Frayed Knights - Bad Luck and Fools Luck
Jay has posted another update for Frayed Knights. This time he's run into a bit of bad luck with the closure of TorquePowered. He's using a heavily modified version of the Torque Game Engine. I'll let Jay explain how that will effect his development of Frayed Knights:
Okay – first order of business: The closure of TorquePowered. Yes, Frayed Knights runs on a highly modified version of the Torque Game Engine. Someone asked on Twitter if that was going to stop Frayed Knights development. Absolutely not. In theory, their closure should have zero effect on the game’s development. First of all, the engine I am using was already sunset and dropped official support while I was already in development many moons ago. If there was a time for me to freak out and change engines, it would have been then.
However, I have been relying upon the still-active community and the enormous wealth of searchable documentation and years of related questions-and-answers on the forums on their website from time to time, and it’s been kind of a safety net for me. If I am forced to operate without a net… well, so be it. It’s a little hairier, but I’m a grown-up programmer with source code and a valid license. I remain dangerous.
He also discusses Drama Stars and how implementing them within the game has provided its own set of challenges:
Okay, for those new to the discussion, here’s what drama stars are about: Whenever you do something interesting (make a decision, fight a monster, etc.), you get one or more drama points. These gradually fill in some stars at the top of the screen. The stars begin by getting filled in with bronze points, then they gradually become silver, and then gold. You can then “spend” these points on an effect that changes the game, even up to restoring the entire party to life (well, non-disabled condition) with almost full health and stamina.
I try to provide interesting choices in Frayed Knights, and allow players to brute-force their way into things if that’s just how they roll. While Frayed Knights does have its share of locked doors constructed out of indestructible plotonium, I try to have at least equal number where I am merely encouraging – not forcing – the user to perform a designer-approved activity to get it open. But I make them very difficult. It’s an old Dungeon Master’s trick. You want all my work I put into having you find the key, and just pick the lock instead. Fine. Get ready to fail a lot and fight some wandering monsters and guards! Hah! That ought to show you!
Okay. The problem with that is that, if it’s left to chance, there’s always a chance the player will succeed on the first or second try, anyway. And if you are in a CRPG, the player may just keep reloading until he gets it right without incident. D’oh!
And then there’s the Fool’s Luck ability. Fool’s Luck gives the player a huge bonus to tasks for a brief time, not quite guaranteeing success, but close enough. It’s the equivalent of reloading the game several times to re-try a task. In practice, it means that those challenging locks I throw into the game to encourage the player to do things my way are easily bypassed with the drama points earned from a mere handful of encounters.
The old Dungeon Master in me balks at this idea. But I try and look at it this way: I’ve now given the player some potential for interesting choices. Locked plotonium doors provide none. Which makes for a better, more satisfying game?
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