Terra Incognita announced

Terra Incognita
During one of my customary game-spelunking expeditions, I caught sight of a strange and beautiful mock-up glinting in the deep. On closer examination, it turned out to be Terra Incognita, a strategy roguelike inspired by Jules Verne stories and the tales of real-world 19th century explorers.

What is Terra Incognita, you ask? The developer (who wishes to remain anonymous) describes it like so:

Terra Incognita is a roguelike-strategy-puzzle-game set in the late 19th century in which you will venture on unprecedented expeditions to regions never explored before.

Accompanied by some of the world’s best scientists, you’ll travel through deep, lush jungles, wade through cursed swamps, explore peculiar caves and cross deadly deserts, all while encountering exotic native tribes and menacing wildlife that defies any explanation.

Adventure awaits!

Also, I just feel compelled to point out here that one of the planned character classes is “Rabbi.” For real.

Terra Incognita Specialists

Here is the official List o’ Features:

Explore procedurally generated worlds with many different biomes, each with its own distinctive set of challenges for the ambitious explorer.

Plan and equip your trek with gear, weapons, scientists, porters, pack animals and much more. A good explorer is prepared for any eventuality.

Manage your resources to keep your trek alive and morale high. Balance your need for food and water with the desire to carry all that precious treasure back home.

Visit and interact with the land’s natives. Enter villages, trade and communicate with local tribes and civilizations that are unknown to mankind.

Loot mysterious temple ruins to gain fame and treasures, but watch out for deadly traps and curses that will compromise your men and the whole world around you.

Equip and utilize miraculous treasures to gain advantages, but be wary of unforeseeable side effects.

Fight and defend your trek against a wide range of wild animals, mystical creatures, cannibals, zombies and even dinosaurs.

Finally, here are some more mock-ups showing the game’s planned graphical style.

Terra Incognita is planned for release sometime in 2013 for PC and “tablet devices.” (That schedule seems a touch overambitious to me, but hey–what do I know.)

Below the jump, we have exclusive bonus details about the game for you to read. Check it out!

Right from the developer’s mouth, here is more detailed information on what is in store for Terra Incognita:

Specialists, XP & Leveling:

The “Specialists” as we call them for now will feature different abilities that will allow you to play the game in different ways. In a sense, you could see each of them as different skill-lines in a traditional RPG sense.

You’ll be able to select which ones you take with you when equipping your trek at the beginning of an expedition, but you’ll also be able to pick some up during your journey. Also, even though much less likely than with the porters, they are able to die.

Each Specialist will bring his unique equipment when he joins your Trek. An Inventor like Tesla will have all kinds of crazy contraptions like the Tesla Gun or teleportation devices, while a Hunter would obviously bring his beloved rifle that will give you a strong head start in any combat situation.

Besides the equipment, Specialists will also allow you to perform certain actions that are not available without them. An Anthropologist will make it much easier to communicate with any kind of natives you may encounter, and a Botanist can easily identify most of the herbs, fruits and other plants that you will find a lot during the game (and it’s really helpful to know which of those are not only eatable but also which kind of “side-effects” they might have).

So as stated in the TIG thread, the selection of your Specialists will strongly influence your gameplay experience, similar to skill-trees you select in a more traditional RPG. Each Specialist will collect XP, based on his and the whole Trek’s actions. Since all Specialists have their personal XP, you’ll have them leveling up separately from each other (which is really nice, since that usually results in a nice pacing of level ups)
If you happen to complete an expedition, and a Specialist actually survives, you’ll be able to take him again with you on your future expeditions. This is one aspect of how we are bridging the separately generated expeditions and introduce a permanent aspect to the roguelike formula.

On a side note, the Porters as well as the various animals you’re able to take with you on the Trek (or find along the way) will also have a leveling system, however that is going to be much simpler compared to the Specialists.

Concerning the “trail of chaos”:

Especially when looting temple ruins you’ll more than often run into large scale events that are caused by defiling the temple and angering the “gods”. An example for this are volcano eruptions, that cause lava to spill over the lands and set jungles on fire, that will again spread over large regions.
Other examples are curses like the “30 days of night” where basically our daytime system is locked into night, with all kinds of monstrosities spawning in the darkness.

Chaos can also emerge from the usage of magical artifacts. For example, it might be handy to create a spring at your position to fill up your water reserves, but the spring won’t stop, so it’s gonna create a river that will move through the land, potentially drowning native villages or in general make it harder for you to travel.

As of now we’re still exploring the whole concept of the “leaving a trail of chaos”, but since it is one of our main focuses you can expect it to play an important role in our game.

We really love that magical ability of roguelike games to allow the player to create and experience his very own story through the game and all it’s crazy little elements.
Achieving a state in which a dynamic and unique story is emerging from the generated world, it’s rules, npcs and the player’s actions is one of the most fascinating goals for us. We know it’s super hard to pull off properly, but seeing that there are games that are actually creating something like this (e.g. FTL or Brogue with it’s wonderful companion monkeys) gives us confidence.

The player will leave his mark on the world, wildlife and native tribes he’s going to encounter during his expedition. And it’s very likely going to be a scorch mark.

On Combat:

We indeed plan to separate our combat from the rest of the game, which is, I have to admit, very untypical for a roguelike.
However, even though combat plays a very important role in our gameplay, it is nowhere as central as in the typical roguelike. That’s why we want to keep it rather simple and do something similar to a JRPG combat setup. Still, we have some ideas on how to adjust that setup to make it special and fit to our game (those adjustments could be called “innovations” by people that like this word  )

Besides the importance of combat, we thought the typical roguelike combat does not fit to what we want to achieve. One reason for that is that our scale is much different; you’re spending 1 day of traveling when moving ~6 fields, which makes entities very very small in relation to a single field on the map.

If you’d want to find a direct comparison to what combat means in a typical roguelike for out game, it would be the way how you have to adjust your movement, planning and resource consumption in relation to the different types of fields and biomes you are encountering. There’s even pattern recognition that you’ll have to do on the different types of fields, if you want to achieve certain things.

In a sense, the most dominant “combat” in our game is that between your trek and the world around you; fighting the monsters of the world is definitely an important aspect, but certainly not as important as overcoming the challenges that emerge out of the world itself.

As with the gameplay outside of combat when moving your Trek, Specialists have unique abilities or gear that can be used during combat. You’ll also be able to equip your standard porters with weapons to make them more effective, or even have them mount an animal to fight in the combat (I still need to do that mockup of Tesla riding a raptor).

The types of enemies you’ll encounter will depend on the type of biome you are currently exploring. Initially you’ll run into typical beasts like hyenas or tigers, while you’ll encounter different, way more fantastic creatures in the later stages of a game (if you happen to survive that long). Dinosaurs are our obvious choice, but we are also very big fans of Cthulhu so that kind of fiction also will play a strong role (and robots, time travel, ninja-cannibals,  giant enemy crabs and zombies, obviously).

However, it’s not like you’ll encounter every possible enemy type in one single game; when a new game starts and the world is generated, a secret “theme” is decided in the background; for example Dinosaurs. While the game then starts out normal, eventually you’ll start to see more and more signs of Dinosaurs and then know that it’s that kind of theme of this world. However, with our approach to world generation, it’s never going to be quite the same experience. “New secrets await every time you venture out, no matter how many times you’ve played.” – we really mean that 🙂


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