Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath - All News
Monday - August 25, 2014
Frayed Knights 2 - First Official Screenshot
The Rampant Coyote shared the first official screenshot of Frayed Knights 2.
Getting Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath in photogenic state was a lot more difficult than expected. Aside from having a major rethink on the art style to try and improve the apparent quality of the graphics, and totally redoing the UI (I’m still paying the price for that one), and the Steam release of Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon (ditto), there were just a lot of little challenges getting it from the world of gray boxes and stand-in monsters to something we can use in a promo shot.
Now, there are a couple of schools of thought on these. Some people will think nothing of throwing together pretty visuals into a mock-up and calling it a screenshot. However, I’m not one of those people. While there was a little bit that was staged, I wanted the actual game to be running, so what you see is what you get. Kind of. I wanted stuff to come through the actual pipeline, viewed from the party perspective, with the (current, minimalist) UI running, the works. I wanted it to be a true screenshot from the game.
This entailed a lot of technical work as we’re ironing out the kinks in our process. But I think the final results are… well, reasonable. I don’t know if this particular orc is going to survive the art pass without having some kind of surgery to change his looks, but for now, he’ll do.
This is a dungeon known as the Valerian Vault. For backstory that might not ever be fully revealed in the game, this vault was built by the Valerian family in the early days of the Wizard War to protect their entire family – and fortunes. However, while some precious treasures were stored there, the family never fully relocated, waiting for the imminent threat to appear. Instead, their city was destroyed quite suddenly one night, and the family was slaughtered almost entirely, the bulk of their treasures looted by the forces of Nepharides. They never did use their vault. The entrance eventually collapsed and was revealed via erosion, and the vault was filled with vermin of various levels of deadliness. A small orc tribe recently found it, and were amazed to learn that they not only had a new lair, but that it came pre-stocked with a handful of precious treasures. But there are parts of the the vault where the orcs will not go. The old Valerian family had cleverly built defenses into their lair, should it ever be discovered or breached by the wrong people.
Friday - June 14, 2013
Frayed Knights 2 - Working With Unity 3D
The Rampant Coyote is sharing with us his insights on using the Unity 3D engine for Frayed Knights 2, which are fairly positive.
The Unity scripting system is very easy to use once you get a “feel” for it – which might take a while. There are a few libraries to get familiar with, and some critical components to be aware of (things like Time, Transform, Mathf, and Camera are pretty critical off the bat). But at it’s core, Unity deals with GameObjects – a base class for all objects – which are object-oriented containers for components – behaviors and characteristics.
In practice, it’s pretty straightforward. You have an object. Want to make it player controlled? Link in a player control component. Want to make it visible? Link in a mesh renderer using whatever player mesh you want. Want it to leave a trail behind it? Link in a trail component. For more complex objects, your game object can have a number of “children” objects, all with their own components. It’s powerful and elegant. And of course, much of your job as a programmer is creating these components.
Once I got into the swing of things, I quickly found that a lot of the way things were designed pretty consistently – which means to me that I could predict with decent accuracy how I expect Unity to handle things I needed to do. I felt like it was designed the way I would have designed it. This makes navigating the system much easier – when I’m trying to figure out how to do something, I simply think of how I, as a programmer, would have set it up, and go hunting for a function that sounds right. Four out of five times, I nail it. This is perhaps a subjective aspect of Unity, but it makes things a lot easier and more fun for me. It just makes sense and feels right.
In addition there is some in-game footage of Frayed Knights 2 showing a software bug.
Free bonus (and worth every penny…)! Since I’m doing a lot of work with dungeon geometry generated in run-time, I can get some weird effects that hit the entire dungeon. This was 100% a “me” bug, not a Unity problem, but I just thought I’d share. The problem is when I flagged certain areas as being water. It worked well – except for sections of the dungeon (which I deem “blocks” – a 20 meter x 20 meter square area) with no water. There, the water didn’t get initialized, and decided to turn all the floors of the “default” material into running water instead.
So it looks like I left the water running in my dungeon.
Thursday - May 09, 2013
Frayed Knights 2 - Going Social?
In a new blog Jay Barnson shares his ideas on how Frayed Kinghts 2 can be made more social, withou it turning into a social game.
