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Command & Conquer 3 - December Community Summit
--DAY TWO-- Page 3
Dragon Dronet

Next up was the presentation by Dragon Dronet, Another member of the Summit party was named Skull, Skull is a buddy of Dragon's and he talked to me a lot about how he helps gather parts for Dragons work. For example a lot of tricorders in Star Trek, Skull ripped the LEDís from those shoes that activate when you walk. Props are made from such simple devices like that. Skull also is one of the few people who owns a working Sega Saturn and a copy of C&C for the Sega Saturn which he plays all the time. So meeting Dragon I got to see what Skull was on about with Dragons work as previously I didnít know who Dragon was I have seen his work in countless films thou I soon found out. Dragon Dronet runs a company Renegade FX with his wife and he makes stuff, for C&C3 heís made the props, costumes and sets for the game. The first thing that stood out to me about Dragon was he was wearing this cool black outfit that had a ring of Nod to it. Which was one of the first things he mentioned, he plays the Nod Cleric in C&C3 and the outfit he was wearing was the outfit his character wears which he made himself and it looks pretty cool. Dragon started up a video presentation of his workshop he said ďI couldnít bring you guys to my workshop, so I did my best to bring my workshop to youĒ. Video was showing a lot of concept material EA sent over, and set production creation, costume creation and prop design and creation too. He really put in an attention to detail because Dragon loves what he does and he also has his buddy Skull whoís a gamer and he knew that heíd appreciate the detail so he worked hard for that. Dragons set work was pretty impressive, EA had sent him loads and loads of concept work and character sheets and absolutely everything they wanted for the game which Dragon was pretty impressed by. He also showed us in the armour he had created for Gladiator, swords he had made for The Last Samurai and of course the very cool armour from Chronicles of Riddick.



He talked for a little while about set creation, but quickly went to his box of goodies he had brought over from his workshop and started pulling out his creations. The very first thing he pulled out was an AK47 Minigun Combination he had created this was a weapon for the Brotherhood of Nod and Josh Holloway uses this gun in a scene we were shown moments before. This thing has been chopped up and slapped together as Dragon would say; it has the sight off Zip Blizkins gun a reload able ammo clip. And itís fully functional, the gun barrel spins and makes a firing sound AND it has a laser sight. Dragon prides himself in making his creations fully functional and I must say the Mini-AK is by far the coolest thing Iíve ever seen. Then I couldnít believe it when he was passing this around for us to play with!! It was so freaking cool. Next he brought out the GDI Pulse Rifle, which the thing is freaking huge.. Then next he pulled out a modified US Fighter Pilot helmet that has been converted into a GDI helmet for GDI Soldier's, which came together very nicely. Thou when people tried it on they could no longer breathe due to the mask being Rubber and no air shaft to hook it up to that would normally be on a plane. There was also a Nod soldier's helmet which was passed around which well lacked the helmetÖ in other words Nod cared little about there troops lives clearly which is nothing new I suppose they are cannon fodder hehe.

Kaneís pistol was past around as well, which was very cool I wondered if it was the same one Joe Kucan actually used but I imagine a number of them would have been made in case of breakages. Anyway a number of cool C&C3 props past around, those were the big highlights of that. Saw a lot of footage on the set production for the game and costume production which Dragons wife Wanda does a lot of the work on that costumes.

A lot of popular Hollywood props were passed around the room, The Mask from the Mask!, the Golden Statue from Indiana Jones that he replaces with a bag of Sand. And more cool stuff which Iíve included photos of in the gallery so take a look around!

Had a chance to talk with Dragon, and get photoís taken with the Nod Cleric himself and have a good play around with the guns especially that Mini-Ak47 damn that things nice. Dragon stayed quite late which was good of him we could of stayed there playing with his props all night really but we wanted to get onto the gameplay and it was dinner time. We all thanked Dragon for his time he is a great guy.

Dinner : Pizza, I like Pizza, moving on

In game multiplayer matches for an hour I was playing against Hypnotist for this hour heres the details of three matchesí we got into.

