Author Topic: Planetary Annihilation: Total Annihilation IN SPACE  (Read 75795 times)

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Planetary Annihilation: Total Annihilation IN SPACE
« Reply #45 on: August 17, 2012, 12:18:06 PM »
Since I have only played RTSs competitively with friends and sometimes online, I've beenforced out of the turtle minset  and now I loathe it. It makes for a long, boring and uninteresting game. Mainly because of the above mentioned heavy copter tactic. Build tons of defenses, build tons of powerful units, win. Yay...
Some people like to play RTS, but some of us actually just want to play Sim City and then lob very large explosive rocks at the barbarians outside our impenetrable walls.

My dad did that with Tiberium Sun for five years. He just got never get enough defending against the rabble from his high hill of death.
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Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: Planetary Annihilation: Total Annihilation IN SPACE
« Reply #46 on: August 17, 2012, 12:46:27 PM »
Also I just learned I should never post one my smart phone on the move. Makes for horrible spelling.
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Offline Wingflier

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Re: Planetary Annihilation: Total Annihilation IN SPACE
« Reply #47 on: August 17, 2012, 12:48:12 PM »
The great thing about Balanced Annihilation is that it boasts both offensive and defensive playstyles.

Like SupCom, every map is covered in resource spots, which an offensive player can use to expand quickly, and gain a huge economic advantage over his opponent.  However, expanding so quickly means that he doesn't have time to defend all his resources (In TA, metal extractors die in a couple shots from anything), so his "base" is very vulnerable once his opponent can start using air or guerilla-style raids to destroy his economy.

Likewise, the defensive player doesn't expand out as much, making his initial income much lower, but his base is much more compact and defensible.  As he upgrades his few resource nodes to the next Tier, he begins to make the same kind of money the aggressive player made, but in a much safer, more defensible way.

In other words, the aggressive player has a certain window of opportunity to destroy his defensive opponent before his economic advantage runs out.  The defensive player has to survive the aggressive player's onslaught until they can upgrade their base (and their defenses) enough to become an offensive threat themselves.

In a 1v1, a defensive player will usually lose to an aggressive player, but in 2v2s defensive strategies really shine because your aggressive partner can keep the enemy busy long enough for you to start getting weapons of mass destruction and finish the game in style.

Quote
Did I ever mention I do not play RTS games online? Like... ever? So that is where my opinions come from ;p No idea what is balanced or not, but I do know that building a hundred heavy helicopters and sending them straight at the AI bot never failed to win the match....
The mass air unit spam may work in SupCom, SupCom 2, or any other RTS, but it won't work in Balanced Annihilation.

There are two types of unique Anti-Air defense that I've never heard of in any other game:


1. The Flak Cannon - This is an expensive, medium-ranged, powerful anti-air battery, but what makes it so strong is that it does full damage in a large aoe.  This basically means that the enemy's incredible strength in numbers is mitigated by a huge amount.  You can still do a lot of damage with a huge air force, but it will eventually get torn to shreds by the Flak Cannons, which aren't concerned about number.


2. The Mercury Anti-Air Missile - This is an even more expensive, huge-range, anti-air missile.  If an air threat is detected by radar, it will shoot its giant, deadly accurate, and high-powered missile halfway across the map to take out enemy aircraft in a large aoe.  This can be used to create areas of "Restricted Airspace" around your base for lingering threats, or soften up a heavy bomber attack before it gets in range of your Flaks.

Of course there are also other types of air defenses that are cheaper and more single-target focused as well, but these are the two specifically that prevent a player from just winning by a huge air attack, in a manner that I haven't seen accomplished in other RTS games.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2012, 12:50:55 PM by Wingflier »
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Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: Planetary Annihilation: Total Annihilation IN SPACE
« Reply #48 on: August 17, 2012, 12:50:37 PM »
The air spam wouldn't work in a proper FA game either. Against the AI, pretty much ANYTHING works because it's brain dead.

