Astral Terra is an Indie, fantasy-themed sandbox RPG developed by Tethys Interactive that has been in early access on Steam since November 10th. At this stage in its development, Astral Terra is in Alpha and allows players to get a look at the most basic elements of the game with an eye to the future. The future of Astral Terra will include such things as procedurally generated world created by players, complete with survival elements, character progression and much more.
Character Creation and First Steps
Currently 3 races with 2 sexes for each are available - Fae, Dark Elf or a Dwarf. Obviously, since it is an alpha and an early access, customization option beyond choosing the race and the gender are unavailable, but two new races and more customization options are in the planning stages. It seems that beyond the options for gender and race there are no discernable differences between each character in terms of stats, characteristics and abilities. It remains to be seen whether it would be a factor later on.
After the character is created and given a name, the player proceeds to the room creation screen. You can choose to make the room open, choose whether it is visible in the list of rooms and select a password. The seed option supposedly spawns players in various locations throughout the game world and while I tried this, I couldn’t make it work.
One of the stated features is the ability for players to build a world for others to participate in. I created a room, was joined by a friend and we proceeded to explore and try out the tools made available together. One thing that will be nice to see added in the future is the ability to group up and to find other players by using the world map which was not present that I could tell.
There are two tools with many varying parameters - Terraform (as you can see in the video below) and Build. Let’s look at each of them a little bit closer.
Clearly visible on first entering the game are islands floating in the air above player’s head. My immediate goal was to get to one of them. Upon selecting the terraform tool, you get a menu where you can adjust the strength and radius of the tool, the shape (cube or sphere) as well as whether it would add or subtract voxels.
So I began to build a bridge similar to what you can see in the video below, with earth forming under the feet of my running character. The pathways can be created from the variety of different textures, including ice, grass, dirt, arcane, stone, gold, etc. Another thing to add is the physics of the water: terraforming allows you to make your own waterfalls as well as have water flow where you want it as long as it is connected via some sort of canal to the source.
The way that procedural generation is managed in Astral Terra is clearly one of the very best parts and there is a lot of promise in this feature given that this is one of the earliest stages in the game’s development.
After watching the video above I’m quite humbled at how bad my buildings were, however, community managed to make the better use of the tool, creating buildings that look almost like a work of art. As with terraforming, or possibly even more so, the player is provided with huge variety of options for the building tool - different textures and shapes included.
The character itself is given some tools, such as mining pick, hatchet, shovel and a hammer to craft furniture, weapons and other placeables in the game. On the screenshot below you can see what you are presented with once you enter the game for the first time. Anything from there on is the work of players - yourself or others. Also below you can see the screenshots from the people who have mastered the building tools.
For The Future
The team has a lot of plans for the future that will include a lot more RPG and MMO elements:
- More items to craft
- Mobs(Bloodfiend ready to go, new unique mobs on the way)
- More advanced Combat and Skills
- Multiple armor types
- Additional Character Races(Human, Elemental)
- Character Customization-Changing hair, body type, etc
- Starter Missions
- Dungeons and quests
- MOB Factions(friend or foe) and Rewards
For the short amount of time I have played Astral Terra it was fun if a bit challenging for someone who is not well acquainted with construction games of this sort. That said, it has so much potential for people who like to build, construct, create and survive in an open sandbox environment.
Have you checked out Astral Terra before or played similar games like Landmark? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.