Echoplex 回音倒影 | Cyberhorror Puzzle Game

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Available now on Steam Early Access for Windows and Mac

ECHOPLEX is a cyberhorror puzzle game set in a chilling near-future.

In the Echoplex, you are followed by an “Echo” -- a duplicate of yourself who repeats everything you do. Faced with a series of puzzles, your goal is to outwit your Echo using strategy and cunning — and retrieve memory fragments that hold the secret to who you are...

ECHOPLEX combines minimalist graphics with live action footage to create an immersive and chilling story world.

  • Solve unusual spatial puzzles anchored by an innovative Echo gameplay mechanic.
  • Experience the story through puzzle-solving and live-action video clips shot by an indie film director.
  • Explore intriguing, minimalist environments.
  • Enjoy an abstract soundscape augmented by a “cyber-horror” score composed by Revin Goff.
  • Play under intense time pressure as your Echo draws near...

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ECHOPLEX is developed by South African indie studio Output Games

EchoplexGame.com
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Thanked by 2konman mattbenic

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    Our experiments with CMYK colors and global illumination - interesting…

    Sometimes it looks really pretty (yellow light in a cyan corridor), other times it’s a bit “edgy” for my tastes (magenta light in a yellow corridor, which makes a mustard/peach weirdness).

    But with some tweaking of levels and intensity, I think we can get it to work.

    And then we can study the psychological impact of being trapped in a candy colored labyrinth, haha…

  • Hey, welcome! I played the prototype a bit and I like the idea. What are your plans with the game? It seems like you have some quite extensive plans in store...

    I'm wondering what your plans are for future game and level design? I saw some of the variation you have with the locked-door mechanic, and it seems really cool, but I also wonder how many levels you could design around that mechanic as-is without it getting stale. It feels like the "echo" following you could be explored a bit more by highlighting the ways in which it differs from a simple timer mechanic and other ways of interacting with that. Maybe you can slow down or speed up the echo? Maybe you could have the echo interact differently with some objects? What if you get somehow get the echo and your path out of sync (moving platforms?) for a bit so you can get away or do something interesting?
    Thanked by 1pieter
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    Setting priorities as a dev

    Pretty sneaky trap…

    Yesterday Henk and I were discussing what we should focus on next.

    Our first priority list looked like this:

    1. Add ceiling lights that flicker when the Echo (the antagonist) approaches
    2. Work on the reflectivity of the floor
    3. Get the illumination inside the door frames right

    REALITY CHECK TO SELF: We’re building an alpha. In our spare time. There’s only two of us. Reflective floors can fuckin wait.

    We need to focus on one thing: fundamentals that make the game sticky. That’s all.

    Get the basics right. Find out if anyone gives a damn. Then, sure, tweak aesthetics.

    That stuff matters, but not as much as engaged users.

    So our revised priority list is:

    1. Add only game-critical elements to the new look and feel
    2. Create a simpler, more intuitive level editor
    3. Create a badge/ranking system that rewards users for interaction

    Priorities dude.

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    Thanked by 1garethf
  • I like the turn your post took. I went from :/ to :). I think focussing on making the game sticky is a good approach. It feels to me like you could do this more quickly by working on the game design instead of the level editor or rewards system. In other words, I think focus on your revised point 1 and expand on that until it's somewhat sticky by itself, then look at adding the other stuff :)
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    Why do I have to register to play?

    If your aim is for feedback. This barrier to entry will reduce the amount of people to play and give feedback.
  • @francoisvn thanks so much for the great feedback! those are really good points and ideas. our plans are to make the game a creative platform as far as possible, so that users can design and share their own levels. After getting some more feedback, its clear that an initial "story mode" would be helpful to learn the game mechanics. There's a lot to do, haha...

    I love your moving platform idea, we definitely want to add more elements like that as we develop the game, to keep things interesting. :)
  • Is you goal with the project to make a creative platform, or is that something you see as a means to an end? If it's the former, that's cool, then I think you should probably put a fair bit of focus on the level editor, maybe even incorporating it directly into the game (I haven't tried to the level editor yet), but if your eventual goal is to engage with the biggest audience or make the most revenue from the project, then that might not be the best route to that (not saying that's your eventual goal or that it isn't a viable route, but I am skeptical).
  • SUGBOERIE said:
    Why do I have to register to play?

