Never has something more accurately been called a teaser trailer
April 23, 2011 4:11 PM   Subscribe

Terraria is a recently announced game that is currently in closed alpha. It is similar in play style to the Internet favorite Minecraft (previously, and previously-er, and previously-er), except it operates in a 2D, sidescrolling world. Players harvest resources to craft items and structures to defend themselves against enemies. A teaser trailer is available here, and a more extensive gameplay trailer is available here. The developers are currently uploading "let's play" videos on to their youtube account: part one here, and part two here.

This thread on minecraftnews has a little more information.

The current thread about the game over at the official minecraft forums.

Notch, Minecraft's original developer, tweeted about the game here, which seems to be the way that it's spread.

Here is a bulleted list of features in the game, compiled by me, since most information so far is contained in video format:
  • Resource harvesting similar to minecraft: hack a tree with an axe to produce wood and acorns. Hack stone with a pickaxe to produce gravel.
  • Randomly generated worlds.
  • Water that operates according to gameworld physics.
  • Crafting is similar to Minecraft, with a bench being built first to build more complex items.
  • Trees can be planted from acorns.
  • The mouse pointer seems to be the main way that player interact with the world, and appears to be context sensitive.
  • Lots of monsters, spawning depending on the current area of the map.
  • There's actual currency that can be dropped by monsters, or found through exploration.
  • NPCs with different functions in the game world. So far a merchant, and a newbie guide.
  • Interactive block elements, such as doors.
  • Dynamic lighting, with light emanating from held torches.
  • Day / Night cycle with monster waves appearing at night.
  • Special walls can be placed to prevent monsters from spawning in structures.
  • Depending on how structures are built, different NPCs (a merchant, for example) will spawn, NPC spawning can also depend on other factors, such as total ammount of money held by players on a server.
  • Moon phases will affect monster behavior. Normally zombies will slowly try to destroy doors, but during a 'blood moon' they will be able to open them.
  • Moon phases will also cause different special events to occur, such as giant boss monsters.
  • Platforms can be built that allow walking across or jumping through depending on how the player interacts with them.
  • Bombs, jetpacks, grappling hooks, and guns, among other items.
  • Magic.
  • Dungeons.
posted by codacorolla (46 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
The water physics are 100x better than Minecraft's but otherwise this seems like a major step backwards.
posted by DU at 4:23 PM on April 23, 2011

Oh I think being 2D could be a virtue. What would be an even bigger virtue is if we could play the game.
posted by Nelson at 4:30 PM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:35 PM on April 23, 2011

For earlier examples of the format, see Diggers from 1993 and Gem Miner for Android. Does anyone know of any more? Virtual mining seems to be a favourite activity of mine.
posted by netd at 4:46 PM on April 23, 2011

It looks really similar to JHarris's Kickstarter project In Profundis.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:50 PM on April 23, 2011

Looks almost like the realization of a procedural Metroid game I always wanted.

Not sure about those graphics though. The player characters look like Final Fantasy IV/V battle sprites with noses. The way their forward-facing arms are always cocked back looks kind of weird to me.
posted by MrFTBN at 4:51 PM on April 23, 2011

On a similar note, I've been playing Ace of Spades, which is like Minecraft with guns

There's probably an FPP to be written about it but I'll leave that to someone else
posted by p3on at 5:08 PM on April 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

posted by JHarris at 5:19 PM on April 23, 2011 [10 favorites]

I can only picture the giant cusses you just cussed, jharris.
posted by boo_radley at 5:28 PM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also you got nothing to worry about.
posted by boo_radley at 5:30 PM on April 23, 2011

About two months ago I was thinking to myself "Damn, I wonder why there aren't more Minecraft-like games." Apparently I just needed to wait a little bit.
posted by codacorolla at 5:46 PM on April 23, 2011

To fill everyone in:

I'm in the very early phases of a project that superficially looks a lot like this, especially the cellular automation-powered flowing liquid effects. Rhaomi linked to the Kickstarter project further up. I have been feverishly working on it for about three weeks.

