CNCNZ.com Is Online for 22 Years

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27 October is when CNCNZ.com observes its anniversary, this time number 22.

But alas, if you have visited this site at any point over the past year or so, you will have noticed that our activity has not been what it once was. Due to private obligations and shifting focus to other projects and ways of contributing to game communities in general, combined with a lack of enthusiastic staff who would push content and news, those of us who remain have left CNCNZ.com on the backburner for a while, although we do cover official C&C remaster news and news regarding former C&C developers whenever we catch wind of them.

However, once this "quiet" phase ends, I would like to announce that CNCNZ.com will change its scope in the foreseeable future to better serve the series and the community as a hub for C&C info, in which a greater stress will be the aspects that you usually need multiple clicks to reach. What that will exactly look like, we can't and won't reveal right now, but watch this space in the coming months.

Until then, we're still available to talk on our Discord server and our (currently asleep) forums.

C&C Remastered Gameplay Teaser and Website!

We finally have first video footage and a website with a before-and-after comparison for Command & Conquer: Remastered!

Here's what Jim Vessella had to say:

 

Fellow Command & Conquer fans,

Crazy to believe it’s nearly been one year since we formally announced the C&C Remaster and began development with Petroglyph Games and Lemon Sky Studios. To celebrate this milestone, today we’re excited to showcase one of our biggest reveals on the journey so far - a first teaser of the game in action!

And with this teaser comes an answer to one of your key questions from the past year:

“Is the Remaster going to be in 2D or 3D?”

We’re ready to share the Remaster has been developed in the classic 2D visual style, unlocking our ability to stay as authentic as possible to the original games. Below we’d like to provide more details on how we’re approaching these visuals, and why we felt the 2D style was the best fit for the project.

As you may remember from one of the first posts, our plan is to remaster (not remake) the classic games. Creatively, this means our guiding light has always been to remain authentic to the original feel, and we’re constantly on the lookout for ways to achieve that goal. When we recovered the source code to C&C Tiberian Dawn and C&C Red Alert, this gave us a viable avenue to accurately match the core gameplay, feel, and signature look of the legacy titles. We felt the 2D style was the best way to bring all these elements together, and ultimately achieve the authenticity we were looking for.

It’s been wonderful to see the passionate, artistic care taken by Lemon Sky and the team with this creative approach. Lemon Sky has re-concepted, re-modeled, and re-animated every gameplay asset from scratch - examples of which you’ve seen with the Construction Yard and Tesla Tank. Once it reaches the final stage as seen in those previews, we render and export the assets in 2D so they lineup frame for frame with the original visuals. In some cases like the Grenadier, this can mean over 600 frames for a single unit. This creative process has allowed us to modernize the game assets as you originally imagined them, and stay true to the gameplay you’ve known and loved for 25 years.

In addition to the authenticity, we’re excited to reveal an extra benefit of this 2D approach is that Petroglyph has been able to utilize their deep familiarity with the source code to enable the real-time switching of Legacy / Remastered graphics in Campaign missions. This means at any time when playing a Campaign mission, you can tap a single key to smoothly toggle between the original assets at 320 x 200, to the Remastered assets up to 3840 x 2160. Playing with this toggle over the past several months has been a true joy, and we believe will be one of your favorite features in the Remaster. Along with the real-time toggling, you’ll have the ability to zoom the camera to take in all the high definition detail, with an effective zoom distance between the DOS and C&C Gold camera heights.

You can see an example of these features in action in the associated video above (just in case you made it this far and haven’t watched it already). To get an even better feel for the visual difference, we encourage you to visit our new website site at:

https://www.ea.com/games/command-and-conquer/command-and-conquer-remastered

Here you can use an interactive component to see the Legacy / Remastered visuals playing side by side. Keep in mind some of the assets you’re seeing in these videos are still in progress (I’m looking at you, Tiberium Silo), as we’re continuing to fix bugs and polish items based on feedback from our colleagues, the Community Council, and all of you.

We’re eager to hear your thoughts on everything you’re seeing in this post, so please share your comments in the thread below. Thanks for your support and participation, and looking forward to sharing more game assets in the months ahead.

Cheers,

Jim Vessella

Jimtern

Red Alert 1 Beta v0.09c Found and Verified

 

A most unlikely event has just occurred - beta version 0.09c of Command & Conquer: Red Alert has been discovered. The exact source and date of this build is unknown, but the person who found it is Siberian_GRemlin, whom Russian fans may know for his translations of earlier games in the series. Here are some of the differences:

  • there are no countries (subfactions) yet
  • some previously unseen cutscenes appear, including the long-lost shipyard one
  • certain removed voice lines appear, including "It is done" and "Time for a little five-finger discount" which we would only hear in the track Radio 2 Remix
  • rudimentary skirmish AI
  • dev build of the map editor with debug keys
  • a sprite believed to be the cut commando Megan is present

TaxOwlbear got the build early while it was being verified by CCHyper, Nyerguds, Tore and Chad from CnCNet, which is what you see above. More information can be found here, and the download link is here.

