Archive

Breaking the silence

There were all kinds of grand plans for TA mods previously; installers, autoupdates, mod switching launcher, improvements to the engine, uncounted new features for modders to use and so on. Some of all that has actually happened, some is being worked on, but overall the TA modding community has been in disarray ever since N72 disappeared and took the community patch project with him.

TA Zero was hurt the most because until then N72 had been making all the buildpics, doing a lot of technical work, building and upholding this website, and written newsposts and various text files.

Although slowly and randomly, TA Zero has still been progressing in relative silence over the last years. Alpha 4b patch release has been essentially ready for a while now, new test builds being available on the forum every here and then. There's also a handy thread that summarizes all the new stuff you should get. The changelog has hundreds of lines, including many new units, some bug fixes and a crazy amount of balance adjustments, so everyone still playing Zero should go and grab the latest Alpha 4b test build files; just unzip into your TA Zero folder and replace old Alpha 4 files.

TA Zero Alpha 4

This is the big one! Sixteen years to the week that Total Annihilation was originally released, version Alpha 4 of Total Annihilation Zero arrives not only with T2 ground units but also with a brand new feature called the megamap, an interactive fullscreen map that lets you build and fight better than ever before. Furthermore, TA Zero has now fully adopted the TA Unofficial Patch framework and has moved to a new installer system. We have also decided to integrate the TA Zero Map Pack into the mod itself, so now all TA Zero maps are included with the main download.

So what else is new in Alpha 4?

First of all, there's a host of game adjustments and fixes as usual, which you can read about in detail at the Version History page. Secondly, because TA Zero is now fully based on the TA Unofficial Patch (it was partially based on it before), it now benefits from all of the same great features introduced by the Patch, which you can also read about in the version history as well as at the updated Features page.

Playing online is now easier than ever thanks to hassle-free multiplayer support via GameRanger. Simply set the "…\TA Zero\TotalA.exe" file as your Total Annihilation location in GameRanger's options menu and you're ready to play. Not only that, but TA Zero now automatically records all multiplayer games, which you can rewatch anytime using the included Replayer. Check out the Features page for more information.

A new duelling map called Brimstone Steppes has been added to the growing repoirtaire of TA Zero maps. Layed out in an east-to-west format and featuring multiple routes and spectacular rains of fire, this is a perfect battleground for short, but intense matches. Click the thumbnail below to view a larger sized preview.

Are you ready for battle?

Download TA Zero Alpha 4 Here!

Don't forget to visit the official discussion thread.

Last but certainly not least, behold the megamap! Left is zoomed in, right is zoomed out. Cool, huh?

UPDATE:

It has been discovered that the game might not launch when using certain graphics cards, usually AMD/ATI (with any OS), or when using Windows 8 (with any graphics card). We will release an update when the issue is fully resolved. Until then, you can install this preliminary hotfix (unzip to your TA Zero folder) and post your results. This fix should allow your game to launch, but you may encounter unsatisfactory frame rates or hangs on the megamap (if it hangs, just roll the mouse wheel up and wait for the game to zoom back in). However, the regular game view should be fine. Please DO NOT install this fix if you are not affected by the game launch crashing issue (most Nvidia users on Windows 7 or earlier) as it may break your game.

GoK T2 Support Hovercraft

Perhaps the most bizarre GoK unit around, T2 Support Hovercraft features an exotic set of weapon systems intended for area denial and crowd control, and a powerful void shield to protect its rather vulnerable hull. Its primary weapon is a heavy photon cannon that is extremely effective against lightly armored targets. Photon cannon projectiles have a large blast radius and will explode at range if they miss their target. Anyhow, while impressive in its own right, it is the special weapon system that really makes this unit. For a significant energy cost, T2 Support Hovercraft can use its dimensional splicer to channel a wide area damage-over-time effect that lasts for 10 seconds. Any light T1 units trying to pass through the area will most likely be destroyed, and even heaviest T2 units will have to watch out since dimensional splicer does damage relative to target size and durability.

