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Pick the optimal basic game installation option

The basic TA game is shipped on two CD. They are labeled Disc1 and Disc2. The installer program allows you to choose between the following installation options:

  • Regular
  • Spawn

When you pick the Regular installation option the maps shipped with the basic game are not copied over from Disc1 to the TA installation folder on your hard disk. So the only way to provide the map data required for playing a TA online game with a Regular installation is to mount Disc1 before joining a game lobby. If you forget to mount Disc1 before joining an online game and the host picks one of the standard maps from the Disc1 set he will receive the annoying 'Player xyz is missing map' message. At this point mounting Disc1 won't fix the problem anymore. Instead the host either has to pick a installable map, an expansion map (which every player in the game needs to have installed also) or you have to rejoin the game.

For the above reasons you should always prefer the Spawn installation option since from a data view point it principally allows you to play online games without mounting Disc1. I used the term principally because CDE implemented a check that requires a certain number of Disc1 being present in the drives. The minimum number of Disc1 required depends on the number of players participating in a game:

number of players number of required Disc1
1-3 1
4-6 2
7-10 3

In case the number of mounted Disc1 falls short the game host is informed about this fact once he tries to launch the game. This can be resolved by players mounting Disc1 one by one until the host is able to start the game.

Install TA and its expansions in the correct order

It's important to install TA, its expansions and the 3.1c patch in the correct order to make sure that the game is patched with the latest available version. The right order is as follows:

  1. Basic TA game from Disc1 of the two CD set
  2. Core Contingency expansion (TA:CC)
  3. Battle Tactics expansion (TA:BT)
  4. TA patch 3.1c

If you don't have a particular expansion listed in the above installation chain then just skip it and proceed with the next chain element. Although the expansion TA:CC installs a larger set of units than the 3.1c patch does it still contains the older game version 3.0. And so does the second expansion TA:BT which contains game version 3.0b.

Re-installing the TA:CC or TA:BT expansion over a TA installation that was already patched up to game version 3.1c will overwrite the TA game files of version 3.1c with the older files of version 3.0 respectively 3.0b. In this case you have to re-apply the 3.1c patch again.

Installing official expansions and add-ons

Every official add-on created by Cavedog Entertainment is shipped as a self installing file. Just download the map, unit or patch installer and launch it from within the Windows File Explorer. After starting an installer it'll suggest a hard disk folder where the files will be extracted to. Make sure the folder suggested is the folder where your TA installation actually resides. In case the installer suggest the wrong folder, use it's folder browse feature to point it to the correct folder. TA won't recognize add-ons extracted into the wrong folder so always double check the installer's destination folder.

Official add-ons free of charge

Official add-ons with costs

The Core Contingency expansion

The The Core Contingency (TA:CC) expansion was shipped in 1998 and contains all official TA units except the last six stand alone units free of charge provided by Cavedog Entertainment before they went out of business. The TA:CC expansion was shipped with game version 3.0 which is superseeded by the stand alone game patch 3.1c.

TA:CC is quite important for people prefering to play the CORE faction since it finally gives them the badly needed counterpart units for the ARM faction units (like the Moho Metal Maker and the Cloakable Fusion Plant) handed out free of charge by Cavedog Entertainment before the release of the expansion.

While the hover units shipped with the TA:CC expansion besides ARM's amphibious Pelican are not often used in games the new water based structures like underwater metal extractors and fusions plants or sea based air plants do really change the game play on sea maps. On metal rich maps you may even be able to build those insane resource expensive units like the Krogoth super bot or the long range rapid fire plasma guns Vulcan and Buzzsaw.

Battle Tactics expansion

TA:BT was released after TA:CC and is supposed to address people who like to play missions against the computer. It contains tons of additional missions and the description claims the missions will help you to learn how to use every single unit. As far I know it doesn't provide any new units. The only interesting thing for online gaming is the fact it also installs six new multiplayer maps. Lack of this expansion shouldn't cause you any trouble when playing TA online. The TA:BT expansion was shipped with game version 3.0b which is still superseeded by the stand alone game patch 3.1c.

Commander Pack

The Commander Pack is simply an all in one package containing the two CD shipped with the original game and the TA:CC and TA:BT expansion CD. The original version distributed on physical media came with a printed strategy guide which provided some useful tips and some total nonsense as well.

Good old games is currently offering the Commander Pack as digital download for about US $6.00.

ta/essentials.txt · Last modified: UTC 2015-05-16 13:44 by tcbw