Roundtable Discussion #25 – November 2009 (Classic Command & Conquer Modding Special Edition)


Things are a little different for this very special edition of our regular Roundtable. This month it focuses on modding classic C&C games like the original C&C, Red Alert, Tiberian Sun, Red Alert 2 and Yuri’s Revenge. The panel consits of some of the best names in the modding community.

Question 1) There are still several people creating mods for classic C&C games (TS/RA2/YR/RA/C&C). What is it that still makes these games attractive to mod?

Doctor Destiny: I enjoy the classic games because that’s where I began playing so long ago. The first half is where it all began and where I began playing the series so it holds a special place in my gaming core. The games have more soul and something the 3D games just don’t. There’s that, of course, and the games being substantially easier to modify.

Banshee: A lot of things still makes them attractive. Usually when you add realism to the games, you increase their complexity. The old games are much more simple than newer ones and that reflects in the INI and XML files. Coding a new unit in Tiberian Sun requires much less steps than in C&C3 or Generals. And also, the tools required to mod them are simple to use and free. Paint or Photoshop are easier to use than 3ds max, because they are more intuitive. What you see is what you get, while textures in 3D programs are done separately 3ds max, required to export graphics to newer games has a very high cost, which doesn’t target enthusiasts. Photoshop is also expensive, but there are many free alternatives ranging from OS SHP Builder to GIMP, Paint.NET, Inkscape and MS Paint. Another thing is that new games, starting from Tiberium Wars, have limited examples, since mods distributed for it are closed source. So, there are still many people who see the old games as a viable way to implement their ideas. The learning curve of modding these games is much lower than the one for modding C&C3, RA3, etc.

Koen: The simplicity of it, especially when it comes to making new unit graphics. Even adding a new unit icon is a complex ordeal with later games.

Nyerguds: The game mechanics, and the ease of modding. People seem to forget that it is these basic mechanics that have attracted the fans from the series since the first games. They’re simply fun games, and easy to mod.

Hyper: Well, i dont know what the majority enjoy, but when i used to mod Red Alert 95 and Tiberian Sun years ago i always liked the simplicity and the never ending task of working new logics out, or pulling apart the existing ones. I suppose you gotta enjoy the game to some degree to want to mod it, of course, but even then, some modders of non C&C games like to mod a certain game/engine just to make it into another game/theme becuase they think or know the engine can deliver what they want, that in turn gives them some or all motivation towards modding.

DCoder: They’re simpler to mod, extract a text file, edit it, save, done. With newer C&C games you need the SDK, data compilers, familiarity with XML and what not. Custom assets are also much easier to make and share in the older games.

Just as important, I think, is the nostalgia factor, I started with sillymodding the original RA, then advanced to TS/RA2, and they’ll always be special to me. That was over 10 years ago… the people modding 3D can’t say that 🙂

The reduced complexity of the game engine also has benefits – some people, me included, can actually read the executable code that makes up the game, and document/modify it as necessary. Just a couple days ago I explained to a fellow modder exactly how CellSpread works, and it was archived in our modding encyclopedia for future reference. I don’t think anyone bothers to do that level of analysis on the modern games, there’s simply too much complexity and additional layers of puzzles involved.

On the other hand, I’ve seen plenty of bad results of such a low barrier to entry. Put bluntly, not all people who try their hand at modding should really be doing it, and the 3D games are complex enough to scare them away. That’s often a good thing.

Speeder: I’d say that much more than just several people. Those games have their years, there was enough time for modders to carefully study modding possibilities for engines used in C&C/RA and TS/RA2. It’s rather easy to learn both basic and more advanced modding techniques for these, tools used are simple and there’s really no big philosophy behind this. A single person can easily learn basics, either with help of experienced modders or using tutorials available around and create a mod for classic C&C game. No big teams are needed, there are lots of public resources available for use if you aren’t a skilled graphic artist and most important – there are always unexplored fields of imagination, which combined with the simplicity of classic C&C modding can result in fantastic things! Well, maybe that sounded a bit wierd, but I think that people who really enjoy this can always think up something really creative and interesting to make these games worth playing once again, even after all these years. It’s fun, it’s simple and you can enjoy this modding experience with others. Unless you do something completely wrong and the community hates you.

