Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

A Bit of Navel Gazing for the New Year

Posted by Rampant Coyote on January 1, 2015

I don’t feel like commenting much on 2014. Not that it was bad. Like all years, it was a mix. It had some pretty awesome milestones – from seeing a short story published in a book for the first time, to getting Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon on Steam, to running a kiosk at Comic Con, to seeing my daughter off on her mission for the church in South Carolina, to performing vintage dancing at a public event, to getting a new puppy, to going to Japan for the first (maybe only?) time.

Okay, you know, on the whole, I think it was a pretty awesome year.

My one big regret is an obvious one… Frayed Knights 2 didn’t ship. I knew it wouldn’t by last summer — it was nowhere close, although the big push for Comic Con really helped. Actually, it helped in a lot of surprising ways, not just in getting stuff done and back on track, if slower than expected. We’ve made a lot of changes (for the better, IMO), but the big push also revealed some things that have been really slowing us down and impacting the quality of the game. It caused some major redesign and clean-up … and watching strangers play the game triggered yet more improvements. And… compromises. I know that sounds like an ugly word, but I have had to make some hard decisions just in order to get the game back on track. And… to be honest, while they seemed hard at the time, in retrospect they still feel like the right decision.So, here’s hoping 2015 is an even better year for us all! Good times!

Filed Under: Rampant Games - Comments: 7 Comments to Read

  • Anon said,

    “And… compromises. I know that sounds like an ugly word, but I have had to make some hard decisions just in order to get the game back on track.”

    If the track is “earning some money with it” (or reputation/fame) then you will likely have to consider some public opinions.

    If on the other hand you would only to make the game for yourself (i.e. you don’t really care who and how many will be playing it) then you wouldn’t need to… πŸ˜‰

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    A lot of it is just getting rid of things that I thought were kinda cool, but were more work than effort warranted to get it “right.”

    A good example is the town. I love wandering through a 3D town and exploring its secrets. But the flip side of full first-person 3D is that I have to be careful about scene density. And it proved a problem in the first game wandering around to get things done (like buying / selling / sleeping). And it’s a whole lot of new, expensive content that’s single-use. So… the decision was between whether or not to really spend the time on making it awesome, or just drop it in favor of something simpler & cheaper that functionally serves the same gameplay / story purpose. We opted for the latter.

  • Cuthalion said,

    That could be good. I remember in FK1, it was kind of an interruption to have to walk slowly back to town, then to the right place in town, etc. Exploring a town is fun the first time. After that you just want to do your inn/shop thing. Kind of like walking to class back and forth across campus. Eventually you just want to teleport. πŸ˜›

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Yeah, Cuthalion, that’s exactly my thought. The value IMO is the idea of emerging to safety… you may have to fight your way back to the exit of the dungeon. But once there, things should be fast and mechanical, to get you back into the adventuring. Catch your breath, and get ready for another plunge.

    Anyway, so yeah – the emphasis is back on the dungeon delving. No big surprise there.

  • Modran said,

    Soooo, back to the “Town as a simple menu” school of thought? ^^
    Except the first time.
    Or when there’s something different that has appeared and need to be found.
    Hey, you might have something there !

  • Anon said,

    I always hates “menu towns” in CRPGs, like for example in Phantasie III. Yes, a beautiful picture – for its time – but it was a menu, after all. This is too much abstraction for me and decreases the immersion – simply for the fact that everything that happens is expected by the player (“I’ll have to enter the town, buy a new sword and some provisions before I can continue!”).
    In other words: Such towns are like breaks from the regular game.

    Some Japanese console RPGs come to mind as well as Origin’s Autoduel and EA’s Seven Cities of Gold – with static towns where the the avatar can move around but nothing will ever happen besides entering buildings etc.
    In a way these kinds of town are even worse than single menu screens as they are essentially time wasters (as you have to run around a town where never ever will happen something to you).

    Yes, some games allow you to trade goods so that you can make a profit in a different town and that may suit you (if you like economical simulations) and other games offer casinos and mini-games like card games or roulette and thus in fact adding gameplay possibilites – but these are mostly “functions” and are as removed from the “real” game world as a trader menu.

    Quickly doing “business” in such towns may appeal to the “number crunchers” among the players who want to (re)enter a dungeon as quickly as possible again but I see lots of gameplay chances lost!

    In my opinion a “real” town which provides not only business (stores, temple, inns, guilds etc.) but also dialogues with notable characters, the occasional hidden (quest) item and special events (blocked roads, fights, happy or tragic plot developments) are much more preferable.

    Thankfully, the vast majority of games offer such “real” towns.

  • The Old Farmer said,

    I think you have to stay focused on your goal. If that is to spend all your time in the dungeon and going to town is the break between stages in the dungeon then a menu is all that you need.

    That doesn’t stop you having NPC interactions from the menu interface which could lead to more 3d exploring.

    Best of luck in the new year.