Planetary Annihilation Vocabulary

Here’s what you need to know when playing Planetary Annihilation:

PAPlanetary Annihilation
PA:TPlanetary Annihilation: TITANS
CMMCommunity Mods Manager
PAMMObsolete PA Mod Manager
palobbyGames Browser
Unit Database (TITANS, Legion and Classic PA)
TITANS 1v1 Ranked Leaderboards
Dedicated Server Replays
Support Wiki
comCommander
ubercannonCommander manual alt-fire of a short range, high damage, high energy weapon as a last line of defence
com snipeUnexpected death of a poorly protected / out of position / weakened Commander often using micro and focus fire from Booms, Bumblebees, Kestrels,, Titans, Holkins, nukes, SXX, etc.
death by icarus / death by a thousand cutsEmbarrassing com snipe using only Icarus (bonus points for using over a thousand)
com boxingCommander vs Commander close quarter battles
com pushUsing your Commander on the front lines to attack
boom bot pushUsing the speed of boom bots to push another unit faster than its normal speed (often used with a Manhattan or Commander)
fabberFabricator or builder
T1Tier 1 basic units
T2Tier 2 advanced units
ecoEconomy
pgenPower Generator
mexMetal Extractor
floatingWhen resources (energy or metal or both) exceed demand resulting in wasted or unused resources (blue eco bar). Always use your float to expand and build more units.
stalling / crashingWhen demand exceeds available resources (energy or metal or both) slowing production to less than 100% efficiency (red eco bar). When stalling energy, units requiring energy to operate like radars and teleporters may stop working.
macroBig picture management of your build, economy, vision, placement, map control, unit composition, lines of attack, etc.
expanding / expansionExpanding to claim all metal spots then defending your expansion against enemy raids or attacks to establish map control.
pressureUsing constant raiding, expansion, area denial, map control, multiple lines of attack and other tactics to dominate your opponent leaving them feeling constantly under pressure, reactive and overwhelmed.
area denialPreventing enemy units from occupying or navigating an area
kill zoneArea covered by direct fire used to ambush, trap or completely destroy enemy units that enter the zone (often using terrain to funnel units into single file or narrow spaces through a choke point)
microMicro managing individual units, platoons or groups
focus fireExplicitly targeting an attack on a single unit or Commander
wiggle / danceMoving units side to side to avoid enemy fire eg Dox vs Bumblebees (bombers)
kitingMoving your units (typically backwards) to keep enemy units at range or to pull them into a kill zone
flankingMoving your units around enemy units (or structures / terrain) to attack from a stronger position
meat shieldUsing cheaper / faster / disposable units to absorb enemy fire
manhattan dropTeleporting a Manhattan using a Helios directly into a base (usually on top of a Commander)
planet bounceBouncing orbital of a nearby planet to drop directly over a location on the same planet
nuke farmMultiple Nuclear Missile Launchers building Nuclear Missiles typically assisted by T2 advanced fabbers in preparation for a nuke stack or carpet nuke
nuke stackTargeting multiple nukes simultaneously on the same location to overwhelm anti-nukes, open a beachhead or double tap snipe a Commander
double tapTwo nuke stack snipe of a Commander without anti-nuke protection
carpet nukeArea targeting multiple nukes simultaneously over a large area due to poor scouting, lack of vision or just because you can (bonus points for 50+)
APMActions per Minute (not that important in PA)
APSActions per Second and Ammo per Second (rate of fire)
DMGDamage
PRODProduction
CSGConstructive Solid Geometry building blocks used to create advanced maps in the system editor (additive and subtractive 3D boolean operations on brushes)
FFAFree for All game mode with one player per army
team armiesTeam game mode with one or more players per team
unshared team armiesEach player controls their own army with a static alliance between the armies in each team
shared team armiesEach team is a single shared army where any player in the team can control any unit in the team (including another players commander)
sudden deathOption for teams armies where a team is eliminated if any commander in the team is killed (protect your weakest player)
world simulationConnecting to local server games
cheeseUsually a reference to Qzipco 😉

Hosting a Local Server

Planetary Annihilation includes a local server for single player that also fully supports both offline and online multiplayer LAN games on your personal super computer.

Playing PA with a local server on the same computer requires a mid-top spec CPU and plenty of free RAM. eg minimum 8GB and ideally 16GB.

The minimum specs for using single player local servers with Titans are:

  • quad core
  • 8GB RAM for dedicated GPUs
  • 12GB RAM for integrated GPUs

Failing to connect to a local server is usually caused by:

  • firewalls / security suites / antivirus interfering with network connections
  • incorrect port mapping / forwarding / pinholes with WAN games over the internet
  • corrupt files
  • broken mods

Hosting multiplayer games on a local server requires a top spec modern CPU ideally with 16GB+ RAM.

Multiplayer LAN Games

When all players and the server are on the same IPv4 local network you can host a LAN game.

Offline (not logged in) LAN Games

When offline you are NOT logged in using a PA or Steam account. You can also be disconnected from the internet after initial setup.

LAN Setup

  • Every player must have the same build of PA
  • Every player must use a unique username
  • Every player must be on the same network subnet to receive LAN beacons
  • Every player must enable Community Mods
  • Servers use TCP port 20545 for games and UDP port 8192 for LAN beacons to advertise local games

Hosting a LAN Game From Within PA

  • Local server and local server multi-threading should be enabled in:
    • settings > server
  • Create a local game on your personal super computer using:
    • start > multiplayer > custom > create game
  • Make the game public to start broadcasting the LAN beacon for your game
  • Leave the game public to allow players to reconnect or spectate

Joining a LAN Game

  • Players can join your LAN game using:
    • start > multiplayer > custom
  • Public LAN games are listed under the Local region

Downloading PA

PA accounts can use the standalone PA launcher to download a DRM free local server: https://store.planetaryannihilation.net//download/pa

Steam accounts can be linked to a PA account: https://support.planetaryannihilation.com/kb/faq.php?id=63

Online (logged in) LAN Games

When online you are logged in using a PA or steam account via the internet.

Each player must be logged in using a different account or offline using a different username.

When hosting ensure host game locally is enabled before you create the game.

Firewalls

If not using steam on windows you may need to manually add exceptions.

Steam Windows Firewall Rules

The steam install automatically adds PA to the allowed apps in Windows Defender Firewall:

  • Planetary Annihilation (32 bit) %INSTALLDIR%\\bin_x86\\PA.exe
  • Planetary Annihilation – Crash Reporter (32 bit) %INSTALLDIR%\\bin_x86\\crashupload.exe
  • Planetary Annihilation – User Interface (32 bit) %INSTALLDIR%\\bin_x86\\host\\CoherentUI_Host.exe
  • Planetary Annihilation (64 bit) %INSTALLDIR%\\bin_x64\\PA.exe
  • Planetary Annihilation – Crash Reporter (64 bit) %INSTALLDIR%\\bin_x64\\crashupload.exe
  • Planetary Annihilation – User Interface (64 bit) %INSTALLDIR%\\bin_x64\\host\\CoherentUI_Host.exe
  • Planetary Annihilation – LAN and Offline Game Server (64 bit) %INSTALLDIR%\\bin_x64\\server.exe

The steam windows firewall rules do not apply to:

  • third party firewalls or security suites
  • moved steam apps
  • other installations such as the PA launcher

Multiplayer WAN Games Over the Internet

Using the Connect Buttons mod from Community Mods players can connect to private servers hosted over the internet.

WAN Setup

  • Every player must have the same build of PA
  • Every player must use a unique username
  • Every remote player needs to install the Connect Buttons mod and will need to know the public IPv4 or DNS address of your server
  • Servers use TCP port 20545 for games and need to be accessible via a public IPv4 address
    • If your local server is using a private IPv4 address like 192.168.x.x or 10.x.x.x then you’ll need to setup port mapping / port forwarding / pinholes in your router / modem
  • You’ll need high quality broadband or fibre to host a local server over the internet
    • At least 5 Mbit/s upload is recommended and ideally 10+ Mbit/s for bigger games with spectators
    • Larger games with more players and spectators will require more bandwidth

Port Mapping / Port Forwarding / Pinholes

You’ll need to figure this out yourself… don’t ask for help about your specific router. Try google or https://www.howtogeek.com/66214/how-to-forward-ports-on-your-router/

Your local PC hosting your local PA server on TCP port 20545 will be using a private IP address not accessible from the internet. eg 192.168.x.x or 10.x.x.x

Port mapping / port forwarding / pinholes open TCP port 20545 on your public IP address so that your local PA server can be accessed via the internet.

eg assuming your public IP address is 45.33.44.0 and the private IP address of your local computer with PA is 192.168.1.100 then you want to port map external TCP 20545 to internal 192.168.1.100 TCP 20545.

