The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Yora plays Command & Conquer

    Back when I was a wee little lad, Command & Conquer was all the rage. I played Tiberian Sun when it came out in 1999, and I think I completed the GDI campaign. I tried to played Tiberian Dawn some time after that, but somehow didn't get much into it and only played the first two or three GDI missions I believe. I never played Tiberium Wars, though I heard it was overall quite good, but from everything I've seen said about the fourth game it's probably best to pretend it doesn't exist.

    A while back I was thinking about how many sci-works from the late 90s were really quite spot on about the global issues of the 21st century. And they weren't even particularly highbrow. There's obviously Starship Troopers, which you could easily think to be a flimsily disguised satire on the entire War on Terror, if it had not been released in the 90s. I also saw some very spot on observations about current developments during my episode by episode review of Deep Space Nine. Then there are many discussions about how A Song of Ice and Fire is a story about climate change, and I realized that that's also a driving force in the Witcher games (admittedly post 90s). And at some point I was also reminded of the first Command & Conquer, which I think might actually be about social uprisings fueled by environmental changes combined with resource conflicts. Instead of looking up information on that theory, I decided to take another shot at playing the game myself, and perhaps finally completing the second game after that. Maybe I'll also play the third game after that, depending on my motivation at that point, and if I can get it running.

    My only computer these days is a Linux notebook, on which you can get most old games to run, but it's never a certainty. I am playing Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn using OpenRA, with the cutscenes and music imported from the now freeware version of the original game. As I understand it, OpenRA also includes a number of small changes that make the game more easy to use and run into fewer technical issues. Usually I prefer to play old games in their original retail version, but with this game small changes like this don't bother me too much. I would love to play this game in it's original 800x600 resolution (or something like that) on fullscreen, but OpenRA is fixed to your screen resolution. But fortunately it allows you to double the dimensions of every pixel, so everything doesn't get too tiny to see and select. But smaller maps are still not big enough to actually cover the whole screen. But this thing runs on my computer, so I'll take what I can get.

    --

    GDI Mission 01: Storm the Beachhead
    Play time: 2:26

    The intro video shows short snippets from various random TV channels, which include news stories about terrorist bombings by Nod, the harvesting of tiberium crystals, and hints that tiberium might be a danger to the world. Nothing more really gets revealed about the setting.

    The mission selection screen is a map of central Europe, showing Germany, France, the Benelux, Italy and Greece as being GDI controlled, and the Baltics, Belasrus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, the former Yugoslav states, and Albania as controlled by Nod. Strangely, my own home state of Schlwswig-Holstein seems to be an independent entity from Germany. No idea how that could possibly happen.
    The first mission is an invasion of Estonia from what seems to be Russia. I hope well see if Russia is a GDI member later on.

    The mission briefing is simple. Take control of a strip of coast.

    The execution is also really simple. Use the Mobile Construction Vehicle to build a construction yard and then add a Power Plant (which looks nuclear) and Barracks to get more troops. The troops in this level are Minigunners, but I also get reinforcement from a Hum-Vee. There are a few scattered Nod soldiers in the area, but they die very easily. My minigunners also don't survive much damage, but the Hum-Vee barely gets scratched by their guns.

    Once they are all dead, the mission is over.

    --

    GDI Mission 02: Knock out the Refinery
    Play time: 6:27

    At the start of the mission the commander wants to tell you something about Nod but only gets to show you a picture of their leader Kane before he is interrupted by a call from a soldier on the frontline. They have discovered a secret Nod tiberium refinery and need reinforcements to take it. It's the same map but expanded beyond its previous borders. I got a new MCV to place a new construction yard and build a new power plant, and used one of my three engineers to repair the barracks. (Though you can also do that by spending money.) Nod now also has combat buggies which might be faster than my humvees, but seem to be considerably weaker. There is also a tiberium harvester doing its harvesting in one corner of the map, and when you destroy it, it spills out its tiberium cargo. Not sure if that has any mechanical effect. A feature that I think is unique to this game is that vehicles can run over infantry. Since your infantry is a big yellow blob that moves very sluggishly, this can potentially cost you a good amount of soldiers.
    I killed all the Nod soldiers and buggies and most of the buildings, but I used my two remaining engineers to capture the refinery as a bonus objective. Though I don't think it actually makes any difference.

    I found it very interesting that the soldier in the mission briefing video is wearing the uniform used by American soldiers in the Gulf War in the 90s. It could be that this was simply the easiest to get their hands on for the costume department, but I wonder if there might be any implied meaning behind it. Desert camouflage for Estonia doesn't really make sense, but it's a pattern that would have been very recognizable to people in 1995.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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    GDI Mission 03: Destroy the SAM Sites
    Play time: 18:37

    Estonia is under GDI control, Nod has gained territory in western Ukraine and Romania.
    The objective is to take a Nod base in Latvia that is protected by anti-air defenses. This is where the game become a bit more complex. In addition to the Construction Yard, Barracks, and Power Plant, you now can build a Refinery to send out a tiberium harvester, Tiberium Silos to raise your resource maximum and a Communications Center to unlock the new Grenadiers. And with all these buildings you also need a second Power Plant to run them.
    Having your resources kept in silos is a cool mechanic. In theory you can always keep the unit production running while you're controlling troops in battle, but in practice you won't be jumping back and forth the whole time, so your resource count can get quite high pretty quickly. Silos help avoiding your harvesters having to wait at the refinery for unloading, but it also has the threat that the enemy will destroy your silos.

    The grenadiers throw grenades that deal much more damage against vehicles and buildings than the minigunners. I assume they also deal less damage to infantry than units equiped with guns. Nod now also has soldiers with rocket launchers. Of course impossible to see on these tiny sprites, but given the setting I feel certain that they are using RPG-7s. The classic low-tech weapon of poor armies to destroy American vehicles. The four humvees I started with didn't survive long.

    Once I had all missile sites destroyed, I had the option to call in an air strike every two minutes. I had to reload after the first try because those air strikes are not actually bunker busters aimed at individual gun turrets, but three A-10s carpet bombing a considerable area. While the Communications Center does unlock the minimap, the sight range of your units is pretty short. If you can see the enemy you target, you're probably going to kill some of your own soldiers. It works indeed best to target buildings after a failed attack, since you still know where they are. Or you are willing to sacrifice some soldiers as scouts to find big clusters of enemies that also make good targets.

