Happy Birthday TA (and a new ESC update)
Celebrate 15 years and more of ESC starting today!
26 Years and still going strong...
To celebrate, we have a new Escalation update - get ESC 9.9.6 HERE!
This version, typical after a big update like 9.9.5, is primarily focused on fixes and minor unit updates. There are no new or previously returning units in this build, but we have corrected a number of important issues that were a result of yours truly rushing things for the ESC 15th anniversary in early August. The most notable updates include:
- Planes no longer cause late game lag and other lag reducing adjustments added
- Carriers are back to fully repairing VTOLs
- T2 AA no longer locks up after a few kills (but is only AA currently)
- Large T3 unit path finding improvements
- Commander and Decoy Dgun improved to 3 second delay (from 5 seconds)
- T3 Sea Carriers now fire tactical nukes!
There are naturally a smattering of unit tweaks also, so be sure to download and fire up ESC this weekend while toasting another year of TA!
ESC 2022 Annual tournament incoming... Prepare to sign up Commander!
Get it HERE!
August 2023 truly represents a major milestone for TA:Escalation - so hard to believe that so much time has gone by so fast since our humble beginnings way back in 2008. Who could have imagined the journey undertaken a decade and a half ago when TRO and I essentially merged our prior projects (Talon and TAWP respectively) together to form something 'bigger and better' for TA. If you would have told me then that we would still be here today knocking out updates and still enjoying the game, I certainly never would have believed it!
Looking back now though, over that span of years, aside from all the units, games, and everything else, two really big things really stand out.
1. Creative Content
Regardless of how anyone might feel about ESC (good, bad, or indifferent), none can deny that we produced a ton of high-quality content that met and often exceeded the bar set by Cavedog themselves. Over 200 new and original units have made the cut in ESC, not to mention scores of new explosions, a refreshed GUI and menus, and tons of subtle textures, sounds, and game features to boot. We also pushed the envelope when it came to first embracing new engine enhancements (and hacks) and set a high standard for shields, charging, disruption, upgrades, MUATs, teleportation, and much more for TA. Brought together, all these additions have truly made the development journey of ESC a total joy and in the end something truly more than the sum of its parts.
Of course, none of the above would have been possible without the considerable contributions of more folks than I could possibly mention here (check our latest readme file for all the credits!) nor would it have all really have mattered without the countless ESC games enjoyed (hopefully!) by the ESC player community via online or skirmishes. That people still play ESC daily has made all the effort, the good bad and the ugly at times, totally worth it. That we have clearly inspired other works also, both within the TA space and beyond, makes it all even more worthwhile. Without our community, ESC would be much less than what it is and has been. Thank you to every one of you that has contributed to and/or played ESC!
A few interesting and major milestones in our 15-year run:
2008: Official Launch!
2009: ZM Maps
2010: New Explosions (and first official showcase video - [url]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPuZbG_nGQ8[/url] )
2013: Megamap/Engine Enhancements (big kudos to Admiral_94, xpoy and N72!)
2017: Revised T3 based on planned 'remastered TA' concepts with Wargaming
2018: V/H/Diox/NR Maps emerge
2019/20: ESC Discord launch and dedicated site transition
2020/21: Revised T4
2023: Release 995 - our most stable and balanced version thus far!
And we’re not quite done cooking up new updates chock full of enhancements, cleanup, and balance where needed. ESC has always been about the journey as Rampage (Akant) succinctly put it once. I have no idea when we’ll reach our destination or even if we ever will, but I do know that day is not today. So with that, hoping you all can find some down time in the days, weeks, and months ahead and enjoy another summer of ESC with our very latest edition…
Best, and as always, more to come!
It all begin with this...
The annual Escalation Tournament for 2022 is a one versus one (1v1), double-elimination tournament where the top players will be taking home a nice prize (see below). Who will the be the champion in 2022? Can anyone defeat reigning 2021 Champ, Harald? Signups begin now and the tourney will start soon! Please note that games may be held no sooner than the start date of the tournament.
