Total Annihilation (English for "Total Destruction", from Latin : annihilatio "to destroy") is a real-time strategy game from 1997 for Windows and Mac OS Classic by Cavedog Entertainment . It was characterized by a consistent large-scale concept: lush room and unit sizes and realistic modeling of strategically and tactically important branches of arms such as artillery and nuclear weapons . Chief developer was Chris Taylor , who later created a spiritual successor at Gas Powered Games , Supreme Commander . After the Cavedog Studios closed in 1999, the rights to Infogrames fell , which were not revived until 2010 when Total Annihilation was re-released as a download . In July 2013, Wargaming.net acquired the rights to Total Annihilation at an auction as part of the Atari bankruptcy proceedings.
Total Annihilation is a real-time strategy game of the second generation after Dune II - Fight for Arrakis and Command & Conquer , which developed the genre with some innovations . This included more comprehensive control over both individual units and unit groups, which was previously only possible in turn-based games . This was achieved by expanding the graphical user interface , such as B. the possibility of any grouping of units into formations and the arbitrary stringing together of different commands (such as movement, attack, patrol ). On the side of the game world simulation, Total Annihilation has ballistic modeling for projectiles, which takes into account both the height of the landscape and the dimensions of vehicles, i.e. is three-dimensional. The maximum size of the playing field and the number of units that can be simulated at the same time, for example, exceed that of Command & Conquer many times over. A graphical novelty in the real-time strategy game genre were the modeled as textured polygons instead of the previously used sprite-based units.
Cavedog was founded as a division of Humongous Entertainment to make computer games for adults, a new field for Humongous. Chris Taylor was able to convince the boss Ron Gilbert of his vision of a large-scale real-time strategy game beyond Command & Conquer and so Total Annihilation became Cavedog's first project. Many former developers from the Square department in Redmond, which closed in the same year, were hired for the TA team in 1996 , including game music composer Jeremy Soule and designer Clayton Kauzlaric, who designed the graphic concept for TA. The graphics engine was u. a. Developed by Jonathan Mavor (who later also worked on Supreme Commander).
After two years of work, it was published in 1997 and was able to prevail in the press and reviews against the actual favorite of the year in the RTS genre, Dark Reign . Accordingly, it has won many Game of the Year awards internationally . Part of the TA promotion was also a heavy use of the web for regular offers of free downloadable add-ons such as maps and units. This resulted in a strong online community with its own online service called Boneyards (no longer active) for online matches between TA players.
Project leader and game designer Chris Taylor left Cavedog shortly before the release of the first TA expansion Total Annihilation: Core Contingency to start his own development company, Gas Powered Games . Despite this loss, Cavedog released yet another expansion: Total Annihilation: Battle Tactics .
Total Annihilation was initially published in version v1.0, via intermediate versions with the two extensions a final version 3.1c was published, which once again significantly increased the maximum number of units per player and card size.
After the Cavedog Studios closed in 1999, the rights to Infogrames (now Atari SA ) fell, making the future of the TA series uncertain. Chris Taylor, who had worked on Dungeon Siege at Gas Powered Games up to this point , now saw the potential for a new large-scale real-time strategy game and in the following years developed Supreme Commander , the successor in concept and vision, albeit not as an official part the Total Annihilation series.
Surprisingly, the title was revived in March 2010, Total Annihilation (in the Commander Pack version) was released by Stardock Corp. Republished as a download via the Impulse platform, later other providers such as B. GOG.com .
The story on which the game is built is the battle between core and arm , an originally common civilization whose paths forcibly parted on the question of mind-machine transmission. The core side opted for physical disembodiment and transfer into mechanical systems and was defined by what they thought was the decisive core ( core ), precisely the spirit that they made into software that could be replicated. The Arm rejected this reduction and responded to the technological superiority of the Core with clones and high quality body armor (Kbots).
The time frame is the final phase of the war, which has lasted over 4000 years, has already exhausted almost all resources of the galaxy and will only be ended by the annihilation of one of the two sides.