GoK T2 Support Hovercraft
taz_161

Arm and Core T2 Anti-Air Turrets

The Arm T2 Flak Turret houses arrays of cannons identical to their mobile T2 anti-air unit, but is capable of continuous fire with no need for reloading breaks. It is extremely effective at softening up gunship or bomber swarms, but will require T1 anti-air units to pick out any scattered or fast aerial targets with their guided missiles. Compared to the T2 Pulse Kbot, Core T2 Pulse Turret is heavily armored, doubles rate of fire with a second array of pulse cannons, and also features a small radar. Akin to the Arm equivalent, it is intended to support T1 anti-air units rather than replace them. While primarily intended as anti-air units, both turrets are capable of attacking ground targets and may come in handy as a backup crowd control solution against hordes of lighter T1 units.

Arm and Core T2 Anti-Air Turrets
taz_165 taz_166

GoK T2 Anti-Air Stasis Device

Exceptional in many ways, the GoK T2 Anti-Air Stasis Device is purely a support unit, unable to do any damage to enemy aircraft itself. Instead of a weapon in any conventional sense, its odd looking turret houses a stasis field projector, which is so far the only paralyzer weapon that can affect aircraft. It cannot aim at ground units, so this unit will have its own very specific niche. The stasis field projector has a somewhat slow fire rate, requires energy to fire, and has limited range, but it practically never misses, and can disable multiple targets for a couple seconds with each blast.

GoK T2 Anti-Air Stasis Device
taz_160

GoK T2 Photon Torpedo Silo

While GoK's T2 mobile ground anti-air unit is alike those of the Arm and the Core in its functionality, GoK actually has two T2 anti-air structures, neither of which bears much resemblance to the turrets of the other factions. The T2 Photon Torpedo Silo is basically an immobile Harbinger on steroids, capable of firing bursts of enhanced photon torpedos from a multitude of vertical launchers. The enhanced photon torpedos do a lot of damage and have some blast radius, but are slower than the standard ones and burn out quickly, limiting their ability to hit fast targets. The T2 Photon Torpedo Silo is exceptionally well armored for a GoK unit, and has an adequate void shield on top of that. Anyhow, its relatively short weapon range, inability to attack targets next to itself, and negilible sight range limit it to a supporting role.

GoK T2 Photon Torpedo Silo
taz_159

Core T2 Artillery Cannon

Core's T2 Artillery Cannon is the most expensive T2 unit made thus far, and for good reasons. It features four large cannons that fire artillery shells specifically designed for taking out enemy buildings over a rather long distance. These have larger than usual blast radius, and high damage bonus to structures, but have reduced penetration and damage. Unlike other artillery and medium range cannons, this one does not need energy to fire, and can sustain a relentless barrage of shots on its own. As always with Core's fixed turrets, the T2 Artillery Cannon is rather durable and heavily armored, but does not have a plasma shield as the T2 Medium Range Plasma Cannon does.

Core T2 Artillery Cannon
taz_158

Arm T2 Tactical Missile Silo

Unlike the other factions, Arm will not have an artillery turret at T2, but instead will use the T2 Tactical Missile Silo for any longer ranged base busting. It can build and launch missiles with both standard and EMP warheads, and can have one of each prepared at a time. While it takes a couple minutes and plenty of energy to get missiles built, and the silo will have to be protected with other units, a well placed tactical nuclear strike will still be very much worth the effort. The missiles have a large blast radius and do a lot of damage to large targets, so it is entirely possible to destroy a cluster of T1 factories with a single hit.

