TerraTech Designer, Kris Skellorn, takes a break from our Kickstarter to explain the mechanics of building your Mining Base, the focal point of your intergalactic prospecting adventure.
The current TerraTech playable demo focuses mainly on constructing a single vehicle and engaging in combat with a selection of enemies. However, there are many other parts to the game that are still to be revealed in playable form. These include:
- Finding and harvesting resources
- Collecting, transporting and storing resources and vehicles blocks
- Refining resources and delivering them back to Earth
- Crafting refined resources into new vehicle blocks
- Building other vehicles to act as drones under your orders
- Repairing your fleet of drones and the other blocks that you own
All of these systems center on a fixed-place structure which forms your safe zone and base of operations. It starts out small, and during the game you will steadily expand and enhance it, eventually creating multiple bases in different locations. Today we review what the base does and how it works.
In TerraTech, 'buildings' are actually no different from vehicles. They are built the same way, from the same pieces: the only difference is that they are fixed to the ground. There is nothing to stop you from attaching wheels or rockets to your base and driving or flying it around! Though this may not be practical early on, because there are some specific blocks designed for mining base operations and they are rather heavy.
The base block functions are described below, but first we’ll talk a bit about how the base is delivered.
You and your Base appear at the start of the game by descending through the atmosphere from an orbital mothership. The 'Base Bomb' pod contains all the necessary equipment for a prospector to commence their mission. It is designed to crash-land, dismantle and then reassemble itself, ready for work.
Once it has landed in a crater, the Base Bomb starts to dismantle itself to reveal the various Base components within.
The Bomb unpacks into the following components.
The Receiver is where you and your drones go to offload resource chunks and vehicle blocks that you have collected in the environment. This is similar to a large Tractor Pad, and its only function is to pick up items and deliver to other base blocks.
Refinery & Resource Silo
The Refinery is where raw resource chunks (ore) are fed automatically when received, and turned into refined resources that can either be used to build new vehicle blocks or delivered back to Earth in exchange for payment.
It takes time to refine resource chunks and only one can go through the process at a time. Raw resource chunks wait in the Resource Silo until it is is their turn to be refined. Also, refined resources are sent back and stored in the Resource Silo too, until they are needed for use elsewhere.
Fabricator & Block Silo
The Fabricator is where you take refined resources to create new blocks. Vehicle blocks require several different types and amounts of refined resource in order to be produced, you’ll need to experiment to discover all of the recipes.
Like the Refinery, the Fabricator takes time to turn refined resources into vehicle blocks. The Fabricator has a limited range of blocks that it can produce to start with. You’ll need to unlock upgrades to allow it to produce higher level GSO blocks or blocks from other corporations.
Once vehicle blocks are created by the Fabricator, they are stored in the Block Silo (much like the Resource Silo), waiting to be used. The Block Silo is also where scavenged vehicle blocks are moved to and held once they are dropped off at the Receiver.
You always need to instruct the Fabricator on what to start producing. You can queue up a list of blocks that you want and the Fabricator works through them over time. You need to ensure that the refined resources keep flowing for the Fabricator to continue working.
This is what you use to send refined resources back to Earth, in exchange for this you receive currency that allows you to unlock new blocks for fabrication - amongst other things.
The Delivery Cannon only accepts refined resources. You’ll need to instruct it on which resources are to be sent back to Earth (usually things you don’t want). Rarer resources fill your quota quicker than common resources.
As with other parts of the Base, the Delivery Cannon takes time to blast the refined resources back to Earth. If you wish to accumulate currency entirely with low value resource like Biofuel (from Wood), it takes longer to raise large sums.
The Power Source is the heart of the Base and what keeps it running. It also requires Biofuel to function. Biofuel is the refined resource that is created when resource chunks of wood are passed through the Refinery. At regular intervals the Power Source consumes a unit of Biofuel from the Resource Silo to keep itself topped up.
TerraTech Power Core concept art
The Power Source also projects the Regenerative Shield. This dome repairs all blocks belonging to you, whilst inside its field and stops enemies from entering and damaging your Base. The Shield also requires power to continue working.
If your Base runs out of Biofuel everything starts running very slowly on reserve power and the shield drops until the Power Source is fed more Biofuel. You’ll need to keep your Base supplied with a steady stream of Wood to keep it running safely and at full capacity.
This is usually positioned near the Block Silo. You feed unwanted blocks (either made by you or scavenged) into it to strip them down into their component refined resources. Much like the Refinery and the Fabricator, the Scrapper takes time to break blocks down once it is given its orders.
Flow through the Base
Resources and vehicles blocks flow through the Base in different directions to fulfill a variety of purposes. They move between each part of the Base on conveyor belts made up of tractor pads. The initial base layout is very simple, placing related blocks near each other. As you expand, you can spread out further and build a more complex tractor pad delivery network, to better automate your refining & production effort!
To help get your head around everything that happens, here is a diagram of how things flow together (click for full size):
All your Base needs Protection
Your Base must be protected at all costs. If it is destroyed you have to start over from the beginning.
Modifications and Improvements
Each part of the Base is connected up in the same way that vehicles are. If you like you can rearrange it into another formation. Just be sure to check that everything is still connected via tractor pads in the new form, or else things stop working. You can even try making a mobile base if you can build a vehicle large enough to hold it.
Each of the Base components have attach points covering several sides, by which they are connected to tractor pad conveyor belts. Spare attach points on each Base component allow new modifier blocks to be attached to them. These modifiers are used to improve the basic functions of each of the Base components. These attachable modifiers are not available at the start of the game. You have to build them and attach them later on.
One example of is the Turbo Charge modifier. This is a multi-purpose block that has various effects depending on which Base component it is attached to. For example:
- When attached to the Refinery it decreases the refining time.
- When attached to the Power Source it increases the range and strength of the shield
Thanks for reading this Dev Diary. If you haven’t tried our Free Demo or backed our Kickstarter yet, please follow the links and check them out. Let us know in the comments which topics you’re interested in reading more about in future updates. We also livestream development of TerraTech weekdays at 5pm UK time on our Twitch channel where you can ask us questions directly and see what we are up to.