Land Ahoy: Proteus Gets Big Update, Oct Steam Launch

By Nathan Grayson on September 7th, 2012 at 10:00 am.

I want to go to there.

Oh how I adore Proteus. It’s equal parts minimalistic, enchanting, and really, really difficult to describe to people who haven’t played it. I mean, the point is to just walk around an island that looks like heaven as imagined by the tiny, tribal colony of Atari 2600s that have been forever exiled to your closet. And then things kind of just… happen. Except when they don’t. (See what I mean about the description thing?) Ultimately, though, it’s about taking in wondrous sights and sounds. And, as part of a brand new beta update, you can now share yours with everyone else. And not just with screenshots.

So here is, in my opinion, the coolest bit – though it only unlocks after you’ve played through once:

“The ‘postcard rack appears below the title screen. If you take a screenshot using the ingame function (on F9), this is saved to a Postcards folder in your user data area (‘Documents’ on PC). World and location data is encoded in a strip of pixels, so that the game can regenerate that view (and the world) from the screenshot. You can use this as as a save and restore mechanism, a souvenir collection, or a way to share discoveries and favorite places.”

So basically, other people can look at your postcards, say, “Gee, I’d sure like to visit that place and maybe follow an amorphous yet mesmerizingly bouncy forest creature through it,” and then do just that. Which, given Proteus’ focus on discovery and good-old fashioned gawking, is really, really cool.

Beyond that, this update adds new creatures (one of which is apparently “quite rare”) and new music. A full playthrough also throws the chance of “wild” islands into the mix, which can do anything from “spawning lots of extra creatures of one type to [creating] some dramatic visual differences.”

Also of note: an actual release window. Proteus is now set to hit Steam “sometime around the end of October.” For now, though, I highly recommend giving the beta a go. Find a quiet room, put on some headphones, and just marvel at the otherworldly serenity of it all. Yeah, Proteus is pretty hard to describe, but once you’re actually there, it’ll all make perfect sense.

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49 Comments »

  1. baby snot says:

    Oooooo it’s only $7.50. I’m in. Another purchase through Humble Bundle Inc (just bought Gateways). Yay indie solidarity.

  2. jellydonut says:

    It looks like you’ll have to have used an Atari when they were new to be able to appreciate this.

    • Priestman says:

      Why? Because your view of games has been chiselled so shallow that you can only experience any kind of emotion or appreciation for something if its stylistic choice is that of attempting to mimic real life?

      Here’s an idea: why not play a game or see what the general opinion of it is from the many of those who have played it? Why the need to initiate a response with slander – you clearly have read nothing about the game, watched nothing about it and know nothing about it and are just being lazy in your ‘criticism’.

      Or are you some kind of genius internet troll that loves prodding people like myself so that we get slightly annoyed at every little thing you say? Well, if you are, congratulations – you’re a winner. You’re about the 100th person I’ve seen jab a knife into Proteus because of its graphics and it’s now at the point where I’m writing this comment. Now you’ve made me feel like an arse.

      Just play the bloody game please.

      • jellydonut says:

        I’m not ‘slandering’ or ‘stabbing a knife’ into anything, just posting my first impressions. Sheesh, way to overreact, buddy.

        • Jesse L says:

          But your first impression was obviously just your impression of a screenshot. It was hip-fired snark, aggressively ignorant and incurious of the written words accompanying the picture.

          My first impression of you is that you should think more, especially before you speak, and maybe open up your tiny shriveled heart to something that, if you had read the post, is clearly more than the sum of its graphics. That’s just my “first impression,” though, so you’re not allowed to get upset about it.

          • Shazbut says:

            What is wrong with you both? Its a legitimate concern considering the amount of utter dross out there that only attempts to sell itself with a retro aesthetic. He makes an assumption about a game he’s never played and you make a personal assumption about him. Treat each other with respect

          • derbefrier says:

            these artsy games always seem to attract the douche bag hipsters and they always say the same thing

            “Oh you don’t like a game that’s not really a game and you just walk around and look at stuff? your obviously stupid and I’m smart and enlightened for enjoying this.” along with some comment about CoD or something. you’d think such enlightened people would realize art by its nature is subjective so something you may find brilliant is boring to others especially when being sold as a “game” there are certain expectations that come with that label.

            This genre isn’t for me but I am not gonna gonna question the intelligence of those that enjoy running around starring at bad oh wait, “retro” graphics.

      • Love Albatross says:

        Priestman and Proteus, sittin’ in a tree.

      • celozzip says:

        wind your neck in, priestman.

      • CrookedLittleVein says:

        @Priestman

        Why so zealous?

    • AngoraFish says:

      I played an Atari obsessively when it was first releasd, and have tried this, but I’m sad that I just can’t get into it.

