Hands On With Planetary Annihilation

By Jim Rossignol on October 25th, 2013 at 11:00 am.


Uber Entertainment are making impressive progress with Planetary Annihilation, and we can now leap into both a multiplayer and AI skirmish mode on the Early Access version of the game. Ever the fellow to be interested in varieties of robot war, particularly when fighting large scale battles across worlds whose flavours include metal, lava, and earthy, I set about finding out more. I used my towering review unit to erect a large futuristic facility in which the current state of this Kickstarted strategy could be examined.

Read on for my findings.

The first thing I really want to get across about Planetary Annihilation is that it feels big. Not so much big in the sense that the planets are big – because as planets go, they are small – but in the sense that any given conflict is a huge undertaking with a bucketload of units, and lots to think about. Enemies can attack from pretty much anywhere – including from space – but it’s okay because those are your options, too. It’ll just take you a few attempts to learn how to make the most of them.


The other thing is that it’s big. If you were just looking for your big, then I found it. It’s right here. Hugeness comes with every game, and I can see why Uber had been making claims about potentially having a million units on the battlefield – this game slams bigness against enormity and makes a breadth sandwich: you can expect huge sprawling battles that span multiple planets, and the weaponry deployed means that having your commander unit (the only one that matters) assassinated with nuclear weapons (or worse) is almost inevitable.

The deathsplosion is a good one, though. Like everything else in PA, it’s got some kick to it.


Anyway, getting a handle on all this took me a little while, but once you’re astride this beast it feels soothingly familiar. It’s about the economy of resource flow at its heart, and you have to keep up the control of metal, and the availability of energy, or suffer horrible shutdown pain, and possible annihilation. It isn’t really that much bigger than Supreme Commander, and of course it plays as per Total Annihilation. Like all these games, it’s a frantic escalation towards more and better, with you trying to balance the need to output units for them to be destroyed in various actions – probing the fog of war and capturing more resource nodes being the main ones – with the need to build bigger and badder stuff so that your arsenal can be said to be comparable to that of the Jones’. He who has the biggest arsenal may not win, because the badder arsenal can usually trump it.

The net result of all this is that the game gives you a lot of options, but there are of course optimal build strategies, and even when you’re just playing AI there’s not a lot of scope for mucking about. That should be what we expected, after all, but I’m not certain that the aforementioned options are all valuable ones, at least not yet. This could possibly be because the balance of the game isn’t quite there yet, but whatever the reason for this tension, it’s going to end up being a tough game to master. You need to start laying down optimal building patterns if you’re going to survive long enough to spit out something truly impressive – like ones of those asteroid-grabbing planet-basher things you saw in the video. And the upshot of this requirement is that it is, like all such RTS games, a deeply demanding experience. Click, click, Mr Rossignol.


The updates have been fairly rapid since I last looked at the game, perhaps four months ago, and things like the solar system editor are now in, and in good shape. The game is taking on its mature, fully-featured form in this crysalis of Early Access, but is nevertheless most definitely not a finished or polished beast. And the game systems aside, there are a few minor issues – I saw a lot of ugly texture popping on my machine as I zoomed in and out of the solar system, and I do have a fairly hefty machine, but I suspect that could be optimised (probably by me if I bothered to spend any time mucking about in the options) and it seems like this is a game that will reward owners of giant, thrumming supercomputers.

It also feels a little messy, tactically and experientially speaking. The pathfinding is not always great, and it seems like there’s quite a lot of work to be done in UI, readability, optimal toolsets for controlling everything. Of course, most of that is a given, because this game is still in progress, but its uneven enough for me to feel like this is a game that most of us should hold back from until it’s really done, if just because I can tell the target experience is going to be as slick as all hell, and this isn’t quite there yet. Once Uber really smooth off the rough edges, however, this is going to be a nuclear-powered giant of the RTS world.

Most importantly, perhaps, this game is the next step for the sub-genre that Total Annihilation created. It works, it’s awesome. And so the great wheel of games keeps on turning.

