We’re excited to announce Update 0.3.0, which includes 3 big changes:
1. Time Trials
We’ve had many requests for a time trial feature to be added, so here it is!
The time trial feature will unlock after you've successfully completed all 15 levels of the Early Access edition.
Your score is the total amount of time spent playing through all 15 levels (including any deaths or restarts), and your ranking will be displayed on the Global Leaderboard.
2. Better climbing controls
We’ve adjusted the climbing physics and animation to give you more control at the top of the climb (rather than getting automatically pushed forward). Transitioning from climbing to moving is now much more fluid.
(The change in player control has caused small animation problems for the Echo climbing - but they are next on the list.)
There are 3 types of achievements:
Level Achievements: These are earned after each level that you complete.
Perfect Run Achievements: These are earned for a completing a series of levels without having to restart the level (due to dying, time expiring, or giving up).
Time Trial Achievements: These are earned for completing levels within the allotted time.
The achievements TO BE CONTINUED and BENDING TIME are exclusive to Early Access.
- Fixed anti-aliasing - Edges should now be smooth
- Added an alert for missing video codec causing a black screen at game start - In order to play the FMV cut-scenes, ECHOPLEX requires an .H264 video codec that is not included on some Windows editions. If you are missing this codec, an alert will now prompt you download the Microsoft Media Feature Pack, which includes the codec. The alert provides a free download link from the Microsoft website.
**Please note: The Premonition Update makes fundamental changes to the way ECHOPLEX works, so any existing game progress will be lost. We’re working hard to improve the gameplay experience based on your feedback - and this type of update is a reality of Early Access development. Thank you for hanging in there while we make the game better!**
The first major update to ECHOPLEX is live... And it's a game changer.
The Premonition Update (previously known as the Timeline Update) introduces two new features to ECHOPLEX Early Access: Premonition and Timelines.
When we first launched ECHOPLEX Early Access, many players requested a way to explore the puzzles and the environment without the pressure of the Echo following.
This is where Premonition comes in. When you activate Premonition, time freezes. This allows you to explore the environment, moving through any area that is already unlocked, while your Echo (or Echoes) stay frozen in place. When you exit Premonition, time unfreezes and the chase is on again. You can enter and exit Premonition by pressing TAB, and there are no limits to using it.
"Premonition" allows you to freeze time so you can explore the puzzles without the Echo following you
Timelines make the game more strategic
The second new feature introduced in the Premonition update is Timelines. When we first released ECHOPLEX Early Access, some players told us that they were completing levels by simply running blindly until they unlocked the puzzles by luck. We’ve spent a lot of time designing the puzzles, and we want to make sure you get a sense of accomplishment when you solve them.
So in this update, we’ve added a time limit to each level and a lifespan to each Echo. These time limits are customized specifically to each puzzle - so you’ll really have to think about how to complete the level using the seconds you have available. (And remember: if you want to freeze time and think for a bit, you can enter Premonition at any point!).
The Timelines show how much time you and your Echoes have in the level
You’ll see two sets of timelines on screen. On the left is your main timeline, showing you how much time you have in the level. Switches you activate are marked as colored lines. The white triangle indicates when your Echo will enter the level.
On the right hand side of the screen, you’ll see the Echo timeline. It shows how long your Echo’s lifespan is, and also records which switches it has crossed.
When your Echo’s timeline runs out, it disappears from the level. When your timeline runs out, the level resets, and you’ll find yourself back in the test chamber.
Premonition lets you to see the game from new angles
Try it out for yourself
Please give the new update a try and let us know what you think. We’ve also redesigned some of the levels for better flow and puzzle work - so playing the game will be quite a different experience now.
Your feedback so far has helped us take ECHOPLEX in directions we didn’t expect and we’re really loving it! So thanks again, and we’re looking forward to your feedback on the Premonition update…
The first update to ECHOPLEX Early Access will introduce Echo expiry
We’re a few days into the release of ECHOPLEX Early Access, and we’ve gotten some great feedback from the community - thank you!