    --

    GDI Mission 04: Get the Rods back
    Play time: 6:39 (Actually more like 90 minutes)

    GDI has taken control of Latvia and Lithuania, but Nod has extended its control in Ukraine and Romania, and also conquered eastern Germany, Schleswig-Holstein, and Denmark. GDI has information that Nod stole crates with nuclear fuel and you need to get it back before it can be used for the construction of weapons. There are three different missions to pick from at this point of the campaign. The second one is basically the same, but on a different map. The third is a bit more different, but still very similar I believe.

    There is an intro video that gives a bit more information about the overall situation. GDI dominates most of the world, but Nod has control over much of Africa, parts of central America, and many smaller countries in Asia, plus China. Tiberium is some kind of plant or fungus that drains the soil of all nutrients and minerals. The consequence of that is that the soil is basically dead, but you can easily harvest the very valuable tiberium crystals that form on the surface.

    This mission is hard. Once you have it figured out, it doesn't take very long. But the Nod troops seem to greatly outnumber your own and you don't have a base, and they field a lot of rocket troopers that just tear your vehicles apart, leaving your infantry to be slaughtered by the masses of machine guns. Dropships landing troops behind you only makes everything worse. The best way to beat this is to find a path with relatively little resistance and then sending either your vehicles or your infantry forward to deal with the enemies behind the next corner. Which you will only know after you've already been around that corner and probably lost most of your units. Once I had that figured out, I actually finished with half of my units still alive. It's just really tedious, and I don't want to play the other alternative missions after this.

    GDI now has the Armored Personnel Carrier, which can carry 5 soldiers and protects them from fire, and also has an autocanon on the roof. They are very tough against machine guns, and in theory they are pretty fast. But pathfinding in this game is so terrible that trying to dash through enemies isn't really an option. Most of your vehicles will get stuck along the way and you have to keep repeating the commands a lot of times until they reach their destination.
    Nod has tanks, but they didn't actually do terribly much against my ACPs and grenadiers.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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    Default Re: Yora plays Command & Conquer

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    A feature that I think is unique to this game is that vehicles can run over infantry. Since your infantry is a big yellow blob that moves very sluggishly, this can potentially cost you a good amount of soldiers.
    I believe it was unique at the time, but other games have included it since then - I know Company of Heroes has it in, but you need shenanigans (suppressed/pinned enemy squad and a fast-ish tank with some speed built up) compared to C&C.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    GDI now has the Armored Personnel Carrier, which can carry 5 soldiers and protects them from fire, and also has an autocanon on the roof. They are very tough against machine guns, and in theory they are pretty fast. But pathfinding in this game is so terrible that trying to dash through enemies isn't really an option. Most of your vehicles will get stuck along the way and you have to keep repeating the commands a lot of times until they reach their destination.
    I can't remember whether it's this game or one of its sequels that you can force move vehicles with ALT-left click, which makes running over infantry easier.

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    Default Re: Yora plays Command & Conquer

    I loved the CnC series. I played A LOT back in school, and I still fire up RA2 for a skirmish from time to time. I will never not be mad about EA killing Westwood. I'm always happy to see new people interested in the classics though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    but from everything I've seen said about the fourth game it's probably best to pretend it doesn't exist.
    There are three games in the Tiberian continuity. Anything you might have heard about the existence of a fourth is a filthy lie and.


    I killed all the Nod soldiers and buggies and most of the buildings, but I used my two remaining engineers to capture the refinery as a bonus objective. Though I don't think it actually makes any difference.
    It improves your score at the end of the mission, but that doesn't count for anything. There weren't even any achievements back then!

    I found it very interesting that the soldier in the mission briefing video is wearing the uniform used by American soldiers in the Gulf War in the 90s. It could be that this was simply the easiest to get their hands on for the costume department, but I wonder if there might be any implied meaning behind it. Desert camouflage for Estonia doesn't really make sense, but it's a pattern that would have been very recognizable to people in 1995.
    Yeah, I bet it's as you say either availability or what the audience would recognise. The game has things to say, but I don't think the uniforms are part of the message.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Having your resources kept in silos is a cool mechanic. In theory you can always keep the unit production running while you're controlling troops in battle, but in practice you won't be jumping back and forth the whole time, so your resource count can get quite high pretty quickly. Silos help avoiding your harvesters having to wait at the refinery for unloading, but it also has the threat that the enemy will destroy your silos.
    There is an easy exploit to avoid having to build silos
    Spoiler: Kind of a cheat, really
    Show
    You can start constructing any expensive building and cancel it instead of putting it down. Silo money are spent first, and money you get back from cancelling stuff don't count for your cap


    The grenadiers throw grenades that deal much more damage against vehicles and buildings than the minigunners. I assume they also deal less damage to infantry than units equiped with guns. Nod now also has soldiers with rocket launchers. Of course impossible to see on these tiny sprites, but given the setting I feel certain that they are using RPG-7s. The classic low-tech weapon of poor armies to destroy American vehicles. The four humvees I started with didn't survive long.
    Nope. Nod bazooka troops are indeed crap against infantry, but grenades are one-hit-kill against most of them. The only problem is they explode when they die.

    Once I had all missile sites destroyed, I had the option to call in an air strike every two minutes. I had to reload after the first try because those air strikes are not actually bunker busters aimed at individual gun turrets, but three A-10s carpet bombing a considerable area. While the Communications Center does unlock the minimap, the sight range of your units is pretty short. If you can see the enemy you target, you're probably going to kill some of your own soldiers. It works indeed best to target buildings after a failed attack, since you still know where they are. Or you are willing to sacrifice some soldiers as scouts to find big clusters of enemies that also make good targets.
    Best thing you can do on each map is send cheap scouts to explore everything you can until they die. Without fog of war, that gives the best possible intel on where your enemy is and what he's doing.

    Nod has tanks, but they didn't actually do terribly much against my ACPs and grenadiers.
    Yeah, with very few exceptions Nod units are outclassed against GDI ones in a straight fight. They're the hit 'n' run, sneaky faction, and the AI isn't smart enough to do that properly.
    Many thanks to Assassin 89 for this avatar!

