What’s This Now? Terraria

By John Walker on April 26th, 2011 at 12:03 pm.

It's a lot more interesting that this shot suggests - sorry.

Britain is in the middle of what can only be described as HOLIDAY MADNESS. With Good Friday and Easter Monday as official days off last weekend, and the silly wedding and May Day off next weekend, the notion of actually doing any work is mystifying. But in the middle of our protracted time spent lounging around in hammocks on yachts, there was something of a Twitter-based fuss about another block-centric game: Terraria.

A seemingly secretive development team/person (i.e. I can’t figure out who they are) are creating a 2D side-scrolling game in which you can craft, explore, build and have some interesting influence over the landscape, and potentially in a multiplayer world. I imagine this one’s going to go huge. There’s a video of this below.

I find it difficult to have much time for any studio or developer who don’t name themselves on their website, to be honest. But the game certainly looks interesting. They, whoever they are, describe it thusly:

“Dig, fight, explore, build! Nothing is impossible in this action-packed adventure game. The world is your canvas and the ground itself is your paint. Terraria is coming soon!

Grab your tools and go! You can do many things in Terraria: make weapons and fight off a variety of enemies in numerous biomes, dig deep underground to find accessories, money, and other useful things, gather wood, stone, ores, and other resources to create everything you need to make the world your own and defend it. Build a house, a fort, even a castle, and people will move in to live there and perhaps even sell you different wares to assist you on your journey. But beware, there are even more challenges awaiting you… Are you up to the task?”

Here’s a bunch of in-game content.

And here’s a Let’s Play of the game, in which the monickered developer explains some details:

You can see a lot more videos on YouTube user “demilogic”‘s channel.

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65 Comments »

  1. skinlo says:

    A bit like a 2d Minecraft then?

    • Spacewalk says:

      It looks friendlier than Minecraft.

    • torchedEARTH says:

      A bit ?!???!?!?????!?!?!?????!!!!??!??!??!?!?!!!!??!??**@#~+_)(%$ӣ!%

    • Ba5 says:

      Except you can’t make any of the cool stuff, it being 2d and all. No life-sized USS Enterprises in this one.

    • Jesse L says:

      I think hookshots, bombs, laser guns, whatever that vine thing is, and jetpacks count as cool stuff.

      Much cooler than giant statues, as far as pure gameplay is concerned.

    • Blaq says:

      My first reaction was Minecraft meets Metalslug? Which isn’t neccessarily a bad thing, just… different. And considering that there are a lot of people who would like for the action or battle portion of Minecraft to be more pronounced, this might be quite successful.

      Also, giant floating Cthulhu eyes? I don’t eve…

  2. Dominic White says:

    Oh, John, you really didn’t do any research here on this, did you?

    Here’s a bit more info:
    http://www.diygamer.com/2011/04/terraria_unveiled/

    And here’s the game Redigit (the project lead here) did before:
    http://download.cnet.com/Super-Mario-Bros-X/3000-7433_4-10962266.html – recently C&D’d by Nintendo. Hurrah for the Streisand effect, eh?

  3. Batolemaeus says:

    Looks a lot like clonk, except less focus on building and exploring and crafting, and more focus on action.

  4. Bodminzer says:

    This reminds me more of a fantasy Cortex Command than Minecraft, and that’s a great thing!

  5. sk2k says:

    Minecraft + Cortex Command + Other Things :)
    Looks interesting.

  6. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Looks really good, will probably give this one a go, and his SMB fan game for that matter.

  7. Jesse L says:

    It’s hard to know what to think about this, except that I’d pay, right now, roughly a million bazillion dollars for it.

  8. Teddy Leach says:

    This looks pretty damned awesome. I love things like this.

  9. TheApologist says:

    Can we just be clear that May Day is not a silly holiday.

    I’d hate it to be damned by association with that wedding.

  10. Unaco says:

    1992 called, it wants its graphics back. Also, another Indie 2D side scrolling retro looking platformer? Really? They are as ubiquitous as manshoots. Is the Indie game community that creatively bankrupt?

    • Tei says:

      3D is very expensive. You need years, and a huge team, to create enough production values so people would want to play your thing ( you can bypass this with abstract or cuboids graphics, like minecraft or the aaaAAAaaa game. )
      2D opens the opportunity to pour a lot of 2D art into the game, that is cheaper to made (still a lot of work!) and give a feel of place almost inmediatelly.

    • karry says:

      “3D is very expensive.’

      And you know this…how ? Reality doesnt agree with you. Movie, animated movie, and games industries dont agree with you. If you actually pay for your art, 3D is much cheaper. 2D was cheaper about 15 years ago. Not today.

