Originally Published: Thursday, 27 April 2000 Author: Terry Warner
Published to: enhance_articles_games/General Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Terminus Preview

Terminus, a new game soon to be released on June 8th by VicariousVisions, is a radical change from the usual everyday space combat sims that we are used to seeing. The game includes brand new intelligent AI, as well as the ability to play in realtime online against hundreds, or even thousands of other players. The game is a space simulator that VicariousVisions has succeeded in taking space combat to the next level.

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Written by: Terry Warner
Co-Written by: Jeff Mrochuk
Edited by: Shannon Ormon

Terminus, a new game soon to be released on May 3rd by VicariousVisions, is a radical change from the usual everyday space combat sims that we are used to seeing. The game includes brand new intelligent AI, as well as the ability to play in realtime online against hundreds, or even thousands of other players. The game is a space simulator that VicariousVisions has succeeded in taking space combat to the next level.

The game includes the interaction of mulitiple different races of human and non-human races in addition to over a dozen fully equipped space stations. The game is constantly evolving in real time, regardless if all the players are online making more enjoyable and challenging game play for even veteran game players. This is the first time that a real time economy has been introduced into a space simulated game successfully.

Prices of weapons and equipment change according to the interaction of the other people playing the game. Players must constantly evaluate their assets and purchases, because nothing is predictable or expected. In addition to playing against others online, computer controlled characters are very challenging due to the advanced AI used in Terminus.

Computer Characters experience joy, sadness and love, all of which affect how they interact with the game and it's players. Players are able to choose professions ranging from marines to mercenaries, making the game easier or more difficult, depending on the jobs they must complete.

Story: Its been a good long time since a game company has put this much effort put into the story, bringing you into a fully functioning universe. Shortly after my first mission with the Mars Consortium, I was sitting in my base chatting with pilots about home sickness, and my superiors about deserters among us. One of the more unique aspects of Terminus is the constant news stories being posted; news stories I had been a part of, the view on a war from the objective eye of the media. With 4 unique storylines, this is a single player experience that will last. Upon starting the single player, you can pick the story mode, which puts you in a constantly changing wartime situation, free mode, which lets you do whatever missions you'd like, or the Gauntlet, which is just a series of dogfights. With the demo, I've only seen a small part of the plot but from what I've seen, it will pull you in.

Multiplayer: I was unable to test the multiplayer portion of Terminus, but it will feature full multiplayer support, and even an online universe that you can be a part of, accepting missions for cash, trading on the stock markets, living as a mercenary, and much more. This should be the most addictive part of Terminus.

Graphics: Terminus uses the OpenGL or Glide libraries and features a fully 3d environment, from torpedoes to space stations. It features dozens of rendered ships, colored lighting, detailed indoor shots, and much more. I noticed a few graphical glitches in some of the cutscenes, but I imagine these have been hammered out. The only problem I had was an occasional slowdown during combat, when there were large amount of poly's on the screen. Fortunately Terminus provides a fully featured control panel which allows you to turn off several things, and adjust detail for slower systems.

Sound: Sound is one of the stronger points of Terminus. They have done an excellent job the sound, from weapons firing to large scale explosions. The Linux version has full duplex (send and recieve) audio support if your sound card supports it. The full version also contains literally hours worth of voice communication with NPC's, while in missions.

Controls: The controls for Terminus have a bit of a steep learning curve due to the fact that there are so many functions available on your ship. Once again, the option panel features a controls section, which allows you to completely customize every key configuration. The demo I recieved highly recommended using a joystick, and I agree, the joystick for aiming is much easier to use than the keyboard. The game offers a training session, and after completing it you pick up on controlling your ship very rapidly. After a few hours of gameplay you should have no problems with controlling the ship.

Overall: Terminus is a great game, and features something for everyone. This is one of more original games that we've seen hit the Linux gaming market this year, and one that no space combat fan should be without. The demo should be available soon, and you can preorder your copy at Vicarious Visions' Online store





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