The official Indie DB page for Echo Lake (formerly 'Observatorium'): a single-player adventure game currently in development via Steam (PC) Early Access. Echo Lake was greenlit by the Steam community on 1st October 2015 and the alpha was released on 27th January 2017.

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Hello from the Capsule Three team to our Indie DB followers.

We can't believe it's been almost a year since we launched our Astronomer Alpha (1.0) in January.

During our last post, we discussed reasons for bringing the game to Early Access and highlighted possible next steps for the project. We're now ready to announce phase 2 of development...

Introducing Astronaut

We're happy to announce that Echo Lake has been upgraded [as of 14th December 2017] with the launch of our Astronaut Alpha (2.0). Here's our key marketing artwork:

YT Thumb 2

You can also check out the reveal trailer below:

Here, we introduce a new game mode - Astronaut - which provides a stark contrast to our debut release. For the rest of this post we'd like to discuss how we got here...

Astronomer Wrap-Up

Following our 1.0 launch, we spent a few months improving our puzzle interface, fixing various bugs and addressing player feedback. By the Summer of 2017, we decided to conclude this mode by adding in various story teasers in the form of collectable story pickups (photos and recordings) which tell part of the backstory of our game world:

1 1 2

For mode 2, we wanted to start sharing other gameplay ideas we'd been developing behind the scenes whilst pushing towards our final goal.

Astronaut Prototyping

During Autumn 2017, our coder/designer - Clive Lawrence - ramped up development on our second game mode. The aim of this mode was to start building our 2nd environment - space - whilst exploring new gameplay ideas and improving our existing rocket gameplay mechanics.

4 1

The idea to take Echo Lake into space has existed since the early days of the project and the original example can be seen in our Greenlight trailer; we've had rocket prototypes in the game for quite a while - including transformation between the rowboat and rocket - but since it had been untouched for some time it was worth revisiting things. At the code side of things, you can see [below] that the rocket fits neatly into our existing hierarchy of player-controllable objects (rocket is a subclass of vehicle and shares various bits of functionality with the rowboat):

1 2

To evolve things further, Clive began by building a procedural generator - using our endless background code as a base - placing various obstacles in various arrangements and then proceeded to retune the rocket. Whereas the rowboat is quite slow/relaxing, the rocket was tuned to be much faster/nimbler. Similarly, whilst Astronomer is quite linear and tunnel-like, Astronaut was designed to be quite open and expansive. Following this second pass of the handling, the rocket felt more fast/fun than before whilst still alluding to the lower gravity of space.

4 2

Clive then began to place constraints on the player such as draining oxygen, health and fuel - and associated pickups to replenish them – via a procedural gameplay class. Over time, objectives were added in the form of beacons and space transmissions the player has to locate using their radar. These are placeholder for now but pave the way for future additions and replacements.

Evolving the Art Style

Our 2D artist - Jonathan McEnroe - was tasked with exploring a new visual language for the space environment. Since the gameplay is very different to the previous mode, we wanted a palette that would contrast this dramatically whilst invoking a sense of danger in the process. The Astronomer palette uses calming/moonlit blue to wash over the lake and rocks with vibrant oranges providing a good contrast for the puzzle/gameplay elements; here's an example from Astronomer 1.0:

3 1

For Astronaut, rather than flipping the colours, we decided to push ahead with red as the base colour punctuated by glowing greens for the pickups. The red was tinged with a hint of pink to give it more depth and make it feel more fantasy-like; here's another example from Astronaut 2.0:

3 2

Jon also looked into producing obstacles and pickups for our game world. The obstacles are lit by the environment light but balanced w.r.t. brightness to ensure they stand out from the procedural background. The pickups contain a diffuse [light-able] portion and a glowing [full-bright] portion to ensure that they stand out from the environment more clearly than the obstacles.

4 3

Redesigning the Rocket

Whilst we were busy prototyping gameplay and artwork, our animator/artist - Peter Satera - began to explore the redesign of our ship. The rocket was always designed to be close visually in shape to the boat. Although we liked our v1 design, we felt that we could push things even further. Peter began by sketching some ideas for new designs:

2 1

This was our initial batch showcasing various shapes and details. For our final design, we wanted a look that captured the shape of the rowboat and Kit's personality whilst ensuring that it would fit well with our 1970s setting. We decided to go for a hybrid of 2 and 7. When it came to colouring, Peter brought in some red wings and yellow lights to echo Kit's earthy/fiery palette whilst going for a more standard off-white chassis for the main hull:

2 2

Once we were happy with the revised design, Peter pushed ahead with thruster animations - one forward flame for acceleration and two side flames for turning - and recorded some audio to suit.