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    GDI Mission 05: Repair the GDI Base
    Play time: 27:33

    The GDI has secured Poland and most of Belarus, but Nod has managed to conquer all of Germany, Denmark, (Schleswig-Holstein )), Austria, and Romania, and Bulgaria, and advanced further into Ukraine.
    Nod spread fake news about GDI war crimes in Eastern Europe, which resulted in a suspension of all GDI funding while investigations are going on. Which means GDI forces have to make do with whatever they have currently in the field. The objective is to secure and repair an abandoned GDI base in northern Germany.

    The starting troops include two Medium Tanks, which look quite a lot like M1 Abrams, the standard US Main Battle Tank. The base has no Construction Yard, so you can't build any new buildings, but the forces Nod sends against it are no real threat. Fortunately the Refinery still has a harvester and there's a decently sized tiberium field right next to it. You have Barracks, a Communications Center, and also a Weapons Factory, which lets you build Humvees and APCs, but I mostly went with more machinegunners and grenadiers. Once the air defenses outside the Nod base are destroyed you can get air strikes again, but this time it's only a single A-10 instead of three, which makes the whole thing pretty underwhelming.

    Pretty easy mission again.

    Nice idea to have Nod sabotage GDI by targeting public opinion, but this raises questions of what GDI actually is. I assumed it to be some kind of NATO+, where the member nations pool together their military forces. But I don't quite get why they would end their alliance while Nod is steamrolling through Germany and Austria.

    GDI Mission 06: Infiltrate Nod Base
    Play time: 7:48 (probably 45 to 60 minutes with loading)

    GDI has retaken Dennmark, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, and Ukraine and pushing into Chechia. There's only a garbled message from the front about infiltrating a Nod base.

    Here you start with only a single unit. The Commando. He can blow up buildings with explosives and has a silenced rifle with pretty long range, but he can't damage vehicles at all. After the first two air defense sites are destroyed, you also get a Chinook transport helicopter. Today it would be an Osprey, but I believe that was the default helicopter for such things in those days. The Chinook has a huge vision range, which is a massive help.
    Sneaking through the outer defenses and sniping guards and blowing up missile sites is pretty easy, but the main base is a lot tougher. When you take out any guard or building, all the troops guarding the base come running. This actually makes for a really good diversion and you can hop your commando into the helicopter, quickly fly around the map, and drop him at an unguarded gate. Easy in theory, but with the commando having little health and no option to heal him, it really is a lot trial and error. Not having clear objectives also sucks. In the end I just tried to run away from the tanks that were coming and when I got into a dead end I just blew up the Nod airstrip next to me. It exploded just before the Commando was getting shot by tanks, and that somehow successfully completed the mission.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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    Makes me wonder if OpenRA fixed that infinite range grenadiers. It was an amusing bug that allowed for some really odd shenanigans.

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    Default Re: Yora plays Command & Conquer

    Turns out OpenRA doesn't actually have the full campaign, but only about half the missions of each.

    After some more fighting and complaining, someone recommended CDEmu to me, which mounts iso files in a way that makes the computer think it's in a CD drive. This makes it possible to install the game in Playonlinux, which does have Win95 support. (Which my basic Wine installation doesn't.) So I've finally be able to install the original game and now can play it in 640x480 glory on full screen. And I actually can see the original mission selection screens.
    I immediately noticed that controls are very different from OpenRA, and it seems units are moving slower, though that might be because of the very different zoom level now.

    This means I have to replay the first six GDI missions, but now that I know how to do them that shouldn't take too long.


    Except it doesn't. After quitting the game and starting it again, the CD can not be found. There's still plenty of options, but I'm not sure if this game can be played on my computer.

    I found a different version that can be installed without CDs, but that one crashes every few minutes. Though I did notice that the changes of OpenRA are not so minor but really very extensive.

    Unless someone has any good suggestions, I think it's time to give up.
    Last edited by Yora; 2019-09-21 at 07:07 AM.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post

    I found a different version that can be installed without CDs, but that one crashes every few minutes. Though I did notice that the changes of OpenRA are not so minor but really very extensive.

    Unless someone has any good suggestions, I think it's time to give up.
    On this, the changes made by the OpenRA team are intentional. (Ostensibly to better balance units, and to fix pathfinding). However, this led to hilarity like disallowing engineer rushes because one of the devs was on the brunt of that cheese. YMMV on this, of course. I personally do not like the changes their made, on account of being rather unnecessary for a game that was never really well-balanced to begin with.

    That said, any luck with this? I remember this working for me back when I had Windows XP, but you mentioned Wine, so it sounds like your options are rather limited.

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    Default Re: Yora plays Command & Conquer

    That's basically what CDEmu does. (Found the mistake I made with loading the emulation.) It still leads to the same game crashes I have with the other installation. It seems to be something with the graphics rendering. I found one source saying something about OpenGL 2.0 and 1.2 not being interchangeable, but I have not been able to find a way to change that in Wine through Playonlinux. I can switch from OpenGL to GDI (no relation ) but then the game won't start at all.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    That's basically what CDEmu does. (Found the mistake I made with loading the emulation.) It still leads to the same game crashes I have with the other installation. It seems to be something with the graphics rendering. I found one source saying something about OpenGL 2.0 and 1.2 not being interchangeable, but I have not been able to find a way to change that in Wine through Playonlinux. I can switch from OpenGL to GDI (no relation ) but then the game won't start at all.
    I found this: https://github.com/CnCNet/cnc-ddraw

    Give it a whirl?

    EDIT: Managed to get it to run on Windows 7. I am pleased. (It was previously in a very washed out colour state).
    Last edited by Grif; 2019-09-21 at 10:37 AM.

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    Default Re: Yora plays Command & Conquer

    I think the version I have installed uses that, but it doesn't have any settings that would fix this.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I think the version I have installed uses that, but it doesn't have any settings that would fix this.
    Ah, pity to hear that. Still, it looks like this version of CnC-Ddraw was updated even after the 1.06 patch was released, so it's possible that you need to download the latest version.

    From my testing, there's a bunch of option to change the render method in the ddraw.ini file, so you could possibly try those.

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    That didn't work either.

    I just checked Tiberian Sun, and that has a proper Linux version that seems to install and start without any issues. It also comes with Tiberian Dawn, but only multiplayer without the campaigns. So I'll be looking up the remaining parts of Tiberian Dawn, give some thoughts if I spot anything I find interesting, and then continue on with Tiberian Sun.

