Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Frayed Knights – Is the Light at the End of the Tunnel an Oncoming Dragon?

Posted by Rampant Coyote on August 6, 2010

While the saga of Frayed Knights’ development isn’t even close to an end, we’re staring down the throat of a milestone. That counts for something, right?

If Frayed Knights was a house, this would be the point where the foundation is long complete, the house is framed, the exterior walls are up, the wiring and plumbing have been done, and we’re almost finished hanging the drywall. Which means if you squint really hard, you can see a whole game – er, house – there. But there would still be a lot of painting, trimming, carpet-laying, tiling, fixture-hanging, cabinet-installation, and all that other fun stuff ahead.

Anyway, we’ve got a long list of issues to address immediately, and one dungeon requiring a complete remake (now marked with a sign that says “closed for construction,”), but in the next week or two I plan to start playing the game through from start to finish. Or as close to I can get. Up until now, I’ve been playing through the game in pieces – a quest at a time, a dungeon at a time, etc. There are still some holes in those pieces – missing content, stand-in-monsters, incomplete spell lists, missing special effects, chests with really lame stand-in treasure, houses with no doors or furniture, etc. But it is all playable in a piecemeal fashion now.

Or at least, it was the last time I checked. “Bit rot” tends to happen in code you haven’t tested in a long time. Bugs sneak in behind you in places you THINK you haven’t touched in over a year. But anyway…

Now we get to try and pull the first game together as a whole and see how it hangs together. There are going to be balance issues. Lots of balance issues. Story issues. Transitions that just don’t work. Inconsistencies. And lots and lots of bugs that aren’t noticeable when you are just testing the game in chunks.

So what’s that mean to you? When’s the release date? How soon am I going to be bringing more external testers on board? How soon will the second and third games be released?

I don’t have exact answers to those questions, I’m afraid. Content has become an issue again (like when WASN’T it?), and I don’t have the artistic skills to do it myself or the money to needed to get it done quickly. I can take a few months off to work on my own character-modeling and dungeon-making skills, but … well, that wouldn’t be quick, either. Even that might prove a faster path to completion in the long run for all three games.

There’s an old saying that you can have have it fast, you can have it cheap, and you can have it of high quality, but you can only pick two of the three. I guess “cheap” is a requirement, and time is of the essence, so it’s now just a case of getting whatever quality I can get at this point.

I don’t know. It’s kinda frustrating to be in this “so close, and yet so far” stage.  I’ve been there many a time, though, so I should be used to it by now. Oncoming dragon or no, there’s not much left to do but charge full speed ahead, plan on shipping with crappy programmer art if need be, and get this baby to alpha – and beta – and out the door in as few weeks / months as possible.

Filed Under: Frayed Knights, Game Development - Comments: 6 Comments to Read

  • Greg Tedder said,

    This is exciting, there is still a special place in my wallet that is anxiously awaiting the release of Frayed Knights. Good luck with the content, I know how hard it is trying to do it on the cheap. 🙂

  • Shaf said,

    I didn’t mind the art in the Frayed Knight Beta test I played. to me the Graphics quality is actually quite good and fits the games tone.

  • Yoel said,

    I know exactly what you mean. That “so close, and yet so far” stage is both awesome and terrible.

  • Bargeral said,

    Like Shaf said, the art in the beta thing was good. I was more focused on the hud art with the character interaction. Keep that sharp and for my part I’m going to be a lot more forgiving of the rest. The banter was the selling point, it wasn’t about exploring the dungeon, it was about this particular group of people exploring the dungeon.

  • Charles said,

    “Or at least, it was the last time I checked. “Bit rot” tends to happen in code you haven’t tested in a long time. Bugs sneak in behind you in places you THINK you haven’t touched in over a year. But anyway…”

    Oh I sooo know what you mean^^

  • modran said,

    Just as the previous commenters said 🙂