A Midsummer Night's Dream -More ESC!
1. Each match is best of three games (more in the later rounds). If a player scores two game wins then they continue to the next match.
2. Killing a Commander with another Commander death explosion may result in a disqualification
3. D-gunning a Commander is strictly prohibited
4. Drops before 1 minute will result in a map restart
5. A drop after 1 minute is a loss unless game is evaluated otherwise by the Judge
6. Any disputes between players is to be reported to the Judge for resolution.
7. All games must have their .ted files uploaded to the bracket.
8. The first map is chosen by player agreement. The next map(s) are chosen by the player that lost the previous round from the pool of Sanctioned Maps. Each player must chose a map, if they can't agree, then the 3rd map not chosen is played first
9. Matches must be coordinated by players and rest time between games shall not last longer than 15 minutes.
10. Matches must occur within the round timeframes specified by the Judge
11. Penalties may be issued to players in the form of disqualifications
12. Only spectators sanctioned by the Judge may watch live games.
13. Maps may only be played once per match.
14. No pauses longer than 30 seconds and only two pauses after 2 minutes - if both players agree, pause time may go longer.
15. The words of the Judge are absolute and final.
16. No smurfing/multiple enrollments.
17. Matches may be played on TaF if both players agree, otherwise Gameranger (GR) will be the default platform for gameplay
18. Known GR or TaF IDs must be used (no alias accounts) or player will be disqualified.
- starting res = 1000e 1000m
- lostype = true
- positions = random
- commander dies = game ends
- mapping mode = mapped
- cheats = off
- .syncon 0 0 (speed normal)
- .autopause (starting of the game must be done via .ready by both players respectively)
SANCTIONED MAPS (WIP)
**For the first round (best 2 out of 3):**
- Land: Ultimate Lusch Divide
- Land: Dark Comet
- Hybrid: Tarus Gol
**For second round (best 2 out of 3):**
- Land: The Gauntlet
- Hybrid: Diverging Boundries
- Sea: Corrupt Waters
**For third round (best 2 out of 3):** (assumes more than 8 players)
- Land: Corrupt Conflict
- Hybrid: Aramon Chilly Rivers
- Hybrid: Mangrove
**For semi-final (best 3 out of 5):**
- Land: Blood Red Sky
- Land: Artificial Hills
- Sea: Island Stretch
- Land: Cedrana
- Hybrid: Aramon Creek
**And The Finals (best 4 out of 7):**
- Land: Mossy Brick Road
- Hybrid: Crimson Bay
- Land: Cappa
- Hybrid: Escalated Chilly Rivers
- Land/Air: Slate Heaven
- Land: Corrupted XL
- Sea: Clear Blue Waters
HOW MAP SELECTION WORKS
Using the first round as an example:
Player A chooses Ultimate Lusch Divide
Player B chooses Dark Comet
Since the players cannot agree, they will open up with Muddy Land. The next map will be chosen by the loser of the game on Muddy Land
Using the semi-final round as an example:
Player A chooses Blood Red Sky
Player B chooses Island Stretch
Since the players cannot agree, they must now each choose another map not previously chosen...
Player A chooses Bullet Holes
Player B chooses Aramon Bridge
Since the players still cannot agree, they will open up with Artificial Hills. The next map will be chosen by the loser of the game on Artificial Hills
PRIZES (updated 8/7/22)
$300 USD total prize pool! (fn_ $150, Wotan $150)
1st Place: $150
2nd Place: $75
3rd Place: $50
4th Place: $25
MORE INFO & SIGN UP!
Step into Spring with the latest ESC Release!
Get it HERE!
We've reached the high point of the summer season with the heat escalating even higher than ever!