    If your aim is for feedback. This barrier to entry will reduce the amount of people to play and give feedback.
    Hey @sugboerie, yeah people have asked that, clearly it is a bit of a barrier. The registration was actually there for the level building side, where we need to keep track of an author's levels so that he/she can log in again to edit them. Not ideal, but we'll streamline as we go... thanks for the feedback :)


  • Is you goal with the project to make a creative platform, or is that something you see as a means to an end? If it's the former, that's cool, then I think you should probably put a fair bit of focus on the level editor, maybe even incorporating it directly into the game (I haven't tried to the level editor yet), but if your eventual goal is to engage with the biggest audience or make the most revenue from the project, then that might not be the best route to that (not saying that's your eventual goal or that it isn't a viable route, but I am skeptical).
    @francoisvn At this point I'm just interested to see where it goes. It's kinda an experiment to see what people would do with the idea, I wanted to try something different than just releasing static content. So who knows? You may be right to be skeptical, but it'll be fun to find out... ;)

  • Cool cool. Sounds like a good plan. Note my skepticism is only that focussing on the level editor and those more "meta" things might not be the best route to financial success (or necessarily a more sticky game, but that's more complicated), but if you're enjoying working on them or players are asking for it, then I say go for it :)
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    Damn! The aesthetics are really eye catching. Is that image at the start of the original post from in-game? (It looks like it has a few more effects on it than the other screenshots, though I reckon you should be able to achieve that).

    I haven't registered. Though I do want to check this out. The concepts on display in the video seem interesting, and I'd expect that this game could give players a terrible panicking feeling (which as I understand it, is your intention).

    I'd imagine this aesthetic could lend itself to a lot of mechanics. I assume you've played Antichamber (which visually is the game that most looks like this). And Unfinished Swan uses stark blacks and whites to great effect. I guess my feedback here is non-euclidean puzzles excite me, and I'd guess that Antichamber with a level editor is kind of sticky.
  • I'd like to make a suggestion while the game is still flexible enough! And it's a rather fundamental shift, but if you are willing to swap out fear intensity for broader puzzle building, you can turn the echo from a threat into a pure tool. Selectively empowering the player to hold down "X" and "wind it in" bits at a time (or all at once) could expand the depth and thought of puzzles you throw at players (which would be otherwise be too overwhelming to include in a real-time way).

    It may give you more mileage out of building fewer game elements and helping you streamline further, because the building space around them increases, so to speak.

    I'm looking forward to seeing this game develop more. I really like how the aesthetics are coming along too, a shame you didn't get to enter this in Competition G ;)
    Thanked by 1francoisvn
  • @EvanGreenwood wow thanks man! "Antichamber with a level editor" doesn't sound too bad to me. ;) I found both games you mention to be very inspiring.

    That first image is not from in-game yet - it's a Blender render (that took 30mins to render, haha). But our goal is that the game looks something like that by the time we get to beta.

    We're working on removing the login for the player side of the prototype, just so trying it out is less of a hassle, I'll let you know..
  • @nandrew Great ideas! smart people on this site, jeez. :) That "wind in" idea is super interesting. We've talked about ways to slow the echo down or "pause" him (like a gun that has a pause ray ha), but the idea you could essentially "call" him is quite fascinating...

    Don't know what competition G is? Soz, just found make games SA...
  • Competition G is this thing that happened during March. The next one is scheduled for June :)

    Also adding my voice that I'd like to see @Nandrew's winding up idea, it sounds quite promising
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    @EvanGreenwood @SUGBOERIE we've removed the log in to play the prototype :) http://echoplex.co
    Thanked by 1mattbenic


  • We're experimenting with portal rendering on the doorways so that the Echoplex can form impossible shapes - the weird lighting effect on the floor is being caused by an occlusion problem that we have now fixed.

    I also dropped a soundscape under the video to give a sense of atmosphere - pretty rad!

    (Music: "Behaviour statistics" by Salakapakka Sound System (http://ikuinen-kaamos.blogspot.com))
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    Feedback we're often hearing is to add narrative to Echoplex - this is something we're now working on.

    We're still keeping the level design feature, just with a simpler social system than the BADGES! RANKING! GLORY! we had planned.

