Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Frayed Knights 2: Painting the White Boxes

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 5, 2016

After a whole bunch of early, ugly, pre-pre-alpha screenshots from Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon found their way into reviews of the final game, I’ve been reluctant to show Work In Progress screens for Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath. Which totally sucks, because these are the kinds of things that I got some useful feedback from people during the development of the first game. I could post a big “WORK IN PROGRESS” stamp across the middle (they’ll cut out anything that’s along the edges), but that would kind of defeat the purpose.

Anyway, today’s small update is showing just how dependent I am on the artists. Nick, Kevin, and Taylor have all worked on the game making it look… like a game, instead of a programmer’s boxy proof-of-concept.

How we’ve been doing things is that I have been “white-boxing” the levels… making levels of the main geometry and principle scripted events, then handing them over to the artists to make them look good. While they are doing that, I can still work on the level, just so long as I don’t make any changes to the principle geometry.That way we can work concurrently on the same levels.

In theory, at least. In practice… we’ve had to work out some kinks. Still are. A lot of it is in communication, and that’s stuff I need to work on more. But things are coming along, limited by such constraints as family, day jobs, and school. Frickin’ priorities.

So here’s an example of a whiteboxed area that I’ve done:


And here’s the nearby area after Nick Lives has taken a pass at it:


This is still not complete (especially with lighting / water), but it’s a pretty good before / after view.

Another advantage of working with these guys is that they can add their own creativity to these areas, and I’ve found that creativity can magnify itself in small teams. They have ideas, I have ideas, and we bounce them off each other and get better ideas. All of us abhor the idea of “filler” content, in spite of the fact that these dungeons are HUGE on the average (our average size is about equal to the largest dungeons in FK1. We’ve only got a couple of fairly petite levels of only a dozen rooms or so), and so we all like coming up with ideas to make the visuals, the gameplay, or both stand out to keep things interesting all the way through.

So we get some more of Nick’s twisted imagination, off in the “back rooms”:



I guess you could say we’ve been working so quickly that some safety procedures have been bypassed, and some accidents have occurred. Tragic:


This is definitely a fun stage of development. It feels like the game is growing in HUGE steps now, which feels awesome. We’ve got a major milestone coming up at the first of June – the Salt Lake Gaming Con. While the game won’t be completed by then, we’re pushing to get as much done as possible by then so we can show off more of the game to people. That may be only non-interactively… RPGs are tough to show at a convention when you may have only a few seconds to a few minutes of someone’s attention as they are walking along.

It’s gonna be a busy, busy four months.

(Incidentally, the tool I’m using for white-boxing the levels is ProBuilder, which is a pretty awesome tool for Unity).

Filed Under: Frayed Knights - Comments: 6 Comments to Read

  • McTeddy said,

    Part of me wants to see a hidden “Dungeon of the Creator” level or something that is all your own programmer placeholders.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Oh, heavens no!

    Actually… there is, kinda. At the request a looong time ago from Brian “Psychochild” Green, there is a level that is… well, it’ll look a little old-school. Actually, it’s three levels. It started as a little bit of an optional “joke” level, but grew to be a major part of the game’s storyline. Which means we need to make it look prettier than originally intended, but still. It should at least be interesting. (There’s a whole rationale for it and everything!)

  • Modran said,

    Cool !

  • Maklak said,

    You could justify having an unfinished dungeon by “creator died and his family abandonned the project” or “the war was over and it wasn’t needed anymore” or “it was too far away from everywhere and the owne gave up”.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    I actually do have a dungeon with almost exactly that backstory. It was a bunker for his family to hide in when the war came, but the invasion happened so fast they didn’t get a chance to flee to there.

  • Maklak said,

    I meant that as a joke on what McTeddy said: The team finds a small dungeon made of whiteboxes (whatever those are) and unfinished textures and comment on it’s “unfinished” state. Similar to how they complained about unfinished store interface in the demo.