Before the leaves start to fall and cooler weather prevails once more, our latest update offers some long overdue cleanup, bug fixes, and overall enhancements to keep the warm fires of the eternal conflict between Arm and Core raging. Of special note this release are the following:
- We have removed a number of lesser used units for potential rework and also to ensure that the main unit count is now under 512 (see more below)
- T1.5 units have been slightly improved overall to ensure a smoother transition to T2
- BLOD Energy defenses cost a bit more to fire and are more expensive
- Guardians and Punishers (and Ambusher/Toaster and sea variants) now cost Energy to fire (they can also be charged, however)
- Overall T3 nano values have been increased a bit
- T4 tweaks continue with more lab build time requirement but also lower cost entry units (Centaur / Fido)
As always, there is a lot more in this release so be sure to check out the latest list of updates and join us on ESC Discord!
P.S. Our annual tournament will be starting soon. Thus far we have $300 in prize committed and looking to double that figure - join on us on our discord site to learn more!
ESC 2021 CHAMPIONSHIPS Set for August 7th!
Get it HERE!
For those that think ESC is only a 'big map', T3/4 mod, think again! For those also that subscribe to the theory that 'less is more', then there are now other ways to enjoy ESC in a more traditional setting! You will now be able to easily 'plug in' non-OTA ESC content (T1/2, T3, and T4 units) as separate modules!
Looking for a more traditional, even OTA like experience without Level 3 and 4 units, but with the added benefits of ESC's expanded GUI, new explosions, and basic enhancements like pairing resources and automatic transports? Well, you can now easily set up and enjoy games to those specifications even with or without ESC's added T1 and T2 units!
Going forward, ESC will be available in 4 flavors or tiers which are easily stacked by simply moving or removing the file(s) that you need (or don’t) need:
1. ESC Basic
- All non-OTA ESC units are excluded while retaining current ESC balance, GUI, and gameplay features
2. ESC Tactics
- Includes only ESC's T1 and T2 units, building upgrade features, and associated weapons and features (requires ESC Basic)
3. ESC Strategic
- Includes all ESC T3 units, Commander Upgrades, strategic nukes, auto targeting, and resurrection (requires ESC Basic, ESC Tactics is optional but recommended)
4. ESC Ultimate
- Includes all ESC T4 units (requires ESC Basic AND ESC Strategic, ESC Tactics is optional but recommended)
It's all as easy as 1, 2, 3, and 4!
There is a lot more in this release so be sure to check out the latest list of updates and join us on ESC Discord!
Join us on the ESC Discord to sign up. [url]https://discord.gg/DDesHsaR[/url]
The King Returns! ESC v9.8.5
We are anticipating 16+ players and shooting for 24 or more to really make this even special. The touney will run the weekends of August 7th and wrap on August 15th.
What are you waiting for, Commander!?
Are you up to par Commander!? v9.7 and new features updates...
Get it HERE!
After a brief 'shadow' release of ESC v9.8.0 to scour for left over bugs, the official update is now ready for download!
The 9.8.X series includes a number of significant additions to ESC including the long awaited return of the Arm Olympus and Core B.F.G, along with all new T4 Intel Facilities, the infamous Gargant (also improved), and a new mobile Intel/Ion Cannon for Core!
With addition comes subtraction also - in this latest version we removed and/or merged a number of units to consolidate key roles and functions. Air mine layers are gone for now, as are the Arm sea mine layer (Core's counter is specialized for T3), the T2 Sub pens (merged with T3), mobile shield gens (reworking), and the Arm Recon and Core Blaze scouts (may return as T3).
Finally, we've modified a number of unit menus for ease of access to select units. All lab menus now generally show units increasing in power and/or specialization as you view from top to bottom.
There is a lot more in this release so be sure to check out the latest list of updates and join us on ESC Discord!
ESC 9.6 is now available
Get v9.7 HERE
if you have not already downloaded the latest edition of ESC already!
