Total Annihilation/The Basics

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Total Annihilation Game Guide
The Basics | Units | Structures | Strategy Guide | Maps | Community | Websites | Mods and Addons to Total Annihilation | Running Total Annihilation | List of Abbreviations | Contributors

This chapter will cover the basic information about the game, either for those who want to know more before acquiring it, for those who are interested in information about the game which isn't obvious while playing it, or those who just like to read trivia about computer games. It will not cover the controls, or basic gameplay - it will be assumed that you own a legal copy of the game, or intend to get a legal copy before playing, and so will have the instruction manual, either in paper form or as a PDF. Using these assumptions, it becomes apparent that describing the basic gameplay would be an entirely redundant exercise.

Game history[edit | edit source]

Chris Taylor

Total Annihilation was released in 1997 by Cavedog, with most of the inspiration for the game having come from Chris Taylor. At the time that it was released its engine and gameplay concepts were revolutionary, although it never gained the popularity of other games released at the same time, such as Starcraft, because it was not extensively advertised.

In 1999 Cavedog folded and Total Annihilation was acquired by Infogrames, who, at some point (which may have been before Cavedog folded) renamed themselves Atari after buying the trademark. Which basically means that Total Annihilation is now the property of Atari, although they aren't actually doing anything with it, other than providing a forum. Two expansion packs were released for Total Annihilation, "The Core Contingency" which was much like an expansion pack in the traditional sense, in that it provided new: maps, tilesets and units. i.e. new content.

The second expansion pack was called "Battle Tactics" and rather than featuring new content like traditional expansion packs & The Core Contingency it contained extensive single player missions to try to teach tactics to the player, as opposed to the more crude 'throw more units at the enemy than they throw at you' approach. It was mostly aimed at more experienced players as it assumed proficiency in actually playing Total Annihilation. Unfortunately, most of the experienced player either had small-scale tactics organized already, or had perfected the brute force method and didn't really need them.

Total Annihilation was, for a time, released on the 'Replay' label (and, in-fact, may still be in such a situation) and it's having been released earlier means that copies of the original Total Annihilation are much easier to find than copies of Battle Tactics or The Core Contingency, this means that the two expansions packs are rare, and expensive when they do become available, as they are no longer being produced.

Back Story[edit | edit source]

This is mostly covered in the instruction manual, so it will only be briskly covered here. In a large, technologically advanced society, the armed forces decided the to make their weapons, vehicles, 'k-bots' (units, in general) more effective, by reducing the need for controls & life support and reaction times, they would integrate the consciousness of their pilots into the machines themselves.

A rebel group started a violent rebellion to stop this practice, preferring traditional methods of piloting their various machines, and cloning their best pilots to make up for the lost advantages from consciousness-transfer.

This spilled over into a full-blown war, which lasted a very long time and exhausted all the resources of an entire galaxy. Total Annihilation is set in the aftermath of this, with the once-mighty armies slugging it out for final victory using whatever weapons and machines they can scrape together.

The two sides[edit | edit source]

The government/military forces (the people who support consciousness-transfer) are called the Core, the rebels (the people who don't support consciousness-transfer) are called the Arm. Arm units tend to be smaller, lighter, faster and cheaper than Core units, which favor a "Bigger is Better" philosophy. Each side also has equivalent units, for instance, each side has a basic infantry k-bot, a fighter, and a medium plasma battery. This is discussed further in the Units section.