Arm T2 Tactical Missile Silo
taz_157

Core and GoK T2 Anti-Air Units

Core T2 Pulse Kbot is armed with a rapid-firing area-effective pulse cannon which is primarily intended as an anti-air weapon, but performs quite well against hordes of light units. The pulse cannon is particularly effective against groups of gunships, but cannot reliably hit lone strafing fighters or reconnaissance aircraft. With its all-terrain spider tank chassis it is able to get into good positions, and perhaps also avoid enemy defences to launch a surprise attack from an unexpected angle. Anyhow, it is not as heavily armored as most of Core's T2 units.

Much similar to Core's equivalent unit, the GoK T2 Starcannon Runnerpod has weaponry designed to mercilessly destroy enemy gunship hordes with salvo after salvo of area-effective projectiles. It is a surprisingly capable and versatile unit due to its combination of mobility, moderately good armor, and powerful shield. It is not the cheapest unit around though.

Core T2 Pulse Kbot and GoK T2 Starcannon Runnerpod
taz_155 taz_156

Core T2 Spy Kbot

So far Core has not really had a dedicated reconnaissance unit, all related abilities instead having been spread along various combat and support units. This will change along addition of Core T2 Spy Kbot. Not only is it the first unit so far to have both cloaking and radar jamming abilities, it is also capable of moving through roughest of terrain, climbing up and down steepest ravines. Anyhow, Core T2 Spy Kbot is not completely undetectable as its cloaking has standard detection radius, and its radar jamming only works when stationary, so its presence may still be uncovered with radar.

In addition to just straightforward reconnaissance, Core T2 Spy Kbot also has a minuscule nanolathe with which it can build T2 Cloaked Sensors, T2 Radar Jammers, and T2 Plasma Mines. T2 Cloaked Sensors are small and cheap surveillance towers that can be quickly built to keep eye on crucial locations of the map. T2 Radar Jammers are inexpensive, but still take a while to set up with the limited build speed of T2 Spy Kbot, and they are not particularly efficient either. T2 Plasma Mines are powerful multipurpose mines that have large AoE and are effective against most targets.

Core T2 Spy Kbot, Cloaked Sensor, Radar Jammer, and Plasma Mine
taz_151 taz_152 taz_153 taz_154

T2 Stealth Field Generators

Information warfare has not really been a thing yet with just T1 units. Some sure have cloaking and can snoop around for a bit, but there is nothing to mask the presence of your units from enemy long range sensors with. T2 Stealth Field Generators will allow commanders to turn the tables big time, potentially hiding an entire field base with just one of them. With the advent of T2 Radar Towers and a host of medium to long ranged ordnance, an ability like this should find a lot of use. Anyhow, energy cost of continuously running multiple of these devices will most likely necessitate use of T2 Power Generators.

Arm, Core, and GoK T2 Stealth Field Generators
taz_148 taz_149 taz_150

T2 Ground Construction Units

Most fundamental of T2 mobile units, Ground Construction Units will allow commanders to enhance their economy with T2 Metal Extractors and Power Generators, fortify their bases with heavy T2 Point Defence Turrets, and also bombard their enemy from afar with T2 Medium Range Plasma Cannons or Artillery Turrets. Arm T2 Construction Vehicle is lightly built and only moderately armored, but is cheaper and faster to manufacture than other factions' equivalent units. Core T2 Construction Vehicle then is larger and more armored, while GoK's T2 Construction Hovercraft once again counts on its void shield instead of heavy armor or sturdy hull. All of these have double build speed compared to their T1 counterparts, which equals to what Commanders have.

Arm, Core, and GoK T2 Ground Construction Units
taz_145 taz_146 taz_147

Arm T2 Field Engineer Kbot

Should an Arm commander ever find himself in need of a construction unit well suited for the frontlines, T2 Field Engineer Kbot would be that unit. It is tougher and more mobile than most construction units, armed with a versatile light railgun, and equipped with a radar jammer and small nanolathes. Arm T2 Field Engineer Kbot can build a variety of T1 and T2 fortifications, including T2 Anti-Armor Mine and T2 Radar Jammer, both of which are exclusively built by it alone. Compared to its T1 counterpart, T2 Anti-Armor Mine delivers a powerful and highly penetrative explosion, but with limited blast radius. Small T2 Radar Jammers then are fast and cheap to build, but offer only diminutive radar jam radius and are rather energy inefficient.