Sometimes, with a single-player CRPG (especially for a guy like me, who often doesn’t finish a game until a year or more after it’s “current”), it’s a pretty lonely experience. Not that I usually mind – I gravitate towards these kinds of games because there are times I really just want to enjoy an adventure all by myself. Unless I am stumped or stuck and looking for a solution, I tend to ignore any community of players out there. But other times, I really like to hunt down a forum or something and see what other people are saying about the game, especially if it leads me to better understand the game or the possibilities for enjoyment. That’s something I’d like to foster, but it’s really hard to do in a little indie game. If you assume that only 1% of the players are predisposed to take that kind of initiative and contribute to the discussion, that’s not a lot of people.
It’d be nice if the game itself made it easy. And, to be honest, it’d probably help sales if the game made it easy for players to broadcast to their social networks that they are playing the game and doing exciting stuff. However, I grew pretty disgusted by all the Facebook & Twitter messages from certain games announcing the discovery of a certain flower or rock in a game I don’t give a crap about. That’s “doing it wrong,” in my opinion. Decent idea, poor implementation, maybe. Bombarding friends with stuff like that isn’t a good idea.
I especially don’t want the experience ruined by having out-of-game notifications pop up while playing, inviting you to broadcast something or to visit a website or any crap like that. Then again, these days, certain people seem to enjoy nothing more than posting status updates everywhere they go and with everything that happens to them in the real world, so maybe that’s not so bad. I really don’t know.
From my perspective, I feel like when I’m playing a CRPG, I want to be sucked into the game completely, so that the outside world disappears for a couple of hours. That includes little real-world reminders popping up or out-of-game achievement announcements or any of that crap. That’s my ideal player experience. Maybe not all players are like that. But I think that later, when a player is finished for the night, or has a minute during a lunch break at work, or is waiting to pick up your kids from dance practice, or after the game is completed but for fond memories, the game world can still there, with a network of other players to share it with.
Monday - April 15, 2013
Frayed Knights 2 - The Khan of Wrath
Rampant Coyote has announced on his blog the official title for the Frayed Knights successor, it is Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath. He also answers some questions on his blog, of which I quote the first two, together with an explanation of the name:
Or I guess we can abbreviate it FK2:KoW
Or something. Plain ol’ KoW sounds too much like my unreleased, needs-to-be-remade-in-Unity Apocalypse Cow game.
By way of explanation of the title – there are Rock Giants, as those following this blog and the comments already know. You may find them in a huge underground complex beneath Mount Wrath, “in the hall of the mountain Khan.” Yes, cue the theme from Peer Gynt. And that’s all we’re gonna say about them at this point.
Here are some Q’s to be A’d about the game. Many of these have been asked and answered before, but there may be some new ones:
Q: Is this using the same engine as the first game?
A: Not unless I redo the first game using the all-new engine at some point. :0 We’ve started over… not quite from scratch, but close enough, using Unity this time around. The underlying game rules have changed somewhat, but aside from some radical changes to the interface, Frayed Knights veterans should be at home in the new game.
Q: What about my characters from Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon? Will I still be able to import them into Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath?
A: Yes, although you may need to manually reallocate some points, as there will be changes to several of the feats from the previous game. It may go so far as to unspend all of your feat points, for simplicity’s sake, so you can re-buy what you need. Also, some items may go away or be changed from how they worked in FK1. Additionally, some of the choices you made in the first game may come back to haunt you in game 2.
Saturday - March 30, 2013
Frayed Knights 2 - Making Spells
The Rampant Coyote explains what he changed to the spells in Frayed Knights 2.
A while ago I talked about doing something kinda weird for Frayed Knights 2 – Random spell generation. (And note – the picture to the right is FK1. The special effects in FK2 are currently minimal and not very photogenic).
It got mixed in, across several permutations, with a completely revised initiative system. Which doesn’t really count as an initiative system anymore – it’s a totally different interface for taking actions. It was inspired a little by collectable trading card games. Not that I’m turning an RPG into a CCG, but when a single player is playing a group of characters I started envisioning it a little bit more like choosing an action out of a “hand” of options.
There’s still a lot under construction, but the initial prognosis is… promising. Very promising. No doubt there’s a lot of work to do on the balancing front, but so far, given relatively few rules, it’s looking good.
