Issue tracking systems

I think it would be good if Knights had a public issue tracking system, this would be useful for keeping track of bug reports (of which there have been a few following the recent multiplayer beta) as well as feature requests.

I’ve spent a bit of time looking at the different bug tracking systems out there (and there are a lot of them), but eventually I think I’ve decided on using Trac. This is an open source system that seems quite popular and has most (if not all) features that would be needed for a project like Knights.

Of the alternatives, I liked Flyspray and Redmine, which are both very simple and easy to use, but they seem a bit limited in terms of features (imho) compared to Trac. I also considered JIRA which is what I use at work (and it’s free for open source projects to use); JIRA is a very nice system, but unfortunately it’s an enormous Java application which my server doesn’t really have enough RAM to be able to run properly, and anyway it is probably overkill for a small project like Knights.

In other news, I have now got most of the bugs from the multiplayer test fixed, and have been working on getting observer mode working in multiplayer games as well (so you can change who you are observing by using left/right arrow keys). I also want to get a player list and end of game statistics set up before releasing a “stable” multiplayer version.

After that I think the next priority would be making the game simpler for newbies. I think there are a lot of people who try the game out once or twice, can’t work out how to play, and then never come back (I sometimes see people like this on the server). Sadly people do not read manuals these days. Some sort of tutorial mode is probably the answer here.

Knights multiplayer test a success

Well we had our Knights multiplayer testing session and it was very successful and great fun! We had 7 players at the same time at one point. Thanks to everyone who joined in.

I think we established that Knights works very well in multiplayer, in fact I think it was even more fun than the two player game. We had a few disconnections / error messages but those should be solvable I think.

One issue was that certain quests do not work very well in multiplayer. For instance the destroy book with wand quest seemed to go on forever. One suggestion was that we should show items on the map after a certain time, e.g. show the wand after X minutes and show the book after Y minutes. Perhaps we should try that sometime.

The “gnome book” quest also did not work too well: with five or six knights flipping the switches all the time it was very difficult to actually get access to the book! Maybe it would have worked better with a different book — with some of the gnome books you only press the switch once and then the door stays open (it doesn’t close again when the switch is pressed again) so we wouldn’t have had the same problem.

The quests that worked best seemed to be the “escape from dungeon” type quests, especially with a few gems or a guarded exit point thrown in.

Another problem was that some players were at a big disadvantage due to having a bad starting position. Perhaps players should be able to change their starting point during the game (as rpr suggested). Or maybe players could just respawn into a random start point each time, instead of having the same one every time?

Another excellent suggestion was that potions/scrolls should respawn. (They get used up very quickly if there are a lot of knights about.)

Anyway… I will try and get a Knights forum set up soon. There is also now a #knights IRC channel on (courtesy of Dukey).

Thanks again everyone and I hope we can do this again sometime!

Knights Multiplayer – beta testers wanted!

I have been working on a version of Knights that allows more than two players in the dungeon at the same time. This has been requested by a quite a few people now. The new version is going quite well, it just needs a bit more testing/debugging, and will probably be ready in 1 – 2 weeks.

Before doing an “official” release of this, I’d like to do a beta test, both to iron out any bugs, and also to find out how well the game actually plays with many knights involved. My brother has agreed to join the testing but obviously we are going to need to recruit a few more players…

So… if you’d like to join in the first ever online multiplayer game of Knights, then please sign up below. We also need to organize a time so if you have preferred dates or times then please indicate this in your comment.

By the way – currently I am just using the normal quests from the standard two player game. So, for example, in a gnome book quest, there will be one gnome book, but a large number of knights all trying to take it back to their home πŸ™‚ However, I imagine a lot of new quests will become possible in a multi player setting. If anyone has ideas for good multi-player quests then please feel free to post them below…

New Potion/Scroll Ideas

A while back David asked me to open a post on new potion/scroll ideas. Well, here it is πŸ™‚

To start things off, here are a couple of potion ideas I came up with. (To clarify — these are not planned features at the moment, they are just ideas. Any feedback welcome.)

  • Levitation. Your knight rises from the ground and becomes temporarily able to walk over pits.
  • Extra Health. You (temporarily) get twice as many hitpoints as normal.
  • Confusion. Your knight becomes confused. Whenever you try to move, the knight moves in a random direction instead of the one you selected.
  • Blindness. Your knight is blinded — the main dungeon view goes black. You can still move around and your location will still be shown on the map (representing your knight feeling his way around the dungeon).

Now your turn. What new magic effects would you like to see in the game?

Knights now available for Maemo

Wilson Tang has created a port of Knights for Maemo, a mostly opensource mobile platform for tablets (wifi touchscreen devices without phone capability).

The packages are available here:

Source code:

And the creator’s site, with screen shots:

The screen layouts have been changed a little bit to fit the Maemo platform, but otherwise it is basically the same as my version.

Thanks Wilson!

Progress on 011

This is a quick progress report on what I’ve been doing for the next version of Knights (011).