Planetary Annihilation is available over here, but, like I said, it’s not finished.

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81 Comments »

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Top comments

  1. Didden says:

    Graphically, I'm afraid, the whole thing looks nothing like the KS renders. Given the simplicity of the graphics involved, I'd have hoped that they could have realised the render targets. The whole thing looks drab and washed out to me. Especially when compared to the target renders:

    http://nl.images.multiplayer.it/thumbs/images/2012/08/28/Planetary20Annihilation20Kickstarter20Trailer.hi.mp4_jpg_1280x720_crop_upscale_q85.jpg
  1. Lemming says:

    Excellent news. I backed this and happy to wait for the full release.

    • Dominare says:

      Yeah same here. I have very fond memories of Total Annihilation; me and my mates would buy a couple crates of lager and play 4-way FFAs with each game lasting a couple of hours, the tactics and micro getting more and more wild (and incompetent) as we got progressively more drunk.

      I really do hope they get this right… SupCom was good, but it was no TA.

      • fish99 says:

        Did you ever try the expansion Forged Alliance? It fixed a lot of the issues SupCom had, especially the slow pacing, and it added tons more units. It’s probably the best RTS I’ve played (I never played TA btw).

  2. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    My impressions of the first build I tried with some basic AI is that it’s pretty hard to manage armies across a single sphere, let alone multiple spheres, given that you can only really see one side of a planet at once, and then a lot of that at some weird angle. Figuring out where to expand and how to get a quick view of what’s happening across all your fronts isn’t obvious, and it’d be nice to have more interface help, from things like marking metal deposits to perhaps even having an onion-skin view of a planet; it’s more hassle than Sup Com’s ability to just flick the scroll wheel to see the entire map, and Total Annihilation-alikes are already difficult for humans with a single focus of attention to manage against AIs that can do multiple things at once. I’m still not convinced that it’ll become intuitive, but this was a few builds ago so maybe they have some ideas on how to fix this.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      Try to win a game by building a base around north or south pole. I tried. It’s a clickfest nightmare.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I think it has issues with strategic readability. Usually that’s solved with a mini-map, but that can’t be done here.

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        Why it can’t be done? Somehow we’ve managed to make a maps of earth – which is also a planet – so I see no reason for not having a map of a planet in PA .

        • Jim Rossignol says:

          I meant more because it would have to include orbital items and things on other planets. I guess it could be done physically.

          • Premium User Badge

            Cinek says:

            Just show orbital objects with different icons on a map, or don’t show them at all. And as for different planets – well, no need. Just show objects on a current planet. :)

            I can’t believe that creating stupid minimap is beyond a capacity of a company that’s made of industry veterans with whole years of experience.

        • mickygor says:

          Those maps rarely need to map actively moving data, and when they do it’s basically never time critical for the user to figure out where they’re gonna wind up when they go off one edge.

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        You could conceivably have some Mercator projection or similar, though obviously that has issues if you concentrate on the poles. You seem more optimistic than me that this readability problem isn’t a core flaw in the design – I want to like it, but based on my playthrough it seems more fiddly than I like, and I spent more time fighting the UI than I did making strategic decisions about where to expand and what tactics to go for. It could conceivably work with a whole bunch more automation, with the player guiding the automated units at a high level, but I don’t know if they’d ever go for that.

      • Premium User Badge

        PoulWrist says:

        Jon Maver said in one of the livestreams that he was looking into a way to make minimaps.

      • Moraven says:

        When zoomed in a planet, have a flattened sphere map as the mini map. When in zoom out mode, do maybe something like Sins of a Solar Empire where you have all your units listed at each planet and can switch select planet forces or zoom to said planet.

        • Premium User Badge

          Gap Gen says:

          I like the idea of unfolding the planet into a 2D map when you zoom out. Thing about Sins is that your forces were pretty well automated inside a system; unsure the same would be true of PA. But I guess we can see what they come up with before release.

