Terran Shield: Edge of the Abyss (Canceled)
A TBS game inspired by X-Com 2: Terror from the Deep.
Terran Shield: Edge of the Abyss (Canceled)
A TBS game inspired by X-Com 2: Terror from the Deep.
Thanks to all of you for your support. We are closing this campaign... but we'll be back!
Our new Terran Shield campaign starts on September 19th.
More info here: Terran Shield new crowdfunding campaign.
We would be honoured to have you on our side and help bring this project to life.
The new campaign will have a much lower goal, which will enable us to deliver the game with a basic set of assets & animations. But with your help, we can expand this goal and add new features. We are committed to making an enjoyable and polished final game with deep and complex gameplay.
Terran Shield is a tactical underwater and above-water turn-based game where you must defend the Earth against a brutal alien invasion.
Continuing in the line of X-Com and Jagged Alliance series, Terran Shield proposes new gameplay features and a rich and detailed graphic style developed using the powerful Unreal Engine 4.
Furthermore, a complex AI that learns and adapts to the player's style will challenge them to play at their best, crippling their efforts to save humanity from the menace of the infamous alien rulers "The Council of The Six"!
Get into the battle and fight the menacing alien threat in the luxuriant Borneo jungle. Help the Terran Shield forces find The Lost Shrine of UM hidden alien base and reduce their influence on this part of the Globe.
The aliens will take no prisoners and will fight to the last one. They are faster, with more Time Units, more Stamina and they have a 320 degree arch vision due to their laterally placed eyes. They see better in this jungle environment than us and it is likely they will spot us well before we spot them.
In addition, they are equipped with the powerful Sonic Gun that is extremely precise at any range and has a tremendous destructive power. Also watch out for the mighty alien superblaster grenade, with a smaller range than ours, but with more firepower and longer throw range.
Last but not least: do not hastily engage on higher difficulty levels from the beginning. Without a proper expertise and experience on the tactical battlefield, you will find the combat frustrating and impossible to win.
Terran Shield long trailer
The most important part of Terran Shield is its strategy core component. We are striving to provide the best in the game’s other areas (graphics, sound, effects and animation), but the strategy and tactics shall remain our main focus.
The other core goal of our philosophy is to provide the player with the freedom to express themselves within the game: the freedom to play according to their own unique style and not get penalized by the game as a result of that. One of the main features a TBS can employ to achieve this are the Time Units.
Time Units vs. Action Points
From the early stages of development we have established the Time Units as the central component of our TBS game mechanics. Now, after implementation of the game mechanics in the actual game, we can say that we are completely satisfied with the decision.
Action Points are more straightforward, easier to handle, but at the same time they eliminate a significant portion of the depth of the strategy. The approach forces the player to perform tasks in a certain order, and also eliminates some essential game features present in older strategy games, which we consider essential for creating a complex gameplay scenario. Accessing inventory, swapping weapons, changing ammunition, picking ammo and weapons during battle from dead hostile or friendly forces, the “look for the enemy feature” (the player can only see the part of the battlefield that is in front of his units: as a result, in order to properly scout the area he has to turn his units sideways and sometimes even look back) are absent from a game that has adopted action points rather than time units.
With time units we can bring back the game features the old TBS had and also implement new cool features, which can greatly enrich gameplay. One of these features is controlling the scout drones that your soldiers deploy during battle. Having control uses some of the available time units, giving the player a choice: use some of the soldier’s time units and keep him safe in the back and let the drone or another robotic device do the dangerous work, or spend all his soldier’s time units engaging in combat. Of course, the player can also provide some of his soldiers with specific perks that can add more control to drones/robots and unlock new and interesting abilities, or can reduce the time units that the soldier requires to control those devices.
Another cool feature that we have added to the gameplay is a certain substance that has oxygen gas pocketed in a layer of lipids and which can be injected in the bloodstream of a soldier and can greatly expand his time units for a couple of turns (it has a cooldown and a maximum number of uses during a battle, so the players cannot overuse it).
We have prepared other cool features which go hand in hand with the time units system, but we are eager to hear ideas from the player community, because there are no limits to the features we can use.
Another feature that adds more depth to the strategy and tactical areas are the damage types. There are seven types of damage for the tactical combat (Battlescape) and three types of damage (kinetic/explosive, electric, sonic) for the Geoscape battles.
In Terran Shield, we have built on the preexisting types of vulnerabilities and resistances, so that different types of aliens have their specific resistance to various types of damage. On higher difficulty levels the damage resistance gets close to immunity, making it futile to use that type of ammo. Vulnerabilities are just as diverse as resistances, so much so that in a typical mission the player will be required to use multiple types of weapons and ammunition. We will however, introduce an end-game final weapon for each type of damage, so the player will have a clear goal if he wants to go for the higher DPS (damage per shot). By employing this approach, the player will no longer be tempted to use only one type of weapon (that which deals the highest amount of damage) and thus the importance of tactical planning prior to a mission will increase as the type of equipment used will vary based on alien vulnerabilities.
