Looking back - Noxcorp
Hi Noxcrew Community
By the time you’re reading this I’ll be away enjoying the sights and sounds of beautiful Belfast!
But I did promise I’d give you a cheeky behind the scenes this week, so please enjoy this personal look back in time to the project that never was, Noxcorp, and how it’s failure helped Noxcrew grow into the team we are today.
See you next week!
Sometimes, when looking forward to the future and your next big project, it’s nice to look back. Back at all the steps that led you to this moment. For us, that means looking back at the projects that helped us get to where we are now.
We worked on dozens of lesser known maps and machinimas before The Noxcrew Gameshow, Jeoffrey’s Chamber and Terra Swoop Force, some of which never saw the light of day, yet still helped us to grow and develop as a team.
These included maps like Paladin’s Quest, the very first Noxcrew map which taught us the importance of pacing, our first foray into machinima with Fable Hunters, which helped to build our organisational skills and the project that never was: Noxcorp.
Noxcorp is particularly close to my heart, being one of the first projects I helped to develop after joining the team and it taught me a lot about the Noxcrew vision. Even though it never really got off the ground, it helped me get a better sense of who we were as a team of creators and what we thought was important when creating worlds and stories. So let me open a portal back to 2014 when we were still figuring it all out and show you why I think a project that never happened was still an important step in the Noxcrew journey.
For the newer fans among you, a brief introduction. Noxcorp was created as a spiritual successor to our 'Noxpocalpyse' machinima series which saw Noxite, Shronkey and Roho try to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, all the while trying to figure out how they got there. (If you haven’t watched it you really should)
In the series, the boys would flashback to Noxopolis, a major city linked to their past, where shenanigans were usually afoot such as random bank heists or wild nights out. Looking at this madness, we wanted to explore what this city would have been like before the end of the world and what the rest of the Noxcrew team were doing before the boys blew everything away.
So we developed Noxcorp which was pitched as a machinima series following the crazy antics of the Noxcrew Production Company as they created hit TV shows and desperately tried to break into films.
The scripts revolved around the Noxcrew team playing exaggerated versions of themselves in the Noxcorp offices, generally trying to pull off some sort of shady antics and paying the price. There was even a script where Noxite nearly got sacrificed to himself by prospective builders hoping to join the crew, thanks to Noxcorp’s hiring policies (Our strange sense of humour never changes)
Using this format and these dramatic versions of ourselves, we hoped to promote the people behind the Noxcrew name. It would have also given us a place to create and tell silly stories either based on funny events that had happened to the crew, random scripts we wanted to create or to comment on stuff that was happening in the wider community at the time.
We’ve always been a team that likes to have fun, make jokes and tease each other, so to try and create a project that channelled that bond of teasing friendship was exciting but also quite difficult. We found it tricky to find a balance between in-jokes that Noxcrew fans would get and stories that people beyond the Noxcrew community would appreciate. Trying to balance these creative extremes eventually killed the project, as we realised that we’d focused so heavily on poking fun at our past, that we hadn’t considered what it would look like to an outsider, killing any future the project had.
However, this struggle taught us a valuable lesson about considering your audience. While Noxcrew creates projects that we personally find exciting as players and creators, we now spend a lot of time considering how our projects will be received by wider audiences, from casual gamers to hardcore players. Unlike we did with Noxcorp, we now strive to ensure that our stories are clear, our writing succinct and that everyone can have a good time, not just a select few who know all the references.
Despite the difficulties we had with creating Noxcorp as a vessel for telling stories, the building side of things was far more successful, both in terms of the building the project and the lessons we learned while developing it.
Noxcorp, in comparison to earlier projects, had a far more relaxed and organic approach to world-building
. In previous projects, like Gameshow and Paladin’s Quest, builds had needed to maintain a single architectural style to create a consistent tone to the world, be it the whimsical fantasy of Paladin’s Quest or the anarchic primary colour scheme of Gameshow. In Noxcorp, because we were creating a city, so long as the colours and block textures remained relatively consistent, we were free to experiment and create buildings that we found interesting aesthetically.
This gave the team a lot of creative freedom to develop new building techniques and practice different architectural styles that wouldn’t have fit into other projects, all while developing a world that felt lived in. This had the added bonus of creating areas that could be incorporated into scripts later down the line, like a modernist nightclub where the Noxcrew spends far too much money on chickens. Living chickens (Maybe that's why we hired The Butcher?)
It was this creative freedom that helped us develop beyond the exaggerated fantasy style we had cultivated in earlier maps and move on to a slightly more realistic style while still maintaining that spark of absurdity that you can see in our maps today! We also adopted this slightly more relaxed approach to building, allowing us to develop far more complex and structurally interesting worlds, like City Living and Adventurer’s Dream, where worlds are a culmination of varying aesthetic styles, all bound together by colours and textures, rather than repeating designs or building techniques.
An interesting world fact for you to show off how ingrained Noxcrew history was in the project, there were actually two Noxcorp offices in Noxopolis. One was built in 2014 where we planned to film the machinima. The other was one of the first Noxcrew builds ever created and contained self-built offices from nearly every creator who ever worked for us, even the ones who had joined in 2011 when Noxcrew began!
Though it was never going to be used in any of the stories, we left the tower and the offices intact as a monument to our past and the friends we made along the way. By doing this we hoped to further implement the sense of family we wanted to create in the stories and the world of Noxcorp, as well as show the shifting styles in Noxcrew’s builds, building on the past to develop the present.
However, this passion and sense of community couldn’t save the series and, like many of our projects back then, Noxcorp fell to the wayside in favour of other things and would never be completed.
However, it's interesting to look back and see how far we’ve come.
We’ve grown from a group of friends, creating crazy things for our own amusement, to a team who strives to create the most interesting and exciting projects we can, while still retaining that anarchic sense of humour that brought us all together in the first place.
Five years later we’re still learning and developing as a team but thanks to projects like Noxcorp, in the early days, we were able to lay down the foundations and crystallise the ideas that makes us who we are today - The drive to create exciting projects, the openness to develop new ideas and an awareness of our audience to ensure that everyone has fun.
Looking back at the past, even when things didn't work out, is an important part of developing as a person and as a creator. It allows to you look back at the mistakes you made and give you the chance to learn, to move forward onto your next big adventure.
Cause you just never know what’s coming next!