    • Runty McTall says:

      I played for about 30 minutes just to test out my beta access and to be honest I couldn’t get my head around fighting on a sphere at all. It was a small planet though, so the curvature was especially prominent. That said, when I scrolled out to the solar system, things got even more confusing.

      Hopefully, with some work on the UI/controls and some experience with it to train my brain, it will become more manageable/intuitive. Hopefully…

      • Premium User Badge

        FriendlyFire says:

        The planet-solar system transition is still very rough and disorientating, but that’s something you can be sure will be fixed in due time.

        However, one thing I’ll say is that there’s an option (I forget the name) to toggle the camera’s orientation in the game’s settings which is disabled by default. It makes all the difference for me because it locks the camera’s orientation to the poles instead of free-roaming, which makes the layout of the planet and your base much easier to take in.

  3. Didden says:

    Graphically, I’m afraid, the whole thing looks nothing like the KS renders. Given the simplicity of the graphics involved, I’d have hoped that they could have realised the render targets. The whole thing looks drab and washed out to me. Especially when compared to the target renders:

    http://nl.images.multiplayer.it/thumbs/images/2012/08/28/Planetary20Annihilation20Kickstarter20Trailer.hi.mp4_jpg_1280x720_crop_upscale_q85.jpg

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Yes, that’s true. The environments are far too gloomy.

    • Bull0 says:

      Mmm, that is much more vibrant. Still, there’s time yet…

    • Teovald says:

      They already stated that the spiral decals will come later on. For the ambiance itself, it seems like a matter of post processing, there is probably still time to adjust that.

      • Premium User Badge

        FriendlyFire says:

        They’ve repeatedly noted that the game has no/barely any tone mapping yet. They just got HDR in.

        Postprocessing is very late in the dev cycle, people.

        • subedii says:

          Indeed. This reminds me of the constant comments about how badly balanced the Alpha gameplay was. No kidding, it’s an Alpha.

          I think part of the problem is that this is an actual actual beta, not a ‘marketing’ beta that major studios like DICE or Bungie put out to fine tweak some balance issues but is otherwise complete, and that people have gotten used to.

          The game is currently incomplete, and there’s still work going on for the visuals (alongside everything else). Heck, they’re only recording the Orchestral score this week, all the current music is placeholder.

          • Premium User Badge

            Cinek says:

            Beta version is feature complete version of the game. PA is not in a beta yet.

          • subedii says:

            As far as Uber have stated, the game is in ‘beta’ phase.

            In real terms that moniker only really applies because this is around the time they said would be Beta, and doesn’t mark too much transition from Alpha. There was however a significant update in which they added the orbital layer.

            Feature complete in this case basically meant that air, land, sea, orbital and interplanetary functionality is in place and working (alongside planetary / system generation), and you can fully play through games from beginning to end. This doesn’t necessarily equate to all the units / graphics being present.

            Whichever you’d prefer to call it, I’d rather not get into a semantic debate. The basic upshot of my post was that the game is still incomplete and the features being talked about are still in development.

          • elixiris says:

            @Cinek

            A beta version of a game is usually defined as an unfinished version that’s been released to help the developers finish it. That means the developers have the say in whether they will release a beta that doesn’t yet have all features implemented.

            Planetary Annihilation was released into beta mode when they got the orbital and multi-planet features to a somewhat functional level.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      It would appear that lighting lighting lighting is missing. The target look seems about the same model and texture wise (with except maybe colour, but that can be done with post processing effects these days). The only difference, and it’s a big important difference, is the lighting. :(

    • Yosharian says:

      Yeah, it’s not like this is a beta or anything oh wai-

      • P.Funk says:

        The irony is that everyone has become so inured to the notion of the fake beta where they trick you into buying nearly complete stuff early that people now reject the notion that a beta should be less than perfect.

        Its the push and pull of the irrational internet commons.