    So above is the beginnings of our new design for the level editor - one that is simpler and more intuitive.

    This is our first step towards a grid system that will allow designers to do all tasks in one screen.

    This also makes it easier for us to design levels for story mode. :)


  • Our second test using portal rendering on the doors of the Echoplex.

    Portals allow us to form "impossible" architecture - doors will lead to different rooms depending which way you go through them.

    The portal is in the center of the doorframe, so right now it is causing some pretty funky color combinations - we're sorting this out.

    This is the asset we're using, which seems to be very well supported: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/45383
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
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    Whoa! The portal rendering looks great! It's definitely giving an Antichamber feeling. I'm going to check this out when I have moment!

    Thanks for sharing that portal rendering Unity asset!

    btw, regarding the rendered Blender image. There are a few Unity packages that do Screen Space Raycast Reflections that might help getting that glossy floor look. Although I'm not sure if any of them will play nice with portals, and they all require DX 11 I believe, and Unity changed something in 5.2 that broke them (though I suspect Unity has fixed this now). But SSRR would brilliant in this game! (if you got it to work).
  • Our friend Tony Manfredonia has created an awesome dark soundscape for Echoplex, you can listen here:

    https://archive.org/details/ManfredoniaCybertronicSoundscape

    Tony has kindly released the track on Creative Commons - for the level builder side of Echoplex, we will rely on CC submissions so that users can add music to their levels.

    Check out Tony's portfolio here, he also does some beautiful neo-classical stuff:

    http://www.manfredoniamusic.com/
  • btw, regarding the rendered Blender image. There are a few Unity packages that do Screen Space Raycast Reflections that might help getting that glossy floor look. Although I'm not sure if any of them will play nice with portals, and they all require DX 11 I believe, and Unity changed something in 5.2 that broke them (though I suspect Unity has fixed this now). But SSRR would brilliant in this game! (if you got it to work).
    Thanks for the pointers Evan! We're kinda learning unity as we go, so that's super helpful.

    Yeah, it's been tricky to get things like reflections to work when you look through a portal, but we'll get there...

    :)





  • Streamlining our level editor.

    Cool problem to solve: Let the user create a corridor of any shape without allowing the corridor to be more than one module wide..
  • Drake dad-dancing in the Echoplex...

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  • Space Invaders? Nope, its the newest feature of our level editor. We can now add corridors of different colors to the Echoplex.

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  • Our level editor needed a little algorithm to prevent designers from deleting a module that would break the grid system - this is a (slowed down) visualization showing the "flood" system that Henk developed to solve the problem. Purdy.
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    Developing our level editor - any doors can now be connected, even if they are in the same corridor.

    It looks like the level editor will only be for us at this stage. All feedback we're hearing says the same thing: we should focus our time and resources on building an introductory "story mode" - user-designed levels are for later on once people have an emotional connection to the game. :)
  • Have a good level editor to use internally can make all the difference, but at the end of the day it's no substitute for actually creating some content and testing it on players :)
    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
  • @francoisvn agreed! Once the editor is done, it's all about the story and level content... :)
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    In the Echoplex, you're followed by an "echo" of yourself, who you must outwit to win.

    This is our first concept art for the Echo character. I want the Echo to be almost anonymous (as he/she is supposed to be the player).

    I like the full body coverage, and the outfit suits the experimental environment. Having done this visualization, I think we may leave the eyes in shadow...

    What do you think?
  • Hey guys just want to say that your game looks really cool and interesting. It is certainly something different to what you normally see. I do hope that development goes well and that your game will find release and success in the Future.

    The Character Concept art works really well in my opinions since it has a bit of an uncanny feel to it which I think would work nicely with your strange and wonderful game. Go Wild!
  • @mkShogun96 thanks bruv! Come say hello in the homecoded section at rAge, if you're around :)

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    Ronnie experimenting with the first low-poly models of the Echo - one with a kind of radiation suit and the other a creepy Easter Island face...
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    Progress with the Echo model and rigging - good work @CrimsonZA
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    I did have moments of pretty intense anxiety when playing this. Not at Slender Man levels of anxiety, but it was never pleasant feeling the echo approach me.

    btw. I can't beat the "Momento" level. I really just can't see how I can have the cyan door open when the time it takes me to get to the door is shorter than the time difference between me and the echo. (And I can't seem to delay the echo with the yellow door).

