TERRATECH BLOGS

The Road to 1.0 

By Jamie Finch, posted 26th May 2016

As many of you know, we’re working hard down here at TerraTech HQ to get the game ready for its 1.0 release on Steam towards the end of this year. Just like we’ve done all along, we’ll continue to work closely with you lot in our amazing community to listen to your feedback and ideas, but below are the highlights of what we’re currently aiming to include once we launch. Keep sending us your thoughts via our forum or any of our social channels, and don’t forget to tune into the development streams on our Twitch Channel every weekday to see the work in progress.

A Whole New World

One of the most important aspects of TerraTech is the idea of exploring an unknown alien world. The current environment that the player is dropped into is procedurally generated and built by an engine that we designed to generate random worlds. One huge feature we want to get in before 1.0 will be to expand the terrain engine to allow more varied environments with more interesting features, like giant scenery and floating islands in the sky etc. This, coupled with re-writing the terrain generator using a threaded architecture, to smooth out the game performance for those of us with multi-core CPUs - should make for a far more alive and lucrative range of worlds to explore.

The Mission System

We will be overhauling the way missions are selected, spawned and played in the main game progression. The old system contained scripted missions that were meant to reflect the type of block they yielded as a reward, but this led to a large overhead of work to create bespoke missions for every block in the game. The new system will work a lot more intelligently by selecting missions from a pool of awesome, predetermined mission types to offer a large variety of ways to unlock new blocks. Some of these will include things like races, puzzles, harvesting challenges, ramp jumps, ramp-to-ramp tricks and a whole bunch more.

We will also be looking into the ways players can opt in or out of these missions. Things like NPCs and mission ‘zones’ will allow the Intergalactic Miners who don’t have time for being bossed around to ignore these instances entirely.

Challenge modes in the Main Game

We feel that in this world, there should be multiple ways to unlock and discover new blocks. An example of this would be a drag race out in the salt flats, or a rocket building competition in the mountains. Completing these challenges successfully would lead to special rewards.

These, coupled with some super secret easter eggs dotted around the world that yield greater rewards, would lead to a more diverse and interactive experience in TerraTech. Another thing that could display a player’s progression in the main game would be the size and complexity of their fleet, which leads us on to;

GUI

Now that the game is becoming more complex, we’re having to think about how all the menus and HUD elements will fit together. Making everything feel like it goes where it should and feels and looks ‘right’ will be our first port of call.

New Blocks

Everybody connected to TerraTech wants to see more and more blocks added, especially in the form of a new corporation. We all have our own favourites for who comes to TerraTech next, but we have a few things we need to get absolutely nailed before we jump down that rabbit hole.

Crafting

The crafting system is an integral part of TerraTech, and we have our next steps for this system planned out. We’re making headway towards the first big step in improving it all, led primarily by all the community feedback we receive on this subject. We’re currently moving towards single fabricators for each corporation and simpler recipes with better suggestion UI to aid in crafting new items. Silos will also ultimately be able to release items that fabricators, refineries or delivery cannons call for (or are set to ask for). We feel that this is a huge step in the right direction for a lot of people.

Creative Mode

Standing as easily one of the most requested features, Creative Mode is certainly something we want to get in the game ahead of 1.0. This was set as a stretch goal during our Kickstarter campaign which we didn’t quite manage to reach, but we’d love to make it a reality for 1.0. This will involve players spawning as a basic GSO cab in an open world with infinite blocks, money, and freedom to create and explore all they want.

R&D Improvements

We’ve had some big plans for what we want to do with R&D. So many of you have chosen to get your hands on it so we want to make some of these plans a reality ahead of 1.0. Things on the wishlist include;

  • Target Dummy Range. Players can test their Techs’ Damage Points per Second (DPS) against these state-of-the-art mathematically powered dummies.
  • Resource Forests. What good is building a ginormous harvesting machine when you don’t have anything but a thin line of resources to harvest?!
  • Race Tracks. Some of the fastest Techs are made in the R&D Test Chamber… we want to see how fast they can get when players have some tracks to test them on.
  • Ramp improvements/Flying hoops. More obstacles, more better!
  • Spawn Enemy Podium. A much talked about feature for R&D - the ability to spawn in enemies to blow to smithereens!
  • Free Camera. This will allow players to focus on different parts of larger Techs more easily.
  • Save and Load R&D Sessions. Does what it says on the tin. Something we’ve wanted to make possible for a long time now.
  • Controllable Day/Night Cycles.Get those lights beaming.

AI Improvements.

As we all know, the AI in TerraTech has been in need of a little attention for a while now. We would like to aim to put a little more ‘I’ into the AI and allow the player to have a little more control over what their tiny Tech buddies do. This will likely come in the form of a shiny new AI instruction interface.

Sound Improvements

Sound is a big part of what we feel is lacking in the current state of TerraTech - and whenever a new block is added, every dev has a distinct idea for what it should sound like. We’re keen to get some awesome sounds in for 1.0 - BZZZOOM!

More Music

We love the music that we have in the game so far, so getting more in would be great! Tracks per biome, tracks per corporation you’re fighting against, tracks per time of day… all things that we will aim to have ahead of 1.0.

