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TAUIP
Total Annihilation Unit Independency Pack
The original mega unit pack


TAUIP, or the Total Annihilation Unit Independency Pack, was a giant unit pack that added many custom units and structures on top of the original line-up. Many excellent units from a number of top notch unit design groups were included and you can get to play with extra K-Bots, Tanks, Aircraft, Hovercraft, lumbering Mechs, giant battleships, and a suite of Krogoth class units. While they may come from different sources, the units are are tweaked within the pack to preserve game balance.
TAUIP started where the original Total Annihilation left off and just kept going. This can prove pretty taxing on the original game engine, and especially when you consider the original game was a little buggy to begin with and most custom units push the limits of what TA will allow. TA can handle up to 512 unit types and 256 different weapon types in a game, and many big TA mega unit mods max these limits out. You'll get great gameplay, but things can get laggy and debugging all those game elements can be demanding.

TAUIP came in two major versions. TAUIP 2.1 was the last version assembled by the long extinct Total Annihilation Unit Creation Centre (TAUCC). They passed the development baton to the (also exctinct) Upstart Design Group (UDG), who got as far as version 3.0 beta 5.5, otherwise known as TAUIP 355.


TAUIP 2.1

This was the original, and while it was big when it appeared, it actually feels smaller than many big mega unit packs you see these days because it doesn't actually use all the unit and weapon slots. TAUIP 2.1 is the forerunner of the TAUCP mod, and was produced by the same author, CyberCewl. It uses the same design philosophy as TAUCP: the extra units are there to add to the game, not replace the existing default units. This mod is now a legacy show case of some of the really old, old custom units that first appeared in the TA modding scene.

To play it, you need to have a "clean" install of Total Annihilation with the Core Contingency expansion, patched to version 3.1. That is, no custom AI's, patches or other alterations, although map files and map related .hpi's won't affect it. Remove even the custom Cavedog units, as TAUIP includes all of them anyway except the "more recent" (at the time) FARK and Necro resurrection K-Bots. TAUIP 2.1 permanently changes your TA game directory and is not compatible with "Boneyards" 3.1 patch version. If you're going to use TAUIP, DON'T apply any Boneyard patches!

From then on, you run TA from the TAUIP menu in the Window's Start button or from the front end's icon, rather than the old game icon. The TAKAI AI that comes bundled with the mod uses the full complement of TAUIP custom units in single player Skirmish mode.


TAUIP 3.55

UDG's multirole Droopy planes
TAUIP 3.55 followed in the footsteps of its predecessor and relied on an old version of Switeck's Bug Fix 1.4 to be installed in order to function. The Bugfix is a custom mod in its own right: its an immense collection of "bug fixes" and tweaks that addresses a number of game play issues and problems, from misfired unit animation to major behaviour changes. See the RTSC Switeck Bugfix Page. Unlike its early incantation, the 355 version does fill every unit slot, and UDG added their own suite of custom units to the mix. Apparently, the 1.6 Bugfix version is also compatible with TAUIP 2.1, but not TAUIP 3.55, although I haven't been in a position to confirm this.

Version 3.55 was the last beta; TAUIP was never finished. The group producing it, UDG, dissolved some time ago in mid development. This version has a few flaws and unresolved bugs, and crashes often (we played it practically non-stop for a year before UTASP mod turned up, and I think 90% of all our games blew up in our faces). The custom units that were designed by UDG easily dominate proceedings, and we found ourselves rarely using the other units. Nevertheless, we did get some serious fun out of it, despite the frustrations.

Installing TAUIP 3.55 and Bugfix 1.4 can be done in one of two ways. Firstly, you can just install them into the main TA game directory to permanently change your TA game into the total conversion itself. However, if you want to be able to get back to the original game, or try other unit packs and conversions, you'll want to use the TA:Mutation system, which allows you to use many different third party conversions, mutators and units without having to reinstall the game all the bloody time.


TAUIP 4

Oddly enough, there's another version of TAUIP that seems to be following in the footsteps of 3.55. This doesn't incorporate the Bugfix, and is little more than a collection of unit .ufo compilation files, sorted into theatre (tanks, K-Bots, air, naval, etc.) Without the fix, it uses Total Annihilations old and bodgy game engine, and there's a noticeable difference in how it plays. Many of the advanced units don't seem to respond very well, suffering from buggy behaviour and failing to attack and defend properly.

There's a peculiar resourcing unit called a Quantum Fluxor that awards 30 metal, 600 energy and several hundred thousand units of storage that can be built instantly - without an economy. You can queue up about six of these things within the first minute, rendering the pack's other resourcers completely redundant. TAUIP 4 is clearly at a first draft stage.

Currently, there's more than a few holes in this pack. A good example is the Bionic Clone Mk II. This is a basic Arm K-Bot that is cheaper than a PeeWee (the cheapest and lightest Arm robot in the game) but packs a yellow laser that wouldn't look out of place on a unit twenty-times its size. A small gang of these buggers comfortably outgun every basic unit you can imagine, and a dozen or two can vapourise Krogoth class mechs in seconds. I mean they're fun, but to win TAUIP4, all an Arm commander has to do is build a Quantum Fluxor, make a basic K-Bot lab, guard it with the Commander and then only build Clones to their hearts content. You'll have a small horde in a matter of minutes. Direct them to where you think the enemy is - they won't stand a chance unless they're playing Arm and doing the same as you. You probably won't even need radar.


Recommendations

TAUIP has been eclipsed by its successor, TAUCP and that other mega mod, UTASP. Version 2.1 is an interesting legacy pack now, and can be replayed; TAUIP 3.55 is a bit of a lopsided bugfest, and we've found it unreliable in a netgame. (Mind you, it kept us going for nearly twelve months!)


Locating TAUIP on the Web

Some people have been wondering where they can source a copy of TAUIP 355 - even RTSC has received email on this one! Many of the old UDG members seem to have reappeared under the Phoenix Worx, a community built replacement to Cavedog's Boneyards online gaming service. There's a number of sites that have downloadable copies of TAUIP, listed right, the best being TA Designer's comprehensive TAUIP pages, that lists every single version of the pack from its long development phases.

ESTRELLA
TAUIP Webpage
TA Unit Evaluation Centre
UDG unit listing
TA Unit Evaluation Centre
TAUIP 2.1 page
TA Evaluation Centre
look under Files: General
and scroll down to Mods


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Last polished Mon, Mar 7 2005 by Lindsay Fleay.