GenTool Version 7.8 Available

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GenTool, xezon's extension for Generals and Zero Hour, has received a new update, version 7.8. Here's what's new:

New features:

  • Added new ranked maps to GenTool updater
  • Added custom map list size patching to GenTool updater to list up to 1200 maps
  • Added player money display in replay and observer modes
  • Added text size toggle on [Numpad +] and [Numpad -] keys
  • Added player name and player id information in uploaded replay txt file

Fixes / improvements:

  • Fixed tick threading issue that would cause wrong timers
  • Changed folder structure in uploaded data to separate online and network matches
  • Changed text in GenTool menu
  • Improved code in Upload Mode

If you already have GenTool installed, you can update it by simply running Generals/Zero Hour and exiting. If you want to do so manually or you do not have it installed yet, you can download it from the GenTool website or from here at CNCNZ.com.

C&C Remasters – Update on Soundtrack and Jukebox

 

EA producer Jim Vessella, true to his monthly schedule of remaster updates, has today posted about the in-game soundtracks and the jukebox feature, including some comments from veteran composer Frank Klepacki, and a sample of some of the remastered tracks - Act on Instinct, Demolition, and Fogger.

 

Fellow Command & Conquer fans,

I wanted to start this post by saying I’ve seen all the comments with the desire to see in-game footage, and thought it would be helpful to provide some context on the timing here. Essentially, we want to make sure we have all the supporting assets in place (like an updated C&C website) before revealing the in-game content. This will allow us to utilize some more flexible media components for the reveal, and ultimately help our awareness so we can get more gamers excited about C&C and the Remaster (which is beneficial for all of us). And while I cannot provide an exact date, getting all this in place is one of my top priorities and I’m crossing my fingers it can happen soon. But overall, our gameplay implementation is right on schedule, with Petroglyph currently focusing on getting the Nod campaign all stitched together.

In the meantime, we wanted to share some special content with you for this post. If you remember, earlier this year we asked the community to provide input on our approach for the soundtrack, including what versions of the tracks you wanted to see in the Remaster. All of us on the team listened intently, and we heard a general consensus for having the most variety possible. So with that request in hand, we pushed hard to include all the versions of the tracks. This means the classic low fidelity versions (without voices), the original soundtrack versions now remastered (with voices), and then of course the Remastered versions of all classic tracks. This will also include many of the rare / unreleased tracks, several of which have never been heard before in higher fidelity. But getting there wasn’t always easy, and here’s an overview from Frank describing the remastering experience:

“The process of going through every single piece of music and bringing it to a higher quality standard has been quite a journey back in time for me, and I’m really glad that all of these tracks will finally be heard in full high quality for the remastered game experience. After combing all possible archives, a handful of tracks were just nowhere to be found – this included ‘Snake’ and ‘Fogger’ from C&C Red Alert. One thing that I did back in the Westwood era, was mirror my home studio with the same gear I had at work, and fortunately I had kept much of it all these years. So I started there, and I went to painstaking detail and trial and error to track down and match as much of the exact original sounds and instrumentation I could find, to recreate these songs from scratch in order to have the best high quality versions once again for the remaster. Hearing these new versions, especially in stereo now, is a whole new experience.”

To add it all up, between the classic and remastered versions of the tracks, we’re clocking in at over 10 hours worth of music across 175 tracks!

Now, with that much music and variety, we figured players would need a way to organize all the music content. So we are excited to share that the Jukebox will be making a full comeback in the Remaster, and be more enhanced than ever before. The Jukebox will allow players to create their own playlist utilizing any combination of music to their desire. Easy to use filters help the sorting process, and for the first time you can listen to Red Alert music in Tiberian Dawn or vice versa. This feature was a labor of love for Frank and some of the original Westwood engineers on the project, who wanted to deliver the best music experience possible for the community. Overall we just can’t wait to put the Jukebox in your hands, and see all the unique playlists the community puts together.

As a special treat to celebrate this post about the soundtrack, Frank has put together a compilation of several Remastered tracks for your enjoyment. You’ll be hearing a sample of the Remastered versions of Act on Instinct (without voices), Demolition (which was never included on the OST), and Fogger (which Frank described above as being recreated from scratch in high fidelity). To help provide a comparison, each track also includes a short intro of the classic low fidelity version as heard in the original game.

And finally, you may notice there’s an unchecked box called “Bonus” in the Jukebox. Well, we haven’t forgotten about the voting you did earlier this year on your favorite tracks, and as such we’ll have a special surprise to reveal at a later date : )

As always thanks for your ongoing patience and support, and we’re looking forward to hearing your feedback on the soundtrack details, Jukebox, and the music itself.

Cheers,

Jim Vessella

Jimtern

 

You can read the original announcement and listen to the tracks on the C&C subreddit.