Match 1: Vengeance

I got my chance at a rematch between myself and Hypnotist! To get vengeance for my disgraceful loss before this was my last chance Kane had given me to prove my worth the Brotherhood I would not fail my life depended on it. I built up my base more quickly this time now knowing the side I wasnít mucking around. I setup a massive stealth Harvesting operation by setting up Surveyors then building Refineries as Nods Harvester is already stealthed it provided good time until I got the Disruption Field technology which is essentially a Stealth Generator like in Tiberian Sun but much smaller and the same field of radius. Once I had stealthed my entire base I setup a large network of Obelisks leaving no gaps in my defence. I then started pumping out Nod Avatars, Flame Tanks and some Nod Shadow Troopers which I absolutely love these guys! Not only are they Nods Stealth Trooper effectively but they can deploy wings from their suits and activate a jump jet pack and they can then fly around the battlefield until told to land. I also captured all the Tiberium Spikes I could find before Hypnotist got to them, there was also a Defence Tech Structure which I captured but Iím not sure it was fully working yet in that build of the game I never saw it fire its weapon. Anyway I sent out my attack force which ran into Hypnotist's GDI assault force. Which was a huge array of Juggernauts and Mammoth Tanks a similar pattern to before and some Orcaís coming in. My army battled long and hard and in the end our armies destroyed each other, he had one or two Juggernauts left which he sent attacking my base. But I sent out some Vertigo Bombers I had built earlier to dispatch these. Annoyingly Hypnotist got an EMP weapon off in my base, which I had learned earlier the Temple of Nod could disarm all EMP effects. So I said ďha-ha I can just disarm thatĒ, went over to my Temple and to my horror it was disabled as well. A large number of my Obelisks were disabled too. I quickly built a replacement Obelisk while the others were disabled as Hypnotist sent in another wave of GDI forces. Which I dispatched but endured quite a loss of a few structures mostly downed Obelisks. I managed to take out a lot of Hypnotist's base with my Vertigo Bombers and then I dispatched the rest of his base with a large army of Avatars I had been building while all this had been going on. Because I had so much stealth harvesting operations going unknown to his radar I had a massive surplus of money to build massive armyís with. He sent in a Commando and some Zone Troopers trying to do some serious damage thankfully I had a bunch of Black Hand Troopers which are Flame Infantry effectively + the Obelisks we took care of them. In the end I crushed Hypnotist and got my vengeance! The Brotherhood of Nod was victorious it was a good match we both had a lot of fun.

Match 2: First Impressions Global Defence Initiative

The next match I played GDI for the first time *eek*, thankfully I had watched all the C&C3 demonstration videos so was pretty familiar with them already and seeing what Hypnotist had thrown at me when I was Nod I knew just what I needed to do. I built up my base and started up harvesting operations and explored the GDI technology. I got around to building Sonic Resonators around my base which slow Tiberium spreading speeds and also effectively act as Disruptor Towers defensively like Tiberian Suns Disruptor they are quite powerful.Which itís interesting to see GDI having an advanced defence tower for the first time the other defence towers were all single turrets unlike Nods Array style defences which are awesome. This is when I also noticed that C&C3 at the summit has buildable walls that have an awesome build logic a proper one that even open up for new defences when built I was very happy with the Wall system shown at the summit the walls were modeled alot after RA2s in looks at the Summit they were fully functional but unfortunatly these were cut from the game and gates werent in even at the summit. But good news for modders is the wall logic works very good for modding purposes and I look foward to playing around with the left over code *i hope they left it in*. The rail guns are very cool not only do they apply to the Mammoth Tanks but Zone Troopers as well and more! The Firehawk bombers on GDI are awesome! To say the least very powerful, I took out Hypnotist's Stealth Tank patrols he sent out which was interesting to see the Stealth Tank as when I played Nod before I didnít build any. I took them out with Orca Fighters, we both amassed massive defences around our bases and built massive armyís and were about to start a massive battle. When his Nuke beat my Ion Cannon to fully chargeÖ he launched the Nuke on my base and it destroyed everything! He finished me off pretty quickly after that I was decimated the Nuke wasnít quite balanced but at least it was realistic! Man was impressive effect too I loved it a great match both of them thankyou Hypnotist. But I donít need to go into too much detail on GDI Iím sure a lot of you have played to them death in the C&C3 Demo so lets move on!

Match 3: Infantry Wars

Me and Hypnotist quickly fitted in one more game, both of us building as much infantry as we possible could just churning and churning them out. We must have had about 300 infantry squads each and we wanted to see how much infantry the game could handle. Well with that much the game did lag down quite a bit, our match actually caught the attention of Greg Black and Jason Bender due to the sheer bizarreness of our battle and even they admitted they had not tested that much infantry in a much before so they were curious how it handled. When all squads opened up fire on each other well there was some frame loss but overall I think it handled pretty well considering, I managed to sneak some tanks in to crush Hypnotist's infantry while our squads mowed each other down. But there were so many infantry that crushing them did little good and my tanks ended up destroyed. We ran out of time and had to call this match short but it was fun fooling around with it.