        Whats unfortunate is that every bit of negativity regarding the development process makes the developers not want to give this kind of unparalleled early insight into the process. I remember people being really harsh in the earliest live streams when there were no units, no gameplay, and Mavor said “I dunno, I would never show this to a publisher, ever, and I’m showing it to you guys, but I think maybe in the future we won’t if you don’t really understand it.”

        Fuckers are gonna ruin it for us whenever Uber makes another KS game.

      • Slight0 says:

        This game is really pushing the limits of what is allowable in a beta. I’d also like to mention the full $60 dollar price tag that comes along with this beta and , no, I don’t need to hear any justification for it because I assure you there are no good ones. People should be given incentive for investing early in a broken and buggy game, not punished.

        Anyway, the game is still vastly plagued by performance issues on all fronts, especially graphics. Don’t expect to get more than 5 fps with more than 2 people on anything above “low” graphics on a current gen PC. UI feels really clumsy, navigating a planet is disorienting, slow, and painful. Minimaps are a must for RTS games most of the time, this is no exception.

        We could then get on to balance however one huge obstacle is preventing us: nukes. Unless you explicitly agree on no nukes before hand, the game will quickly degrade into a nuke spamming fest before you even have to really clash armies for the first time.

        As a side note RPS is very very forgiving. They’ll dedicate 10 paragraphs to the praising various aspects of the game and 1 to actual criticism and flawed aspects. I’m always surprised how light they are on games that, even by popular opinion, are very sub-par. I realize our indie friends need some encouragement as these AAA companies won’t be taking us into any new territory and are by no means as passionate, but pandering to every indie company for any reason other than “because they’re awesome and make awesome games” isn’t really acceptable.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Cinek says:

    I know one thing about this game:
    I sux in it.

    Usually I’m quite good in strategy game, but that one? I’m horrible in it. 3D planets + difficulty in creating any reliable defences on any stage of the game + enormous demand for multitasking (half of the time it feels like clickfest) + almost no tools to minimalize micromanagement, which is made only more difficult by how hard it’s to select one builder in a crowd of units. And there’s almost never a case where you build just a few units. It’s always dozens. So more than often I find myself either not sending all of the units I want, or sending some random units (builders on a front!).

    I guess I’ll have fun with this game only in a single player mode. Somehow multiplayer in TA Spring was much more fun for me.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Yes, I’d like Sup Com’s prefab base option, so you could plonk down some pre-made defence hubs, rather than building the same hub over and over as you expand over the planet. The only other option is to abandon porcing entirely and have an air-based defence patrol that expands as you move over the planet.

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        And than you get attacked by a wave of fighters. Air combat in PA is a joke – there’s no logic of any sorts – everything moves randomly and you can’t really do a thing to help winning. It’s just a pure numbers game. It’s the worst air combat I ever seen in any game.
        But as for building – I loved drag & drop mechanics in TASpring – you could just drag across the map with your building selected to construct a whole line of it- say: 50 metal generators. And it was brilliant, cause you could very quickly dispatch builders to build base in next 10-15 minutes while you’re busy with construction of units and combat. Also you could quite easily set up your builders in a way where they were almost fully automated – you just got few 3-4 shortcuts selecting them and everything else was done without your attention or clickfest. Now I need to either find these tiny builders in a crowd of units and buildings, or assign 6 keys to different kinds of builders. 6 keys per planet that is. For builders alone. Nightmare.

        • Premium User Badge

          Gap Gen says:

          Yeah, they really need drag+drop multiple building options for the UI. Building a belt wall across the planet could be one solution. Another, I suppose, could be to have more ocean planets, and allow you to fortify continents and mountain ranges.

          • fish99 says:

            If it’s anything like SupCom/TA you should just be able to hold Ctrl or Shift or something to drop multiple buildings down. I haven’t played it though.

          • mickygor says:

            Yea you can hold shift to place multiple buildings, but it’s still one click per building.

        • LionsPhil says:

          IIRC, that was in base TA as well, and I think it made it over to SupComm.

          It’s kind of alarming if it (and the other niceties mentioned) are missing from this. Hope that’s just an alpha thing, because a lot of how TA/SC have done big scale is also through big automation.

