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Command & Conquer 3 - December Community Summit
--DAY THREE-- Page 4
Breakfast I had blueberry pancakes again and loved them again! Thanks EA Chefs you guys do great work keep it up!

RTS as a Sport

Presentation RTS as a Sport this is an initiative which EA is pushing to get RTS more recognised to professional gamers as a sport instead of FPS’s taking all the glory. Which I think it’s great to see RTS finally making this move it’s quite exciting. Multiplayer Enhancements include:

-Voice Chat

-Match Broadcasting and Narrating

-Integrated Web Match Making and User Tracking

Some exciting features which have already been covered in depth by other sites and EA themselves so I wont go into them any further, any questions about them ask me on the forums.

Artificial Intelligence

“Awaiting you human” – Cabal

Next they wanted feedback on the AI for C&C3 how it played, how it all was working at this point. They had just finished developing a new version of the AI for us to play too was exciting time to jump in and have some fun. In C&C3 Tiberium Wars the new introduction with AI is AI Profiles, you can choose a Random profile or if you want to play against an opponent with a specific style of play you can choose one of these AI profiles which the names explain themselves

· Overlord
-Is the supreme AI uses lots of heavy units and rush’s a lot it is the God AI effectively especially when on Brutal this is hard!

· Guerrilla
Stealth is Key, Sneaky and tricky the Guerrilla AI knows his profile well and will work his way around your defences. Try to sneak up through the rear of your base and more!

· Optimum
Optimised the most efficient tactics uses light units, balances resources, defence and offensive. Can you beat the Optimal Setting?

· Defensive
A turtler AI profile, which builds mass amounts of defence and does little offensive you must take the fight to them. Can you out turtle the turtler?

· Offensive
Rush machine! This AI is all about offensive combat can you be more brutal and bloody then this AI?

I played a match against a Brutal Overlord AI one on one in my first round the Overlord AI is extremely capable it sent in a massive rush attack force into my base within the first 15minutes or so and crushed me so that proved that that AI was effective next one.

In my next match I played a three way battle against a Defensive and Guerrilla AI. The defensive AI sat back turtling building up massive defences around its base. However only around certain parts of the base thou leaving itself vulnerable in areas. The Guerrilla AI specialises in Guerrilla tactics obviously and is very sneaky it takes advantage of any gaps in your defences and try’s to attack your base from the rear. Which it quickly killed off the Defensive AI and after a bit of battling the Guerrilla AI eventually defeated me as it bypassed a bunch of my defences taking a sneaky route into my base. Then I played a four way match myself allied with an Offensive AI vs. an Overlord AI allied with an Optimum AI. The Overlord AI was tough it was attacking my ally AI heaps in the beginning but he fended them off. Then it focused its attention on me which I had been protecting my ally. Annoyingly the AI didn’t send any reinforcements to help me out but I managed to stave off death by merging my base with my allies. I managed to kill off the Optimum AI opponent. But again the Overlord on Brutal is extremely powerful and overwhelmed both my own and my allies forces. Then Overlord proved very challenging in a Nod vs. GDI match I was determined to win this time and I focused on building things as quickly as possible and setting up a large harvesting operation and in this match I managed to overpower the Overlord AI with a significant amount of Avatars! And a lot of luck. Blue Tiberium was in game and working which was great to see so don’t worry guys it’s in there and is worth more and all that jazz.

“Our Directives must be reassessed” - Cabal

Discussion/Feedback with the AI Development Team

Lunch – More sub sandwiches I talked with the AI guys about the modding possibilities which they explained yes new AI profiles can be added and this does open many interesting modding opportunities indeed so I was very excited. Jason Bender also revealed that when making a mod due to the new AI system there using the XML sends a lot of instructions to the AI. Now when we make a mod like a Total Conversion he said you shouldn’t have to rewrite the whole AI anymore it should for the most part adapt to your chances as long as there not too extreme. This was fantastic to hear! I really hope they’ve stuck with that. We all provided feedback on our AI experiences and made recommendations on what we thought should be improved, adjusted and fixed up.

We all agreed the overlord really kicked butt on Brutal setting. Optimum used a fair range of strategies, Defensive only built defences around certain parts of their base leaving themselves vulnerable. Guerrilla was very nice and sneaky as it should have been. AI overall had a weakness to Engineer's and Commandos it seemed I hope this has been rectified. Offensive rushed too much and didn’t defend enough but all had unique styles and was awesome great work AI team.

I didn’t like the fact that your allied AI’s didn’t send any units to back you up, I think if you ally with an AI it should make an effort to protect you if you’re protecting it. Act of War has an AI system like this and I think it’d be a nice feature to see in C&C3. Other then that I was quite happy with the AI despite the obvious bugs that were being ironed out.