NEVER use DMZ unless you know what you are doing and have a very secure firewall setup.

Offline (not logged in) WAN Games

When offline you are NOT logged in using a PA or Steam account. You must be connected to the internet for WAN games.

Hosting a WAN Game From Within PA

  • Local server and local server multi-threading should be enabled in:
    • settings > server
  • Create a local game on your personal super computer using:
    • start > multiplayer > custom > create game
  • Make the game public
  • Leave the game public to allow players to reconnect or spectate

Joining a WAN Game

  • Install the Connect Buttons mod from Community Mods
  • Add the public IPv4 or DNS address with TCP port to:
    • settings > server
    • Host = public IPv4 or DNS address
  • Players can join your WAN game using:
    • start > connect to > public IPv4 or DNS address of your server
  • Privately hosted WAN games are not shown in the public games browser

Online (logged in) WAN Games

When online you are logged in using a PA or steam account via the internet.

Each player must be logged in using a different account or offline using a different username.

When hosting ensure host game locally is enabled before you create the game.

Server Mods

Server mods from the first player to connect as game creator / host will be automatically uploaded to the server and distributed to players and spectators automatically.

Galactic War Difficulty, Adding More Maps and AI Overhaul

Introduction

Galactic War. Galactic War never changes. Except for when it does! Galactic War is a roguelite campaign for Planetary Annihilation, starting with only a small amount of tech, you battle your away across the galaxy to uncover more, fighting increasingly tough and numerous opponents until you defeat the three enemy factions. Defeat bosses in certain systems and you’ll unlock new starting loadouts which you can use in new campaigns.

This guide will help you pick the right difficulty, explain the factions and unlocks, and also guide you through adding more maps.

Difficulty

The higher you set the AI difficulty the greater its eco modifier, economy handling and general intelligence will be. Normal uses a different set of maps from the other difficulty levels, with far less multi-planet systems.

NormalHardRelentlessAbsurd
Threat assessmentsTerribleBadBestBest
MicroNoneOKBestBest
ScoutingOKBestBestBest
Factory build delayExtremeSomeNoneNone
Expansion delayExtremeSomeNoneNone
Avoids eco floatNoYesYesYes
Commander retreatsNoNoYesYes
MapsEasyStandardStandardStandard
Difficulty ramp*+0.005+0.01+0.01+0.02
TurtlesYesNoNoNo
Targets weakest CommanderNoNoYesYes
T2 delayYesNoNoNo
More commandersNoUnlikelyPossiblyLikely
Base eco modifierx0.4x0.5x0.7x0.8

*The increase applied to the AI’s base eco modifier for each planet you travel from the starting point

System Size

SizeNumber of Planets
Small18
Medium24
Large36
Epic54
Uber78
Vast*108
Gigantic*144
Ridiculous*186
Marathon*234

*added by the Bigger Galactic War mod

Factions

By choosing a colour in the lobby you are choosing a faction. The faction you select will not appear in your war. The only difference between the factions are their boss systems, so choose a faction whose boss you wish to avoid.

Loadouts

Your starting loadout determines what units you have access to from the start of the war. You start with one loadout unlocked: the Vehicle Commander. Seven loadouts remain locked. You will unlock them by defeating particular faction bosses.

Each faction has multiple possible boss systems. At the start of a war one system is selected for each faction. You may not always encounter a boss tied to a locked loadout.

FactionSystemLoadout Unlocked
Legonis MachinaKohrArtillery Commander
EntaraBionic Augmentation Commander of Neutralizing
Agoge
Tau Leporis
Poseidon’s Wrath
FoundationAtlasAir Commander
PatagoniaAssault Commander
Xylcor
Blogar’s Fist
Zeta Draconis
SynchronousCupruBot Commander
Platina
Fier
Safir
Apa
RevenantsAlenquerOrbital Commander
XianyaoGeneral Commander
Epiphany
Varthema
Chernykh

Adding More Maps

Once you’ve played a lot of Galactic War you will have seen all the built-in systems more than once. You might fancy a change, have particular systems you’d like to see, or just want more multi-planet than you get out-of-the-box. To achieve this we will use Shared Systems for Galactic War, a mod which lets you load in TITANS systems, your systems, and systems out of any map pack you lay your hands on.

Installing

Go into Community Mods from the main menu. Click the Available tab and search for “gw”. Select Shared Systems for Galactic War and choose to install it.

Using the Mod

When you go into Galactic War you’ll notice something different.

Galactic War with Shared Systems for Galactic War mod installed

In bottom left you now choose what systems to load into Galactic War. By default it has selected the Uber category, which are the 26 skirmish and multiplayer systems that ship with TITANS. Below that is My Systems, which would load any systems you have created or imported. Default Systems and onwards are categories on the Shared Systems server. These are areas which anyone can upload to (default systems) or are restricted to specific individuals (everything else). I recommend against using these categories for two reasons:

  1. Many of the systems are old and out-of-date
  2. The Shared Systems server is often offline, or when online is slow to load the systems
Loading systems from the cloud

In the screenshot above we see a 0 next to Default Systems and the go to war button is greyed out. This is because the systems from Default Systems have not completed loading. Given the count of 0 I would assume the server is offline, but even if it were online you wouldn’t be able to play until hundreds of random systems had been loaded.

So how do we add more systems? Simple. Map packs.

Adding Map Packs

Return to Community Mods on the main menu and this time search for “map”. Select the ones you want and click install for each.

Installing map packs from Community Mods

Checking the Contents

If you haven’t used these map packs before you might want to check out what you just installed. The easiest way to do this is to go into the System Editor from the main menu.

Viewing installed systems

Each map pack consists of one or more categories which are displayed as tabs. In addition you will see My Systems, which are ones you’ve created or imported, and Uber, which are the systems that come with the game. Shared should be ignored.

If you want to get an idea of what you’ve added just browse through the select here and click on a system to get an overview. You’ll be able to see number of planets, number of starting locations, planet size, etc. You can always load them in the editor if you want to go in-depth, but this overview should give you an idea of which categories you want to add into your war.

Adding Your Maps to Galactic War

Now everything is loaded all you have to do is pick which ones to use. On the Galactic War screen you’ll see that it’s not a list of map packs, rather it’s a list of the categories you saw in System Editor.

Loading map packs in Galactic War

Each category displays a system count, in addition once you select a category the number of multi-planet systems in that category will appear in brackets.

You are free to mix and match the system categories as you wish to get whatever Galactic War experience you want. The important thing is that you should now have a wide variety of exciting systems to play on.

AI Overhaul

Once you’ve played enough Galactic War you might want to increase the challenge, or simply inject more variety into your game. The Galactic War AI Overhaul mod adds the following:

  • Faction personalities
  • Customised enemy/sub-commanders
    • Unique model
    • Unique personality
    • Unique colour
    • Fight according to their faction’s preferred style
  • Six new difficulties suitable for anyone from a new player to a veteran of the game
  • Reduced sub-commander power so they won’t carry the game for you anymore
  • Adds the possibility of multiple factions in a system and a FFA occuring

Installing

Go into Community Mods from the main menu. Click the Available tab and search for “gw”. Select Galactic War AI Overhaul and choose to install it.

Using the Mod

In the Galactic War lobby you’ll find you have new difficulties available to you:

Difficulties

Where an item is greyed out it means the setting is specific to each Commander, not the difficulty level.

The difficulty in Galactic War AI Overhaul is higher than the base game and higher difficulties assume you have unlocked better loadouts. The number of enemy Commanders will scale much higher than in the base game, so if you select a large galaxy make sure your PC is up to the task.

CasualBronzeSilverGoldPlatinumUber
Threat assessments
MicroNoneOKBestBest Best Best
ScoutingOKBestBestBest Best Best
Factory build delay SmallTinyNoneNone None None
Expansion delay None NoneNoneNone None None
Avoids eco floatNoNoYesYesYesYes
Commander retreatsNoYesYesYesYesYes
MapsStandardStandardStandardStandardStandardStandard
Difficulty ramp*+0.05+0.05+0.1+0.1+0.2N/A
TurtlesYesNoNoNoNoNo
Targets weakest Commander
T2 delay
More commanders Unlikely Possibly LikelySomePlentySome
Base eco modifierx0.5x0.7x0.7x0.8x0.8x10

*The increase applied to the AI’s base eco modifier for each planet you travel from the starting point

Factions

Play as whichever faction you find hardest to beat so that you don’t have to face them. Remember that your sub-Commanders will play according to faction preference, so make sure to provide them the necessary tech.