          • Premium User Badge

            Gap Gen says:

            Yeah, I hope so too. Stuff like Takedown was promising, but clearly unfinished. It’s possible that as this is from an established studio they can afford to spend a bit more time polishing.

    • Yargh says:

      I’ve had some success building defensive walls around my turret emplacements, if that helps at all

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        Hm… I don’t know. I can’t imagine any scenario where it would work unless opponent is a total newbie. Walls can be destroyed, and units can shoot over them, so…. TBH: I haven’t figured out what’s the purpose of walls yet. Perhaps creating some tight spots? But what for? Maps are spheres, so going around any terrain obstacle is ridiculously easy. And you can’t really create any tight spot where your artillery would massacre enemy units, because… well… 1) it doesn’t 2) you’ll most likely die before building it strong enough to actually do it 3) and than enemy attacks you with air units.

        • Premium User Badge

          Gap Gen says:

          In Total Annihilation walls and dragons teeth could block some incoming fire, so it was usually worth putting a ring of dragons teeth around your frontline defences. It also channels incoming units, forcing them into killzones unless they take the time to destroy the walls. My main issue is the logistical challenge in building concentric defences as you spread across the planet, rather than defending natural chokepoints on a 2D map.

          • Premium User Badge

            Cinek says:

            In TA I usually used it to create “core” base from which I expanded. In case my units won’t manage to defend the outter rim – there’s always a powerful chunk of a base surviving. It doesn’t seem to work that way in PA – defences only slow down the units by some insignificant amount of time and they take ages to build (mostly due to clickfest issues). Oh, and there are several units that can overshoot so far beyond obstacles, that in fact – it doesn’t matter much. Most of the time enemy can just run around your wall till he kills everything inside. Or he’ll send air units (I’m yet to see any player building AA defence that couldn’t be possibly breach – something that wasn’t so hard to do in original TA).

  5. Yargh says:

    I managed ok, after a a number of false starts while on a single planet. Taking the fight to multiple worlds may well be beyond the capacities of my mind though. Maybe with multiple-monitor support things would be slightly more manageable?

  6. CookPassBabtridge says:

    I’d like to give it a try but £40 for an unfinished game is a bit rich for me. Anyone know if there’s plans for a demo? Also will there be single player?

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      There will be single player campaign. Most likely a demo too. If I were you – I wouldn’t buy it unless you’re totally hardcore strategy player. Just wait few months, read opinions, see if UI and base management got improved – if now – skip it completely. If yes – perhaps than think about buying it.

    • Premium User Badge

      PoulWrist says:

      Dunno about demo, but the game will get progressively cheaper as they near launch, 40 won’t be the release price. They are doing this to keep the price in check with what people paid at kickstarter.

  7. Spacewalk says:

    Such a rye sense of humour.

  8. Hahaha says:

    lmao burned lets all fund game devs yay

  9. Reapy says:

    I thought the game seemed wrong in the early demos in terms of the rts aspect. The icon shooting troop masses looked kind of missing any reason to play the actual game, and they didn’t seem to be tweaking the gameplay to fit the concept of multiplanet play. That said still alpha and there is room to tweak numbers and stuff, but tbh I think they have to abandon traditional rts unit control in this case and think of a more dwarf fortress approach where you are giving orders and designating targets and build areas rather than clicking individual units.

  10. KDR_11k says:

    With large scale RTSes the question always becomes “what exactly is the player doing?”

    With large scale battles you usually don’t get action-y elements like heavy micro or special abilities in the mix, that means it’s more about troop composition and number but especially the latter depends on your economic growth which means you’re a production manager, trying to optimize the rate at which your economy grows. This will often involve a lot of clicking and just boring procedure.

    However replacing that economy with a fixed income or something like that doesn’t work either as that makes it nearly impossible to catch up once you lose a part of your army (because the other guy will produce units at the same rate as you). Population limits are nice here because they limit your army size without limiting your growth rate so losses can be compensated for to some degree and the game isn’t decided the first time a player loses some units. Of course you still want some sort of limiter to how much a player can rebuild his army so the game will actually end at some point.