One aspect of making the spells was to make them sound over-the-top, a little like spells from old-school Dungeons & Dragons, Tunnels & Trolls, or the original release of Hackmaster. I think I succeeded. Here are some of my favorites:
“Baba Yaga’s Unbelievable Armor Intensification”
“Primordial Magic Defense Impairment of Ariel”
“Fangal’s Cryptic Magic Defense Bonus”
“Arkan’s Introductory Magic Defense Failure”
“Cleansing of Apuleius”
“Penelope’s Occult Boon”
“Worthy Armor Restriction”
“Brutus’s Explosive Core Punishment”
“Zalem’s Unfathomable Spiky Devastation”
I’ll tell ya – I want to use Zalem’s Unfathomable Spiky Devastation just based on the name. (For the record, it’s a Sorcerer spell that does piercing damage to a single target). Sadly, the random tables are pretty large, so the chances I’ll ever see that spell again are almost non-existent. To be honest, I learned quite a few new words as I was putting together the tables. I’d never even heard the word, “caliginous” before (and it still fails my spell-checker). Pretty cool stuff, really. I learned a lot of new words reading Gary Gygax’s text back when I was a kid, too.
Although if I decide to localize for other languages, I’ve got some serious challenges in hand.
Tuesday - March 19, 2013
Frayed Knights 2 - Small Steps Forward
We missed the latest blog from Jay last week on the Frayed Knights 2 development, so here it is. In this blog he talks about how his workload prevents him from making major steps forward.
The impact on home life and game development, especially over the last six months, has been far from insignificant. Fortunately, slow progress is not zero progress – most nights I managed to get at least a token effort put into the game. And during some stretches of time off, like Christmas and Thanksgiving, I made some lovely progress in just having a solid block of uninterrupted time to work on the game. But the rest of the time, it’s been a slow slog, making progress inch by inch. It’s a level of effort that I call “tinkering” rather than development. Unless you are making a very simple game, tinkering will not get it done.
This can be pretty demoralizing. Like I said, I’m still working on some basic functionality that should have been done months ago, but it takes me all month to get something done that should take only a week (or less). Fortunately, a couple of halfway decent weeks with actual time to put into things have done wonders. It’s amazing how, after long stretches of slow progress, sudden sprints can feel like breakthroughs of epic proportions. I’m hoping this is a trend that can continue.
Wednesday - January 30, 2013
Frayed Knights 2 - Update
Jay Barnson gives us an update on the development of Frayed Knights 2.
Frayed Knights 2 is turning into a bigger overhaul of the game system than I’d really planned. Porting core game code over from the old system to the new one was almost as exactly as much effort as I’d expected – which is to say, not bad at all. But so much of an RPG is the UI, and the UI needed a complete rewrite from the ground up for the new engine. And since I had to rewrite the UI anyway, I figured I might as well make some major improvements. In a lot of ways, I’ve gone back to the ol’ drawing board, which takes time. But while I’m working with a new engine (Unity), and a new UI system (NGUI), they are relatively easy to work with, even if my development time is abridged to only an hour or two an evening.
But as I said before, much of an RPG *is* the UI. The UI defines interactions, defines so much of the look, feel, and pacing. So a change to the UI has repercussions back into the core game code. Things like haste and slow effects, or the impact of fatigue, have completely changed. For the better, in my opinion. At least in a way that’s simpler to understand and work with as a player.A lot of the changes this last month have been down in the guts of the inventory code. I think the inventory system took as much time as the combat system last time around, and this time is no exception. Most of the tricky stuff isn’t necessarily in the game logic, but in the UI. Some of this is still in flux, and nothing is final until… well, as this is indie gaming, nothing is final EVER
Thursday - January 10, 2013
Frayed Knights 2 - Building a World
Jay Barnson writes about "building a world" in the latest Frayed Knights 2 update:
Someone told me last week that J. K. Rowling said that her secret to success in writing the Harry Potter series was to make up a bunch of details in the early books and then try and figure out what they were about when incorporating them into the later ones. I can’t verify that quote, but sometimes I think that was also what J. Michael Staczyynski did when writing for Babylon 5 as well. I’m relatively certain that when Obi Wan tossed around comments about Luke’s father and the clone wars in the original Star Wars, George Lucas did not have anything but the vaguest concept of what would eventually become the second trilogy. I’m actually relatively certain that Darth Vader was not even Luke’s dad at that point in his mind.
Nevertheless, these extended stories worked really, really well. Why? Because even if the details might have been a little vague and fuzzy and even subject to a little creative retconning, the creators had a very solid understanding of their fictional worlds. They knew ‘em, knew how they worked, knew the major players well enough that on a subconscious level the worlds and people took on a life of their own. This gives the stories a powerful authenticity – in part, I think, because this artificial reality (ooh, I’m co-opting an overused 90′s term and giving it new meaning!) that transfers to the mind of the audience, allowing them to build their own expectations and “fill in the gaps” in the narrative or setting with their own imagination.
This is extremely powerful.