While each faction has a preference in how it plays, each Commander within that faction will play slightly differently.

Legonis Machina logo

Legonis Machina

  • Focuses on land units
  • The closest faction to the skirmish AI
Foundation logo

Foundation

  • Focuses on air and naval units
  • Can often be the easiest faction to face early

Synchronous

  • Uses a balance of all unit types
  • A jack of all-trades but a master of none
Revenants logo

Revenants

  • Focuses on orbital units
  • Harder to beat on multi-planet systems

Queller AI Mod for Multiplayer and AI Skirmish

Introduction

This guide will walk you through the installation, configuration and use of the Queller AI mod. This mod is a total overhaul of the AI. It covers a wider range of difficulties than TITANS, from easier to harder (Casual to Uber), all of which play in a more humanlike fashion than their TITANS counterparts. It features complete support for the Legion Expansion.

Queller AI uses the AI Compatibility Framework to allow you to play it alongside the TITANS AI. Want a mix of TITANS and Queller in one game? You can do that.

Once installed, Queller AI will work in any game you host. Other players do not need the mod installed.

The Queller AI has no effect on Galactic War.

Why the Queller AI?

There are a number of reasons why you might be looking to upgrade the TITANS AI:

  • You can beat the AI on absurd
  • You can’t beat the AI on a single planet, but on multi-planet systems it’s too weak for you
  • The difficulty jump from Normal to Hard is too big
  • You want something that plays a bit more like online human players would

The Queller AI is designed to resolve all of these issues, be it giving you a larger challenge, smoothing out the difficulty curve, invading more often on multi-planet maps, or just using the units a human would at that skill level.

The Queller AI will be useful to you no matter your level of skill.

Installation

The Queller AI is available to install through the game’s built in Community Mods manager for anyone who has Planetary Annihilation: TITANS. It is not available for classic owing to differing units and balance. You will need to enable Community Mods.

Choosing a Difficulty

You should download and install this mod via the Planetary Annihilation TITANS in-game Community Mods.

Casual

Queller AI Casual difficulty
  • Economy first opening
  • One army
  • Techs as soon as possible
  • Goes orbital as soon as possible
  • Turtles
  • Poor troop selection
  • Barely scouts
  • Doesn’t react to what the enemy is doing
  • Loves fabbers
  • Loves static defence/offence
  • Poor use of fabbers
  • Poor economy handling
  • No micro
  • Terrible threat assessments

Bronze

Queller AI Bronze difficulty
  • Factory first opening
  • One army
  • Techs as soon as possible
  • Will go orbital if it can
  • Expands slowly
  • Poor troop selection
  • Barely scouts
  • Doesn’t react to what the enemy is doing
  • Loves fabbers
  • Loves static defence/offence
  • Poor use of fabbers
  • Average economy handling
  • No micro
  • Terrible threat assessments

Silver

Queller AI Silver difficulty
  • Factory first opening
  • Few armies
  • Will tech if it can
  • Will go orbital if it can
  • Expands slowly
  • Poor troop selection
  • Barely scouts
  • Doesn’t react to what the enemy is doing
  • Likes fabbers
  • Likes static defence/offence
  • Average economy handling
  • Average micro
  • Poor threat assessments

Gold

Queller AI Gold difficulty
  • Smart factory first opening
  • Many armies
  • Will tech if it can
  • Will go orbital if it can
  • Expands OK
  • OK troop selection
  • OK scouting
  • Some reaction to opponent’s play
  • Dislikes fabbers
  • Appropriate use of static defence/offence
  • Average economy handling
  • Average micro
  • OK threat assessments

Platinum

Queller AI Platinum difficulty
  • Smart factory first opening
  • Unlimited armies
  • Techs quickly
  • Goes orbital smartly
  • Expands quickly
  • Good troop selection
  • Good scouting
  • Smartly reacts to opponent’s play
  • Good fabber to troop balance
  • Appropriate use of static defence/offence
  • Good economy handling
  • Best micro
  • Great threat assessments

Uber

Queller AI Uber difficulty
  • Smart factory first opening
  • Unlimited armies
  • Techs quickly
  • Goes orbital smartly
  • Expands quickly
  • Good troop selection
  • Good scouting
  • Smartly reacts to opponent’s play
  • Good fabber to troop balance
  • Appropriate use of static defence/offence
  • Good economy handling
  • Best micro
  • Great threat assessments

Subpersonalities

By default, Queller AI at Uber level will adapt its play to try and suit the system and the opposition it faces. You can use subpersonalities to customise Queller’s game to your liking, or help it play better where it’s making poor strategy choices.

1v1

  • More willing to engage in battle
  • Slower to enter orbital

Air

  • Unrestricted air usage

Bot

  • Doesn’t build vehicle factories

Free For All

  • More cautious about engaging in battle
  • Techs earlier
  • Orbital earlier

Naval

  • Attempts to build a naval factory first
  • Unrestricted naval usage

Rush

  • Techs late
  • Slower to enter orbital

Tank

  • Doesn’t build bot factories

Suggested Difficulty

Below are recommendations for the difficulty you may wish to start on based on what you set the TITANS AI to, or your ladder ranking.

When you need to increase the challenge but don’t want to increase the difficulty, give the AI an eco boost rather than adding more AIs. Not only will this be better for the sim, it’ll stop the problem of there being less resources to go around for the AI which in turn makes it easier to beat.

TITANSQuellerEco
NormalCasual1.0
HardSilver1.0
RelentlessGold0.8
AbsurdGold1.0
LeaguePlacementDifficultyEco
BronzeLowBronze1.0
BronzeHighSilver1.0
BronzeHighGold1.0
SilverLowPlatinum1.0
SilverMidUber1.0
SilverHighUber1.2
GoldAnyUber1.4
PlatinumAnyUber1.6
UberAnyUber 1.8
Modifying the eco rate

Spawns

The spawn the AI starts in and the profile used can make a big difference, even for symmetrical 1v1s. If you find the AI too easy on a map, try a different spawn point for it. And don’t use Bedlam, the AI’s forces struggle to pathfind on this map.

Be sure to follow the recommended number of players for any map. Remember that the number of players actually relates to the number of armies.

Translations

Please help translate Queller AI to your local language.

Thanks To

  • Sorian of Planetary Annihilation Inc for:
    • making his AI moddable
    • answering my questions
    • taking on suggestions
    • fixing bugs as they come up
    • adding cool new features which make the AI increasingly smart
  • wondible for his creation of the AI Showdown tool
  • mikeyh for writing the Javascript for loading Queller’s personalities
  • alpha2546 for extensively playtesting Queller during Legion development
  • Everyone who has helped with translations:
    • K-Orthic | Gamax
    • gmase
    • PRoeleert
    • R.O.S.S
    • DeathByDenim
    • River
    • Felix Köhler
    • tunsel
    • omylist
    • IPWIW
    • Fred
    • CmdrEdem
    • something more than human
    • Linus Petersson
    • Spassky
    • Craeox
    • sevmek
    • fera

Climbing The Skills Pyramid

Thanks to Budha for his Starcraft pyramid which was the inspiration for this guide.

The Planetary Annihilation Skills Pyramid is intended as a structured guide to improving your skills; these are all areas you should focus on mastering to improve your game. The order is my take on how key they are to playing the game and how far they can take you. Focus on working your way up the Skills Pyramid as you would the ladder and no matter where you rank you should see progress.

One way in which Planetary Annihilation differs a lot from Starcraft is that it doesn’t use the UI as a means to limit what a player can and cannot do. I strongly encourage you to check out mods to discover those which help unleash your potential.

While reading through this guide be mindful of the three golden rules of Planetary Annihilation:

  1. Grow it – always be expanding your economy
  2. Spend it – always be expanding your production
  3. Use it – always be harassing the enemy’s economy
Skills pyramid
Bronze

Economy

The most basic of all basic things, the economy is the base of your entire game. Forget any clever tricks, epic battles or superweapons; without a good economy you won’t manage to do anything except die like a turtle holding a tiny amount of land.