    • pakoito says:

      ^

      If you’re a bunch of friends making a game and pretend it to be a fully 20k polygon animated characters you’re in BIG trouble, friend. Programming, animating and creation of new assets interacting with each other is a forever-taking pain. Stop talking nonsense you don’t know about.

    • Batolemaeus says:

      Sprites are still cheaper to make than full 3d models. Especially in low budget games that need to look well enough where the polishing work to make 3d look acceptably would suck way too much manpower.

    • Quirk says:

      I’ve worked in 3D graphics for almost all of the last decade, first on content creation tools and later on simulation. I’ll just echo Tei here: “3D is very expensive.” Representing things from just one angle is always going to be cheaper than representing them from all possible angles, and if you think different, you probably haven’t understood the problem. Also, 2D art can be pretty minimalist and look good, whereas low-poly 3D tends to just look bad.

    • Wilson says:

      @karry – I quite like how you start your comment with: “And you know this… how?” and then don’t bother to mention any specific sources for your own statement.

    • thegooseking says:

      Not only is 2D cheaper (as others have said), it’s also simpler, making it an ideal platform to, you know, try out new things. 2D allows for extremely rapid prototyping, which gives the developers more time to experiment with the core mechanics that make the game innovative. It also strips out certain extraneous concerns that allow a stronger focus on the core mechanics (which, again, is where the innovation should be taking place). “Creatively bankrupt” is a bit of an absurd claim. The whole point of the 2D movement is anything but.

    • karry says:

      “If you’re a bunch of friends making a game and pretend it to be a fully 20k polygon animated characters you’re in BIG trouble, friend.”

      If you’re a bunch of friends – whats this nonsense about something being expensive ? You do know what “price” means, right ? Its when you P-A-Y for something. So stop talking about things you know nothing about.

      “I’ve worked in 3D graphics for almost all of the last decade”

      If you did, then you should know the current price ranges, and that 3D artists lower their prices every day. You should also have the knowledge that almost any 3D asset can be reused with the minimum effort, and that you only have change your rigging and animation stocks once in a blue moon.

      “Also, 2D art can be pretty minimalist and look good, whereas low-poly 3D”

      That may be true some times, and not other times, that still doesnt have anything to do with the PRICE. Lets do it like this, take a 2D artist, and a 3D artist, give them the same amount of money and the same amount of time for the same task, like, a sword attack animation, and then we can see what is expensive and what is not.

    • Hugehead says:

      If I really wanted to, I could make a simple sprite sword attack animation for free in a couple of minutes, but if I wanted to make even a low poly count 3D animation, I would probably have to buy a program and spend several hours making it.

    • pakoito says:

      You P-A-Y with what money? how do you maintain that pay on the increasingly development time you need to spend with 3D engines to get to a point a 2D engine can be right off the bat?

      Furthermore, do you pay for an artist and 3D engineer in every game prototype you try to make? oh you may startup a company and get full-time employees and pay them on noodles and good will. It sure is gonna be good business.

    • NikRichards says:

      @Karry

      You’re looking at two options, either:

      A) Draw X amounts of sprites for each element
      B) Model, UV map, Texture, Skin, and animate each element.

      Now really, which is going to be quicker?

    • Jesse L says:

      I like 2D games.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      You really don’t know how much faster it is to make 2D sprites over 3D models, do you?

    • Consumatopia says:

      I really don’t think the art is the expensive or difficult part of either this game or Minecraft.

      2D is definitely easier to program and design game play for.

    • Wulf says:

      You don’t need 3D for a unique visual experience, have titles like Vangers, Shadow of the Beast, Another World, Oddworld, and so on taught us nothing? And that’s just on the PC, there are hundreds of 8-bit and 16-bit console titles that follow this rule, too. In fact, the visual approach thus far is about the most boring they could have picked. Sure, they’re placeholders, I know that. I just hope that the end result is actually more visually clever.

      Minecraft had the whole ‘everything is built from cubes’ going for it, and that’s what made that amazing despite its otherwise normal visuals, that elevated it above the norm. But with 2D they could do so much more, in fact, 2D invites many sorts of freedoms that Minecraft could never have had. So I can’t help but think of it as lazy if it ends up looking like Cortex Command with a Final Fantasy theme.

      That’s just me, but in this case I actually do agree. Even Splot, the latest Frozenbyte game, which is just pretty much another platform puzzler (of many) at least has a unique visual approach. There are so, so many visually compelling games throughout the history of gaming, I really don’t hope they settle on one of the most visually dull and uninspired. (Except for perhaps parts of VI, I can’t imagine that anyone ever played the earlier Final Fantasy games for their visuals.)

