Louis Castle on Ars Technica’s War Stories: How Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun Solved Pathfinding

Over a year ago, Ars Technica launched an amazing video series called War Stories, in which they interview developers of classic video games and ask them about a major problem they faced during development and how they tackled it. The most recent episode features Westwood Studios' co-founder Louis Castle, who talked about the issue of pathfinding in C&C: Tiberian Sun, which had already had a lot of other development issues. This is Castle's second feature on the show, as he discussed the influence of the 1997 Blade Runner game on the adventure genre in the preceding episode that you should also watch.

Remasters Update: Audio and Soundtrack

97KccUg.png

True to his apparently monthly reports on the Command & Conquer remasters, EA producer Jim Vessella posted on Reddit just now:

Quote

Fellow Command & Conquer fans,

Our pre-production work on the Remaster continues to push forward, and one of the exciting areas now ramping up is Audio. As you know, Frank Klepacki will be driving the audio for the project, and he is currently putting together proposals for how to approach the sound effects and music. The best part is these proposals are being inspired by the comments which have already been posted here on Reddit over the past several months.

In fact, we feel the soundtrack is a great opportunity for the community to provide even further input on the project. With that in mind, Frank would specifically like to know your thoughts on the following:

“As you may be aware, the PC game originally didn’t include voice samples in a handful of the songs, but later the OST was released with these samples in the songs. I originally wrote them this way, but they were removed for the games initial release because the thought was they interfered too much with unit responses. Interestingly, these voice versions were still used in the later released PlayStation and Sega Saturn versions. So the question is, which ones should be heard in the Remaster?”

In addition to the topic above, we then have another proposition for you. Alongside this post is another Reddit post / poll asking for your favorite music tracks from Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert (Including expansions). In case you need a refresher on the specific track names, you can hear the majority of tracks on Frank’s website at www.frankklepacki.com. At the end of a week the votes will be tallied, and while we cannot get into specifics, we will aim to do something extra special with a few of the top rated tracks for the Remaster.

We’re eager to hear your thoughts on the items above, and any other comments around audio for the project.

Cheers,

Jim Vessella

Jimtern

The poll is in a separate Reddit thread that you can upvote individual tracks on, but not reply. Get voting for your favourite tracks, Frank is sure to do something super-awesome with them, whatever that something may be.

EA Believes C&C: Rivals Perfomed Below Expectations

cncnznews.png

In EA's official quarterly earnings call for Q3 of the current fiscal year that was released two days ago, the company touched on the performance of Command & Conquer: Rivals.
With our latest release, Command & Conquer: Rivals, we had positive soft launch results. But since global release, it is not driven in stores organically at the levels we anticipated. We are now working to bring more players into that game. We continue to be committed to mobile. We believe in the value of our franchise in the marketplace, and we are doubling down on these games through live services. We are also putting our best teams on bigger projects and exploring additional ways to create and iterate quickly. We have always focused on profitability in mobile, and we are evolving to better position ourselves for growth in the future. (...)
And on mobile, we moved one of our titles out of the year. C&C: Rivals is also ramping slowly, and we made changes to Madden Mobile that reduced monetization. On top of this, unprecedented competition for players' time impacted the growth of our titles.
EA seems to lament every single release as "below expectations" and try to hunt for a scapegoat for that outside the company (e.g. the same earnings call blamed the "poor" performance of Battlefield V on the "competition" of Fortnite and Red Dead Redemption II) instead of their own shortcomings. It would appear that the level of attention given to Rivals from its own separate fanbase, which surprised in size even myself as someone who immediately prepared a casket for it as soon as I heard about it, is not enough for the once overconfident publisher whose stocks have taken an insane dive in the past several months, and which fell even further on the day the earnings call was released alongside the stocks of many other publishers. On a personal note, I'd just like to share my disbelief at the lack of self-reflection executives and select developers within major companies have, taking absolutely no responsibility of their own and blaming everyone and everything else for their own failures. If EA manages to survive the year without major blows, we are looking at an upcoming C&C remaster release which brings hope that at least someone (you know who you are) recognizes that their own customers matter more than shareholders in the long run, but time will tell sooner rather than later whether that will be properly put in deeds and not just words.

Nmenth’s Research Lab: Mutants, Cyborgs, Clones

NRL-Logo.png

It is the first Monday of February, so it is time for another Nmenth's Research Lab, this month we will look at special infantry in Command & Conquer, covering Mutants, Cyborgs, and Clones and see how these compare with reality. New technologies will be explored on the first Monday of every month, so return next month on the 4th for more from Nmenth's Research Lab.

C&C Remasters Update: Status of the Source Codes

97KccUg.png

Mere minutes ago, EA producer Jim Vessella posted an update regarding the status of the original C&C source codes and what engine they will be using for C&C Remastered and Red Alert Remastered.
Fellow Command & Conquer fans, We hope you had a good holiday season and that your New Year is off to a positive start. On our side, pre-production is continuing in earnest and we completed our first Milestone about two weeks ago. This Milestone included many of our documentation plans for how we want to build the game, and effectively laid the foundation for the rest of our pre-production cycle. Our next step is to begin translating those plans into a first playable prototype, which will hopefully help validate many of those initial concepts. One of those key items is how we’re going to approach the game from a technical standpoint. We know one of your core questions has been around the game engine, and we’re ready to reveal some of those details below. Now, it’s worth noting that as with all software this early – plans can change – so please understand this is a snapshot of our thinking in January 2019, and does not necessarily guarantee how the game will eventually ship. To kick things off, one of the most important questions from the community has been the following:
  • Do we have access to the original source code?

