C&C Labs News Wire

— Tuesday, March 20, 2007 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 6:59:15 PM ET

Modding Support For C&C 3

Koen of TibEd.net recently wrote an article that was highly critical of EA's modding support plans for C&C 3. In part:
Then, I brought up the subject of the new XML files in C&C3. These XML files are the replacement of the INI files in Generals. However, they are compiled using a build tool into the data files that ship with the game. These compiled files, from the analysis of C&C3 by the modding community, no longer look like easy-to-edit XML files anymore. Amer mentioned that Apoc has been bugging them every day about the mod SDK. This mod SDK has to include the original XML files that are used to build the game and the build tool itself. I do not know if the original 3D models are also needed, because the modding community really does not know yet what exactly is in the compiled files.

And then, I was startled by what Amer said 'it really is a matter of if and when the mod SDK is released'. Apparently, they are really struggling with the build tool. I asked for a clarification on the if, because it came as such a shock to me. It really depends on the resources whether they are able to release it. Personally I understand that the team has limited resources, I myself have limited time as well, but reading about the BattleCast gimmick upon my return home, I have to wonder. I guess mod support will not attract the same amount of positive press. So justifying resource allocation to that is a lot harder...

On the subject of an in-game mod manager, Amer could be clear that this is not going to happen for C&C3 ('use the command-line'). Maybe for a future game, but there are so many things they still want to do. Again, it comes down to resources. I guess that is why the command-line parameter for using mods in The First Decade edition of Generals is still broken after 13 months: resources.

Predator responded yesterday with a post on the EA forums, saying:
We are absolutely committed to creating a new MOD SDK for Command & Conquer 3 and getting that in your hands in as efficient timeline as possible with our resources. Our development team is currently rotating on vacations now that the game is gold, we need some breathing room and a break after a long-hard project! But, work has already started on the SDK, and that simply means starting to analyze how we can open up the new build pipeline to you guys with something accessible and easy to understand.

I am working closely with some of the top modders in the community to ensure we're including the best tools and assets, so you needn't worry that we're only doing this internally. We realize a lot of great community mod tools are out there and we want to embrace that knowledge and work together.
Obviously, supporting modding takes resources, and it's of a secondary importance to creating the actual game for EA, but it's not something they are neglecting. In any event, I will be very surprised if we see the modding SDK before June 1st, 2007. Let's not forget the Generals Ladder Kit, which was 'almost done' for three years. Let's not forget The First Decade modding support (uh, can you forget something that doesn't exist?) and how that compilation has not modding support over a year after release. The culture at EA may be changing, as they've said, but I don't think it's changing that much.
Last edited by Blbpaws on Tuesday, March 20, 2007 at 11:00:02 PM.