Observatory is a variety pack for VR headsets. It includes three games and a music video: Procedural downhill racing, spacejet-horror with microscopic submarines, island-puzzling with physics-based creatures, and a trippy official music video for a song by Icky Blossoms.
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Release Date:
May 12, 2016

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Early Access Game

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Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“Hey hey, I'm Eli and I'm the game/project/programming lead for Observatory.

When we bring an art contractor onto the project, I pay them mostly with money I made from previous games (so far there are four art folks: Cindy Raggo for The Island, Alex Myers for Phantasmagoria, Thomas Guillon for Hamster Slide, and we got some freebie concept art from Michael Kingery for Antibody). I've been working on games for a long time, and this is easily the most expensive project I've ever worked on - honestly, it's the most expensive single thing that I've ever paid for.

So I need to make enough money to pay for the rest of the art that the game requires. We considered doing a crowdfunding campaign, but we're more comfortable selling a game that's already in a functional state. Because of this, we decided to hold off until we had a solid amount of content, then start doing preorder-beta-access to fund the rest of development. I think this is our clearest path to a large amount of quality artwork.

Now...I've heard lots of complaints about Early Access.

We're trying to be as fair as possible by only selling content that's properly polished and cohesive. For example, our racing game wasn't substantial enough for sale until it had working high scores and automatic replay sharing for its randomly generated tracks.

That being said, two out of the four items in the pack are still basically prototypes, so they're not available by default, but we're also including an opt-in beta for people who are curious and want to see them anyway. These are games that function at a basic level but don't offer much to do.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“About a year, if all goes to plan.

...But then, it's game dev, so I don't actually know. Sorry.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“We aim to maintain a high level of polish at every stage of Early Access, all the way through to release. We'll be including an extra opt-in beta with content that's not ready for primetime, but this is only for the extra curious (or impatient).

Here's what's still missing from the different items:


This one is already finished.

Hamster Slide

This is already a functional racing game with a unique play style, and racing against other people's replays is fun, but it needs a metagame (like a feature-unlocking system) before it'll be complete. We'd also like to gradually add more variation to the track generator - one aspect of this is getting more art assets, but the track generator could also use some other added features, like huge jumps over gaps and tracks that split and rejoin.


This one's still a prototype, so it's currently only available if you opt in. The prototype is a single randomized level which shows the game's core gameplay loop (scouting, reinforcements, dogfight). The final game will be a series of levels with a growing set of weapons and enemies and a bit of a storyline involving your character and the sentient ship they fly. There's also still a long way to go in terms of making it as tense and scary as it's supposed to be.

The Island

This game is also still an opt-in prototype. It shows an island setting with one physics-enabled giant crab wandering around (he's nearby to the right when you first spawn). There are no puzzles to solve yet and various bits and bobs are just plain broken (like the water, which looks watery but doesn't do anything, meaning you can walk around on the ocean floor, where there are no decorative objects). The final game will have a sequence of puzzles to solve by interacting with various animals (like a swarm of bugs and a rhino-monster).

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“There are four items, and they are all in different states.

Phantasmagoria (music video): Complete

Hamster Slide (procedural racer): Beta

Antibody (spacejet horror): Prototype

The Island (animal puzzler): Prototype

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“We're starting Early Access at a discounted price. It will gradually approach the release price as we get closer to a complete feature set.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“We love talking to people who are playing our games, and we take player feedback extra seriously. We won't put in every feature that people ask for, but we'll consider everyone's complaints about what's missing or what's included.”
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About This Game

Observatory is a four-pack of VR content for the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and potentially other headsets later on. It includes three games and a music video - but we're halfway through a (hopefully) two-year development cycle, so all of the items in the pack are in different stages of development. Two have been cleaned up to be suitable for launch, and these are accessible by default ("Phantasmagoria" and "Hamster Slide"). The other two are only available if you're curious enough to opt in, as they are significantly less developed. These will be added to the default branch over time. (More info above, in the Early Access section)

Our overall intent is to test out some different in-game uses of VR headsets by making small-but-still-substantial experiences with as much variation between them as we can:

  • A musical trip through space
  • A procedurally generated downhill racer
  • A microscopic spacejet-horror game
  • An animal-based island puzzler
  • The pack will also include a (short) eBook which provides some extra backstory (the pack's overall narrative is related to our previous game, Not the Robots, and to our older Flash games) - if that's your kind of thing

Status: Complete

Vertigo: Medium

"Phantasmagoria" is a song by Icky Blossoms from their latest album Mask (Saddle Creek Records). We made the official music video by taking a description of a trippy space-traveling sequence that the band wrote and approximating it into a realtime cutscene. A 360-panorama version of Phantasmagoria will also be available for free, but we earnestly recommend the real-time version if you have a headset. The free demo for Observatory contains the music video in full!

"Trust me, it's worth the journey." - Ben Kuchera, Polygon

"The bold, creative revelations of MTV's yesteryear are clearly being reborn in VR by folks like 2DArray. Amazing work!" - Job J Stauffer, Telltale Games


Status: Beta

Vertigo: Spicy

"Hamster Slide" is a downhill racing game where you generally try to spend as much time as possible in the air. A combination of in-air boosting and gliding lets you skip huge sections of tracks (like on a certain road that is also a rainbow) - as long as you can still hit all of the checkpoints. A new track is procedurally generated every day, and today's race always has live high scores with automatic replay sharing - so even though it's not live multiplayer, you can still see other real players racing by.


Status: Prototype

Vertigo: Medium

"Antibody" is a spooky spacejet-style game about microscopic submarines acting as medicine. At the beginning of each round, the player acts as a scout by quietly sneaking around an infected area and identifying as many threats as possible. When the reinforcements arrive, the player is given more friendlies if they spotted more targets - and everyone gets into an asymmetrical dogfight.


Status: Prototype

Vertigo: Mild

"The Island" is a puzzle game (you guessed it - on an island) that's focused on interactions with strange physics-based animals. It has two primary goals: First, to be a short-but-satisfying sequence of puzzles, and second, to be a pleasant setting for relaxation and sandboxing.


We haven't designed the currently-available games for motion controllers, because our main focus has been on on the headset itself. Over time, we will be adding support for motion controllers for certain parts of the pack, but we'll be avoiding motion input in places where it isn't adding something special. Specifically, The Island stands out as having great potential for motion controls, because it focuses on close-up interactions. The other games will support the wand controllers for convenience, but most likely won't depend on motion input for gameplay.

So far, we've been designing the games to work with a standard gamepad, but if you somehow have a headset and not a controller, the keyboard and mouse will also work. Everything in the pack will also work on a normal screen.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP SP2 or later
    • Processor: Intel i5-4200M (or equivalent)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Geforce GT 730M (or equivalent)
    • Storage: 1500 MB available space
    • VR Support: SteamVR
    • Additional Notes: This setup will run the games at low settings, WITHOUT a headset
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: Intel i5-4590 (or equivalent)
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Geforce GTX 970 (or equivalent)
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 1500 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: This setup will run the games in good quality on an Oculus Rift (and max quality without a headset)
    • OS: Mac OS 10.8 or later
    • Processor: Intel i5 4200M (or equivalent)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: A discrete card (not integrated graphics) that came with a 2013-or-later Mac
    • Storage: 1500 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: This setup will play the games on a standard monitor. We're including VR support for Macs...but proceed at your own risk - it may require an unreasonably powerful machine. We will update the recommended spec based on reports from users.

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