an EP by shiftBacktick

Welcome to Alpha Periphery

Today you awoke from cryogenic sleep.

The apparatus that protects you greets you: Welcome to Alpha Periphery. You were hired by the system's licensed corporation as a surveyor to assess its value. As you walk the shifting desert beneath you, it becomes clear there are more mysteries than rare metals to uncover.

This is your strangest job yet.

System requirements

Periphery Synthetic EP is best experienced with a gamepad and headphones.

Real-time synthesis is an extremely CPU-intensive process. It will attempt to run on any machine that meets its minimum requirements; however, you may experience stuttering or drop-outs when running below the recommended requirements.

Minimum system requirements

CPU SSE2 capable (64-bit)

Recommended system requirements

CPU 3.5 GHz Quad-Core (64-bit)
GPU WebGL2 compatible

Browser support

The HTML5 build of Periphery Synthetic EP is intended to be played in an up-to-date Chromium-based browser such as Google Chrome. Browser extensions that alter page behavior are not recommended. Other browsers must support modern JavaScript features such as Web Audio, WebGL2, and IndexedDB.

Troubleshooting guide

Periphery Synthetic EP has been optimized for its recommended system requirements. Please try these suggested actions when experiencing performance issues:

Issue Suggested actions
General troubleshooting
  • Close non-essential programs, such as web browsers and applications built with web technologies like Node.js.
  • Reload or restart Periphery Synthetic EP.
Audio stuttering or drop-outs
  • Toggle off Reverb from the Audio screen.
Frame rate issues
  • Reduce the Draw Distance from the Graphics screen.
  • Toggle off graphics from the Graphics screen.

How to play

You pilot a versatile apparatus capable of traversing the most extreme terrain ever explored. It comes preinstalled with a terrain scanner and very limited cargo capacity. However, you may expand its capabilities by collecting and synthesizing raw materials from the terrain. When the apparatus is fully upgraded, it can overcome any obstacle!

Beware! The rest of this section is extremely comprehensive and contains slight spoilers. If you are comfortable with exploring three-dimensional environments with first-person controls, and learning by experimentation, then you are advised to skip ahead to the Controls section.


In its default bipedal mode, the apparatus is an extension of your body.

Hold the Move, Turn, and Strafe controls to move freely on any surface. Its maximum speed can be toggled between running and walking states with the Turbo control.

Tap the Jump control to jump or bunny hop in any direction. The control can also be held to perform a charged jump, which launches the apparatus at maximum speed in the desired direction.

When installed, the Mulligans subsystem allows the apparatus to redirect its kinetic energy while mid-air. Tap the Jump control again to expend a mulligan. Beware that it has limited uses which recharge when returning to the surface.

While mid-air, the Brace control can be held to land safely from any fall. It's most useful for precise jumps and atmospheric reentry.


When installed, the Wheels system provides the apparatus with a significant speed boost. Tap the Transform control to freely toggle between bipedal and wheeled movement modes. Beware that the apparatus loses its ability to jump and strafe while driving.

Tighter maneuvers can be performed with the Repulsors subsystem. Hold the Drift control to temporarily suspend your brakes while driving. Beware that this may cause you to slide uncontrollably down slopes.


Beware! Flight capabilities are only available in the full version of Periphery Synthetic EP.

When installed, the Thrusters system allows the apparatus to take flight. Hold the Thrusters controls to apply upward thrust. Lateral thrust can also be applied with the Gimbals subsystem. Hold the Move and Strafe controls while thrusting to apply it in the desired direction.

Similarly, the RCS system allows the apparatus to turn mid-air when installed. Hold the Turn controls to apply rotational thrust.

The apparatus will attempt to maintain safe lateral velocities during flight. However, beware that it may reach unsafe vertical velocities when exiting the atmosphere, and will accelerate to terminal velocity upon reentry.


Beware! Swimming capabilities are only available in the full version of Periphery Synthetic EP.

The apparatus will automatically begin swimming when entering liquids. It can remain buoyant on the surface, or it can navigate vertically by holding the Ascend and Descend controls.

When installed, the Ballasts system allows the apparatus to quickly traverse extreme depths. It activates automatically when ascending or descending between the surface and floor.


Beware! Travelling through portals is only available in the full version of Periphery Synthetic EP.

You may occasionally enounter portals to other worlds in the Alpha Periphery system. Step inside to discover their exits.


You may press the Scan Terrain control to gain new insights. Using the terrain scanner often is key to completing all objectives.

A sequence of sounds will play during the scan. In general, these relate to the semicircle of terrain and objects extending 200 meters ahead of the apparatus. Here is an explanation of its sounds.


The scanner immediately emits a loud ping.

This is your reference pitch. Use it to determine the relative altitude of other scan sounds. In general, sounds that are pitched higher than the ping are above the apparatus, whereas the lower pitches are below it.

During the scan, a ray is cast from its eyeline into the direction that it's looking. If the ray intersects a solid or liquid surface, then you will hear its pitched echo after some delay.

Destination guide

The scanner emits a pulsating sound. It points toward the nearest destination.

Terrain sonification

The scanner emits a stream of tones. These convey the shape of the closest solid or liquid surface. Significant places are highlighted with a brigther sound.

Object sonification

The scanner emits random pings. These are materials and other objects that can be collected. Objects are hidden if they are covered by terrain or their inventory slot is full.

Object tracking

The scanner will automatically track the nearest collectible object within range. A distinct notification sounds when objects gain and lose focus.

When focused, a navigational sound will lead you to the object. It sounds distorted when looking away from it.

