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Terra Ex Kickstarter

A Kickstarter is underway for Terra Ex, a free-to-play, browser-based 4X space adventure from a team that claims veterans of development of World of Warcraft, Command & Conquer, and Lost Planet 3. They also say this is "more than just a video game" thanks to the real science it will present, thanks to contributions from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and physicist contributors to the History Channel series "The Universe." They also promise some of the proceeds from the game will contribute to science education. The Terra Ex website has more details, here's a trailer (which is not gameplay footage), and here's a bit of the announcement:

Terra Ex, a space game being developed by the talent that brought you World of Warcraft, Command and Conquer, Lost Planet 3, and many others, seeks to create a true-time space strategy game this October with the help of its upcoming Kickstarter campaign.

The game begins when Earth collides with Mars. Humanity must face its future and forge new civilizations in the far corners of space. This game allows the player to choose to be a peaceful nation of colonists, go into espionage, trade, or destroy other civilizations. With both player vs. player and player vs. environment capabilities, the possibilities are endless.

But Terra Ex is more than just a video game. With the help of scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and world-renowned physicists who are contributors to the History Channel series, “The Universe,” Terra Ex 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 the actual systems found in the night sky, and players will be able to track NASA’s discoveries as they’re being made. So if a player is curious about a newly colonized system in the game, he or she can click on it to view updated facts about the star.

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.

All they need now is your help to raise money for the game’s creation. Their Kickstarter campaign will begin October 16, with a $200,000 initial goal and stretch goals that reach $1.5 million. With contributions from Shane Dabiri, producer of World Of Warcraft, Clifford Johnson featured scientist of the “Universe,” Rick Nybakken, Jupiter mission manager of JPL, biophysicist Moh El-Naggar, recently named Popular Science's "Brilliant 10,” and ODIN’s board members, Terra Ex has a promising future in both the gaming and science worlds.

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17. Re: Terra Ex Kickstarter Oct 18, 2013, 14:39 jdreyer
 
Hi Terra Ex,

Make no mistake, I want your game to succeed. Strategy games are my favorite. My rant was not to say "this game is stupid, don't make it" but rather venting frustration at the reasons I thought the KS would fail.

Good to know you're committed regardless. Good luck, and I'll keep an ear to the ground.
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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16. Re: Terra Ex Kickstarter Oct 18, 2013, 01:46 Terra Ex
 
Hi Everyone,
On behalf of the Terra Ex Team, we'd like to thank you for all your feedback. We are committed to listening to our community on what would make the best game to play, and something that may teach you a bit of science at the same time. We will be taking all the feedback we get into consideration, and we are in no way opposed to changing things in the game should we get the majority of people asking for change.

We understand that free to play games are hard to crowd fund. Even if we do not receive our funding goals, we will be making the game regardless, though it may take longer to complete without the requisite funds. We wish to keep the game free to play with micro transactions because something that is not stated in this article, is 40% of all game profits will be going to the Odin Foundation, a charity organization who provides scholarships to underprivileged students who wish to pursue Science and Math as a career.

We are very grateful to have the JPL scientists helping us keep the game mechanics as close to reality as we can get (while still being Sci-fi), as well as them giving us access to their research data. Browser-based games certainly have a reputation of not appealing to very strategic players due to their simplicity, and we wish to do our best to change that. We hope that even if you do no contribute to our campaign, you will give it a try (as it will be free) when we have a playable version we can share with you all. Our programming team is already hard at work building the engine for the game.

Thank you again for the feedback and we hope you enjoy Terra Ex when it is finally released.

Very Best,
The Terra Ex Team
 
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15. Re: Terra Ex Kickstarter Oct 17, 2013, 23:17 Krizzen
 
$200k for a browser game? BAHAHAH!  
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14. Re: Terra Ex Kickstarter Oct 17, 2013, 18:39 jdreyer
 
Spacenut wrote on Oct 17, 2013, 14:49:
Wow, the people above really must not have read anything or watched the video. Shane dabiri, producer of WoW is in the first 50 seconds of the video, as well as cliff Johnson, a physicist from USC, Moh el Naggar, voted one of the most intelligent people in science today, and Rick Nybakken, leader of the probe going to Jupiter.

Also, earth colliding with mars is in an episode of the universe on history channel, which was hosted by Cliff Johnson. You all may want to make sure you have something to hate on before you hate.

