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UTASP
The Ultimate Total Annihilation Super Pack

 

UTASP weblink
UTASP is a TAUIP-esque mega unit pack (and one of the best unit packs for Total Annihilation around) that comes with its own bug fixes and extra features. Its stable and conflict free: you can play against human players just as easily as the Skirmish AI. UTASP has an awesome line up of units that offer months of fresh strategies and tactics for the standard TA veteran. It adds a massive 230 extra unit types to build with (maxing out the TA game engine's limit on unit and weapon types), fixes many bugs and uses the Switeck Bugfix as a foundation.

Everything from micro sized scouts to monstrous Godzillan mechs - and everything in between - is here. The huge number of new units to build and learn are sure to bewilder many beginners. UTASP collates many different TA design and unit builders and combines them with a number of specially built UTASP units. Things have been carefully balanced (as best as possible under the circumstances) and on the whole, UTASP will give you a balanced netgame or an challenging AI skirmish.

Like the original game, UTASP keeps Arm lighter, faster, and more technologically advanced, while Core reverts to slower and more powerful siege units. The basic philosophy is to keep both sides unique, emphasising their character. Arm has a number of covert units, such as the radar invisible Sniper artillery bots or the fearsome Victor: a high speed, amphibious, all terrain sub-Krogoth class K-Bot that can cloak. A gang of these merry fellows materialising in the middle of a Core base will pretty much ruin any Core Commander's day. While Arm lacks the really heavy bruisers of Core's Krogoth class line-up, Arm has faster and lighter Krog class K-Bots that can match their bigger counterparts through speed and manoeuvrability alone, backed up by a truly fearsome line up of turrets mid level turrets. But the high end of Core's build is truly monstrous: The Ettin is a super-heavy amphibious mech so big that its head sticks out of the water in TA's deepest oceans, making it double as an interesting moving "naval" turret. The two headed Ettin can even survive a direct hit from a Commander's D-Gun blast! The endgame can be owned by Core, but they have to somehow reach it first. Arm's main strategy is to stop Core getting there. Core's is to avoid getting outmanoeuvred and its resources snipped off at the edges by Arm.

Core players may find themselves able to handle a mindless Arm AI player in Skirmish mode, but be separated limb from limb by a shrewd Arm human player who knows how to take advantage of all those covert abilities and subtlety in Arm's lineup that the dumb old TA AI cannot.


General features

While all unit lines are expanded, UTASP definitely favours ground forces. As is the case with many custom TA units, there are more weird tanks and vehicles than you can shake a stick at. So many in fact, that the mod adds an extra Heavy Vehicle Plant to both sides just to take the load of the regular Advanced Vehicle Plants. There's also a large smorgasbord of K-Bots in a sliding scale from tiny scouts, right through to advanced customs, very advanced customs, bulldozing Mech-Warriors and the big Krogoth level bruisers. Arm gets its own Krogoth Gantry equivalent, and each side has at least half a dozen Krogoth level behemoths crush the opposition with. There's even a Krog level constructor vehicle, capable of building a range of mega-sized structures and turrets far into the build tree.

Shipping wise, there are extra units, with both forces gaining some extra special custom naval units, culminating in a monster battleships armed with the equivalent of a RFLRPC (the fearsome Rapid Firing Long Range Plasma Cannons) much like the high end shipping of the TA Seal Pack. Hovers also get some serious beefing up with entire lines of advanced hovers and a single mega-hover that can wreak serious harm. But really, the emphasis is on ground based land forces.

Core's Karganeth fights off a gaggle of Arm Raptors and Thors
Core's Armed Moho Mines are built like brick shithouses and pack several nasty weapon systems. They'll prevail against basic hordes and even give some advanced units some headaches. Unfortunately, while they're busy shooting, they don't actually produce any metal...
Fortunately, the economic builds have been adjusted to crimp Arm a little so it can't just swamp Core with trillions of cheap and easy units and Core gets a number of armed Moho mines that can actually old their own against an assault. Plus, there are some seriously heavy Core tanks that can do prodigious amounts of damage in return... Aerial warfare sees both sides blessed with a great selection of light, medium and heavy fighters, bombers, interceptors, ground attack craft, and while Arm may seem to run rings around Core on the ground, Core air power seems to hold sway against Arm.


Finding UTASP

M.A.D. TA weblink
UTASP is developed by top notch design group, M.A.D. TA. Version 5 is the latest installment, coming in both "standard" and TA:Mutation format. While its pretty stable, (we've never had any issues in our networked games) there are still some reported kinks and bugs lurking within, but you can keep tabs on these or post your own comments at the UTASP forums.

Version 5.0 comes with its own custom AI: the Banzai AI, or BAI, and you can set AI difficulty levels by downloading the appropriate "AIBoost" file which will increase or decrease the margin of difficulty. AIBoost values scale between 0.6 and 1.8 (where 1 is "normal" play). The AI is competent, using custom units very well, and while it is a cheating AI, you won't feel like you've been rorted. UTASP is our custom mod of choice (interrupted when TAUCP came and went!), both for single player skirmishes and multiplayer netgaming. Its well worth the download and install! It differs from TAUCP in that the two sides in UTASP are quite different to each other, whereas in TAUCP they are very similar.



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Quickie update on Sun, Apr 16 2006 by Lindsay Fleay.