The scanner temporarily remembers past objects. After collecting an object that was tracked, it will attempt to track a previously-scanned object.

Special functions

The apparatus hides its most interesting capabilities on the Functions screen. It can be accessed from the menu—or by tapping the Functions control.


A notification appears when you have enough materials to synthesize an upgrade for the apparatus. Use the Synthesis screen to browse your inventory and available upgrades.

Beware! Several materials are only available in the full version of Periphery Synthetic EP.

You can inspect your inventory from the Materials screen. Each material slot has a maximum capacity that can be increased by upgrading the Cargo Racks subsystem. Beware that materials cannot be picked up when their slot is full.

Some upgrades can improve material collection capabilities. When equipped, the Attractors system will automatically collect nearby materials. Similarly, the Distillery system can extract materials from the surrounding medium.

Beware! Several upgrades are only available in the full version of Periphery Synthetic EP.

Available upgrades can be browsed from the Upgrades screen. Select a system to view its subsystems. Select a subsystem to view its current bonus, next upgrade cost, and modify its level. New systems become available as their required materials are discovered.


You may occasionally encounter significant places of interest. These are added to the Destinations screen when scanned. Selecting a destination will transport you to it. Beware that time passes during travel.


You may occasionally have deeper thoughts when exploring and experimenting with the world. These are added to the Perceptions screen for later reading.


You may view diagnostic information for the apparatus on the Status screen. It includes a variety of details like the current location, mission time, apparatus level, and objective status.

Find a bug? This view is perfect to screenshot!


Periphery Synthetic EP supports a variety of input devices. Although remapping of controls is currently not available, alternate control schemes have been provided where appropriate.

Gamepad controls

Periphery Synthetic EP is best experienced with a gamepad. For best results, please use an Xbox controller. Other controllers can be configured with Steam Input or a utility like x360ce:

Action Gamepad controls
Forward Left Stick Right Trigger
Reverse Left Stick Left Trigger
Strafing Left Stick
Turning Right Stick
Vertical Look Right Stick
Jump / Thrusters / Ascend Right Bumper
Brace / Drift / Descend Left Bumper
Turbo Press Left Stick
Transform Press Right Stick
Scan Terrain A
Functions Select B
Game Menu Start
UI Confirm A
UI Back B
UI Next Right Bumper
UI Previous Left Bumper

Instrument controls

An instrument can be played on the initial title screen:

Action Gamepad control
Play Note / Volume Right Stick
Pitch Bend / Vibrato Left Stick
Octave Up Right Bumper
Octave Down Left Bumper
Pan Right Right Trigger
Pan Left Left Trigger
Major Pentatonic Scale D-pad Up
Diatonic Scale D-pad Right
Minor Pentatonic Scale D-pad Down
Chromatic Scale D-pad Left

Access hotkeys

Hold the Y button and press the corresponding button to announce the item to screen readers while in-game:

Action Gamepad control
Coordinates D-pad Left
Heading D-pad Right
Previous Notification D-pad Up
Next Notification D-pad Down

Haptic feedback

Every interaction is paired with realistic controller vibrations. Vibration can be reduced or removed from the Controls screen.

Keyboard controls

The keyboard controls support play with one or both hands:

Action Keys
Forward W Up Arrow Numpad 8
Reverse S Down Arrow Numpad 5
Strafe Left A Numpad 4
Strafe Right D Numpad 6
Turn Left Q Left Arrow Numpad 7
Turn Right E Right Arrow Numpad 9
Look Up Page Up
Look Down Page Down
Jump / Thrusters / Ascend Space Numpad 0
Brace / Drift / Descend Left Control Right Control
Turbo Left Shift Right Shift
Transform R V
Scan Terrain F Enter Numpad Enter
Functions Tab Backquote (Tilde)
Game Menu / UI Back Escape Backspace
UI Confirm Enter Space
UI Next E Numpad 9
UI Previous Q Numpad 7

Menu hotkeys

Additional hotkeys have been provided to quickly jump to screen elements. Press numbers 1 through 0 to focus the element at that position. If the desired element is already focused, then it will be clicked.

Access hotkeys

Hold either Alt key and press the corresponding key to announce the item to screen readers while in-game:

Action Key
Coordinates 1
Heading 2
Velocity 3
X-Coordinate X
Y-Coordinate Y
Z-Coordinate Z
Previous Notification Page Up
Next Notification Page Down

Mouse controls

The mouse may be used for an immersive first-person experience:

Action Mouse control
Turning Mouse X-Axis
Vertical Look Mouse Y-Axis
Jump / Thrusters / Ascend Mouse 0 (Primary)
Brace / Drift / Descend Mouse 2 (Secondary)
Transform Mouse Wheel
Scan Terrain Mouse 1 (Wheel)
Game Menu / UI Back Mouse 3 (Back)

Touch controls

Periphery Synthetic EP does not support touch input beyond its menus. A gamepad is strongly recommended for best results on mobile devices.


Periphery Synthetic EP is developed in accordance with WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.1 at Level AA conformance. Its menus are fully operable with a keyboard and screen readers such as NVDA. Beware that it is designed to be used in application focus mode.

Photosensitivity warning

The screen may produce strobing patterns when the apparatus is moving at high velocities. Please navigate to the Graphics screen to make adjustments—or toggle them off—as needed.


Please direct all support requests through your preferred platform:


This project would not exist without your generous support and feedback.

Special thanks to the folks who have heard this concept grow since its genesis—especially my partner and the audio gaming community. You experienced firsthand how its components were designed, built, and rearranged into something greater.

The following typefaces belong to their respective owners:

Thanks for playing!