    Well, I don’t think you could get away with that in a TA-like so it’ll probably remain an economy-building game.

    • fooga44 says:

      “With large scale RTSes the question always becomes “what exactly is the player doing?””

      The problem with RTS is the lead on this game was the lead programmer on supcom. So he’s making the smae fucking game again taking advantage of the TA fanbase. The man doesn’t have a fucking clue what makes good gameplay. I talked to him about this in person as we talked about gameplay features. He’s just too clueless about automating gaming and making everything ‘big’ he lives in a fantasy world in his own mind. The big fat guy with the dark hair and beard is the probem behind this game. He’s the reason why Supcom and FA were such disasters because he doesn’t understand that RTS games should be battle focused and the player should enjoy being on the field with his units and actually doing things in battle. This is why MOBA’s like league of legends, DOTA, and DOTA2 took over the RTS genre (they are basically hero based RTS games despite what morons say).

      The focus is on the player actually playing the game at least instead of managing an unmanageable mess of icons from orbit like supcom and FA.

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        My core problem with SupCom is that a tiny robot looks the same as a huge robot, because by the time you build one you’re already zoomed out further than when you started.

        I have no problem with managing icons, but sure, it makes the 3D engine a bit of a waste.

        • fooga44 says:

          The problem is you can’t fit so many units onscreen and enjoy the detail on those units at the same time, there’s physical limits on the brain and how reality works that prevent this. This is why you can only ‘chunk’ out (control) max 1 or a few units while enjoying the carnage. When too many units get involved you start having to ‘manage the chaos’ not enjoy the battle. Your attention is too divided to enjoy the battle elements because you’re too busy managing everything else.

          This is why MOBA’s are basically more action-y and why they became so popular.

          I’d love to take supcom and give the commanders full action oriented capability like in Smash TV where you run around and shoot things. This would take the boredom out of 99% of RTS games if you could actually play the cool units as full on action game. I’d love to give the commander the ability to pick up throw, and stomp on other units via action oriented game input controls so you are an action participant not just clicking ‘move + attack’. You get to perform the cool moves.

          RTS games are held back by limiting how much control the player has over the fun units like the commander. RTS’s biggest flaw is that current RTS designers don’t understand where to take RTS. RTS was designed by people who didn’t understand the weaknesses of their design. I went back and played Warcraft 1 and warcraft 2, at small scales ‘unit management’ type stuff is ok for the simple games they were. But it’s really about programmers lack of skills and not grasping where the design of the game is leaning towards that ended up with RTS becoming a niche genre.

          • P.Funk says:

            It seems like you really have a narrow view for how RTS games should work. You see them purely on a tactical level, while others desire to experience them on a higher strategic one.

            Issues with SupCom were largely solved with Forged Alliance. Saying that RTS games should be more a MOBA is basically you saying that you don’t want scale, you want micro action on a tight level where you zoom in.

            This is a matter of taste in my opinion. You’re describing an emotional reaction to a gameplay style deciding its bad because you don’t like it. Frankly, I find the Starcraft model for RTS games to be tired at this point. Every game and its mother has done the “you’re in the mud with your boys, out mciroing the other guy” thing. Maybe I wanna blow up planets and play something that isn’t just a 4x game.

            I see it as a divergence from the traditional categories of gaming. MOBAs take the RTS genre and push it closer to what we call RPGs, with the focus on the individual hero unit. Why can’t a game like this or SupCom be responsible for pushing the RTS genre closer to the macro management games that usually suffer truly banal and average combat but thrive on the economy?

            I think your views are just narrowed by your own desires. I don’t much like DOTA or Starcraft, but I respect them for what they are.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            @p.funk – very well said indeed

          • fooga44 says:

            @pfunk and company

            Sorry but that game you talk about already exists in supcom and FA. I didn’t like managing icons from orbit 99% of the game.

