TA BY POOSTICKS:
"what can only really be described as a Total Annihilation bible" - Planet Annihilation
"the ultimate resource of TA statistics" - TA Universe
"fucken excellent site!" - MeatAxe
TA's Physics Bones Laid Bare
I've finally confirmed that units have velocity measured in pixels/frame and acceleration (and brake-rate) in pixels/frame^2. The reference frame rate is 30 frames/second. I had suspected this for some time and got reasonable agreement some time ago by filming zwzsg's data-fetching tank with Fraps (and its external clock) while it was displaying its coordinates and recording its movement against the internal clock (+clock). While pretty good correlation was made it was not until TA's built-in movie making mode was unearthed that this could be conclusively proved (as now the internal clock is the only reference). In the end simple pixel counting against the frame number compared to simple kinematic relations using the units specified constants of MaxVelocity, Acceleration and BrakeRate worked out quite well...
It is worth adding in contrast that weapon velocity is measured in pixels/second but are calculated for each frame as per unit motions. The below plot was generated from an Arm Guardian shooting in an Earth-like gravity of 98pixels/s^2.


I've also found that turret rates are expressed in units of turret_rate/360 (rev/s) and confirmed zwzsg's suggestion that unit turn rates are expressed in turn_rate/65536 (rev/s). Check out the new physics model pages in the TA Guide for more in-depth information.
- Wednesday, 21.03.2012
Map Pics & Massive Mission Maps Database Added!
Christmas has come and gone, but as tradition dictates I have once again spent a few hours on adding some more content to this old game. This time I have focused on the single player missions that Cavedog so painstakingly prepared. I've added screen shots of the complete mission maps, the victory screens (where applicable), and rudimentary victory conditions as scripted.

On the back of the mission maps development I've completely recoded the multiplayer maps database and added map screen shots of them as well. These screen shots are to 1/16th scale with the exception of the following maps which have been reduced to 880px in width to fit better at most visitor's resolutions.
  • Acid Pools
  • Biggie Biggs
  • Caldera's Rim
  • Seven Islands
  • Shore to Shore
Below is a fine example of Cavedog map-making with their famous Core Contingency map 'Cavedog Links Country Club' 9 hole golf course in all its 1/16 scale glory.


Figure 1: Cavedog's 9 hole masterpiece can now be seen in 1/16th scale along with all other Cavedog maps and missions.

Also added are map and mission notes. I've also applied some minor fixes about the place such as:
  • The TA Guides General unit page LOS values have been returned to default data values. This assumes the McnTerra-NS.ufo custom AI and LOS patch is used.
  • Fixed the TA Guides 'Resource Model' section's metal page where the 'Reclaiming rocks' section was a duplicate of the 'Reclaiming wrecks' section Oops! There's now a nice picture of PD instead :)
  • TA guide unit, map and mission tabs reformatted from html to CSS.
  • Typo in TA guide unit analysis page that caused a database error message has been fixed.
  • Spell checked the entire site :0
  • Added missing 'Luschious' Cavedog DL map to map pages. Also added it to downloads section.
The last item, that of the 'Luschious' map was interesting in that all of the map features were added in a schema and not into the map proper. Schema's are usually to define things like start positions for different numbers of players. They can also control feature placement but I have never seen an entire maps features loaded into a schema. Weird! Well anyway that's why there's no metal or feature data to be seen on the TA Guide pages for this map. Now if I can only figure out why the OTA Arm mission 6 'Beachhead on Thalassean' has the same problem...
- Tuesday, 10.01.2012
Save True LoS in TA! - Patch now!
Some time ago on the TA Universe forums I discovered that the widely used McnTerra-NS.ufo custom AI patch, which was originally supplied with a 3rd party map 'Beta Tropics (Coasts)', also contained a corrected (True) line-of-sight (LoS) table. The original Cavedog LOS table had remained unchanged since v1.1. The original LoS file is broken and imposes a maximum sight limit of 288px for units with sight limits above this value.

I wondered at the time if, unlike the use of modified units by one player (which become 'greyed-out' and unusable to all in a multi-player game), a corrected LoS table were used by one player and not the other, that it might still work. Things move slowly around here, but I've finally got round to testing it and unfortunately it turns out to be true.