A Brief Lessons Learned on why the Terra Ex Kickstarter Failed

1. Name Recognition Matters. Shane who? Unless you're Tim Schafer, Will Wright, or Sid Meier, you're not going to be able to just throw up some concept art and get funded. Fair or not, that's just reality. Even Chris Roberts and Richard Garriott had alphas of their games to show for their Kickstarters.

2. Presentation Matters. If you start out a game based on plausibility with a completely implausible event, don't be surprised if people are turned off by that (notice it's the most commented about topic in this thread). It suggests at the least tone-deafness, and at the most incompetence.

3. Competence Matters. If you're a dev team that has never shipped a game, you'll need to provide an alpha in order to attract funders. Even if this gameplay is visible only in the video, it needs to be there. This shows to the funders that you've got the ability, foresight, and skill to pull off a massive project like a game.

4. Don't KS Free to Play. Free to play is reviled by gamers, which is why it's derisively called "Pay to win" or "Free to pay." Make your game a one-time charge for the whole deal, and people will fund your KS in exchange for the expectation of receiving a finished game.

5. Don't go browser based. Strategy fans are serious gamers. Browser-based suggests a casual game. Not a way to get funding.

6. Never, ever reference the History Channel. There may have been a time 20 years ago that THC had good documentaries. Those days are long gone. Now it's a laughingstock: the channel that casts programs with titles such as UFO Hunters, Ancient Aliens, and The Nostradamus Effect.
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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13. Re: Terra Ex Kickstarter Oct 17, 2013, 18:13 mag
 
Christ you people are hypercritical pedants.

This is for everyone in this thread.

http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=3146#comic
 
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12. Re: Terra Ex Kickstarter Oct 17, 2013, 17:52 Creston
 
Spacenut wrote on Oct 17, 2013, 14:49:
Wow, the people above really must not have read anything or watched the video. Shane dabiri, producer of WoW is in the first 50 seconds of the video, as well as cliff Johnson, a physicist from USC, Moh el Naggar, voted one of the most intelligent people in science today, and Rick Nybakken, leader of the probe going to Jupiter.

Also, earth colliding with mars is in an episode of the universe on history channel, which was hosted by Cliff Johnson. You all may want to make sure you have something to hate on before you hate.

Thanks for signing up. I'm still not giving money to your Kickstarter with its absurd premise. If humanity hasn't long since gone post-physical by the time Mars would collide with Earth due to the sun losing so much mass that it's altering planetary orbits, it means humanity will have been extinct for billions of years already.

They're not going to sit around for 3 billion years and then realize "Holy shit! Mars is going to hit us! Let's colonize the universe!"

But hey, maybe another physicist from USC can come up with a better storyline? Or, better yet, you may ask an actual WRITER to come up with something.
 
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11. Re: Terra Ex Kickstarter Oct 17, 2013, 17:48 Creston
 
NKD wrote on Oct 17, 2013, 15:02:
Creston wrote on Oct 17, 2013, 10:47:
In addition to the obvious hilarity of "real science!" and having Earth collide with Mars (I should simulate that in Universe Sandbox, and see how fucking difficult it is to actually make it happen. I'm guessing it's odds of 10^-30 power or something,) this bit:

veterans of development of World of Warcraft, Command & Conquer, and Lost Planet 3

really make me sigh. Veterans of everything except 4X games! We'll make a great 4X game, trust us!

Sure, fellas. Good luck.

To be fair most people on the Internet are veterans of McDonalds, Burger King, and Hot Topic and think they'd make the best everything ever if given the money and power to do so.

Most of those people aren't asking for money on Kickstarter.
 
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10. Re: Out of the Blue Oct 17, 2013, 15:50 Rigs
 
*lots of PR-speak about how scientific and authentic the game experience will be*

then..."The game begins when Earth collides with Mars."

Uhhh...alrighty then...check, please!


=-Rigs-=
 
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'I know what you think you are, what you want us to believe! But I don't buy it! For three years now you've been pulling everyone's strings, getting us to do all the work, and you haven't done a damn thing except stand there and look cryptic.'
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9. Re: Terra Ex Kickstarter Oct 17, 2013, 15:02 NKD
 
Creston wrote on Oct 17, 2013, 10:47:
In addition to the obvious hilarity of "real science!" and having Earth collide with Mars (I should simulate that in Universe Sandbox, and see how fucking difficult it is to actually make it happen. I'm guessing it's odds of 10^-30 power or something,) this bit:

veterans of development of World of Warcraft, Command & Conquer, and Lost Planet 3

really make me sigh. Veterans of everything except 4X games! We'll make a great 4X game, trust us!