            You’re both idiots. That opinion of mine is just ONE side of my thinking about RTS design, the other that you talk about ‘strategic’ means that RTS leans in 4X kinds of directions (i.e. the base building in supcom, upgrades, etc). Problem is RTS designers are really bad. What you both want is watered down design you live in illusions like that fat guy at uber, you think you’re being ‘macroscopically tactical’ you’re not, you’re just playing with icons from orbit.

            99% of supcoms games devolved into tank spam because of the unlimited resource model and poorly designed units. Supcom and FA’s unit design outside experimentals and commanders was just fucking awful, and anyone who says differently is just not at a high enough intelligence to even begin to grasp what is wrong with RTS as a genre.

            I’m not tryin to say MOBA’s or DOTA are in anyway without their own problems, I specifically dislike RTS control of DOTA because it really wants to be an action game where you fully control the characters via action controls. The reason they are hero based RTS is because the masses don’t have the reflexes. League of legends proves this, part of the reason their ‘community’ is so horrible is because so many people suck at videogames even when the are at their most basic.

            So please stuff your low intelligent opinions. RTS games have been rehashing the same shit over and over and you’re trying to claim that they’re ‘higher strategic’ bullshit, you’re both full of shit and that’s why RTS was reduced to niche status.

            Higher strategy = less participation, I don’t want the watch-a-thon that was supreme commander, I want to actually play a fucking videogame. Not watch a giant cut-scene pretending I’m some high level strategist. That whole ‘high level strat’ thing is bullshit. It’s obvious to me you’re not high enough level players to even begin to comment on RTS design.

            Large scale RTS like both supcom and FA devolved into endless stream of spam wars, simply because spamming units becomes even more efficient with automated building.

            Supcom was almost as automated as a moba where you have set units spawning along a path to a rally point. To try to claim they were ‘higher strategy’ is bullshit artistry of the highest kind.

            It’s just more proof you did not play these games at a competitive level which means you can’t even begin to form valid opinions about their design.

          • P.Funk says:

            @fooga44

            Well I tried to make an intelligent point, but you just said I’m an idiot so…

            Your point of view is stupid because you’re a silly silly.

            ^ See what I did there? That’s basically how I view your logic. You sound like a child who can barely grasp the difference between “What I like” and an insightful view point about a genre that appeals to a disparate audience. Your counter arguments literally boil down to “Shut up, you’re wrong and dumb, RTS designers are shit, everything they do is boring.”

            Know whats boring? People like you.

        • KDR_11k says:

          I think it kinda depends on the icons too. Having abstract triangles and squares with different markings trade blows is much less interesting than, say, AI War where the icons are basically the unit graphics scaled down so it still looks a lot like the actual battle.

      • KDR_11k says:

        I’d classify MOBAs as competitive level grinding, the RTS aspect really isn’t there anymore since you have zero control over anything besides your hero. Action RTSes give you some sort of control over your mook troops, whether it’s just giving production orders (as in the proto-RTS Rescue Raiders) or actively ordering/moving them around (as in Herzog Zwei). Most ARTSes have much less economy than regular RTSes though. Just an aside though since MOBAs and ARTSes aren’t really the topic here.

        • fooga44 says:

          ” the RTS aspect really isn’t there anymore since you have zero control over anything besides your hero. ”

          Sorry but the RTS aspect is totally there, did you not play hero arena in warcraft 3? There are creeps in DOTA/LOL which is proof of it’s RTS nature.

          There’s also bases and towers, it’s just that bases are pre built and units are infinitely spawned and follow a set path. It’s totally RTS just under different rules. To say it isn’t RTS is bullshit.

          • KDR_11k says:

            Last I checked creeps are not part of the definition of an RTS. Dynasty Warriors has loads of friendly units spewing forth from spawners but it’s still considered primarily a brawler.