As for Balanced Annihilation, it sounds pretty much exactly like FA. Which is a good thing, because FA is the only RTS game I can touch without screaming loudly.
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Offline Wingflier

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Re: Planetary Annihilation: Total Annihilation IN SPACE
« Reply #49 on: August 17, 2012, 12:52:50 PM »
I forgot, were there Flaks in FA?  I know in SupCom 2 there aren't, much to my disappointment.  Air spam in SC2 is a very viable strategy.
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Offline Kahuna

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Re: Planetary Annihilation: Total Annihilation IN SPACE
« Reply #50 on: August 17, 2012, 12:54:17 PM »
Air spam in SC2 is a very viable strategy.
Almost anything is viable in SC2. It's all about how fast you can smack the buttons (like headshotting in CS)
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Offline Wingflier

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Re: Planetary Annihilation: Total Annihilation IN SPACE
« Reply #51 on: August 17, 2012, 12:59:34 PM »
No I mean Supreme Commander 2, not Starcraft 2.  Though pressing buttons random buttons fast won't do you much good in either, I assure you :P
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Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: Planetary Annihilation: Total Annihilation IN SPACE
« Reply #52 on: August 17, 2012, 01:55:03 PM »
I forgot, were there Flaks in FA?  I know in SupCom 2 there aren't, much to my disappointment.  Air spam in SC2 is a very viable strategy.
There were T1, T2, T3 air defences in FA. With the proper balance mods, the T3 Flaks were absolutely lethal to anything in the air, aside from heavy gunships, and even them had to be a bunch to survive. Unless you happened to be Seraphim. Their T3 AA absolutely sucked. They compensated with having an absolutely ridiculus T3 mobile AA in their T3 sub when surfaced.
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Offline doctorfrog

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Re: Planetary Annihilation: Total Annihilation IN SPACE
« Reply #53 on: August 17, 2012, 02:32:56 PM »
How's the AI in Balanced Annihilation? I don't play multiplayer versus in strategy games, partly because I have RSI in both arms and take a lot of breaks, and partly because I don't have the spare time to get to a competitive level.

Sideline: http://www.shonner.com/ta/tacomputerai.htm

"MAKE THE AI PLAY MORE AGGRESSIVE IN TOTAL ANNIHILATION"

It's an interesting article on editing the AI file for TA. I know Wingflier indicts the developer for abanonding his game, but from my POV he left it a heck of a lot more open than a lot of other games I've played. From what I understand, players really took the game and ran with it, creating dozens of new units. Are there any articles on how this guy specifically has a record of creating, then abandoning his games? Or is he just like any other developer, moving onto the next project once he finishes the first one?

Offline Wingflier

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Re: Planetary Annihilation: Total Annihilation IN SPACE
« Reply #54 on: August 17, 2012, 04:26:32 PM »
Chris Taylor, though he likes to take credit for it, was not the project lead for Total Annihilation.  In fact, from talking with one of the people that worked with him, many of the people in company actually shot down some of his ideas, or ignored some of his design advice.

I think this is incredibly obvious by the fact that Supreme Commander turned out to be a very disappointing successor to Total Annihilation, and different in many ways; the same way Diablo 3 turned out to be disappointing game compared to its predecessors.  The great minds behind the project, who really understood how and why it worked, are gone.

I don't think we can give Taylor complete credit for Total Annihilation, because he was simply a part of the team, whatever he would have you believe.

In the games since then that he has become the project leader:

Dungeon Siege 1 & 2
Space Siege...
Demigod
Supreme Commander 1 & 2

Well, I'll let you decide.
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Offline eRe4s3r

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Re: Planetary Annihilation: Total Annihilation IN SPACE
« Reply #55 on: August 17, 2012, 04:29:58 PM »
The reason why I don't like Spring RTS engine much (or any other RTS apart from SupCom 2) is that they have a great open platform, but totally broken ass pathfinding. No flow dynamics in formations (no formation pathing at all) and so what happens is what I call the "wall of fire" problem..