A criticism we’re hearing often is that many levels can be completed by simply running around blindly.
The reason is that your Echo follows you indefinitely - if you keep moving, you can pretty much stay ahead of him forever. If you keep going in and out of doors and switches randomly, chances are you’ll eventually stumble upon a sequence that completes the puzzle - without really knowing why.
This is obviously not fun, and has no real sense of accomplishment - so we want to fix it!
The Timeline Update seeks to solve the “running blindly” problem by introducing a lifespan for each Echo.
Each Echo’s lifespan will be different, depending on the puzzle. You’ll only have a short amount of time to use that Echo - and if you haven’t figured out the puzzle by the time the Echo expires, you’ll have to restart the level.
We’re introducing a new graphic on the side of the screen (see above) that will show you how much time you have left with each Echo. We’re also experimenting with indicators that will show when an Echo crosses through a switch.
We believe that the Timeline Update will make ECHOPLEX a different (and better) game, and we’re looking forward to hearing what you think.
As we prepare to launch ECHOPLEX Early Access, game director Tyron Janse van Vuuren shares the journey so far...
ECHOPLEX started as a short film idea. My background is in filmmaking and I had never made a game before - but as I worked on the concept, I realized it would be much more interesting as an interactive experience.
I teamed up with programmer and art director Henk Scheepers, who I had worked with on corporate projects. We did not know each other well at the time, but I was impressed by his meticulous work and sense of aesthetics.
Henk Scheepers, lead developer on ECHOPLEX, working on the game demo
We created a simple browser-based version of the game in mid-2015. Our focus was to create an easy-to-use level editor for players to design their own levels. After we launched, we discovered that most people were interested in playing rather than designing - but the “echo” concept definitely hooked them in.
The browser-based ECHOPLEX prototype
The next step was to move the game off the browser and make a desktop demo with more visual detail. (Players of the browser game would often comment that they got disorientated in the levels because of the visual minimalism.)
Henk and I were both still working full time jobs, so ECHOPLEX development happened in the early mornings and over the weekend. We worked with our colleague Ronnie Wong Ho Hip, to develop the Echo character model and animation.
After 3 days of watching people queuing to play the game, and bringing their friends back to try it, we realized we had something worth pursuing.
Players at the ECHOPLEX booth at rAge 2016
I knew that it would take full time focus to take the game to the next level - and to do that we needed funding. I made a pitch video for the game, intending to apply to organizations like Indiefund. But before I could do that, my friend (and previous employer) Shayne Mann called me and said: “Tell me about this game.”
Shayne invested in the production and helped us make the leap to working on the project full time. This was the turning point for ECHOPLEX.
Henk and I both moved from Johannesburg to Durban to work on the ECHOPLEX (Durban is cheaper and has the ocean!). In the space of 4 months, we rebuilt the game from the ground up, developing it into a more multidimensional, story-driven experience.
Actor Aaron Teng on set with DOP Travis van Staden and director Tyron Janse van Vuuren
Filming close ups for the protest scenes
Actress Robyn Davie and director Tyron Janse van Vuuren on set
Many players of the demo asked for an ECHOPLEX story, so we developed a non-linear narrative that is revealed piece by piece in the game. I filmed the “memory fragments” very simply, working with family and friends as actors in a tiny green screen studio.
And with Ronnie’s supervision of the visual effects, our little production ended up looking much higher budget than it is!
As the project developed, our team grew. Revin Goff came on board as the game’s composer. I first heard Revin's work on Soundcloud, and I was hooked. His sounds draw you in and keep surprising you - just what our game needed. Revin is based in Galway, Ireland - so he and I worked on the score almost entirely via WhatsApp.
Revin developed a relentless, mesmerizing theme that came to define the game.
We’ve also been lucky to work with two great companies: indie game PR agency Novy Unlimited, and Chinese Publisher indienova. Both companies have brought a wealth experience, expertise and creativity to the project that has taken us to the next level.