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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
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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 Arm Commander's EMG has been replaced by a much more potent plasma bolt cannon, which allows for the most vulnerable of commanders to reliably deliver damage to heavier enemy units before having to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.

TA Zero Alpha 3b

It's now been just under two months since we launched this website and released the last version of the mod, and since that time we've had almost 30,000 views from over 5,000 unique visitors from 85 countries. Hopefully the eventual addition of T2 units with Alpha 4 will really get an online scene going, but today we have for you version Alpha 3b, the newest release of Total Annihilation Zero.

Naval gameplay has been improved with balancing adjustments, the removal of amphibiousness for kbots, and the addition of some new units (which were previewed earlier this week). New AI enhancement techniques have been implemented and the mod has also undergone some massive technical enhancements, such as dramatically enhanced pathfinding, improved smoke and damage effects, and customization of data structure, dlls, ini, registry entry, and savegame format, making TA Zero fully conflict-free with TA and any possible mod, unit pack, hack, or patch. The full changelog for Alpha 3b weighs in at 96 entries and you can read it at the Version History page.

A new Controls page has been added featuring a comprehensive list of the controls, commands, and cheats in TA Zero. Even TA veterans might want to look over it as we've changed and added a lot of things for TA Zero. In addition, the Installation page, FAQ page, Features page, and unit guides have all been updated to reflect the changes in Alpha 3b.

Download TA Zero Alpha 3b Here!

Don't forget to visit the official discussion thread.

We'll also be taking a break from T2 unit previews and don't know when we'll be resuming them, but you can subscribe to this news page and get notified whenever there's a new post, ensuring that you don't miss any updates or releases.

Finally, just how much of an improvement in pathfinding does Alpha 3b bring over the original TA pathfinding used in Alpha 3? See for yourself:

Core T1 Support Hovercraft

Core has so far been in trouble without any early game reconnaissance unit for maps with water areas, which often resulted in Marauders being unable to ever fight fairly against Arm's mixed groups of Outriders and Vikings. Against GoK this has not been so problematic as Scourges do not have any range advantage and Faerie are much more costly than Outriders and have less sight range. Scourges anyhow have been clearly superior to Marauders, and relations between these two units have been adjusted with a couple careful changes which in practice do not really affect anything else. Core T1 Support Hovercraft was basically created just to give Core some affordable naval reconnaissance unit, and to that end it features sight, radar and sonar ranges of 600. In addition, it has a nanolathe that can be used for repairing, reclaiming and capturing. Anyhow, it has slow build speed and cannot start any build processes by itself.

Core T1 Support Hovercraft
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T1 Floating Point Defence Turrets

We have had a patch release Alpha 3b under work for a while now. Along a multitude of technical improvements and bug fixes there will be several significant changes to units. In order to clarify gameplay and give players more reason to build naval units, amphibiousness will be removed from all ground units apart from construction units and commanders. Several new units have been added and hovercraft and ships have seen dozens of adjustments, which should balance naval combat nicely. Most prominent part of these added units are T1 Floating Point Defence Turrets that can be used to boost your defences on watery maps. They all feature weapons well suited against hovercraft and provide large sight radius similar to basic turrets on ground, which can be really useful for your own hovercraft with their limited sight ranges. Should be noted that these are fairly easily overrun with focused attacks by hordes of hovercraft if left alone and are generally of little use against ships and their longer ranged artillery weapons.

Arm, Core, and GoK T1 Floating Point Defence Turrets
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GoK T2 Artillery Turret

GoK usually does not put much focus on artillery units. There is no specialized T1 mobile artillery unit like Arm and Core have, nor will there be any long range artillery turret available at T3. Some artillery capability is anyhow required, and T2 Artillery Turret will deliver that. Unlike Arm and Core Medium Range Plasma Cannons, this one is purely offensive unit and has weapon range beyond all other T2 artillery. It is not intended for claiming surrounding area as yours, but for bombarding enemy bases from afar. GoK's T2 Artillery Turret is costly to build and will require protection of other units since it has no heavy armor and is only moderately shielded for such a high priority target. Its warp cannon will also require large amounts of energy to fire and reloads slowly, so shooting stuff at random is more or less wasted effort.

GoK T2 Artillery Turret
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T2 Medium Range Plasma Cannons

T2 Medium Range Plasma Cannons will be the heaviest defensive area denial units available. Arm and Core both have a turret falling into this category, but their abilities are not very similar. Arm's T2 MRPC aims to be more affordable and faster to set up than its Core counterpart. It is a sturdy and heavily armored design, and its twin heavy plasma cannon features relatively fast firerate and high damage output. Core's T2 MRPC takes armor and durability a step further and adds up plasma shield system, making it nigh indestructible monument. Its siege plasma cannon is basically the same weapon that T2 Battle Tank has, but with three times the range and slower fire rate.

