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Total Annihilation

by Neruz

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Original Thread: It ends in complete elimination. Let's play Total Annihilation [Hybrid]

If you liked this LP, you might also like Clock Tower 3 by The Dark Id, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas by Jerusalem and Monster Rancher by Mr. Swoon

Introduction



Explain yourself!
Total Annihilation is a Real Time Strategy (RTS) game releasted by Cavedog Entertainment in 1997 and is widely regarded by those who are aware of it (which is sadly few) as one of the greatest losses to gaming. Total Annihilation pioneered a number of techniques that were years, if not decades ahead of their time, but a somewhat lacklustre storyline, rough and unbalanced gameplay and the very unfortunate timing resulted in it being passed over for a different RTS game released a short while later in 1998, one you've probably heard of by a company you've probably heard of that is currently one of the most successful developers on the planet. That's right, Starcraft pretty much sealed the coffin on TA by being better at the things that mattered; gameplay and story.

Total Annihilation did recieve two expansion packs called Core Contingency; which added a huge number of new units to play with, including opening up an entire new theatre of war by allowing wholly underwater bases to be constructed and a new campaign that actually contained the semblance of an interesting story. The second xpack was called Battle Tactics and included a few new units as well as a number of 'challenge' scenarios and maps. I will be playing through all of them, which will be interesting for me because back in my youth I never actually finished Battle Tactics, so that's something to look forward to. Cavedog attempted to pioneer a number of new techniques with TA including downloadable content in the form of new units and maps offered for free on the Cavedog website and an integrated multiplayer experience which involved players fighting multiple battles across a simulated galaxy, claiming territory for their faction and trying to eliminate the others.

So how is this going to work?
Total Annihilation follows the 'old timey' style of RTS gameplay with two mutually exclusive campaigns; one for each faction. I will be doing a VLP of the Arm faction campaign, with screenshots from the Core campaign alongside. (This could change. See next post for details.) For those of you who just freaked out upon noticing that I just said I would be doing a VLP of an RTS game, don't worry. I'll be wielding the powerful magic of editing to ensure that the boring base-building parts are mostly skipped over, especially since in true old-timey RTS style the later missions often make you do pretty much exactly the same thing as the earlier missions at the start.

Fortunately, Total Annihilation has some of the best music I've ever heard in a game, so if you do end up feeling a little bored just sit back and relax and listen to the awesome tunes.

I am so confused. You still havn't explained the damn game!
Well, the best way to see what the game is about is to watch the videos, but here's a brief story overview I have shamelessly copied from Wikipedia because I'm lazy and there's no reason to put in effort when someone else has already put the effort in for me!

Wikipedia posted:

In the far future the galaxy is ruled by a benevolent central body of humans and artificial intelligences called the Core (a contraction of "Consciousness Repository"). The Core's technological and economic triumphs have allowed humanity to colonize most of the Milky Way and enjoy peace and prosperity. However, the balance is broken by a technological breakthrough which allows the consciousness of a human being to be reliably transferred into a machine, thereby granting theoretically indefinite life in a process called "patterning". Following a mandate imposed on humanity by the Core requiring everyone to undergo patterning as a public health measure, a rebel band is formed out of colonies from the edges of the galaxy (hence named the Arm), whose members refused to leave their natural bodies to join the Core's machines. A war lasting four thousand years followed, with the Arm mass-producing clones as pilots for its vehicles and the Core duplicating consciousness-embedded microchips to pilot its own machines.

The game's two campaigns focus on their respective sides' military leaders, the Commanders. The story of either the Core or the Arm starts with an effort to defend the protagonist's homeworld and initiate a turning point in the overall war. The player then fights a series of battles on a number of planets and moons, as transported to through Galactic Gates, a fictional form of faster-than-light travel. As the player progresses, more units become available for construction, either through the course of background story or upon completion of a mission centered around the unit in question. Mission objectives include protecting a vital structure or area, eliminating all enemy units, or capturing a pivotal enemy unit. The worlds upon which the player wages warfare force the player to adapt to different strategies; for example, deployment on a world whose surface is entirely composed of archipelagos necessitates the construction of an effective navy. Some have occasional weather conditions, such as meteor storms. Both campaigns include 25 missions, the final mission ending the war with a final strike on the enemy's homeworld — either the Arm's bucolic Empyrrean or the Core's artificial Jupiter Brain world of Core Prime.

