C&C Labs News Wire

— Tuesday, October 28, 2008 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 7:37:10 PM ET

New C&C 3: The Forgotten Trailer

We've completed our first video for C&C 3: The Forgotten, one of our in-house mods in development. It's a short trailer showcasing a bit of the plot and some of the units and structures we have in-game. While I don't think this video does justice to the fun to be had commanding The Forgotten's army, hopefully it will help you guys get a better sense for the art direction of the mod and the relationships between GDI, Nod, and The Forgotten (hint: no one likes a rebellion). You can find a higher quality version here or use the YouTube video below. Don't forget to tell us what you think in the forums!

Last edited by Blbpaws on Tuesday, October 28, 2008 at 11:38:03 PM.

— Tuesday, October 28, 2008 —

Posted By: Phe0n1x at 7:44:56 AM ET

Red Alert 3 Released!

That's right, Red Alert 3 has hit the shelves. So far the reviews from Gamespot, PC Gamer, GamePro, 1UP, and GameSpy have all been relatively high (all scores are from the Gamespot critics page). I'm sure more reviews and scores will show up sometime later today. Cudos to the EALA team with their hard work, it seems it may have paid off but only time will tell.

— Friday, October 24, 2008 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 6:14:07 PM ET

C&C Labs Trivia Contest Results

We've posted the results of our trivia contest over at C&C Labs:

1st Place
(tie): Wadprime and Apoptygma
Both submitted the question. "From which movie did Westwood get the original concept of Tiberium?" 
Highlight the text to the right of the colon or head to their source to find out more: The Monolith Monsters

3rd Place: Team Black
He submitted: "In vanilla Tiberian Sun (without firestorm installed), there was a code word that made visceroids appear as red blobs in skirmish. What was this code word?"

Highlight the text to the right or go to his source to find out more: PENGO

Honorable Mention: darthcodeman
He submitted, "In a certain Allied mission of Red Alert 2, there was a certain object, according to the Red Alert canon, that should not have been there.  What was this object?"
Answer: The Arizona Memorial.  Because of Hitler's removal, WWII never happened, and therefore, Pearl Harbor would have never been bombed.

We'll see if we can find a creative use for some of the other questions. We got a lot of good ones.

Thanks to CommieDog and Mike for judging with me!

Last edited by Mike on Saturday, October 25, 2008 at 7:45:18 PM.

— Thursday, October 23, 2008 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 1:02:14 PM ET

Red Alert 3 DRM Update

RA3 Exec. Producer Chris Corry sent out an update on the RA3 DRM:


It feels like there's still some uncertainty swirling around our plans for Red Alert 3's PC copy protection. I want to clear the air and explain what you can expect when the game ships on Oct 28th. I know there's a lot of detail here, but I think that's what many of you are looking for, so please stick with me.

DRM and why we need it
Software piracy is a really big deal for the developers of PC games. We work for years, putting our soul into making software and it breaks our hearts to see it pirated. Imagine going to work every day for two years to create something special, only to see it stolen. Copy protection may not be a perfect solution, but we can't sit back and do nothing. The copy protection in Red Alert 3 helps strike a delicate balance between protecting ourselves from casual piracy and allowing players the flexibility to enjoy the game on multiple machines.

No disk required
Here's one thing that is unambiguously cool about Red Alert 3: you do not need the DVD in your drive to play the game. Install the game on your machine and then put the disc away in a safe place – you won't need it again unless you want to install it on another machine. All of the game content is placed on your hard disk, which helps make loading times fast and video playback smooth.

Authorization limits
Red Alert 3 comes with no installation limits whatsoever. You can install and uninstall the game on as many machines as you want, as many times as you want. But you are limited to five authorizations. So what's an authorization? The first time you actually run the game on a machine, we will authorize that machine. If you reach the authorization limit, the game will not run on a new machine. If you make major changes to the computer (switching out multiple pieces of hardware, install a new OS, etc.) you might need to reauthorize the machine. This is quite similar to what other commercial applications do.

Just give us a call...
Most importantly, and I really cannot stress this enough, we are not going to leave you hanging. If you had a run of bad luck, some hardware failures, a botched OS install, your notebook was stolen, you spilled a coke on your keyboard – you get the idea – and all five of your authorizations have been used up, just give us a call. We'll work with you and provide as many additional authorizations as are appropriate.

...Or do it yourself
It's not going to be ready in time for the game's release, but we are working on giving you the ability to deauthorize machines yourself. In a future Red Alert 3 patch, we plan to provide you with an easy way to remove the authorization on a given machine, freeing it up for use on a different computer. Now we don't know how long it will take to prepare this feature. We are shooting for the end of the year but we believe that it's much more important to implement it correctly than to rush it out the door. And while it's true that being able to deauthorize your machines doesn't address those rare “act of God” scenarios that wipe out five authorizations all at once, it will be very easy to move an authorization from one machine to another under more typical circumstances.

Looking Ahead
A few weeks ago I installed an original copy of Red Alert 2, released in 2000, on my work machine. I don' t know if the authentication servers will still be up and running 8 years from now, but if the previous C&C games are any indication, we're going to be playing Red Alert 3 for a long, long time to come. Knowing this, once the game has lived its natural life and the risk for piracy has died down, we plan to patch the copy protection out of the game. We don't have any preconceived ideas about when this will occur, but when we decide to decommission the authentication servers we will first make a patch available that will disable copy protection from the game. I think this will come as a relief to many of you; it does me.