Also, there’s a phenomena about Tiberian Sun mods. While there’s no total conversion for RA2/YR which actually remakes the game, TS has plenty of those (Twisted Insurrection, Tiberian Odyssey etc.) and new ones are appearing. I can’t really tell whether it’s because of the game’s great atmosphere or.. it’s incompletion and rushed feeling. But that’s just great for modders, there’s always something to improve!

Apollo: I would say having ini files being relatively simple helps this as xml in C&C3/RA3 can look much more complicated and the need to compile it everytime just to see your changes in the game can get boring. Besides some people just like sharp 2D sprites versus potentially low poly 3d models with blurry textures which EALA has been prone to showing in recent C&C games.

Aro: One of the main reasons why games such as Tiberian Sun and Red Alert 2 are still being modifying today is because It’s fun and simple, new possibilities are being discovered daily and the talent around the C&C community is just constantly increasing leaving open many windows of opportunity for future mods of these games

Question 2) Do you still play classic C&C mods? Which of them interest you and why?

Doctor Destiny: Truth be told, I honestly play very few modifications since I began my modding “career.” But, that said, I do enjoy a quick game of Mental Omega since Speeder has done a pretty good job of loading the game with something fun, even if one of those additions is stupidly overpowered. But anyway *cough*… I also enjoy beta testing Twisted Insurrection. That is, by far, the best Tiberian Sun fan sequel I have ever played. I’m actually eagerly awaiting a full release of it, even if I am part of the staff…

Banshee: I’ve been under a heavy pressure from my university to finish my graduation final project, so I’ve been playing much more mobile games than anything else. So, it’s been a while since I’ve played any mod. Anyway, there are some mods that interest me, particularly Tiberian Odyssey and Twisted Insurrection for Tiberian Sun. Both are very promising mod, both in terms of graphics and innovations, even if they are GDI vs Nod battles. For Yuri’s Revenge, I’m happy to see Speeder improving Mental Omega once again.

Koen: No, not really. The most recent ones I did play were all for RA2.

Nyerguds: I sometimes still play Return of the Dawn and Dawn of the Tiberium Age, both TS to C&C1 mods. It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to just sit down and play though; got a ton of school work these days.

Hyper: Honestly, i have not played a full game of any C&C game, Yuri’s Revenge and before in a long time, but when i did have the time, i used to play RotD quite a bit online, Tiberian Sun Retro and Total War, aswell as many personal projects that i have worked on, notably TS:Recoil. ‘Recoil merged with ‘Odyssey some time ago now, as both projects where on the brink, but the merger kicked ‘Odyssey back into gear. ‘Odyssey, what is still in development, i try my best to test when i can, but you can enjoy something if you dont have the time. Another project i enjoy reviewing backstage is Twisted Insurrection, could be the ground breaker for Tiberian Sun.

DCoder: No, not really. I hardly ever play other people’s mods for more than a few sessions, I find it lots more interesting to tinker with the game than to use the results 🙂 The ones I did find to be most polished and fun to play were CannisRules, AR2, Robot Storm and the RAPD testing builds, for all the ordinary reasons – good balance, interesting units/weapons, impressive visual effects, and in some cases nostalgia.

Speeder: Well, apart from mods I work on, which I have to play way too much in order to get everything done the way I want it to be (this is most likely an issue for every modder around) , I often return to total conversions like Robot Storm or AR2 (although there are very few ones which could be dubbed as “complete ones”, AR2 being one of those and it’s a shame because it had great potential to become something more than just TC) for Yuri’s Revenge and those TS-to-TD mods, which nicely recreate classic C&C atmosphere on an improved engine.

To be honest, apart from that I check almost every new mod release for Yuri’s Revenge, just out of curiosity. Some of them are really worth playing. There’s also one mod which has already become a legend and it’s ultimate release will surerly be one of the biggest events in Yuri’s Revenge timeline (yes, I’m talking about D-Day of course).