Economy stats

This step comes down simply to being greedy: always want more than you have. You don’t need to expand above all else since if you can’t spend it then it’s a wasted investment, but an economy without an army will lose. Never stop and wall yourself in like you’re playing tower defence. In a 1v1 half of the metal on the battlefield is yours, so go and take it. If you don’t have at least one or two fabbers working on your economy then the chances are you’re doing something wrong. Just be careful not to build an economy whose only purpose is to support more fabbers which build an economy to support more fabbers…

Silver

Production

All that money you’re making from your economy is no good if you’re not spending it.

Metal used
This is a sign you could have had more troops

A typical trap that people fall into with production is the same as their economy: getting comfortable. You have five factories all producing troops, it looks cool and you’re good to go, right? Wrong. The creation of factories is never ending so long as you’re able to increase your income. You should never be in the red, nor in the blue, but always in the green.

Pay attention to the metal used stats at the end of a game. Good players keep this above 90%, and the best players keep it around 100%. Just make sure you don’t confuse constant economy stalling with good play, so check your build efficiency too.

The Commander is a unit best used for producing factories, not economic structures. Minimise walk time between builds to maximise army size. You’ll win games simply by having more units than they do.

Silver

Knowledge

It’s not enough to simply be making units, they have to be the right units, which means knowing the meta. The easiest way to see what’s what is by checking out replays from higher level players and seeing what they do for each map through the leaderboard replays.

Take it to the next stage by not only copying, but also understanding. So you can see their attack force on Forge was primarily Ants, but why? For this you can dig a little deeper by following discussions on the PA forums, the #strategy channel in the Planetary Annihilation official Discord and Community Chat.

Gold

Army

With knowledge you know what to put in your army, but at this level you know where to put it as well. Before you would have troops pouring out the factory before lassoing them for battle. At this level you’re smarter than that, your rally points more considered.

If the metal is between you and the enemy then you might be rallying your troops there to hold it for your fabber. A choke into your base makes a good point to position the troops and prevent raids. You don’t place your bombers on the frontlines where they can be sniped by fighters, they’re held a little further back.

You’re not mindlessly adhering to the meta, rather your composition is adjusted on the fly. If you’re dominating the skies then you switch to Bumblebees. If you’re vulnerable to the same then you start bringing out Spinners, but if you haven’t sighted air then you replace those Spinners with additional Ants. A map with lots of chokes brings out mass Ants, while dispersed metal sees you making Dox raids and keeping your opponent on their toes.

Gold

Build

Build orders are the cornerstone of any RTS, whether it’s a micro or macro focused one. Some people hate them, but there’s no avoiding them. Until you encounter the enemy there’s no reason to deviate from your plan, and you should have a plan before you spawn.

Building a base

Build orders change and evolve over time and most if not all the ones you use won’t be yours, they’ll come from someone near the top of the ladder. But that’s not a bad thing, it means they’ve been tried and tested and shown to work. You simply need to choose the right one, implement it effectively and once you encounter the enemy you’ll get to show what a special snowflake you are.

Gold

Intelligence

Insert some Sun Tzu quotes here because this is where we’re going to talk about the importance of both scouting your enemy, but also denying the enemy intelligence on your operations. If you know their plan before they carry it out then you can counter it, and likewise you should be maintaining the element of surprise for as long as possible and preventing your opponent from scouting you.

There is no scouting phase; the time for scouting is always. You want to know where their base is, what force composition they’re building towards, where their armies are, when they’re teching and whether they’re leaving the planet. With intelligence you can act – without it you are fumbling in the dark and you will lose.

There is no scouting phase; the time for scouting is always.

Learn what radar blips mean. Are they moving at the speed of air or ground? How closely are they packed? How far off the ground are they? Little details like this will tell you so much about the threat before you even see it.

Take out the enemy’s radar before a major attack and instead of encountering their army you might find a series of unprotected factories and energy plants.

Win the intelligence war and you can win the game.

Platinum

Control

At this point you need to do more than simply know what your opponent is planning and react to it, you need to be defining the game. Map control is a vital part of ensuring that the enemy is dancing to your tune.

Identify the key expansion points and deny them to your opponent. Find the chokes and set up shop. Know when it’s time to stop building the mega base and instead roll the commander out to own the middle ground.

The important thing is to ensure that fights are happening on your terms. By owning the map you force your opponent’s hand and they have to bring the battle to a place of your choosing.

Platinum

Force

The application of force is a key part of overwhelming your opponent and giving them too much to handle. Dox raiding their MEX, Inferno’s dropping in at the rear and an Ant army rolling towards the front door.

Remember that attention is a resource, so divide your opponent’s and take advantage of their weakness. Even if your attention can’t be everywhere you can set up orders that will be. You don’t need to personally oversee that Dox raid, just put enough numbers in the group that they will kill any MEX just by walking by. Set up queues at your base so you can manage your army without falling behind.

Remember that attention is a resource.

Don’t do more than you’re able. Your attention is also a resource, one you must budget accordingly. Prioritise the areas which receive your attention to maximise your effectiveness.

If you haven’t already made it your business to step through every entry on the keyboard settings page and ensure you’ve memorised every hotkey that looks even vaguely useful. Now is the time.

Platinum

Analysis

Winning is all well and good, but losing should be turned to your advantage too. Always analyse your games for ways to improve. Did you win because you were better or because your opponent was worse? What was the reason you lost and how will you avoid it next time? Take advantage of the fact that the game allows you to access the last 30 days of games for every player.

Don’t make excuses, make improvements to your game.

Look over the stats, identify your deficiencies. In a game where everyone has the same toolset a loss means you did something wrong. Find the turning point in the game and figure out what caused it to happen. If it’s a map you’ll see again, how have other players tackled it? More units than you means you should analyse their economy. More economy means you should analyse their build.

Don’t make excuses, make improvements to your game. Some players will even stay after a game to discuss it with you, so make sure you’re polite and take full advantage of their generosity. You will become a better player for it.

Uber

Management

One of the major differences between a player at this level and others is the omnipotence factor, the feeling that they’re everywhere at once. No matter where you attack they are there to counter. No matter how many fronts you’re fighting on they can manage them all.

At this level you should be in complete control of your game, able to handle all the battlefields. Whether you achieve this through camera anchors or just fast panning doesn’t matter. You’re not overwhelmed by the information. You’re using middle mouse button to move the camera because you need WSAD for the army of hotkeys you use. Whether it’s ensuring you have no idle factories or summoning your air force, you have a key for it.

More than that though it’s about keeping your cool. You don’t panic when something sweeps in from the fog of war, instead you calmly divert troops while also ensuring continued production and managing your own assault on their base and the raiding party you have around the back.

Thinking about how to counter something never happens because you already know what to do. This level of skill is difficult to gain through anything other than experience, but it won’t be obtained without making full use of the options the interface provides for you.

Uber

Micro

Hyperbole and a Half: The Alot

The stuff everyone loves to see, but it’s an especially small part of Planetary Annihilation. Yet when all other things are equal it is this that can make the difference and you will see top players micro alot.

In Planetary Annihilation micro will take the form of dancing Dox to avoid fire, maximising your Bumblebee damage through floating and formation runs, keeping Ants at range and guiding Booms to their glorious demise. But until you master everything else on the list you shouldn’t waste your time. These are all time-intensive tasks and you will need to be comfortable in your game management to pull them off.

If micro is harming any other part of your game then the micro was probably a mistake.

Awesome face

Experiment

This is what separates those top few from everyone else. That opening you use because, duh, that’s how you play this map? Well there was a time it didn’t exist. Some top player was testing out new builds, running the numbers, seeing what worked and what didn’t. It was so effective that everyone adopted it.

It’s not enough to do what everyone else does, you need to be ahead of the curve, surprising your opponent in ways they don’t expect. To become the best you have to put the time in. You need to be willing to try things outside the established meta if you want to surprise your opponents and win tournaments. It won’t be random either, at this level you have an intuitive understanding of the game which will guide you in what to try.

When you’re defining what the game is that’s when you know you’re among the awesome tier.

Controls and the User Interface

Introduction

This tutorial will walk you through the in-game interface, the controls, what it all means and how you can customise it. The focus will very much be on elements unique to Planetary Annihilation.

When this tutorial refers to “clicking” without referencing a mouse button, assume the primary/left mouse button.

