I’m excited to announce that Side A is officially feature-complete! Over the next six weeks I’ll be writing its narrative texts and applying the final polishing touches, for an anticipated release date of November 11, 2022. It’s by no means perfect, but it will continue to receive improvements as future sides are released.
With this important milestone complete, I’m ready to share with you the 2023 roadmap for Periphery Synthetic EP. Continue reading to learn what to expect in its initial release and first two free content expansions.
Changes since the alpha
Warning: The following sections may contain light spoilers. Given these changes, I don’t plan to release more alpha builds before Side A is completed.
Over the past month, I’ve been working on the systems that drive Periphery Synthetic EP’s narrative:
- Codex. The story is accessed through the Codex, a standard exosuit function which catalogs surveyors’ thoughts. Entries are grouped by planetary body and presented as a feed of chronological events. These events include discoveries, deep introspections, and vivid observations.
- Insights. The main way for surveyors to collect new thoughts is through common activities like exploring, scanning, and collecting materials. Each world offers a variety of thoughts that are triggered by conditions like location or time of day. For example, Side A has a thought that’s triggered during a wind storm.
- Artifacts. The main window that surveyors have into Alpha Periphery’s previous inhabitants is through the artifacts they’ve left behind. Each world offers unique challenges which reward surveyors with an artifact from its past. On Side A, surveyors will collect artifacts by exploring numerous ruins of a lost civilization.
- Caches. Likewise, the main connection that surveyors have with their home is through mysterious caches that appear on planetary surfaces. Surveyors will now find caches with random materials, and occasionally secret messages, that spawn inside small impact craters. A small change to the tutorial and New Game Plus may even foreshadow future events.
- Destinations As surveyors explore the abandoned worlds of Alpha Periphery, they will find places of interest worth revisiting. When scanned, destinations are added to the Codex, which can be traveled to at any time after a quick loading screen.
My goal is for these systems to allow the narrative to unfold organically and nonlinearly as it’s played. The intent is for each side to introduce a new world with insights, artifacts, and caches to collect and piece together. And the next installment is already coming very soon.
Roadmap for 2023
Following the release of Side A, I will be focusing on delivering two free content expansions for Periphery Synthetic EP. These will include improvements to the core game as necessary. Other notable events will be my participation in Steam Next Fest and the promised Steam release.
Demo release, Winter 2023
Somewhere in the middle of Side B’s development cycle, a demo of the EP will be released for Steam Next Fest. This build will be the entirety of Side A, with content from later sides omitted, to provide a thick vertical slice of what to expect from the full game.
My intent is for this build to replace what’s playable in the browser on itch, and be available for download there as well. However, my hope is for the community copy program to remain as healthy as it has, so folks can just claim the full game without necessarily playing the demo.
Side B release, Spring 2023
A portal opens, transporting surveyors to the icy exomoon of Alpha Periphery C2. This reimagining of my game E.X.O. reintroduces its familiar jetpack abilities, which help surveyors scale its uniquely vertical terrain. In addition to a faithful recreation of its soundtrack, it will include new environmental audio and video effects which make it the ultimate version of its predecessor.
There are several things that excite me about this release. Most importantly, I’m looking forward to completely rewriting its terrain generator using the diamond-square algorithm, to produce more realistic mountain ranges. It will also be refreshing to work with its monochromatic color scheme, which is a radical departure from the otherwise-colorful worlds of the EP.
Steam release, Spring 2023
The release of Side B will coincide with the Steam release.
There are a few reasons for this delay. Mainly, I anticipate a few post-release patches for Side A, as well as core improvements to the game in Side B, which will ensure a higher level of quality and stability for the larger audience at Steam. I’m also excited to introduce them to a brand new world—and the portal that goes between—after a brief appearance at Steam Next Fest.
Side C release, Fall 2023
Another portal opens, transporting surveyors to the ocean world of Alpha Periphery C. This reimagining of my game S.E.A. offers a differently-vertical experience, where a minutes-long dive separates surfing its summery surface from spelunking its pitch-black caves below. Like Side B, these divergent experiences will also be paired with remastered soundtracks and visual enhancements to enjoy.
This will likely be the most challenging side for me to complete because of its vast scope. For example, the movement system will receive a few upgrades to support swimming, diving, and collision detection inside caves and underwater structures. Similarly, one of its new abilities will radically change how materials are gathered elsewhere. These features will require plenty of testing to ensure they don’t break the existing game.
Future side announcements
Currently I’m hoping to produce six sides for the EP. These will continue the pattern of introducing a new explorable world with abilities and narrative elements to unlock. Unfortunately I’ll have to contain my excitement and hold their details more closely for now. Thanks for understanding.
In the meantime, the text I’d like to include in Side A unfortunately won’t write itself. This is my immediate priority.
Interestingly, while I enjoyed writing as a child, and took two creative writing courses in college, I haven’t written creatively in over ten years. So I’m excited to see how this forces me outside my comfort zone to stretch these forgotten muscles. It should be fun, at the very least.
Thanks for playing!