A hard-boiled construction simulator at heart with the substance and clarity of a refined strategy.
Starting from classic city builders of the genre, Terminus takes the terrifying leap into the frontier of space where every new game and new colonization effort bring a wildly different experience on a new, procedurally generated planet.
You are the administrator of the colony and it's your mission to keep humanity going by any means possible. Colonists are mouths to feed, supplies are dwindling and almost everything is non-renewable.
Plan for long term growth while dealing with short-term crises, survey and exploit planet-side resources faster than you can use them up, perform critical research to offset the difficulty of living off-world and issue colony-wide directives to shape the growth of the only home of humanity, keep the old ways of thinking alive or forge a brave new world.
Earth is doomed, we know it, you know it, your neighbour knows it. In Terminus everybody knows it because astronomers spot tremendous amounts of impact events on the outskirt of the solar system. First Pluto is pummeled, then we can see the surface of Neptune and Uranus deluged by extrasolar rock. It's determined by the data that an immense cloud of debris is intersecting our solar system and that every planet, moon and asteroid will be scoured by impact.
Knowing the end is coming decades ahead of time allowed the people of Earth plenty of opportunity to panic. It was only after years of political and social chaos that a plan was hatched, the Terminus Project, the last option for a doomed civilization.
With the Earth expected to turn slightly molten within the century, mankind no longer felt the need to preserve it and so all restrictions on industry, pollution and most international treaties were dissolved or ignored. Every industrial effort on the planet was turned towards constructing the components of the starship that would be needed.
Entire states and provinces became foundries, Australia became the launching pad for nuclear rockets, little more than a pallet of cargo on-top of a steel plate with a nuclear bomb underneath. It was enough to get it into orbit and added to the 8,000,000 tonne "Super Orion"-inspired ship that would take as much of humanity as possible to the stars.
Terminus plays like a city-builder, as administrator you determine what buildings should be built and where, what parts of the planet to survey or clear for development, what research to perform to improve efficiency, and what social decisions to make to guide growth, or stifle chaos.
Terminus isn't just a sedate city-builder however, disaster management is a critical and integrated component of its gameplay. Things go wrong in space and on other planets, and when they go wrong they can turn catastrophic. You're not just designing a city that operates in the most efficient way possible, every decision made has to be made with "What about if things go wrong?" in the back of your head because things WILL go wrong.
Fire is deadly in space and the same is true in the closed environment of a colony, fire can spread from one building to another, killing people inside, damaging the building itself or causing a hull breach. Fire isn't the only thing that spreads, biological hazards, disease, electrical disturbances, air-loss, every building is linked and you're in charge of the links. Sometimes you have to seal an area off if you expect to keep the colony as a whole alive, but that building you just sealed off was the agricultural dome and people are starting to ask about food... but depending on the planet you pick, at least there might be plenty of water.
Buildings are the most vital elements of the colony, buildings consume power and resources, they refine or produce materials or perform some vital function in your colony such as housing or research. Buildings have more attributes than some RPG characters, with health, resistances to damage types and adjacency bonuses that encourage building your colony intelligently, but don't build too compactly because of...
Every building in the colony is connected, most buildings have human workers and all of them are vulnerable to one form of disaster or another. Some buildings are reinforced or naturally durable against fire or earthquake but might be vulnerable to the spread of disease, while other buildings might be resistant to power grid disruption but have incredibly weak skin and are prone to hull breaches, which, depending on the planet you're on, have immediate and dire consequences for any colonists inside. The list of planned environmental effects are:
Fire - Does equal damage to buildings and colonists, spreads very rapidly to adjacent buildings (unless sealed) Has a chance of causing hull breaches, requires oxygen to exist, so can put itself out quite rapidly.
Earthquake - Does significant one-time damage to vulnerable buildings, rarely hurts colonists. Can cause hull breaches and fires in rare cases.
Atmospheric Disturbance - Can cause electrical disruption or cause hull breaches or both depending on the atmosphere.
Electrical Disruption - Spreads from building to building causing reduced efficiency, does not hurt colonists.
Biohazard/Biological - Spreads from building to building, kills colonists but doesn't damage buildings
Meteorite Impact - Causes damage to buildings, may cause hull breach. Larger impact events can wipe out multiple buildings.
Technology is the best tool and survival mechanism humanity has on Earth and the same is true off-world. Research Laboratories and Hazardous Experiment Labs can be constructed and operated by colonists. You can only one run research project at a time no matter how many labs you build, but the more you have and the more scientists you have inside them the faster your research progresses.
