Frayed Knights Development Tools Blog

Frayed Knights' developer Jay Barnson, also known as the Rampant Coyote, has posted a new development blog on the first-person dungeon crawling sequel Frayed Knights II: The Khan of Wrath, explaining his ordeal with level design tools. Here's a snippet on his home-grown solution and why he ultimately gave up on it:

I think it was in an Air Force ROTC class in college when they talked about how we have a tendency to go into a new conflict prepared to fight the previous one. In this case, while the approach was probably awesome considering the way I used the old Torque engine, it was not the best use of my efforts when making my first major Unity project. I didn't fully understand the power of the system, or what everybody else was doing in the Unity world which could make my life easier.

The more I expanded on my home-grown editing tools, the more work I found I needed to do, and the more I looked at incorporating it into the Unity editor (I think someone on the blog even asked why I hadn't done that already, and I didn't have a really good answer). As I started getting serious about this, and as my editor needed some very serious development to incorporate additional functionality, I looked at some third-party tools to aid me in this transition.

What I found ended up replacing rather than supplementing my editor. Seriously some folks were already working long and hard on these kinds of problems, and if I were willing to accept the same kind of restrictions I had already planned on with my home-grown editor (to make sure the (80% solution) was still fast, easy, and reliable), then I was ahead of the game from where I would be sticking with my old stuff. There would be downsides, of course, but it looked like a net win.

This was back in the summer of last year, so it's no longer news. But it's still kind of painful. When I made the switch, I effectively threw away many months of work. It wasn't a total loss I learned a lot about Unity in this process. But it still hurt. It's rough parting with a sunk cost spending so much time and effort to go one direction, only to realize that you are on the wrong track. I'd spent so much time working on tools that a lot of the actual game code still remained to be done. And I had to get up to speed on using the new tools, developing yet *more* tools, etc.