Welcome to the RTSC
When it was first released, Total Annihilation raised real time strategy to the next level. It introduced genuine 3D terrain and textured, polygonal units made of separate moving parts. It weathered criticism for being dry and lacking the colour and personality of story driven titles like StarCraft; its units all looked the same, there wasn't much differentiation between its two opposing forces of robots and there were no personalities or heroes of any kind. This is all true. However, TA works best as a straight generic war game stripped to its fundamentals. Its quite abstract and very neutral. LEGO meets RTS. It needs a plot and deep characterization about as much as a game of Aussie Rules. If you really want to read the back story, try here. But Total Annihilation's impact on the genre has been profound: it managed to score first place in Gamespy's Top 10 Best RTS's of All Time in 2004.
There are two sides: Arm (rebellious heroes) and Core (incumbent villains). Arm units are generally lighter and faster, while Core's are heavier and more implacable. There are as many defensive units as there are offensive ones; almost as many different kinds of turret, silo and factory as there are types of mobile unit. It's eminently possible to build the (almost) impenetrable defence, which, when coupled with infinite resources, can allow a player to play completely defensively. Unfortunately, this can also deadlock games, with two sides unable to blast their way through the other ... unless they resort to nukes!
One of the main reasons why Total Annihilation still has an active presence on the Web is due in no small part to the vigour of its gaming community and the extraordinary amount of custom maps, units, AI's and utilities that they've produced. Despite Cavedog's demise and the concentration of the fan base, what is left over seems to have become more focused and determined to persist than before. If you're going to get into TA, you should play the original game and its CC expansion just to learn it, and then browse through the maps and custom unit packs for the real thing.
As for customisation, there truly are some mind boggling extensions to the game. For a start, there's the TA:Mutation switching utility that allows to you mix and match maps, custom mods, custom units, AI's and "mutators" all in the one game install. One of the TA's renowned mappers and tilesetters, C_A_P, put together a patch that animates all the (previously static) trees in the game. Networked games can be recorded with the TA Demo Recorder, an amazing program written by the Swedish Yank Spankers. Those Scandinavian scallywags also cobbled together an extraordinary 3D game engine that lets you play Total Annihilation within an immersive 3D environment called the TA Spring Project.
|Total Annihilation: the Core Contingency OVERVIEW|
|Version & Install||
3.1 This assumes you have the original game plus the Core Contingency add-on. You MUST install TA, then CC, and then apply the 3.1 patch. We've found installing CC over plain TA patched at 3.1 will drop it back to 3.0 and cause problems.
Installing TA with all the bits can be a bit of a trial: for most general problems consult Infogrames' TA support pages for PC or Mac. AFAIK, most of the custom mods apply (or at least assume) you're playing on a PC. However, since many custom add-ons are merely data files, they should be platform independent. The standard TA game data file (.ufo format) will work, but most downloads are in PC .zip archives. Good luck! Here's a few Mac related TA Links.
Yes! With Cavedog gone, try Gamespot's TA downloads page.
TCBW's excellent Total Annihilation support pages
Everything you need is probably found at www.d-gun.com.
Up to 10 players on IPX Internet or LAN TCP/IP, and direct TCP/IP games.
2 player Modem or Serial connection
Excessive unit limits can lead to strangled 56K modem connections, confused gameplay, and traffic snarled units. Broadband however...
Big and clunky for
the most part; maps aren't disseminated by game server:
Maps sometimes have a small .gif or .jpg preview file associated with them
NOTE: map library files (.hpi format) are required for some custom maps. Download the TAMEC2000.hpi file and its add-ons from TAMEC and save it to the main game directory.
Arm: Light, fast, technological superior good guys. Arm generally has more tricks up its sleeve, and is probably a little bit easier to play in the early game.
Core: Slow, clunky, heavily armed and better armoured bad guys. Core is slower, but more implacable. And they get the Krogoth.
Veritable horde of different types (150 types in original game, 75 added in the Core Contingency expansion, dozens added separately by Cavedog, and several thousand added by the fans)
Units can be issued endless movement and order queues, are reasonably self sufficient with elephantine memories, and you can hold down SHIFT to see your queued orders.
Unit Limit: 250 - download the totala.ini file to increase it to 500
There's even a 5000 unit patch by the Swedish Yank Spankers
Ground, Air, Naval (on and under water), Amphibious (Hovercraft, swimming K-Bots, submersible tanks), Ballistic, Tactical (nukes and other silo based weapons) plus many defensive structures
No Heroes - except your Commander, of course
The IQ of the unit's ability to navigate is determined by how many you select. TA seems to conserve CPU cycles by using different path finding algorithms based on the number of selected units being ordered about. (Either that, or it just takes longer to plot paths with more units) The higher the number of mobile units built in a game, the more stupidly bumbling they become for everybody.
Metal and Energy is required for both construction, repair and some weapon usage
Resources are infinite, but access to them is limited - exceed your usage and production slows dramatically; anything using energy will start to malfunction
Resources are extracted, produced or stored by dozens of specialized structure types
Trees and other plants can be reclaimed for extra energy, while rocks and the metal wreckage of dead units can be reclaimed for extra metal. Wreckage can actually become a very lucrative resource in large battles.
No research model
|TA Info & Strategies|
Last reclaimed Tue, Apr 24 2007 by Lindsay Fleay.