      (Don’t get me wrong, this game looks amazingly fun, but it’s only going to be half the game it could have been if it’s let down by a same-old same-old visual style that shares a verisimilitude with just about every other side-scroller out there. Something like this needs identity and a charm and charisma all of its own.)

      (But then again, so long as this game allows one to mod the visuals, I don’t suppose it’ll be a problem, then you can get sprite and resource redo packs which would make the game far, far more interesting. A few fun examples I could think of are, for one, an insect hive that’s protecting its hive from outside forces as I get a strong ‘hive’ feeling when watching this game, and for two, a take on FiM. Yes, you heard me.)

    • Batolemaeus says:

      “You do know what “price” means, right ? Its when you P-A-Y for something. So stop talking about things you know nothing about.”

      Heh. Pot, Kettle.
      You’re wrong. The definition of price and cost is not exclusive to money or payment. Please do educate yourself on the meaning of the word “cost”.
      In this instance, the cost of developing a 3d game is magnitudes higher compared to 2d as much more effort is required to design, animate, texture and modify 3d content.

    • Unaco says:

      I wasn’t actually that serious with my original comment, by the way. And 2D wasn’t even the main thrust of it… more that there are a large number of Indie, retro-looking, side-scrolling, platforming type video games around.

  11. yhancik says:

    It even has a Deathworm of some kind

  12. Kdansky says:

    Clonk has done this, a decade ago.

    • Tei says:

      Clonk seems pixel based, what may make the controls harder, and the game unnecessary more complex for the programmers and the players. While Clonk is impressive, his success is not. this idea need to be tried again, and I think this time will be more popular.

    • Batolemaeus says:

      Clonk’s success was good considering this was pre indie-boom and with next to no media exposure. It was in many ways ahead of it’s time, especially looking at modding support.

    • Wilson says:

      @Kdansky – This looks way way smoother to play though. I’ve tried Clonk, and it was rather confusing and more than a bit fiddly. It’s fantastic what they did, and I had a laugh with it, but it was too much effort for me. After I had tried most of the interesting things out once, I never really felt an urge to play it again because it wasn’t a smooth experience. With this kind of game where you’re building things, I think it’s really important to make it easy and fun to do, and with Clonk it was too much hassle much of the time.

      @Tei – Yes, my thoughts as well.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      If you didn’t grow up with Clonk, you just don’t understand.

      The world was barren, unlike today.
      There was only one sidescrolling sandbox game.
      There was only Clonk.

  13. pakoito says:

    Why didn’t I know Clonk?

  14. squareking says:

    If they start charging for beta access, I’m calling shenanigans.

    • Dominic White says:

      If they let me buy in on an alpha or beta version, I’m calling first dibs. The game shown so far in the LP videos looks genuinely fun. I’d pay to play it as-is. If it further funds development of the game, then all the better!

    • Wulf says:

      I agree. I’d pay for this providing it had a unique visual design planned, or allowed for modding at the very least.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Well, Wulf, the visual design is currently WIP, by all accounts.

  15. PleasingFungus says:

    The running commentary on the “Let’s Play” is hilarious. “It’s the slime apocalypse!”

  16. undead dolphin hacker says:

    It’s like a functional Cortex Command.

    Name your price, I will pay it.

  17. davvyk says:

    Not usually one to go pimping my blog in comments but if your interested in Terraria i have an interview with the games creator on my blog threequarterdpad.com at http://www.threequarterdpad.com/?p=504

  18. Veritaas says:

    It looks like everything I wanted Minecraft to be. Basically, it’s what Minecraft would have been had Notch not stopped releasing weekly updates after July.

    • pakoito says:

      Right now is running and finding and no sense of progress other than trying new recipes. Minecraft needs mobs and sense of danger and improvement, like Mo’ Creatures and MoreCreeps implemented altogether or mob spawns and stats getting harder the far you are from your initial spawn or the time you’ve spent on the world.

      Maybe NPCs or quests or some kind of living economy…people wouldn’t mind being the city’s lumberjack and having to gather X supplies by each day, or go finding weird spawns of trees or whatever.

  19. Craig Stern says:

    This looks an awful lot like Under the Garden, actually.

  20. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    It’s probably just me and/or the fact that it’s early in development and/or because I haven’t tried it, but it actually looks rather unlike Minecraft.. and a whole lot more boring.

    Then again, I really like Knytt, so who knows.

    • undead dolphin hacker says:

      Yes, because crazy monster attacks, a plethora of weapons and tools, several different kinds of environments, and fluids that actually drain makes it so much more boring than Minecraft.

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