Apollo: Not really except the mods I’m actively helping out like Aro’s Twisted Insurrection which has similar ideas I had always wanted to do in Tiberian Sun but never had the time/motivation to do myself.

Aro: I’ve never been much more of a modder than a mod player, however I still have interest in mods that other people are producing present-day, just like good wine, good mods just get better and better with age meaning that they are still worth playing these days. There are not many mods out there that I have a lot of interest in as I prefer to stick to my own projects rather than look at others, but a fair few of those I have are very appealing to me such as: D-Day (YR), Exodus (YR), Derelict Soil (YR). What draws me towards Yuri’s Revenge mods is the amazing graphics that are used by these talented artists, graphics do not make the game but graphics do draw the attention.

Question 3) Which classic C&C games are better and easier to modify?

Doctor Destiny: Tiberian Sun and Red Alert 2 have the greatest amount of freedom, despite their limitations. Even with the limitations, there is still quite a lot of capability each engine offers, and even these days, new tweaks are being discovered for Tiberian Sun!

Banshee: The easiest game to modify it C&C95, really. But it’s definitely the worse as well, since you can’t do much with it, unless you get the über asm skills from Nyerguds. If you wanna create new units, the easiest engine is from Tiberian Sun. The best one is Yuri’s Revenge. It has more features, allows more factions and it is being expanded with projects like Ares, although at the moment, we have to be happy with old Rock Patches or NPatch. The only problem from it when you compare with Tiberian Sun are the string files, but it’s just a mere stupid bureaucracy than any sort of barrier and it’s quite easy to deal with. Also, it’s the best engine to debug mistakes as well, since it has more and better INI checkers for it.

Koen: I have to say Red Alert 1 was the first game that was easy to modify. However, the unit graphics are not flexible and no new units could be added. Therefore, in terms of being easy to modify, I will go with Tiberian Sun/Red Alert 2, because they are easy to modify through their INI files, allow adding of new units, and once there was a voxel editor on the scene, new units could also be made.

Nyerguds: It depends what you’re after, I guess. RA1 is definitely the easiest, but that’s also because it’s the most limited. Purely graphical modding in C&C1 is just as easy as in RA1 though. TS and RA2 have a nice balance of possibilities vs complexity, but the voxels system kinda puts me off, personally. I guess I just like my 2D :p

Hyper: Nyerguds will tell you first hand, if you dont understand the assembly language, modding C&C95 at a object stat level is a no go, but is now possible thanks to his brilliant research into the game, and though this TibEd allows modding of C&C95. RA95 set the trend of “RULES.INI”, and allowing you to abuse the game quite a bit, Tiberian Sun and RA2/Yuri’s Revenge follows with a big extension on the INI orientated front. I suppose it all comes down to what game you enjoy, and what you are trying to achieve. Even though my heart lies with Tiberian Sun in modding, i still used to get a kick out of modding RA95…

DCoder: The further back you go, the less customizability there is. I think YR has the best balance between flexibility and complexity of the 2D series. Especially if you add the exe patches to the mix.

Speeder: Well, definitely Yuri’s Revenge. It has more possibilities as far as modding goes and those possibilities are still being expanded with special patches, although it will always be a limited expansion. On the other hand, there’s probably no mod that reaches limits of any classic C&C game so it’s really a matter of what you – as a modder – really need to do in an expansion mod or a completely new world of your liking – total conversion that is. I’ve never had a chance to work on something more than stats’ edition for Tiberian Dawn or Red Alert 1 but those two games are way more limited when compared to TS or RA2 and it requires more than just INI editing to change those games significantly.

Apollo: To me it is about limitations, the older game, more it has set limitations so 2D C&C wise I do have to mention Tiberian Sun & Red Alert 2 for being easier and better due to lesser limitations but of course it depends on how much modder wants to achieve so being more limited may not be such a burden if your goals aren’t so massive.

