Welcome to the NEW Dark Sea.

Your old friend wishes to sing to you..

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January Update!

I’d like to express my utmost gratitude to those of you who donated, and your kind words of support. My living situation has improved substantially, and we’ll have no trouble keeping the site online for the forseeable future.

For the next few months I will have an unusually large amount of time to work on the site, and that means some huge and long-overdue updates. Also expect to be seeing a new face or two doing news posts!

- Deven “Epicenter” Gallo

News, News Posts | Jan 30

Update: Some rough seas ahead

Epicenter here. I recently lost my job, crummy as it was. As a result I am not able to pay rent, so I am living at a shelter until I can secure stable employment and housing. I have no intention to abandon this site– it is my longest-running project to this day (content on this site dates back close to 10 years.) However, I can only work on the site from my smartphone (minimal updates, answering comments and emails), and from the library (proper updates, writing and maintenance.) My primary computer recently died, and I cannot afford to replace or repair it. The smartphone, I can just barely afford (and perhaps not for long, without a source of income.)

Naturally, the site costs money to run, and it does not bring in any revenue. So, I am appealing to you, the visitors to the site and dedicated fans of the series, to help keep us afloat during this time. Every little bit helps, and if there is a feature you’d like to see, or one you’d like further developed, a donation will ensure it is the first thing worked on.

If you are willing to help, please place a comment on this post, or e-mail me at Epicenter713@gmail.com. Please help ensure this Ecco archive isn’t lost to time.

Thank you. and pardon all the unintended ocean puns

UPDATE: Thanks to Silent Pyramid, Sparky Lurkdragon and Miguel/Draikin for their donations! You’re a tremendous help!

News, News Posts | Dec 10

Ecco Piano Covers!

This has been a long time in coming! I received some impressive live piano covers of Ecco songs quite long ago, but forgot to post them. So here we go!

Check out her YouTube channel for more goodies! Expect to see her works and many others in the upcoming Video Music subsection.

Music, News, News Posts | Nov 12

The forums are breathing again! And other good news.

I’ve finally got the forums working again as it appears they should. If you spot any problems, or have trouble logging in, please use the comments on this post to report them.

Speaking of comments! Tails151 has been making a valiant effort to validate only real input to Dark Sea’s comment system amidst a seemingly endless tide of spam. (Pun not intended, I swear.) I’ve installed some software that will help to sort the wheat from the chaff, so your contributions can reach the site as fast as possible, probably instantaneously, without the need for us to pick them apart from the rampant spam that pervades the net these days.

Keep an eye out; tomorrow I plan to introduce the site’s new co-owner who will be helping us bring you new and exciting things in the Ecco world, as well as a much-needed personality boost. Think of him as a helpful in-house Arkon. Progress through entropy. (ooh, I like that.)

Epicenter out, but not for long…

News, News Posts | Nov 11

Vortex/Ecco Travel Analysis

I’m hard at work at aspects of my own life, but I’m still working on the next phase of this site. In the meantime, as I prepare larger endeavors for DARK SEA, this should serve as a demonstration that this work of mine and its dedicated followers is continuing with no end in sight. I thought I’d share some thoughts I’ve been turning over in my head today regarding the Ecco storyline. I’m looking forward to hearing others weigh in on this little mystery. This is likely the first of many analyses of various nuances of the storyline which will become their own section on the site.

The games do not give us very much information about Vortex and its malicious associations with Earth. What we do know comes from bits of information left behind by the Atlanteans. These (not all-inclusive):

- Vortex has lost its ability to produce its own food.
- Vortex needs to harvest life from Earth to sustain its own survival.
- Every 500 years, when there is a clear path between Earth and Vortex, a feeding occurs, tearing life from Earth’s oceans to feed the Vortex Queen and her spawn.
- Vortex is located in the head of the constellation ‘Pegasus’.

Let’s get one technical detail out of the way first. Analyzing the graphical tileset of the original Ecco title, the graphics segments that form all sprites and text in the games, only one number exists and can be displayed; that is the number 5. All numbers mentioned in the game use only this digit, and the letter O substituting as the number 0. The reason is unclear; space limitations do not appear to be involved. This would be the reason for the nice, even number ’500′ years.

