Terraform it: a review of terragenesis

Terraform it: a review of terragenesis

In the App Store/Google Play you can find a variety of games, so I was not very surprised when in one of the profile chats I was asked if I knew the game about terraforming celestial tel. After seeing it, I decided to write a small review, because the game, in my opinion, though not without flaws, is curious enough.

The game can be downloaded for free, creators earn on advertising and scenarios, so without additional costs only the terrestrial planets are available, of which only Mars is initially open. Questions of terraforming Mars are raised frequently, so this is a suitable option.

Getting a new game. At first they propose to choose a fraction. Each has its own bonuses and penalties, but in general, the choice does not really matter, so choose what you like best.

Difficulty “For experts” differs from “Normal” only in the number of bad events “the level of the building has gone down”, “a meteorite is flying, allocate money or lose a building”, etc., this is more annoying than adds interest, so I advise “Normal” . And in the “Ecosystem” section I highly recommend choosing the “Biosphere” mode, it is almost a game in the game, and it is much more interesting with it.

The main window at the bottom rotates so far lifeless Mars. The player has the usual tasks for town planning strategies - we extract resources, explore and build buildings.

The state window of the planet. In order to make Mars a flowering garden, it is necessary to raise the temperature and pressure, increase the oxygen content, add water. All parameters are made at a fairly simple level. For example, the water level is measured in centimeters, and buildings that add or remove water change it also in centimeters, not taking into account the surface topography. The composition of the atmosphere or the distribution of climatic zones is also not taken into account. This leads to anecdotal situations where, for example, in the scenario with the Moon, the temperature is considered normal, although without atmosphere there is up to + 127 ° C on the day side and –190 ° C on the night side.

We start with the construction of the first colony. Choosing a place, do not forget that seas will appear on Mars, and buildings in the lowlands will be flooded. Personally, I was naggingly located on Mount Olympus, and the colony received the name "Ski Resort".

The colony can not be represented without a source of funding. And the main income will first bring the mine. The picture is a search for a place for them. The choice of resources involuntarily makes you smile - if the most expensive palladium and rhodium really belong to valuable elements and are logical, then it is at least strange to extract silver, iron or carbon on Mars and sell it on Earth. The possibility of researching the extraction of more expensive resources is not tied to the population or the achieved level of terraforming, which looks like a flaw in game design, because you can explore the most profitable mines for 2-3 days of play. Involuntarily recall complex chains and tuned balance in games of the Anno series.

Hint: In order for you to have no problems with money, it’s enough to follow a simple algorithm:
Under the spoiler, instructions for those who do not want to learn independently
  1. Initial resources are enough to study iron mining (level 2) and build an outpost with 9 mines.
  2. (Optional) we look at advertising, it doubles the revenue from mining.
  3. A day later, the resources extracted will be enough to build two colonies and two outposts.
  4. The outposts earn money directly, and the two colonies will begin to generate the events "talented X appeared in Colony Y" and "the inhabitants of the colonies established transport links between themselves," which create sources of extra money.

When problems with money are solved, it's time to do terraforming. It is organized simply - each parameter has buildings of three levels that increase or decrease it. The buildings have descriptions that are much more popular than scientific ones. And the explanatory text of the first level cooler, at least in the Russian version, looks like a violation of the second law of thermodynamics - some structures generate electricity, while cooling the planet. In reality, there are heat pumps that transfer heat from a cold source to a heated consumer, but they consume electricity, but do not generate it. However, there are also quite realistic concepts like orbital mirrors or comet bombardment of the celestial body.

I am glad that the creators correctly estimated the scale of the work on terraforming - a noticeable atmosphere appears on Mars after several hundred years.

A few centuries later, the water fills the lowlands. The picture is beautiful, it does not take away.

When conditions become suitable, the most interesting begins - settling with life. In a rather simple example, the game explains what an ecological pyramid is. This is realized through the concept of support - each organism at its level produces the “support” consumed by the next level. Three levels allow you to build a pyramid of microorganisms-herbivorous plants-predators.

A simple interface design of organisms allows you to create suitable for the environment. You can also create organisms that change conditions on the planet in addition to buildings or generate income. With money at this stage there are no problems for a long time, but it is the biosphere that can become the main source of income. And the interrelation of levels leads to the fact that an error or a random event can trigger a chain reaction, which will have to be cleared up for a long time.

When the biosphere spreads around the planet, the picture becomes even more pleasing to the eye. Mars of the 27th century is a comfortable place where you can go over the grass, eat an apple and stroke the beautiful Martian hyena (almost all the flora and fauna of Mars is beautiful, so they trade it all over the Solar System, and for predators I chose the scavenger attribute so that the colonists would not ate alive).

The last stage is cultural independence. Points of culture are given for population growth and random events, to accumulate them is not difficult.

The lights of the big city are burning around Mount Olympus - the population is already over a million. The party won.


Personally, I would like to see more realistic terraforming. For example, for temperature: thermal energy comes from the Sun, is released from the planet’s interior and is created by buildings. In the atmosphere, the greenhouse effect retains heat, and other substances, on the contrary, reflect sunlight. Also, heat is constantly radiated into outer space.And the player’s task would be to balance the production and radiation (loss) of heat. And the simplifications of physics in the game reduce not only interest, but also replayability - on Mars we build buildings that raise pressure, on Venus - lowering, but the sensations from this are the same.

The advantages of the game, I would attribute the simplicity and beauty. Watching how the planet is changing is nice. Implementing a cognitive and interesting project at the same time is difficult, so the developers of Terragenesis sacrificed the scientific part and put entertainment and simplicity at the forefront, so the game will be more suitable for children than hardcore geeks.

P.S. At the beginning of May there was a big update, now the picture is even more beautiful.

Source text: Terraform it: a review of terragenesis