Aro: In my opinion the easiest C&C game to modify would have to be Tiberian Sun but the best C&C game to modify would be Yuri’s Revenge. Tiberian Sun is a great way to start off as both TS and YR use very similar codes if not identical, not to mention things are more organized and bits are much simpler to modify in TS .ini files than they are in YR .ini files (Names for example). The reason I believe that Yuri’s Revenge is better to mod over Tiberian Sun is because it has a lot more possibilities that are just flat out impossible in the Tibeian Sun engine without some special modifications to the .EXE.

Question 4) What is better to mod: 2D or 3D C&C games? And why?

Doctor Destiny: 2D versus 3D is all up to the person. I prefer 2D modding because of the ease of use and the learning curve isn’t nearly as steep, and the classic C&Cs have a lot more tools at their disposal instead of just an SDK. Put shortly, literally anyone can walk into modding Red Alert 2 and be even somewhat successful.

Banshee: 2D is easier to mod. 3D is more complicated, but it gives more freedom. The answer to this question depends a lot on the objectives of your mod. But if you can do it in a 2D engine, I’d recommend it. The main problem from 2D engines is doing infantry and it’s 500+ frames. It’s a quite arduous work. There is the option of recolor, but it has limitations with shapes… and most of the times it ends up looking lame. Voxels are easy to work with, when you get familiar with the interface of VXLSE III. Perhaps 3D programs are quite friendly to do the shape, but texturing with VXLSE III is easier. The only problem is that the normals that this program generates still have some limitations, but they might be able to fool many people.

Using 3D modelling programs is interesting for creating shapes, but I think they are a bit hard to create textures. Of course, if you practice a lot and you get acquainted to it, with some artistic skills, you’ll do interesting things. But it’s hard to see people who are skilled with textures in the community.

Koen: If you want to add new graphics to the game without having any previous experience, the 2D games win hands down. Creating voxels (TS/RA2/YR) or SHPs (C&C/RA1) is a lot easier than creating a 3D model for Generals and beyond. I have to admit that I’ve never created a unit for the 3D games with new graphics…

Nyerguds: That depends a LOT on your definition of “better”. 3D things seem infinitely more complicated to mod, but I guess they give more detail in the mod. On the other hand, if you take a set of conversion tools like XCC, and a simple image editor, you can basically mod all of the older C&C games. Though to get nice stuff in 2D without using 3D models too, you need the kind of 2D skills of the pre-C&C games. The stuff you see in games like Tyrian, Raptor: Call of the Shadows, Dune II, etc… not many have skills like those nowadays. Pre-rendering 2D graphics from models is a lot easier.

Hyper: This question is not so much what is better, but more of what is preferred, people still get a kick out of the classics, while others get theirs from the SAGE/RNA games. Personally, even though i started with the 2D games, SAGE/RNA has a future, and the engine could be very powerful, even camera hacks could provide a 2D experience of some sort. But if i ever had the time to mod again, i would be working on C&C3 or RA3 and researching it inside out, perhaps a patch or two, but it would be 3D that comes out on top with me.

DCoder: “Better” is a really vague term, it obviously depends on what you want to achieve.
If you prefer ease of modification, the older 2D ones are an obvious choice.
If you want shiny graphics and a large but ADHD-loaded player base, go with the modern 3Ds.
If you like internal insight into the game mechanics aiding or hindering you, YR is probably your best bet.
If you want the “classic”/”oldschool” (read: “no Yuri”) player base to take you seriously, going with plain RA2 is a good idea.
And if you need traffic from people complaining how Westwood did stuff much better, try turning TS into another spinoff of post-Firestorm wasteland. There’s a serious shortage of those (I kid, I kid).

Speeder: I wouldn’t say that any of those is better to mod, even though I dislike the ways you mod 3D C&C games. In my opinion, it takes more effort to do a good 3D C&C mod but it is for those who have modded both older and newer C&C games to really tell the difference. I tried modding Red Alert 3 but after few weeks I came into conclusion that it’s just not fun for me. Maybe it’s because I didn’t find the game itself as exciting as I thought it would be and I couldn’t force myself to learn how to work with all those XML files, 3D models and such and you have to if you want to mod newer C&C games. It’s very difficult for a newcomer to understand the way SAGE mods work and limited information database doesn’t help.