The Pegasus Galaxy located in the aforementioned constellation is approximately 2.7 Million light years from Earth. Ecco, after being empowered by the Asterite, is able to swim through ‘The Tube’ to Vortex, and back. His pod follows him back, so, with his pod lacking those powers, they must be travelling at a typically-achievable dolphin swimming speed.

Powers aside, let’s do the math here:
1 light year, the distance light can travel in one year, is 5,878,625,373,183.608 miles. 5.88 trillon miles.

So 2.7M light years = 15,872,288,507,595.74 miles.

The highest figure I have heard of a dolphin’s possible swimming speed is 40 miles per hour. So let’s see how that would figure into the trip time.

The time it would take a dolphin to swim this distance is approximately 45.3 million years.

Obviously, the method of transit involved is nothing conventional. Ecco and his pod, in their return trip to Earth, would have taken nearly as long as the period of time Ecco travelled to reach the prehistoric Earth.

So how would Vortex connect the Tube to Earth to harvest its ocean life, and how would the Queen travel to Earth, in such a short timespan? The only explanation I can think of is an application of the concept of a ‘wormhole’.

If you’re not familiar, the theory is that two distant points in space can be brought closer together by bending space-time. In essence, this bending brings the two points closer together, allowing an instantaneous crossover from one location to the other. A common analogy is a piece of paper with two points drawn on it. The logical fastest route from point A to point B is a straight line. However, imagine folding the paper so that points A and B line up with each other, then punch a hole through the two. The distance isn’t travelled, it’s eliminated.

So theoretically, the Vortex must have been in possession of some sort of wormhole generator to allow them to ‘bring Earth closer’ to use the tube in Earth orbit, or travel across directly. One might wonder, how does a hive-mind species like the Vortex achieve such technology? The Vortex Queen has demonstrated tremendous intelligence– the ability to copy and manipulate DNA to suit her needs, generate life forms at will, create a race of drones to build an expansive biomechanical harvesting machine so powerful it appears to have eradicated all food sources on her planet. With enough time on her hands, doing nothing but eat and think, would it really be beyond her to devise something like this? Who is to say Earth is the first planet Vortex harvested from? And even if it was, Vortex’s war with the Atlanteans could have yielded untold knowledge and technology. The Atlanteans had developed a functional time machine. What other technologies did they have?

But the obvious question remains. In the use of wormhole technology to bridge the gap between Earth and Vortex… why does there need to be a clear path between the two worlds? Is there a targeting process Vortex must complete before the portal could be opened? Does the wormhole generator require so much energy that there is a lengthy period to store the power to operate it? If my thinking is correct, no distance is being traversed– the Earth and Vortex are being put in the same place for just long enough to achieve a short-term goal. Why should it matter what matter exists in the path between two objects between which nothing ever travels?

I’ll leave you with that for now! What do you think?

News, News Posts | Sep 26

Ecco Prototypes Get Remix Love … and Specifics of Upcoming Updates

Good friend of Dark Sea Beth Carter, a.k.a. Illusen a.k.a. Wildfire is working on a remix of a song from an unreleased version of Ecco II. Brownie points go to whomever identifies the songs in question that are used. Let’s hear it for this phenomenal piece of work and attention to a long-neglected genre.

A work-in-progress:
Tah Dah

For those unaware, Carter/Illusen/Wildfire is a staff member and frequent host of the un-podcast I am host of. So anyone who happens to find my ramblings amusing for whatever reason is invited to listen to the show, known as Overclocked After Dark.

You can find that here:

SO! What are these updates I speak of? Here are some of them. I’m keeping a couple secret for now. But there is one I will tell you all about. To provide it on the site, we need donations. We have access to loads of assets from Novotrade/Appaloosa … to include a working test build of Ecco, Defender of the the Future II for Dreamcast as well as loads of prototype materials from the unfinished game. We have these materials but they are not yet paid for and I cannot foot the bill myself. Please contact me if you can help.

