Planetary Annihilation build 61250 has possibly been the biggest update since the release of Beta. Despite how much is included in this build, it is just a sampling of what Uber Entertainment has in store for Planetary Annihilation.

This overview is not intended to cover every single small detail of the build. Instead, it’s meant to be a quick overview of the important changes and provide some insight into how they will likely alter Planetary Annihilation’s gameplay. For a detailed overview of the latest build, check out Build 61250’s patch notes.

Performance

To me, this is the most noticeable and game changing improvement. Planetary Annihilation is now a lot smoother, even with multi-planet systems.

OS X got some attention in particular, so Mac users should see a significant improvement in performance.

However, the (hopefully) next build will have even bigger improvements to game performance. This will be tied into having some of the processing moved from the CPU to the GPU. Or something. I kinda zone out when they start talking about some of those details. Just click on the link if you’re interested further.

Be sure to update your video drivers. Info on how to do so.

New Units

Boom: Bomb Bot
The new Bomb Bot, or Boom, is now playable in game. This fast moving little sucker self destructs next to enemy units and buildings causing 5,000 damage. Unfortunately, it is pretty buggy.

Pelican: Single Unit Transport
The new air transport is a very fast moving aircraft that picks up a single unit and moves it from one place to another. Paired with the new transport area command, the Pelican is excellent for relocating units for raids, quick defense, surprise attacks, and rushes. There’s lots of debate surrounding this unit and we’ll see how it develops.

New Models

Seven units and buildings have new models. (Thanks to raven for the images)

Boom
Boom

Pelican: Air Transport
Pelican

Kestrel Gunship
Kestrel

Fabrication Bot Combat
Fabrication Bot Combat

Advanced Combat Fabrication Bot
Advanced Combat Fabrication Bot

Inferno
Inferno

Vanguard
Vanguard

Flak Cannon
Flak Cannon

Advanced Bot Factory
Advanced Bot Factory

Pings

Pings are a new feature that makes communicating with teammates much easier. Instead of saying something like, “There was a commander over by that mountain by the small lake. No, not that mountain and lake, the mountain by the smaller lake.” we can just drop a visual indicator with sound notification of what we’re talking about.

Pings

Pings show up only for teammates and spectators.

Re-worked Orbital

Orbital has been given (another) major overhaul. This latest update makes the Orbital layer much more important, even for single planet systems. All Orbital units have been given a buff in speed, Radar Satellites provide much greater vision, and the Astraeus can now pick up all units.

The travel time between planets has also been given an overhaul. All units now planet hop faster, though some units move faster than others.

More detail will be covered in the units section below.

Formations

Formations, and other general pathfinding improvements, make attacks much easier. Gone are the days of armies rushing into defensive lines single file. Now ground and air units move around in block formation.

This is very much a first pass at formations, and there is still much to be done. For example, units do not yet order up by importance. We also do not have formation options and there are still further pathing improvements to be made.

But it’s a great first step!

Improved Biomes

There have been many improvements to planet generation. Planets now seem more interesting and terrain plays more of a component in gameplay and overall strategic decisions. It is a great step forward in making planets interesting and game altering.

Improved AI

Solo and casual Planetary Annihilation players rejoice! The AI has been given many fantastic improvements. It is now much more aggressive, both with its attacks and expansions. Don’t be surprised when it drops a moon on your head!

If the AI is too difficult or too easy, be sure to fiddle with the economic scale in the match lobby. Uber will be adding AI difficulties and personalities, but we’re not there yet.

Improved Visuals

Many visual improvements have been made to Planetary Annihilation. The most noticeable, aside from the new models, is the dancing electricity from power plants. This is tied into the improved lighting system, which we’ll see more improvements made to it in the upcoming builds as well.

All factories have had changes made. They now sport a player’s team color quite obviously. This means players can tell which buildings belong to who with greater ease.

Area Patrol for Ground Units

In the previous build, this was bugged to the point of being unuseable. But now it is much more stable, though it still has some issues when units patrol an entire planet.

Twitch.tv Comment Support

Now players who like live casting can chat with their viewers directly through Planetary Annihilation’s chat system.

Weapon Splash Falloff

Area of effect damage now has a damage falloff. A unit at the edge of an explosion will take less damage than a unit at the center of an explosion.

Lots of Bug Fixes

While these aren’t as exciting as a new unit or formations or something, it’s just as important. Each fixed bug takes Planetary Annihilation closer and closer to actual release.

Unit and Building Changes

There have been quite a few changes to many units and buildings. Some more game changing than others.

New Uber Cannon and Commander Changes

The Commander is now a very different unit. Commander wreckage now reclaims for a massive 25,000 metal. This also means that it takes a lot more work to repair a Commander. This machine of war also moves slower now.