Arm T2 Field Engineer Kbot, Radar Jammer, and Anti-Armor Mine
taz_142 taz_143 taz_144

Improved Commanders in upcoming Alpha 4 release

Release of Alpha 4 and T2 ground units and structures is drawing near, and within next days we will start previews once again and take a look at all remaining T2 units that have been made so far, and also recap what has happened to earlier previewed units as they have been implemented to the game. Anyhow, first I will bring up recent changes to the commanders.

Arm, Core, and GoK Commanders in Alpha 4
taz_1c taz_50c taz_68c

Since T2 units are generally very powerful and many have highly penetrative weapons, all commanders have been adjusted to be more capable at fighting them. Arm Commander's EMG has been replaced by a much more potent plasma bolt cannon, which allows for the most vulnerable of commanders to reliably deliver damage to heavier enemy units before having to pull back. Core Commander now has a plasma shield to help deal with enemy heavy weapons. This shield will recharge faster when stationary, keeping it primarily a defensive ability. Due to scripting improvements, GoK Guardian can have an actual void shield again, now set up as a heavy void shield that is more efficient at blocking heavy weapons, while taking increased minimum damage from light weapons. In addition, the wrist-mounted ion blaster has been upgraded to a more penetrative ion beamer. While these changes don't particularly benefit the commanders against T1 units, discounting Arm Commander's new plasma bolt cannon, they still need something to limit their ability to go on rampaging around the map in early phases of a game, and to that end their movement speed has been reduced by some in Alpha 4.

TA Zero Alpha 3c and TA Zero Map Pack Version 1

After the flurry of releases and previews in the beginning of the year, we became very busy and TA Zero development had to be put on the back burner. However, we've still been making steady progress throughout the year and now have all of the T2 units previewed earlier working in-game, plus a few more. There's still more work to be done before we can post the Alpha 4 release, so you'll have to wait a while longer for the T2 units.

Today we are releasing the new Alpha 3c version of Total Annihilation Zero as well as Version 1 of the new TA Zero Map Pack.

TA Zero Alpha 3c contains a host of bug fixes and minor improvements to various things, as well as new floating missile turrets for all factions (current names are just placeholders) and a nano decomposer weapon for all ground construction units that instantly clears away trees and other vegetation that can get in the way of your base building. There are also a lot of balancing changes (the most notable of which is that all T1 mobile unit wrecks are now passable) that have been implemented in preparation for the large and game-changing T2 units that will be included in the upcoming Alpha 4 release. As usual, you can view the full changelog for Alpha 3c at the Version History page. The rest of the site, including the unit guides, has also been updated.

Download TA Zero Alpha 3c Here!

Don't forget to visit the official discussion thread.

The TA Zero Map Pack Version 1 contains updated versions of all previous TA Zero maps as well as two unique and brand new maps: River of Flame and Raindance. River of Flame is a hellish lava map with several choke points and a new fiery rain effect. Raindance is a lush battlefield with plenty of routes to the enemy and features a dazzling thunderstorm effect with constant rain and lightning. The TA Zero Map Pack will be updated whenever there is a map release or update and can also be used with original Total Annihilation or other mods.

Download the TA Zero Map Pack Version 1 Here!

Owners of Windows 8 and/or a new NVIDIA GeForce 600 series GPU may notice some game-breaking bugs when playing TA Zero or any other mod that uses a custom DirectDraw DLL. Please visit the FAQ for more information about these issues.

As we edge closer to the release of Alpha 4 we'll start showing T2 units again as well as doing more general previews of what's coming up next. Remember to subscribe if you want to be notified whenever there's news. Have questions or comments? Feel free to leave a comment here or visit the forum.