#EGX2014 Interview: Producer On Indie Game TerraTech, Sai Wun Poon

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Posted October 1, 2014 by BetaDaysUK in All, EGX, Interviews, PC

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First stop at Eurogamer Expo (EGX) was to catch up with the Payload Studios, the team behind TerraTech. The game is a very unique exploration and combat title, in which you search procedurally generated worlds to collect resources and customise you’re rover from the carcases of other corporations vehicles that you face-off against. Customisation is unique for every player, so your imagination has little limits. You never know, you may even build something that the developers didn’t even think was possible!

I spoke with the games producer, Sai Wun Poon.

Thanks for talking with me this morning. Day two of EGX. How’s it going so far?

Yeah, we had a lot of interest and were quite surprised about the number of people coming up and trying to get on. It was really quite reassuring! They’d sit down and still be there half-an-hour later. It’s always interesting to see the public play the game and it’s making sure we’re on the right track and looking out for things we can fine tune in the game to make it better.

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I caught you guys at Rezzed earlier in the year and managed to get hands on and was blown away the premise and how easy it was to get into. I think it’s got staggering potential. Since then TerraTech has received some press, even the Guardian newspaper asking if it’ll be the next Minecraft. How does that make you feel?

It’s a comparison that we are happy with. The similarities are that you build things with 3D Lego like blocks, but also it has some obvious differences, such as you can build vehicles with wheels and weapons and other blocks that you don’t see in Minecraft. The common themes like giving the players bits to play with and seeing what they come back with, that’s a great comparison. That’s the most rewarding thing we see. People pick it up, play and just make unique creations that you wouldn’t think of.

At Rezzed I believe you were just discovering, unintentionally, that you could make vehicles that could fly.

That’s right, it was never intended. The team built boosters to make vehicles travel along the ground faster. We gave it to the public to play with and believe someone just turned them vertically and took off. We thought “Oh, that wasn’t planned, but we like that”. From that we thought let’s give people more bits to build planes and hover craft, so just from seeing someone do that spawned the idea of building wings, tail fins and hover planes.

Have to say congratulations on the successful Kickstarter…

Thank you.

Off the back end do you have a roadmap of where you’d like to go with the game? It’s coming to Steam Early Access, is that right?

Currently we’re in a beta access program for people who have backed us, so we’ve been producing development builds (we’ve been aiming for) every fortnight, but through the feedback we’ve been getting from the community, and through the forum we’ve set-up, we’ve actually been releasing builds more frequently. We hear the feedback and “Oh, that’s a great idea” or “let’s fix that” and we’re firing out builds almost weekly now. We’re also now aiming for Steam Early Access for around the end of October.

The game is always evolving, but how has it changed from its early conception? Was it always procedurally generated worlds and modular blocks, or was it something different?

I think the fundamental idea of the game is still there. It’s a really strong idea and the fact that we haven’t deviated too far from that original vision has proved that point to us. Where we are at the moment is continually listening to the community to fine tune, tweak and add new blocks to the game – but it’s still along the same lines of its premise of collecting resources, making new blocks and exploring.

You’ve different corporations in the game, each with a differing look and play style.

Yes, we added our third on Wednesday. An Earth corporation called ‘Venture” which is fresh into the beta build (the red, white and blue blocks). They’re really light and fast – like sports cars or dune buggies with big spoilers and some imposing looking guns. Weak but look snazzy. Because it’s a different style of corporation, it just gives the player more things to play with.

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I’ve seen some of the concept art for other corporations, and can see an ‘arachnid’ style vehicle. I’m very keen to see how that would work with other blocks.

Ah, ‘Legion’. That’s definitely one of the more popular ones. It also happens to be one of the more complex ones. We need to spend more time on designing, just to make sure that all the corporation blocks are compatible with each other. You’re not just one corporation; you’re a space trader and can have any parts you can scavenge. It’s important to retrain that ability to mix and match, because people will like certain parts from one corporation and combine them with others to build even more unique vehicles.

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One the main features, and sure everyone is asking for, is a multiplayer aspect to the game. The ability to work cooperatively together would be something huge.

We’re pretty much convinced that multiplayer TerraTech will be truly amazing. For now we’re a small team and want to keep it that way and focus on making a really solid singleplayer game. Focused and polished and then expand from that. Multiplayer though is on the way …but further down the line.

Thank you very much for talking with me today.

TerraTech can be supported or pre-ordered through the official website. It’s also coming to Early Access around the end of October, but while you wait why not grab a demo and try it for yourself.


Author

BetaDaysUK

Computer and games fan from child to man (man-child if you wish). Gaming since the Atari 2600 all the way through ZX Spectrum, Amiga 500 and now PC. Keen observer of all things Early Access and in Beta (hence the name).


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