Another feature that takes benefit from the time units game mechanics feature are the stances that the soldier can have during combat. All the stances have their benefits and drawback. For the Air Force soldiers the crouch and prone stances improve the aim, decreasing the chance to be hit by the aliens at the same time, but they lower the movement speed of the unit making the soldier vulnerable to enemy reaction fire.
The aquanauts have their stances too: normal swim, fast swim mode and the additional shooting with medium and great support. The last two are available when the aquanaut finds something solid to grip himself onto, in order to avoid being snaked by underwater currents and miss the shoot.
Geoscape and base building
The Geoscape is the game level where the player can construct bases, intercept hostile alien crafts, launch missions, harass alien harvesting sites and bases. It will have all the old features of the ‘90s old and loved TBS games, plus some of the new features that we have in mind for our game.
One of the new features are the small radar vehicles and drones that will aid the Terran Shield forces in locating the alien enemy. They can be deployed on any point on the globe (as long as that country didn't sign a cooperation pact with the aliens), are relatively cheap and can greatly enhance the detection range of the Terran Shield forces.
The actual base building will be from a top view perspective, and each base will have a concrete slab on top of which the player can construct prefabricated base modules. From a logistical point of view the easiest way to build and manage a base is above a flat base, simply because it is the fastest way to build. We won’t have levels on Terran Shield bases, but will compensate this with the variety of the base modules (even the same kind of base module will have multiple types of interiors) and because the bases will be attacked by the aliens, the position of various modules inside a base will be very important.
Building the environment and the destructible assets
The environment possesses resistances to certain damage, as well as vulnerabilities. The player will need to take this into account when attacking or hiding behind environment objects. The environment shall be fully destructible, but certain objects like rocks can be destroyed only with heavy artillery fire or explosives.
Our current tactical map terrain is a fixed layer over which the map generator lays several types of destructible assets, foliage and fauna. Having various heights on the terrain makes the random module placement very difficult to design because the edges of the modules won’t match perfectly. For the creation of a real generated terrain from modules we need additional financial resources. Until then, the current setup can make several different maps for the same landscape map, because the assets that lay over it are very diverse. For instance, on the same structure map we can have in a place rocks, or a building, or a forest.
Having Razvan Florian, one of the lead scientists on neural networks in our team will also aid us in this difficult endeavor. Because an AI of the complexity we need typically runs on very powerful servers, we must pack it and make it work on a usual PC, which is not an easy task.
More about the AI can be found here.
The story begins around the year 2035, with a rich treasure hunter named Rick Stenk and his wife Tina, who are searching for a lost artifact called “The Gift of Poseidon”. After months of no tangible results and with the aid of the psychic medium Ana Velkova, they finally manage to find the location of the precious artifact in a submerged cave near Crete.
After the discovery of the Poseidon Cave, Rick receives a phone call from his brother Eugene about strange underwater footage in the Black Sea. In it, some strange creatures resembling frogs can be observed, clearly intelligent, working around some underwater optic cables (the cables were ours, obviously). As nobody has a better diving, Rick is asked to help the ongoing investigation on site, as soon as possible.
More about the story can be found here.
The aliens appear to be perfectly adapted to both land and water environment, which leads us to believe that their strategy is to first invade the marine depths so that later they can surface and conquer the landmasses.
Usually the first alien encountered by Terran Shield forces in the game, named the Frogman by the aquanauts due to its appearance, the Ka-Um-La is anatomically closely related to lizards. Well adapted to an underwater environment, it uses its strong tail to swim fast and to suddenly change direction.
Its large eyes enable it to see very well in limited lighting conditions and the electro-sensors provide the ability to orientate itself in muddy waters. On its toes the Ka-Um-La has gecko-like pads, which can be used to climb vertical walls, thus making it a formidable foe in urban areas.
This strange creature, named the Jellyfish Sentry by the aquanauts, is a gelatinous invertebrate that has received several unknown device implants at the hand of its alien overlords.
Due to its bioluminescent bacteria pouch, which can be used as a beacon, we can assume that this creature is used as a scout, uncovering the terrain and dangers that lie ahead of the alien assault units. Being a transparent creature makes it very difficult to detect in an underwater environment. The weak electrical signals it generates make it nearly invisible to the aquanauts' sensors and therefore extra effort is required to locate this perfect alien spy.
Ripper, killer, monster.
The incarnation of all the horrors lurking and hiding in the dark depths of the oceans.