Apollo: Well, it is doubtful everyone has 3D skills right off the bat but most can do 2D to some extent. You can usually try edit 2D art to achieve your goals if you can’t make from scratch while in 3D world, sharing of source models is not common practice often and given you can’t get most source models off EALA C&C’s besides the source packs to have a look it can be long road to figure out yourself how to do some things so I’d lean to 2D to get started in first.

Aro: It depends entirely on somebodies taste and abilities. In C&C games for example I’ve always prefered Tiberian Sun and Red Alert 2 over the newest and the oldest C&C games because this is where I started modding, rather than forgetting everything I know about TS&YR modding and move on to something I have little interest in and no knowledge about I’d rather stick to what I enjoy and keep improving.

Question 5) What kind of technologies will revolutionize or improve the modding conditions for classic C&C modders?

Doctor Destiny: Definitely modder patches like HyperPatch, NPatch and Ares. These are leading the way in unlocking new potential in aging game engines. So much has been enabled and introduced that it has made for better quality projects and improved the quality of existing ones.

Banshee: For Yuri’s Revenge, I’ve been hinting Rock Patch 2 (Ares) for a couple of years. Once DCoder releases an official binary from it, I’m sure the community will feel the difference. There will be much more things that you’ll be able to do with the game and it will be easier to debug it. New superweapons, buildings with custom foundations, several existing features will be more customizable. For Tiberian Sun, Hyper is working on something similar, the HyperPatch.

Another technology I’m rooting for and, this one I’m suspicious, since I’m directly involved with, is the Voxel Section Editor III and its upcoming ability to export and import 3D models. While you can already import voxels with ViPr’s 3ds2vxl program, once you import it, you rely only in the voxel editor, which has a lot of features, but it has several limitations. Specially when it comes to editing the HVA part (OS HVA Builder is too much primitive). The ability to export models will open a new set of possibilities, even for the creation of voxels. I guess it should also be very helpful for 3D modders to create shapes with textures, once the whole thing is done.

Koen: None. I believe that development of new tools and technologies for the classic C&C games has halted a few years back. TibEd 1.7, which started out as a short-hand for “Tiberian Sun Editor”, supports all classic C&C games, but no brand-new features are being developed for it. It has been bugfixes only for a few years now; a few weeks back I released a small update which fixes issues with editing Tiberian Dawn on Windows Vista/7.

Nyerguds: Are you referring to the Ares project and such? The new “hacker community” that’s appearing in the C&C community seems like a good thing, if they manage to get organized and put something decent together. Exe editing can do a lot to improve moddability, but generally, I think some of it would be better spent to fix some bugs in the games first. Though I guess I’m in a rather privileged position there, being the only one working on C&C1. Any version I release is seen as the new standard, simply because there are no alternatives besides the unpatched game. The online communities make this hard to accomplish on TS and RA2. Any unofficial patch is usually just seen as a “just another mod”.

Hyper: Ah, well, many of things can. Some formats are still unfinished and some new possibility’s are still being discovered, like the other day i visited the Twisted Insurrection staff board and the member of the team, Lin Kuei Ominae has a whole topic of all new discoveries, passion at fullest, does not take no for a final answer.

On the other hand, there are guys like Nyerguds, DCoder, myself, who all work on patches for C&C games, admit i take time becuase my life schedule is askiff, but my RA95 high resolution patch is slowly coming along and the TS patch has just witnessed a refresh and started again, some hopefully a release will appear sometime in the new year.

Nyerguds has done a amazing job on hes C&C95 patch, and im quite proud to say i got him into the mess, but hes done good, and he has delivered what the community has screamed for, props to him.

DCoder is a god in most peoples eyes, pulling apart Yuri’s Revenge with chop sticks and even enabling features from Tiberian Sun, what is not a easy feat to do, even in C++.

DCoder: Undoubtedly, RockPatch was the biggest recent revolution in the classic modding (Nyerguds’s C&C patch is also impressive, but it’s geared much more towards players rather than modders as I recall). I think Ares and HyperPatch will be great successors to that. Afterwards, only actually getting the games’ source codes would be worth the label “revolutionary”. A smaller but still important advancement to look out for is the upcoming LaunchBase mod manager.