      Maybe my brain has atrophied after over 30 years playing computer games.

      • Priestman says:

        @AngoraFish Well it’s definitely not for everyone, and just because you’ve played games with graphics that may be similar to these before, doesn’t mean you’re primed for the experience. Proteus is somewhere I go to escape and relax.

        @jellydonut Like I said, I felt like an arse saying it. But I’ve seen so many people write it off just because of how it looks. You tell them to play it and they say they’re not going to fork out the cash, but they will spend that amount and more on the next hyped up blockbuster game just because it looked realistic or whatever. It just saddens me.

        Dunno if you’re one of those folk, but your sentence and first impressions mimicked them exactly. Wish some people were more open minded to different gaming experiences is all, though I won’t try to win over those who are so stubborn. Again, I know nothing about you – I was talking to you and the several other people who have posted things like that about the game. I’m not attacking you. I’m defending the game. Why? Because it’s beautiful.

    • pakoito says:

      I didn’t play Atari and this game is wonderful. And my mom agrees :)

      This game is just like The Forest, a perfect paradise where to relax. No skills and no thought required. Just pure joy for the “explorer” player archetype.

      Where Minecraft exploration is just “look at that cliff”, Proteus is a theme park by Ed Key where half the fun is finding the rides. There’s a bit of drama from time to time, but not in a narrative storytelling way.

  3. Zeewolf says:

    Good news. Sadly, I doubt this would have been able to get on Steam if the devs had to go through Greenlight.

  4. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    A full playthrough? did I miss something? does the game already include some kind of endgame?

    I’ve been exploring the windy summer days and the clear and starry nights of this island for several months, and could not call anything I did on there “a full playthrough”.

    • LCinn says:

      SPOILER
      ********
      This is your lucky day! There are actually 4 whole seasons to enjoy. Just look for something that advances time to get to them.

    • Priestman says:

      Yes. There is an endgame. Though don’t change your ways and seek it out now, keep enjoying the game as you have :)

      Though I will say it’s quite a special little something.

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      ++++SPOILPER+++

      huh, I hadn’t even noticed that i went to a different season with that time thing [edit: woah, I'd definitely have noticed if I went in there a second time - what a revelation]. the whole island always seems so wondrous and new, that I didn’t realise the changes meant something. great stuff!

  5. MajorManiac says:

    That screen-shot looks like where I grew-up in Devon.

    Is there a demo of this game? It seems like a little bit of a risk to buy without trying first.

  6. Addict7 says:

    God I want to play this with Occulus Rift

    • golem09 says:

      I just wanted to write this.
      This would be THE showcase game.
      Unless Blow decides to make The Witness Oculus Ready.

    • particlese says:

      o_o Yes.

      The FRACT devs won a Rift at the end of the Rift’s Kickstarter, but I somehow didn’t think of how awesome it would be for Proteus. (I know they’re very different games, but they share a general emphasis on music and have lo-fi-but-pretty visuals.)

      • golem09 says:

        Awesome. This thing really has a huge impact as it seems. There’s nothing I’m more excited about when I think 2013 (except surviving the mayan apocalypse of course)

    • Ed says:

      I might be talking to some people about Oculus Rift support, but I’m focusing on the 2D-screen version first!
      (also very happy that Fract won one!)

  7. Morlock says:

    Okay, sounds interesting enough! Just bought it.

  8. pakoito says:

    Loved the game both times I fired it up for several hours. Just sit back and relax.

  9. Eclipse says:

    I don’t get how a lot of good games are confined to that crappy greenlight and stuff like this can be published directly, in my humble opinion this game kind of stinks.

    • pakoito says:

      Very uneducated reply. Why does it “stink”? Because violence is not the interface with the world? Because graphics are hand drawn representations of what they intend to be, instead of photorealistic models?

      In the words of the God of Games himself, it’s a healing game (http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-08-08-lost-humanity-7-healing)

      EDIT: Double shame on you for that response after posting “But what you can, and you should, is having an artistic style.” in your blog (http://www.dungeoncraftgame.com/blog/?p=72)

      • Unaco says:

        Rab Florence, the God of Games? Bwahahahahaha! Thanks for that… I’m gonna be laughing at your sycophantic wankery for the rest of today. Maybe even the weekend.

        Edit: This is a healing comment by the way… the Healing power of laughter.

    • Zeewolf says:

      Because this was probably signed before indies were forced onto Greenlight.

      And your post shows why I dislike the concept of Greenlight. Because I’m pretty sure this game would never be approved if it had to go through Greenlight, as people are generally not very supportive of things they don’t immediately understand.

  10. zebramatt says:

    OK, um, WOW. That was, just… mindblowing.