You said something about techniques decades ahead of their time?
That's right! Total Annihilation is quite unique in the fact that the entire game takes place within a fully 3d simulated physics engine. Shots follow a parabolic arc and placing units on top of hills actually increases their range! When you shoot aircraft out of the sky they tumble into the ground before exploding and dealing damage to anything they hit. Missiles home in on enemies and have a limited amount of fuel before they fall out of the sky and explode on the ground and so on.

But wait, I hear you cry, how the hell did they pull that off in 1997? Modern RTS games can't even pull that off reliably! Well, to put it simply; they cheated. The terrain in TA isn't 'truly' 3d, rather it's a 2d image with a 3d 'collision map' layered over the top. Thanks to the fixed camera position it's impossible to actually tell this. In addition the unit meshes are extremely simple and every possible polygon that could be cut was cut; most units simply do not have any bottom because you can't see it!

Another unique system that TA implemented is continuous resources. It's somewhat difficult to explain in text, but basically instead of having discrete amounts of 'money' that is gathered and then spent as a lump sum whenever you train units you instead you construct 'extractor' structures which produce a certain amount of their resource (Energy or Metal) every tick. This resource is stored and then used incrementally. To give an example; if a unit costs 100 metal and takes 10 ticks to build, each tick it will require 10 metal. If only 5 metal is available each tick, then the unit will build at half speed and take 20 ticks to complete!

As a result of this system, managing resources in TA is primarily about managing resource flows. It is also important to not have too much metal in storage at any one time, because every unit of metal in storage is a unit of metal you're not using to blow people up.

Note that the same does not apply to Energy. You never want to run out of Energy. Why? Because unlike Metal, Energy is consumed by a large number of units to allow them to function; many units require energy in order to fire their weapons and Radars and Metal Extractors require energy to do anything at all! Running out of energy can be catastrophic and taking out an opponents energy infrastructure is one of the fastest ways to completely fuck someone over, as running out of energy leaves you wide open to attack and also kills your metal production to boot!

That's not all of course, but I'll leave some of the other neat tricks TA has up it's sleeve for the gameplay; more fun that way :3

Holy shit this sounds awesome!
Yes it does. And best of all, unlike many other games of the age, Total Annihilation still possesses an active online community! TA can be considered well and truly abandonware by now (I think Activision own the rights) but you can pick it up for a few bucks at GoodOldGames. Even better, TA will handle literally any resolution you throw at it; the menu is always 640x480, but the in-game screen can scale indefinitely as far as you like. Want to play it on some godly 4000 pixel monitor? TA will just be like 'Fine, whatevs.' This is how you program a game engine ladies and gentlemen.

If you are interested in playing TA online, check out The Warzone.

Videos

Intro Movie (Watch this) - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 1 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 1 (Stuff Explodes) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 2 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 2 (Gameplay!) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 3 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 3 (Spiders) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 4 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 4 (I swear I know what I am doing) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 5 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 5 (Flying Torpedoes) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 6 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 6 (I'm on a boat!) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 7 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 7 (5 6 7 8 9 BATTLESHIPS?) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 8 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 8 (Victory through repeated failure) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 9 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 9 (Crimes against headgear) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 10 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 10 (I accidentally my microphone) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 11 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 11 (Everything goes according to plan) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 12 (The game is good again!) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 13 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 13 (Air Superiority) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 14 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 14 () - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 15 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 15 (Bonas Update) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 16 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 16 (Special Guest: RANDOM MUSIC!) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 17 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 17 (Things go right (For once)) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 18 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 18 (War Crimes) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 19 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 19 () - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 20 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 20 (At least one person is going to object to this title ) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 21 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 21 (Showtime Baby ) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 22 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 22 (The Sewer Level) - Yewtoob