With the recent addition of ESC 9.7, online games have taken off whether you are into 5v5 massive battles or looking to challenge the elite in 1v1 or 2v2 game. Either way, you will be enjoying the 'best so far' of what makes ESC the definitive and most popular TA experience.
Our resident patron and superb player himself FN also continues to refine the premier TA game recording repository TADA
and you can find more news on the development of the latest upcoming ESC Unit guide HERE
If you have not already also, please join us over at the fastest growing (and soon to be largest!) TA community on our exclusive Discord
End Game... 2020
Get it HERE!
Per usual after a big update like v9.5 there are number of minor corrections and adjustments needed to get things just right. With that in mind, and thanks to many of you all out there, ESC is updated and better than ever. The biggest change is the reduction in buildtime required for T4 and an update to our Dark Prime map with improved player starts, more metal, and some cool new eye candy. Also included are bug fixes and tweaks which are posted in the log below.
Enjoy and be sure to join us over at the fastest growing TA community on our exclusive Discord site:
Reports of 'something big...' incoming...
Rising from the ashes of unceasing conflict, a titanic phoenix arises anew for the final act and epic conclusion that will settle once and for all the fate of the Arm and the Core!
T4 is HERE!
Commander! Unleash, the final fury you command at the fore of your armies with units unheralded and only dreamt of until now. This is your hour, your triumph, your inevitable victory!
Continuing the unending saga between the Arm and the Core, TA:ESC is the ultimate TA addition! Elevating the relentless conflict to literally a whole new level and beyond backed by over a decade of competitive gameplay, discussion, creativity, and of course, a great community.
• Start with updated options menus and an expanded UI easing access to a host of new units and in game functions
• Enhanced Commander features to prepare you for the next wave of enemies to build and defend against
• An entire array of expanded and upgraded hovercraft options to out flank your opponent
• Hidden underwater sub pens with exclusive units to surprise your enemies at just the right time
• Battlefield teleportation and mass unit transports to get your armies to the front lines quickly and effectively
• Assist, reclaim, and repair options whether nano arms, land and air carriers, or agile scavengers
• Epic, screen shattering explosions - all consistent with the originals and paired with the satisfying, room splintering bass to confirm the kill.
• Powerful unit over charging, adjacency pairing bonuses, and defensive shield barriers to augment your ever growing forces.
• Map revealing LOS and intel/counter-Intel facilities, concealed cloaking tanks, and terrain splitting rail guns
• 250+ all new and original units including an arsenal of over 100 innovative T3 tanks, kbots, hovers, ships, and VTOLs along with 16 titanic T4 game changing and game ending options (with more to come soon)!
Multiple sectors are reporting huge anomalies even with the latest hardened Omni sensors, Commander. Central Command has be nearly silent, but everyone know the top brass is up to something very significant. Stay tuned and be vigilant. The end game may be upon on us all soon...
Boo! v9.4 incoming...
Talking TA and ESC...
Get it HERE!
Your final supply drop is here Commander to augment your depleted forces and beleaguered armies with a cache of yet more new units and added resources! Complete your escalation experience with all new production, transport, and mobility options with a few added combat ready units thrown in for good measure.
This is easily one of our largest updates in the history of ESC development, and featured in this release are not only over 25+ all new units, but also a comprehensive re-balance of the game by many of the very best players in the TA community today. It has been a monumental task with seemingly endless debate, drama, and decision making throughout the process, but collectively we made real progress over the past few months to deliver the best version of ESC to date!
For those wondering about the upcoming revamp and expansion of T4, that effort is well underway and will ultimately land as a massive (literally!) expansion for ESC in our next release later this year. We’ll be sharing even more on this highly anticipated project here soon.
In the meantime, get your Metal and Energy together and prepare for the next round of TA:Escalation today!
TA:Escation Discord Server is fully up and running!
I recently had the pleasure of talking some TA and ESC development history with Muzzleflash - check it out over the TAU News Forums HERE!