Setting Up A Game

Single player menu
Multiplayer menu

Multiplayer games of Planetary Annihilation are hosted on a server in the host’s selected region. You will be prompted to select a region the first time you host a game. Multiplayer games are not hosted on your computer. Planetary Annihilation use a client-server model, so a player’s computer and Internet connection do not impact other players.

Single-player games may be hosted on your computer or one of the cloud servers, depending on the specifications of your machine. You can force local or remote hosting if desired. See the Local Server setting in the Global Game Settings of the guide for more information.

Uploading Server Mods

Uploading server mods

If you are using any server mods and hosting a multiplayer game, or your computer isn’t powerful enough to host a local server for skirmishes, you will automatically upload them to your cloud server as an anti-cheat mechanism. The speed at which this occurs is dependent on your upstream bandwidth and the size of the mods.

The Lobby

The individual who creates a lobby will be known as the host. Only the host can changed a lobby’s settings. If a host leaves the lobby a new host is selected based on who has been in the lobby the longest.

Game lobby
Each colour represents one army. Player count recommendations for maps are actually army count recommendations.

Game Mode can be set to Free For All or Team Armies.

Game mode FFA

Free For All means every player is their own army.

Game mode team armies with bounty mode enabled

Team Armies places each army into a team. In this mode there is a second option: share army. It is a button on the right-side of each army. When clicked all the players in that team become a single army, with as many Commanders as there are players. The army is only defeated once all its Commanders are killed. Beware using the “select Commander” hotkey in this mode as it will select all Commanders on the team. Humans and AIs cannot exist together within a shared army.

Dynamic Alliances allows you to ally (and un-ally) during the course of a game with other players. Breaking an alliance with someone breaks it both ways. You cannot see alliances between other players. This option is only available when game mode is set to Free For All. The AI will never propose or accept an alliance.

Sudden Death Mode means a team is eliminated when it loses any of its Commanders. It is only available when the game mode is set to Team Armies.

Bounty Mode enables an eco boost for every army killed. If an team is a shared army you must kill the last Commander in that army to claim the bonus. When the last Commander on an army self-destructs the bounty goes to the last player who damaged it.

Sandbox enables the use of dev options such as unit spawning. Controls for this can be found under Settings – Keyboard – Dev.

To the right of each army is its economic multiplier. By default this is set to 1.0. Changing it to 0.5 would give an army 50% of their normal income while setting it to 2.0 would give it 200%. You can set this anywhere from 0 to 5, both for players and the AI.

Selected system loading

You can create new systems for use in the System Editor from the main menu, there are also map packs available via Community Mods.

Player slot

When you load a system, or when first joining a lobby, you will see a rotating graphic in the system area as well as next to your name. Only when both these loading icons have disappeared will you be able to start the game, or select ready. When players join your game they will be greyed out while they load and you will see the loading icon on their row.

Only the host can launch a game, and they can only do so once every player has clicked the ready button. Once they have done this a green tick appears on their row. Any changes to the lobby’s settings by the host removes the ready state from all the players. When you are in a ready state you cannot make any changes to your setup.

You can change your primary colour and also which Commander you will spawn in as by left-clicking. Set your default commander through the Armory on the main menu. Some Commanders may be unavailable to you.

The host can add one or more AIs in the lobby. AIs on your team are supported, but not in shared army mode, nor will the AI use or respond to dynamic alliances.

AI difficulty controls how well they manage their economy, their micro level, which player it focuses attacks on, and how smart its threat decision making is. The AI doesn’t cheat at any difficulty level, though you can assign it an eco boost if you so desire. There are also mods which make the AI even tougher.

Once you have your lobby setup, change the top-right setting from PRIVATE to either FRIENDS or PUBLIC depending on who you want to join. FRIENDS is tied to your in-game friends list, not your Steam friends.

Joining A Game

Multiplayer menu

Multiplayer – Custom Game will take you to the server browser. From here select the game you wish to join and click Join Game in the bottom right-hand corner.

When joining a game with server mods you will automatically download them from the server. The speed at which this occurs is dependent on your downstream bandwidth and the size of the mods.

The Basics

Spawning

What you see when you start a game

This is the first thing you’ll see when entering a game: a full view of the system. Note that two planets have a numbered arrow pointing to them and that in the top right system list three of the planets have a green icon. The green icons represent planets players can start on, while the numbered arrows represent the spawn options you have been assigned.

You then zoom in on the planets either by positioning your mouse over them and using the scroll wheel, or by clicking the planet in the system list.

Selecting a spawn point

To select a spawn location you click. Where you click within the spawn location determines where you land. Once you have selected your spawn location click Start Annihilation. After every player has made their selection, or after two minutes have passed, the game will start.

When playing with shared armies all players on the team see the same spawn locations, in all other modes every player gets unique spawn options. The AI selects spawns in the same way as you, if you have instructed it to spawn off-planet it will only do this if it has a spawn available on another planet.

The Commander

The Commander

The first thing we see when we spawn is our Commander. This is the key unit in Planetary Annihilation; lose your Commander, or in shared army mode lose all your Commanders, and you are out of the game. It doesn’t matter how big your base is, if the Commander dies everything else dies too.

The Commander's strategic icon

Players

Player list

In the top left is a count of the players and if we click it on we can see a list of who is playing. Any names in red indicate annihilated opponents.

Shared armies are represented by a single icon with multiple names listed next to it. Unshared teams have their icons placed adjacent to one another in the list.

System

System list

The system name and a list of planets can be found in the top right. Clicking on a planet switches your view to that planet.

Under some planets you may see little engine icons, this indicates that this planet is a smashable. Build as many engines, or “Halleys”, on the planet as are indicated by the icons and you will be able to select another planet to annihilate, destroying everything on both worlds.

Economy

Economy bar
Green is good

At the top of the screen is one of the most important parts of the game: the economy bar. On the left is your metal and the right your energy. The coloured bar and the numbers underneath represent the amount of the resource in storage against your total storage. The numbers to the right represent your incoming and outgoing amount of that resource, the top green number being income and the bottom red number spending. The large number on the right is the result of income minus spending.

In the centre is your overall efficiency which impacts the speed at which you build units and buildings. At 50% efficiency two fabricators or factories are building at the same rate as one fabricator or factory would at 100% efficiency. Fabricators are the construction units of the game.

Issue an order to the Commander to build something and you will see the number and colour of the bars change. Blue means you are earning more than you’re spending and your storage is full. Red means you’re spending more than you’re earning and your storage is empty or about to run out. Green is in-between the two and the colour they should ideally be most of the time.

Unit card

Hovering over any unit which is currently building will show you how much it is costing you. The cost is always the same, regardless of what is being built. Likewise, buildings which generate metal or energy will show you how much they’re making. The green bar represents the health of the unit.

Unit card while fabbing

Planetary Annihilation operates using a flow economy, meaning that all units and structures are built over time and cost your economy the whole time they’re being built. For example, let us take a standard Fabricator Vehicle which builds at 10 metal a second for a cost of 1000 energy per second. It can build a Missile Defence Tower, which costs 300 metal. This means for an economy operating at 100% efficiency it would take the fabricator 30 seconds as 300 metal divided by 10 metal a second is 30. The total energy cost would be 30,000, that’s 1000 energy a second for 30 seconds. If your economy were operating at only 50% efficiency then the fabricator would only be building at 5 metal a second, but this would still cost you 1000 energy every second resulting in a total cost of 300 metal and 60,000 energy over 60 seconds. The higher the metal output of a fabricator or factory the faster it builds things.

Controls

When you select a unit you can give it context sensitive orders with the right mouse button. For example, if you right-click in an empty space with your Commander selected it will be issued a move command. Right-click on an enemy and it would get an attack command. A left-click deselects the currently selected unit. This works for factories as well, so you can setup orders for as the rollout, such as a default patrol for fighter aircraft. Selecting a unit will cause the orders bar to appear on the right and, if the unit is a Commander, fabricator or factory, the build bar at the bottom.

  • Left-click selects units and orders
  • Right-click to give orders to a currently selected unit
  • Left-click to deselect a currently selected unit or cancel a selected order

Let’s first talk about the controls on the orders bar.

Move

Move is self-explanatory. You would generally use this when you want to move into a densely packed enemy area and the contextual command keeps changing to attack. When you order a group of units to move they will do so in a formation at the speed of the slowest unit. Units will continue to attack anything in range while moving. Use a CTRL-click to have units break formation and move as fast as they can. Units issued a move command after being ordered to attack a target will continued to attack that target specifically until unable to do so, allowing you to dodge Uber Cannon blasts from a Commander while still shooting it and not other units in the vicinity.

