A.I. Tournament and Scenario modes


Breaker of Games
Jun 29, 2017
AI tournaments are already implemented as the background brawl in the main menus. So surely it would require a relatively minimal amount of work to open it up to players as verses mode.

There is a very limited version of this, already: Sumo. But when I first saw that I felt that it was a bad joke! It is so very limited, with 'fights' so short and dumb as to seem meaningless. Also hard to get into. I worry that, if it was a probe of player sentiment, that it's returned a false negative. There's so much more potential beyond this... :)

Skirmish / VS / Testing mode - literally the same as the existing brawl, but player is able to select any 2 to 10(?) techs of their choosing. Sourcing from local snapshots or workshop subscriptions (or Twitter, if that's still a thing - doubtful).

This would also dovetail beautifully with the ability to snapshot enemies from campaign (with some kind of scanning scope), as per my "Poké-Tech-Go" suggestion thread.

It allows player to objectively test their design prowess out without being able to easily cheese the AI with smart piloting. (See also @Boomik's Tech Arena suggestion.) It could assist players in designing effective enemy techs, if in future they were to be sourced from players en-mass, for example.

Tournament mode - this would automate a series of VS matches, probably in knockout and/or round-robin configurations. I think this was already done on stream (although I've never been able to see that, sadly).

Certainly it would be great to incorporate tech design filters into this that automatically check and restrict participants in various ways: block count, total value, corporation, size dimensions, excluded/included blocks, etc. To this end, Sumo would be folded into these new modes, as a sub-categories, or more likely multiple categories, of different corps/weights, etc.

Ability for making custom restrictions too. And of course the ability to fight all previously posted techs of that unique tournament category on the workshop too.

Even stopping short of these extra bells and whistles, there's so much entertainment potential from a very basic implementation, like that in the game Reassembly (as posted in this Steam thread last year):

Maybe this mode could even be adapted to serve as an internal tool, to asses the population techs and weed out total failures. Also to rank all techs by relative combat capabilities. This potentially requiring crowd sourced simulation time, from player's PCs (I'd sit and absent-mindedly star at random enemies fighting for hours, especially if there was an option for this instead of the standard main menu techs).

Fleet Mode - again, a part of Reassembly's Tournament mode - being able to create a collection of techs to fight against other collections of techs. Their total value, block count, etc, would be limited. In all these modes, winner by annihilation or higher damage done to enemy techs (or value of blocks knocked off/destroyed).

This is leading up to...
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Breaker of Games
Jun 29, 2017
Scenario mode - pitching your design(s) against pre-set enemies in a specific terrain environment.

A large amount of content for this mode could be player sourced, by allowing scenarios to be created and shared on the workshop. But ultimately I'd hope there would be a carefully crafted campaign progression, starting small and building up to huge, and/or devilishly difficult fights. It could even parallel the main campaign, in unlocking new blocks/levels as you progress through the missions.

Or be integrated into the campaign itself! Say, if you stubble upon (or get a mission for) a battle-bot/robot wars arena. This could work as a late game sink for the player's many, many blocks, if each entry consumes the blocks in the design, for example.

I think the scope of the player base for this kind of game mode is pretty substantial, even if it's almost entirely silent, compared to those making shrill calls for multiplayer. Gratuitous Space Battles involved exclusively this type of game play, and sold over 500'000 copies (when I checked Steam Spy last year, info now restricted, a lot more than TerraTech's total so far, at the time).

Beyond - I'd been dreaming off a new kind of hybrid game mode, like a hands-off RTS where you're only able to design and chose techs to deploy that automatically fight for you, and gather resources and to build more of them, or capture objectives.

Or maybe liken it more to a MOBA, where you're designing the minions. And maybe piloting a bigger hero tech. Maybe having to choose between piloting and re-designing your minion deployment to win in a rock-paper-scissors battle of numbers.

Either way, certainly scope for PvP modes that could focus more exclusively on designing, without dependency on driving skills and the frustration of being killed and starting over repeatedly. Also where ping is virtually no problem, if the battling tech's behaviour is deterministic, once deployed, easy to sync between clients. And able to more easily have AI opponents - e.g. pre-set behaviours, scenarios that play out over time.

Timescale - an AI Tournament was my most eager suggestion, right from first joining the forum! But I've been biding my time with it for the last year, waiting for the focus on multiplayer development to abate (and crafting + friendly AI to get fixed), hoping that it could be slotted in for 1.0 release...

I feel like @zanzistar was hinting at some things in this direction, 18 months back, here:
Maybe, sumo needs some more alternate options and a bit of TLC. It's not the top priority at the moment (Multiplayer, Crafting and AI are). But something to consider later.
Any advances on that? Of course, I'm now thinking that something like my above suggestions could be the banner feature of a 1.2 or 1.3 release instead (presumably Payload's not going the paid DLC route - although I would of course buy in:)). Certainly it would make far more sense after AI has been fixed up and maybe augmented, for best synergy.

But I thought I may as well start pushing for this now, seeing as some devs seem to be checking out the suggestions forum, possibly as part of:
We're already planning many many updates past 1.0.
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Lord Zarnox

Founder of the IFTTES
May 31, 2017
I had once suggested a multiplayer sumo (or similar to the main menu) mode, where both players build at the same to, and can see the actions of their opponent(s), which allows them to try to counter it before the battle even begins. Alternatively, it could be based on rounds, where you can only see the opponents tech design during the battle, and while preparing for the the next round. In the preparation stage, you can only sew the opponent's tech design that was used in the previous round, allowing you to counter it for the next round, while your opponent does the same against you. This means it is perfectly possible to make your tech more effective against the opponent's tech, but they could change it to remove such a weakness without you knowing until the fight begins.


Semiprofessional Idler
Jul 1, 2018
I need more thumbs for these ideas :D

Especially the extension of the campaign mode with an arena scenario that needs BB and Blocks to be financed. I imagine sending a bunch of AI Techs into a tournament having invested some 10m BB in building costs hoping to win to get that one special weapon block and unlocking the next grade of tournament.

It generates many hours of additional playtime in the campaign mode in order to get the resources and BB covered and it would give crafting a little more relevance too.
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