The New TA:ESC Unit Guide is now available!
With 200+ members already, we're growing fast. Join us
for all the very latest on development toward the completion of the of over 250 all new units and our upcoming T4 expansion!
ESC Players of the world UNITE!
Huge congrats and thanks go out to FN202 and Dioxide who have both spent a great deal of time working on some awesome new sources for enhancing your ESC gaming experience!
Rather than spoil the surprise, I am placing the redirects here - check these out ASAP.
For those looking for any info on the vast cache of units available in ESC, goHERE
! for the Guide.
For those looking to gain better understanding of tactics and unit use based on recent multiplayer games, go HERE
! to access the TA Demo Archive.
is your May Day update!
It has been far too long since the last update comrades, but much has changed during the winter interval. Now with the arrival of spring, the offensive will begin anew!
Per usual, you'll find the update log below, but if you don't bother to read changelogs, you'll want to be mindful of the following changes regardless!
Immolators and Bulwarks are now moved to T2, while Ambushers, Orions, Toasters, and Vipers can now be made directly at T1 (up to you to go straight for the full variant or upgrade 1/2 way there from HLTs, etc.)
T3 Labs, on average, take about 50% longer to make now.
[STRIKE]Fusion Energy bonuses and overall metal making are less efficient. [/STRIKE] (on hold til 9.1 to see how other changes pan out)
T2 Bombers are heavier and feature bigger bombs while losing AA (note: they are not stealth). Before you rant 'OMG OP!!!' you will need to prove to me that they are superior metal-to-metal to their T1 counterparts (I'll spot you the T2 lab costs). As a boon, T1 and T2 fighters have 20% less buildtime so scramble those fighters and protect your airspace!
The Recon and Blaze are now T2. They are lighter versions of their former roles but resized for a more dynamix mid-tier T2 balance. Here are the essentials:
-The Panther remains essentially unchanged
-The Blaze is a quasi-counter (speed, light armor) to the Panther but lacks AA
-The Manticore is healthier, but slower for more overall cost now
-The Recon is quasi-counter (range, toughness) but lacks AA and guidance
As a result of the above, you will not find sitting around for 30 minutes teching directly to T3 to be nearly as easy. However, when you do get to T3, you will be rewarded with:
-Centurions and Behemoths are less expensive
-Talos and Cerberus are cheaper as well
-Juggernauts and Demolishers have much improved LOS and overall health and firepower improvement
-All 'boss' T3 units have self healing and other minor balance improvements
On the flip side, a few essential nerfs and notable changes include:
-The Pounder can be effectively dgunned by non-upgraded Commanders and the Gorgon has less abusive LOS
-The Reaper weapon (due to Blaze relocation to T2) has been changed to a riot style shotgun that is almost identical to the former flame weapon.
-T2 transport have a deadlier explosion (for stacking) and will offscreen penalty if partially edged (to offset invulnerability issues)
-The Shooter features a heandy shield effect that absorbs 75% damage when hit - there a 5 second charge up time for the shield to work again.
Finally, all cons assist and repair based on their WT resulting in much faster work, but also much higher Energy costs. This change will likely be the most impactful (barring a stupid bug lol), so we need to be sure if this change is actually any good or not.
Pssst!!! 8.7 already!
Get it HERE!
That's right, after a relatively quick stint with the recent 8.8 release which featured our all new Hovers (mostly T3) and a full suite of floating airplants, it did not take long before a few issues surfaced. Rather than wait too long to address, we felt a balance focused release was in order...
First and foremost, The much maligned Arm Hailstorm and Core Pounder have been addressed (via DPS and speed nerf respectively).
Next, after considerable discussion and debate, T3 overall is a much more expensive proposition than previously (even accounting for the big increases in 8.8). T3 labs cost roughly 15-17k Metal now and significantly more Energy. In addition, T3 mobile units are most more costly in terms of Energy. You'll no longer be able to fast build powerful T3 units out the gate and will need to instead ramp up with lesser variants first (at least in theory). Given the huge uptick in Energy drain, you'll likely need to invest in a full T3 Economy to power your end game.