Multiplayer

As you know, this is a huge one. Probably our most requested feature, and possibly the largest feature we’re going to undertake. The long term goal for this will be to have a fully functioning multiplayer mode for the main game, so you can explore alien worlds with your friends… or against your friends, We're still evaluating whether we can offer multiplayer for the 1.0 release. We hope to have some news on that front soon. What we are hoping to have is a smaller scale of multiplayer for 1.0. This would take the form of mini-game modes, separate from the main game. We’re unsure what the server situation will be at this stage, we’re evaluating what ‘pattern’ of multiplayer architecture (eg client/server, cloud online, peer to peer etc) works best.

Big Scenery

Currently, the scenery we place in the world is limited to a certain size. We want to be able to place huge bits of scenery in which will make the world feel a lot more alive and varied. We would like to have landmarks that are visible from miles away, or giant floating rocks, or trees bigger than the biggest techs in the game...

Gamepads

Making TerraTech work exclusively for controllers has been a tricky ordeal, but we’re making some headway into it. Nothing beats playing the game with a keyboard and mouse, but we know a lot of people will be interested in trying out the game with their controller of choice.

Key Binding/Different control methods for different vehicle types

We are constantly blown away with what people can build in TerraTech with the current collection of blocks and mechanics - but we feel like the boundaries for what is possible could explode with awesomeness once we get custom control schemes in. This would allow for things like assigning separate rotors to separate keys would enable to use of multi-directional quadcopters, having boosters fire at will when flying rather than constantly being active, separating weapon types by only choosing to fire lasers or cannons or saws or flamethrowers etc… the list goes on!

New method of switching Techs

One part of the ‘late-game’ goals for TerraTech has always been building your own fleet of vehicles and wreaking havoc (explorational havoc of course…) around the planet. One step we need to take to make this a little easier is to implement a ‘smarter’ way of switching Techs. This could come in the form of a UI window where you can see all of your available/controllable Techs and switch to them with the click of a button. This could then be expanded into issuing AI commands through the UI, viewing current status of Techs (“Help, i’m on fire!”) and listing their positions/current task etc.

Enemy nocturnal behaviours

We’re keen to make night time a more engaging experience in TerraTech, rather than something players want to set up camp and stay near their base for. Fireflies would appear that guide the player to rare resources, enemies could have blocks that attract these fireflies to them in order to ambush the player. Bigger enemies would only come out at night and scare off the little guys, thus making the world a much more dangerous place for a limited time. There are a few ideas we could run with here.

Undefeated Invaders building bases

The role of invaders in the world has always been something we want to expand on. Rival miners coming in and taking over territory is something we really want to get across as part of the narrative of the game. Invaders that the player flees from could stick around, set up shop and start building minions to harvest the surrounding area.

Water

We get asked about this a lot. It’s definitely something we’d love to see and think it would add a lot of life to these alien planets we’re exploring. But it is a huge task that would have a significant impact on gameplay which we would have to consider from a number of angles. How would sailing work? Would there be an advantage to driving along the seabed? Would all blocks float? Would some blocks float? Would we want a seafaring corporation?

More Corporations

Our aim is to have a brand new corporation before 1.0, bringing us up to four… and we’d love to add more after that. It’s still a little unclear what exactly constitutes a ‘finished’ corporation though, as the way they are structured is in constant flux and changes with the way we set out the license and mission structures, but we feel as if we have a good idea of how to get the initial ‘feel’ of the new blocks across to the player.

New Blocks (ongoing)

We’re constantly adding new blocks to the game. One of the main things that excites us when working on this project is the modular method we have for adding new features to the game in the form of blocks. We currently have 145 blocks in the game, and the list of upcoming blocks planned before 1.0 currently stands at 69 (37 of which will be in the form of the new corporation). The list of block ideas that could come after 1.0 is pretty endless when you take into account the additional corporations we have designed, new damage types (Ice lasers? Acid shooters? Healing Explosions?) and a bunch of other toys – we could really go to town with this!

Floating Islands

We’re keen to make the TerraTech world feel more alive and alien. There are a whole bunch of things we want to get in to make this happen - but the thing that tends to jump to the forefront of our minds when discussing this is floating islands.

We think having this kind of environment could lead to some interesting gameplay mechanics or mission objectives. Players could build/invade bases built on these floating rocks, use them as landing platforms, runways, they could lure enemy flying Techs through them for an escape or to set up an ambush...all kinds of exciting things!

3D Printer Automated Tech Creation

Having a 3D Printing block in the game is something that players have wanted for a long time - and we can see why! We think it makes good sense to have something like this in the game as an advanced, end-of-game, end-of-crafting line block that you can feed your automated crafting systems into in order to output a pre-designed Tech of your choice. Instant harvesting troop! Or army… depending on your persuasion.

Articulated Hitching Blocks

Another one of those ‘most asked for’ features is the ability to attach and detach separate Techs. This could lead to players dragging base Techs around or making train/freight like Mad Max-esque Techs. It’s a pretty big change and would require quite a lot of code time, but it’s certainly something we’d love to see people messing about with.

We see TerraTech as a dynamic, modular and organic project – and one that can live on far beyond the version 1.0 release with a near limitless scope of new blocks, toys and worlds to explore… so nailing down a strict list of ‘this is what we need to do to finish the game’ has always felt strange. We hope you guys now have a better idea of how we see TerraTech shaping up in the run up to version 1.0 and beyond. While this is by no means a definitive list of things we need to have fully implemented before we push the big green button, it does give you a good idea of what we’re aiming for in the not-too-distant future. As always – the more you guys continue to give us your valuable feedback on our path to 1.0, the more awesome we can make TerraTech! Let’s do this.