            Bases and towers are in any shoot ‘em up game, that’s not a definition of RTS either. What defines a genre is your interaction with it. You only interact with your hero, you do not give any orders to any other units (besides maybe pets but you have those in many RPGs). The RTS genre started with Herzog Zwei, the defining change compared to Rescue Raiders is that you give orders and directly move units around. RR had more interaction with the strategic side of the game (you had to spend money to produce the allied units) than a MOBA and still wasn’t considered the originator of RTS.

  11. HisDivineOrder says:

    So the successor to Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander is a game with bad pathfinding AI? Say it ain’t so!

    You know, it’s hilarious because at this point I figured that was just a hallmark of both series.

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      You laugh, but I’d like to see anyone in this comments section create a pathfinding algorithm which can work in a 5ms budget for hundreds or even thousands of units across a procedurally generated, constantly modified landscape.

  12. Warduke says:

    I have kind of mixed feelings about the planets. I don’t know if all the videos I’m seeing are small planets or what but just seems like the planet sizes should be bigger allowing for large and multiple battles for a single planet. Just some preliminary observations..

    • subedii says:

      The planet sizes basically roughly map to the sizes of the kinds of battlefields you’d see in TA / SupCom. Which in one respect makes them small ‘as planets’, but in a sense is handy since they’re the right size for conflicts. The real scale starts to come into play when you’re dealing with multiple planets in a system. The full breadth of that gameplay isn’t fully there yet (you’ve got some orbital units and things, but say for example, no inter-planetary weapons or unit launchers yet), but shows promise for the kinds of things we could see in future.

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        Difference is that in TA / TA Spring smaller maps make game easier to handle, as you can see bigger part of the map, and it’s easier to create choke points.

        In PA smaller maps make it more difficult and creating any decent defenses (something new players love to do) is next to impossible.

        • subedii says:

          I would say that depends more on map type to be honest. Defensible positions and choke points are just as present, but depend on a map that has hills and bodies of water, not just open expanses.

          But then, I would’ve also said that smaller maps were very much HARDER for new players to handle in TA / Supcom, because the relative proximity made it difficult to prepare for anything. Confrontations happened very rapidly, which is not something most new players were OK to handle.

          • Premium User Badge

            Cinek says:

            “Defensible positions and choke points are just as present,” – I’m yet to see that. And that said – I always play on a maps with water and hills. Open, moon-type maps are just a waste of time.
            But even on these maps with lots of water – everything still goes to the same level where air units rule the game, and there’s basically no choke points what so ever – all of the obstacles are tiny, and water doesn’t form anything interesting unless majority of planet is covered with it – but than… it’s even easier, cause you can just build few boats and you’re even more free of choke points. :)

    • elixiris says:

      You should note that currently, in the planet editor mode, they have roughly the last third of the “Planet Size” scale locked. It seems to me that they want to make bigger planets possible at some point down the line, when build and server stability etc. is ready to allow for it.

  13. Doganpc says:

    My happy went up a nudge when I read that it’s more like TA than SupCom… I didn’t care for SupCom, perhaps it was my playstyle (elite forces vs mass forces) or my system (never finished, 3fps due to amount of crap going on at the same point of each campaign). I was really starting to get worried that I backed SupCom Deux.

    Still not a fan of the “fiction”, what’s wrong with robots at war, why the fuck we need a storyline to get entertainment value out of this sort of game?

    • subedii says:

      Personally I haven’t read any of the fiction. I’m quite happy leaving it at “Von Neumann machines fighting each other, and that are in a galaxy somewhere” being the sole extent of the plot.

      • ditar59 says:

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    • KDR_11k says:

      If you want a few powerful heroes mowing down enemy spam units by the dozen maybe try a game like Earth Defense Force 2017? The Dynasty/Samurai/Whatever Warriors games also have that but they make the enemies so harmless that it feels completely stupid.

    • elixiris says:

      They’re adding some lore so that it’s there for the people who like that kind of thing. In gameplay terms it won’t have any effect though, since every faction has adopted the “best” technology, and thus everyone has access to the same units.