The large eyes and the small fluorescent lure on its forehead are indicative of a creature that is very well adapted to the dark ocean depths. It comes as no surprise that the 6 alien rulers have assigned the sonic gun to this monster, given that its vision and perception area in an aquatic environment are unparalleled. If the aliens have more specimens of this living horror in their army, then it seems that we have already lost control over the Earth’s oceans! The only way for us to regain it and have a chance to stop the alien invasion is to capture and research one of those sonic guns, the weapon this monster handles with ease. But that is much easier said than done…
More about the aliens can be found here.
Designing the alien weapons was not an easy task. They must be designed and manufactured underwater by the alien scientists, so we had to invent a totally new manufacturing process. Also, they have to work in air as well as underwater and they should be produced in large numbers in a short time.
The Gel Gun
The gel gun is designed to isolate the enemies by forcing them to avoid the areas covered in the weapon`s gel and thus forcing them to reveal their position.
The weapon can also be used to capture enemies that have had the misfortune of becoming trapped by the gel. The cartridge launched by the gel gun is propelled only a relatively short distance by means of a chemical reaction in the weapon. Once the cartridge slows down, it opens up and releases a powder which, when in contact with the surrounding water transforms into a sticky gel, forming a compact, irregular mass of approximately 6 meters in diameter. Any creature that becomes trapped in the gel will find it very difficult to become unstuck, as the gel acts like a spider web.
Unsurprisingly, the sonic gun is the main assault weapon used by the alien forces. The technology behind this artifact is incredible. Human researchers have admitted that even though they have a partial understanding of how the weapon works, they have no theory that can explain the existence of an energy pulse that can maintain the amplified sonic waves and only release them when coming into contact with a solid surface. The nature of the type of energy capable of moving at the speed of sound, while encapsulating the sound waves produced by the weapon, is entirely unknown to humans.
During the whole game, the main and most powerful Terran Shield ship and transport will be the Squid. The Gods’ gift for humanity is no ordinary ship. It can evolve in time and as the players progress in the game, its super powerful batteries are charging to their full potential unlocking new offensive and defensive abilities.
The Squid can be upgraded from its initial hiding place, the Poseidon Cave, where the scientists can find hints on how to unlock its powers. The Squid research branch will be very important in late game where the ship will have to compete with the enormous dreadnoughts of the aliens, with big shields and big guns.
Terran Shield Aquabase
The aquabases are constructed in underwater caves or, more frequently, directly on the bottom of the ocean floor. They are made from a few types of base modules and can host only 2 or 3 aquanaut teams. They can have alien containment modules, sub pens, sonars, living facilities, but no manufacturing of research facility. The main reason for that is that the underwater bases are filled with water, thus restricting those kind of facilities.
The aquanauts have had gills implanted and their lungs have been modified with a special film that can collect the oxygen from the water and deliver it to the alveoli. In addition, their eyes were modified with a supplementary reflective area in their back, so that they can see 3 times better in low light environments than a normal human.
The Air Force soldiers and tactical battles
With his initial light armor and equipped with kinetic and electric weapons, the Terran Shield Air Force usual soldier can seem an easy target for alien forces that do so well in dense forests and humid environments. But this is a mistake, for all Terran Shield Air Force soldiers are experienced and well trained professionals from all around the world, are resilient and have a lot of combat experience.
Another factor in favor of the Air Force is that the troop transport hovercraft can bring to the battle line up to 30 fully equipped soldiers, plus additional battle robots, drones and also small artillery pieces. In fact, they have enough fire power to destroy all the hunting aliens on the tactical map.
We are a fresh Romanian indie game company that enjoys making special games to challenge the players while giving them a polished game-play and great replayability.
At the same time, we want to remain in touch with the game community, talk to our fans about our games and adjust them if necessary.
Game development schedule
Kickstarter Money Split
We thank you for your support and ideas that you shared with us so far!
We welcome you in the beta campaign where your gaming skills will be tested by the Six Headed Hydra AI.
Risks and challenges
As with every game project, there is a risk that the end product will not be delivered as promised, or that the project will be cancelled. For strategy games in particular, the main risk is that the final game is unbalanced, as it happened before to other TBS games.
In order to avoid this scenario for Terran Shield, we have established the balance between the strategy and tactical components of the game as our number one priority.
Following the completion of the campaign, a healthy budget for Terran Shield would be anything over $700,000. This is necessary in order to deliver the game in accordance with today’s standards and expectations for both visual appearance and gameplay. The campaign budget shall be supplemented by investor funds and funds received during the preorder campaign. Even if we don’t achieve our full budget target, we won’t deliver the final product until it is well-balanced and fun to play. We would rather have fewer environments and assets than provide an unfinished strategy game.
- (30 days)