Friday - November 16, 2012
Frayed Knights 2 - Taking Initiative...Away!
Jay Barnson continues to tinker with the formula for Frayed Knights 2:
In our dice & paper games, with a very large group (at one point we had 11 players – plus a Game Master – which was insane), we had a problem with this system. In an average combat, with people often taking a minute or more on their turn (it sometimes involved looking up the rules), plus bad guys doing their thing, it meant that players were only “playing” once every fifteen or twenty minutes or so. This led to lots of distractions, lots of chatter that in turn slowed down the game, etc. It got especially complicated as players started changing their initiative order to go before or after other players – for example, letting the wizard throw the fireball BEFORE the melee characters charged in to mix things up.
One thing I tried – and really liked – was a change in how the initiative system worked. To keep things simple, I usually had enemies act as a “group” – at least groups of similar opponents. So against a single opponent or a collection of uniform opponents, all that really mattered (as a player) was whether you went before or after the bad guy(s). Really, since you could change your initiative freely *down* to coordinate your approach with other players, why not just open that up completely and call everybody who goes before the bad guys “group 1,” and everyone who goes after the bad guys “group 2.” And if there were two bad guys going at different initiatives, then the players might be divided into three groups. If more… well, frequently even a group our size would have one empty “group”, which allowed me to regroup enemies and… well, it may sound complicated, but in practice its pretty easy and intuitive.
As a further plus, this kept players more involved in what each other was doing. Suddenly the talk turned to who should go first, and people got a chance to coordinate tactics rather than simply “reacting” when their turn came around. I liked the change. Things were simpler, players were more involved in the game, and tactics were more interesting when players could coordinate their actions as a group.
No, that’s not how initiative works in FK2. I’m just explaining how all this came together. That’s one piece.
Thursday - October 25, 2012
Frayed Knights - 2 - Update on Spells
Jay Barnson has updated his blog on the development on Frayed Knights 2. He talks about how to use spells in the game. An excerpt on how the game will generate spells:
#5 – THIS IS THE BIG ONE – The game will provide lots of procedurally generated spells throughout the game. Some will be available in a shop, others can be found on scrolls throughout the game. Scrolls can be used to either scribe a spell in your spellbook, or cast directly. These will be random, so the exact spells available to you will be different with every game. Because of the fixed, custom spells from points 3 and 4, you won’t be left high-and-dry without any spells to fulfill a caster’s primary role, but you may have to make due with some interesting combinations you’ve found by chance.
Thursday - September 27, 2012
Frayed Knights 2 - Stripping
Jay Barnson writes about effort wasted with Frayed Knights on pursuing features that were unrealistic, or didn't add to the gameplay - and addressing that with Frayed Knights 2:
While having all kinds of intricate detail sounds good and works well in a game where you may only have a dozen spells or items, it scales poorly. And in reality, in order to have a prayer of keeping things remotely balanced, I ended up with a ginormous spreadsheet full of formulas that I used to help me keep everything more-or-less balanced. In a sense, it calculated all the stats for me based on certain parameters, and then I’d fiddle with the final results. That was still a ton of work for a game with spell and item counts well in the triple digits (and monster counts very near to that).
But in the end – does it really matter than this spell does 5% more damage for 5% more endurance cost, with a -1 to its attack chance, over another spell? Not really. It was cool that I could do that (and a WHOLE LOT MORE), but those kinds of subtleties aren’t very interesting to players. To be honest, that’s not all that interesting to me, either, and I’m a junkie for that kind of detail. In many ways, my efforts to add so much flexibility actually obscured my end-goal: It’s easy to lose the forest for the trees when you are overwhelmed with stats, particularly when you (the designer) are up against deadlines and have to re-balance a bunch of monsters and equipment to fill a “hole” between levels 5 & 6 where there isn’t enough going on, etc.
Thursday - August 09, 2012
Frayed Knights 2 -Taking On An Army
Jay Barnson writes about possible combat changes with Frayed Knights 2:
I had a bunch of ideas for making an RPG more “realistic” (there’s that word again, gonna quit using it now) in this respect, and I still think they were great ideas for an RPG. But maybe they were not so great for a game with such deep roots in traditional RPGs (which were themselves deeply rooted in classic D&D game rules) like Frayed Knights. I love the way they play, but it does feel a little “off” for a lot of players. Anyone who has played through Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon can tell you that many “boss battles” seem relatively trivial compared to fighting large numbers of enemies. This is also why most of the “bosses” in Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon are encountered with minions. Solo, even the toughest bosses can be relative pushovers.