24/09/2018

🚜🚛 Preview: TerraTech 🚜🚛 #GameDev #IndieGame

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Terratech is an open-world vehicular construction and combat game from Payload Studios, a colourful and surprisingly accessible game that plays out as a mix of Hard truck Apocalypse and digital Meccano.
A thorough description of the history and focus of Terratech from the Payload Studios site:
Payload Studios is a British independent game studio founded by Russ Clarke to develop the ultimate exploration and combat game, TerraTech.
Previously of London's Ideaworks mobile studio, Payload Studios founder Russ Clarke left London’s Ideaworks mobile studio to go on his very own indie adventure in 2012.
The end result was Payload Studios, with Russ pulling in his experience from working on beloved franchises like Metal Gear, Call of Duty, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider and Fable to create the first prototype for TerraTech.
After spending some time working as a consultant he returned to the TerraTech prototype to turn his vision into a full blown indie project.
The game as it stands today started its life in late 2013 and has progressed rapidly – with the team also expanding at pace, now based in Kings Cross, London - moving through to a closed beta throughout the summer of 2014 and an open beta debut on Humble in November 2014.
The game was then launched through Early Access on 6th February 2015, building on the amass of community feedback garnered over the course of the last few months.
TerraTech: The off-world adventure where you create to your heart's content and then set out to conquer all before you.
Set amongst the stars, TerraTech - which picked up TIGA Awards for Best New IP from a Small Studio in 2014 and Best Action/Adventure game in 2015 - is the story of an Earth contending with an expanding population and environmental damage, with profit-driven multinational corporations leading the charge to seek out and colonise new planets.
Your job is to lead that assault, building contraptions and vehicles out of an array of different parts – some scavenged from others – as you look to harvest resources from your new endless, alien home to send back to Earth. This means, as well as tracking down the planet's assets ahead of your rivals, you will also find yourself taking them on in direct combat, clearing the way for your fleet to dominate the off world.
And with said battles come the spoils of war. New vehicle parts and weapons can be scavenged from other prospectors or built from the minerals and resources you find, and by researching new technologies or buying new blueprints you can further boost your fleet's capabilities.
TerraTech is fundamentally an exploration and combat game. Procedurally generated worlds and an almost limitless array of vehicle design and customisation make for a unique experience for every play through.

Make your vehicles as big, small, powerful, useful or just plain crazy as you like – the choice is yours. Ally yourself with one corporation and rise through the ranks to profit and glory, or hedge your bets and cherry-pick from a range of them, accessing powerful new technologies but risking more of your cash reserves to support their different energy sources.
Although I tried to play Terratech online briefly, there were no available matches for me to join at the time and so my time with the game was focused on the single player mode. Not being a natural when it comes to construction games, I was prepared to falter around for a while before getting to grips with the nature of the game but the tutorial is surprisingly concise and informative and within a couple of minutes I found myself bolting on (admittedly deeply impractical) additions to my armoured behemoth and trundling around the wooded landscape blasting, collecting and (when the trader troll turned up) getting blasted.
The presentation of the game feels of a very high quality and runs smoothly. The light-hearted tone  of the game is offset by the surprising depth under the proverbial bonnet with lots of customisation options to hand. As I made my way around the landscape, a further comparison to Hard Truck Apocalypse raised its head (and I’m glad it did) with the guitar-based soundtrack rolling along as a gentle accompaniment.  It adds ambience in the background without being overbearing or distracting.
There are the usual beta-stage technical issues here, enemy AI is quite one-dimensional in that they drive straight at you whilst shooting constantly and enemy vehicles can sometimes get stuck in the many trees and buildings that litter the landscape, unable to move past until they have been destroyed but the actual game play itself feels near-completion. 

Summary  
As a fan of the vehicular combat genre, TerraTech feels new in how it combines the usual drive-n-gun concept with the design and construction aspects held together in vibrant, green locations as opposed to the usual drab post-apocalyptic setting. I can imagine there being a healthy online community upon release and it’s here that the game will really make its mark as dozens of players complete for the greatest vehicles with which to rain destruction upon their enemies but the single player campaign also feels comfortable to play through, definitely a title to keep an eye on and also one suitable for all the family, as a bonus.