Game play Feedback

It was also at this point people asked about shortcut keys and the right mouse clicking, the EA team said all keys and mouse keys would be fully customisable with C&C3 just like Red Alert 2 so thatís great stuff indeed so donít worry guys like me that donít like the right click thatís easily amended.

People also commented on the larger battlefield view in Tiberium Wars then from Generals and before. Which I asked if it could have been adjusted any larger and they said naturally it could be but the size they set was one they had found worked well for both the users management and performance reasons. I mentioned Tiberian Sun Rising using the Zero Hour engine has almost twice the battlefield view Tiberium Wars does and does not suffer on performance but due to all the shaders C&C3 uses Iím sure it would suffer if they tried to do the same thing I have.

Squads, people quite liked squads in the end and I agreed although it took away some of the tactics available with single infantry units. Having squads did make large armyís much easier to manage and the squads function together extremely well. The only thing that really bugged us about squads were some path finding issues which we were assured would be fixed in the final. But there was a consensus that squads were a good move for C&C3.

I found the Surveyors an excellent addition to the game, allowing easy build range extension without a new MCV a brilliant move made there they work perfectly. I had mixed feelings bout the return of the Construction Yard although its defiantly C&C I wasnít sure if Iíd like it back after Generals and especially after developing a nice construction unit set for Tiberian Sun Rising. But no the ConYard is a classic and defiantly belongs in C&C3 without question.

Uniqueness between sides was good, everything had a different name, model and ability one way or another. No two things were truly identical but there wasnít as much difference as Iíd like. All three sides share Barracks, War Factory, Airfield, Crane, Refinery , and Power. Now I know the reason they did this was so you can pickup any side and play just like in all the previous C&Cís which is a great move for quick learning curve for the game. But Iíve come to like Blizzards style of making sides truly and completely unique from one another but I think EA went as close as they could do this style without loosing the true C&C feel and atmosphere so good moves EA.

Balancing, quite a few balancing issues at this stage of the development but this gets sorted out for the final so its no big deal it was just funny more then anything really some things being more powerful then they should be.

Sidebar everyone was impressed with the sidebar me too the multiple factories incorporated into the sidebar and shortcuts to a lot of different features from the interface directly. Was perfectly mapped out there were no arguments there. One thing we did find is the sidebar can get in the way when at the edge of the map you canít select units behind the sidebar. Solution, rotate your battlefield view there is little else you can do about this. Which I think is fair enough ether that or compact your sidebar.

Cranes, another great addition to C&C allowing construction of multiple structures without a new Construction Yard, they are cost effective and work great! Combined with the Surveyor they are a powerful asset indeed.

Tiberium, it spread it grew and it got harvested I think we all agreed the Tiberium fields got harvested too quickly in the summit version but other then that we were quite happy with the Tiberium system. It was a lot like Tiberian Suns and after talking with Greg Black they used an almost identical method to my Tiberian Sun Rising mod for Zero Hour except with Source code they could refine the performance of it a bit more then I can in ZH.

I suggested some possible game play improvement ideas, to add more uniqueness to battles. One idea was to make the Surveyor work like RA2ís IFV. If you put an Engineer in it works like a Surveyor and extends your build range. If you put a rifle man from a rifle squad inside you get an anti infantry defence tower, if you put a Shadow Trooper inside it becomes a Stealth Generator, etc. Generally the idea was to spice up the Surveyor a bit not really needed but would have been cool.

The Temple of Nod, ruled! In the summit build of C&C3. Iím not happy with the model replacement in the final version clearly I have a job of modding in the summit Temple when C&C3 comes out as it just looked that damn cool it must be done.



Wheels on the Bus Go Round with Jason Bender!

Talked with Jason Bender about Generals story (30 stories made for the game), story writing seminar Mike Verdu and Bender attended in Hollywood, and Forgotten in C&C3, talked bout Tiberian Sun Rising and more C&C3 stuff. Also talked bout Info Screens in C&C3 that explain things like Cabal situation etc Like Renegades Data Screens.

On the bus to the next event I talked with Jason Bender as much as I could. Thanks for the great conversations Jason sorry if I talked too much C&C storyline I just love to discuss with you guys. Anyway we discussed many things one thing was about the Generals story. Why didnít Generals have a story well apparently EA actually wrote 30 different story lines for C&C Generals, they really tried to fit a story to the game because a strong story was an important C&C component. But the problem was no matter what story they wrote it just didnít suit Generals as it was modern warfare it explained itself really. Sitting there having Jason explain it to me that way it actually made a lot of sense and Generals seemed quite a bit better planned then I had previously thought. Just an interesting titbit of information for you guys out there.