Tiberium Wars: Xbox 360 Edition



Next up we were taken to the room were the Xbox 360 edition was being prepped for show. Mike Gloseki was there to show us the Xbox 360 edition live in action. Miked loaded up one of the early missions for the Brotherhood of Nod and demonstrated how the controls handled. They introduced a Sticky Select system allowing quick and easy changing between units, easy selection in the midst of a chaotic battle. Then another feature called Sticky Toggle which if you got close to a target or unit the select cursor will focus over automatically. Another cool thing is the interface is different from the PC’s it is designed and optimised for the Xbox control pad. This is complete with shortcuts and so much more. The interface in the Xbox edition is a bottom bar more similar to C&C Generals merely as its better suited for consoles. You have keys to remember camera points, to assign quicks using your D pad and browse through the assigned squads. Louis Castle dropped in to say hi, it was fantastic to meet the father of C&C himself, there was a lot of hero worship happening when he came in I think all of us talked to him he’s a real nice guy, Thanks for dropping by Louis Castle!

The Xbox Edition has unique multiplayer modes, camera support and more! The Xbox Live Camera’s allow you to display your ugly mug while playing the game. Upon which you can give them all sorts of scary sneers to thwart your opponent. Thou I think this feature is going to be abused to be honest. Then there is the winner’s circle where the winner of the match gets a small amount of bragging time to do a stupid dance or whatever he wants. Sounds like the end of an Unreal Tournament match and someone doing the Thrust Gesture too many times.

Exclusive Xbox Live Game Modes:

-Siege
At the start of a match there is an impenetrable barrier between players it lasts for a set amount of time. This is effectively a count down to attack time. While this timer is counting you build up your base and construct a massive army. When the barriers drop the battle begins!

-Capture the Flag
-Capture & Hold
-King of the Hill

The Scrin - Unveiled

Then we played the Third Race! The Aliens, the Scrin! Which were just AWESOME!!! Played a lot of match’s with them against Cabal (from Cnc World) and with Cabal against AI Comp Stomp. Lots of fun!!!!

The Scrin! Wow they are very impressive, one cool thing I noticed is they are beautifully detailed side. The models are modelled with care to be intricate and alien looking the glow effects on the units make them look really cool. Not only that the glowing colours coming off the units are bound to the house colour of the side. So whatever colour you choose your side will glow that colour which looks mega cool I must say. Purple and Blue I found by far looked the best on this side blue is its standard colour.

Anyway the first noticeable thing about the Scrin is they have their Home Ship this is basically flying MCV effectively which is unique to them and very cool for setting up bases around the battlefield quickly. They have a Surveyor, Crane, like the other sides. There barracks and war factory’s are effectively them there are Alien Infantry squads of various different races within the Scrin and then there’s the Scrin vehicles and of course aircraft. Which are teleported in by these Portal's which give off a cool effect each time you build a unit. It’s like they wormhole in all there units which reminds me of the Protoss in Starcraft which beam in all there structures and units from another location. They animation and look for the Scrin is very fluid and just damn hot! I was very happy with that. The Scrin air force is amazing they have a Scrin Carrier, a Battleship, a Fighter, a Mother ship and more!. They have some basic tanks, some more advanced hover vehicles that look awesome and a whole bunch of bug like creature/walker type units and of course the Annihilator Tripod. I talked about before is very cool indeed go read about the GDI first mission to find out more about it. The Annihilator Tripod is the Scrin mech unit so if you loose it its body will stay around for 30 seconds open for capture by an enemy. Their super weapon is a Rift Generator which is a strong seismic weapon I believe my matchs were over before the thing ever got fully charged I was disappointed not to be able to check it out. But I did get to fire the Mother ships Cannon! This destroyed Cabals entire base in one shot! All he had left was a secondary harvesting base which I picked off and that was the end of that match. It’s like watching Independence Day when that thing fires its beautiful I love it.



Wormholes are a special ability for the Scrin which are very cool, its basically like a balanced Zero Hour Sneak attack. You open up one end of the wormhole and then open the other, I opened one starting at the beginning of my base and going to the beginning of Cabals base to save my units the walk time. I sent 20 Annihilator Tripods through which were all killed instantly upon existing the Wormhole. The wormhole weakens units for a moment that are leaving the wormhole preventing it from being used to rush. Furthermore the enemy can send their units through your wormholes! Cabal sent a bunch of units thru my own wormhole back at me! Making it a nice ironic and strategic weapon to be used with great care. Its very well balanced I love the evilness to the weapon its great! You can really take a n00b by surprise with that trick who’s using his wormhole for the first time so remember that.

After that we played a Comp Stomp me and Cabal vs. 2 Brutal AI’s I think they were both Overlords. We were both Scrin allied vs. an allied GDI and Nod. Which we crushed them! They stook no chance against our massive Scrin army’s of destruction! I think the Scrin were not properly balanced yet at this stage but it lead for some awesome battles none the less and we have A LOT of fun! I wish we could a just stayed longer and played all night lol! My main attack force against the AI consisted of Scrin Gun Walkers which are powerful walking cannon platforms, Annihilator Tripods and Scrin Carriers which launch lots of tiny ships against their target and then return to the carrier to resupply.