Speeder: A revolution would be nice but I think it’s surreal, at least for now. Unofficial patches for Tiberian Sun and Yuri’s Revenge are definitely helpful but they only provide a limited array of features and current releases are far from being stable.

Apollo: Revolutionizing is unlikely unless EA was to provide source code for the old C&C games for fans to work with until then it is just bits and pieces like improvements by few talented community folks. Your best bet is just adapt third party software you can find to do parts of the asset work like say animations creator (Particle Illusion) for example.

Aro: Even to this day many techs and tools are being released to help us 2D modders progress. What people don’t realize is that the smallest things can be the biggest pains when it comes to modding TS or RA2 such as filenames and extensions; Mass file re-naming programs for an example would do some of us wonders.

Question 6) What kind of actions would make the transition from 2D modding to 3D modding easier? Do you see any progress in this direction?

Doctor Destiny: Really, I don’t see much in terms of assisting transitioning between 2D and 3D. I have recently started working with Generals and Zero Hour, and it has a similar inner working to classic Command and Conquer with INI files. I know this is probably cynical, but there seems to be little that can ease the transition from first decade to second decade because the modding process is so vastly different.

Banshee: There are several things that could be done and one of them I said in the last answer, about providing VXLSE III the ability to export voxels as 3D models with texture. It would allow mod teams to convert their existing voxels into 3D models that could be used in newer C&C games. Also, it would help to remove the texturing part of the graphic creation process. Another thing would be the ability to have more programs exporting W3D and W3X. Relying on GMAX for W3D only and on 3ds max for both is too bad. GMAX is free, which helps, but it’s a dinosaur. The creation of tools to export files like .collada or .3ds as .W3D or .W3X. Collada might not be much famous, but it is very flexible, already used by many 3D modeling programs and the tendency is that more programs will join the bandwagon.

In terms of coding, there isn’t much to be done. The best hope lies on TibEd 2, which could assist to make code more organized and simplify the compiling process. The GUI editor that Koen wants to add in a later time is something that I’m quite skeptic about. If a game like Kane’s Wrath gets hacked to be modded, which is possible and some people are trying to do it, the GUI will possibly show limited features and ruin the code… or at least the comments placed in the file.

Koen: In my opinion, the problem with 3D modding is not just the 3D modelling, but also that modding has become closed-source starting with C&C3 and RA3. I would love it if modders released the source to their 3D models to the C&C3/RA3 community (or the source of units that didn’t make it into the final mod), so people can just download several models from the web and start copy/pasting their own mod together. This is how everyone got started with TS/RA2 modding as well: download some voxels from a website, put them into some crazy mod, and then when you have enough experience, you will start looking into improving/creating graphics. People are still releasing voxels for RA2 to this very day on PPM. Why can’t I download a unit for C&C3/RA3 from anywhere, other than the SDK examples?

Nyerguds: You asked what makes the old games attractive to mod? I say, people who just prefer making 2D stuff. It has little to do with a “transition”. If you got skills in 2D graphics or voxel making, there’s little point in suddenly switching to something completely different. Though as I said in reply to #4, a lot of 2D stuff is already pre-rendered, so I guess that’s your transition.

Hyper: A lot of people are heading in this direction becuase of the limitations on the older games not matching the ever growing ideas of the uber C&C community, but there will always be people modding the classics, just like Mr Fibble does with the DOS DuneII still. The only downsides from moving 2D -> 3D would be graphics i suppose, especially if you have worked hard on a GUI for an older game, then you have to remake it two fold for the 3D games…

DCoder: I haven’t really thought about that, as 3D modding doesn’t interest me.

Speeder: More tutorials, more researches, definitely. People ask questions and I mean those who actually try to do something but fail in the process, because of the new environment they have to work in. Possibly, more “open source” approach would help. Unlike classic games’ INIs, XMLs used for SAGE-based C&Cs are compiled when a new mod is being created and there’s no possibility to read it – the same actually applies to those files from the game itself. On the other hand, this opportunity for new modders would quickly get abused by those who prefer to copy-paste code and ideas, as a part of the “process” of creating their “own” mods. “Open source” modding is a common thing in classic C&C modding, because there’s no real MIX files’ protection and it does get abused sometimes, so this approach definitely has both it’s advantages and disadvantages.