I've been actually trying to make it very different from Minecraft though. It's supposed to be a whole lot more roguelike, about exploring a dangerous, forbidding world, making good use of limited resources, about carefully planning your way through the environment, and about that oppressive feeling of being utterly alone. Terraria looks like it went in a straight line to 2D Minecraft, exactly what I didn't want to do.

But I suspect this is going to make it much harder to find backers.
posted by JHarris at 5:52 PM on April 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, dude :(.
posted by codacorolla at 5:57 PM on April 23, 2011

Just to chime in on Ace of Spades, I've been playing it heavily the last week.
It's pretty much Minecraft with guns in WW1.

Lots of tunneling under the enemy's objective. Dealing with enemies coming out of the ground.
People building amazing structures and then the enemy invades and you hate them for destroying the achievements of your great civilization.
posted by TheKM at 6:04 PM on April 23, 2011

JHarris, if Terraria is going more in the Minecraft direction and your game isn't, then maybe that's where you can make the distinction. I hope you're not discouraged by seeing this game. I'm seeing a lot of these procedurally generated games popping up lately. (Hell, I'm even working on one for iOS.) These Lego games all look pretty similar on the surface, so they end up being described in terms of their exemplar. I'm reminded of all the sandbox games a few years ago being described as "Grand Theft Auto with X" (compare with Die Hard on an X.) One solution seems to be to give your game a really unique feel or hook to break that mold, and make it really obvious. Then you're making "that game with X. oh, and the style is kind of like a 2D Minecraft" and not "that game that's like a 2D Minecraft with X." That's what my team and I are hoping to do with our game anyway.
posted by MrFTBN at 6:12 PM on April 23, 2011

No, JHarris, you should go ahead. I'm really not interested in this Terraria thing kind of like i'm not too interested in Minecraft because, well, I've got a basement full of tools and I can make shit in the real world. And do. The only thing I lack is a reason to make things, which I don't get from Minecraft (or, possibly, Terraria). I like to play SimCity with the disasters off because I don't want some fuckmeat coming in and wrecking things. But I also like to play things like Half Life 2 where there's a story and breaking shit (like cities) is just part of what happens to make the story go. So you go ahead with your procedural roguelike and I think that would be much better and give me a reason to play with it.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:31 PM on April 23, 2011

That sounds sweet JHarris. The rogue aspect is the most interesting part to me. Don't stop!
posted by meta87 at 6:41 PM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I hate to say this, but if market differentiation is your concern, I think your best bet would be to go for a darker, less cartoony art style, something that says, "This is not about building with LEGOS, this is about exploring a dark, scary cave."
posted by straight at 7:01 PM on April 23, 2011

What's really annoying is that it isn't -like- Mincraft but 2D. It's a direct rip-off of everything in Minecraft, but 2-dimensionalized. This becomes more apparent when you watch the "let's play" videos.

Why torches and darkness? Why crafting tables and smelters? Why the need to create a third wall for an enclosure? Why so many other things that they've transplanted from Minecraft without thinking of the spatial consequences and gameplay issues?

I wish them luck nevertheless.
I'm sure they'll learn a lot from the experience, and have a lot of fun in the process :)
posted by lemuring at 7:03 PM on April 23, 2011

JHarris - my take is that every game in the world with have generative elements to them. that's just the way it's all going to go. it's barely a "feature" and in about a minute won't be distinguishing at all, but assumed. ("The levels stay the same every time you play them! How boringoldskul is that??") Just go for it.
posted by victors at 7:20 PM on April 23, 2011

Why do I always see Minesweeper and then I get all excited about a game where you have to explore slowly and methodically...
posted by schyler523 at 7:42 PM on April 23, 2011

JHarris - my take is that every game in the world with have generative elements to them.