Some units I like from the Scrin, the Buzzers these wierd creatures that look like spinning blades or something you have them as defence towers which swarm out at their enemies and as single units. You have the Gun Walker which is a big walking gun and is extremly powerful in groups. The Devourer Tank which sucks up Tiberium from fields and refinerys and deals some serious damage, the Annihilator Tripod which I've already mentioned and the Mastermind which is the Alien Commando unit it is extremly powerful and very cool! dont underestimate it I'm sorry I dont remember its special abilities.

Last Feedback Session

With the development team, Jim Vessel , Jason Bender, Mike Verdu and Greg Black were all present.

Thoughts on the Scrin well we all had good things to say really I liked the unique edge they had, the futuristic weapons, the strong air force or space armada I should say. Balancing needs some work but the game play really strikes home as an Alien side that is quite different from the conventional GDI and the radical Brotherhood of Nod. We all loved the Annihilator Tripod and the Mother ship those are really iconic Scrin units indeed.

Presentations

Renardin showed us the latest build of CnC Reborn which is looking awesome.

JohnWE showed off his comedic C&C videos which was a great laugh I enjoyed that a lot

Pure Ownage showed a lot of their Zero Hour Humour which was also entertaining

Tiberian Sun Rising - Exclusive

And I presented Tiberian Sun Rising, I demonstrated almost all the GDI side and I explained Tiberium in Tiberian Sun Rising. Tiberium grows and spreads like it does in Tiberian Sun exactly like it does in Tiberian Sun. It also mutates life forms around it creating Tiberium Friends from certain life forms, Visceroids from humans, if Tiberium comes in contact with a tree it will mutate into a Blossom Tree or another mutated tree like the ones from Firestorm. Mutation is a big part of Tiberium in Tiberian Sun Rising and anything Tiberium comes in contact with will have a noticeable effect on the environment around it as it spreads. So it will actually mutate the level as it gains a foothold but only if you let Tiberium grow out of control. Now the next spin is Tiberium Evolution, over time Tiberium life forms will evolve. Tiberium plant life will from harmless scenery to deadly life forms to defend the Tiberium paradise. Example take the flytrap looking Tiberium plant from Firestorm, its first stage it is harmless, when it evolves to its next stage *after a certain period of time* it will become a human eating plant. Then when it evolves again it will become a plant that sprays Tiberium Gas on its targets, then if it evolves yet again it becomes a plant the eats vehicles that pass by and it keeps going on. We plan to start off the first release with a very basic level of mutation and evolution and with future patches constantly take it further with each update always ensuring a new mystery or surprise from Tiberium.

Now all Tiberium Life form’s Evolve for instance the Visceroids will evolve to a new creature we’ve created called the Creeper which is an amphibious Tiberium life form. Then it will evolve to the Tiberian Floater, and then yet another new life form we’ve created called the Urchin. This is a spiky ball that uses charged ionic particles in the lower atmosphere to propel itself around so it flies around. Its weapon is charging these ionic particles and launching them out as a bolt of lighting, now if an Ion Storm starts up this can change the situation. Under these conditions the Urchin becomes super charged with ionic energy and launch’s super lightning bolts that do double the damage they did before making it even more deadly. Some Tiberium life forms are affected by all sorts of conditions the Ion Storm is only one of them.

Is this all really possible in Zero Hour??? Yes indeed it is! We’ve got a basic setup of this working in game at the moment, not quite as far as I’ve described yet as our focus is on finishing the Brotherhood of Nod right now. But this is all fully possible and tested and proven within TSR.

Now there’s an even bigger spin! Not only is there Tiberium Evolution and mutation but how can GDI and Nod affect this? Well if Nod uses a lot of Tiberium Weapons they will automatically speed up Tiberium evolution in the environment where the weapons are being used. This means more deadly Tiberium life forms a lot more quickly. Creating a very deadly environment for the player but if used strategically you can make things very difficult for your enemies. Just remember whatever monsters you created once there done with your enemies they will come after you!

Now GDI on the other hand has the ability to slow down and even reverse Tiberium evolution to less harmful Tiberium life forms in some cases. This is using a prototype of GDI’s Sonic Resonator Technology which is later used to create the Blue Zones we see in C&C3 this is the only part of C&C3 we have tied into Tiberian Sun Rising and we felt it was necessary to balance against Nods ability to speed up Tiberium evolution by giving GDI the opposite ability.

That’s all I talked about on Tiberian Sun Rising, enjoy!

After that we went out with Hypnotist, JohnWE, Trojan and some others with Jim Vessela and some others from EA for some final discussions and just to chill out have a drink. I had a lot of positive feedback from the EA dev team on Tiberian Sun Rising so I was very happy and I’d really like to thank EA for the opportunity to present TSR to the team I never expected to get such an awesome opportunity. Thankyou!

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