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Video Game / TerraTech

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Cover artwork for the Xbox One release
TerraTech is a sandbox vehicle-creation and exploration game for the PC, Xbox One, and PS4. It was officially released on the tenth of August, 2018, after four years in early access.

In the campaign, the player takes on the role of a prospector working on a faraway planet. They can customise their mining rig, or "tech", from modular blocks and tools that snap together to form just about anything, eventually building up a base and an entire fleet of techs. Vehicular Combat promptly ensues as various AI-controlled techs come to destroy it all. The player can alternatively forego building a base and wander the planet for as long as they wish.

Five different corporations are operating on the player's procedurally generated planet: Hawkeye, Team Venture, GeoCorp, Better Future and the Galactic Survey Organisation. Three more corporations are planned. As the player progresses through the game, they unlock more powerful blocks from each corporation, from bigger, faster wheels to stronger blocks and armour, from deadlier weapons to high-grade crafting machines. The player gains experience for each company by completing missions or simply blowing up enemy techs with the appropriate allegiance.


The game features a fast-paced racing mode, the Gauntlet, where the player can design a custom racing tech and take on one of two racecourses. Course hazards include turrets, ramps, slaloms and an explosive wall. Players can try as many techs as they fancy on each course in order to achieve the fastest time, competing on a locally-hosted leaderboard against whoever else plays TerraTech on the same computer. While multiplayer races are not yet possible, players can share racing ghosts and effectively take each other on.

A Competitive Multiplayer mode allows players to select from eight pre-made techs and blow each other up in one of three arenas. Players can steal parts from downed enemies and find powerful weapons in crates that fall from the sky to grow stronger. The host for each match can choose between a free-for-all and a team-based battle.


This game provides examples of:

  • Beam Spam: Possible with a tech covered in laser guns. Some of Better Future's weaponry can spam beams single-handedly, with groups of them being able to tear through anything.
  • Beehive Barrier: High-end shield generators project these.
  • Big Eater: Big Pete, the GeoCorp quest NPC, does almost nothing but eat resource chunks. A strange case, since it's unclear whether Big Pete is the fat, jolly tech itself or a normal person inside it.
  • Boring, but Practical: Pyramid-shaped techs. They look terrible, but a simple pyramid structure provides the maximum possible space for guns while allowing all of them to fire at once.
    • Most GSO blocks fit this category. They aren't as powerful or as good-looking as things from flashier corporations, but they're inexpensive and reliable.
  • Bottomless Fuel Tanks: Techs can run forever without having to refuel. Averted with the optional tanks for booster rockets, which gradually regenerate their fuel while not in use.
  • Clip Its Wings: Wings in TerraTech are fragile, not to mention hard to cover with shields and repair bubbles, so shooting one off is a valid strategy to disable an aeroplane.
    • Since hostile planes aren't in the game yet, this trope is usually done to the player's aircraft. By trees.
  • Cool Bike: Two-wheeled techs can be made easily enough with Hawkeye's bike wheels and Venture's fork wheels, although they need a few gyros to balance properly. Bikes can be fitted with guns, missiles and rocket boosters as desired, although resource processing is usually too heavy.
  • Cool Car: The player can easily build one of these. Booster rockets, cannons and anything imaginable are all within reach.
  • Cool Plane: Every corporation except GeoCorp has wings and propellers. While aeroplanes are hard to master (see below), they can have weapons, cargo containers and even crafting equipment.
  • Deflector Shields: Blocks which generate differently sized shields can be added to the player's tech. They use energy to stop bullets, as well as over time, needing plenty of batteries to be useful in the long term.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Aeroplanes have to be lightweight and properly balanced to fly properly, but a well-made plane can bombard land-bound techs with missiles and bombs without taking a single hit. Drones and helicopters are just as awesome, but twice as difficult.
    • Melee weapons deal heavy damage and penetrate through shields, but using them requires you to get close to an enemy tech while enduring all its guns.
    • Full Venture builds. Venture blocks are lightweight and have very little health and their wheels are the fastest in the game, allowing for fast, weak techs. A few good shots from a Megaton cannon are usually enough to finish a Venture tech, but a skilled player can use it to run rings around slow enemies.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Randomly-selected Invaders can contain blocks far above the player's license grade, including the strongest cannons and missile launchers. If the player can take out the Invader without being destroyed or destroying the weapon by mistake, it's theirs to play with.
  • Drill Tank: Very easy to construct with GeoCorp's caterpillar tracks and wide selection of drills. While they cannot burrow, drill tanks can harvest resources and shred enemies with ease.
  • Emergent Gameplay: TerraTech's building system and physics engine allow for a lot of creativity. Players have built incredible multi-techs such as walkers, tricycles and tanks, with varying levels of practicality in the campaign.
    • A notable example is the hover glitch. If a tech contains a hover plate facing a wheel, the hover plate generates continuous thrust in one direction and can allow the tech to use ground controls whilst airborne. Players have exploited the hover glitch to build airships, perpetual motion machines and tricycles.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: Adding a radar to the player's tech lets enemies show up as red targeting reticules on the minimap.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: While some blocks simply fall apart, cabs and AI modules always explode when destroyed.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: A handful of laser weapons are available, from the nimble COIL you get at the start of the game to the powerful, long-range Zeus turret and rapid-fire Streamline lasers.
  • Gatling Good: The Hawkeye Auto Cannon is a fairly typical gatling gun, capable of shooting rapidly from six rotating barrels. Better Future has a gatling laser which fires just as fast.
  • Green Hill Zone: The grassland biome.
  • Healer Signs On Early: The player is given a repair bubble during the introductory missions.
  • Homing Projectile: Missiles attempt to fly towards the nearest enemy.
  • Hover Tank: One of many kinds of tech players can build. While capable of soaring over ice, trees and enemies, they suffer from extreme drifting and long stopping distances, making them Awesome, but Impractical.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: The player can carry tens of thousands of blocks in their inventory and pull out a block, or even deploy an entire tech, whenever they want to. Discarded blocks are sucked into Hammer Space by a "Singularity Containment Device".
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The GSO's Bertha cannon. The most powerful weapon the GSO offers takes up more space than the MK-3 (see below), but does less damage and has the same firing arc. It's still the second most powerful gun in the game, but most players go straight for battleship cannons.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The MK-3 battleship cannon from Hawkeye is the most damaging weapon in the game. Although it can only fire straight ahead, dozens of them can be packed into a relatively small space.
    • Also from Hawkeye, the cruise missile is regarded as one of the best late-game weapons. It can strike from outside an enemy tech's detection radius to inflict terrible damage.
    • Venture's double-barreled Rapid cannon has the highest DPS in the game, almost twice that of the next-strongest weapon.
  • iProduct: Better Future's sleek, futuristic eCab.
  • Item Crafting: Players can craft items out of the resources they harvest in the campaign for significantly better value than if they just buy the parts. Crafting is fairly physical, needing resources to be refined and moved to the crafter by conveyor belts.
  • Kill It with Fire: Speciality of the Reaper X-1 flamethrower and the experimental plasma flamethrower.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The GSO Altimeter's description states that it measures the height above sea level, and then points out that it doesn't say in which direction the sea is.
  • Level Scaling: NPC techs spawn depending on the value of and weapon count on the player's tech, although there is some variance to either party's favour.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Avalanche launchers and GSO missile turrets were built for this trope. A tech with enough of them can shoot dozens of missiles per second.
  • Meaningful Name: Most of the quest NPCs have them. Crafty Mike teaches the player about crafting, Suzie Vroom drives fast cars, Big Pete is big and Sergeant Smash is a tough soldier.
  • More Dakka: A reliable strategy for mid-game techs. The more guns you have, the more damage you do; the only downside is that your tech needs space for all the guns.
  • Nitro Boost: Booster jets and rockets give your tech a short speed boost.
  • Pass Through the Rings: The Gauntlet and campaign racing missions take this form, both land-bound and airborne. Crashing into the rings is always a fun learning experience.
  • Pop the Tires: While TerraTech doesn't have advanced puncture physics, it is possible to knock the wheels off an enemy tech or destroy them altogether. A tech without wheels tends to be an easy target.
  • Power Creep: GSO grade 5 has the Megaton Cannon, one of the most powerful weapons in the game. When an update gave GSO the new Gigaton Cannonnote  and the Big Berthanote , they were placed into GSO's highest grade: Grade 5. As a result, all three are unlocked at the same time. They also all have a blast radius large enough to ignore shields.
  • Ramming Always Works: Driving into an enemy tech fast enough will cause damage, both to the enemy and yourself. A selection of drills on the front can tip the balance in your favour.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The desert biome.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Shotguns deal heavy damage to everything in a short cone in front of them, and no damage whatsoever beyond that distance.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The ice biome.
  • Sniping the Cockpit: Destroying all the cabs or AI units in a tech causes it to fall apart immediately, no matter how much of it is still intact.
  • Starter Equipment: Players start out with incredibly weak Little Trekker wheels and a low-powered ZK-74 machine gun, which are good enough to gather a few blocks but useless compared even to other early-game blocks.
  • Tank Goodness: The game has plenty of tracks and armour to choose from, so the player can easily build one.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Missiles are among the most powerful and versatile weapons in the game, but they also tend to be the most fragile, explosive and hard to obtain. Players with only a handful of missile launchers tend to hold them back until they can afford a souped-up combat tech which won't be losing fights any time soon.
  • Vibroweapon: The upcoming vibro-blade available in the R&D test pack.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Although they only fire in short bursts, Hawkeye railguns fit the bill.


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