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20 Years of Tiberian Sun

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20 years ago, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun was released in North America, 7 days after its international debut in Germany. It was the first Command & Conquer game which used an isometric view with voxels portraying vehicles, aircraft and certain turrets. While technologically more advanced than prior titles in the series, its development issues were showing. Nevertheless, its campaign had arguably unrivalled worldbuilding within the Command & Conquer franchise, taking a darker and gloomier direction for its lore and its unforgettable soundtrack. Even its cutscenes got higher-profile actors than before (Michael Biehn and James Earl Jones).

Even now, people still play and modify Tiberian Sun. It was released for free on 12 February 2010 with its Firestorm expansion, and thanks to our friends at CnCNet, it's accessible to install and play offline and online through their custom installers! Tell us your most memorable experiences in the game.

C&C Remastered Update: Campaign Screens

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Another month, another update from Jim Vessella regarding the Command & Conquer remasters, this time focusing on the campaign screens in Tiberian Dawn, and how they will now be available for selection individually like in some of the later titles. Here's the full update from the C&C subreddit:

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Fellow Command & Conquer fans,

We’re nearing the completion of our second production milestone, and significant progress has been made over the past several weeks. The entire GDI Campaign is getting close to Alpha quality, including the ability to play through the campaign in succession with all the proper transitions. Items like the European Mission Map are currently getting remastered in 4k, which is giving the campaign a truly rich high definition experience. With the topic of campaign progression in mind, we wanted to share a preview of a new screen we’re introducing into the remasters - the Mission Selection screen.

The Mission Selection screen is a quality-of-life feature we wanted to add to the remasters, allowing players to more easily track their campaign progression and access all the remastered mission content. The screen serves as a hub for the progress you’ve made across both campaigns, highlighting which missions you’ve completed and the ones you still have yet to tackle. This is especially valuable for missions with alternate paths, such as GDI Mission 4 where there are three possible map variants. The screen will enable players to replay missions at ease, compared to the legacy titles which required players to remember manually saving their game during each mission. When campaign mission entries are selected, the screen will reinforce the world map progression, showcase the mission briefing, and provide an opportunity to watch the cinematics. In addition to campaign missions, the screen will also provide quick access to any expansion missions, and perhaps a few bonus missions players may be familiar with :)

In terms of cosmetic design, the visual style is inspired by the classic Main Menu from the Gold edition, and shares similar elements as our remastered Sidebar. As with all the remastered content, our goal is to maintain an authentic approach to the menus, while of course enhancing them to take full advantage of higher resolution displays. You can expect this style to permeate throughout all the menu screens in Tiberian Dawn.

We’re eager to hear your feedback on both the functionality and cosmetic design of this screen, and thanks for your ongoing support and participation.

Cheers,

Jim Vessella

Jimtern

 

C&C Remastered Update: Tiberian Dawn Campaigns, Red Alert 1 Catching Up

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About an hour ago, EA producer Jim Vessella posted a new update on the C&C and Red Alert remasters, along with the above shown render of the Aftermath Tesla Tank. Here is what he had to say:

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Fellow Command & Conquer fans,

Positive momentum continues and earlier this month we completed our first production milestone. This milestone included several key improvements to Tiberian Dawn, most notably delivering our first Campaign mission to full Alpha quality. This means all the mission visuals are now showcasing the 4k assets from Lemon Sky, and the mission can be completed with all the core gameplay mechanics. I’ll admit when playing this full mission experience, the game started to transport me back to when I first played C&C, and I hope it does the same for all of you when the game is released.

However, one of the more exciting accomplishments of this milestone actually had nothing to do with Tiberian Dawn. That’s because we were able to get Red Alert playable for the first time. We are now able to load Red Alert missions, and the game is already being populated with several of the remastered visual assets. That’s because even though Red Alert just became playable in the software, Lemon Sky has actually been creating assets for Red Alert over the past several months. So to celebrate this first step for Red Alert, we thought it would be fun to share a preview for one of the most iconic Red Alert units - the Tesla Tank.

In the same fashion as our approach of the structures, our primary goal for units has been to maintain the authenticity of the original in-game asset. In an effort to take advantage of the 4k resolution, many of our earlier unit concepts included extra widgets and details, but we often found this compromised the unit’s readability at camera game height. So we continued to iterate, and over the months we’ve begun to hone in on these elements, and feel like the Tesla Tank here strikes a good balance between readability and those added details. Of note, we only interpreted one Tesla ring from the legacy in-game asset, but there’s already been a healthy debate with the Community Council whether the Tesla ball should have two rings to match the cinematic reference. Perhaps we can get feedback here from the greater community to help decide this unit’s final look : )

Thanks for your ongoing support and participation, and looking forward to sharing more details as both games now become more playable.

Cheers,

Jim Vessella

Jimtern

The original post is here. Relatedly, the old official Command & Conquer Facebook page has been resurrected the other day and will now also post about remaster updates.

C&C Community News – May 2019

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May has been a very active month for the C&C Community in terms of modding, here is an update on what's been happening this past month:

That's it for late April, May and early June.

Rivals News – Q1 & Q2 2019

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For those interested in C&C Rivals' development, since last year, there have been several new updates to the game.

That's all for the first half of 2019.

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