Most importantly, the Uber Cannon now behaves very differently. It deals less damage, has greater range, but has an increased area of effect. This makes the Uber Cannon less effective against enemy Commanders, but extremely effective at destroying attacking units. It also now has a unique fire mode that must be manually fired. Finally, it drains your energy with each shot. Run out of energy? No more Uber cannon.

Fabrication Unit Rebalance

Bots and Vehicles
Fabrication Bots and Fabrication Vehicles now cost 200 metal each. This means the obvious choice of a bot factory first is no longer an obvious choice for a first factory. Players have the option of either.

Fabrication Aircraft
Both the Basic Fabrication Aircraft and the Advanced Fabrication Aircraft have had their metal and energy consumption altered. They now build only at a slightly slower rate than bots and vehicles,

Fabrication Ships
Fabrication Ship’s economy drain was reduced to be in line with fabrication bots and fabrication vehicles. That way naval starts are more balanced and viable when compared to a land based start.

Aircraft

Bumblebee
The Bumblebee has been given a buff, mainly indirectly due to Fabricator’s losing health. Bumblebees can now kill fabricators with one bomb, making early Bumblebee harassment a very powerful strategy.

Kestrel (Gunship)
The Kestrel has been given an all around buff. It is much more maneuverable, costs less, and has more hp. It is a deadly aircraft.

Vehicles

Titanium Insect
The Ant Pounder, has been renamed to the “Titanium Insect.” I honestly think Uber is trolling us with this name change. Well. I at least hope they are.

Leveler
The Leveler has been given a damage buff. It now deals 250 dps rather than the 25 dps it used to have. Let the Leveler spam return!

Sheller
The Sheller has been given a huge buff by drastically increasing its range. It used to have a range of 160, but now a range of 260. That means it has the same range as a Pelter, over twice the DPS, costs almost a third, and can move. It also doesn’t consume energy to fire. That’s pretty nuts!

Vanguard
Some very interesting changes have been made to the Vanguard. Aside from the double hp, it now has a mobile radar with a range of 150.

Orbital

Avenger and Anchor
The dps and health of orbital units have been changed around quite a bit. Avengers move much faster, and Anchors are super slow. Avengers are now built by the Orbital Launcher, and the Anchor is built by Orbital Fabricators. The Anchor has also been given a huge buff so it can take on more than 10 Avengers and survive.

Astraeus
The Astraeus now costs twice as much and can move any land unit. Due to it’s high cost and the introduction of the Transports, moving combat units with the Astraeus is not a big deal. But the doubled cost is a pretty big game changer.

Orbital Laser
The Orbital Laser is now a lot faster, uses less energy to fire, is more accurate against moving targets, has vision of the ground, and has some splash damage. The SXX-1304 is much deadlier.

Radar Satellite and Advanced Radar Satellite
The Radar Satellites have been given a fantastic buff. Both satellites have been given an increase in radar coverage and direct line of sight. The Basic Radar Satellite costs less energy to run, while the Advanced Radar Satellite has had an increase in metal cost and energy upkeep. But that is just fine with how much of a boost it received. In my opinion, the boost to the Radar Satellites is one of the biggest improvements to Planetary Annihilation’s Orbital layer, making it valid, even on single planet systems.

Naval

In general, Naval units have been given a general buff in one way or another. Particularly, all ships are faster.

Orca (formerly “Bluebottle”)
Yes. Uber has changed a unit’s name on us. Aside from that, the Orca had it’s range reduced and hp increased.

Narwhal
The Narwhal has been given quite the buff. Aside from the hp increase, the Narwhal now has a third weapon: torpedoes. This makes the Narwhal a much meaner ship against other Naval units.

Leviathan
The battleship received a very nice buff. Mainly, it now deals splash damage and received a very nice range bonus. This Battleship is the king of the seas.

Stingray
The Stingray received quite the nerf and is now not as much of a portable Catapult, but rather an anti-air boat with a tactical missile launcher. It’s tactical missile launcher is a lot weaker, but it has a pretty strong anti-air missile, capable of destroying any aircraft in one shot, except the Peregrine.

Buildings

Radar and Advanced Radar
Both ground based radars have been given an awesome buff. They now have a much greater radar coverage. The Basic Radar costs 50 more metal, but half the energy cost. The Advanced Radar costs a lot more in energy upkeep though.

Laser Defense Towers
The Single Laser Defense Tower, Laser Defense Tower, and Advanced Laser Defense Tower all deal a slight amount of splash damage. It’s only a radius of 2 meters, but still.

Metal Extractor and Advanced Metal Extractor
These two structures now cost a lot less. Basic Metal Extractors cost half as much and Advanced Metal Extractors cost almost half as much. This’ll help speed up Planetary Annihilation’s gameplay allowing players to get larger armies faster.

Wrap Up

This was a very impressive update to Planetary Annihilation. Many new features, lots of balance tweaks, and more.

If you want to browse through all of the stat changes of the units and buildings or more details on the new build, check out the Planetary Annihilation Build 61250 notes.