor was also made cheaper, so its cost is more in-line with other types of armor. The non-magical healing feats (Bind Wounds and Battle Dressing) have been significantly beefed up so they might actually be worth spending character points on.  Quick draw provides a higher initiative bonus. The Spell Dodger feat was actually slightly nerfed, as it was a bit too potent. Note: These changes impact some monsters with these feats, too.

In other words, as a Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon veteran, the changes won’t significantly impact your experience. It’ll mainly make the new player experience a little bit smoother. However, if you want to patch your older version of the game, you can grab the patch here. The patch fixes *all* versions of the released game, from 1.00 through 1.04. That page has the details of the patch, as well.

Those of you who have gotten the game via Desura will have an update available there, as well.

For the time being, if you order the game via this site (or other BMT Micro affiliates), you will still receive a key. While you no longer need to use that key in-game to activate the full version of Frayed Knights, you can still use it as a gift code on Desura, if you have a desire to do so. Just log into Desura, go to http://www.desura.com/gifts, and enter your code, and you can activate the game on Desura as well.

This should be true of past Frayed Knights activation codes, as well. Email me if you have any problems doing this.



Filed Under: Frayed Knights - Comments: 8 Comments to Read

  • Eldiran said,

    Cool move!

    It won’t be too long before I have to decide on what DRM, if any, to use on my own work… I’m curious, how well do you feel license keys have worked for you so far?

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Well – I saw the impact the day the pirated version became widely distributed. I was really glad it didn’t impact the first two weeks the game had been on sale. It was pretty dramatic… Sales had been slowing at a reasonable but steady pace, and BOOM! Suddenly cut in half, and then resumed as if the scale had been half-sized the whole time. So with all the arguments about the impact of piracy (95% of players are using a pirated copy, so the impact is huge!!! But pirates would never buy anyway, so the impact is almost nothing!!!), my rule of thumb is “50%.” Simple. And I’ve seen it in action.

    So yeah, I’m glad I was protected from that for a short but critical period of time. So by that measure, it was a success.

    As far as the nuts-and-bolts difficulties of doing it… it’s kind of a pain, but not horrible when you are only dealing with a couple of sales channels that support it. But as things evolve, with every channel having different requirements and different ways of dealing with things, it can get increasingly complicated.

    While I can’t guarantee that I have never gotten a complaint (I may just be repressing memories…), I don’t remember any. People are generally fine with a license key. It’s about as low-impact as you can ask for to provide some minimal method of helping-honest-people-stay-honest.

    In the long run, though, will it really have proved worthwhile? I don’t really know. I’m on the fence as to whether or not I’ll use a license key at all for the sequel. I may just content myself with having different builds for the demo and full version (which I still have for FK1).

  • Eldiran said,

    That’s really useful info, thanks! I guess that sounds like what I expected– although I was sort of hoping fewer RPG players were pirates.

    Seems like what’s worth it largely depends on your distributors’ capabilities. Although I think your method of a tiny bit of DRM to start with and then removing it later is probably the best of both worlds.

    I wonder if you’d have to engineer FK2’s license key mechanism differently in order to prevent it from being cracked on day 1, now that someone knows how to do it for FK1?

  • OttoMoBiehl said,

    I think that there is a subset of people who will put up a game on Bit-Torrent (or similar services) just because they can. Doesn’t matter the genre or if it’s AAA vs. Indie.

    I’ve never really had a problem with license keys as it was fairly trivial to enter them…unless you are installing Microsoft Windows then it seems like you are entering a books worth of numbers for your key.

    The sad thing about Piracy is the fact that though these people will never buy your game they are free to leave comments and feedback on the game. and (maybe) persuade the buying public whether or not to buy your game. Also, they do steal control of the game from the publisher and to me that’s pretty important since once control is stolen it can never be given back.

  • Noumenon said,

    “Incidentally, there was never a version 1.05. If you have something labeled 1.05, it didn’t come from Rampant Games. I just completely skipped that version to avoid confusion.”

    Confusion with what?

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Confusion with what?

    With an unauthorized package distributed on the Internet calling itself 1.05.

  • Darklord said,

    I definitely plan to replay FK at some point however you mentioned somewhere about retrofitting FK into the FK2 engine so I’m waiting for that.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    That’s a dream I’d like to investigate – it would be really cool (and get us versions on Mac, Linux, and possible other platforms) – but at this point I haven’t made any fixed plans. It wouldn’t be easy. I need to get FK2 out the door first before I can seriously consider it. Maybe I’ll kickstarter that one and see how people respond.