    GDI Mission 7: Finish the Nod Base
    The orders from the previous mission are clarified and you have to destroy the entire Nod base.
    The new unit is the Rocket Soldier, which I think is basically identical to that used by Nod. Medium Tanks and additional harvesters can now be build in the Weapons Factory, and there's also a new Guard Tower. If you capture the Nod Air Strip, you can also get Nod vehicles delivered to your army.

    GDI Mission 8: Protect Mobius In Bratislava
    With GDI operations being hampered, Nod is launching major offenses with great success.
    GDI denies that they have been developing orbital laser cannons.
    News are spreading about tiberium poisoning in people and plants, and Nod keeps spreading fake reports of GDI war crimes.
    And you get a personal call from the Nod leader Kane, who tries to convince you to accept that GDI is efectivly defeated.
    A scientist named Moebius is researching treatments for tiberium poisoning and he has to be saved from Nod troops.
    There are also now some kind of tiberium trees that expel tiberium crystals, restoring harvested tiberium crystal fields.
    This is really weird pacing. Basically no story progress for two missions and then lots of info dumps at once.

    Repair Facilities can now be build that can repair damaged vehicles. A different approach from sending a repair unit, as it has become pretty much standard in later RTSs.

    GDI Mission 9: Secure the Danube
    GDI is stretched badly and troops in the field have not heard from their supreme commander Shepard in a while. But they still control most of Europe and are pushing Nod into the Balkans.
    There is now a lot of tiberium covering much of the landscape. Nod is fielding flamethrower soldiers.

    GDI Mission 10: Field Test the ORCA
    Some updates on tiberium: It's spreading everywhere except for desert regions, kills all local plant life, and is now classified as highly toxic.
    General Shepard is back, revealing that the gutting of GDI was a ploy to lure Kane out into the open.
    GDI has also developed the ORCA, a kind of rotor-less attack helicopter that is the first clearly futuristic unit in the game so far. It's constructed in the new Helipad building.

    GDI Mission 11: Evacuate Delphi
    Nod has been pushed back in Europe into just former Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria, and Greece.
    GDI got news from their Agent Delphi in Greece about Nod doing genetic experiments on humans with tiberium and he needs to be extracted with the information.
    You can now build chain link fences to force attacking units into specific paths to get to your base.

    GDI Mission 12: Evacuate Moebius
    GDI has retaken Greece and much of Bulgaria.
    Tiberium poisoning has become a major health threat that has already killed over 4 million people. Mobius thinks that tiberium has the potential to make Earth uninhabitable. It is feared that Kane will try to kidnap or kill him and you have to get him to safety.

    GDI Mission 13: Level The Bio Research Lab
    Nod in Europe is down to holding just Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia. GDI is launching an major attack against Kane's research lab and getting their orbital ion cannon ready for action. They also now have the superheavy Mammoth tank.

    GDI Mission 14: Fish in a Barrel
    Kane has escaped the attack on the research lab and is on the run. You have to hunt him down with your limited troops.

    GDI Mission 15: Destroy the Bastard
    Nod in Europe is pretty much defeated and Kane has been tracked to the Nod temple in Bosnia. GDI destroys the base and the temple, with Kane ending up burried by falling rubble.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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    Nod Mission 01: Nikoomba's Demise
    You get your first orders from Kane's second in command Seth. There's an Lybian warlord who is getting in the way of Nod and has to be killed.
    Nod has Miniguners like GDI and Nod Buggies. In addition to the enemy fighters, you also have to destroy the entire village and kill all it's inhabitants.

    Nod Mission 02: Invasion of Egypt
    Nod is moving into Egypt. You basically have the same buildings as GDI, but instead of Barracks you have a Hand of Nod.

    Nod Mission 03: Prison Break
    Egypt is successfully taken and Nod continues it's campaign into Sudan. You have to capture a prison where many influential Nod supporters are being held and now also gain the Rocket Soldier.

    Nod Mission 04: Blight On Oum Hadjer
    As part of the invasion of Chad you're tasked with destroying a village sympathetic to GDI and killing all GDI forces in the area with the help of new scout bikes.

    Nod Mission 05: Warthog Hunt
    Destroy some GDI missile sites. Nod now has the Flamethrower Infantry and can build Air Strips to fly in Buggies and Light Tanks.

    Nod Mission 06: Steal The Detonator
    Nod has conquered all the Sahara countries. They have learned that GDI has just delivered a nuclear warhead to the area and you're tasked to steal it.

    Nod Mission 07: ORCA theft
    Steal an ORCA in central Africa and use it to bomb local villages.

    Nod Mission 08: Battle for Zaire
    Nod learned that tiberium poisoning is ravaging the GDI controlled territories.
    Seth is giving you orders that are to be kept secret from Kane, but he can't tell you much about it before Kane walks into his command room and shots him. He tells you to take back an abandoned Nod base and destroy the GDI forces in Zaire.

    Nod Mission 09: Reinforce Egypt
    Nod has conquered most of Africa, but GDI has been invading Egypt from the east. Kane sends you to push them back out and also gives you the new Flame Tank.

    Nod Mission 10: Destroy the Mammoth Tank Facility
    Kane believes that tiberium is the future, but doesn't elaborate on what he intends with it. He sends you to Tanzania to destroy the Mammoth tank factory.

    Nod Mission 11: Recapture The Ezekiel's Wheel
    Nod developed a stealth tank that has fallen into the hands of GDI in Mosambique. You're tasked with getting it back.

    Nod Mission 12: Secure Ion Cannon Security Codes
    You have to capture a GDI Communication's Center to steal information about the GDI ion cannon.

    Nod Mission 13: Cradle of my Temple
    Kane wants to build a temple in South Africa and you have to destroy the GDI forces in the area. After your victory, Kane completes the temple and sends his hacker army to take over the GDI network. You're given the choice to pick either Washington, Paris, London, or Berlin as the first target for the ion cannon.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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    Frankly, after having played a quarter of the game and looked up the other three quarters, I actually feel like I did not miss terribly much.
    I don't really know much about computer games in the early 90s, especially about RTSs. I know that this game was a massive hit and probably for good reasons, but looking at it now, it actually doesn't seem that interesting.
    GDI and Nod units and buildings are mostly identical and every map in Europe and every map in Africa has the same very simple textures. But worst of all, there is almost no variation between the missions. Build a base, build units, destroy all enemy units and buildings. Sometimes you need to send an engineer into a building instead of destroying it, but that doesn't really change the strategy. And then there are a few missions where you don't have a base and have to do it with just your starting units. It's a bit different, but not that different. The only mission that stands out is the GDI mission where you have only a single Commando and one transport helicopter.

