By Kris Skellorn, posted 17th October 2018
TerraTech Designer, Kris Skellorn, explains the premise of TerraTech's story, the design of the game's intergalactic mining corporations, and how the player unlocks new content to play with.
One of the unique aspects of TerraTech is that we have multiple sets of building blocks, each set is geared for different tasks within the game, so they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. The idea is that these sets are each designed and licensed by different corporations back on Earth, for use by the off world miners - ie. you, the player, and your rival prospectors on the alien planets.
For example, GeoCorp is all about heavy industrial mining, think giant diggers and dump trucks, so many of its blocks are huge and everything it supplies is bright yellow. On the downside, they have no traditional weapons like guns - as guns do not fall within the remit of what GeoCorp designs.
Each set of blocks reflects the style of the corporation that designed them. If the player is to take advantage of all of the various perks of each corporation’s technology, they must first unlock each corporation, then donate resources to specific corporations, in return for access to crafting higher tier or rarer blocks.
We have lots of corporations planned and as the world of TerraTech expands we want to add many more. So here is an overview of each of the corporations so far:
“A tired eastern-bloc-style government run organisation, full to the brim with bureaucracy and health and safety paranoia. Budgets are stretched thin. Equipment is old, battered hand-me-downs that have been patched and chipped so many times that you can't really tell what they must have looked like originally. Weapons are retro-fitted, low grade rubbish that is clearly ill suited to the job at hand. A dusty old department that lost sight of their goal and gave up long ago.”
GSO is a government department that was initially set-up to recruit offworld prospectors and get them set-up on alien planets and working to send resources back to Earth. However, since larger corporations have become involved and started to divert the resources that are sent back through their own companies (in exchange for better technology for the miners), the GSO has gone downhill. Its funding has been reduced to the point where it can only offer hand-me-down equipment to the prospectors it is supposed to be supplying, and it is far from being able to offer competitive, cutting edge technologies.
The GSO are the first corporation that players will have access to in the game. They offer a fair selection of blocks, giving miners most of what they will need to get the job done, but everything they offer is weak, small and old fashioned - easily surpassed by the other corporations' strong points in every way.
“Mining and construction specialists packing the biggest, heaviest power tools. These hard-hat wearing, utility belt men like machines that pack a punch. The bigger the better. They aren't interested in weapons; jack hammers and industrial grade drills are what gets these guys going. It's tool time.”
GeoCorp was initially a company that built industrial mining and construction vehicles. When it moved into the off world mining business it kept playing to its strengths and still offers the biggest, most powerful bits of machinery around - as long as you’re not interested in projectile weapons.
The GeoCorp vehicles are great for mining the natural resources on these alien planets. If you want to cut through a whole forest of trees in one charge, you’ll want to build your vehicle with GeoCorp parts. Its giant tractor pads also mean that its vehicles can pick-up the most resources for transportation too. Because of their size and rugged construction, its blocks also act as great platforms to build large, imposing battle vehicles - you’ll just have to source the ranged weapons from another corporation as GeoCorp don’t make any guns at all.
“Mad professors running wild making crazy weaponry. The vehicles are standard modern day fair, but the weapons mounted on to them are turbocharged and out of this world. These bizarre weapons give little indication of their actual function and they are just as likely to work as to blow their operator to pieces. Evil geniuses who've found the keys to the toy box.”
Reticule Research is an applied sciences research company, whose main focus is experimental weaponry. With the advent of off-world mining, the coy RR execs realised that they could cut their R&D costs if they simply offered up their dangerous prototype weapons to those freelance prospectors on the other side of the galaxy.
Reticule Research is the corp where anything goes when it comes to weapons, but the weapons they have are just as likely to mess the player up as they are to cause harm to their enemies. One weapon I’m really keen on having for this is something we call the ‘Spherical Slice Shield’, this is a small module that you place anywhere on your tank, then when you activate it, it will project a sphere of energy a few meters out which will cut through and detach any blocks that it comes into contact with be that friendly or enemy. So you would attach it to small tanks that can crash into large enemies kamikaze style, then activate it to take a chunk off an enemy vehicle. Then, once engaged, the tank and blocks stuck inside will ping around the battlefield as they are struck by any fire, stuck in a hamster ball style globe.
