Welcome to the inaugural post for what I hope will be an ever expanding blog in which I will catalogue my progress in the making of the 3rd and final (well, I'm 99.9% sure it will be final) chapter in the Exmortis trilogy.
First and foremost, let me just introduce myself. My name is Ben Leffler. I'm a 28-year old guy from Sydney Australia who has been dabbling with computer design and concept since I was an 8-year old kid programming games and apps in LBasic on my TRS-80 computer.
It is the unbelievably positive feedback that provides me with continual motivation to spend an obscene amount of time working on such projects as the previous two Exmortis games. I really do appreciate that so many people have embraced my previous work like they have. It makes it all worthwhile in the end... you guys have been a great source of inspiration for me, and in return I hope that my work can also inspire and motivate you in return.
And so I begin my conceptual work on the final Exmortis game.
Going on my previous games, there isn't a great deal of structure to the creative process behind the scenes. I don't sit down and write a script or even outline the plot. Both Exmortis and Exmortis2 had very little on paper, and they only really flowed from whatever creative energy I had as I was going from flash scene to flash scene. Not very professional, huh?
I'm probably more patient than 90% of people in this world however when it comes to creating the game, I want jaw-dropping results and I want it straight away! That's one of the major things that inspires me to go on with the process and remain enthusiastic about it all. Unfortunately that can sometimes work against me because it almost forces me to rush the process and either churn out sub-standard work or get me frustrated to the point where I toss in the towel.
Exmortis2 had at least two false starts to it's production. The first false start was the most devestating, as it took a further 8 months before I forced myself back to the project.
I had a basic story premise (the post-apocolyptic setting which I ended up using) but I hit a brick wall when I decided that I wasn't happy with the feeling of the first few scenes and how they introduced the task at hand.
There was no church, nor was there a dark character there to put you on the path to fulfill his nefarious plans. There were no religious references originally intended, nor an intention to make the sky crimson red, the ground parched or any of the "Exmortis horde pandemic" backstory you can read about in the diary and news clippings of the game. It was pretty much a bare bones start, and it was that lack of projected scope that killed it off for me for so long.
8 months later, I visited my original Exmortis game at www.newgrounds.com and browsed through the positive user reviews again. It was then that I realised that it would be crazy of me not to follow up the game with a sequel. It was enough to get me back in front of the notebook again, but this time I had a better grasp of certain plot points, and a more energetic and enthusiastic gusto to inspire me with.
But once again I made a false start which put me off the project for a few weeks. It was the first few scenes once again that just didn't feel right. This time around, the Lochear Fields Ranch was going to be the opening scene. That was supposed to be the original safe house. The bodies the player finds inside the house were supposed to be fellow members of the resistance. But it left me with a dilemma in how I was going to make it clear what direction you needed to take to accomplish an unclear task.
And then the revelation. Lying in bed one night trying to visualise what it would be like to live in a rural area whilst this demonic horde swept across the world destroying and eviscerating everything in sight. What does humanity hold so dearly, and what would happen when that is taken away? Some people would claim security is most important. Happiness. Contentment. But then it occured to me what the catalyst would be for all hope to be lost.
The failure of religion and faith in our deity(s). And then it hit me - how I was going to introduce this religious sub-plot without coming off a) too preachy or b) too anti-religious... I then knew what the first scene would be.
Then back to the creative process and from then on I never looked back. The story continually evolved as I created scene by scene. I decided that my pondering thought of somehow involving Xavier Rehayem and his daughter Gwen back in to the story would again serve to help the player's progress whilst creating direction and motivation to continue the story onwards.
I eventually reintroduced themes such as the importance of numbers (in the sudoko element and once again the deaths of five innocent people as in the first). I tried to remain true to the colour palette of the first in creating sepia scenes with only the sky and gore hued in crimson.
There were a lot of other small reoccuring themes that I drew upon from the original game - but it was funny as I never intended to do as such in pre-production... It just kinda happened...
Anyway, I've probably babbled a bit too much in my first post here. But before I finish up, you'll probably want to know where I'm at with the third game - considering that is the point of this blog after all!
The answer is rather dissappointing to some. I haven't done a great deal at this point in time... I've been on a bit of a creative break/hiatus to replenish my enthusiasm. I've got a good idea for a bare bones plot that I am going to go with. But let me just let one cat out of the bag for all you that are interested...
(Highlight to read)
You will reprise the role of your character from the 2nd game... Mr.Hannay... well... kind of... *evil smirk*