Sometimes in life, you have to admit that you’ve been a fool. I’ve had to admit that I’ve been a fool about many things over the eight years of working on Exon, and today is… well it’s just another in a long line of admissions of foolishness. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to solving it, right?
So I’d been focusing on Exon as a mouse-and-keyboard PC game, but I realise that most people aren’t remotely interested in that. No, if I want real human beings to actually play my game, I need to go out to meet them — I need to be on mobile. So I’m reworking Exon for mobile. How hard can it be?
It’s not actually as extreme as it sounds. Exon‘s primary heads-up display is already pretty sparse, so I don’t have to rig up too many things to make it suitable for old sausage-fingers to mash buttons on a pane of glass instead of tapping a keyboard. I’ve had to cut the number of equipment slots in order to make them decent-sized buttons, but that’s just less crude junk to get confused by so probably not much of a loss.
While the core premise of a heroic sci-fi conspiracy action-RPG is perfectly able to run on mobile (give or take another few rounds of optimisation), my business model of selling a single complete barrel definitely isn’t. That means I need to kill another of my darlings and embrace microtransactions.
Exon already has shops that take money earned in game, and that’s all fine and dandy. On top of this, however, I’m going to add gems — in order of increasing value, these will be Rubies, Emeralds and Diamonds. You can fill up on gems at special garages and then buy unique equipment items, many of which won’t be available in the rest of the game. If you need a competitive edge, these will surely fuel your progress.
As for the rest of the game, well, I’m going to be just generally making it more slick. For example, I’ve decided to siphon off a lot of superfluous conversation options to make it easier for me to develop and the golden path less opaque to players. No more accidentally selecting diesel when you wanted unleaded because I tried to be clever with my wordplay, or confusingly long chains of dialogue.
I’ve got a lot more refinements planned but of course it wouldn’t do to spill too much at this early stage, so I’ll just leave you with this video of the initial prototype.