    This game obviously is classic C&C, but also in a very rudimentary way. There is almost no story and it only exist in mission briefings. There are no developments or dialog during the missions at any point. What surprised me the most is that the cutscenes seem to be intended as serious and there isn't any of the campiness that defines the rest of the series. There GDI campaign basically has no Kane and the Nod Campaign only has him in the second half. And even he isn't really hammy. He plays around with his gun half the time while talking to you, but other than that he's really not very interesting. And tiberium isn't explained at all. Nor is really anything else. GDI feels like NATO+ and Nod is just a generic extremist group. Admittedly with an invisible tank.

    The idea to let the player chose between multiple missions at various point looks interesting at first, but in practice the different missions are basically identical with simply different map layouts. There seems to be little point in replaying the campaigns to try out a different path, making the whole thing simply a gimmick.

    When I was going into this, I was wondering if GDI are really the clear good guys and Nod the pure evil guys. Turns out they are. Nod very happily destroys undefended villages and kills the whole population and don't seem to pursue any goal other than power. I thought that perhaps there could have been more ambiguity.
    Nod having a deliberate propaganda campaign to accuse GDI of war crimes against civilians was interesting, but the story in this game is so minimal that it doesn't really mean anything. Another interesting thing is that several missions of the Nod campaign have you actually do the killing of the local civilians. It's not just possible, but required to progress through the game. It's only 10 pixel sprites, but I guess back in the day nobody really thought much about such things. Even games with the most minimalistic art styles wouldn't do something like that today.
    The final thing I noticed was the choice of locations. I don't think it's an accident that the Nod campaign starts in Lybia and that the GDI campaign ends in Bosnia. In the mid 90s, those were the scary places. I don't really remember the Gulf War as a kid, but I do remember the Yugoslav civil war being all over the news. I was too young to see most of the news, but I still remember lots of posters and adds from humanitarian aid organizations everywhere. We even mostly called it the Bosnian war in Germany. That stuff was crazy. And when this game was released, the war was still ongoing. It was about as unsubtle as placing a game in Syria or Yemen today. And I guess Lybia was kind of the North Korea of that time.
    Things like these had me think that there might actually be some depth to this game, but it doesn't really do anything with that potential in practice. Same thing with tiberium. As the campaigns go on, they both mention that tiberium is spreading and becoming a health risk, but it doesn't go anywhere with it. Which does change in the next game.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Frankly, after having played a quarter of the game and looked up the other three quarters, I actually feel like I did not miss terribly much.
    I don't really know much about computer games in the early 90s, especially about RTSs. I know that this game was a massive hit and probably for good reasons, but looking at it now, it actually doesn't seem that interesting.
    GDI and Nod units and buildings are mostly identical and every map in Europe and every map in Africa has the same very simple textures. But worst of all, there is almost no variation between the missions. Build a base, build units, destroy all enemy units and buildings. Sometimes you need to send an engineer into a building instead of destroying it, but that doesn't really change the strategy. And then there are a few missions where you don't have a base and have to do it with just your starting units. It's a bit different, but not that different. The only mission that stands out is the GDI mission where you have only a single Commando and one transport helicopter.

    This game obviously is classic C&C, but also in a very rudimentary way. There is almost no story and it only exist in mission briefings. There are no developments or dialog during the missions at any point. What surprised me the most is that the cutscenes seem to be intended as serious and there isn't any of the campiness that defines the rest of the series. There GDI campaign basically has no Kane and the Nod Campaign only has him in the second half. And even he isn't really hammy. He plays around with his gun half the time while talking to you, but other than that he's really not very interesting. And tiberium isn't explained at all. Nor is really anything else. GDI feels like NATO+ and Nod is just a generic extremist group. Admittedly with an invisible tank.

    The idea to let the player chose between multiple missions at various point looks interesting at first, but in practice the different missions are basically identical with simply different map layouts. There seems to be little point in replaying the campaigns to try out a different path, making the whole thing simply a gimmick.

    When I was going into this, I was wondering if GDI are really the clear good guys and Nod the pure evil guys. Turns out they are. Nod very happily destroys undefended villages and kills the whole population and don't seem to pursue any goal other than power. I thought that perhaps there could have been more ambiguity.
    Nod having a deliberate propaganda campaign to accuse GDI of war crimes against civilians was interesting, but the story in this game is so minimal that it doesn't really mean anything. Another interesting thing is that several missions of the Nod campaign have you actually do the killing of the local civilians. It's not just possible, but required to progress through the game. It's only 10 pixel sprites, but I guess back in the day nobody really thought much about such things. Even games with the most minimalistic art styles wouldn't do something like that today.
    The final thing I noticed was the choice of locations. I don't think it's an accident that the Nod campaign starts in Lybia and that the GDI campaign ends in Bosnia. In the mid 90s, those were the scary places. I don't really remember the Gulf War as a kid, but I do remember the Yugoslav civil war being all over the news. I was too young to see most of the news, but I still remember lots of posters and adds from humanitarian aid organizations everywhere. We even mostly called it the Bosnian war in Germany. That stuff was crazy. And when this game was released, the war was still ongoing. It was about as unsubtle as placing a game in Syria or Yemen today. And I guess Lybia was kind of the North Korea of that time.
    Things like these had me think that there might actually be some depth to this game, but it doesn't really do anything with that potential in practice. Same thing with tiberium. As the campaigns go on, they both mention that tiberium is spreading and becoming a health risk, but it doesn't go anywhere with it. Which does change in the next game.
    You'd be right on not missing much. Tiberium Dawn is, at the end of the day, a very clear first attempt at a modern RTS. (Westwood previously did Dune 2, so they weren't complete newcomers to the genre). What C&C: TD did, Red Alert did much better, with a much more refined control scheme, a greater attempt to differentiate factions and a better, more varied map palette and slightly more mission variety.

    On the story however, one should always judge this by the standards of its time. It was, IIRC, the first game to actually include any sort of full motion video (FMV) at the time. That the game took up two(!) entire CDs was unprecedented, with over 3/4 of that disc space solely for the movies alone. For games to have FMVs at the time, was pretty immersive, and you can bet a lot of people were engrossed in the story. (I know I was, back then). One should also note that the campiness for the series only really started with Red Alert 2, with Red Alert and Tiberian Sun still being fairly serious. (On the note of massacres, the Soviet side started you off with a good old fashion "extermination". Pretty brutal way to open a campaign, and one that drives home the message the the USSR ain't the nice guys.)

