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Exile Online: A Fantastical Sci-Fi Dystopian Cyberpunk Universe

Guest Writer Posted:
Developer Journals 0

Editor’s Note: Exile Online has been in quiet development for quite awhile now, even going silent for a short time. But the team is ready to reveal more about what is called "a fantastical sci-fi dystopian cyberpunk universe'. Built using the Hero Engine, Exile Online has had no outages or interruptions in service and development is moving full steam ahead. Find out more about Exile Online in this exclusive developer diary by Project Lead Dan Anderson.

The Game

Exile Online is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game that takes place in a fantastical Scifi dystopian cyberpunk universe. It is inspired by its forebears in the genre which include such popular works as Bladerunner, Akira, Judge Dredd, Deus Ex, Total Recall, Ghost in the Shell and Syndicate.

Exile Online has a wide variety of ambitious features, including extensive player housing, a mix-and-match skill system, an intricate economy, implants, politics, and, of course, a futuristic dystopia of high technology and low morals. Life on Erebus is cheap. The wary citizen must always keep an eye out, lest they become just another statistic, crushed under the feet of monumentally powerful and corrupt mega corporations and bureaucratic agencies.

The World

Exile Online is fundamentally a cyberpunk sandbox world. our vision of which means giving our players the tools and opportunity to do things that may not seem usual in a video game. We realise combat against other players and NPCs are a staple of any MMO, but added to these foundations, we are also going to give players the ability to evolve the game world and lore itself should they so wish.

One of our main driving forces for Exile Online is player choice. The main focus of this is constructing a varied and colourful world that will create an intense sense of immersion for each and every player. The feeling of being able to make your mark on the future landscape of an entire game universe is one of the goals we want our players to know they can strive towards.

Players will have the freedom to advance their character in any way they see fit. Whether this be through combat or other less than lethal means. The power to forge a unique destiny for your character drives our development process from the ground up.

The Team

Exile Gaming Studio is an independent video game development team. The team is small at the moment, but has room for expansion down the road. Every team member is very dedicated to the project. We currently telecommute over Skype as we are a multinational team with talented members in several countries.

Some of our team either work at a day job or choose to spend full time on the project by devoting as many hours as they can. Each and every one of us has invested many a sleepless night into development, as we strongly believe in the project and know we have a winning formula.

Our team member experience covers a wide range and variety of work within both the indie, freelance and professional sides of the video game development industry.

The Past

Every journey must begin with a first step. That first venture out into the wider uncertainty that comes with creating a product from the ground up. Video games are no different in that respect.

The idea of Exile Online came about simply because of the sheer lack of interesting, engaging or innovative sci fi cyberpunk MMOs to play on the market. That was true at the time 3 years ago when we first started our planning and pre development cycle and it holds true now upon writing this.

The core of the team wanted a game in the cyberpunk genre that grips a player from the first moment of each login all the way to logging out after many an hour of play. To that end we decided to delve into the world of video game development.

Around a year was spent constructing our game design documents in as much detail as inhumanly possible, diligently ensuring that as many aspects of the games innards would be pre planned before actually touching so much as a line of code.

After that it came that part of expanding the team past mere idea and design men and putting together a technical team with the skills and dedication necessary for creating something as in depth as an MMO.

The Present

After many long and not as boring as it sounds brainstorming sessions it came time to implementation and foundation work on the bare bones of the game. With the team and design in place, it was relatively straightforward to begin the physical work on the game itself.

We have spent the last year and a half in heavy pre production and have recently stepped up to developing fully finished coded game systems and ingame art.

Hurdles have come up of course and been surmounted, as production advances and continues. Several team members have come and gone due to mostly unforeseen circumstances, which is par for the course in such an adventure as this. New and fresh fresh faces have also joined the team, bringing in further enthusiasm for the project.

The Future

We have recently gone a several months with no changelog updates. This is due to a total redesign and rebuilding of the the skill, item, mission and NPC system backends.

Without going into too much technical detail, the SPEC system allows our programmers to create a DEV based tool that lets non coders create a skill, item, mission or NPC by simply filling in a form and selecting the details of what they want the skill to do.

This means we don't need the programmer to go into a script and write up a bunch of code when a new skill or item needs to be added into the game. These systems will function the same visually to the player but are far easier to maintain behind the scenes. This upgrade is more of a sideways development on systems that we had already considered complete, so corresponding changelog updates will be made once they have been totally rebuilt and working as fully as before.

We plan on having a fully playable public version ready by the end of the year if we stick to the milestones of production and development in the roadmaps that we have set up for ourselves. At a push we also want to head to several of the larger game conventions in europe later this year which will depend greatly if we can meet the goals we have set out for that.

We have been gearing up for kickstarter for some time now. We have posted and contacted numerous gaming websites and groups all over the internet. This has been quite successful in spreading the word about Exile Online.

Having achieved a higher level of awareness we now feel ready to run our Kickstarter campaign. We have started constructing our preview version of the campaign on the KS website and will be opening it up within the next week or two.

We greatly appreciate our fans and future players and with their continued help and support, we know we can make a great game that we will all be playing together for years to come.


Guest Writer