Terminal Reality

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Terminal Reality
IndustryVideo games
FoundedOctober 1994; 25 years ago (1994-10)
FounderMark Randel
Brett Combs
DefunctDecember 12, 2013 (2013-12-12)
Key people
Mark Randel
Brendan Goss
Drew Haworth
John O'Keefe
ProductsSee complete products listing
Websitewww.terminalreality.com/ Edit this on Wikidata

Terminal Reality[1] was a video game development and production company based in Lewisville, Texas. Founded in October 1994 by ex-Microsoft employee Mark Randel and former Mallard Software general manager Brett Combs, Terminal Reality developed a variety of games including racing games (such as 4x4 EVO 2), 3D action games (such as BloodRayne), and more.


Mark Randel began programming commercial software at age 15,[citation needed] but it was not until 1991 that Mark entered the video 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[when?] 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.[2]

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."[3]

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.[3]

In December 2013, Terminal Reality closed down and liquidated its office outside Dallas, TX.[4]

On April 11, 2018, Infernal Technology, LLC and Terminal Reality, Inc. (“Infernal”) filed a complaint for patent infringement against Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”). The asserted patents, U.S. 6,362,822 and U.S. 7,061,488, relate to lighting and shadowing methods for graphics simulation. According to Infernal, both patents have already survived an Inter Partes Review challenge filed by Electronic Arts in 2016.[citation needed]

Terminal Reality technology[edit]

Infernal Engine[edit]

In addition to game development, Terminal Reality 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.[5] The Infernal Engine is a unified system, providing rendering, physics, sound, AI, and metrics.[6]

A key component to the Infernal Engine is the VELOCITY Physics Engine: a physics simulator that offers an advanced collision system, dynamic destruction for scenery and environmental objects, accurate vehicle driving dynamics, real human body physics with anatomical joint constraints and simulated muscles/tendons, hair and cloth simulation for actors.[6]

Photex engine[edit]

The Photex (Photo-texture) engine was the first photorealistic game engine created by Terminal Reality, developed from the Monster Truck Madness engine. The first game built on this technology was CART Precision Racing, and the final game 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.

The Photex2 game engine was composed of two components: the Photex2 rendering engine and the Terrain5 geometry engine.[7]

Nocturne engine[edit]

Previously named "Demon engine", it's the rendering engine used in Nocturne and Blair Witch trilogy (Volume I: Rustin Parr, Volume II: The Legend of Coffin Rock, Volume III: The Elly Kedward Tale).

KAGE engine[edit]

Developed by the now former TRI employee Paul Nettle, originally written using software rendering, but later adapted to use the OpenGL API.

EVO engine[edit]

Based on MTM2 Photex2 engine, it is the game engine used in 4x4 Evolution and 4x4 EVO 2.[8]

List of games[edit]

Year Title Platform(s)
DC DOS GC Mac PS2 PS3 PSP Wii Wii U Win Xbox X360
1995 Terminal Velocity No Yes No Yes No No No No No Yes No No
1995 Fury3 No No No No No No No No No Yes No No
1996 Hellbender No No No No No No No No No Yes No No
1996 Monster Truck Madness No No No No No No No No No Yes No No
1997 CART Precision Racing No No No No No No No No No Yes No No
1998 Monster Truck Madness 2 No No No No No No No No No Yes No No
1999 Fly! No No No Yes No No No No No Yes No No
1999 Nocturne No No No No No No No No No Yes No No
2000 Blair Witch Volume I: Rustin Parr No No No No No No No No No Yes No No
2000 4x4 Evolution Yes No No Yes Yes No No No No Yes No No
2001 Fly! II No No No Yes No No No No No Yes No No
2001 4x4 EVO 2 No No Yes Yes Yes (EU only) No No No No Yes Yes No
2002 BloodRayne No No Yes Yes Yes No No No No Yes Yes No
2003 RoadKill No No Yes No Yes No No No No No Yes No
2003 BlowOut No No Yes No Yes No No No No Yes Yes No
2004 BloodRayne 2 No No No No Yes No No No No Yes Yes No
2005 Æon Flux No No No No Yes No No No No No Yes No
2006 The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga No No No No Yes No Yes Yes No No No No
2006 Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run No No No No Yes No No No No No Yes No
2006 Metal Slug Anthology No No No No Yes No Yes Yes No No No No
2008 SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 No No No No Yes No Yes Yes No No No No
2009 Ghostbusters: The Video Game No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes
2010 Def Jam Rapstar No No No No No Yes No Yes No No No Yes
2012 Kinect Star Wars No No No No No No No No No No No Yes
2013 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct No No No No No Yes No No Yes Yes No Yes



  1. ^ http://gamasutra.com/view/news/206823/Report_Independent_studio_Terminal_Reality_has_shut_down.php
  2. ^ Visiting TRI page 1
  3. ^ a b Visiting TRI page 2
  4. ^ http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/206823/Report_Independent_studio_Terminal_Reality_has_shut_down.php
  5. ^ Thorsen, Tor. "Q&A: Ghostbustin' with Terminal Reality". GameSpot.
  6. ^ a b http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=22776
  7. ^ http://www.gamespot.com/news/2468389.html?tag=result%3Btitle%3B2
  8. ^ 4x4 Evolution 2 Interview Actiontrip "We actually use the "EVO" engine for 4x4 EVO2"

External links[edit]