The following changes have now been completed:

  • “Observer” functionality now fully works. If two people are playing on the server you can now log in and watch them play. (I wasn’t originally planning to do this yet, but it’s such a cool feature that I couldn’t resist… Hopefully there will be enough people on the server in future to be able to make use of it!)
  • When waiting in the lobby, the Knights window now pops to the front (and un-minimizes itself if necessary) when someone else connects to the server. (This only works on Windows at the moment as I couldn’t manage toΒ  get it working on Linux. I will have another look at the Linux version some other time.)
  • ESC no longer quits the game immediately. Instead it brings up the quest information (this is the screen that you get by pressing TAB currently) and you can then press Q to quit, or ESC again to return to the game. TAB now does something else – see next item.
  • Chat messages can no longer be typed directly. Instead, you have to first press TAB (or click on the chat box) to activate “chat mode”, and then type the message.
    • The reasoning behind this is to avoid control conflicts. In the current version of Knights, if you define a letter/number/punctuation key as a knight control, then there is a conflict and that key becomes unusable for typing chat messages. In the new version, the conflict is fixed (the key either controls the knight or types into the chat box, depending on whether chat mode is on or off).
  • The chat window is no longer cleared after the game ends (this stops messages being “lost” when you click through the Winner/Loser screen).
  • The player name (used when connecting to the server) is saved to disk and remembered the next time you start Knights.

The work still to be done is:

  • Look at reducing CPU usage while sitting in the lobby.
  • A couple of bug fixes (e.g. currently there is a bug in the dungeon generator which might make the quest impossible, because all keys and lock picks are placed behind locked doors).

I’ll try to get these done next weekend.

Downloads graph

I made a graph of Knights downloads over time and I thought people might be interested to see the results.


This shows the cumulative number of downloads of Knights version 010 since its release on 5 July. Both the Linux and Windows versions are included.

The spike at the beginning of August is when the game found its way onto the Linux Game Tome.

The second spike (8 August) is when the game was announced on reddit. This caused a massive increase in hits for about a 24 hour period, which then seemed to die down again quite suddenly (I guess it dropped off the front page or something).

As you can see the game is gaining in popularity – downloads have reached 500 and are still increasing. Hopefully this trend will continue πŸ™‚

Plans for the future

I have been thinking about how to proceed with Knights development. For me the next priority is to try to get a bit more publicity for the game, as it really deserves to have more players. However before I do that I’d like to make one new version with a few interface improvements. Specifically:

  • Pop the window to the front when lobby activity is detected. This is a high priority because it might encourage more people to sit in the lobby waiting for players to show up.
  • Save player name when the program exits.
  • Confirmation when Esc key is pressed.
  • Initial work on reducing CPU usage. I’ll see what can be done without needing too much work. I think reducing CPU usage while in the lobby is the most important thing, as otherwise people might be discouraged from waiting around on the lobby screen. Reducing in-game CPU usage is less of a priority at the moment.
  • There is a bug where the game can sometimes (rarely) generate an “impossible” dungeon, because all the keys and lock picks are behind locked iron doors. Should fix this.

After those are done I think the game will be ready to be taken to a wider audience, so I’ll try submitting it to a few indie game review sites and see if any of them want to cover it. That should hopefully bring in a few new players.

If we get enough players, I’d also like to run an online Knights tournament sometime. (As of right now it doesn’t look like there would be enough people for a very interesting tournament.)

Looking further forward, there are still some further interface type improvements that could be made. For the record these are:

  • Improving the game’s handling of network lag.
  • Pausing for network games.
  • Finish “observer” support.
  • In game “Quest Requirements” display.
  • Random Quest button.
  • Further improvements to CPU time usage.

Then there is the question of gameplay changes. I think the most promising suggestion so far is to allow more than two players at once. This would probably need new quest types (and plenty of play testing) but it could be quite an interesting direction to go in.

Finally, as I’ve said before, I’m working on a room editor – however this is a lower priority as I’d like to focus on the main game, at least for now.

I’m going away for a week from the 18th, so work on the next version won’t start until I get back (on the 25th). This will probably take around a month (depending on how much free time I get) so look out for a new version sometime in August.

New monster ideas

It’s about time I wrote some sort of update I suppose πŸ™‚

I’ve been taking a bit of a break from Knights development recently, but I hope to start work on it again soon. The first task will be to do a new release (version 011) which will just fix one or two minor bugs that are still outstanding.

After that, I thought it would be fun to try to add some new features to the game. Someone suggested new monster types. I’m not sure exactly what monsters I would add right now, but I tried to think up some ideas, and, well, here they are. (Disclaimer: these are really just random initial ideas – not to be taken too seriously at the moment…)

  • Orcs. Like zombies, but a bit more intelligent. Will sometimes pick up weapons that they find in the Dungeon and use them against you. Maybe could have different types (e.g. plain orcs vs. orcish warriors who are more heavily armoured).
  • Gnomish Crossbowmen. These annoying critters will run away, and try to shoot at you from a distance.
  • Kobolds. Like to group together into “packs”. If in a large group, will attack and try to surround a knight. If on their own, will run away.
  • Necromancers. Can use their magic to raise nearby corpses into Zombies.
  • Skeletons. (similar to zombies but perhaps faster and less tough?)
  • Demons of some sort. (Perhaps associated with pentagrams in some way…)

What do you think? Good? Bad? You have other ideas? Please post them in the comments πŸ™‚

Another point is that I am no good at graphics, so before I could add any monsters, I would need someone to knock up a few sprites for me. If there are any artists out there reading this, who would be willing to help, then please feel free to contact me…