Attack

Attack allows you to perform attack moves whereby units will move to a location but stop to attack anything along the way. Also used to cause a nuke to attack a ground location. Unlike many other RTSs your units can attack while moving and therefore a move command will often suffice unless you have a particular reason to maintain your unit’s full range. Units on an attack command will not maintain formation and will move independent of one another. If you issue an attack command against a specific unit, your units will treat it as a priority target even if you issue a subsequent command.

Alt fire

Alt Fire exists only for the Commander and controls its Ubercannon. This is a short-ranged, energy expensive attack that will devastate enemy units. It is much less effective against buildings and enemy Commanders.

Assist

Assist is similar to the guard command seen in other games. A unit will follow the unit it is assisting, protect it from harm, and help it build things if possible. Fabricators can help factories build faster in this way.

Repair

Repair allows fabricators to heal units and buildings. Fabricators will automatically repair units they are assisting.

Reclaim

Reclaim is used by fabricators and combat fabricators to suck up units, buildings and trees. Metal will be reclaimed over time. It can also be used against enemy units. It’s not uncommon to use combat fabbers to power a so-called treeconomy.

Patrol

Patrol forms a patrol route based on the patrol orders you lay down. The first patrol order acts as the beginning and end of the path. Fabricators will automatically repair, reclaim and assist anything they come across.

Use

Use is for particular buildings like the Teleporter. You should never need to select this from the orders bar, it can always be issued as a contextual command via the right-mouse button. The only exception to this rule is using enemy teleporters where you will need to issue the order manually. Units will not fire on an enemy teleporter they have been ordered to use.

Unload

Unload is for transports to unload their cargo. If you’re moving a unit between planets using Astraeus transport then you need to issue the move order to the other planet first and queue the unload afterwards.

Load

Load is for transports to load their cargo. Note that Pelicans cannot carry Commanders.

Stop

Stop cancels everything that unit or building was doing.

Ping

Ping is found not on the orders bar but at the bottom of the screen by the clock. It is available at all times and forms a ping your teammates and spectators can see. Notice how a ping creates an alert at the top of the screen. Hovering over the alert provides a view of the area, and clicking the alert takes you to the alert location. Other events, such as the loss of a building or an attack on the Commander will also generate these.

Ping alert
Fire orders

Fire orders allow you to control when a unit will open fire. The icon changes depending on the order selected.

Move orders

Move orders currently serve no purpose. The icon changes depending on the order selected.

Energy orders

Energy orders are used to pause factory queues or disable energy expensive units as required. The icon changes depending on the order selected.

Build mode

Build mode is a contextual order for factories. Changes between normal and continuous modes. This determines whether completed units are removed from the queue or moved to the back of the queue. The icon changes depending on the mode selected.

Build Bar Commands

Build bar

The build bar appears only for fabricators and factories. Fabbers will display the structures they can build, factories display the units they can build.

Fabbers

For a fabber you left-click the unit you want to build then left-click on the map to give the fabber an order to build it in the selected location. To build multiple items hold SHIFT each time you click to place an item on the map. This allows you to create a queue of build orders, and you can even mix in other orders between the build orders using this method.

Factories

The build bar for factories will show the currently queued units. While in normal build mode the number of units queued will decrease by one each time the factory starts building another unit. For example, once a factory with two fabbers queued starts to build a fabber it will reduce the fabber number from 2 to 1 to indicate the size of the queue remaining. In continuous build mode the factory will loop through the queued units and the numbers displayed will not change. There will not be an indication as to where in the queue it currently is.

The stop command can be used to cancel any currently building unit and to wipe the queue.

Units added to the queue before the enabling of continuous build mode are removed from the queue upon completion per normal build mode.

Advanced Commands

  • SHIFT-click increases units in increments of 5.
  • CTRL-click puts that unit at the front of a factory’s queue and excludes it from any continuous build queue.
  • Units queued prior to continuous build being enabled are excluded from the continuous build.

Take a newly built factory as an example: you click on the Ant twice, turn on continuous build, shift-click the Ant, click the Spinner, CTRL-click the fabber. This would result in the following:

  1. An Ant is produced (as the factory was inactive it started building immediately)
  2. A fabber is produced (CTRL-click put it at the front of the queue but didn’t interrupt the currently building Ant)
  3. Six Ants are produced
  4. One Spinner is produced
  5. Five Ants are produced (one less because the sixth Ant was queued in normal build mode)
  6. One Spinner is produced
  7. etc.

You could use CTRL-click to build additional fabbers in the future without compromising the build queue, or causing large numbers of fabbers to be produced.

Area Commands

The game provides you the ability to issue commands over areas rather than simply at individual points. Select an order, such as patrol, then click and drag. You can do this with orders for units or even factories. Below are shown some examples:

Area commands, such as patrol, when dragged beyond the planet will now encompass the entire planet. You can use this to, for example, have aircraft patrol an entire world, or build on every metal spot.

Surrendering

Delete units dialog

It’s considered poor form to just disconnect from a game. Instead you should surrender. Press the escape key to bring up the menu and choose surrender, or select your Commander and press delete.

You should not use the quit function to exit a game.

Pausing

Menu with pause

Press the escape key and select pause from the menu. You can issue orders while paused but build and order previews will not update while pause is active.

If your opponent pauses it is good etiquette to check that they are ready to resume play before unpausing.

Picture-in-Picture (PIP)

Picture-in-picture (PIP)
PIP button

One of the unique features of Planetary Annihilation is picture-in-picture. The PIP allows you the exact same functionality as the primary window, you can view anything or anywhere, give orders, etc. Hovering over this window reveals four more functions:

Swap cameras button

Swap cameras causes the PiP view to swap with the view of the main camera.

Capture main view button

Capture main view clones the current view in the PiP.

Follow alerts button

Follow alerts means the PiP will switch view to whatever the latest alert to appear is.

Pin to opposite side button

Pin to opposite side will have the PiP view the opposite side of the planet you are viewing. Note that this still does not give you 100% visibility of the planet.

Chronocam

Chronocam seekbar
Chronocam button

Another unique feature is the Chronocam, which allows you to look into the past, even during a live game. Grey bars represent alerts.

Closing the Chronocam takes you back to the present.

Planet Smashing

The feature that Planetary Annihilation derives its name from. Build as many Halleys on a planet as indicated by the engine icons next to the planet and you will see a new button in the system list. If the planet has no icons then it cannot be powered by Halleys.

Be aware that all players are notified every time a Halley is built and are given its location.

Send to Annihilate button

Clicking it will zoom your view out to see the entire system. Potential targets will have a new icon next to them.

Picking target for smash

Click the planet you want to annihilate. The view will now switch to the surface of the planet and you will be asked to click the location you want to come down on. Once you have done that click the final button.

Confirming smash target

Once clicked the engines will light up and away it goes.

Smashing

If you cancel the move then the planet will settle into an orbit wherever it stopped. The same will happen if one of the engines is destroyed. A planet enroute to smash another planet cannot be targeted by nukes.

Be aware that if another planet gets in the way of the smash it will be smashed instead. In heavily populated systems you will need to monitor a planet’s smash route.

Once a planet has been smashed any bodies it had orbiting it will now commence their own orbit around the sun. If their orbit causes them to run across the path of another planet then the collision will be treated the same as a smash. Be wary of the chain reactions one smash can cause in a system.

Annihilaser

To fire the Annihilaser you must build five Catalysts using T2 fabbers on the blue control points found on any metal planet. These can be fiddly to place, so use area build to construct them. You must also ensure that any metal spots near the control point are empty.

Be aware that every player is notified every time a Catalyst is completed and are given its location. A planet smash near the pole will permanently destroy the control nodes and prevent the Annihilaser being used.

Once your weapon is ready to fire the system list will have a new button present.

Fire weapon button for Annihilaser

Click it and pick a target.

Select target for Annihilaser

The Annihilaser will align the weapon, and then…

Firing the Annihilaser

You can cancel the attack if you want, but why would you?

Galactic War

Galactic War button

This is Planetary Annihilation’s randomly generated single-player campaign. You start out with almost no tech and must fight your way across the galaxy defeating enemies and gaining more technology. Victory is obtained when you eliminate the three enemy faction leaders.

Galactic War loadout screen

On the setup screen you select your commander and faction, both of which are cosmetic elements only. You can also name your game for later access.

