Like From Orbit: More Planetary Annihilation Looksies

I didn’t back Planetary Annihilation, because my RTS win-loss record is me 1, everyone else infinity wins. But I’ve been enjoying the developer diaries immensely. I love how developers Uber are making a game with the doors wide open. I suppose it helps that it’s an RTS, but it’s rare to see the ground-up meat that goes into game sausage. Planetary Annihilation isn’t even at the cooking stage: right now I’d say it’s a pile of mince that’s being lightly spiced with hints of dynamic lighting and just a pinch of pathfinding. Excitingly, the video below also tells you when you’ll be able to cram this meaty mouthful into your tummy hole, and it’s sooner than you probably realised.

I put it after the jump to create drama. My scriptwriting teacher says pauses = suspense. Uber says they intend to release the game to pre-orderers in early alpha stage


this month. Just in time for BBQ season, to extend my previous metaphor an unusually far distance. That’s a callback.

Others cool video facts: The replay system will let you review the game with multiple views running at once (so you could be re-watching the whole game in one window, and following a specific unit in another), and you’ll be able to use it in live games. And the game supports multiple monitors. If those can be combined, I might buy it just to watch other people playing. It’s a striking enough game for me to do that. Videos below!

Game footage starts exactly at 7m30s in.

And there’s a Q&A here.


  1. Runty McTall says:

    It is astonishing to me that such a small team have come up with such incredible tech so damn fast. Really it boggles my mind. I can’t decide whether to be impressed that they’ve been able to do so or to berate the rest of the RTS world for failing to do any of this stuff in the years they’ve had available to them.

    So fricking glad I backed this game :D

    • Teovald says:

      Some of the main developers behind Total Annihilation and SupCom work at Uber and are behind this project. So they already had a lot of knowledge on how to make this kind of technology.
      The uber backends used by Monday Night Combat must have also provided a good kickstart to their server tech.
      This is still very impressive but it explains how they have been able to make such an impressive tech.

      I am also very glad to have Kicstarted this. I don’t think there would have been any chance to get a publisher behind such an idea.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Yep. I held off as the latest KS I joined has been really slow to show any progress. Where as I did not back this one, and it’s like… Uber progress. :P

  2. MajorManiac says:

    Every time I hear of a new feature for this game it just seems like such a great idea. This game reminds me why I love PC games.

    Also, I enjoyed the sausage analogy. Time to fire up the barbi I think,

  3. Parge says:

    The whole dev team are also very active on their forums, providing all kinds of snippets of extra info and answers to the PA community.

    Visually, its all a bit ropey right now, but the basics are there and its crystal clear that this is shaping up to be a very special, non micromanagment focused, RTS. Huzzah!

  4. Arathain says:

    The project has always had a bit of a too-good-to-be-true air about it, but what they’re showing is very impressive. I hope they find the elusive spark of good-gameness.

  5. Grey Poupon says:

    But isn’t it a beta when it’s released to outsiders. No matter how early in the development it is. That said, damn, didn’t expect it to be playable this soon.

    • Cinek says:

      Beta generally begins when the game is feature complete. This is nowhere near being feature complete.
      (and I don’t care how some developers (most notably: Piranha Games) overuse the term of beta for their early alpha versions)

    • Apocalypse says:

      “Beta generally begins when the game is feature complete. This is nowhere near being feature complete.” – What he said.

      Alpha is an early version that is not feature complete, a beta should be feature complete, even when some features may still need some work and may still be subject to changes.

      Public access has nothing to do with this definition. Alphas can be public and betas are often non-public either.

  6. Cinek says:

    Awesome stuff. Some fresh air into the RTS market. After all these strategies evolving into the micromanagement horror it’s so good to finally see something where we actually have a strategy.

    With some of recent RTS games I’m very confused if it’s still an RTS, or rather a tactical game (yes, I’m looking at you COH2 with your tiny maps and ridiculous caps on amount of units). So hearing devs throwing out as much micromanagement as possible makes me VERY happy.
    I also love how they decided to focus on taking stuff from TA instead of SupCom – wise choice!

    • Teovald says:

      RTS has as much meaning as RPG.
      Almost all games include some role-playing but only those that include xp and quests qualify as RPGs.
      RTS right now means that you control units. Most of them are indeed focused on micromanaging them.

      • Cinek says:

        Yes, well, most of the games got some degree of simulation, so they are sims,
        most of the games got 3rd person view and include shooting, so they are TPSes,
        most of the games got a lot of adventures in them so they are all adventure games,
        etc. etc.

        FYI: RTS is subgenre of Strategy games. Don’t confuse these two. “RTS right now means that you control units” – no, it doesn’t. It never did.

    • sith1144 says:

      have you played either of the wargame games? they are pretty light on micromanagement and have a fairly large scale

  7. shinygerbil says:

    I’m still not as excited for this as I should be.

    My main reason is probably the fact that they ran Super Monday Night Combat into the ground by releasing updates which were 99% expensive cosmetics and 1% bugfixes/gameplay-related. I loved that game (my most played game ever according to Steam) and it was incredibly painful to watch them blatantly ignore glaring issues, promise fixes and then release nothing but a new $30 skin based on a community in-joke.

    While this is a completely different funding model, I can’t help but imagine that they will get bored and just stop and move onto something else once they have a semi-playable game. Of course, I hope that they *do* succeed, and I will follow their progress closely – but I won’t get emotionally attached until they have succeeded.

  8. Lemming says:

    Classic TA movement cursor, I noticed. APPROVED.

  9. Don Reba says:

    Planetary Annihilation isn’t even at the cooking stage: right now I’d say it’s a pile of mince that’s being lightly spiced with hints of dynamic lighting and just a pinch of pathfinding.

    You think that, and then you find that same pile of mince served on a plate in a taco shell. We’ve all been through this.

  10. Liudeius says:

    I submit that Planetary Annihilation should come with a free copy of “Learn to read in 100 easy lessons,” because the commenters on that video are absolutely illiterate.

    I mentioned that I was skeptical this game could be pulled off well without space combat or mass transport (they said interplanetary transport will be limited and costly such that moving a massive army around is unreasonable), and then finished by saying we would have to wait to see how well the space mechanics would be executed.

    Then I was swamped with people telling me that it’s pre-Alpha so I was stupid and we would have to wait to see how the space mechanics would be executed.

    • Rich says:

      Well I certainly hope the interplanetary combat works as well as their original pitch suggested. Without that, this is just SupCom on a spherical map.