Love In The Dark: Steenberg Releases Exo Test

I love it like EXO, You love me like EXO

You may think you’re something of a video games whizz. After a few minutes of button-bashing and mouse-waggling you’ll figure out any game, you like to think. No. Nope. Not with this. Love maker Eskil Steenberg has released a public test version of his next game, Exo (formerly Dark Side of the Moon), and you should read the helpful file named How_to_play.txt. Without it, you may not even twig that it’s a stealth RTS about heavily-armed exosuits hiding in shadows. I certainly didn’t.

Testing’s centred around a thread on The Crate and Crowbar’s forums (it’s some manner of cyberpod, I told), so grab the build and head over there.

You may note that Eskil says he thinks “the game like any game should obviously be playable without instructions” but that it isn’t yet. That’s certainly true. Everything’s so abstract, so minimalist , so represented by icons that don’t really mean anything, that I was baffled in my first two games. Even the menus may not be clear. It is pretty, though. Still, he’s hoping that people will try to pick it up by simply playing, so you may as well give it a go. See how savvy you are. He’s also looking for balance feedback, so do share if you have any thoughts.

Eventually you’ll discover Exo is, as Eskil calls it, a “stealth action real-time strategy game” about controlling light and shadows in small arenas to catch out the enemy. Your units scamper about in the dark, visible only when they come near lights, tossed flares, or are illuminated by gunfire. You’ll also need to capture buildings to turn on lights, upgrade units, or create items.

It’s still early days for Exo, with Steenberg noting that this version “is missing loads of features and that everything is subject to change.” Right now it has online multiplayer, AI battles, and a sandbox mode where you can control both teams, and he plans to add single-player teaching how to play.


  1. Artist says:

    Ah, Mr. Steenberg take #2! I still remember that he once gently ranted about how dispensable game designers are in development teams. Funny thing is that proper game designer was exactly what was so lacking in his previous project ‘Love’! Im sure a good game mechanic designer could have turned the tide.
    So lets have a look at this new project now!

    • eskil says:

      I never said that designers aren’t important quite the opposite. In a GDC talk a few years ago I pointed out that Game designers are the most expensive team members because they add to the to-do list where as all other members are there to remove things from the To-Do list. Therefor a designer who doesn’t know anything about the process of making art, code, levels and sound, cant assess make informed decisions on how to design in a way that allocates resources correctly. Many designers don’t do this very well.

  2. noom says:

    I’d forgotten about Love. It never quite delivered on its promise.

    And in the game.

  3. Stardog says:

    Login? Quit.

    • eskil says:

      Sorry about that. There will be an offline mode in the future, I just haven’t gotten there yet. I like to play on planes too. :-)

  4. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Beat it in 15 mins. 7/10

    I am lying, too scared to play

  5. Krouv says:

    Ever since the videos I can’t help but mentally read your articles in a Scottish accent.

  6. Ross Angus says:

    I wasn’t expecting that it would looks so good – in the C&C podcast, Eskil mentioned how the game engine is completely separated from the graphics engine. He plans to build two different graphics engines, one for powerful machines and the other for mobile and legacy machines (I think).

    Given that, I thought the game would look dreadful (even though Tom Francis admired the current style).

  7. Dozer says:

    “Love maker Eskil Steenberg”