Earth 2160 is a real time strategy (RTS) computer game, the third in the "Earth" series and developed by Reality Pump studios. It is a direct sequel to Earth 2150. The release of the game was staggered, originally published in Germany, Poland and Russia in June 2005, it was then released in the rest of Europe in September 2005 with North America receiving the latest release of the game November 2005. It was also released on Valve Software's Steam platform in April 2006, and later from Good Old Games in 2009. The game continues the dystopic themes of the previous Earth games, and is set in numerous locales throughout the solar system.
Earth 2160 follows the progress of the factions, the United Civilized States, the Eurasian Dynasty and the Lunar Corporation, who, after escaping the doomed Earth, headed for Mars. After a time of relative peace and recovery, the factions once again come to blows, with a fourth faction of extraterrestrial nature, named the Morphidians, coming into play. Just a few thousand humans were specifically chosen for the evacuation of Earth, and as such manpower and resources are limited. Upon reaching Mars, the factions set about completing the difficult and lengthy task of terraforming the planet independently of one another. As the game begins the process appears to be far from completion.
There are a total of four playable factions in Earth 2160. Each faction has a unique method of constructing bases, as will be explained below.
The United Civilized States (UCS) are the evolution of a former expansion of the United States across the Americas. The UCS was previously a huge makeup of hedonistic, advanced humans who used robots and machines to accomplish any unpleasant tasks and jobs; however, whilst the ED and LC evacuation ships arrive safely at Mars and begin colonisation, the UCS evacuation ship, the Phoenix, inexplicably goes missing during the journey. Theories concerning its disappearance range from destruction by a meteor swarm, to the human overlords making the mistake of allocating too much power to the machines and, during the journey to Mars, in a move much akin to HAL 9000's the few humans remaining were exterminated by the machines they created. Major Michael Falkner of the ED personally believes that the ship was sucked into a black hole "or something like that, anyway". (It is revealed during the UCS campaign that the Captain of the Phoenix, an AI, has kept the ship in orbit and the humans in stasis, waiting for the wars in the Solar System between the ED and LC to end). The UCS's backbone forces are its robot mechs and colossal airborne ships. During the campaign, human forces under the rogue LC commander Heldin Ariah stumble across the derelict UCS evacuation ship and are able to command the robots in their fight against the Morphidian Aliens. The UCS structures initially serve almost no function at first but may be upgraded with a series of add-on structures that enhance unit production, armament, and resource collection. UCS mechs are effective against most things except for ED tanks.
The Eurasian Dynasty (ED) represent the largest human faction in Earth 2160. Upon successfully completing the evacuation vessels, the leaders and officers of the faction were among the precious few human beings chosen to board the ships. As the most primitive of all the factions, the ED have previously relied on sheer strength and numbers to triumph over their enemies, using tanks and helicopters in battle. Nevertheless, with only a few thousand humans remaining, and strictly limited materials, their future remains tentative. The ED seem modelled on the Soviet Union, and before Earth's demise were based primarily in Eurasia. Typical ED bases are huge complexes of production, resource, research, and defense structures connected together through tubes. Base defense can be enhanced with a series of turrets built atop mag-lev walls; these turrets can be moved along the wall sections to respond to threats in multiple directions.
The Lunar Corporation (LC) are by far the smallest of the factions. Unlike the other factions, they are relatively peaceful, and prior to the destruction of Earth, lived unhindered on the Moon. However the fighting between the UCS and ED prompted them to utilize Earth's resources to construct an escape craft alongside the other two factions, and they too escape to Mars. The LC are the most advanced of all the factions, with anti-gravity vehicles and orbital construction technology. LC bases consist of a series of large towers with modules built on top of one another in order to save space while defense is supplied by a series of laser walls and defense towers.