You must live in a more awesome universe than me.
posted by JHarris at 8:10 PM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

You must live in a more awesome universe than me.

ha - I live in the universe you are creating for me! don't stop don't stop don't stop

I just became an official backer to prove my point.
posted by victors at 8:43 PM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

JHarris, I find your ideas intriguing and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by knave at 9:29 PM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

> Does anyone know of any more? Virtual mining seems to be a favourite activity of mine.

There's a few for the iPhone.
- Terracore Adventures
- Miner Disturbance
- I Dig It and I Dig It Expeditions

Imagine them along a continuum with easy/cute at one end and harder/more realistic at the other. I would recommend Miner Disturbance and the I Dig It games first; Terracore Adventures is cute but very short, and it seems the planned update has been abandoned.

I also enjoy this kind of game, and would love to hear of any others.
posted by Georgina at 9:37 PM on April 23, 2011

I Dig It looks more or less like a direct rip-off of Motherload, which is free and flash based.

So if you liked that one, you'll probably like Motherload too.

If you have a GameBoy emulator then Battlebull is a very fun little game where you do essentially the same thing in a top-down environment: video here.

There's another flash game, who's name escapes me at the moment, where you play an old-timey prospector who has operates a little crane-game like machine with a grabby claw that has to pick up gold chunks and can upgrade his rig as the game progresses. It's very old though, so I don't even know if it's still around.
posted by codacorolla at 9:48 PM on April 23, 2011

Wow, victors, you don't do things half measures either. That's one of the biggest pledges so far!
posted by JHarris at 9:52 PM on April 23, 2011

Terraria does look cool, but I think you could pull out ahead of them by making people with arms that bend properly.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 10:28 PM on April 23, 2011

Okay, having overcome the shock somewhat--

If I weren't working on something that happened to look a little like it, I'd probably be very interested in Terraria. It's really a different kind of game than mine. It's nice to see cellular automation coming into its own in game development at least.

knave: Said newsletter is here.
posted by JHarris at 10:34 PM on April 23, 2011

Are we really going to accuse games of ripping off Minecraft, when Minecraft is a huge, blatant ripoff of Dwarf Fortress?
posted by darksasami at 10:37 PM on April 23, 2011

Are we really going to accuse games of ripping off Minecraft, when Minecraft is a huge, blatant ripoff of Dwarf Fortress?

Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress are very different for me in the respect that I can actually play Minecraft. I'm sure it must be different for others but for me I'm pretty sure I'd need to complete a Phd in Dwarf Fortress before being able to successfully play Dwarf Fortress.
posted by Skrubly at 11:22 PM on April 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress are both very similar and wildly different. I think I prefer Dwarf Fortress slightly, but the rigors of running a fortress are forbidding and right now I don't have much time to put into playing computer games. Minecraft is better for short sessions.
posted by JHarris at 12:03 AM on April 24, 2011

Are we really going to accuse games of ripping off Minecraft, when Minecraft is a huge, blatant ripoff of Dwarf Fortress?

That makes about as much sense as claiming Dwarf Fortress is a blatant ripoff of Daggerfall.
posted by straight at 1:07 AM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Survivors of Ragnarok, on the otherhand, -is- like Dwarf Fortress. It's being worked on with frequent public releases and is currently in alpha.
posted by lemuring at 1:25 AM on April 24, 2011

Dwarf Fortress is a 2D version of what Minecraft will be like in about three years, if the feature creep lobbyists get their way. Lots of complexity, but with an incredibly steep learning curve that makes it nearly unplayable for the uninitiated.

If Minecraft is a "ripoff" of anything, it's Infiniminer. Then again, Notch has explicitly credited that game himself, so it would probably be better to call it an inspiration.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:19 AM on April 24, 2011

Dwarf Fortress is a 2D version of what Minecraft will be like in about three years, if the feature creep lobbyists get their way.

In fact I disagree. It is impossible for Minecraft to reach DF's level of complexity; the whole architecture of the game is different. Not only is DF a fundamentally different kind of game, its presentation allows much more information to be presented to the player at once. Dwarf Fortress's interface (yes, it has one!) is oriented towards management tasks, towards being able to fish out nearly any minor fact of your fortress you want, towards large-scale challenges and systemic problems, towards magnifying the consequences for minor fortress design changes.