- From the intro
“What began as a conflict over a transfer of consciousness from man to machine escalated into a war that decimated the populations of a million worlds. For the sake of domination, the Core and Arm have ransacked the galaxy's supplies. Meanwhile, both sides are completely at an end, and yet the remnants of their armies are still fighting fierce battles on devastated planets, fueled by the hatred from over 4,000 years of total war. A fight to the bone. Each side fights only for one goal: the complete elimination of the other. "
This battle is not being fought in space, but on the planetary surfaces that are contested for raw materials. The display is isometric (three-dimensional viewed from above at an angle), the viewing angle cannot be changed. The units in TA are not sprites (just bitmaps), but real polygon-based models. The same applies to the subsurface, which is a texture-related height map, the different heights of which come into play, for example in that projectiles ricochet off ridges or the range of projectiles that are shot down from elevated positions improves. Total Annihilation's economic management is based on two resources, metal and energy. In principle, they are available in unlimited quantities, but the speed of the replenishment can decide about victory and defeat, which is needed for devastating material battles. The complexity of the game results from the great strategic possibilities offered by a wide arsenal in the three branches of the army, air force and naval fleet. In contrast to other games in this genre, the balance between attack and defense strategies is balanced, static defense-based trench warfare is just as possible as combined rapid lightning wars . The decisive unit on both sides is a leading commander , who is heavily armored but whose destruction leads to the defeat of his army. Total Annihilation can be played against the computer (in missions or free battles) as well as against other players in the LAN or on the Internet.
Cavedog's own online service, Boneyards , not only allowed online matches between multiple TA players, but also included a Master-of-Orion- style meta game called Galactic War for TA. A player who signed up with Boneyards had the choice between the two parties, ARM or CORE, which he could join. The game took place in a sector of the galaxy whose planets were being fought over by the registered players. The current course of the war was recorded on the sector map, blue planets had been conquered by ARM, red by CORE and currently contested planets marked in yellow. The goal was to advance to the home planet of the other faction. Galactic War fights were generally 1 vs 1, 2 vs 2 or 3 vs 3, although the system would have allowed 5 vs 5 as well.
The game's soundtrack, composed by Jeremy Soule , consists of classical instrumental music played by a 96-member symphony orchestra. The different pieces range from loud and hectic to calm and scary and are played according to the game (fight, build-up, defeat). As was customary at the time, the tracks are available in the normal audio CD format on the CD-ROMs , so that they can be played with a normal CD player (whereby the first track on the CD represents the data and cannot be listened to) .
Resources and economy
- Economic model
The economic model is based on two resources , metal and energy . Almost every unit and building produces and / or consumes one or both resources per time to maintain functionality. Generated resources that are not used by any consumer at this point in time are lost. Conversely, sudden peaks in resource requirements that cannot be met lead to the consumer's action being paused. That is why the third important economic parameter is the time that must be taken into account by the player in order to keep consumption and generation in balance over time. Means of economic micromanagement for this are the chronological sequence and the parallelization of the production commands on the production units and, in the event of a lack of resources, the explicit deactivation / pause of permanent consumers (production sites) and actions (production). In addition, resource stores can be provided which can temporarily absorb extreme production or demand peaks for energy (e.g. Artillery Big Bertha ) or metal (production) as well as the failure of resource production facilities.
Production units themselves generate a small amount of resources and can convert a certain larger amount of resources into production activities per time. There are production units in several military branches: air force, wheeled and tracked vehicles, bots and navy. Construction aircraft are very agile and can quickly erect buildings or defenses in hard-to-reach places (e.g. on mountain ridges). Large, bulky vehicles represent the other extreme - although they obstruct a large amount of resources, they are very immobile and can sometimes be difficult to maneuver between buildings.
- Production hierarchy
Units and buildings are organized in a four-layer vertical hierarchy , numbered from 0 to 3. The Commander is at level 0 and produces units and buildings of the first level, the third and last hierarchy level comprises only a few but very powerful experimental units. Production units of a lower level can create the conditions for (production) units of the next level, the resource and time requirements increase significantly from level to level. In principle, the rule of thumb applies that production units of a higher level can convert significantly more resources per time, but cannot create units and buildings of another level. Production units can only produce units and buildings of their own troop type and also a small amount of level zero buildings.
Each construction unit can help with the construction / repair of buildings or units in production buildings - even if the building was not originally constructed by them - the more production units are available, the faster the construction is completed. So z. For example, a fusion power plant can be built with a level 2 construction aircraft, but the construction can be completed with the Commander and / or with several level 1 construction vehicles (which cannot create the fusion power plant themselves).
- Resource metal
Metal is the main resource from which units and buildings are created, mainly the metal value of a unit determines how quickly it can be built (provided there is enough energy available) - the raw material is mainly obtained from metal extractors and / or from Mohomines (level 2) , these buildings remove metal from the ground at a suitable point. The larger the occurrence, the more is produced within a certain period of time. The alternative are metal melts, these produce metal directly from energy, using a multiple of the metal mines. In addition, destroyed buildings or units or just rocks can be recycled or "sucked up" once in metal by using little energy , which briefly provides a large amount of metal that would be lost for later use without metal storage.
