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Command & Conquer 4 - CommandCOM 2009

It Begins! CommandCOM 2009 - Page 2

We headed back to the secret dwelling of CommandCOM and were greeted by Apoc, and the massing swarm of Community Members and we were all lead into a Press Room and we all took seats, i headed to the back and sat next to my good friends Renardin from CnC Reborn and Lim Yang from the Chinese C&C Community.

Father of C&C – Chronoshifting through C&C History!

Apoc welcomed us all to CommandCOM and it was a nice surprise he was on time and organised hazaa! (little joke there from the C&C3 Summit) And lead us into what looked like a Presentation room lots of chairs laid out and some really awesome C&C4 posters on the back wall my favourite was this one of a GDI Zone Trooper. Apoc then introduced Louis Castle who I was lucky enough to meet before at the C&C3 Summit in 2006. I also remember he won an award at the 2008 Video Game Awards at GDC back in March (congrats). Louis essentially the father of Command & Conquer had prepared a History of C&C presentation for us and who better to tell the tale of C&C History then the godfather himself
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Dune 2 – Battle for Arrakis

Louis started off with Dune 2 where it all began for Westwood in RTS and what lead to the development of Command & Conquer so a logical place to begin. Louis also had a rather funny story of how Westwood became involved with Virgin when Sir Richard Branson gave him a call. Interestingly Dune 2 was inspired by a game called Military Madness but instead of being turn-based Westwood thought why not make a real time strategy and so they did. The reason Westwood choose to do a game based on the book Dune by Frank Herbert was that Virgin Interactive had the rights to Dune at the time. Unfortunately there was another game in production already called Dune by another company at Virgin. So Westwood quickly changed all the logo art to become Dune 2 so that’s the story behind the name Dune 2.

Command & Conquer

Then next game Westwood planned to make was going to be Sword and Sorcery a RTS with Goblins, knights and magic but Virgin rejected the idea based on the fantasy concept. So instead they looked at doing something based in modern times but just a little bit in the future it’s also believable the high tech toys as governments and military keep their cool military gadgets secret. So they started thinking about factions and story. China was on the platter for one of the factions but weren’t much of an enemy and then there was the cold war idea with Russia which later on became Red Alert. So then they had a more realistic thinking about the next war and then the view came to mind of. A charismatic leader who unites the downtrodden of the world into a force leading them to believe they are doing divine work and the rest of the world will be horrified by these horrible acts. So Kane and the Brotherhood of Nod was born and then the Global Defence Initiative essentially the Army of the United Nations. This curiously was a rather eerie prediction of the future if you consider the events that have followed in the past two decades. Virgin predicted C&C would sell 60,000 copies, the game got 150,000 pre-orders and Command & Conquer sold over 1 million copies by the end of the year. The in game look of C&C Westwood did as best to create a photo real look of a satellite view down on the battlefield they did the best they could with the technology at the time.

Command & Conquer Red Alert

Red Alert as many Community veterans would know was originally planned as a 2nd expansion pack for Command & Conquer. However once it was far enough in development it was clear it was a new game in its own right so it grew into Red Alert so it was done as a prequel to Command & Conquer. Later someone asked about Kane in Red Alert and yes it was originally slated as a prequel. But when it was time to do Red Alert 2 it was decided there was so much potential to go bit crazy with the game play and with Red Alert 2 it defiantly grew into its own universe within the franchise.

Command & Conquer Tiberian Sun & Firestorm

Tiberian Sun had alot of cool new things the voxel technology, the terrain deformation the problem with Tiberian Sun is allot of the really cool stuff wasn’t added till towards the end of development and there wasn’t time to use things like terrain deformation in the campaigns as well as Westwood would have liked to. If there was one game Louis could go back and redo it would be Tiberian Sun, because the game had so much more potential then was executed which I would agree it’s exactly why I’m doing Tiberian Sun Rising. Louis would have liked to do more with Sub terrain units and deformable terrain in particular.

Command & Conquer Renegade

Louis loved working on Renegade but admitted he wished they had started with the multiplayer side of the game first. As they did the single player etc then did the multiplayer and realised “whoa that what’s the game should have been”. The base fighting etc all turned out great but unfortunately due to time restraints the multiplayer code was a bit jumpy and things not as polished as would have liked.
That leads us to the tale of Renegade 2, Sean Decker, Dan and Louis put together a pitch for Renegade 2 called Battlefield (enough said there). Later Sean Decker left to a company called Dice which created the Battlefield series. That is the story behind Renegade 2. Which it was known it didn’t make it past a pitch but not the linkage to Battlefield is interesting stuff the rest is gaming history.

Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 & Yuri’s Revenge

Red Alert 2 and Yuri’s Revenge is Louis’s favourite C&C game based on game play, on story Louis’s favourite is the Tiberium series. Which I will agree Yuri’s Revenge has some wicked game design and game play. Louis also brought up the story behind the Red Alert 2 Box Art which I remember finding out about this on Wikipedia some time back. The Twin Towers were printed onto the Red Alert 2 box art with Soviet planes flying toward it in June, come September that year they all had to be destroyed and reprinted without them. Though the Twin Towers were still in the in game FMV’s and missions but was too late to remove it though the Twin Towers were renamed to something else in game if I remember correctly.
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Louis talked briefly about C&C Generals, C&C3 Tiberium Wars and Red Alert 3. It was really great that Louis was at CommandCOM for the event as he has left EA so cheers to Apoc for organising this. Good luck in your future endeavours Louis its been a fantastic 15 odd years of C&C!



Ze Big Mike’s C&C4 Demonstration

The next presentation was given by Mike Glowseki or “Big Mike”, the Producer for C&C4 interestingly Mike was a tester for Dune 2 back in the day and was working for Virgin Interactive. Mike started off his presentation with the 4 C’s of C&C4: Conclusion, Career,-Classes and Crawler

Conclusion

This will be the last game for Kane, Nod, GDI in the Tiberium storyline it is the epic conclusion to this saga of the Tiberium universe.

Career

Career relates to your game profile or account rather for C&C4. Every kill, objective completed you make earns you XP, yes every kill e.g. the Mutants are a good way to grind experience in single player. Experience earned is tallied at the end of a game so if you quit mid game you won’t earn experience. Also experience is global if you play single player, skirmish or multiplayer all will earn you experience. However GDI and Nod experience are separate so if you want to level up your Nod faction and you’ve been playing GDI you’ll need to start from the beginning with Nod. Your experience will allow you to purchase upgrades, new units, and powers. The idea behind this system is players will play more to unlock all the cool stuff for their faction. 

Classes

There are three class’s Offense, Support and Defence. Offense is all ground units and as such is the more aggressive class. Support is mostly aircraft it has an emphasis on being able to be in many places on the battlefield at once and move around quickly to support your team mates it will also have support powers you can use and has a couple of vehicles which are designed to boost the effectiveness of your teammates ground forces. Defence class is for players who like to turtle it has infantry, and the only class that’s able to build structures. These will be defensive and some support structures I believe.

Crawler

The huge shift for C&C, essentially its the new MCV but with a War Factory built in, upgradable, armed and is deployed to the battlefield from the Global Stratospheric Transport and is why it’s able to respawn (a new one is sent down from the GST). Basically it’s an all in one mobile base which allows you to queue up to four units and finish building them while undeployed. However they won’t exit the Crawler until you deploy then the four units exit and you are able to build more. Once deployed the crawler has a repair radius that will repair any vehicles of your own and your team mates within its radius hence why it’s often a good idea to take your crawler into battle with you. That may sound like overkill but it’s really not when I was playing later the queuing up 4 units after a respawn mid match was critical for survival. When you respawn you can switch classes if you choose to change your tactics however AI will adapt to whatever class you choose so be wary. Naturally there is a penalty time for dying and you have to wait a cool down period to respawn. When deployed the crawler crushes anything it lands on top of and in the immediate vicinity of the Crawler. However the Crawler cannot land anywhere there are designated Drop Zones on multiplayer and single player maps there will also be tech structures you can capture to extend your Drop Zone areas. The Crawler can also crush other units but it will incur damage for every vehicle it crush’s. Then Mike demoed a GDI Mission for us which appeared to be the same or a very similar mission to the one Jason demoed earlier at the C&C4 Booth however what was different in this demo was. Mike took an engineer to the hulk of a Mastodon and repaired it bringing it back into action. He demonstrated its front cannons, its twin missile launchers instead of rail guns like the Mk2 and of course its anti air capabilities. The objective was to repair the downed GST by capturing nearby Tiberium Control Nodes what was different was there were no Utility Truck units this time which was also true when I played later. Mike captured the TCN’s fought off Nod and repaired the GST once repaired it flew off beautifully once again.



Twilight of the Tiberian Series – The Title Revealed!

After the presentations Apoc asked the Community members nearby to remove the pieces of paper covering the subtitle of Command & Conquer 4. I was delighted when I read the title “Tiberian Twilight” being the last chapter of the Tiberian Saga but not the universe no other name would suit this game. Especially since the game visually reminds me alot of the images from Westwood’s Command & Conquer 3 using the Generals engine project name C&C Incursion. Both the ideas implemented on the interface and the visual look of the units and style remind me allot of Incursion which the fans called Tiberian Twilight so it’s very fitting indeed.



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