Minecraft is much more aesthetic. In Minecraft, it doesn't matter at all if your hallways are one block wide, or if it's 30 meters longer from the mines to the workshop, or if you dig in such a way as to leave stone unsupported. You don't really have to defend anything in Minecraft except yourself. Your Minecraft fortress is safest if you don't go anywhere near it; creepers hate you, not your stuff, and only blow up your constructions incidentally. But because it doesn't matter to the gameplay you are free to follow your whims.

Minecraft is currently a giant game of let's-pretend. That's fine, is great in fact as it gives players leisure to build stuff like to-scale representations of Vatican City and Ankh-Morpork. In Dwarf Fortress a lot more matters, including many things that at first seem meaningless. That is also an extremely good thing.

The fact that both games have excellent qualities while going in different directions is why I say they're very different from each other.
posted by JHarris at 2:40 AM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Lots of complexity, but with an incredibly steep learning curve that makes it nearly unplayable for the uninitiated.

I'm an organisational idiot, and I can play Dwarf Fortress fairly effectively. Although there are interface issues with DF, and there is a time investment required to get to grips with things, I think the learning curve is often exaggerated. Like JHarris says, the difficulty in DF is less to do with the available features and more to do with the nature of the task. It doesn't seem like DF is getting harder to get into as it develops, and don't expect Minecraft to. But we'll see.
posted by howfar at 3:48 AM on April 24, 2011

Thanks for the recs, codacorolla.

The gold claw game you're thinking of might be Gold Miner.
posted by Georgina at 5:47 AM on April 24, 2011

This is a very early test of an Infiniminer clone I'm working on. - Notch, Minecraft developer, 2009.

Saying "Game X is a rip-off of Game Y" is a similar fallacy to saying "the Winkelvoss twins invented Facebook". There are very few original ideas in games. Half the games we play are Wolfenstein 3D clones, afterall, including that totally derivative game Doom.

Execution and details are what makes a good game great.
posted by Nelson at 8:00 AM on April 24, 2011

Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
of the Let's Play.

  • Team PVP combat that players must opt in to, and can then pick teams once they're on them.
  • Accessories can be found/crafted, but players have a limited number of accessory slots. Examples might be: reducing fall damage, being able to breathe under water.
  • Some items will start at a base level, and then become better through crafting. The example given in the video was a watch that lets you know what time it is above ground, which gains better and better granularity in its time telling as it's upgraded.
  • A few different types of monsters: hopping (slimes), walking (zombies), flying (eyes), and burrowing (worms), at least so far.
posted by codacorolla at 8:14 AM on April 24, 2011

If there's a great game behind Dwarf Fortress's interface, I haven't found it. DF is the first game I ever encountered that actively defends itself against being enjoyed.

"Losing is fun" when you're having a cool gameplay experience. Losing isn't fun when you lose because the interface is garbage.
posted by DWRoelands at 10:13 AM on April 24, 2011

One of the devs was doing an AMA on reddit as of 18 hours ago. Doubt he is still answering questions but there is a bit more info about the game.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:31 PM on April 24, 2011

If there's a great game behind Dwarf Fortress's interface, I haven't found it. DF is the first game I ever encountered that actively defends itself against being enjoyed.

Defend your statement. Do you mean because the UI isn't what you expect it to be? Tarn finds working on the game itself much more interesting to work on than UI, and ultimately he needs to keep up his interest in the project. But that's not the same thing as making it actually obtuse, which I've seen claimed more than once and I find to be untrue.

It is possible to like Dwarf Fortress. If you have trouble with it, maybe you need to sit down with some Nethack first.
posted by JHarris at 10:24 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Looks like it's out on Steam.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:53 AM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

...and, it looks like it's a huge hit.
posted by Edgewise at 4:55 PM on May 21, 2011

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