Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Terraria Otherworld - more details

The guys over at Re-logic have finally release a lot more info on Terraria: Otherworld, and boy do they look glorious indeed! Check this video first:

The video is pretty sweet indeed, and here's what they had to say, and my thoughts on some of the things:
Combining the sandbox gameplay experience with role-playing and strategy elements, Terraria: Otherworld explores the Terraria experience in an innovative and unique way - providing a fresh approach to the “open world” genre.
The whole "cleanse the world" kinda thing I really like, it gives the game much more purpose than the original Terraria (not that I didn't like the original, it's probably my favourite game of all time! bold words hey!). In the video you can see the machines built in order to fight the corruption, and I saw some really cool looking defensive structures as well - something that was missing a great deal in Terraria.
  • The game will include a core story line – a “purpose” if you will - to give the player goals to work towards - but like Terraria, you are not forced to “go do this, now do this”. Free exploration within the sandbox is still a key element of this game, and embraces the Terraria spirit of “approach a challenge in your own unique way”.
  • This will also include more robust development of characters in the game – for example, the NPCs will move beyond just being “merchants only”, and evolve into characters with a story and lore all their own.
  • In order to build upon Terraria’s very high replay value, the story will not be a fixed narrative - but rather a dynamic mix of key story elements that are used to create a fresh play through every time a player replays the game.
  • Of course, some repetition and/or similar key elements are necessary in regards to progression is inevitable, but we are striving to give the player as unique a story experience as possible with each and every playthrough.
 I really like that they're giving NPC's a bigger role. And the freedom is still there for those who doesn't like the lack of that.

Next, they talk about the Skill Trees:
  • The players’ actions – more than before – will give certain advantages that were mostly left up to chance/RNG in the original Terraria.
  • For example, players that prefer to play a certain style (melee, magic, ranged, etc.) will see their skills with those type of weapons improve over time.
  • However, this is not a “set in stone” choice that the player will have to make (there are no selectable classes or anything), but rather something that just happens: use a sword 90% of the time and your skill with swords will improve. Use a Silver Sword all the time, and your skill with swords AND that particular sword will improve.
  • This way – based on your actions in the game – you can raise up a lower tier sword to be better than a sword that is much higher up the ladder adding to the uniqueness and personality of your character AND customizing your gameplay to your own unique preferences.
Leveling up in specific weapons, and not just the type of weapon (sword) but also what it's made of (silver) really is a nice touch for me - I like the idea of finding a nice weapon, and deciding to stick with it and getting better in that specific one as you play more. Customization is always a good thing!

  • The main objective of the game is not simply to explore, gather, build (although the player is still free to do this – we want to stress the fact that though this is a more structured approach, we are absolutely trying to retain as much player freedom as possible) - but rather to return the world to its pristine form.
  • The player achieves this goal by pushing back the Corruption until it is no more. Your primary method towards achieving this goal will be finding/crafting and then activating Purifying Towers. These machines of ancient design will push back anything unnatural in the world.
  • Not content to simply allow the player to purify the land, the vile force behind the world’s corruption fights back. The resonance from the crystals in the purifying tower attracts enemies, driving them to destroy the towers and re-corrupt the player’s hard-won terrain.
  • The Purifying Towers need to be defended and even the best players would not be able to cover and defend the entire map at once (nor does that sound all that much fun)- so Terraria: Otherworld introduces another strategic element: Tower Defense. Through the use of customizable Wartowers – and any other clever defensive approaches - the player can ward off the advances of the evil forces without having to be physically present.
  • These Wartowers can have a wide range of different weapons and defenses but are not self-powered. They need to be built in the vicinity of a Purifying Tower to get power from the Crystal.

Creating Purifying Towers to drive off the corruption and then defending those towers sounds like a ton of fun, especially the introduction of a tower defense element into the game. Wartowers baby! Yeah!!

Another thing they mention, which I'm totally for, is to not go the whole "early access" route, and rather finish the game, and release it as a finished product. I don't mind waiting for a much more polished game after all!

Can't wait, will keep you posted as I learn more. Oh, and I got the above info from this page:

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The sandbox co-op greatness that is Planet Explorers

I am forever in the search of something awesome for online co-op. For a while we've been playing 7 Days to Die, but damn, they really messed up the zombie spawning with the latest patch - the game is still in alpha though, so I'm sure it'll get sorted in the near future, but now, the game is rather annoying to play. Not fun to actually see a zombie pop into existence in front of you. You can never clear an area of zombies and be safe, because if you turn around a new one will be right there ready to rip your face off.