You see, when you order 2 formations attack via move-attack each other only the first units fire and then stop which leaves the units behind those first ones in a bit of a problem, now they have to path AROUND the first line creating a wall of units that fires.. and then STOPS and finally, the units first stopped are now dead which means there is a huge hole and because a tight formation always wins in this case, the best tactic is to never attack if forces are even. Which is of course, totally stupid.

In reality, what I described is of course how a good broken pathfinding works, a totally broken pathfinding makes the units in row 2 stop entierly because no path resolves for the units in the center of a group. As you can tell, I don't much like games with broken pathfinding ;) And supcom2 has the best. The absolute, completely, best pathfinding of any RTS ever made. And this is why I am actually a bit miffed supcom2 received so little mod support. Because that game is revolutionary in some ways, but it dies off without any POINT because GPG dropped it like a wet sack of rice (and the pathing feature with that)

Sidenote: It is a while since I tried Spring RTS, so should this issue have changed I'd like to know...
« Last Edit: August 17, 2012, 04:32:47 PM by eRe4s3r »
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Offline Wingflier

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Re: Planetary Annihilation: Total Annihilation IN SPACE
« Reply #56 on: August 17, 2012, 07:01:59 PM »
The reason why I don't like Spring RTS engine much (or any other RTS apart from SupCom 2) is that they have a great open platform, but totally broken ass pathfinding. No flow dynamics in formations (no formation pathing at all) and so what happens is what I call the "wall of fire" problem..

You see, when you order 2 formations attack via move-attack each other only the first units fire and then stop which leaves the units behind those first ones in a bit of a problem, now they have to path AROUND the first line creating a wall of units that fires.. and then STOPS and finally, the units first stopped are now dead which means there is a huge hole and because a tight formation always wins in this case, the best tactic is to never attack if forces are even. Which is of course, totally stupid.

In reality, what I described is of course how a good broken pathfinding works, a totally broken pathfinding makes the units in row 2 stop entierly because no path resolves for the units in the center of a group. As you can tell, I don't much like games with broken pathfinding ;) And supcom2 has the best. The absolute, completely, best pathfinding of any RTS ever made. And this is why I am actually a bit miffed supcom2 received so little mod support. Because that game is revolutionary in some ways, but it dies off without any POINT because GPG dropped it like a wet sack of rice (and the pathing feature with that)

Sidenote: It is a while since I tried Spring RTS, so should this issue have changed I'd like to know...
Well there's a few things I want to address here.

1. Total Annihilation is not like your typical RTS, you don't have to tell your units to "ATTACK" something.  When an enemy comes in range, they automatically fire, unless they have the "hold fire" option toggled.  So in order for your units to fire at the enemy, all they have to do is be in range of the enemy.  Now there is a small bit of micromanagement involved by putting your fastest, closest range units in the front, and your slower, longer-range ones in the back, but that doesn't seem unreasonable at all.  Once again "blobbing" is a bad design mechanic.

In Balanced Annihilation, you don't even have to physically see the enemy in order to fire at them!  Units will shoot at radar blips if they are in range.

In other words, perhaps you didn't understand the way combat works in BA.  You don't select your blob, press move-attack, then forget about them.  You need to have at least a moderate amount of micromanagement (nothing major, just making sure every unit is in range, and the fragile units are in the back), which isn't a problem since the game automatically takes care of most of the macromanagement aspect for you.  One of the things I've always loved about TA, is that unlike other strategies games (*COUGH* Starcraft), Total Annihilation WANTS you to be in the battle.  It makes base management easy, and makes battle micromanagement complex enough that you need to be there to succeed, but simple enough that it's not overwhelming. 

2. Supreme Commander 2's pathfinding was nice, but a bit unrealistic.  (For anybody who doesn't know what we're talking about, here's the video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bovlsENv1g4).  If your units are moving through each other, it makes sense that they move out of the way and stay in formation; but it is absolutely ridiculous and stupid that 2 formations of enemy units make a perfect hole for each other to move through, as if they've both agreed to politely let the other pass (while killing each other). 