We’re excited to say the short answer is “Yes.” Over the past few months we have been able to acquire the majority of the source code for both the original C&C and original Red Alert. I say majority, because what we have is not a complete archive, and it’s going to continue taking some work to validate the full re-usability of the code. Thankfully, there is no better team than the individuals at Petroglyph to go on this R&D journey. So what does all this mean? Well, it means we’re aiming to re-use parts of the source code to try and keep the gameplay feel as close as possible to the original games. Again, our goal is to Remaster the original gameplay, not remake it. That being said, there are many areas where the original source code just cannot deliver the quality or functionality we’re looking for in many of the supporting elements. That’s where the second piece of the puzzle comes in. In addition to Petroglyph’s unique familiarity with the original source code, they have also spent the past 15 years optimizing their own proprietary RTS engine called GlyphX. This engine has been used to power Petroglyph’s RTS titles, and comes with many of the recent standards the community would expect from a modern RTS engine. So with that in mind, our goal is to utilize both GlyphX and the original source code to gain the combined benefits towards the Remaster. To provide a quick example (Not guaranteed but purely for illustration purposes), imagine using the original source code to determine the charge-up behavior of the Tesla Coil, but utilizing the GlyphX Audio system to ensure the Sound FX are fully enhanced for when that Tesla Coil fires. As you can predict, there are more details which we’ll learn as we begin to execute upon this plan. But we hope this provides some clarity in the meantime as to how we’re approaching the Remaster from a technical perspective. We’re eager to share more as we begin to prototype the software, and looking forward to hearing your comments in the thread below. Cheers, Jim Vessella
Jimtern
This debunks a long-standing belief in the community that the source codes of Westwood-era titles have been lost, which is definitely good news!

Kane’s Wrath Finally Appears on Microsoft’s Store

05Hu0T0.png

After several days of only working by inserting existing Xbox 360 discs, Kane's Wrath for the Xbox One finally has its proper Microsoft Store page! So, to recap all the available Command & Conquer items on the Microsoft Store:

Frank Klepacki’s discussion on his career as composer and audio director at MAGFest 2019

Our beloved Frank Klepacki was at MAGFest for more than just the historic concert with The Tiberian Sons. At the festival, he also held an hour-long discussion on his career as a music composer and audio director. It's always nice to hear background stories on developers' and artists' work, so be sure to check it out.

Xbox 360 Command & Conquer Titles Now Backwards Compatible With The Xbox One… Except One

xboxonecnc.jpg

As of today, Command & Conquer titles that were released on the Xbox 360 back in the 2007-2009 period are officially available for the Xbox One as part of their backwards compatibility program. You can buy these titles from the following links, or just insert your Xbox 360 disc into your Xbox One console: I have inquired with Xbox Support on why C&C 3: Kane's Wrath is not listed as a separate purchase like the others are, and it seems it is still under review with no real ETA on when it will be publicly available, just to keep an eye on updates in the rest of the week. Stay tuned for more info.

C&C Rivals News – December 2018 – January 2019

cncnznews.png

Ever since its official release, some news updates have hit C&C rivals.
  • To celebrate the worldwide launch, C&C Rivals developers are holding a launch celebration live stream today on January 12th, 2019 at 7PM PST (10PM EST). This will include the reveal of upcoming new units, a brand-new yet-to-be unveiled game feature, as well as 2 mini-tournaments: one featuring C&C fans against mobile gaming YouTubers and another one featuring the top Rivals players from each region across the globe, culminating with in-game prizes for all players across the winning player's region.
  • A brand new Spectator Mode, as well as Custom Games and Custom Game Lobbies have been announced and will soon be added into the game. This effectively allows players to play against their friends and organize tournaments. This also includes new advanced replays features.
  • 2 new units have been released this past December: The MG Squad (GDI) and Avatar (Nod).
That's all for now.

A VHS From Yuri’s Revenge Filming Published For The First Time

One of the little known but saddening side-effects of Victory Games' closure in 2013 was that a lot of Westwood-era archives were scheduled for disposal, among which were the original tapes holding cutscene footage. We do not know for sure if EA ever digitally archived them beforehand. However, very few people in the community were in on the fact that an unknown person managed to get hold of three of these tapes from Yuri's Revenge before they reached a landfill in the Los Angeles area - one holding selects from days 1-5, one holding selects from day 6, and one holding off-line footage.

Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time in history, and thanks to @anderwin for posting this first on Project Perfect Mod, we witness the footage from days 1-5 of the filming of Yuri's Revenge, which was long believed to have been lost. Enjoy!

 

 

 

eXTReMe Tracker