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June 22nd, 2012, 05:44
Jay looks back at the development of Frayed Knights with quite a focus on the early days of development.
I had a lot of experimental ideas I wanted to try, too. For example, the whole game mechanic of picking locks or disarming traps has always sucked IMO. I love the concept of the rogue class, but implementation-wise, it’s often pretty boring, resolved by a single dice-check (if that). What are the consequences of failing a lockpicking check? It’s so pathetic that many games have done away with it entirely, making it a deterministic check. I also wanted to play around with the idea of encouraging players to “play through” tough situations, rather than just reloading from a previously saved game.
The result – for the contest – was “Frayed Knights: The Temple of Pokmor Xang” – a “pilot episode” for what I expected to be the full game completed maybe a year later (HAH!). The idea of a pilot episode was a lot like making the pilot episode of a television show – something to test out on audiences to see if it will fly, and to see what needs tweaking before going into full-on production mode on a series. That was exactly what The Temple of Pokmor Xang was. I was experimenting and getting real, live audiences to try out a free game and provide me with feedback. While I’ve been a game developer for many years, and an RPG fan for even more, making a “real” RPG (Hackenslash doesn’t quite count) was still a challenge for me. I gained a lot of sympathy for the designers I’d often criticized in the past over their design decisions. Once you have to make those same decisions yourself, and truly consider the trade-offs, the alternatives aren’t quite as superior anymore.
Thanks Jonathan.
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June 22nd, 2012, 05:44
I loved how he handled lock picking. It was a minigame, but one that made sense, and worked right along with the game mechanics.
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June 22nd, 2012, 09:52
Looking forward to the next installment - the improvements hinted at are exactly what should be improved, so I am even more exited. I had a lot of fun with Frayed Knights as it were, though. It doesn't go overbord with the humor, and below the humorous surface is a complex and tough-as-nails RPG system.
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