The Size setting determines the size of the galaxy you will play in. A larger galaxy means a longer game, it also generally means an easier one as you will have more opportunities to collect tech ahead of battling a faction leader.

The Difficulty controls how quickly the AI ramps up in difficulty in terms of AI difficulty level, number of commanders and economic multipliers.

The Commander Loadout controls what technology you start the game with. You will unlock additional loadouts over the course of your Galactic War games.

Global Game Settings

Settings button

You can access these settings from the main menu.

Graphics

Most of this is self-explanatory, but there is one setting I want to explain: Resolution Scaling.

Planetary Annihilation will always run at your desktop resolution, but by changing this option you can control the resolution 3D objects are rendered at. For example, if you’re running at 1920×1080 and change this setting to 125%, all units are now being rendered with a resolution of 2400×1350 before being downscaled for your output resolution, leading to a higher quality image at the expense of performance.

Audio

This is all self-explanatory.

Camera

The camera is controlled either by keys configured in the Keyboard area, or by holding mouse button three (also called middle mouse button) and dragging.

Once in-game you’ll notice that as you move the camera about the planet that the north and south poles shift in relation to the screen. While this is the optimal way to play the game it can be incredibly disorientating. We don’t get straight onto a two wheeled bike, we first start with stabilisers. That’s training wheels for US folks. Planetary Annihilation has these stabilisers in the form of Pole Lock.

Camera settings

Switching this option on will ensure that north is always at the top of the screen and south is always at the bottom. Now, this is a sub-optimal way of playing for a couple of reasons: it gets you thinking about attack lines only from the east and west because that’s how you rotate the map and it makes it much harder to navigate around the poles, which can thus discourage you from spawning there or making any plays around them. However, despite this you’re going to have a lot to be learning at first so not having to fight camera disorientation can be helpful during this period. Indeed, I used Planet Pole Lock for the first few weeks of playing.

Gameplay

Active Product controls whether you’re hosting Titans or Classic games. You can always join other players’ Classic games regardless of this setting.

GUI Size controls the size of the user interface, useful for adjustments on extremely high or low resolution displays.

Show Unit Icons controls the strategic icons that appear over units so you can control them even at extreme zooms. Personally I recommend setting this to “always” as icons are much easier to make out than the units themselves.

Unit icons on
Unit icons off

Show Metal Spot Icons controls the display of green dots over metal spots. You will always want this on.

Icon Display Distance controls how far out you must zoom before unit icons are shown.

Show Stat Bars controls when unit health bars are shown, as well as the small white indicators used for recharge times of energy dependent units such as your bombers. You should probably leave this on.

Show Order Previews controls whether or not you see arrows between a unit and its destination. These arrows will change in colour based on the order, so green for move and patrol, red for attack or reclaim and blue for assist . It will also show the end point of a command, so a movement symbol at the end of a movement path, or an assist system on a unit being assisted.

Order preview

Note that the final movement of patrol loop is not shown until a unit reaches the first patrol node.

Order Preview Behaviour controls whether order previews are show for all units or only the selected ones.

Show Build Previews controls whether you see wireframes for buildings queued for construction.

Build previews

Build Preview Behaviour controls whether you see build all build previews or only those of the selected units.

Orbital Shell controls when the green orbital layer is displayed around a planet to assist with orbital navigation. Selected means it appears when you select an orbital unit.

Orbital shell

If you have the Legion Expansion mod for Titans installed you will also see the following options:

Theme In Game controls whether the red theme is used in-game when playing as Legion, and purple theme when playing in a mixed faction shared army.

Theme Menu controls whether the red theme and Legion background is used across the various menus. Changing this won’t take effect until you return to the main menu.

Servers

Server should be set to the region closest to you. It does not restrict who you can play with.

Local Server controls whether single-player games are hosted on your machine or on an Uber server. Auto will make a determination based on your hardware specs.

Local Server Multi-Threading allows the server AI and simulation to run across multiple CPU threads allowing for better performance.

Keyboard

I recommend you take the time to go through all these bindings and identify which are important to you, but I am going to draw your attention to a few of them:

General > Communication > Team Chat (enter) – In a FFA this allows you to talk to all players, while in a team game it would let you talk to your team only. All chat is white and team chat is yellow.

General > Communication > All Chat (shift-enter) – In a team game this allows you to talk to all players. In FFAs you can use either this or the Team Chat key.

General > Alerts > Ping (G) – This allows you to draw the attention of other players on your team to areas on the map. After pressing the key to select ping you then click where you wish to place the ping.

Units > Unit Selection > Select Commander (ALT-C) – Will select your Commander, and if pressed twice will take you straight to it. Do not use this key in shared army games as it will select all the Commanders.

Units > Unit Selection > Select Idle Fabbers (F) – Selects all idle fabbers on the screen for easy identification.

Units > Unit Selection > Select All Idle Factories (SHIFT-F2) – Use this to avoid having factories doing nothing. It will select them while they’re being constructed too.

Units > Unit Commands > Alt Fire (D) – Use this to fire the Commander’s Uber Cannon.

Dev Mode > Build Avatar (ALT-F1) – Use this in conjunction with Paste Unit (CTRL-V) to summon the Avatar in sandbox games. The avatar can build any unit and can be a great way to experiment.

Community Mods

Community Mods button

Use the Community Mods button on the main menu to access all the mods available for the game. The Recommended tab provides you some mods to get you started, while Available shows every mod ever made.

Community Mods

Mods are divided into two types: client and server.

Client mods only impact your local client and can be used in all games, including ranked games. Hotbuild 2 is an example of a client mod.

Server mods impact all players and only those of the original host of a game are applied. Anyone joining your game will automatically download and apply your enabled server mods. The Legion Expansion is an example of a server mod. Any active server mods are shown in the bottom-left of the lobby window.

If you want to make or publish you own mod be sure to check out the Planetary Annihilation support wiki.

Disabling Units

Community Mods button
Unit restrictions

The Units tab allows you to enable/disable units. Don’t like nukes? You can switch them off. These restrictions will work in both skirmish and multiplayer games. You will need to be the original lobby host for your restrictions to apply.

Unit restrictions shown in lobby

Active unit restrictions are always displayed in the lobby chat when you join.

Public Test Environments (PTE)

What is a PTE?

Public Test Environments are publicly available builds for testing upcoming changes prior to release as a stable build.

A PTE can contain any of the following:

  • fixes
  • enhancements
  • new features
  • new content
  • new units

With the transition to a modern toolchain there will be two PTEs available:

  • legacy-pte (stable Legacy Public Test Environment with 32 bit support, older operating systems, legacy toolchain, etc)
  • modern-pte (optional Modern Public Test Environment with 64 bit only, modern operating systems, modern toolchain, etc)

How do I access a PTE?

You can opt-in to a PTE via Steam or the PA launcher.

Steam (Windows / macOS / Linux)

  1. Open your Steam library
  2. Right click Planetary Annihilation: TITANS then select Properties
  3. Select the BETAS tab
  4. If PTEs are available you can select a PTE from the list
  5. Click the CLOSE button and Steam will download any changes for the selected PTE build

PA Launcher (Windows / macOS)

  1. Open the PA launcher and sign in
  2. Click on your username then select Build Options… from the list
  3. Tick the PTE builds you want to install then click SAVE
  4. Change the stream from stable to the PTE build you want to test
  5. Click VERIFY to install or update the selected PTE build

You may need to install the latest Visual Studio 2017 64 bit runtime: https://support.microsoft.com/en-nz/help/2977003/the-latest-supported-visual-c-downloads

papatcher.go (Linux)

Assumes you have wget and golang installed:

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/planetary-annihilation/papatcher/master/papatcher.go
go run papatcher.go --stream=modern-pte --update-only

Clean Testing with Multiple Copies of PA

You can start multiples copies of PA using the --localstorageurl command line option with a different name for each copy:

--localstorageurl=test1

A separate directory for settings will be created in your Planetary Annihilation Data Directory.

This can be used to separate testing from your stable build and is required when running multiple copies of PA at the same time to avoid data loss.

Playing on Stable Servers

You can play on stable servers using the --version command line option:

--version 113457

Remember to remove or update this when a new build goes live.

Crash Reports

PA generated crash reports with logs (and dxdiag on windows) are usually automatically uploaded to our crash reporting system.

When reporting crashes it also helps if you include the crash ID from your logs (same as the filename of the generated minidump):

xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx.dmp

The default location for crash dumps generated by PA is now the logs directory in your Planetary Annihilation data directory.

