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 to 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.
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 🙂
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.
It’s about time I wrote some sort of update I suppose 🙂
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 🙂
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…
Welcome to the new Knights development blog. I will be keeping this up to date with announcements of new Knights releases, and other news of interest to Knights players. I also plan to discuss future Knights developments here, so if you’d like to see what’s going into the next version then please do keep an eye on this blog.
I also plan to use the blog as a means of getting feedback from users, so if you have any comments – whether they are bug reports, ideas for new features, or just general comments – then please do post them here (or drop me an email if you prefer).
Today also sees the release of version 010 of Knights. This is a bug fix release containing the following improvements:
- Fixed bug where controls would sometimes not work properly when playing online.
- Fixed error “writeUbyte: out of range” when non-ASCII characters were typed into the chat box.
- It’s now possible to join a game that already has two players in it. You won’t be able to play or watch the game, but you will be able to chat with the existing players.
Download it from the Knights home page.