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    Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun
    I am playing the CNCNet version of the game, which comes with a handy Linux installer. Really no problem to install and it seems to run fine so far.

    This game came out in 1999, four years after Tiberian Dawn. And it is such a leap forward. Unit sprites are considerably fancier, but I think even back in the day they were not considered impressive. However the environment is on a completely different level. Literally. It's not just a flat plane with cliffside sprites creating the illusion of different height levels, but actual irregular ground. Environment textures have seen probably the biggest improvements, but what makes this game look really quite fancy is the environment lighting. Tiberium fields are in a green hue while other spots are lit by red glows. The general visual design reminds me a lot of Starcraft, which came out less than a year before, but the lighting makes this game look a lot better. Except for infantry units, they look weird with their outlines seeming to be traced in black. Maybe to give them more depths? Not sure, it just doesn't look right.

    GDI Mission 01: Secure Phoenix Base
    Play time: 11:04

    This campaign is set in 2030 and start on a GDI space station. This is clearly much more sci-fi than the first game. And our first character is General James Earl Jones (Salomon), who gets a call from Kane, announcing his return from apparent death. The protagonist for the GDI campaign is Captain Michael Biehn (McNeil), who gets picked up by his command ship to go into battle.

    The first mission is set in the US-Mexican border region that is mostly controlled by Nod, but there is a small GDI presence in Arizona. Back are the regular Nod soldiers and Buggies that are killing survivors and GDI stragglers in the wastelands. Reinforcements are dropped from space to repel the Nod troops marching on the abandoned base, which also include two light Wolverine walkers. They seem to serve a similar role as the Humvees did, but as light mechs go their design just looks super lame.

    The base starts with a Construction yard and three futuristic Power Plants and you can build a Refinery, Tiberium Silos, and Barracks to build more of the basic soldiers. Cool new feature: You can actually tell the Barracks to produce multiple soldiers at once and don't have to give the order to make one new soldier every time the last one is completed. With the soldiers and the two wolverines I cleared the map of all Nod forces and destroyed the tiny base with a Hand of Nod and one Power Plant.
    Weirdly enough, this game still has no fog of war. Any areas you have seen once remain visible forever even when your units move on. I remember thinking this was strange even back in 1999, having been a standard feature of all the other few RTSs I've played before, and even Baldur's Gate.
    Last edited by Yora; 2019-09-22 at 08:09 AM.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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    GDI Mission 2: Secure the Region
    Play Time: 22:08

    GDI wants to evacuate civilians from Arizona but Nod air defenses are shoting down the evacuation shuttles. So I build a base with Barracks and a Weapons Factory, which allow me to train Light Infantry and Disk Throwers (basically Minigunners and Grenadiers), and Engineers, and build my own Wolverines. Once all the missile sites are destroyed, a shuttle arrives to evacuate the nearby village, leaving me to destroy the Nod base. They are actually fighting back quite well, having lots of soldiers with guns and rocket launchers, and also some kind of super-cyborgs and two laser defense towers.
    Fortunately I remembered from 20 years ago that destroyed bridges can be rebuild, which you do by sending an engineer into the tiny bunkers that are on each side of the bridge. Fortunately, because the game didn't tell me. And that hugely reduced the time to send more units to reinforce the attack on the Nod base.

    GDI Mission 3: Capture Train Station
    Play Time: 25:48

    A message comes in to McNeil that scouts have discovered an alien space ship that is being studied by Nod in (where else?) New Mexico. Here I have two options for the next mission. One is to go straight to the crash site and secure it from the Nod forces, the other lets me cut off Nod's supply route to the crash site to prevent them getting more artifacts out and receiving reinforcements. This sounds to me a lot like the second mission is optional to make the main mission easier. I'll be trying that one out.

    This mission is without a base, but using engineers to capture Communications Centers gets you reinforcements dropped from space. Including medics, which can restore the health of infantry with a very obvious noise.
    Nod has some more of those super cyborgs in the field and those dudes are brutal! Even when you have them killed and they are ripped in half, you still have to fight half a cyborg crawling on the ground and continue to shot with his minigun.
    Along the way is a village that looks like a moon base and once all the Nod forces are dead the civilians say thanks. There are also a number of bridges and units can both walk on the bridges and under them. This is something very few 2d games can do, and even some 3D engines can't do. Seeing it here is pretty cool. Units under bridges or standing in the shadow of cliffs also are in shadow in a way that looks really good for a game from this time as well.

    GDI Mission 4: Secure Crash Site
    Play Time: 50:28

    It's indeed again the same mission I could have selected instead, at least I think it is. Nod is controlling the train tracks next to a small abandoned city and destroy a GDI train with their laser turrets. The objective is to locate the crash site and to capture the Technology Center in the Nod base.
    You start with two Wolverine light walkers and also two heavy Titan mechs, which you can already build in this mission. I think they are not actually as great as they look, though. At least against infantry they do not impress, and two Titans trying to destroy a laser turret or a building do take a bit of time.
    Nod's latest addition is a tank that can bury itself in the ground to become a turret. When it does so, it's durability seems to increase massively.

    Something I noticed is that getting a new base going from scrap takes really long. Once your MCV has turned into a Construction Yard, building a Refinery takes forever. Then you have to build Barracks to unlock the Weapons Factory, which costs two harvester loads of tiberium, and then you can finally start building a second harvester, which costs another one and a half loads. You also need power plants, so you can easily wait for your harvester to make three or four rounds before the tiberium starts coming in. Not really a fan of that.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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    Default Re: Yora plays Command & Conquer

    All the C&Cs play pretty similar. I went back and played Tiberian Sun a few years ago, and dropped it quickly. It's far too slow-paced - slow units, big maps, etc. I don't want to spend 45 minutes on a single Skirmish mission.

    The FMV for TD and RA was awesome at the time. It's still pretty good.
    Bye-bye Seth :)

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    The first mission is an invasion of Estonia from what seems to be Russia. I hope well see if Russia is a GDI member later on.
    Very unlikely.

    Spoiler: Red Alert series spoiler; Soviet Ending
    Show
    As the Soviet Union is a puppet state of NOD. I think Kane is visible in some background scenes as a Soviet official, and I do not think they made his actor play an extra in a C&C line game.

