Terra Ex Kickstarter Promises Spaceships, Real-Life Learning, and a Scholarship Charity Donation

More than just a video game, Terra Ex will combine gameplay with scientific fact, combining talents from big-name video games with knowledge garnered from world-renowned physicists and NASA discoveries.

Since the Ouya became a Kickstarter darling and an explosive success on the platform, crowdfunding has become indelibly linked with the gaming development community. Although we have seen the dawn of a new era of internet panhandling and online scamming, Kickstarter has also helped to broaden the gaming landscape into one of incredible diversity, breaking barriers with the amount of creativity and freedom we don't often get to see in triple A titles.

Just launched, Terra Ex by Terra Ex Ventures is the new amalgamation of science fiction and real-life space exploration research from the talent that brought you World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Command & Conquer, NOX, Mercenaries 2, Resistance 3, and Lost Planet 3

What is Terra Ex?

The game is a 4X (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate), True-Time (a mix of real-time and turn-based) space game that combines science fiction and real research data to create a universe of treacherous planets, dangerous alien life forms, and endless exploration. 

Its story kick off eons from now, when Earth collides with Mars and humanity must look outward into an uncertain future, forging new civilizations in the far corners of space. Your ships start out small, but the possibilities are endless. Will you become a merchant society or focus on espionage? Do you seek to dominate the universe or live peacefully among other races?

The Kickstarter touts Terra Ex as a free to play browser-based game, playable on any internet browser, with plans to expand into a dedicated iOS and Android version of the game as a stretch goal. It allows the player the opportunity to either run solo or with friends to create sprawling empires. 

Building takes time and research, however you will be able to speed up the process using in-game currency to purchase faster builds, special weapons and upgrades. The lower-tier Kickstarter rewards suggest that the majority of the game's freemium income will come primarily through in-game currency sales rather than through ad revenue. 

Gameplay takes place using three Strategic view modes: Galactic ViewSystem View and the War Room.

The top-down map of the explored universe in Galactic View is segmented into hexagonal areas reminiscent (to me, at least) of the Agency versus Agency maps in Hi-Rez Studios' Global Agenda.  From here, you can keep track of your occupied systems, known enemy systems, and those that are part of your alliance. All ship movement takes place in this view. 

System View is where you will construct, research, and upgrade your ships and stations. This is also where your resource management and defense position is done.

Meanwhile, the War Room is where you make your battle decisions, and includes an overview of the battlefield. While base building, research, upgrades and movement all take place in real-time, in the War Room you give attack orders, movement commands at the beginning of each combat round to adjust for changing scenarios, much like Sid Meier's Civilization series. After each battle, a detailed Battle Report will be generated.

This level of detail does bring up a pretty important question, doesn't it?

How Is Terra Ex Different?

After all, the first thing you thought of when you read this was EVE Online, wasn't it?

More than just a video game, Terra Ex will combine gameplay with scientific fact. With the help of scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and world-renowned physicists who contribute to the History Channel's "The Universe," this 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 actual systems found in the night sky, and players will be able to tour planets and star systems that are being discovered in real time in 3D.

And the education doesn't stop at just the systems they use. From their Kickstarter:

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 game promises less time-intensive play and an emphasis on educating players younger than the average EVE demographic.

Furthermore, 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. 

What Will the Kickstarter Accomplish?

Already thinking of plunking down your money? Nice!

Your money will go towards the development of the entire game. Terra Ex Ventures' current resources allow for planning and preparing all aspects of the game, but the money raised will be used for hiring more personnel and start on the actual development of the game. No successful Kickstarter, no game!


Still looking for more answers? Me too! Thankfully, Terra Ex Ventures is open to interviews so I will be trying to get some of them answered soon. If you have any burning questions you'd like to have answered, feel free to let me known in the comments, or ask the company directly through the Ask a Question button on their Kickstarter page here!

Published Oct. 18th 2013

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