    Really: WOW.

  11. phuzz says:

    Sit under the tree in the graveyard during autumn.
    That is all.

  12. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    My problem having only seen the screenshots and the trailer is that I don’t know whether I’ll really enjoy it or say “Well, it’s okay, I guess.” Ah well, I’ll probably get it sooner or later. Maybe in a bundle.

    • Mattressi says:

      Yeah, I think I’d be interested in this, but I’m still not quite sure what it actually is. I was interested in Dear Esther until I heard it was an on-rails 3-hour-long game, so I’m not sure what to make of this. I know it’s not on rails, but I’m trying to find out the size or depth or length or something of it (I’m not really sure what dimension I’m looking for – or even want…). It’s probably shallow to ask for game length (and not possible for this kind of game) or map size, but I’d like to make sure it’s not just a 50×50 metre map with a handful of hidden things, before I buy it.

      • AndrewC says:

        Those that complain about Dear Esther not really being a ‘game’ will not get along with this. You wander around, you look at things, your interactions with the world are about, well, how you choose to interact with the world. Are you going to be unhappy if there is nothing, technically, ‘to do’ – no challenge nor quest, nor mechanics nor win condition? You will be annoyed by this. You will be missing the point, but nevermind, it is your time being spent, and you will probably be annoyed by this.

        Call it a ‘digital interactive experience’, call it whatever you want – it is lovely, and marvellous.

        • Ed says:

          Thanks! But I’m not sure about that… There’s a very different concept of agency, and a different principle to the whole thing. If you didn’t like DE because it was quite physically constrained and linear, you might like this. If you didn’t like it because there we no enemies or whatever, you probably won’t like this either.

          Jim wrote something on the subject here: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/06/03/the-sunday-papers-219/

        • Mattressi says:

          I think you totally missed my point, AndrewC. As Ed said, my main issue was that DE was on-rails. Ed’s game looks awesome to me (graphically, conceptually and exploration-wise), but I’m just wondering about how much depth there is (missions/challeneges ≠ depth to me) – if it’s something where I can have the map fully explored and everything discovered/realised in an hour or two, I will wait until it’s on sale. If there are several hours to be enjoyed in it, I will buy it soon.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      To add to my previous comment: I like exploring and atmosphere, so the game sounds promising. It’s simply that I don’t know whether the game’s look and gameplay are sufficiently.. engrossing.

  13. Ed says:

    Thanks for the nice comments! Chuffed to hear people finding some of the obscure stuff in there.

    Greenlight: Yes, this was submitted under the old system and snuck in just before Greenlight was announced. Or maybe a nice person put in a good word. The process was opaque.

    Demo and risk: It’s hard to make a clean demo of Proteus, but I’ve thought about it a lot. I don’t really like people buying it and being disappointed either. I might do something really extreme, like a tiny demo island :)

    A few people have asked about Steam keys: If you preorder you will get a Steam key when it launches. These will find their way to you via Humble.

    By the way, the current build has a few crash bugs and problems with postcards. Going to upload another build to Humble tonight with fixes.

    I feel a blog post brewing about some of the design decisions and principles in the game, but this will have to wait for next week at the earliest.

    • pakoito says:

      Some weeks ago while browsing my “indie prototypes” folder I found your first prototype from more than a year ago, maybe I can upload it :p

      • Ed says:

        Oh nice!
        It’s deliberately hidden away for the moment, but I’ll probably make it “officially” public again at some point. It can get confusing having that one knocking around as well, but I’m not really sure what’s the best thing to do with it. Obviously it still exists in the wild!

  14. Kaiji says:

    I started gaming in 1980 and I’m a total hippy so I consider myself to be among this game’s core target demographic.

    I just downloaded and played it for about an hour and I absolutely love it. I can see myself relaxing with it a lot in future and I’m very eager to see how it develops.

    It’s obviously a niche game with a niche audience so it’s a shame people who don’t like it feel the need to trash it and insult those who do.

    Most games try to generate a feeling of intensity and excitement. This game tries to generate a feeling of calm serenity and wonder. I don’t really see the problem if people genuinely enjoy either type (or both types) of game.

  15. beema says:

    So can someone explain to me what you actually do in this game? Do you just wander around looking at stuff? It seems interesting but I’m pretty hesitant to shell out money for something so vaguely defined.

  16. pbnjoe says:

    *_*

    This is exactly the type of game I’ve wanted for ages. How have I not heard of this before? Ah, no matter, buying and loving ASAP. The mention of wild mode is the main kicker for me, actually. Infinite exploring. I nearly squeed :)

    Edit: I just watched RockLeeSmile’s gameplay video. My god, I’m going to lose days to this game, and I couldn’t be happier :’)

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