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Ethereal tells the story of a ghost reliving traumatic memories in an attempt to reconcile with his past and move on into the true afterlife. Eight worlds each tell the story of a different memory in his life such as his parent's death when he was 10, being picked on in school, going to war, and other unrevealed memories. In each world the player gains a new ability that he keeps for the rest of the game. This means the puzzles will stay challenging and feel fresh as the game progresses. Unlike most platformers, there is no jumping in this game. Instead, the first of seven unique abilities allows you to reverse gravity. Some of the other abilities include turning into a fog-like form, haunting the living, possession and more that will be revealed in time...  







Composed by..................... Dmitry Petyakin
World 1 Theme..................  "Brookstone Cemetery"
Intro Theme...................... "Eternal Flames"
World 4 Theme.................. "Lost Cause"
World Hub Theme.............. "Purgatory"

Q: When will the game be released?

A: That depends on many factors so I'm not comfortable announcing that yet.

Q: What platforms will the game be on?
A: The game will run natively on PC, Mac, Linux, Wii U and very likely PS3, PS4 and PSVITA. Stay tuned for more possibilities.

Q: What languages will the game be in?
A: Currently, I can confirm that it will be in atleast English, Russian, Spanish, French, Dutch, Japanese and Chinese. However, I want the game to be in as many languages as possible. If you speak English and any other language fluently (including the ones listed above), we could use your help!

Q: Is there any way I could be a part of the game's development?
A: We're currently looking for translators. If you're interested, please email me at tomfinch@despawn.net.

Q: Can I pre-order the game yet?
A: Not yet, but we'll keep you updated!

Q: You IndieDB profile says this is a Horror themed game. Why does it say that?
A: The only 'theme' that fit the game on IndieDB was Horror. However, its not a horror game. It's about ghosts and death, but its not a scary game.

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Blog RSS Feed Report abuse Latest News: July Update - Wii U, Clouds and Unity

0 comments by ThomasFinch on Jul 19th, 2014

Wii U

Big news first... Ethereal will also be releasing on Wii U! I've recently been accepted as a developer. The PC, Mac and Linux versions will take priority and likely release 1-2 months before the console versions, however.

Engine Work and Overhauls

Last month I considered switching over from Game Maker to Unity. I was intrigued by its new 2D features. After a few days of creating a prototype in Unity, I decided, however, not to switch. Ethereal will continue being developed on Game Maker thanks to its ease of 2D game development. Another reason being that a completely new engine would take away at least a month of development time.
Late June I worked on completely overhauling Ethereal. I restructured much of its code and even removed a few unnecessary features. Along the way, game performance skyrocketed and many bugs were fixed.


These are randomly generated clouds. Over 300 sprites/layers from over 80 poof variations are utilized.

If you're interested, the process is...
The cloud decides its size, then fills that space with randomized poofs. The poofs are restricted to within a certain distance of the furthest poof so the poofs don't simply cover the entire rectangular area evenly. Bigger poofs are added in, and some poofs are given wider range to allow for the unique appearances of every clouds.
Once organized, every poof draws the first layer, then every poof draws the second layer and so on. This allows the edges of every cloud (the first layer) to be drawn below every other layer, so the clouds have a definite edge without each individual poof having a definite edge. All of these layers are drawn onto a surface, which is then converted into a new sprite. This makes it extremely easy to handle. The shade of the clouds is dark as you can see, but that is actually something I made adjustable. The default brightness is that of the example I posted last time. I can easily make the clouds darker depending on how dark the area they are in is. Lastly, the clouds move across the sky slowly. The point of making them randomized is to keep the clouds from feeling too repetitive. So, when a cloud is past the edge of the screen, it deletes itself and a new one is created at the beginning of the sky. At first, the whole process of creating clouds, destroying them and keeping track of them took a lot of processing power, but after a lot of fine-tuning and tweaking, the whole process barely makes a dent! The cloud are not final, of course, as nothing is until the game is released. I will probably tweak them again somewhere down the line, but for now these will do great.

EDIT: I was asked to elaborate on how the clouds are drawn into the game, so here is a post about it: Forums.tigsource.com

Other News and This Month

The last news I have is that I've redesigned the indiedb page, the tig devlog and the website! I think they look much better, so check them out. The rest of July, I will be working further on securing funding to continue development (and at a better pace). I will also be programming and designing Pugatory, the world hub. Near the end of July we should be finished with that and I will begin designing the game's first world, Brookstone Cemetery.

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*Flame* Jun 5 2014, 6:15pm says:

Holy cookies n milk this looks sweet o-o

+2 votes     reply to comment
just_call_me_G Apr 12 2014, 7:28am says:

Art looks stunning! Tracking.

+2 votes     reply to comment
ThomasFinch Mar 19 2014, 7:30pm says:

If anyone has any questions or comments about the game, let me know (here in the comments, in the TIG devlog or send me a message on twitter)! Discussion helps me improve and refine my ideas and the game's features!

+1 vote     reply to comment
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Latest tweets from @despawngames

@unseven Yeah, and amping the volume up 50x very suddenly isn't scary, it's just annoying.

Jul 27 2014, 2:24am

@unseven We need someone like Alfred Hitchcock in game design. More scary, edge of your seat games, not jumpscares or gore simply for shock.

Jul 27 2014, 12:58am

Door of Reflection (work in progress) #screenshotsaturday #gamedev #indiedev #pixelart T.co

Jul 26 2014, 12:41am

They sky of Purgatory, Ethereal's world hub. #screenshotsaturday #indiedev #gamedev #pixelart @indiegamemag T.co

Jul 25 2014, 11:54pm

#screenshotsaturday #reddit post: T.co #gamedev #indiedev

Jul 25 2014, 11:40pm

Stay tuned tomorrow night for new art!

Jul 24 2014, 8:20pm

Development Update #61: Changes in game design! T.co

Jul 24 2014, 8:20pm

RT @aNuChallenger: Please stop making Megaman sprites of things

Jul 21 2014, 1:33am

#gamedev #indiedev #programming An explanation of how the randomly generated clouds are drawn in Ethereal: T.co

Jul 20 2014, 4:33am

The shade of the clouds is darker in that area to match the fact that its night. In Purgatory, the world hub, they're normal shade.

Jul 19 2014, 8:13pm

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