Apollo: I think just more flexible tools and examples to work with and in this case i think Blizzard has done impressive efforts for upcoming Starcraft 2 while EALA provides generic level tools only.

Aro: If somebody has been modding 2D games and never attempted modding 3D games, this doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to mod 3D games! TS&RA2 do not use 3D models like Generals or Tiberium Wars, but to get some good looking SHP images a lot of us like to model them before hand to give off a proper 3D effect. What would make a transition from 2D to 3D modding much easier would definitely be if you already use 3D programs for modding these 2D games. Even so, just because somebody may have the 3D ability to add to a 3D game that’s not all that is required, you have to have interest in what you are doing among knowledge of how to get started and what to do in other stages. Many people are moving on to 3D modding and away from 2D modding these days which is a shame, but even to this day new people are arriving in the communities showing off their mods for these older games as well as these newer games.

Question 7) Do you feel there is enough coverage from other community fan sites for classic C&C mods?

Doctor Destiny: Truth be told, I feel as though classic C&C is getting left in the dark. But that’s to really be expected with all of the news about brand new C&C games. Even with the news of new games, the oldies will never die and that will be what keeps the fan sites alive for years to come.

Banshee: No, there isn’t. Even the lamest mods for 3D C&C games that will not get anywhere do get more attention than great 2D C&C mods at most C&C fan sites. Few sites still covers news from classic C&C mods and they rarely seek news about it. And it’s a pitty, since many 2D mods still provides great graphics and a very fun gameplay experience. But hey, it’s 2D… last millenium… too old, you know?

Koen: N/A

Nyerguds: I’m not sure… I look around on sites like PPM regularly, but it seems to me that there simply aren’t many classic modding projects going on at the moment. If there are, then I guess there is indeed not enough coverage, but to me, it seems like many people are making assets, but few are actually involved in big mod projects.

Hyper: Not really, no. It does not matter if the mod is a balance update or a total conversion, they should all get a lot of coverage, these creators are trying to express there ideas and concepts and wish to share this with the community, so they can again, enjoy these games, or even, another game inside a C&C game in a new light. Im not saying modders keep C&C alive, but they do a good job.

DCoder: To be honest, I only read a few community forums these days, so I wouldn’t know what that coverage is in general. Though I can see how the old 2D mods seem dull and limited to the modern 3D gamer generation, and there’s not that much activity in this scene to post about these days. I imagine I’ll be able to comment on this better when my current project gets a public release 🙂

Speeder: What coverage? There is a coverage from other community fan sites for classic C&C mods? REALLY? Then please tell me about it! Seriously, I think support for classic C&C games has ended long time ago, which pretty much rules out coverage for these mods. I haven’t seen any news about Red Alert 2, Tiberian Sun or any of older C&Cs (except for notes about new Tiberian Dawn fan patches) for a long time and I don’t think this is going to change. There’s Tiberium Wars, Red Alert 3 with C&C4 joining the party next year and the community is split between old-timers and new fans, majority of which has never played any classic C&C game, not to mention mods. Officials don’t care about older releases either, which is kind of sad because we as modders haven’t had a chance to get official support for our mods. At the very least it’s nice to see 2POC doing coverage for TW/RA3 mods though. Classic C&C modders stick to websites like Project Perfect Mod, C&C Guild and Freedom Studios and that’s their community I guess. I think it’d be nice to see 2POC taking a look at these occassionally.

Apollo: No, I recall hearing quite a bit of C&C websites had adapted practice of not posting older C&C’s Mod news deeming them too old games.