The environment variable MINIDUMP_DIRECTORY can be used to change the location where PA crash minidump files are saved and will also generate more detailed (and larger) minidump files.

Windows Error Reporting (WER) and macOS may also generate different crash reports: https://support.planetaryannihilation.com/kb/faq.php?id=200

Steam Command Line Parameters

  1. Open your Steam library
  2. Right click Planetary Annihilation: TITANS then select Properties
  3. Click Set Launch Options…

PA Launcher Command Line Parameters

  1. Open the PA launcher and sign in
  2. Click on your username then select Build Options… from the list
  3. Additional command-line options

Learning to Play Planetary Annihilation

Like any RTS there is a learning curve

Try the following to ramp up quickly:

For single player:

Tips for falling in love with spherical planets:

  • disable pole lock and use align to north pole (default keybind: n)
  • learn to use middle mouse to grab and alt middle mouse to rotate
  • alternately use the arrow keys and control + arrow keys to rotate
    (on macOS you’ll need to change the default mission control keyboard shortcuts in system preferences > keyboard > shortcuts > mission control for move left a space and move right a space)
  • learn to scout and expand as you can be attacked from all directions including orbital and other planets

You will get used to playing on spherical planets. Once you do it’s hard to go back to flat maps.

Development and Updates Timeline

Planetary Annihilation is now developed and published by Planetary Annihilation Inc.

Prior to August 2018, Planetary Annihilation was developed and published by Uber Entertainment Inc.

DateBuild(s)DescriptionKS
2012-08-15Planetary Annihilation Kickstarter begins
2012-09-14Kickstarter Ends & Payment Processed11
2013-03-22Engine Tech Livestream22
2013-04-18Live Game Client Demonstration Live Stream25
2013-05-03Combat Livestream26
2013-05-17Pre-Alpha Livestream27
2013-06-06 Alpha Begins
9 months after Kickstarter
28
2013-06-13Steam Early Access29
2013-06-28First Alpha Live Stream
2013-07-30Second Alpha Live Stream
2013-08-14Third Alpha Live Stream
2013-09-26Beta Begins35
2013-10-11Beta Livestream41
2013-11-22 Final Beta Invites50
2013-11-27Fall Livestream53
2014-01-17Gameplay Livestream62
2014-02-27Gamma Begins68
2014-04-24Gamma Update Livestream71
72
2014-05-22Galactic War76
77
2014-06-03Developer Walkthrough78
2014-06-05Soundtrack Available79
2014-06-20Early Access Retail Edition80
2014-08-11Launch Price $29.9989
2014-09-05Classic PA Launch
2 years after Kickstarter
93
2014-10-01Steam Achievements / Badges / Trading97
2014-10-02Human Resources Kickstarter begins
2014-10-07Jables starts as PA producer100
2014-10-0973939DRM Free Offline Play99
2014-10-20Human Resources Kickstarter cancelled 🙁
2014-11Uber Entertainment Layoffs 🙁
2014-11-25755391v1 Ranked
Advanced System Editor
AI Improvements
103
2014-12-1776557Unit Cannon104
2015-01-2877443
77582
77673
77725
Submarines and Interplanetary Fighter105
2015-03-1379600Offline Single Player Save / Load107
2015-03-1480462Offline Single Player Save / Load108
2015-05-2882369
82293
Resume Anywhere109
2015-06-0982834
83074
83391
83796
Galactic War Redesign111
2015-07-3185138
85423
Asteroids114
2015-08-1886422TITANS LAUNCH
3 years after Kickstarter
Gifted to Kickstarter backers from September 2012
66% off for all other existing owners of classic PA


Experimental Titans
New Units
Unit Wreckage
New Terrain
Bounty Mode
Tutorial
Balance Changes
New Engine Mechanics to support Titans
116
Concurrent updates to both TITANS & Classic PA
AI Improvements
Galactic War Improvements
New Maps
Notification & Sound Alerts Improvements
Balance Changes
2015-08-2686765Balance Changes
Polish / Fixes
2015-09-0987296AI Improvements
Polish / Fixes
2015-09-2188163AI Improvements
Polish / Fixes
2015-09-2388288Hotfix
2015-10-1489528Hotfix
2015-10-2289755AI Improvements
Polish / Fixes
2016-05-3194684Community Update
Community Mods In-Game Mod Manager
Custom Servers support
Legion Expansion support
Modding Improvements
Polish / FixesCommunity Update
2016-11-2199377Performance Update
Multi-threaded local servers
AI Improvements
LZ4 Compression for Sever Mods (2x faster)
System Editor Rework
Connect to Game Improvements
Polish / Fixes
2016-12-05palobbyGlobal Community Chat
2016-12-20Legion Expansion Faction Mod
2017-03-05Unit Restrictions via Community Mods
2017-06-21105067Enhancement Update
POV Camera
Balance Changes – Removed Commander Reclaim
Alternative Win Conditions – Sudden Death Mode for teams
Sim Speed Control for Local Servers
16 New Free Commanders
2017-10-17108271Balance and Community Servers Update
Balance Changes – Zeus, Leveler, Gil-E
Polish / Fixes
New Community Servers options
AI Improvements (via Community Mods)
2017-11-251v1 Rank Display Improvements (via Community Mods)
2017-11-26Galactic War Exploring Improvements (via Community Mods)
2017-12-04Unit Restrictions Improvements (via Community Mods)
2017-12-27Game Browser Sorting Improvements (via Community Mods)
2018-04-09109959Official Chinese Translations
2018-04-15110029Hotfix for Windows and Linux Connection Issues
2018-04-17110069Hotfix for macOS Connection Issues
2018-04-18Updated PA Launchers
2018-05-01Replay Browser Improvements (via Community Mods)
2018-05-12Game Browser Improvements (via Community Mods)
2018-08-18Planetary Annihilation Inc
6 years after Kickstarter
Permanent 90% off TITANS upgrade discount for existing classic PA owners
118
2018-05-25sorian returns to work on multi-threading, sim performance, new mechanics and AI119
2018-09-05Classic PA removed from sale
(no impact on current owners with concurrent updates to both games)
https://planetaryannihilation.com/
https://forums.planetaryannihilation.com/
https://support.planetaryannihilation.com/
Official Planetary Annihilation Discord Server
120
2018-09-15Deprecation of 32 bit client support and older unsupportable operating systems
New Community Rules and Guidelines
121
2018-10-18112176Multi-threading and Performance Improvements
AI Improvements
Improved Crash Reporting
Modding Improvements (icon atlases optimised for up to 99,225 strategic icons)
Polish / Fixes
Balance Changes
122
2018-11-02112314TITANS 1v1 Ranked Ladder Reset and Seasons
Multi-threading on Official Servers
AI Improvements
Polish / Fixes
123
2018-12-20112589-pteModern Toolchain Test Builds with Audio Modding
AI Improvements
Polish / Fixes
2018-12-31112505
112589
Happy New Year Updates
Modern Toolchain Builds on Official Servers
AI Improvements
Audio Modding
Polish / Fixes
Dedicated Servers
Official Guides
124
2019-01-25TITANS 1v1 Ranked Ladder Season 2
New 1v1 Ranked Map Pool
125
2019-02-07112835TITANS 1v1 Ranked Leaderboard Update
https://palobby.com/leaderboards/
2019-03-07
2019-03-08
2019-03-20
113034
113044
113132
Translations, AI and Modern Updates
Updated and new translations for:
French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian
Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese
AI Improvements
Polish / Fixes
Balance Changes
126
2019-05-19
2019-05-24
113298
113318
PAnet and TITANS 1v1 Ranked Season 3
Modern servers with faster CPUs, more memory and increased bandwidth
New regions including Singapore, Tokyo and USWest
Official Dutch and Polish Translations
AI Improvements
Polish / Fixes
Balance Changes
127
2019-06-28
2019-07-03
2019-07-08
2019-07-17
2019-07-22
113410
113426
113430
113457
113462
TITANS 1v1 Ranked Mid-Season 3 Winners
Custom Line Formations
AI Improvements
Polish / Fixes
Balance Changes
128
2019-07-25113470TITANS 1v1 Ranked Ladder Season 4 129
2019-08-18113553Happy Birthday Update
AI Improvements
Balance Changes
Strkyer

THE GALAXY WON'T CONQUER ITSELF Get it now on Steam!
Get It on Steam

90% off for classic PA owners