Sure, fellas. Good luck.

To be fair most people on the Internet are veterans of McDonalds, Burger King, and Hot Topic and think they'd make the best everything ever if given the money and power to do so.
 
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If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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8. Re: Terra Ex Kickstarter Oct 17, 2013, 14:49 Spacenut
 
Wow, the people above really must not have read anything or watched the video. Shane dabiri, producer of WoW is in the first 50 seconds of the video, as well as cliff Johnson, a physicist from USC, Moh el Naggar, voted one of the most intelligent people in science today, and Rick Nybakken, leader of the probe going to Jupiter.

Also, earth colliding with mars is in an episode of the universe on history channel, which was hosted by Cliff Johnson. You all may want to make sure you have something to hate on before you hate.
 
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7. Re: Terra Ex Kickstarter Oct 17, 2013, 14:41 jdreyer
 
Necrophob wrote on Oct 17, 2013, 09:42:
Somehow I doubt real scientists would contribute to a game where Earth collides with Mars. Is Bruce Willis involved in the story-line in any way?

Yeah, why bother with something as ridiculous as Mars when a 10 mile wide asteroid will accomplish the same thing? Or a massive solar flare, if you want something about which nothing could be done? For a game that professes a plausible reality, it helps if you start your story with some reality.

These guys don't even have an alpha to show, just some rudimentary graphics. I like this kind of game, but this looks like they're not very far along. For a bunch of no-name guys forming a new team, you gotta show your alpha to show you're competent enough to pull this off.

I see a lot of people agree with my take. In two days, they've only managed to raise $722 of $200K.
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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6. Re: Terra Ex Kickstarter Oct 17, 2013, 12:49 Cutter
 
A) Browser based = forget it anyway.
B) Not even one name of one dev, no credentials whatsoever beyond claims of working on a few famous games? And not even in what capacity. QA? Office janitor?
 
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"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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5. Re: Terra Ex Kickstarter Oct 17, 2013, 12:07 Creston
 
Moe Faux wrote on Oct 17, 2013, 12:02:
I love the idea of a 4X game based in science. I, however, don't know about the probability of Earth colliding with Mars in the future, so I looked it up...

http://www.space.com/6824-long-shot-planet-hit-earth-distant-future.html

1% is a lot less than 1 in 10^30. Intuitively, the sun does lose mass, so expecting permanent orbital paths is silly.

Maybe a game that taught a little science would be useful...hmm.

could lead to a collision of Earth with Mercury, Mars or Venus in the next few billion years.

So this is a game set a few billion years from now? Where mankind is still stuck in the solar system? And where Mars colliding with Earth because the sun is going out doesn't cause any other effects? Seems scientific!

Mmmm... maybe a game that taught someone how to read and extrapolate would be useful.
 
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4. Re: Terra Ex Kickstarter Oct 17, 2013, 12:02 Moe Faux
 
I love the idea of a 4X game based in science. I, however, don't know about the probability of Earth colliding with Mars in the future, so I looked it up...

http://www.space.com/6824-long-shot-planet-hit-earth-distant-future.html

1% is a lot less than 1 in 10^30. Intuitively, the sun does lose mass, so expecting permanent orbital paths is silly.

Maybe a game that taught a little science would be useful...hmm.
 
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3. Re: Terra Ex Kickstarter Oct 17, 2013, 10:47 Creston
 
In addition to the obvious hilarity of "real science!" and having Earth collide with Mars (I should simulate that in Universe Sandbox, and see how fucking difficult it is to actually make it happen. I'm guessing it's odds of 10^-30 power or something,) this bit:

veterans of development of World of Warcraft, Command & Conquer, and Lost Planet 3

really make me sigh. Veterans of everything except 4X games! We'll make a great 4X game, trust us!

Sure, fellas. Good luck.
 
Avatar 15604
 
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2. Re: Terra Ex Kickstarter Oct 17, 2013, 10:15 InBlack
 
Necrophob wrote on Oct 17, 2013, 09:42:
Somehow I doubt real scientists would contribute to a game where Earth collides with Mars. Is Bruce Willis involved in the story-line in any way?

Yeah they lost me at "The game begins when Earth collides with Mars...", major fail...
 
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I have a nifty blue line!
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1. Re: Terra Ex Kickstarter Oct 17, 2013, 09:42 Necrophob
 
Somehow I doubt real scientists would contribute to a game where Earth collides with Mars. Is Bruce Willis involved in the story-line in any way?  
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