Generals has officially gone gold. What does this mean? Mark Skaggs, Generals Executive Producer, posted the following on the Official Generals Message Boards about the "gone gold" process:
Just a bit of insight for everyone on what happens after a game goes gold and the "gold discs" are sent to the disc manufacturer.
When you send a product to manufacturing it usually takes 24-48 hours before you get a "silvers" back for verification. A "silver" is a disc produced from the "glass master" that is used to mass produce the discs for the game.
After the silvers are verified, then duplication can begin according to the manufacturing schedule of the disc duplicator.
Once the discs are duplicated, they have to have their labels painted onto them and the be put into the jewel cases. Jewel cases are put into retail boxes along with various other paper goods, including the manual.
After the boxes are put together then, they are put into bigger boxes that hold sets of something like 24.
Once all the big boxes are ready, they are shipped to EA's distribution warehouse in preparation to be sent to distribution centers across the country or directly to retail stores.
Add up all the time involved there, including sending the discs to the warehouse, and you can see that it's about a 3-4 week process Generals is ready to be shipped to retail stores.
Another factor that adds time between gold and retail is the fact that we're doing a simultaneous world-wide ship in 8 different languages. Not an easy task, but EA's a pro at doing this sort of thing.
Have fun everyone,
In other news, GameSpot has a new preview of Generals up here
. Here's some info from their first paragraph:
Perhaps no other PC game has spawned as many spin-off series as Command & Conquer, and interestingly, it's not the setting, but the gameplay style and mechanics, that successfully carries over from one C&C series to another. Renegade, Westwood's first shooter, was the last game set in the Tiberian universe, and it likely won't be the last to pit you against the forces of NOD. But EA's hopes for Command & Conquer's renewed success are riding on Generals, which not only adopts a new, near-future setting, but one with eerie echoes of the international conflicts filling today's newspapers. Generals is now nearing release, and as much as the 3D engine has impressed us from the game's unveiling, we've finally seen enough of it to say that, beneath all the flashy effects, there's plenty of depth to make it an outstanding game.