Aro: Unfortunatley, the older C&C mods do not get as much publicity as I believe they should these days. The abilities that people have now-a-days in the 2D engines are equally as impressive as those abilities people have put into 3D engines, so I definitely think that the classic C&C mods should get equally as much coverage as those for the newer C&C mods. Even though Tiberium Wars and Red Alert 3 are new, there are still thousands of people out there that have equal if not more interest towards mods for games like Tiberian Sun and Red Alert 2 than they do to newer games.

Question 8) What do you have in the works in terms of current projects?

Doctor Destiny: I am working on a number of projects at this time. But the forefront of my projects is Red Alert X, which is a modification for Yuri’s Revenge that keeps conventional YR but throws a new atmosphere into the fray. Same armies, darker atmosphere.

Banshee: I’m currently working on the Voxel Section Editor III’s ability to export voxel models as 3D models. At the moment, it already generates a model and it exports it as .obj, but it doesn’t generate textures yet, so the .obj files comes with a gray object, although the program shows coloured good looking stuff. But it’s just a matter of time until the texturizing code is done. Of course, do not expect to export TS and RA2 voxels and find out the ones that appear in the game videos, because Westwood removed a lot of details from them when they’ve converted their high poly models into low poly voxel objects.

Koen: ) I’m currently working on TibEd 2 for Command & Conquer 3. The focus of the next release is to bring back the GUI-editing that TibEd 1.7 for classic C&C games had. Once that is done, I want to add Red Alert 3 support and improve the C&C3/RA3 editors further.

Nyerguds: I’m working on the next version of my C&C95 upgrade project, namely version 1.06c. I’m finally getting rid of the awful Funpark mode (believe me, internally it’s a horrible mess), and have designed a much easier way to play the previously-hidden dinosaur missions without needing to start the game in some special way. I’ve also made a really neat system that allows anyone to add new language packs to the game. For the rest, I’m still Supreme Nitpicker in the Tiberian Dawn mod for C&C3. These people have some very nice things going on 😉

Hyper: Many o’ Many of projects, I like to help everywhere if i can, be it be graphics, hacks, tips or knowledge of the games, though never modding myself directly. Currently I am a part of these active projects; Tiberian Odyssey, Twisted Insurrection, Gangsters Sandbox, C&C Brick Wars, Dawn of the Tiberium Age, Rise of Omnius… All i can think of from the top of my head.

DCoder:Ares, my proudest achievement – the next generation patch for YR (formerly called RockPatch 2) that unlocks a ton of new functionality for the modders, improves gameplay for ordinary gamers, and even lets you add your own functionality using C++. You’ll have to excuse the ages-old site… By the way, a public preview release is not that far away 😉 I’m also involved in the C&C modding encyclopedia – ModEnc – I often correct and expand information thanks to my research into the actual executable code. Sadly not that many other people contribute, so progress is slow. If you visit my base forums, you’ll also see me troubleshooting the crashes people get in the game – that is another very helpful feature I don’t think the 3D games offer.

Speeder: I’m currently working on 3.0 version of my mod which is slowly killing me, because I’m trying to have every detail done right before the release, hehe. It’s been 5 years and it’s time to finish the job. Also, I want to aid my friend Mevitar with his total conversion for Yuri’s Revenge called Doom Desire, as he is helping me a lot as a voxeller for Mental Omega and that TC really needs to be finally released as this is what classic C&C games need now – simply, more good modifications. And maybe some love from the officials.

Apollo: Just my Total Conversion mod for RA2: Yuri’s Revenge named Robot Storm.

Aro: I am the leader of a popular Tiberian Sun project known as: Twisted Insurrection. Twisted Insurrection is a total-conversion Mod that pushes the Tiberian Sun Engine to new limits; Twisted Insurrection brings you into a new world where the Tiberian Sun Storyline never existed but the Tiberian Dawn Storyline did, but this Time, Nod where victorious. I have been working on the Twisted Insurrection project for just over 2 years and I along with my excellent team of staff are dedicated to do all we can to make it ‘The perfect mod’. The more time that passes the more work is getting done. I eagerly await the day I can release a full build of Twisted Insurrection and hear the opinions of those TI watchers.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by each individual in the Roundtable Discussion are their own, and do not reflect the official view of, unless otherwise stated.

Roundtable Discussion Index