Articles & Editorials: Does C&C Belong in 3D?

In 1995, 2-D RTS was new and revolutionary. This is one of the reasons why Command & Conquer was (and still is) a hit. C&C was the first widely recognized 2-D RTS game. But times have changed since then. A new and awesome form of RTS, 3-D RTS, has made itself known through games like Homeworld. Some people think C&C should be brought into 3-D. But then there is the question that is as old as C&C itself: How far can you take Command & Conquer before it’s not Command & Conquer anymore?

The greatest disadvantage is that C&C in 3-D is not the same old classic RTS. I think 3-D would alter the gameplay so much, it wouldn’t be C&C anymore. And with 3-D RTS games which take place on land, the player usually keeps the camera at the position it would be in a 2-D game. Another problem is that players usually find it hard to control units which move in 3 dimensions. To adjust the unit’s position on the X and Y axis, the camera must be placed above the units; to adjust the unit’s position on the Z axis, the camera must be placed to the side of the units. Command & Conquer shouldn’t have many units that move on the Z axis, though, so that will not be a problem. But since there are no units which move on the Z axis, why make the game in 3-D? 3-D RTS is too much harder to do than 2-D RTS. A game company doesn’t want to spend the extra time and resources needed to make the game in 3-D just so gamers can play with the camera.

However, there are also advantages to 3-D. It would be very useful to be able to place buildings at any angle you please. Of course, that would require a much more advanced object-placing system than the “cells” used in 2-D games (as you all probably know, the “cells” I’m referring to are those little separate squares of land which are also known as “blocks” and “tiles”).

In conclusion, Command & Conquer should stay in 2-D. Someday 2-D RTS will be a thing of the past, and 3-D RTS will reign. But for now, even if only for a short time, let’s enjoy 2-D RTS and the classic C&C interface we have become so used to.

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