Research can unlock new buildings, enhancements to existing buildings or divergent building classes, luxury residences compared to reinforced residences. Research projects allow you to predict disasters or respond to them more effectively, even providing access to the...
Crisis Response Emergency Workers (CREW)
An elite team of disaster management professionals, the CREW are rescue workers, engineers and a SWAT team all rolled into one. Once unlocked from research the CREW can be deployed to any building during a crisis, once there they can attempt to save the building, save the people, or simply try to scavenge as many materials as they can from the structure before it goes up in smoke. The CREW are a vital and active tool to keep your colony going, no matter if they're sealing a hull breach, cleaning up a toxic waste spill or quelling a riot, the CREW is the first and best option for dealing with a situation going out of control. But there's a lot you can do before it gets that bad, by using...
Government and centralized control is necessary more than ever when the only thing between humanity and extinction is a steady hand on the airlock control ready to make the decision to sacrifice a few lives to save the species. Directives shape your colony and allow you to do everything from starting mineral surveys, deploying temporary damage control, instituting temporary rationing measures all the way to colony wide policy decisions.
Policy decisions are unlocked by research and are mutually exclusive within their own category. For example when it comes to the "Disaster Response" category you can choose between "Evacuation Procedures" which helps reduce colonist casualties, or you can elect to go with "Facility Inspection" which gives all buildings a better resistance against damage, or maybe you want to reduce the time it takes your CREW to get to the site of a disaster? It all comes down to your colony design, the nature of the planet and the other choices you've made.
The Big Picture
All of these elements taken together create a tight, complex but easily understood game with tonnes of replayability. Besides the big-picture base building and the fine-focus disaster management the game also offers the reflection and imagination that science fiction provides so well. The variety of landscapes and design of the growing colony will of course be aesthetically pleasing, but for the curious player there will also be an opportunity to read in-game descriptions for each building and research project, the story of Terminus being told through the historical and fictional quotes added to each description, descriptions which are written with scientific accuracy in mind, following reality as close as possible while allowing for the theoretical.
The primary audience, the people who would get the most out of Terminus are the enthusiasts, the gamer who loves games for the challenge, because Terminus will be very challenging by default, but Terminus is intended to be a game suitable for anyone to play, of any age who are interested in the kind of setting and science that the game offers and difficulty can scale down for a slower paced game as much as it can scale up to offer a traumatizingly accurate portrayal of the difficulty of colonizing another planet.
Why we're crowdfunding
Terminus is a game we want to make, many of us are students, young professionals or otherwise don't have the money to invest in the project to make it happen while still being able to put food in our mouths. We think the game is a solid one though, so we're bringing it to you so you can get in on the ground floor and help this game exist.
If we don't reach our funding goals that won't stop us from trying to make the game, but we'll be missing crucial pieces of the puzzle; people, skills, licenses, assets... We're working with a fixed funding model so if we're even a dollar short of what we're asking for, everyone gets their pledge refunded.
And for those who have asked, we're using Indiegogo to fund our project because Kickstarter requires you to be a US or UK citizen. Our entire team is Canadian so it wasn't an option for us without jumping through some extreme hoops.
From working on Killzone to putting manmade objects on other planets, our team is quite diverse.
Name: Ryan Czech
Games have been a part of my life since I could hold a controller, and for half of my life I've been analyzing how they work and thinking about how to make them better. For a quarter of my life I've been tinkering, building, putting pieces together and pulling them apart in my mind, on paper and with Unity. For the rest of my life I'll be making games.
Professionally most of my experience has been in information technology and public relations. My formal education is in psychology.
Design is my passion and talent, and after several hobby projects Terminus was chosen because it is designed to satisfy a need that was created by the original Outpost which never delivered properly on its epic saga of human survival.
Favourite word with a letter 'u'?: "Loquacious"
Name: Dr. James Garry
Role: Scientific Consultant
I'm a transplanted British physicist and have spent the best part of two decades working on unusual projects destined for unusual places. I've helped to put shiny toys on other worlds and currently I co-direct a consulting company.
Terminus brings together a number of interesting ideas that are usually consigned to the dustier corners of engineering. There are numerous real-world schemes afoot to make use of planetary resources for both in-situ and terrestrial use, and what better way to spread that concept further than a game which pits the player against Murphy and the implacable universe?
Favourite word with a letter 'u'?: Quaternion
Name: Debbie Kisiel
I grew up with Star Trek as my favourite television show and franchise. Every episode, including the atrocious ones, captivated me with the exploration of struggling human values in a diverse universe of civilizations trying to establish themselves. To hope that one day we could re-establish the whole of humanity is something that has always driven my creative whims.
