For how many years have I been saying “this year I’ll release something”? Too many to count, I’ll wager. But this year — for real this time — this year I’m actually doing it. Have I wasted all those years trying to build something in which nobody has the slightest interest, or have I hit upon a formula that will spark joy in its players?
Only one way to find out: download Exon: Fragment from itch.io now.
Do I want your feedback? … Uh… honestly? Only if it’s nice. I’ve put… rather a lot into this. (But if you’re already following me, you probably know that by now.)
The plan is to extend Fragment until it comprises the entire prologue, which at time of writing is five levels (well, and fix all the bugs and instabilities I’ve never noticed myself up to this point). After leaving the Exon Academy area, you’ll reach the Friendly Arm Waystation and take on the job that sets the story going… then across three further levels you’ll see that job to its fateful conclusion. (You’ll be able to return to the Exon Academy and the Friendly Arm in Chapter One to finish off anything you missed, so it’s not as profligate as it sounds.)
Once Fragment is complete, I guess I’ll retreat into the darkness because any further development diaries will likely be spoilers. Boo hiss.
I have been firming up the actual plotline for the entire game recently, and yes, it does appear that I still have eyes far bigger than my stomach. With the current draft, I’m looking at about 30 levels over 6-7 chapters, and that’s just the golden path — that doesn’t include any incidental bits of wilderness and side quest missions I’ll want to make to round it all out.
On the other hand, I need to get out of my Warcraft III mindset of making fewer big and dense levels, and start making more smaller levels. Not only have I spent a lot of time and energy on the saving and loading system that means level transitioning is a first-class part of the engine, having smaller levels will also give me more performance headroom. Besides, varied level sizes will keep it from getting too predictable for players too.
But that’s another problem for another day. For now, please enjoy Fragment and we’ll take it from there. Happy eighth birthday, Exon!