Upcoming first are …
- Ecco JR prototype (The earliest known one including at least one never before seen stage) .. with video review by a good friend of Dark Sea
- Ecco 1 Revision 01 documentation and ROM (imagine the JP version but in English, many bug fixes and improvements in gameplay)
- Before too long .. Ecco 2 GG earliest prototype and my review of it. In video. We may have a guest star for this as well, someone who is also quite familiar with that disasater..

- Epicenter
p.s. Who says I don’t stay busy?

News, News Posts | Jul 9

Rumors Of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Howdy! Epicenter here. I’ve just finished moving, and as a result have somewhat limited capabilities are far as computers go. However, there are some damn interesting things to come VERY shortly. The forums are going to be replaced soon with something that isn’t such a huge piece of …. software … but the old forum will be archived for future perusal.

I don’t say this lightly. If you think the site is extensive now– you have not seen ANYTHING yet. :)

News, News Posts | May 3

Ecco 1 Genesis/MD Prototype VHS Research

Howdy! Sometime in 1992, a video was circulated apparently among Spanish-speaking press promoting the games available for the Sega Genesis a.k.a. MegaDrive. In this tape is contained a video sequence showing a far-from-finished version of Ecco the Dolphin I, back when the project was still known simply as ‘Dolphin’. We’ll be exploring this video here and comparing it against the final US release of the game.

Download the Video Here
2.18 MByte AVI File

Initial Video Analysis

The video begins approximately here– note the caption of ‘DOLPHIN’; the prototype name of Ecco the Dolphin earlier in the development of the project. This image shows Ecco jumping through the air with what appear to be final or near-final sprites, with islands in the backdrop consistent with the final version.

Ecco jumps through the air and breaks the surface. Note that the angle of the camera appears to be slightly shifted upward at this point, causing the splash at the surface to be more visible than it would otherwise be in the final version. The purple appearance of some of the underwater area appears to be due to video artifacting; as similar effects are seen in magazine screenshots. It is also possible that the color palette was somewhat different at this point.

Ecco swims beneath the surface, and we see this purple shell that appears to be hovering static in the water. This shell is very similar, if not identical, to the one seen sucked up during the Storm as the Vortex feed on Earth, and also embedded in the wall in Home Bay. This object has not been found suspended in such a manner anywhere in a final version of the game.

Ecco here uses his sonar, which looks consistent with the final version. The school of fish to the left, all of the silver variety, seem consistent as well to how they are drawn in the final.

Diving deeper, you see a Glyph to the left of Ecco, which does not appear to line up with any known level layout in the final game. To the right is a different variety of fish, indicating more than one had been drawn and implemented at this point.

Here, Ecco nears the water surface at what is apparently the right side of the level. This appears to match up with some level of accuracy to the final version of ‘Home Bay’.

Before the Storm is invoked in Ecco I’s Home Bay, the exit is blocked by two roundish stones separated by a short distance vertically. Here, we see two objects placed similarly– except, the sprite is instead two of the conical shells used later in the game to destroy barriers.

Comparisons to Final US Version

Concept Video for Ecco II’s CG Clips

Thanks to everyone’s favorite troll Arkon for providing this. Here’s footage that was pitched to Sega as a trailer for the Saturn/32X Ecco game that never happened but was actually early footage from the development of Ecco II’s CG clips that we all know and love. I don’t normally use YouTube to host such things, but the footage is in FLV format so that is the easiest way to go– enjoy. :)

Ta dah.

Footage itself comes from a Japanese promotional VHS tape if that wasn’t already apparent. Enjoy!

News Posts | Dec 12

Ecco ROMs with Russian Translation

Looking at the site statistics, it’s come to my attention there are a large number of Ecco fans in Russia– so this may be of significant interest. These are ROMs of Ecco games for the Sega Genesis/MegaDrive that were translated and sold (though not legally) by the company NewGame. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the translations; but I hope you’ll enjoy these.

Said ROMs have been added to the following page: Here Ya Go!

News Posts | Dec 9
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