- Resource energy
Energy can be used in any amount with higher level buildings, such as B. Fusion power plants, produced very quickly but can also be used up again immediately with strategic weapons of the higher level (e.g. the "Big Bertha" ). Production facilities such as B. Metal melts, on the other hand, represent base load energy consumers. In order to ensure a constant supply of energy or to be prepared for short-term additional demand, energy storage devices can be created. Trees or other plant remains can be converted into energy once by using construction units or the Commander.
The entire economy is based on a balance between resources consumed and produced. Since there is a unit limit of usually 250 units per player, the player is forced into wasteful material battles.
Arms and units
The focus of the game is the so-called Commander . The Commander can erect buildings, traverse deep waters and is heavily armed. But it can also support kbot factories and other construction units in production, convert the wrecks of vehicles, buildings and kbots back into usable metal ( recycling ) and also repair damaged kbots and buildings.
The destruction of the Commander leads to a devastating explosion. A mod for the multiplayer mode enables a game that is lost due to the loss of the commander.
" KBOT " is the acronym for K inetic B io- O rganic T echnology / T issue (Portable (s) Bio-Organic (s) Technology / tissue).
The Kbot is a robot that is controlled by telepathy (core) or a body armor that is controlled by a clone (arm). There are different types of kbots. For example, there is the construction kbot, which can build buildings with a beam of energy and metal (nano-rays). There are also kbots for all purposes: infantry, rocket weapons, artillery, air defense, snipers etc. It is characteristic that there is a "standard" kbot factory and an advanced kbot factory, which can only be built by a construction kbot . This makes much heavier kbots.
- Wheeled and tracked vehicles
Vehicles are manufactured in the vehicle factory. Again, the available units have roles similar to the kbots. In addition to the construction vehicle, there are reconnaissance vehicles, light, medium, heavy and even submersible tanks , rocket launchers, laser tanks and radar jamming vehicles.
As with all other unit types, an improved factory can also be built from the construction vehicle, which produces even heavier vehicles.
Kbots and vehicles are able to traverse shallow water.
- air force
Here, too, there is a clear division of roles with fighters , light and heavy bombers , stealth aircraft , attack helicopters , torpedo bombers and transport aircraft . Even AWACS and scouts are included. Specialized aircraft like stealth fighters and torpedo bombers are only available with the advanced aircraft factory.
For repairs, aircraft automatically land on landing pads or aircraft carriers to be built for this purpose .
Shipyards for shipbuilding must be built in the water. The normal shipyard only produces light units such as speedboats or destroyers ; In the advanced shipyard, however, heavy units such as cruisers , battleships , aircraft carriers and hunting submarines can also be built. Only naval units can locate submarines with sonar . They can also only be fought with torpedoes and depth charges.
The construction ship is able to build special buildings for use at sea. In addition to floating turrets and torpedo launchers, this also includes tidal power plants and sonar stations.
There are several official expansions to the original game: The Core-Offensive (Core Contingency), released on April 30, 1998, and Battle Tactics , released on June 30, 1998. They expanded the game with new combat units, new maps and new computer opponents (KIs = Artificial Intelligences ). “The Core Offensive” also offered not only incoherent missions, but also a new campaign per side. The main game along with the two expansions was later distributed as the Commander Pack . In addition, there are countless expansions by fans that also contain new combat units, maps and computer opponents, but also patches for the game that fix bugs or restrictions. New races have also been introduced for the game by 3rd party manufacturers.
Total Annihilation: Kingdoms
The title Total Annihilation: Kingdoms , published June 25, 1999, was a sequel with a fantasy scenario, also by Cavedog. It was not a great success with fans and critics, the new fantasy scenario may have been rejected by many fans, and there was no real innovation compared to TA. Nevertheless, the expansion The Iron Plague appeared .
Spring , originally Total Annihilation: Spring , is an open source project with the aim of creating an alternative engine for a TA clone. Originally created as a 3D TA demo viewer by a group called Swedish Yankspankers , they soon expanded the program into a complete engine for TA unit and map data. Even if the development goals are now broader, Spring can continue to use the TA original units and thus come very playfully close to the original. In the meantime, the community has also created its own TA mods that get by without proprietary data. Spring has a 3D graphics engine and physics simulation that can keep up with current commercial titles.
Total Annihilation Demo Recorder
A fan project that allows the recording of multiplayer games. A recorded game is saved in the * .tad format and allows the game to be played again as a spectator - spectator - in the game engine.