The Morphidian Aliens are the most obscure of all the factions. Having been imprisoned beneath the Martian surface aeons ago they were awoken by landing UCS ships. Now, they are determined to escape their incarceration and establish themselves across the solar system. Unlike the other factions, the Morphidian Aliens' buildings and units are not manufactured, but are rather organic in nature. All ground-based buildings and units originate from the Maintain family of units, who have the capability of cloning themselves or morphing into another building or unit after sating themselves with a nearby water source. The Aliens also rely on large starships called Replicatori, which can then replicate themselves much like the Maintains (after absorbing enough crystal) or morph into Morphoratori. These Morphoratori must then absorb enough metal before transforming into warships. In-game cutscenes and several unit descriptions refer to them as a purpose-built biological army, created by a race nicknamed "The Builders", which are also responsible for the creation of a space gate network, as well as several advanced artifacts found in the game. The Morphidians appear to be von Neumann machines created exclusively for war, with their ground forms being made using extremely advanced synthetic biology and genetic engineering, while their space fleet was made using nano-assembler technology (only because they couldn't evolve a proper, air-capable mutant).
Graphics and features
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The game uses the Earth-4 engine, which uses a T&L rendering module supporting pixel shading and bone calculation direct to ones graphics card. Bump mapping, lighting effects and detailed units are also present.
The game uses a AI system which uses linear back framing algorithms to learn from its mistakes and become increasingly competent in battle as the game progresses.
An "agent" system allows factions to hire freelance persons each with their own specific abilities. Some assist scientific research, others in reconnaissance, resource harvesting and so forth. Each recalls his previous contracts, this affects price. Further, they have an attitude towards their fellow agents, ranging from love to resentment. Research plays a major part in Earth 2160, and factions can choose numerous technologies to research, often at the same time. Research centres are still prevalent, and the number constructed will have an effect on the speed of research. Earth 2160 uses modular construction, in which buildings and units can be constructed from a wide assortment of basic parts. The game economy is based upon three material types: Water, Metal, and Crystals.
A total of ten skirmish maps and four multiplayer modes exist. Players also have the option to save their multiplayer games to finish at a later date. The multiplayer servers are hosted from EarthNet, and a ladder and league is included. A maximum of eight players may join a game. Spectator mode and Replays are also included. There is also an option to join a running game, which many real time strategy games don't have.
Development of EarthNet 2
Development of EarthNet 2, which was meant to replace the old EarthNet after release, was stopped mid-2006. This caused enragement among the community as it was perceived that ZuxxeZ blamed the community for the failure of its development, as it was being developed with members of the community. In addition ZuxxeZ considered the multiplayer feature of Earth 2160 unimportant, as only 10% of all users of Earth 2160 ever went online with it.
Modding is another feature included with Earth 2160, the E2160 world editor is included as an external program, enabling players to create their own maps to battle on. Reality Pump has confirmed that Unicode is present in the modding system.
In 2005 Zuxxez Entertainment hired law firm Schutt-Waetke to charge more than 18,000 German filesharers for copyright violation. Fines between 150 to 650 Euros were levied. The producer Dirk Hassinger had noticed there were far more players on the online game server than registered buyers (all the game's copy protections systems had been hacked and a small program was automatically generating serial numbers), leading him to start monitoring the filesharing networks for illegal shares. The Swiss firm Logistep offered him a package that would gather data valid for legal actions and automatically generate the charges ready for digital submission to the court in Karlsruhe. Two weeks later Hassinger's lawyer submitted one CDROM containing 13,700 charges to the court, each one also printed as a courtesy. By post each defendant received an offer: pay 50 Euros now and the case is dropped. Most paid up. Hassinger's lawyers also sent demands that each downloader sign an undertaking to never again share copyrighted software, plus an invoice for 200 to 500 Euros.
Earth-4 is the graphics engine used in Earth 2160. It is a 3D engine developed to make a highly detailed environment and AI. It also has a hardware version which supports pyrotechnic and lighting effects. It was developed by Mariusz Szaflik.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Strafanzeigen-Maschine gegen Tauschbörsen-Nutzer (German collection of news reports), citing heise online - 22.09.2005 - Strafanzeigen-Maschinerie gegen P2P-Nutzer arbeitet weiter (German) Retrieved 2008-09-11
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Earth 2160 Technology Retrieved September 9, 2006
- ↑ Games information about Earth 2160 2006 Retrieved September 9, 2006