Secondly, SC2's formation system was very linear.  The game made the formations for you and you couldn't change them.  You couldn't choose whether the units move at group move or individual speed, so everything is ALWAYS in formation and ALWAYS moving at group speed.  Can you imagine if AI War played like this?  This was especially troubling when you have fast, mobile units grouped with Colossal, Experimental Units which move at the speed of molasses.  The other big problem was that all the units had to be ordered to a specific location.  This always really bothered me.

Spring RTS is the ONLY RTS engine that allows you to make your own quick and simple formations with the drag of a button.  I swear to God, this system is so simple and intuitive, I can't believe nobody else has thought of it or used it.  Simply by selecting your squad, and drawing a line on the screen, you choose how your formation ends up when you reach your location.  With this command, you can easily make walls, Blitzkriegs, search patrols, squares, delta formations, or any formation you want instantly.  I'll take this over the unrealistic "Flow Pathfinding" any day.

Here are some examples:

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Now tell me THAT isn't cool.  By the way, all the red drawing and lettered markers you saw were done IN-GAME.  That's their in-game whiteboard system, which makes it easy to communicate and plan strategies with allies - another unique feature that no other RTS game has.
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Offline eRe4s3r

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Re: Planetary Annihilation: Total Annihilation IN SPACE
« Reply #57 on: August 17, 2012, 09:40:19 PM »
Never knew those features even existed.. which just goes to show.. that what Spring RTS really needs is a proper tutorial  :o

But your point is true yet it the issue remains, try the same thing with 2 groups of 100 units ;) And move them over a land mass that is narrow.. have fun ;) 0 prediction of paths means units block themselves and each other, it looks *exactly* like the "bad" example in the flowfield trailer ;) (worse maybe, some units take alternative routes, I've seen this more than once.. maybe they fixed it by now.. but I am too lazy to try this now.. setting spring rts up, and that they don't ship a proper "lobby" with it and then finding the AI's that work with this or that mod always annoys the heck out of me. I want a package! ^^

And yeah, I always play AI War with "everyone move the same speed" until enemy combat.. I actually HATE that this feature was removed as a proper toggle in the GUI, because it is the button I most often used, and now I always have to slug through that terrible context menu. (yeah, now thats a random complaint huh ,p)
« Last Edit: August 17, 2012, 09:43:01 PM by eRe4s3r »
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Offline Wingflier

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Re: Planetary Annihilation: Total Annihilation IN SPACE
« Reply #58 on: August 17, 2012, 09:54:12 PM »
100 vs. 100 unit battles generally aren't that common in Total Annihilation.  Units are generally more expensive/cost effective than that, and they scale up.  Add this to power of many AoE defenses and weapons, and having that strategy really goes to waste.

In other words, "The Swarm" isn't really a legitimate tactic in the game.  You can have a small raiding party of...let's say at most 40 Tier 1 units, and do heavy damage (maybe even win the game).  Anything more than that is just being wasteful.  If you can't do it with 40, you can't do it with 100.  This is because units leave corpses in TA, so the more your front line dies, the harder it is for your back line to get through since they're running into the dead husks of your old units. 

For this reason, it's much better to strike effectively in a lightly (or non) defended area with a strike force, than to try and brute force your opponent.  You'll never defeat an experienced opponent that way.
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Offline eRe4s3r

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Re: Planetary Annihilation: Total Annihilation IN SPACE
« Reply #59 on: August 17, 2012, 10:30:58 PM »
But I like the swarm ;P Do you not know? More explosions = good! And I like the huge battles you can have in Sup Com 2... hence I am looking for a mod that does this in the spring rts engine.. any such mod? The TA mod you linked to is way way way too close to TA for my taste. I mean it looks exceptionally ugly and way too small scale.
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