Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Frayed Knights Adventures at Salt Lake Gaming Con 2015

Posted by Rampant Coyote on August 10, 2015

SLGC2015-Jay_ViaBigbie_640Three days of Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath?  Yeah. It was a party. A three-party that left me exhausted and without a voice, but a party.

Over the weekend, I ran a booth at the inaugural Salt Lake Gaming Con. I was with the Utah Games Guild Arcade, which was really an awesome way to go. They provided standardized equipment so we had kind of a common theme / presence, and handled all kinds of details for us, handled questions and problems, did some marketing, printed fliers, rounded up volunteers to help us, and basically made it so we could focus on the bottom line of demoing our games. But they also recorded interviews with us, mixed with game footage and trailers, and set up a really cool entryway into our space with signage, a big-screen TV showing the video, staffed by a volunteer, and including a table with our cards and handouts.

So, yeah. Major kudos to the Utah Games Guild. They rocked.


As far as the overall convention… I didn’t see much of it beyond our booth area much of the time. Surprisingly, Friday seemed to be the lightest day of the three as far as traffic through our area was concerned, but we still kept pretty busy showing off the game and talking to people. Nick Lives of Deli Interactive helped the first two days, and Taylor Eschelman (AKA TishToshTesh) and his wife helped out on Saturday. Honestly, I couldn’t have done it without them. As cool as my little fly-through “attract mode” demo was for the game (and I had the trailer to the first game running on a laptop), the booth attracted more traffic when somebody was playing the game already and people could see it in action. That’s when having someone else there to introduce and explain the game was so helpful.

SLGC2015_Taylor2 The traffic was what I’d consider much “higher quality” than at Comic Con or ToshoCon. People were more often there to play, and there were a lot of people who not only liked the game, but there were some who were actively seeking out a game like Frayed Knights. They were excited, we were excited, and they dragged friends over to check out the game as well. It was awesome.

Not that everyone was totally into the game. And there were a lot of people who passed by with just a quick glance. But it seemed like a lot of people were playing the game and really enjoying it.

On Friday, I was on a panel with several people I have a lot of respect for, talking about “indie game success” or something like that. Besides myself, the panelists were Steve Taylor, Lyle Cox, Josh Sutphin, Roger Altizer, and Adam Ames. It was a great panel. I learned at least as much as I shared, and we had a pretty decent-sized audience.


Before the con, my wife asked me what I expected to get out of it. Why was I showing Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath while it’s not ready for sale? My answer was three-fold:

#1 – To start generating some talk & buzz about the game. I think I succeeded with this. Not a slam-dunk… it’s not like Wired or The Escapist begged to do a feature article about the game or anything. But people in the press and a lot of potential customers got to see and play an abbreviated version of the first level of the game, and seemed impressed overall.

#2 – To get feedback on the game & controls so we could improve it. We got a lot of that, too. A whole page of changes. *Sigh*

#3 – To sell some copies of Frayed Knights: The Skull of Smak-Daon, to help offset the cost of the booth. Well… so far, I can’t call that one much of a success, but then using a sequel to drive sales of the original? Probably not the best strategy in the world to begin with.

The feedback we received this time around varied, but it was mostly tweaks and polish issues rather than anything really major. We discovered a couple of interesting new ways to break the game (either by getting it stuck in mid-combat when it’s “nobody’s turn”, or getting stuck in geometry and unable to get back).

SLGC2015_Player_640It was really fun to note how different kinds of gamers approached the game. I could tell the veteran FPS gamers and veteran RPG players pretty easily. The FPS fans would carefully enter each room, instantly sweeping to check both corners in case something was waiting to jump them from the side. The veteran RPG fans wouldn’t go up the stairs until they’d carefully visited every room on the lower level, poking at everything that could be poked, and doing their best to leave no stone unturned. It was awesome to watch.

From the people who’d played the original, we received tremendous praise on how much better this game looks compared to the first one. Looks aren’t everything, but there’s no question in my mind that in spite of the pain, switching over to a more modern engine was absolutely the way to go. But it’s more than just the engine that’s going into the changes. A lot comes down to just making the visuals and the interface more consistent and clean.

SLGC2015_JayAndNickAs to the interface – there’s some clean-up to be done with the UI, although many of the suggestions were about the controller. While I’m keeping the controller as an option and will endeavor to keep it a viable and intuitive control device, it’s still secondary to the One True Way to play the game, which remains keyboard + mouse. I was extremely pleased to hear that most of the players at the event felt the same way… the interested players were largely PC gamers who wanted more games “just like this.”

So we’re back to trying to make a game “just like this.” I feel like the changes we made after Salt Lake Comic Con were the right ones. We’re constantly trying to strike a balance between making a good old-school hardcore game for veteran fans, and something that is accessible and fun for newer gamers. After three days of showing the demo, I feel like we’re mostly on the right track. We met a lot of great people, had a lot of fun, and I got to see a portion of my game played by people who enjoyed it (most of the time) many times.

As much work as we’re still facing getting this thing done, I feel good about things. If nothing else, this show was a valuable shot of both progress (over the last six weeks) and motivation. So yeah. It was good. I’m glad I went, as exhausting as it was.

And hey, as a bonus, I discovered my biggest fan hovering over my booth…


Filed Under: Events, Frayed Knights - Comments: 3 Comments to Read

  • Tesh said,

    It really was fun to see the FPS players’ approach. They still had fun, but were waiting for the “gotcha” moments, clearing corners and sightlines. Completely unnecessary, but it’s great to see them take a stab at the game and have fun with it.

    Thanks for letting us help out! It will be great to finish up the game for next year.

  • Cuthalion said,

    “biggest fan”


    So I’m super late to the party, but wanted to say I’m glad people were liking it! Sounds like a fun con.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    It’s tough to know from my mouse-eye view, but all things considered, at this point I consider it a pretty decent investment. It was okay exposure, and provided a lot of feedback.