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Terminal Reality

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Terminal Reality (often shortened to TRI) is a video game development and production company based in Lewisville, Texas. Founded in 1994 by ex-Microsoft employee Mark Randel and former Mallard Software general manager Brett Combs, Terminal Reality develops a variety of games including racing games (such as 4x4 EVO 2), 3D action games (such as BloodRayne), and more. It is part of the many game development companies in the Dallas area, known as the Dallas Gaming Mafia.


Mark Randel began programming commercial software at age 15, but it wasn't until 1991 that Mark entered the computer game industry when he teamed with game programmer Bruce Artwick to write add-on products for the just released Microsoft Flight Simulator 4.0. This led to Mark becoming the co-designer and lead programmer for Flight Simulator 5.0 and designing the next generation flight technology standard. This technology is still in use today by Microsoft in various Flight Simulator releases.

After leaving the Bruce Artwick Organization in mid 1994, Mark and Brett founded Terminal Reality in October 1994, which required Mark leave Chicago where he had just finished up on his BSE and MS in electrical engineering from University of Illinois. The goal of Terminal Reality was to exploit texture mapped 3D game engines, with only $1000, and working out of Brett Combs' home. During that time they were developing their first release, Terminal Velocity, and pulled together $120,000, received advances on the game and were basically able to avoid giving up ownership and primary decision rights to venture capitalists. After that first year the company generated $1.2 Million and nearly doubled it the second year with $2.1 Million.[1]

Terminal Reality's first game, Terminal Velocity, was a 3-D air combat game, Brett Combs pitched to Garland-based publisher 3D Realms. 3D Realms was the new division started by the popular Apogee Software known for its arcade style action shooters and titles such as Wolfenstein 3D. Scott Miller was intrigued by Randel's technology and Combs' management. Scott later said in a Dallas Business Journal report that "They had the backgrounds and track records with proven experience to pull off the game they were pitching to us."[2]

Terminal Reality went on, after the success of Terminal Velocity with 3D Realms, to publish titles with Microsoft such as Fury3, Hellbender, Monster Truck Madness, CART Precision Racing and Monster Truck Madness 2. By January 1998, Terminal Reality became an equity partner and founding developer of Gathering of Developers, a Dallas, Texas based publisher in which Brett Combs sits on the Board of Directors.[2]

TRI Technology

Infernal Engine

In addition to game development, TRI is also the creator of the Infernal Engine: a cross-platform, full-featured foundation for building video games that the company licenses to other developers and publishers.[3] The Infernal Engine is a unified system, providing superior rendering, physics, sound, AI, and even metrics in a single package.[4]

A key component to the Infernal Engine is the VELOCITY Physics Engine: a highly advanced physics simulator that offers an advanced collision system, dynamic destruction for scenery and environmental objects, accurate vehicle driving dynamics, ultra-real human body physics with anatomical joint constraints and simulated muscles/tendons, advanced hair and cloth simulation for actors.[4]

Photex engine

The Photex engine was the original rendering engine created by Terminal Reality, developed for Terminal Velocity. The last game using this engine was Fly! II, which used Photex3. Monster Truck Madness 2 was heavily promoted by Microsoft (its producer) for using the Photex2 engine, which, at the time of its release, was a cutting-edge rendering engine. Most of its games used the Terrain geometry engine. This engine was known for its very fast rendering in low-end pcs, photorealistic images and true color textures.

Nocturne engine

Previously named "Demon engine", it's the rendering engine used in Nocturne and | Blair Witch Volume 1: Rustin Parr.

KAGE engine

Developed by the now former TRI employee Paul Nette using the OpenGL API. Parts of its code was released as open source.

Terrain engine

The Terrain geometry engine was the original TRI's fractal graphic engine. Monster Truck Madness 2 used Terrain5.

Games developed

Game Year Platforms
Terminal Velocity 1995 DOS
Fury3 1995 Windows
F! Zone (Fury3 expansion) 1995 Windows
Hellbender 1996 Windows
Monster Truck Madness 1996 Windows
CART Precision Racing 1997 Windows
Monster Truck Madness 2 1998 Windows
Fly! 1999 Macintosh, Windows
Nocturne 1999 Windows
Fly! 2K 2000 Windows
4x4 EVO 2000 Windows, Dreamcast, Macintosh, PlayStation 2,
Blair Witch Volume 1: Rustin Parr 2000 Windows
4x4 EVO 2 2001 Windows, Nintendo GameCube, Macintosh, PlayStation 2, Xbox
Fly! II 2001 Macintosh, Windows
BloodRayne 2002 Nintendo GameCube, Macintosh, PlayStation 2, Windows, Xbox
RoadKill 2003 PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube
BloodRayne 2 2004 PlayStation 2, Windows, Xbox
BlowOut 2004 Windows, Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox
Æon Flux 2005 PlayStation 2, Xbox
Metal Slug Anthology 2006 Wii, PlayStation 2, PSP
Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run 2006 PlayStation 2, Xbox
SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1[citation needed] 2008 Wii, PlayStation 2, PSP
The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga[citation needed] 2008 Wii, PlayStation 2, PSP
Ghostbusters: The Video Game 2009 Windows,Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Nintendo DS

Games in development

  • Star Wars with Kinect (Xbox 360)

Games published

Games cancelled

  • Demonik (Windows, Xbox 360) (cancelled by the publisher, Majesco) when they ran into money problems. Gameplay footage taken from this game was used in the film Grandma's Boy.
  • Monster Truck Madness 3, was rumored (namely, about Bill Gates and an MTM3 alpha) but never confirmed, was later canceled.


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