A number of former TA and Supreme Commander developers and the Uber development studio successfully funded a TA-inspired successor through crowdfunding via Kickstarter.com called Planetary Annihilation with $ 900,000 in August 2012 . It is planned that battles can also extend over several spherically modeled planets at the same time. Reaching the $ 1.8 million goal made it possible to expand the game to a galactic scale (similar to TA's Galactic War ).
Total Annihilation was generally well received by critics and gamers, but was only moderately successful and popular commercially and remained a kind of insider tip for a long time. The continued popularity with the fans and a retrospective reception by the specialist press as a milestone in RTS history only made TA known to a wider circle of players afterwards.
From the metakritic sites Metacritic and Gamerankings.com , TA achieved a value of 86 out of 100 or 88.85% in 2012 .
Total Annihilation has received a large number of awards, including:
- Official websites
- www.cavedog.com/totala ( Memento from April 11, 2001 in the Internet Archive ) Official Cavedog Total Annihilation
- www.cavedog.com/ta-kingdoms ( Memento from March 30, 2001 in the Internet Archive ) Official Cavedog TA: Kingdoms
- Total Annihilation Series at MobyGames (English)
- Lindsay Fleay: Review The Everyday Guide to Real Time Strategy (2005)
- Clayton Kauzlaric: TA-ncient History , TA's development history in 13 parts (2006, English)
- TA-Spring - open source engine, can use original units
- TA3D - open source engine, can use original units
- Clayton Kauzlaric: TA-ncient History # 11: Total Destruction! ( en ) Ton of Clay. December 23, 2008. Retrieved March 26, 2011.
- Shonner: Shonner: Total Annihilation 3.1 patch ( English ) shonner.com. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
- n72: Total Annihilation v4.0 Patch Beta Testing ( English ) tauniverse.com. April 15, 2012. Retrieved on September 5, 2012: " Total Annihilation v3.9.01 Beta Patch [...] This is a beta version of the upcoming TA v4.0 Patch which is a comprehensive update to Total Annihilation intended to replace v3 .1 as the de-facto version of the game as well as make all old custom enhancements obsolete. This is a patch, NOT a mod, and does not change the game balancing in any way; it only adds new features and fixes technical issues. The v3.9.xx series of beta patches will be released for testing and refinement purposes on the TAUniverse forum, leading up to the final v4.0 patch which is intended for mainstream use by all players. "
- Bruce Geryk: A History of Real-Time Strategy Games: The Second Generation ( English ) May 19, 2008. Archived from the original on September 10, 2013. Retrieved on January 4, 2011: “ TA was one of the first games to have 3D terrain and units. Once you got into the game, though, Total Annihilation was nothing less than a revelation. And a revolution. What designer Chris Taylor and his team did was to take the real-time strategy game and improve it so that players could actually command their units with the level control they might have in a turn-based strategy game. "
- TDA: The History of Real Time Strategy, Part 3.1: Polygons and Pixels . gamesreplay.com. May 30, 2008. Retrieved March 24, 2011: “ Another unique aspect of TA was the employment of long range artillery. In many RTS games, even modern ones such as Command and Conquer: Generals, units have a relatively short maximum range, usually no more than the width of the screen. In TA, artillery could fire tens of screens, not to mention a nuclear silo's ability to hit anywhere on the map. "
- Geoffrey Keighley: The Total Annihilation: The Story So Far ( English ) gamespot.com. 2007. Archived from the original on August 7, 2007. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
- Skinning the frog: Impulse gets Total Annihilation! ( English ) Impulsedriven. March 3, 2010. Retrieved June 21, 2010. ( Page no longer available , search in web archives )
- Adam Solo: Wargaming Takes Master of Orion, Stardock Gets Star Control ( English ) spacesector.com. July 23, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- Top Ten Real-Time Strategy Games of All Time . GameSpy. February 2004. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
- Geoff Keighley: Interview with Ron Gilbert, Creative Director of Cavedog Entertainment - TA-Team . gameslice.com. June 9, 1997. Archived from the original on January 21, 1998. Retrieved March 26, 2011.
- Andrew Langerman: The Soule of Gaming, Talking with Jeremy Soule ( English ) UGO Networks. 2002. Archived from the original on June 16, 2011. Retrieved November 19, 2009: “ The game Jeremy wound up scoring was released in 1997 under the name Total Annihilation. Chris' gamble had paid off and TA went on to become a huge success. Jeremy won numerous awards for his work with that game. "
- Clayton Kauzlaric: TA-ncient History # .05: The Happy Layoff ( en ) Ton of Clay. September 10, 2006. Retrieved March 26, 2011.