Don't get me wrong, I am crazy about 7 Days to Die, and when it'll finally get fully released will be a glorious day, but that day is not now, I'm sad to say...

Things I like about it - survival, crafting, fighting, building, rpg, loot and most importantly, co-op. So, for now, my fix is coming from a rather overlooked gem that has been out there for quite some time - Planet Explorers.

Now, I haven't put in tons of hours into the game just yet (gaming time is preciously little these days), but the game is huge, and it has all of the above elements. Just last night my buddy and I played a game over the internet - at first I thought it's gonna take the usual 3 hours to get the game running, but I was extremely surprised that it took around 10 minutes to get going. And boy does it run smoothly over the net! It really felt like we were in the same room! No LAG (something that usually troubled us in 7DTD) and no game breaking bugs to speak of! It did entailed some port forwarding on my ADSL router, but after that, the game connected very easily!

So, more info about the game - I'll mostly talk about multiplayer co-op for this post, as I haven't played the single player a great deal yet (but I most definitely will!). It was just two of us, and we opted for a huge map - in the line of 40x40km! Our first task was to find each other, which luckily didn't take too much effort (you can see each other's coordinates)... Anyway, here's what we did:

1. Needed armor and weapons, so chopped down some trees to make tools (shovel and pickaxe)

2. Used scanner in the game to look for Copper, found some very close to our starting location.

3. Started digging and gathered huge amount of copper - side note: what I love about this game is it doesn't take FOREVER to get enough materials to make something - in a few minutes we both had over 500 units of copper! One hit with the axe easily digs up 20 or so pieces of copper - awesome!

4. Made a bow, and then some arrows because without the arrows the bow doesn't really work.

5. Wanted to make armor, but we needed animal skin for that - off to do some hunting...

6. Died a few times - the native wildlife can be quite powerful, especially the fireball spewing bears!

7. Finally get enough skin to make the armor, and we make the armor.

8. We are now relatively safe with our new armor and weaponry, so off we head to find even more precious metals to forge even better armor with...

9. We discover some silver, and mine some. We make better armor (after hunting some more animals for their precious hides that is!)!

10. After searching for another while we find a huge coal deposit and mark it on the map. Also Oil. And we find a small patch of gold - it's enough for gold armor, but we need steel to go with it. You make steel from Iron obviously, and wood. We go in search for the Iron.

11. Carrying on like this, we eventually end up with the Iron we need, and make the gold equipment.

12. My buddy goes into the in-game editor and starts fabricating a vehicle for us. Yes, you make the vehicle from scratch in this game, which is beyond awesome! Yup, the size, shape, where the lights go, the seats, pretty much everything!

13. While he's busy doing that, I go in search of Oil, which we'll need to run our car... I find some, and gather a whole bunch.

14. We see a red dot on the map, and find ourselves intrigued.

15. It's a giant spinning tentacle tower behemoth of a boss monster, and we quickly run away like that cowards we are - we barely escape with our lives. We make a note to not go near red dots on the map - they're bad!

16. The car is finished, but we struggle to actually craft it, and after some Googling we figure it out. I craft the car. It has two seats. And a HUGE freaking gun! We explore and find another biome. There are trees there that light up at night - it's beautiful!

17. We start searching for Aluminium and eventually find some. Why do we need the Aluminium you ask? We want to build a base of course.

18. My buddy says he needs marble to build the base, so I go mine some. We craft the necessary base units (power generator, storage area, repair bay, etc).

19. He builds the base structure - I build SENTRY GUNS. GATLING SENTRY GUNS. IT'S AWESOME!!

20. I lure all kinds of strong and strange animals into the line of fire and I laugh loudly as my multiple-barreled sentry guns make mince meat out of each one that comes too close.

21. Time to make some energy weapons - for that we need batteries - for that we need Zinc. We deploy our car again, and go out looking for the Zinc. We find some, and make ourselves some energy blasters.

22. That's it for the night.

Damn that was beyond fun! And to think, the game is still in alpha - I cannot believe what these guys have managed to create already. Yes, the game has a rather slow start, but damn, once it gets going it's just so much fun!

I can't wait for the final product, which they said will be this year (2015) some time maybe (hopefully!) - but the game is very very playable and extremely stable, and it has everything you want in a game - beautiful graphics, looting, vehicles (that you can make from scratch or download community made ones!), mining, crafting, gathering, building, dying, fighting, eating, sleeping, digging, driving around, flying around, building a colony (not fully implemented in multiplayer yet though), farming, planting, decorating. It's the perfect combination for an extremely good time!

Support them by Buying Planet Explorers on Steam