Figures 1-4 show the blue player using the LoS patch and the red player having the default LoS table.


Figure 1: Blue with LoS fix. Both aircraft positioned to see one another.


Figure 2: Red with broken LoS. Both aircraft positioned to see one another.


Figure 3: Blue with LoS fix. Aircraft separated to blue's max LoS.


Figure 4: Red with broken LoS. Aircraft separated to blue's max LoS.

So it was here that the story was to end with the recommendation that all players now adopt the McnTerra-NS.ufo patch as the unofficial LOS fix. It is quite widely used already :) But after 10 years of studying this game I still like to tinker, and I have made another discovery that kind of upsets things further or simplifies them greatly depending on your point of view...

I have been slowly checking and updating the whole site and have reached my TA commands list and noticed that the not commonly used command +lostype (which toggles between True and Circular LOS modes) was not actually a 'cheats enabled' command as I had previously assumed. In using this command one can immediately see that the TA engine uses the LOS tables for True LOS terrain variation calculations and when using circular LOS it simply uses the unit's SightDistance value.


Figure 5: Blue with Circular LOS toggled via +lostype. cf. Figure 1.


Figure 6: Red with Circular LOS toggled via +lostype. cf. Figure 4.


This then gives players two options for fixing the True LOS problem:
  1. Use the McnTerra-NS.ufo LOS patch and still use True LOS effects
  2. Use +lostype to negate possible disadvantage where you don't use McnTerra-NS.ufo
I still have to recommend the McnTerra-NS.ufo LOS patch. It allows for True LOS effects which was one of the fundamental advancements that TA bought to RTS gaming. As discussed in the TA Universe forum thread it could make some useless units somewhat useful; the Core Leviathan which has a massive SightDistance of 490px could be of use in spotting fibbers on the mini-map. Of course in using +lostype and switching to Circular LOS you actually create an advantage over the McnTerra-NS.ufo LOS patched player who is using True LOS.

Anyway, over to you :)
- Friday, 02.12.2011
Area of Effect charts improved
Not long after the last update (and so so long ago...) I noticed that the Area of Effect (AoE) charts were a bit flaky on some browsers. I endeavored to port the dodgy script driving the google charts to native google charts. This took a bit longer than I had thought as they are rather complicated. But finally we have a new format with an extra, dubiously useful, feature added. This would be the graph's linear equation.

In the last update we saw that a nuke has special damage just a smidge under the commy's 3000 Default Damage value. So how close to a structure does he actually need to be to run into trouble?


The above (purpose made) chart gives the special damage curve for the Nuclear Missile blast Vs. a Commander. We can see below a similar chart from the Arm Energy Storage.


Let's assume that the Nuke beans the Commander on the head and he takes the full 2900 damage. This means only 101 damage (1 extra to be sure) need come from the exploding structure. If we solve the E-store AoE linear curve for x, with y = 101 we have:
    x = (900-y)/12
    x = (900-101)/12
    x = 66px (rounding down) = 4.16 footprints (Note that 1 footprint = 16 px.)
Now I was not sure if this was from center of the unit or the edge of the structures footprint. But after some experimenting with stuffing a commander inside a vehicle plant, and finding Switeck's old note on this, damage is definitely from the center of the explosion to the center of the unit (commander here). Therefore we must consider the footprint radii of both structure and unit.

From the above calculation and with the E-store footprint of 4x4 and commanders of 2x2, we have a minimum separation of centers of 3 footprints. I tested this with the commander sitting right beside the E-store, and sure enough the commander cops it. If I add a fourth footprint (1 footprint separation), the spacing of a 1x1 mine for example, he still gets it (this being less than 4.16 footprints). It is only when he is 5 footprints away that he escapes with his life.

 

Example test spacing of 4-footprints (left) and 5-footprints (right) (intermediate units reclaimed before Nuke strike).

So yes very interesting stuff I suppose.. But anyway here is a somewhat useless table of damage a 2x2 unit (E.g. Your Commander) standing with 1 footprint separation from the structure would take if it suddenly exploded due to enemy fire (I.e. not self-destructed).