I am currently studying visual arts at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
Ryan approached me some months ago about this project. From the very beginning the vision was clear. It shouted, "let's create something awesome and unique," and I knew I wanted to be a part of this wonderful opportunity.
Favourite JRPG?: Megaman Battle Network Series
Name: Derek Lawrence
Role: Lead Programmer
Since the first time I picked up Mario on NES I have been hooked, amazed and utterly mesmerized by games. I have been in the game industry now for 4 years and hope that continues for the rest of it. I have been part of the development team of 4 console games as well as various mobile and facebook games.
Terminus is just one of those games that bring you back to the root of PC gaming. The idea of Terminus hits home with me because it's a genre of games that have been missing from gamers lives for quite awhile and I feel this needs to be solved.
Deathspank 1,2 and 3
Name: Miko Lo
Role: 3d Modeler/Animator
Life is a game & that is why everybody enjoys games. I played games as a kid and when I became bigger & taller, I designed and built technology for adults to drive robotic devices, & engineering systems. When I was bored I wrote my first 3D game in OpenGL in the era when computer graphics can only be run on Silicon Graphics and not on PC.
Professionally, I am an engineer and an animator/artist. First degree in Aerospace systems engineering and my Uni project was Mission to Mars - with the sole goal of sending 3 happy married couples there.
I have a Masters in Computer animation and have spent half of my working life in down-to-Earth engineering design and the other half in off-to-space creative gaming production.
Ryan's passion & perhaps my childhood dream of having games which are simple, educational, with some meaning and can expand one's imagination is what draws me into Terminus.
Favourite games? Of course those I made - about half a dozen of RPG & strategy titles under Xbox, PS3 & PC including Overlord and Sudeki
21% 3d Art Assets (Game Models)
12% 2d Art Assets & Concept Art
11%-13% Backer Rewards
8% Business Expenses, Licenses, Fees and Taxes
4% Indiegogo Fee
3% Paypal Fee
Frequently Asked Questions
Q - Why aren't you on Kickstarter?
A - In order to start a KS campaign, Kickstarter requires that:
You are a permanent US resident with a Social Security Number (or EIN).
You have a US address, US bank account, and US state-issued ID (driver’s license).
You have a major US credit or debit card.
You are 18 years of age or older.
Aside from being 18 years or older we don't meet any of their requirements and don't know anyone who does. We're Canadian or non-US, and plain out of luck as far as KS goes.
Q - You have a science advisor for a video game?
A - Space is complicated, I mean you have no idea- actually I'll skip the Douglas Adams, but our lead scientist and smart guy James forgets more about physics in a day than I've ever learned. In order to make Terminus a clever game we need clever people.
Q - This game reminds me of Outpost, is it inspired from that?
A - Yes, broadly speaking. Outpost (released by Sierra 1994) was a grand idea with utterly abysmal execution, and the sequel Outpost 2 dramatically changed the nature of the game. Terminus is trying to hone in on that original vision and feeling, while using the advancement in technology and design principles that have been developed in the 19 years since Outpost. That said, Terminus is its own game, inspired by Outpost yes, but not attempting to be a recreation of it.
Q - Where can I learn more about Terminus?
A - Stay tuned to this campaign page where we will be adding new videos, text and images describing the game mechanics and theme in more detail.
Q - Okay I love it, but I don't have a Paypal account, how can I contribute?
A - You don't need a Paypal account. On the contribute page, click through to the Paypal website and look for the option to pay by credit card, it should be directly below the login window. You have to go through Paypal in this way so they can hold the funds until we reach our funding goal and they can release them.
Q - How else can I help?
A - Talk to people about Terminus, write forum posts in your favourite forums, discuss us on Reddit, Giant Bomb and Kotaku, request your favourite news site to cover us or interview us. You are our first and best way of getting the word out. You can also upvote our Reddit post Here.
Q - When will the game come out?
A - We are aiming for November, 2013.
@$27,000 - "Heat" management system added to extreme planets with additional HVAC buildings. Extreme planets (Ice, Hot, Pressure/Storm) also get thematic makeover incl. improved textures and visual effects.
@$30,000 - Expanded environmental effects and visual improvements, more vigorous weather and storms, as well as lava flows!
@$35,000 - Custom "Synth-Acoustic" soundtrack embodying the best blend of synth and classical instruments such as the violin.