Arm Mission 23 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 23 (More Boatage) - Track 1 | Track 2


Arm Mission 24 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 24 (Beheading the Beast) - Yewtoob


Krogoth Encounter Briefing - Yewtoob
Krogoth Encounter () - Yewtoob
Krogoth Encounter Victory - Yewtoob

Arm Mission 25 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 25 (Finishing It) - Yewtoob





Alternate Reality

Core Mission 1 - [Link]


Core Mission 2 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 2 (Blatant lies at 5:14) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 3 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 3 (Thud Discovery) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 4 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 4 (Gongs of Surprise) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 5 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 5 (Double Trouble) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 6 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 6 (That One Extractor) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 7 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 7 (How Not to do an LP) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 8 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 8 (Somewhat Bland) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 9 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 9ish (I fuck up) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 10 (Warm and Fuzzy) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 11 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 11 (God of Thunder) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 12 (Dgun Mishap) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 13 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 13 (Commando Commander) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 14 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 14 (Making Friends) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 15 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 15 ( METEORS ARE THE MOST BULLSHIT :frogsiren:) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 16 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 16 can just fuck right off - Fucking Bullshit Right Here


Core Mission 17 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 17 (Carrier Command) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 18 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 18 (The Laser Mission) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 19 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 19 (May Contain Falsehoods) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 20 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 20 (:tinsley:) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 21 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 21 (Fun is had :toot:) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 22 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 22 (This seems familiar...) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 23 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 23 (WAAAGH!) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 24 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 24 (David and Goliaths) - Yewtoob


Core Mission 25 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 25 (Was that it?) - Yewtoob






Core Mission 1 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 1 (Listening Comprehension Fail) - Yewtoob

Arm Mission 1 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 1 (The same but opposite) - Yewtoob

Core Mission 2 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 2 (Original Content) - Yewtoob

Arm Mission 2 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 2 (Cavedog pls :<) - Yewtoob

Core Mission 3 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 3 (More Fucking Hydross) - Yewtoob

Arm Mission 3 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 3 (The Low Point) - Yewtoob

Arm Mission 4 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 4 (Rumble in the Jungle) - Yewtoob

Core Mission 4 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 4 (Surprisingly Difficult) - Yewtoob

Arm Mission 5 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 5 (Hovercraft aren't Terrible) - Yewtoob

Core Mission 5 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 5 (Scorpy Time!) - Yewtoob

Arm Mission 6 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 6 (Shiny Ball) - Yewtoob

Core Mission 6 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 6 (GIEF BACK BALL) - Yewtoob

Arm Mission 7 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 7 (Metal and Mines) - Yewtoob

Core Mission 7 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 7 (Okay Then) - Yewtoob

Arm Mission 8 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 8 (Ridge Assault) - Yewtoob

Core Mission 8 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 8 (Minesweeper) - Yewtoob

Arm Mission 9 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 9 (Felid Failure) - Yewtoob

Core Mission 9 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 9 (Earthquakes!) - Yewtoob

Arm Mission 10 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 11 Briefing - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 10 and 11 (I LIED, AGAIN!) - Yewtoob

Core Mission 10 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 11 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 10 and 11 (Hovercraft make their triumphant return) - Yewtoob

Arm Mission 12 Briefing - Yewtoob
Core Mission 12 Briefing - Yewtoob
Final Missions (Triumphantly crossing the finish line face first :shepface:) - Yewtoob



Prior Attempts\Failure Vids
Arm Mission 1 (HUEG Resolution) - Yewtoob
Arm Mission 2 (Still HUEG Resolution) - Yewtoob (This video introduces reclaiming and the D-gun. When I redid mission 2 I decided to save those for being introduced in mission 3, so if you want to get a sneak peek at some mechanics I havn't explained yet, here's where to get it.)

Let's Fail Core Mission 4 - Yewtoob

I am the best at TA :pcgaming: - Yewtoob

Krogoth Encounter is Hard :arghfist::reject:
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