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Heathen Engineering’s Terran enters phase 3 of its planned Early Access cycle. Phase 3's inital patch includes substantial improvements, changes and additions on the technical and gameplay side including a major engine update and removal of much of the ‘debug hooks’ used in previous phases.

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Terran enters the 3rd and final phase of its planned early access. The initial patch kicking phase 3 off includes a massive update to the game including new gameplay elements, new content and huge host of bug fixes and improvements.

You can read the latest patch notes on Terran’s Steam Community page or over on the new Terran News blog. Along side bug fixes and optimizations phase 3 brings new gameplay mechanics and game modes to Terran. The goal of phase 3 is as you might have guessed, the full featured release of Terran as a live game and the end of the Early Access cycle.

New Game Mode

A new game mode ‘Skirmish’ has been added to the game. As the name suggests this mode is combat only and allows the player to configure the two sides of a fight. The configuration tools for Skirmish will be expanded in later patches and is intended to include environment and scenario options. At current players can configure the ships for each side, include stations or citadels and can manual set the difficulty of the opponent.

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Organization Influence

Several subsystems of the previous version’s strategy mechanics have been streamlined and unified into the concept of Organization Influence. Influence describes your organizations impact on the galaxy at large. Having influence over a star system means having control over that system. Your influence is physically represented in the galaxy as radiating out from your systems and fleets and can sway the loyalties of nearby star systems. Organization influence is enhanced by developing your population, economy, industry, science and military.

The influence system impacts nearly every other aspect of the game, see the notes below for more details.

Space Stations

Stations are independent of star systems and can be built anywhere in space assuming they are in range of two or more star systems and are not blocked by an opponents structures. Stations provide area defence, insure the loyalty of linked systems (systems in range) and host defence fleet.

The defence fleet of space stations will automatically engage enemy hostiles in range but cannot be moved from the station. The ships that comprise the stations defence fleet do contribute to your maintenance costs but do not consume ship capacity. When engaged in combat the stations will appear in battle as large structure laden with powerful turrets and large numbers of strike craft in addition to their defence fleet.


Citadels replace the concept of a ‘capital star system’ and are special star bound space stations. Organizations can have multiple citadels though there is a build cap similar what is applied to ships. Like other space stations citadels host a defence fleet and impart a very strong influence effect on nearby systems. When defeated in battle citadels are not destroyed but do transfer ownership to the victor. Keep an eye on your citadel count as having too many can quickly overburden your resources.

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Combat Improvements

Combat now supports two modes of player control:
Command mode which is the mode you will start battles in, works similar to an RTS interface. In command mode you can select groups of ships and issue move and attack orders. Clicking a specific ship and switching to Pilot mode will allow you to take direct control of that ship.

Pilot mode can be switched to at anytime after the start of a battle. In pilot mode you have direct control of a single ship in 3rd person space short style. The other ships in the same battlegroup as the ship you are piloting will adjust their planning based on your actions e.g. they will attack your target and will avoid getting too far separated from you.

Battle Groups

A new battlegroup system has been applied to the start up sequence of space battles. Players can now choose a battle grouping pattern effecting how the individual ships in your fleet will be distributed. The best pattern to use depends on your play style, fleet structure and the opponent your facing at the time.

When in command mode it is the selected battlegroup that you are issuing orders to and in pilot mode it is your battlegroup that is taking its lead from your actions. At the start of each battle you will select the group pattern you want to use, this cannot be changed after the battle starts.

Group Options

Balanced: this option attempts to distribute the various types of ships that make up your fleet across multiple groups no less than 5 but not more than 10 if possible. For players that want a lot of command control this is a good option as it gives you the greatest number of battlegroups to issue orders to.

Class: this option groups ships by class … e.g. light, mid and heavy. If movement/attack control is your focus this could be a good option for you. This option results in no more than 3 groups.

Role: this option groups ships by combat role … e.g. recon, support and tactical. Each combat role excels at a specific style for example tactical ships have heavy armour and weapons and are good in a head on fight where recon ships are fast and agile good for hit and run and for drawing out fleets away from structures. This option results in no more than 3 groups

Category: this option groups by Class + Role combination as described above and results in no more than 9 groups.

Swarm: As the name suggests this simply lumps all ships into a single group, this greatly limits your command options, but it also simplifies control for players that prefer to spend more time in pilot mode than they do in command mode.

Progression Grid

The progression grid takes the place of the previous progression system which was based on reputation gain through contacts. The new progression grid is similar to a ‘talent grid’ system, each organization type has a unique starting place on the grid and regardless of your origin type it is possible to activate every node on the grid.

Progression points are used to activate the nodes of the grid and are earned by growing your influence as an organization. Influence is grown through the development of population, economy, industry, science and military. The nodes of the grid enhance various aspects of your organization improving administration and maintenance costs, increasing ship, citadel and planet population capacities as well as unlocking special abilities such as terraforming, heavy ships and recon ships.

Other Additions and Improvements

  • Engine update
  • Vulkan API removed due to stability issues
  • Heathen Systems update (foundation code of the game)
  • UI update
  • Streamlined GUI
  • Improved key bindings and key mapping systems
  • Improved visual effects across the board
  • Improved audio (systems)
  • And new sound FX and music with more to come
  • New ships
  • Carriers! … & their strike craft
  • Better turrets (visuals)
  • Bigger galaxy (more star systems)
  • Support for much larger space battles
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