Terra Ex begins when Earth collides with Mars. Humanity must face its future and forge new civilizations in the far corners of space. This game allows the player to choose to be a peaceful nation of colonists, go into espionage, trade, or destroy other civilizations. With both player vs. player and player vs. environment capabilities, the possibilities are endless.
But Terra Ex is more than just a video game. With the help of scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and world-renowned physicists who are contributors to the History Channel series, “The Universe,” Terra Ex will be the first free online space game to inject real science into the world of science fiction. The star systems colonized by players will be generated from the actual systems found in the night sky, and players will be able to track NASA’s discoveries as they’re being made. So if a player is curious about a newly colonized system in the game, he or she can click on it to view updated facts about the star.
The team members of Terra Ex are devoted to scientific education, so they have partnered with the Odin Foundation to donate forty percent of all profits from players’ in-game purchases to provide scholarships to underprivileged students interested in the sciences. The Terra Ex team’s goal is to create a game that can entertain, encourage fascination about science and help science students pursue further education.
The Terra Ex Kickstarter campaign has just launched, with a $200,000 initial goal and stretch goals that reach $1.5 million. With contributions from Shane Dabiri, producer of World Of Warcraft, Clifford Johnson featured scientist of the “Universe,” Rick Nybakken, Jupiter mission manager of JPL, biophysicist Moh El-Naggar, recently named Popular Science's "Brilliant 10,” and ODIN’s board members, Terra Ex has a promising future in both the gaming and science worlds.
Players can play on their own or with friends to create sprawling empires. Building takes time and research. You will be able to speed up your progress using in-game currency to purchase faster builds, special weapons and upgrades.
Gameplay takes place using 3 Strategic view modes: Galactic View, System View and the War Room.
- The Galactic view is a top down map of the explored Universe. From here you can see your occupied systems, known enemy systems, and those that are part of your alliance. All ship movement takes place in this view.
- Construction, research and upgrades will take place in the system view. Build ships, upgrade your station, manage your resources and position your defenses from this view.
- All your battle decisions take place here. See an overview of the battlefield, give attack orders, movement commands and issue fall back commands at the beginning of each combat round to adjust for changing scenarios. After each battle, a Battle Report will be generated. Scour those reports and casualty lists for clues on how to improve your tactics for the next battle. These reports will offer simple information like the number of ships lost and loot collected. They can be expanded to detail effectiveness of weapons and upgrades, statistics for each round, and storyline logs, describing the decisions your ship captains made that lead to their victory or untimely death. These Battle Reports can be invaluable when planning your next attack.
True Time is a hybrid between a Real-Time Strategy game and Turn-Based Strategy game. Base building, research, upgrades and movement all take place in real time. When combat begins, time is segmented into rounds, allowing the player to make critical decisions, fall back or change their strategy as the battle evolves.
Every ship in the game can be upgraded from level 1 through 10. Increasing your level allows you to outfit your ships with more weapons, armor, shields, propulsion systems and unique modules to gain advantages during combat. Each ship has a finite number of slots. Choose how you want to balance weapons, armor, propulsion and other modules for the deadliest combination.
Many different ship types will be available to build and outfit at launch, including Interceptors, Fighters (light and heavy), Frigates, Cargo ships, Carriers and Battleships. As our design team creates more artwork, it will be made available on Kickstarter and our website. To make this a true community effort, anyone who pledges to our campaign will be allowed a vote on their favorite designs. The winning votes will become the final ships seen in the game.
Terra Ex is unlike any other space game in that it combines both exciting gameplay and scientific facts. To make this game accurate, we teamed up with the people who know this stuff best: NASA.
Specifically, the scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (That’s the place where the Mars Rovers were built.) The scientists and engineers responsible for landing things on other planets are helping ensure the technologies in the game either do exist now or could exist someday.
Let’s say you’re zipping through space in your brand new, highly weaponized battleship, and you ask yourself, “How would a real ship’s warp-drive work?”
Well, you could Ask O.D.I.N. the On Demand Information Network.
Ask O.D.I.N. is a button you’ll find next to many of the in-game technologies. If you’re curious about the technologies, press the button and a small text box will give you information on the real world version of this technology is today, and where it may be in the future. Our stretch goals will include a video clip of an actual scientist working on that technology who will explain where that technology is today and where we hope it will be in the future.
This educational aspect of the game isn’t limited to technologies. All of the star systems you build bases in really exist. The game will provide information about each of those systems, and you can use apps like StarWalk to pinpoint where your base would be in the real night sky.
NASA is hard at work each day discovering new planets, galaxies and whatever else is out there to find. On your home screen, a link will take you to a proprietary application made by NASA JPL that will allow you to tour planets and star systems that are being discovered in real time in 3D.
Space is really big. Traveling through it takes time. That means, when an attack is launched against you, you’ll have time to prepare. This doesn’t mean you’ll have to wait thousands of years for the next vessel to arrive; we’ve compressed time into hours.
Imagine you’ve just built an exploratory base in uncharted space. You set up a long-range sensor array. You get a warning that an enemy armada is heading straight for your station and will arrive in four hours. You now have the advanced warning to build new ships, move existing ships into position, and prepare your defenses for that attack.
Does that mean it’s going to take hours for me to attack every enemy base?
Not at all. That would get very boring, very fast. Computer-controlled alien bases will be within instant reach and, depending on how far away player-controlled bases are, your ships could take minutes or hours to get there. Terra Ex allows you to instantly travel through the systems you own so you may position your forces strategically throughout the map. If you wish to fast travel to an enemy system, you have the option of building Way Stations. A Way Station will allow you to fast travel through any system you have not yet colonized, but you must keep them well defended, as your enemies will surely be on the lookout for them. You can fast travel through any space you or your allies control.
But there’s a catch: if you’re going to attack something far away, plan your force for what their base is going to be like, not for what it is. They’ll have the time it takes you to travel to prepare their defenses, just as you did for your last attack.
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