- Clayton Kauzlaric: TA-ncient History # 4: Dogs, Yaks & Boron ( en ) Ton of Clay. October 2, 2006. Retrieved March 26, 2011.
- Jon Mavor: Total Annihilation Graphics Engine ( English ) In: Mavor's Rants . April 25, 2012. Archived from the original on September 12, 2012. Retrieved on September 13, 2012.
- Greg Kasavin : Armed to the Core: Total Annihilation ( English ) In: The Greatest Games of All Time . GameSpot. March 26, 2004. Archived from the original on May 25, 2011. Retrieved on December 3, 2011: “ It's not as famous as Warcraft or Command & Conquer, but Total Annihilation is arguably better than any other real-time strategy game to date. "
- Ron Dulin: Game of the Year ( English ) In: Best & Worst Awards 1997 . GameSpot. January 31, 1998. Retrieved June 22, 2010: " Cavedog (Entertainment) has done a commendable job of taking the basic mechanics of real-time strategy and using them to create something new: a game that relies less on constant mouse-clicking than careful planning and strategic thinking. "
- Gas Powered Games Interview - Part 1 ( English ) PC Gameworld. September 30, 2003. Archived from the original on March 20, 2005. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
- switeck: How to configure TA ( English ) tauniverse.com. Retrieved January 8, 2011.
- Lindsay Fleay: Switeck's Bugfix: The mod you play when you're not playing a mod or the last "unofficial" patch for Total Annihilation ( English ) In: The Everyday Guide to Real Time Strategy . March 7, 2005. Retrieved February 3, 2012: " The Switeck Bugfix is an ambitious attempt to resolve all the bugs, issues and other mechanical problems with the Total Annihilation game engine and add a few" improvements "along the way. The bug fix makes many, many fixes and optimizations short of actually hacking the game executable itself. Think of it as a homegrown, unofficial patch that follows Cavedog's official 3.1c patch. "
- Total Annihilation Universe ( English ) December 29, 2010. Accessed January 8, 2011.
- Total Annihilation: Story ( English ) www.cavedog.com. June 11, 1997. Archived from the original on June 11, 1997. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
- Petra Maueröder: Total Annihilation: The mountain is calling! . In: PC Games 11/97 . Pp. 150-154. November 1, 1997. Retrieved on March 27, 2011: "The TA soundtrack could easily pass as film music for Batman 5 or Jurassic 3 - 16 tracks provide almost 60 minutes of powerful symphony orchestra sound in audio quality."
- Total Annihilation: Core Contingency Review . Gamespot. May 15, 1998. Retrieved June 21, 2010.
- Total Annihilation: Battle Tactics Review . Gamespot. August 7, 1998. Retrieved June 21, 2010.
- Sigfried Arnold: Interview with the TA Spring makers . www.rebell.at. May 13, 2006. Archived from the original on September 26, 2007. Retrieved March 27, 2011.
- Christian Klaß: Planetary Annihilation planet devastation for real-time strategists . golem.de . August 16, 2012. Accessed on September 5, 2012: “ The name Planetary Annihilation is not only given to the game because of its destructive capabilities. There's another reason: One of the great role models is Total Annihilation from Cavedog Entertainment. "
- Thomas Held: Planetary Annihilation - Strategy title reaches Kickstarter goal . gamona.de. August 30, 2012. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
- Thilo Bayer: Strategy high-flyer Planetary Annihilation: Galactic wars in video - What is behind the additional goal? . pcgameshardware.de. September 7, 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
- Total Annihilation ( English ) metacritic.com. Retrieved September 8, 2012: " 86 out of 100 based on 10 reviews "
- Total Annihilation ( English ) gamerankings.com. Retrieved on September 8, 2012: " scored 88.85% from 13 reviews "
- Best Strategy Game ( English ) In: Best & Worst Awards 1997 . GameSpot. January 31, 1998. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
- Best Multiplayer Game ( English ) In: Best & Worst Awards 1997 . GameSpot. January 31, 1998. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
- Best & Worst Awards 1997 - Special Achievement Awards - Best Music ( en ) gamespot.com. Accessed December 7, 2011: “ The soundtrack on the CD was done by a professional orchestra - and sounds incredible. It easily rivals Hollywood's best .... - Jeff Graber, GameSpot Player Review "
- ( 0.5 , 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 6.1 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 )