Arm and Core T2 Medium Range Plasma Cannons
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GoK T2 Heavy Artillery Runnerpod

GoK's designs usually do not follow any conventional logic and T2 Heavy Artillery Runnerpod is no exception to this. It is armed with a scaled up version of Black Dawn distort cannon, which is an extremely powerful siege weapon, but features poor range compared to other heavy artillery and will require energy to fire. Cannon is also located so high that the unit is quite defenceless against smaller assault units. Unlike cumbersome vehicles of Arm and Core, GoK's T2 Heavy Artillery Runnerpod has good mobility and is less restricted by rough terrain. While it does have to stop to use its cannon as the other heavy artillery units, it does not need to waste time deploying support arms.

GoK T2 Heavy Artillery Runnerpod
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Arm T2 Flak Tank

T2 Flak Tank provides Arm's mobile forces with heavy anti-air coverage for those days when amounts of enemy gunships or bombers become unbearable. While flak shots do not carry much power or area of effect individually, T2 Flak Tank features whole arrays of cannons with extreme fire rates to pepper the skies with shrapnel. Just like T1 anti-air missile weapons, flak cannons can also fire to ground at a shorter range, allowing this unit to hold its own against enemy light attack units. Anyhow, Flak cannons are effective only against groups of enemies at short ranges and are inaccurate compared to missiles, so these units are inefficient for dealing with enemy fighters or any single heavy units. Cannons will also need to keep reloading breaks after every few bursts. Unlike T1 Missile Hovercraft, T2 Flak Tank is armored enough to resist attacks of most gunships and bombers.

Arm T2 Flak Tank
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Core T2 Laser Kbot

Unlike the Core T2 units previewed so far, the T2 Laser Kbot is designed to take out specific high priority targets. It's not exactly the toughest or most armored unit around, but its plasma shield, mobility, and potent laser cannon allow it to get the job done. The high penetration laser cannon is especially effective against both medium and heavy units and is one of the few weapons in the game that has an anti-heavy bonus. While powerful, the weapon requires energy to fire, does not reload especially fast, and may also require a one second charge-up time to fire, rendering this unit useless against swarms of light units.

Core T2 Laser Kbot
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T2 Radar Towers

Arm's T2 Radar Tower does not have any special abilities, but it is cheapest to build and rather well armored for a radar tower. It also features the longest radar range of all, but consumes lots of energy to achieve that. Core's one uses least energy relative to its radar range, but cannot detect targets from as far as Arm's equivalent can. It has slightly improved armor and will retract and protect itself with plasma shield when deactivated. Unlike others, GoK's T2 Radar Tower will be shielded even when active and features extended sight range. It doesn't improve radar range that much over the already significant range of GoK's T1 Radar Tower though.

Arm, Core, and GoK T2 Radar Towers
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Core T2 Heavy Artillery Tank

Core's T2 Heavy Artillery Tank has a large double barreled artillery pulse cannon that features relatively fast fire rate, large AoE and high damage bonus against structures compared to other siege weapons. While not particularly good at taking out single heavy targets, it excels at softening enemy lines and taking out all vulnerable structures in vicinity, such as radar towers. Just like Arm's equivalent unit, this one will also need to remain stationary and deploy support arms in order to fire. Rather than trying to outrange all opposition, T2 Heavy Artillery Tank is bulky and heavily armored even if intended to be a support unit, and as such it is capable of deploying under enemy artillery fire. Anyhow, heavy armor and weaponry make it one of the slowest vehicles around.

Core T2 Heavy Artillery Tank
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Arm T2 Heavy Artillery Tank

Arm's T2 Heavy Artillery Tank is basically just a mobile platform to deliver one of the biggest cannons to the battlefield. It has very long range for a mobile unit and plenty of hitting power, but will need the unit to remain stationary and deploy its support arms before firing the cannon. Also, the cannon features good accuracy, long reload time and small AoE, so it is most suited for pinpoint attacks against specific fixed targets rather than anything else. Intended to be affordable, T2 Heavy Artillery Tank is lightly built and only moderately armored.

Arm T2 Heavy Artillery Tank
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GoK T2 Fast Attack Kbot

Defying all logic, GoK's T2 Fast Attack Kbot can quickly traverse almost any terrain to strike where the enemy is most vulnerable. Its photon blasters are powerful against lightly armored targets, and will burst-fire when engaging combat, further enhancing unit's hit-and-run capability. It is also capable of hovering over water, but photon blasters will not be usable while doing so. Since other units cannot usually follow where it goes, T2 Fast Attack Kbot is also equipped with small anti-air gun to give it some degree of defence against gunships. Despite its armament, void shield and some degree of armor, it is still relatively frail unit, and mobility should be considered as its greatest protection.

GoK T2 Fast Attack Kbot
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Core T2 Assault Kbot

In all its straightforward bluntness, T2 Assault Kbot is designed to be effective in conditions that hamper most other units. There is nothing really fancy into it and it is one of the cheapest T2 units around, but it is heavily armored for a walking unit of its size and armed with flamers that are fitting for the task at hand. While very short ranged, these flamers can be used to full effect in midst of wreckage fields or other obstructions, and are good for dealing with hordes of light units or disabling shields of tougher foes.

Core T2 Assault Kbot
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