DevLog #1 – The Beginning of a New Game!

Hello everyone!

It has been some time since the last update of Destroy The Monoliths or the last time I posted anywhere. The reason being that I have been hard at work! With the post-launch content update of DTM out, I was finally able to fully focus on my new project. I am very happy to share today that I am indeed working on a new game! My prototype is starting to feel right and fit what I envision. So I think this is a good time to talk more about this game. It has no official name for now, so let’s refer to it as Project Exodus for the time being!

The Search of a New Game

If you happen to follow the YouTube devlogs of Jonas Tyroller (one of the two developers behind Thronefall) or Lemon (the developer of Patch Quest), you are probably already aware of how a new game comes into being. I really like these devlogs because they capture the reality of how messy and chaotic the early phase is. Working on a prototype really is some kind of search for a new perfect idea. It is highly experimental, with a lot of code and tests that end up in the trash. But that’s how you refine your creative vision. Slowly expanding on what sticks and feels interesting, while reworking or discarding what feels tedious and boring.

Does this prototyping phase get easier with experience? Yes. But it remains a long and tough process. Experience makes you more aware of what was already made, of which mechanics don’t blend well, of what players enjoy or hate, of what the current market trends are. So you test and trash bad ideas quickly and move on with your search faster, slowly finding your way. Also, previous games play a role. You may want to create something similar that your existing audience can enjoy. But make it too similar and people will find it boring (and it will also be boring to develop).

My new project went through all of that messiness. Look at the montage below and see how it changed over time.

I experimented with different top-dow and isometric views, with plain 2D or 3D, with a moving character or just cursor-based actions, with wave timers, with auto scrolling, with power management, etc. It took some time to find a set of mechanics that harmonize and convey the fun I had in mind. Now, it has reached a more stable state and I’m starting to see the end of the prototyping phase. So let’s talk more about what this game is heading towards!

A Roguelike Space Force Adventure

My starting point for Project Exodus was to make some sort of hybrid between FTL and Dome Keeper. The latter was already a big inspiration for my previous game Destroy The Monoliths. Back then, I pushed it more into the RTS and Tower Defense genres. For Project Exodus, I want to keep this mix of mining and fighting, but tackle it with more of this management and adventure vibe I enjoy so much in FTL.

Before I give you the pitch, let’s start with a first screenshot!

Project Exodus is an action mining shooter and crew-management roguelike. In this new game, you will lead a group of characters wandering in space, mining resources, collecting power-ups, fighting waves of enemies, and making hopefully the best decisions to survive as long as possible.

Players will control the leader the group. Other members of the force will follow and act on their own, much like companions in automatic mode. During a run, you will recruit new members for your force. Maybe dismiss people, or switch leader. You will also manage a few options to influence how your companions behave. Characters will have various classes, which give them access to different abilities, weapons and power-ups.

Exploring space can help you find ore and resources, but also random structures like crates or trading posts. These structure won’t have a fixed output as they will trigger random events and force you to make wise decisions.

What’s next?

As always, I will document the whole process on my blog, so expect more devlog posts in the future. It is way too early for this game to have a Steam page, but don’t worry Steam players, I’ve got you covered! Until the game page comes up, I will publish all the devlogs on my Steam developer page. So be sure to follow it to see new posts in your activity feed!

My number one priority is to get a playable pre-alpha build. It is important to gather player feedback as early as possible and this project will be no exception to the rule. The current version still needs a lot of work, but I am getting closer each day. I will keep you updated when a playtest happens!

That’s it for the first devlog of this new project! I hope you are excited about this game as much as I am! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Or even give some feedback based on the few screenshots I posted. I am very interested to see what you understand of the game with just a few static screenshots. This helps me refine the first-glance readability, which is very important to appeal to the right audience.

Thanks for reading this far, and I’ll see you next time!