v1.5.0: Deep update

Dive into the deepest S.E.A. update yet! In S.E.A. you pilot a personal watercraft that uses sound to reveal a relaxing open world. Immerse yourself with new vertical look controls. Hear the shape of tidal waves with the new surface scanner. And explore uncharted new depths with help from a variety of new systems.


Key features

  • Vertical look. Gaze upon enhanced stars, appreciate new heights, and stare directly into the sun with vertical look controls. Includes a toggle for pilots who prefer inverted controls.
  • Surface scanning. Detect and surf amplified tidal waves that tower above the rest. Use the surface scanner to feel the undulations beneath.
Spoiler Warning
  • New terrain. Dive deep below the surface to explore nine new biomes powered by an overhauled terrain generator.
  • New caves. Descend into large cave systems that offer branching paths and areas for more freeform spelunking.
  • New discoveries. Receive notifications of new discoveries. Return to points of interest anytime with the reworked Fast Travel system.
  • Enhanced scanning. Feel the shape of caves and reveal the floor with a redesigned scanner that conveys results in two and three dimensions.
  • Proximity cues. Hear nearby obstacles with new proximity cues that react to pilots' position and heading.
  • Occlusion filtering. Understand when walls and other obstacles exist between pilots and their loot.

v1.5.0 changes

  • Audio
    • Added heightmap sonification cues
    • Remixed vehicle UI sounds with a harder panning model
    • Remixed waves for a wider stereo width
  • Gameplay
    • Added heightmap scanning of the surface
  • Graphics
    • Added relative coordinates to heads-up-display (HUD)
    • Added pitch indicator to HUD
    • Added saturation transitions when scanner is activated
    • Added fade out to splash screen when idle
    • Adjusted timings of HUD transitions on idle state change
    • Improved star animations and visibility
    • Improved surface render performance
    • Added new title sequences that showcase vertical look
  • User interface
    • Added vertical look controls
    • Added toggle for Invert Vertical Look to Controls screen
    • Added toggle for HUD Compass to Graphics screen
    • Added toggle for HUD Coordinates to Graphics screen
    • Added toggle for HUD Pitch to Graphics screen
    • Renamed slider for Draw Distance to Dynamic Draw Distance
    • Allowed cancel button on New Game confirmation to go back to the main menu
    • Allowed certain keys to go back to splash screen from the main menu
    • Allowed escape key on splash screen to quit application
  • World generation
    • Overhauled surface wave generation
    • Increased size of tidal waves
  • Miscellaneous
    • Added save game versioning to support older builds
    • Updated desktop build to Electron 15 (Chromium 94)
    • Updated documentation to reflect changes
Spoiler Warning
  • Audio
    • Added cues for discovering, scanning, and exploring caves
    • Added occlusion filtering to treasure when behind terrain
    • Added proximity cues to the nearest scanned terrain
    • Added unique cue for directly ahead scanner results
    • Added unique cue for scanned cave entrances
    • Reworked terrain sonification cues
    • Reworked terrain frequencies to reflect relative height
    • Reworked underwater soundtrack fader to reflect floor depth
    • Fixed reverb changes around sea level
  • Gameplay
    • Added cave discovery system
    • Added heightmap scanning of the floor
    • Increased the amount of terrain revealed by scans
  • Graphics
    • Adjusted fade between surface and floor
    • Added animations to newly scanned terrain
    • Added oscillating motion to scanned terrain
    • Improved geometry of scanned terrain colors
    • Improved terrain render performance
  • Movement
    • Added movement to fast travel transitions
    • Fixed some stickiness when surfacing
  • User interface
    • Added discovered caves as options on Fast Travel screen
    • Added distances to options on Fast Travel screen
    • Added metric for Caves Discovered to Statistics screen
    • Added notifictions and autosaving when caves are discovered
    • Added slider for Static Draw Distance to Graphics screen
    • Added slider for Static Object Limit to Graphics screen
    • Added toggle for Discovery Notifications to Gameplay screen
    • Moved toggle for Treasure Hints from Gameplay to Graphics screen (renamed to HUD Treasure)
    • Reworked items on Gallery screen into a table layout
  • World generation
    • Overhauled underwater terrain generation
    • Added nine unique biomes to the floor generator
    • Added branching cave systems that connect the floor to deeper areas
    • Added freeform caverns that intersect the main caves
    • Added a large cave system beneath the origin
  • Save game changes due to breaking terrain changes
    • Moved players who would be stuck below the floor
    • Removed all scanned terrain

Known issues

Pilots may experience intermittent frame drops in certain scenarios.

Spoiler Warning

The treasure cue continues to cause rare audio crashes after a successful scan. Rest assured that the game will attempt to automatically recover. This is definitely one of the hardest issues to track and reproduce. I'm considering waiting until a later roadmap release to completely replace this system rather than continue to troubleshoot it further.

Please reach out on the shiftBacktick Discord Server if you have any other feedback or issues to report!

Coming soon

This release represents a major milestone toward the upcoming Steam release. Touching nearly every aspect of the game, its changes lay the foundation for many of the remaining roadmap items, drawing a clear arrow from the game S.E.A. is currently to the game it strives to be.

Following this initial release I eagerly await your feedback. I fully anticipate there to be bugs to squash and optimizations to be made in subsequent hotfix releases this cycle. This should include further investigations into the known issues above. From there I can revise and proceed with the roadmap.

Spoiler Warning

I'm most excited for the changes here that unblock future work on the underwater gameplay. For example, the new Fast Travel system is built to support points of interest beyond cave entrances, and corresponding changes to audio and terrain generation mean that I can begin working on the other set pieces that will populate the sea floor. Likewise, deep inside these areas pilots might find rare loot, which would drive a new economy where treasures can be broken down into raw materials, or sold for gold, and then be applied toward unique progression tracks.

In the meantime, I’m happy to announce that I will be taking a break from development of S.E.A. during the month of November to prototype a new project. Codenamed Bladius, it will be an action game developed for the Crunchless Challenge. I’m excited to reveal more soon!

Wishlist on Steam


SEA-html5.zip Play in browser
Oct 29, 2021
SEA-win32-x64.zip 82 MB
Oct 29, 2021
SEA-linux-x64.zip 94 MB
Oct 29, 2021

Get S.E.A.

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