The Game

This game is designed as a reward to all TBS squad game fans across the world. As fans of this type of game, we know that the dream of strategy players has always been a game that has it all.

• Great gameplay with a multitude of play routes and viable early/mid/late game strategies for the player to choose from.

• Great AI which takes into account individual style of play and responds to it accordingly, without major flaws upon which the player can speculate and exploit.

• Great atmosphere, graphics and soundtrack to support it.

• Great storyline, aligned with the gameplay characteristics and mechanics.

Few TBS games approach this ideal combination, the most notable ones being the X-COM and Jagged Alliance series.

Now, we are introducing a new one. A series which is set to rise to the level of its predecessors and further the legacy of our beloved TBS squad games: the Terran Shield series.

One of our core goal of our philosophy is to provide the player with the freedom to express themselves within the game: the freedom to play according to their own unique style and not get penalized by the game as a result of that. One of the main features a TBS can employ to achieve this are the Time Units.

Time Units vs. Action Points

From the early stages of development we have established the Time Units as the central component of our TBS game mechanics. Now, after implementation of the game mechanics in the actual game, we can say that we are completely satisfied with the decision.

Action Points are more straightforward, easier to handle, but at the same time they eliminate a significant portion of the depth of the strategy. The approach forces the player to perform tasks in a certain order, and also eliminates some essential game features present in older strategy games, which we consider essential for creating a complex gameplay scenario. Accessing inventory, swapping weapons, changing ammunition, picking ammo and weapons during battle from dead hostile or friendly forces, the “look for the enemy feature” (the player can only see the part of the battlefield that is in front of his units: as a result, in order to properly scout the area he has to turn his units sideways and sometimes even look back) are absent from a game that has adopted action points rather than time units.

 

 

The player is aided to better manage the soldier time units by the moving area graphic representation. Inside the blue area they can move and shoot, in the green area they can move and use the item in the other hand (throw a grenade, in this case) and in the red area they can only move and change stance, to get better cover during the alien turn.

 

With time units we can bring back the game features the old TBS had and also implement new cool features, which can greatly enrich gameplay. One of these features is controlling the scout drones that your soldiers deploy during battle. Having control uses some of the available time units, giving the player a choice: use some of the soldier’s time units and keep him safe in the back and let the drone or another robotic device do the dangerous work, or spend all his soldier’s time units engaging in combat. Of course, the player can also provide some of his soldiers with specific perks that can add more control to drones/robots and unlock new and interesting abilities, or can reduce the time units that the soldier requires to control those devices.

 

Another cool feature that we have added to the gameplay is a certain substance that has oxygen gas pocketed in a layer of lipids and which can be injected in the bloodstream of a soldier and can greatly expand his time units for a couple of turns (it has a cooldown and a maximum number of uses during a battle, so the players cannot overuse it).

We have prepared other cool features which go hand in hand with the time units system, but we are eager to hear ideas from the player community, because there are no limits to the features we can use..

Damage types

Another feature that adds more depth to the strategy and tactical areas are the damage types. There are seven types of damage for the tactical combat (Battlescape) and three types of damage (kinetic/explosive, electric, sonic) for the Geoscape battles.

In Terran Shield, we have built on the preexisting types of vulnerabilities and resistances, so that different types of aliens have their specific resistance to various types of damage. On higher difficulty levels the damage resistance gets close to immunity, making it futile to use that type of ammo. Vulnerabilities are just as diverse as resistances, so much so that in a typical mission the player will be required to use multiple types of weapons and ammunition. We will however, introduce an end-game final weapon for each type of damage, so the player will have a clear goal if he wants to go for the higher DPS (damage per shot). By employing this approach, the player will no longer be tempted to use only one type of weapon (that which deals the highest amount of damage) and thus the importance of tactical planning prior to a mission will increase as the type of equipment used will vary based on alien vulnerabilities.

Stances

Another feature that takes benefit from the time units game mechanics feature are the stances that the soldier can have during combat. All the stances have their benefits and drawback. For the Air Force soldiers the crouch and prone stances improve the aim, decreasing the chance to be hit by the aliens at the same time, but they lower the movement speed of the unit making the soldier vulnerable to enemy reaction fire.

The aim of the soldier is enhanced by 7% if going into crouch stance. That change of stance uses 7 time units, but gives the soldier just enough accuracy to hit the target.

The aquanauts have their stances too: normal swim, fast swim mode and the additional shooting with medium and great support. The last two are available when the aquanaut finds something solid to grip himself onto, in order to avoid being snaked by underwater currents and miss the shoot.

 

Geoscape and base building

The Geoscape is the game level where the player can construct bases, intercept hostile alien crafts, launch missions, harass alien harvesting sites and bases. It will have all the old features of the ‘90s old and loved TBS games, plus some of the new features that we have in mind for our game.

One of the new features are the small radar vehicles and drones that will aid the Terran Shield forces in locating the alien enemy. They can be deployed on any point on the globe (as long as that country didn't sign a cooperation pact with the aliens), are relatively cheap and can greatly enhance the detection range of the Terran Shield forces.

 

The Squid detecting an alien base and targeting an alien medium fighter.

 

The actual base building will be from a top view perspective, and each base will have a concrete slab on top of which the player can construct prefabricated base modules. From a logistical point of view the easiest way to build and manage a base is above a flat base, simply because it is the fastest way to build. 

We won’t have levels on Terran Shield bases, but will compensate this with the variety of the base modules (even the same kind of base module will have multiple types of interiors) and because the bases will be attacked by the aliens, the position of various modules inside a base will be very important.

 

Building the environment and the destructible assets

Reading the briefing report is crucial in a mission. In this case the report mentioned about some highly inflammable substances stored in this hut by some smugglers.

The environment possesses resistances to certain damage, as well as vulnerabilities. The player will need to take this into account when attacking or hiding behind environment objects. The environment shall be fully destructible, but certain objects like rocks can be destroyed only with heavy artillery fire or explosives.

 

 

Our current tactical map terrain is a fixed layer over which the map generator lays several types of destructible assets, foliage and fauna. Having various heights on the terrain makes the random module placement very difficult to design because the edges of the modules won’t match perfectly. For the creation of a real generated terrain from modules we need additional financial resources. 

 

Until then, the current setup can make several different maps for the same landscape map, because the assets that lay over it are very diverse. For instance, on the same structure map we can have in a place rocks, or a building, or a forest.