Next we discussed Cabal I wanted to know why Cabal was killed off. In the pod cast interview Mike Verdu had said there were many stories left to be told and Cabal was a story line that wasnít going to be told yet was the conclusion. But he didnít hint whether they intended on telling it in the future or not but that Kane was the main villain in C&C3 and Cabal just didnít fit as the main villain. Which I agree in that respects, but talking with Jason he explained there were many reasons why Cabal was dropped and this was discussed in great detail within EA. One reason was as Mike said, Kane is the villain of C&C there is no replacing that and Cabal just didnít fit that role for this C&C game we needed Kane back. Another reason was that a very small amount of people actually played TS Firestorm all the way to the finish. So there arenít a lot of people that are aware of the full Firestorm story. Which they have the sales figures so theyíd know and speaking with many community members not a lot have finished Firestorm which was disturbing. So a contributing reason to drop Cabal was in the interests of keeping the story where people knew what was going on, so they continued from Tiberian Sun. But Cabal hasnít been completely ignored, neither has the Forgotten. C&C3 contains a Data Node feature like Renegades, where it stores information on story, units, etc Jason said storyís explaining whatís happened with Cabal and the Forgotten would be told through that feature of the C&C3 menu as well as a lot of Cannon was going to be included in there for those hardcore fans wanting to know the finer details of the C&C story. That was fantastic to hear I was happy that they thought that far ahead to do that. In regards to the Forgotten Jason said they would have liked to do some more with the Forgotten but they just couldnít find a way for them to play any significant part in C&C3 which after playing the game and getting the low down I agreed that including the mutants and not the Forgotten society was a good move for the game.

I then went on to ask if any ruined Tiberian Sun structures were left around on the battlefield for scenery or tech structures. Like in Tiberian Sun the Tiberian Dawn structures left in for scenery. Jason Bender said ďIím pretty sure there is a Tiberian Sun GDI Power plant on one map other then that I donít think Iíve seen any others and whether or not even that goes in the final remains to be seenĒ. So I was a little disappointed but given whatís happened to the Earth since Tiberian Sun there isnít going to be much left lying around anyway.

Next I asked about why Tiberium was changed so much, one was realism they wanted to add a deeper edge of believability to C&C but more so it was related deeply to the story. Which he said both himself and Mike Verdu attended Story workshops in Hollywood with some of the best writers in the business. With what makes a good story, elements all important points and they even had the C&C3 story sent through to this guy for feedback. They really put a lot of effort into building a good solid story line for C&C3 that didnít disappoint. I was actually impressed they went to such lengths for the story.

LASER TAG!

It was getting late after that and Our contact had more planned for us, a night of laser tab which he himself would be playing, as well as Jason Bender and one of the visual effects guys as well as Skull. There were three team colours Red, Blue and Green all supporters of Nod choose Red and surprisingly our contact a GDI supporter ended up on our team. I had not played Laser Tag in a while I went into Quake 4 gaming mode which is lots of bunny hopping *jumping around like a lunatic* I was constantly running I never stopped except to destroy enemy baseís. Which just like in Q4 you stop your dead same rule in Laser Tag, I was also doing some crawling, diving and army rolls I think people thought I was taking the match far too seriously. But our contact had a prize for the team that won and I wanted to win. After the first match I got 3rd place, there were 6 people on each team and we rotated people between matchís but I stayed on for every match because I was scoring tons of points and no one minded but I was exhausted by the end of it as Iíd been running non stop. The second match begun and I took out the green and blue bases straight away at the start, I running around getting a ton of kills most people were pretty bad shots I was being missed a lot. I went upstairs to get a better vantage point on the people below for some sniper Assassin style shots. But I set off a minefield narrowly escaped with my life, but killed several people on the enemy team who didnít know Iíd set it off which was funny. I army rolled around the corner when I came face to face with Kane?!?!?! No it was Skull for a second he scared the crap out of me he said ďBoo" and laughed I laughed too and we kept on fighting that was a fun match. I got 4th in that round, 1st in the round after that which was glorious! Number 1! I killed so many bases and people in that match I had a lot of fun. Then the last two matchesí I got 2nd place and sure enough Red Team won!!!! The Mighty Brotherhood Conquered the Laser-tag! Be proud my brothers!

After that I was exhausted I talked with Skull a little bit after the Laser Tag but quickly headed back to bed to get some sleep for the next day which I couldnít wait to find out what we were going to do. I hoped it was playing the game a whole lot more! Which yes it certainly was.

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