Bringing Everything Together

With the gameplay and artwork in a good place, Peter began exploring sounds for the pickups and music. Our pickup sound effects were designed to sound positive/reassuring with green pickups (related to player survival) giving off a different sound from blue pickups (related to gameplay objectives). For the backing soundtrack, Peter decided to allude to the vastness of space with a cinematic/action-like score that mirrors our game theme whilst providing a stark contrast to our cosy ambience from mode 1. Meanwhile, Clive made progress with expanding the procedural generator and gameplay code whilst Jon helped out with some marketing assets - including the teaser image below (which borrows from our initial designs above):

5 1

With everything in place, we set our sights on bringing Astronaut to the public for feedback.

Conclusion

We're excited to be expanding Echo Lake and enthusiastic about developing additions and improvements. If you'd like to follow our game or check the current state of development, visit our store page:

Store.steampowered.com

Stay tuned for additional IDB articles and Steam updates in 2018 as we expand the gameplay and world of Echo Lake further and head towards our final release.

Thanks for following us this far and we hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

Clive Lawrence, Jonathan McEnroe and Peter Satera

-C3 Team

www.echolakegame.com
www.capsulethree.com

Echo Lake: First Month in Early Access

Echo Lake: First Month in Early Access

News

A summary of our first month in Early Access, a preview of our current work and an overview of what's next for the project.

Echo Lake: Astronomer Alpha (1.0) Released

Echo Lake: Astronomer Alpha (1.0) Released

News

After 32 months of development, the Capsule Three team are proud to announce that the Echo Lake: Astronomer Alpha is now live via Steam Early Access

New Name, Alpha Trailer and Release News

New Name, Alpha Trailer and Release News

News 5 comments

Capsule Three are proud to reveal the new name for the Observatorium project alongside info on our upcoming Alpha release via Steam Early Access.

Dare to be Digital 2016 Announcement

Dare to be Digital 2016 Announcement

News

Come and try our post-Alpha gameplay at Dare to be Digital 2016.

Comments  (0 - 10 of 20)
RequiemLux
RequiemLux

When I found this for the first time, almost over 2 years ago, it already looked very nice and to this day the developers have made it amazing! I compliment you

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TheManWhoFlewAway CreatorSubscriber
TheManWhoFlewAway

Thank you for the kind words! Stay tuned for our next IDB post in which we'll be exploring our updated environment art in more detail :)

Reply Good karma+1 vote
zurumen
zurumen

Gave me the chills! Beautifull! <3

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TheManWhoFlewAway CreatorSubscriber
TheManWhoFlewAway

Aww wow - thank you zurumen.

We are very excited to finally be on Greenlight!

Reply Good karma+1 vote
IsaacNichols
IsaacNichols

I really like the art style and the puzzles look interesting. This game is looking good.

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TheManWhoFlewAway CreatorSubscriber
TheManWhoFlewAway

Thanks for your support Isaac! Glad you are enjoying our posts :)

Reply Good karma+1 vote
Hoffmann-Nicolas
Hoffmann-Nicolas

Hi ! I'm really interested by your game and i would like to know if you're looking for a composer. I'd like to do something else that war stuff for a change...

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TheManWhoFlewAway CreatorSubscriber
TheManWhoFlewAway

Hi Nicolas!

Thank for the offer but we already have a composer I'm afraid. You can check his page at:

Indiedb.com

We haven't release any music of the game so far but it will be included as part of the first official demo or trailer.

Reply Good karma+1 vote
Cornotiberious
Cornotiberious

This looks like an excellent visual experience. I can't wait to see more!

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TheManWhoFlewAway CreatorSubscriber
TheManWhoFlewAway

Thank you!

Lots of exciting updates coming this year :)

Reply Good karma+1 vote
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Echo Lake
Platforms
Windows
Developer & Publisher
Capsule Three
Engine
Unity
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Echolakegame.com
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Latest tweets from @capsulethree

RT @manwhoflewaway: Echo Lake has been updated to version 2.0: Store.steampowered.com #capsulethree #echolake #astronaut #actionT.co

2hours ago

If you get a chance to try the new mode, don't forget to leave us feedback on the forums #capsulethree #echolakeT.co

4hours ago

Check out our latest @IndieDB post where we discuss our Astronaut upgrade in more detail: Indiedb.comT.co

6hours ago

Echo Lake: Astronaut (2.0) is now live on Steam: Store.steampowered.com #capsulethree #echolake #astronaut #actionT.co

21hours ago

Check out our Echo Lake: Astronaut (2.0) reveal trailer: Youtube.com #capsulethree #echolake #gamedevT.co

Dec 13 2017

Echo Lake: Astronaut (2.0) is coming soon to Steam #announcement #teaser #capsulethree #echolake #gamedev #gamingT.co

Dec 12 2017

This week: the lake gets deeper #announcement #capsulethree #echolake #gamedev #gaming #steam #earlyaccess #pc

Dec 11 2017

RT @manwhoflewaway: If you'd like to support Echo Lake then head on over to our page and give us a vote: Indiedb.comT.co

Dec 8 2017

Stay tuned for some special Echo Lake news coming this December #gamedev #indiedev #capsulethree #echolake #secret T.co

Nov 25 2017

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