    I checked, he is part of the ending cutscene of the Soviets.

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    Default Re: Yora plays Command & Conquer

    Both TD and TS have game speed sliders. Though normal is indeed quite slow and fast quite comparable to normal speed in Starcraft. What I really can't understand why those games also have slow and very slow settings. I don't see how anyone would ever want to do that, at least in single player. With the controls being a bit clunky, playing multiplayer matches with massive armies would be pretty chaotic.

    Russia is indeed marked as GDI in one of the cutscenes. As I understand, Tiberium and Red Alert are completely different universes with just some background cameos as jokes.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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    Default Re: Yora plays Command & Conquer

    The link is a lot stronger in RA1:

    Spoiler: Soviet End Cutscene
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    Stalin's mistress poisons him, revealing herself to the General as an agent of the Brotherhood of Nod explicitly. Kane then shoots her while she is gloating, proclaims himself the future, and promotes the General to be the new Chairman and official leader of the Soviet Union.


    The Allied ending is the canonical story though, and after RA1 they split them into separate timelines entirely.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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    Default Re: Yora plays Command & Conquer

    Speaking of references, in the first GDI mission, you can find the old Tiberian Dawn buildings and leftover material (Mammoth tanks) in a hidden corner. A pleasant throwback, but the buildings to do not look good in pseudo-3D that Tiberian Sun has.

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    GDI Mission 05: Defend the Crash Site
    Play Time: 9:53

    Nod is trying to prevent GDI from getting the alien technology and attack the crashed ship. The objective is to defend it until reinforcements arrive to secure the site. There is a little base at the start, but Rocket Infantry on top of the cliffs takes most of it out very quickly. It's not difficult to rescue a power plants and barracks, which allows you to train additional infantry. My first priority was to train four medics to make the troops that I have last longer.
    Shortly after the start of the mission, two GDI drop ships arrive but crash in a sudden ion storm. The ion storm changes the daylight to dim light to yellow and I assume blocks flying units, that's all I can say about it for now. But it's a neat effect. Blocking the two entries to the canyon is pretty easy, but after some time Nod attacks with burrowing APCs to get soldiers behind your defenses, and even one burrowing flamethrower tank that can quickly wipe out a lot of soldiers if you don't pay attention. They also send a cargo truck. I feared that it would explode and had everyone target it, and when it was destroyed it dropped a cargo of money to build more infantry. Thanks for the help, Nod.
    Once the ion storm ends two dropships bring in some wolverines and titans that are a tremendous help against the last wave of buggies and bikes with rocket launchers.

    McNeil goes exploring the ship and inside meets some human scavangers who want to cooperate with GDI. Nod is holding their leader prisoner in Mexico and they are asking for help to free him.

    GDI Mission 06: Destroy the Radar Array
    Play Time: 29:33

    This is another optional mission to make the raid on the prison easier. there are three basically undefended radar sites and a small Nod base that need to be destroyed. It's not that hard, but the map is so big that it just takes forever to get your troops to the destination. At several times you get reinforcements, but they always arrive at the starting point of the map, which means you'll also be waiting a long time for them to catch up to your main forces.
    There's some new weird wildlife, though. There are big spiky animals living in tiberium fields. When I had a titan walk close by them, they seemed to ignore it, but they might react differently to infantry. At one point a single Nod soldier walked into their tiberium field and started to shot one of them. But he either did no damage or the tiberium healed the thing just as fast as it got hit.
    One of the radar sites was behind some weird orange growth on the ground. There was something growing in the center and I had my titans take it out from a distance. Which took quite a lot of time, even with three titans. Having mechanical units walk on it causes them huge damage, so I assume it's some type of tiberium growth that dissolves their metal. Infantry was unharmed, but when shot, the central growth released clouds of probably tiberium gas, and I didn't test what it would do to my units.
    I noticed that titans can shot laser turrets from a safe distance, but when they are getting automatically repaired, a single titan takes forever to destroy one. Two or three do it a lot quicker. And the titans' cannons also do massive damage to buildings. Guns and grenades barely scratch them, but the heavy cannons just rip them apart.

    I have to say, I am still impressed by how good some elements of this game look. I can't help but compare it to Starcraft, and the explosion of destroyed vehicles and buildings look so much better. Not sure, but I think they actually light up their immediate surroundings. And titans keeping their cannons aimed at their target while they are walking around obstacles is also quite fancy for a sprite based game.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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    GDI Mission 07: Rescue Tratos
    Play Time: 33:04 (But felt much longer)

    First the mutant scavengers go to rescue their leader from the prison. Their team consist of a very powerful sniper and soldier with a really beefy rail gun and the ability to set explosives on enemy buildings. There is also a third guy whose only ability is to permanently hijack one enemy vehicle. Near the start there are some of the tiberium pigs and one of them starts to follow you around. Once the leader is freed you have to take him back to the starting point and the mutants are evacuated.
    On the other side of the map, GDI troops arrive with a MCV to build a new base. There is plenty of tiberium around and Nod forces only launch very weak attacks against it, making the whole thing pretty easy. The newest addition to the base is the helipad that lets you build Orca attack helicopters. I'm really not sure if they are any good. They have basically no sight range, which makes them useless for scouting. They also only have rocket that seem very weak, and they run out of those very quickly and have to return to the helipad to be very slowly reloaded. If you want to hunt enemy harvesters, you probably need at least 6 Orcas, which will cost you $9000. That would be a huge number of infantry that you could buy for the same cost. Or about 7 titans. Which really are total beasts when you use them correctly. I had send a pretty large army to take out the Nod base, but the six titans really did almost all the work.
    What was rather annoying was that after all Nod units and construction buildings were destroyed, I still had to slowly take down every single laser fence post. And those things are tough and take some real time, even with titans.

    GDI Mission 08: Destroy Vega's Dam
    Play Time: 34:55

    Tratos gives McNeil information about some guy named Vega, who was mentioned before and I think is some kind of warlord who is in some way associated with Nod. The Mutants hate him and GDI wants to get rid of him as well. To aid in the attack against his base, GDI takes out his electric power dam in southern Mexico. Along the path to the damn you can get reinforcements flown in by taking out the Nod air defense stations. Those thing have ludicrous amounts of health before they go down. As I got near the damn I had a sizable army together, but it then got badly mauled by four cyborgs blocking a bridge, and then a simultaneous attack by rocket soldiers from one side and a flame tank from behind messed me up even worse. Fortunately the small bases on both sides of the dam were only lightly defended, but with only two titans it was a slow slog to take out the laser turrets and eventually the dam itself.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grif View Post
    You'd be right on not missing much. Tiberium Dawn is, at the end of the day, a very clear first attempt at a modern RTS. (Westwood previously did Dune 2, so they weren't complete newcomers to the genre).
    They were the newcomers. Dune 2 was basically the first RTS as we know it.