Table of what not to be standing beside when you get beaned on the head by a Nuke.

Unit Near damage
CORE COR-ANN1 "Doomsday Machine" 1566
ARM ARM-LRC "Big Bertha" 1566
CORE F-PS2 "Intimidator" 1566
ARM ARM-QLRC "Vulcan" 1566
CORE F-MPS4 "Buzzsaw" 1504
ARM ARM-ANN1 "Annihilator" 1504
ARM ARM-AMD1 "Protector" 1504
CORE COR-FMD1 "Fortitude Missile Defense" 1504
ARM AE-CKF "Cloakable Fusion Reactor" 1504
CORE EF-CK2 "Cloakable Fusion Reactor" 1504
ARM AE-FPW "Underwater Fusion Plant" 1504
ARM AE-FPF "Fusion Reactor" 1504
CORE EF-5 "Fusion Power Plant " 1442
CORE EF-UW2 "Underwater Fusion Plant" 1442
CORE COR-TRON "Neutron" 508
ARM ARM-MIDS "Stunner" 508
CORE F-LR4 "Silencer" 508
ARM ARM-MIDS "Retaliator" 446
ARM AE-ESF "Energy Storage" 132
CORE ES-22 "Energy Storage" 132
ARM AM-WMSF "Underwater Energy Storage" 132
CORE ME-UW2 "Underwater Energy Storage" 132

- Thursday, 10.03.2011
Massive New Year's Update!
Well 2010 is upon us, and this game is getting pretty long in the tooth, but that won't stop me compiling more information into this site! To that end I have made the following additions to the TA Guide:
  • Added Special Weapons Damage to the Unit 'Weapons' Pages
  • Added Special Unit Damage to the Unit Database's 'Expiration' Pages
  • Added AoE Blast radius Damage falloff graphs to the Unit 'Weapons' Pages
  • Added comprehensive notes on the variables used - with examples!
  • Added new campaign units section!
  • Fixed a few bugs here and there :)
The Special Weapons Damage additions display an image of, and the damage inflicted upon the units. This should help settle those old "OMG my nuke didn't kill your COMM! WTFBBQHAX!!" arguments. For example, we see that a nuke has special damage just a smidge under the commy's 3000 Default Damage value. Of course were a commander standing beside a factory that also causes him damage when the nuke explodes, well...
Similarly the Special Units Damage addition shows which units can deal out special damage to the unit being looked at. We see that the mighty Core Sumo (Default Damage=4950)can be dispatched with just a single shot from the Arm Sniper. Probably not the most relevant multi-player information, but there you go...
The Area of Effect Blast radius Damage falloff graphs are something I have been wanting to add for a long time. They dynamically show how each weapons' damage (mouse over for actual values) falls off with distance from the point of impact due to the Edge Effectivness value. This is displayed for 2 cases. In both cases the Area of Effect is the diameter to the edge of the blast (Thanks Switek!). Since I am taking the distance from the blast, I take half this value effectively plotting against the blast radius.

In the first case, where there is no Edge Effectivness value, the value used is 0. This means that the initial damage value starts at the maximum at the point of impact, reducing to 0 at the blast radius. Here is the Arm Guardians chart:
In the second case, where there is an Edge Effectivness value, the blast radius value will be the Edge Effectivness value x the Default Damage. I have also plotted a point one pixel more along the radius to emphasise that outside the blast radius the damage falls to 0. Here is the Core Silencer Nuclear blast chart:


Unit stats reference notes for each data type have been added. I have linked to examples above, and within the guide pages you can just click on the data description to take you there, or you can find them under the Arm, Core, and Campaign unit pages menu.

Yes, I have also added Campaign units to the TA Guide! Well they were already in the database, I've just linked to them :) Unfortunately, I don't think there were Cavedog build pics made for the Core Truck and the Hydration Plant, so they are just broken :)

I also fixed a major bug preventing aircraft mobility data from showing. Corrected the Worker Times to be multiples of 30 (Thought I had done this a long time ago!). And fixed a minor bug in the 'Analysis' page that was sending the server maths errors.

Man, time for a beer!
- Thursday, 31.12.2009
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