Lastly, not to be forgotten, amphibious tanks (and Gimps) now traverse underwater at full speed! This was a tricky addition with lots of scripting and mechanical tweaks, but the end result should prove seamless in game which is what matters here. Arm also features such much needed improvements via Maverick and Bulldog improvements and even the Penetrator and Zeus are slightly buffed so we're hoping for some fantastic battles and recordings soon!
There is much much more this release and our full log of changes is below.
Stay tuned next for another big unit update with 9.0 incoming in the months ahead, but in the meantime, enjoy and happy gaming with v8.9! :)
8.6.....1 has arrived!
Get it HERE
Seems we had a few nasty bugs to crash to get things to right with the lastest release. This time it was the Stratus crashing on weapon fire using the added pitchtolerance weapon tag - apparently that particular function has limitations - still learning something new after all these years. Kudos to all for quickly spotting the issue.
Aside from bug fixes (see below), we also added new functionality to the Arm Nova and Core Overlord. Both units now feature a choice between low trajectory and high trajectory fire! Low trajectory is default and switching the units 'on' will enable high trajectory fire for those pesky units hiding behind high mountains and cliffs. Both modes will auto-fire vs. enemies per normal, but you will need to use the 'D' (special) key to manually target enemies when in high trajectory (on) mode. This should help make these units viable in lots of situations so good luck.
Per usual the full log of changes is below.
Enjoy and hopefully no more updates - for a while ;)
8.5 (and dialing it back a bit)
Get it HERE
! Oh, and they're baaaaaccccck! The infamous T3 Hover Cruisers
have returned along with brand new T3 Hover labs
to build them and some handy T3 construction hovers
to boot! The dreaded Hard AI also makes a return along with improved AI performance compliments of TAfan97
who has done some great work the past few months :)
There are also quite a few tweaks in this release based on the all feedback, gameplay, and suggestions from 8.5, but the main adjustments are focused on improved T3 Vehicle play and adjustments to T3 economy in general. You can review all the changes in the post below. A quick note on why this version is 8.6.1 and not 8.6.0 - the first attempt had a small bug that needed immediate attention and was quickly corrected.
With the introduction of the new Hoverplants, we now have a platform for adding a complete tier of hover units at T3. This is a first in TA and it ties in to our main goal of a complete, overall T3 tier accross all unit types. In the next few releases, provided balance is mostly stable, we will be issuing additional, all new, hovercrafts including a powerful Hover Battleship! In the meantime, grab 8.6.1 and report your thoughts, feedback, and ideas here.
And as always, more to come!
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We've been burning the candle at both ends the past few months trying to get things ready for the big Anniversary Edition, but it seems that is no longer in the cards. There is simply too much to do in the time left and we just don't have the resources here like we used to.
The good news is that ESC 8.5
is the biggest and best version of ESC to date! The new units and format are a hit, and just as good, if not better, the balance is rock solid through late T3 (yes, the Empyreaan needs a little work, but at least it's good!). I also have to say the past few weeks have been very enjoyable just playing games again - I am actually winning games these days and maybe it is time to get on the 1v1 ladder :D
Going forward, we're going to focus on longer release cycles with no anticipated release dates. TRO and I have a lot of cool stuff in the pipeline and all that will eventually come. I'd like to keep the dialogue going here as much as possible , but I am finding Skype and GameRanger are as busy as ever in terms of people discussing new concepts and ideas. If you are out there, let us know and drop a post or a new thread here or on any other forum here at TAU.
So there it is. ESC v8.5
represents our 20th Anniversary Edition - a great foundation for the next series of releases to come.
If you have not already grabbed 8.5, you can get it HERE
Enjoy and best to all :)