    Tiberium Dawn in turn was they making their own IP with independent lore for the RTS mechanics, although when you look closer it's still quite similar to the Dune game with a new coat of paint. In particular harvest spice/tiberium from the ground to fuel your economy.

    In some alternate reality, they may've stuck with the Dune lore/IP and now that would be a big RTS franchise.
    Last edited by deuterio12; 2019-09-23 at 06:25 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Of Mantas View Post
    "You know, Durkon, I built this planet up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was a snarl. All the other gods said we were daft to build a planet over a snarl, but I built it all the same, just to show then. It got eaten by the snarl...

    ...so we built a five millionth, three hundreth, twenty first one. That one burned down, fell over, then got eaten by the snarl, but the five millionth, three hundreth, and twenty second one stayed up! Or at least, it has been until now."

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    Default Re: Yora plays Command & Conquer

    Ah, Command and Conquer. One of the pioneers of the RTS game, and one of the pioneers of franchises selling out and being gutted by EA.

    F for C&C. /salute

    ALL HAIL THE GREAT RAK!!

    I use the same name in every game I ever play or forum I join (except the pretender on PSN that forced me to be RealOlinser). If you see an Olinser in a game or on a website, there's a high chance it's me, feel free to shoot me a message.

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    Default Re: Yora plays Command & Conquer

    Going back a few posts - Tiberian Sun infantry were regular 2D sprites, while the regular units, buildings, etc., were all made with voxels (3d pixels). Voxels looked much better than the polygon-based units of the time! The infantry, however, was quite a disappointment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spore View Post
    Very unlikely.

    Spoiler: Red Alert series spoiler; Soviet Ending
    Show
    As the Soviet Union is a puppet state of NOD. I think Kane is visible in some background scenes as a Soviet official, and I do not think they made his actor play an extra in a C&C line game.

    I checked, he is part of the ending cutscene of the Soviets.
    The guy that plays Kane, Joe Kucan, is the director for several of the games.

    As far as the games in general, I played the first 3 Tiberium games and the first 2 Red Alert games when they came out, respectively. I still play Red Alert 2 (now that I have it working again anyway). I've only played Generals and Red Alert 3 more recently after getting a collection of all of the games. I only played part 4 to satisfy my curiosity.

    For anyone that likes the first Tiberium game and the first Red Alert, EA is working on a remaster of them to bring them up to modern standards. They have brought on several of the old Westwood people who worked on the games originally to do the job. Overall, they seem to be trying to focus on mainly updating graphics from what I have seen so far. They have discussed possibly updating a few features (the assumption online, from what I have read, seems to be that they are considering adding in features that most consider to be good additions that came about in later games like production queues and splitting up production a little more like RA2). The effort seems to be aimed at generating some good will so the prevailing hope is that EA doesn't push loot boxes and multiplayer above all else. I'm personally hopeful for the project.

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    GDI Mission 09: Destroy Vega's Base
    Play Time: 56:07

    So this Vega guy is the Nod commander in Central America and the objective is to take his headquarters in Honduras. You start with just some infantry and have to clear out all air defenses around the starting area. They are not really defended by anything, but this map is huge and they are spread out over a big area and not marked on any map. So this really takes a while even though you're not actually doing anything noteworthy. Once the air defenses are down, dropships arrives with two titans and an MCV to build a base. There is plenty of tiberium in the area, but the pathfinding often acts really weird and the harvesters are not using the ramp right next to the refinery to get down the cliff, but take a big detour to take a different ramp. I think this mission you basically get the full game. Nod launches frequent attacks against your base, and occasionally does it with its mole APCs and burrowing flame tanks, which can be really nasty. But you can protect your base against such a tank by building walls and covering the whole ground inside with concrete, which stops the burrowing units. You also can build a mobile sonar unit to detect underground units. Another new addition is the Jump Jet Infantry, which can fly around with a jetpack but is still super slow. And really expensive.
    I've build another eight helipads and Orcas, but they really don't seem to be worth it. They just don't do any real damage against anything and are super expensive.
    The main new addition this level is the amphibious ACP. Which sucks. It can swim through water and can carry five soldiers, but it doesn't have any weapons and unloading the soldiers is extremely fiddly and very slow. Landing troops close to enemies is basically impossible without big losses because you have to get each APC into a location where it can unload troops manually, and then you have to wait for it to come to a stop before you can give each one the order to unload individually. It's so much easier in Starcraft where you just select a group of transport units, click the unload button, and then click on the spot where you want all of them to unload all their units. The developers must have played Starcraft. Why didn't they see that their method is terrible?

    I also think that having three harvesters gather tiberium is a good number. Once I have all three going, I rarely find myself waiting for money to come in to construct what I want.

    Once I had a pretty big army, I send it all over a bridge to destroy the main Nod base and send an engineer to capture the HQ. Then all I had to do was to kill every single Nod unit and building on the map. But first you need to find them. It's a very big map, with some areas that are very annoying to navigate through. And your units are so slow. So after I basically won, I still spend a long time looking for those two rocket launchers that were in somewhat random places.

    Once all Nod units are destroyed, McNeil and his pilot go inside the HQ to find Vega. He calls Kane that GDI is taking the base and he needs reinforcements, and Kane sends him some missiles. Just not as reinforcements. When McNeil finds him he is coked up and the only thing they get out of him is that Nod took something very valuable named Tacitus from the alien ship. McNeil returns to his ship before the HQ blows up, but I think leaves Vega behind.

    Once back on his command ship, McNeil gets a message from General Salomon that Nod has taken a GDI base in the Norwegian Arctic and he needs to go there to retake it.

    I am still having fun with this game, but Starcraft clearly is by far the superior game in every aspect except graphics. As a game, this really isn't that good. This is a really long game and I am not completely sure if I will have enough staying power to complete it. I also have the Firestorm expansion, but at this point I expect that I'll be skipping it.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

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