“A charming, charismatic extreme sports champion and businessman starts a new company selling a grand adventure to any and all who are brave enough to take up the challenge. Tricked out jet buggies, coated in bright decals, sponsorship stickers and caked in mud, blast across the landscape looking for thrills and riches in an unexplored world. Adrenaline junkies looking for the next big wave to ride.”
Venture is a company that sold extreme sports equipment and organised huge motor sports events back on Earth. To Venture the intergalactic mining effort is just the next big adventure. It's not so bothered about big weapons or efficient mining equipment. It's more interested in speed, suspension and getting big air. It isn't just selling buggies or dirtbikes, it is selling the wildest ride around.
Venture is all about light chassis, thick grip-dirt tyres, shock absorbers and large spoilers. Its vehicles are covered in sponsorship stickers like rally or F1 cars and its windshields look like orange reflector sunglasses. Venture are the corporation where we will build on the premise of ‘falling-with-style’ - so most of the boosters and wings that are in the current demo of TerraTech will likely find a home as part of the Venture set in time.
“Ex-military meat-heads form a private military company. Special forces mercenaries for hire who work for the richest people oppress the poorest. These cold hard killers tout high-tech gucci gear that would be way beyond the reach of the average grunt's pay packet. We supply the tools for badass black-ops guys who are here to get the job done, and get back in time for chow.”
Hawkeye started out as a private military company, essentially mercenaries hired by governments and despots alike to do seriously dirty work. As Hawkeye grew it expanded out into arms manufacturing and sales too, levering the expert knowledge of its employees to offer the most efficient, no-nonsense tools for making warfare.
The Hawkeye blocks are generally near futuristic versions of current military technology. So big miniguns, cannons and explosives. All of these are mounted on matte black vehicles that are shaped and styled like black-ops military hardware crossed with stealth bomber angles. It's not interested in mining equipment or wacky energy weapons, just bold, simple bullets.
“The scrap heap heroes of the off world mining circuit. These are survivalist sci-fi mountain men who are battle hardened and scarred from years of living off the land in the prospectors frontier. They are reactionary guys who are sick of having their hard fought spoils conned from them by the bigger Corps. Their machines are hand made patch works of old salvaged wrecks, covered over with war paint. Space hermits riding mad contraptions.”
Space Junkers is exceptional because it's not really a corporation, it's more of a loose collection of veteran prospectors who have decided that self sufficiency is what they want and have struck out on their own to stick it to ‘the man’.
The philosophy with Junkers starts with mend and make do and ends with steal what you can and give nothing back. Its unique pieces are all about salvaging the blocks form other corporations and repurposing them, super charging them or just bolting them onto itrusty old vehis cles anywhere there is a gap.
“Design geeks creating ultra sleek, minimalist, desirable objects have turned their styluses to developing a range of green, carbon negative, enviro harvesters. These secretive hype-teases are selling us the opportunity to prospect the new world in style, for a luxury fee. They're changing everything, yet again!”
Better Future builds high end luxury futuristic vehicles. Its corporate philosophy is that form must always be as important (if not more so) than function. Although it might seem an odd choice to build off-world mining vehicles from their expensive technologies, the people that start using its products swear by them and will often refuse to use items made by anyone else.
Some of the key strengths of Better Future are, excellent hover jets and gyro-stabilisers. These are the guys that players will have the best chance of creating sustained flight with (although it still won’t be perfect). Its other pros include excellent energy weapons that are safe for the user to operate (unlike Reticule Research). However all of this tech comes at a premium price so expect the resource cost for these blocks to be high.
“Techno goths and internet creeps form a weird cult devoted to creating super intelligent AI. Their terrifying creation is a dreadlocked, baby faced, bionic tentacle nightmare with a sense of humour from the darkest corners of the internet. This dark creation is about as sinister and weird as it gets.”
Legion is a strange dark-future cult. Like Space Junkers they are more of a loose collection of people following the same movement and aesthetic rather than a corporation in the traditional sense. It originally formed as virtual vigilantes in the early years of the internet, but has now morphed into a subculture of its own that prizes the creation of the best AI above all else.
For Legion, the key strengths are its AI modules. It surpasses all others with its complex life-like creations. If you want the smartest fleet of minions around, this is the group to side with. The other aspect is the creepy design, lots of walker legs and flailing tentacles that are dragged behind, combined with the glowing red eyes. These guys make for a menacing looking group!