    I really like the atmosphere, with the rain sounds etc. It feels like a strangely asian future laboratory. The audio feels like it takes a page out of Antichamber's book and the work Robyn Arnott did there.

    I would like more story telling (maybe a sense of something woven between the levels). There is already a lot of hints at a world, like the echo, and the symbols. I'd like to know a little more about who I am and what my goal is (presumably to escape). I do love the way the world is currently only hinted at, and hinted at cryptically, often using Japanese alphabet. I'm not saying I want a backstory spelled out to me, but I would like some of the mystery to be gradually revealed (while new mysteries present themselves).

    Obviously the Portal story of escaping a laboratory works well here. I can imagine this already being some sort of temporal experimentation lab, and the echo being a mechanism for hunting down the escapee. Or even just there as some sort of future security system that uses temporal doubling technology to protect it's centre. Again, I don't really want these things spelled out to me, but I do think you've got the beginnings of some fascinating world building here, and I think if this is left as just a series of numbered levels you'd be missing an additional avenue of engaging the player (that of narrative mystery).

    Also questions like: "Who is the echo?" and "Am I the echo, and was this path always inevitable?" and then "Where am I headed, and is that place less terrible than where I cam from?".

    I think there's a pretty good overlap between lovers of first person puzzlers and lovers mystery experiences in video games. It's an audience that Portal created, but one that games like The Talos Principle, Gone Home and The Witness continue to serve.

    I'm just posting this trailer here because I fricken love the sound design. It's great even to listen to without watching the visuals.

  • I would like more story telling (maybe a sense of something woven between the levels). There is already a lot of hints at a world, like the echo, and the symbols.
    Thanks for the feedback dude! Your point about story telling is super important I think. And like you have suggested, we want to hint at a story rather than spelling one out - like enough for players to develop competing theories. Well that's the dream anyway. :)
  • btw. I can't beat the "Momento" level. I really just can't see how I can have the cyan door open when the time it takes me to get to the door is shorter than the time difference between me and the echo. (And I can't seem to delay the echo with the yellow door).
    Most people struggled with this level, I think we need bridging levels before this one to better explain one of the Echo mechanics: if he hits a locked door, he goes back where he came from, doing the same path in reverse. (In later releases, I think it would help if we actually reverse the animation as well).

    So the solution is to run straight to the yellow room, step just inside the door, then reverse back out and lock the door. When the Echo tries to repeat what you've done, he hits the locked door, which means he goes back along his path to the beginning, which gives you enough time to get to the cyan door. :)

  • I'm curious, does the player see their echo walking backwards after it hits a locked door? I haven't played the level, I kinda presume that you're either busy running away from it, or that you'll be on the other side of this locked door, so you can't see that happening?
  • @typhvs Ah, I thought that might be the case (regarding locking the echo out). I'd seen the echo get stuck behind a door before.

    What happened in my playthrough, was when I tried to lock the echo out, the echo appeared to walk straight through the door. The door obviously started closing just after the echo had crossed the threshold. It appeared to me that the echo could walk through doors, and so I gave up on that strategy. That's a tricky problem to solve, but like you suggest, maybe there's a way to teach that mechanic in a level where the solution is more fool-proof.

    Maybe a suggestion in that vein. It might be thematic to implement video cameras (like the monitors you could look though in half-life to check on your enemies). Having a closed-circuit video camera system enforces the theme of being in a facility where you yourself might be being watched. There might also be ways to do some story telling through what is on screens (like some screens might be watching future places within the Echoplex, in inaccessible areas that give some hint as to the nature of the place, or screens that are just playing Solitaire).

    Is it necessary that the echo travels back away from the door when it reaches a locked door? I ask this because I think if the echo stood staring at the door in front of it it might 1) appear more menacing than it sort of bugging out or 2) might be much clearer as to what is going on (as in it is obviously waiting for the door to open, this can't be assumed to be a glitch in the programming).

    If it is necessary that the echo travels back and forth following it's path between whatever obstacles block it, then maybe there is a way of indicating this state... like the echo is flickering or glitching out (so the player can see the echo is trapped)... Or maybe when the echo is traveling backwards along it's path it reverses it's animation (so it appears like an echo of you in reverse, rather than a person running back to where it started).

    Though personally I like the visual of the echo waiting in front of the door passively until it can chase you once more. Though that is more of the horror solution.
  • Tuism said:
    I'm curious, does the player see their echo walking backwards after it hits a locked door? I haven't played the level, I kinda presume that you're either busy running away from it, or that you'll be on the other side of this locked door, so you can't see that happening?
    Yes, we're working on the reverse animation actually - I think it will help explain the mechanic much better


  • It might be thematic to implement video cameras (like the monitors you could look though in half-life to check on your enemies). Having a closed-circuit video camera system enforces the theme of being in a facility where you yourself might be being watched. There might also be ways to do some story telling through what is on screens (like some screens might be watching future places within the Echoplex, in inaccessible areas that give some hint as to the nature of the place, or screens that are just playing Solitaire).
    Such a cool idea! Also some players have asked if there could be a map of the level that they could see before they start - the monitors could serve that purpose
  • If you're thinking of doing monitors... I really love the monitors and the way they interact in Routine. The game also uses them to place small bits of information that tell some of the backstory, like reading emails...

    I actually think reading emails from scientists/technicians etc isn't a great way of story telling. Obviously it can be used well, but it's not inherently suggestive. I think you can get a lot of information out of just an interface... like if on one monitor there is a diagram of a few corridors laid out, you can see you are within one of the corridors (based on the name for the puzzle told to you at the start), but one of the other corridors just has "QUARANTINED" written across it... or one of the inaccessible corridors is just called "INTERROGATION FACILITY". These are pretty blunt examples, but my point is there can be a lot of story telling done in just UI. And (like environmental story telling) story telling through UI is a lot more suggestive and encourages the player to figure out the story for themselves (which is a lot more engaging than being passively fed a story in chunks of story text).
  • I think you can get a lot of information out of just an interface... like if on one monitor there is a diagram of a few corridors laid out, you can see you are within one of the corridors (based on the name for the puzzle told to you at the start), but one of the other corridors just has "QUARANTINED" written across it... or one of the inaccessible corridors is just called "INTERROGATION FACILITY". These are pretty blunt examples, but my point is there can be a lot of story telling done in just UI. And (like environmental story telling) story telling through UI is a lot more suggestive and encourages the player to figure out the story for themselves (which is a lot more engaging than being passively fed a story in chunks of story text).
    I also love this angle because it's a lot easier to add content to a monitor than model, light and animate a bunch of elements! :) Really cool ideas, we'll investigate. Also, that trailer for Routine is hot.

  • edited
    This week we were lucky to get a LP of our demo from French Youtuber Squeezie. Not sure how he found us, but the video has almost 2M views now.


    This dramatically boosted our Greenlight campaign - we went from 30% to 70% overnight on Tuesday. Right now we're at 98%.

    So, merci Squeezie!

  • Congratulations! We had Squeezie (along with Cyprien) play Broforce during our Greenlight and it resulted in a fairly long lasting French following for our game. Hope it does the same for you!
  • @typhvs and @EvanGreenwood, I really like the idea of having CCTV cameras inside the Echoplex. I can already see how that kind of thing could help with clarifying what's happening in certain parts of the existing levels.

    For instance in Tiger Trap where the Echo gets trapped between the two doors. A monitor towards the end of the level showing the Echo "bouncing" between the two doors could help the player realise that they need to go free the Echo. Not sure if that would dampen the suspense though...

    I'm also thinking that might also influence the design/layout of the level. Seeing as the layout of Tiger Trap was heavily based on finding a way to show to the player that the Echo is stuck.
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    20 Days after launching on Greenlight, Echoplex has been Greenlit by the community.

    Thank you so much to each and every one of you who voted and shared the game!

    We can't wait to show you the next release - Sign up here to get notified of the Early Access

    - Tyron, Henk & Ronnie
  • Congrats!! :D
  • Yesterday we started filming live action sequences that will appear in the game as "memory fragments". It's going to be interesting to see how the flash frames work inside the game - I'm hoping its going to give us an unusual look and feel. More to come on this...

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    Thanked by 1EvanGreenwood
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