I know that some of you will disagree with this approach, and again, I understand where you're coming from and really do respect your position. The development team is extremely proud of Red Alert 3 and I want all of you to have the chance to experience it for yourself. I hope you'll give us the chance.

This is a reasonable position for EA to take, given the current climate of DRM. It is my belief that DRM does absolutely nothing--nothing--to slow down game piracy and that advertizing certain games as "unhackable" because of their DRM has spurred people to hack them. With that said, given the position the C&C team is in, I don't think they could unilaterally decide to not use DRM at all, given the climate at EALA. Once it's been conceded that DRM will be used, this is a reasonable form of DRM to use. It doesn't change the issue, clear in my mind, that DRM isn't effective and shouldn't be used (and if you are one of those people who will boycott buying the game because of the DRM, then that's a decision I respect). 


I will go on the record now about the deauthorization tool and the decommision of authentication servers and express my doubts. The former sounds too much like the non-existent and overhyped Generals Ladder Kit to me, and the latter sounds like a dumping of all game support.

Last edited by Blbpaws on Thursday, October 23, 2008 at 11:23:45 PM.

— Tuesday, October 14, 2008 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 7:02:01 PM ET

Red Alert 3 Goes Gold

Command and Conquer Red Alert 3 has "gone gold," meaning it has left the hands of the development team at EALA and is in its final production stage, in which the CD's will be made. It will be available for release in late October. Here's the EA press release:


The Most Anticipated Strategy Game of the Year Ships on October 28th for the PC.

After seven years, the wait is almost over. The return to the over-the-top, time-altered universe of Red Alert - where parachuting armored bears, George Takei, war dolphins and psionic Japanese school girls can co-exist without question - is almost here! EA Los Angeles is announcing today that Command & Conquer Red Alert 3 has gone gold for the PC and will ship to retail stores on October 28th, 2008.

Red Alert 3 brings back everything fans enjoy about the series, from the fast, fluid and fun gameplay, to the humorous tone and distinct art style, while adding new innovations for the entire genre including three separate campaigns designed for fully co-operative play and an unprecedented emphasis on naval gameplay. And it would not be a Red Alert game without live-action cinematics featuring the largest cast in the history of video games, starring in over an hour’s worth of high-definition movies, including the likes of Gemma Atkinson, Gina Carano, Randy Couture, Tim Curry, Kelly Hu, Jenny McCarthy, Jonathan Pryce, Autumn Reeser, J.K. Simmons, Peter Stormare, George Takei and more.

Aside from the standard edition of Red Alert 3, EA is also offering die-hard Red Alert and Command & Conquer fans the Red Alert 3 Premier Edition - a limited edition package that includes a bonus DVD with over an hour of exclusive content, including interviews with the cast and a behind the scenes look at the shooting of the game’s cinematic sequences. The Premier Edition is also packed full of additional Red Alert 3 goodness, including exclusive multiplayer maps, strategy tips from the development team, the official soundtrack and an exclusive beta key to a future Command & Conquer game. For fans of the series who want to reserve their version of the Premier Edition or regular edition now, EA is also offering the following special pre-order package:

- Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 - One of the most beloved RTS games of all time for FREE!
- From Fighter to Assassin - A featurette on EliteXC superstar, Gina Carano.
- Red Alert Retrospective - A look back at Command & Conquer Red Alert, Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 and Command & Conquer: Yuri’s Revenge
- Premier Edition Sneak Peek - Exclusive previews of Raising of the Iron Curtain, From Pens to Pixels, Command School, and BattleCast Primetime
- Exclusive multiplayer/skirmish map for Command & Conquer Red Alert 3 when the game ships
- Exclusive Command & Conquer Red Alert 3 desktop wallpapers

And as an additional bonus, everyone who purchases either the Premier Edition or regular version of Red Alert 3 will receive a “Women of Red Alert 3” poster and a redemption code for the Kossar’s Helm, an exclusive in-game item for EA and Mythic Entertainment’s critical hit Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Using this traditional Soviet hat turns your character into a bear - you don’t want to be seen rampaging through WAR’s capital cities without it!

Command & Conquer Red Alert 3 is also shipping for the Xbox 360 on November 11th, 2008. Stay tuned for more details coming soon.

Congrats to the team. They worked very hard on this game, and I certainly hope they got all the time they needed.

— Friday, October 3, 2008 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 5:55:33 PM ET

New 'The Red Alert' Renders

We have six new renders from our mod, The Red Alert, to show off. For those who don't know, this is a mod for Red Alert 3 that aims to recreate the feel of the original Red Alert. Look at the three below, and you can see how we're aiming to emulate the visual style of the original game, one of the most popular Command and Conquer games.

Three more new renders are on the mod's site, in addition to the fourteen released when the mod was announced.

What do you think? Comment in our forums!

Last edited by Blbpaws on Friday, October 3, 2008 at 10:02:47 PM.

— Thursday, October 2, 2008 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 9:46:38 PM ET

And Now It Gets Ugly: EA Devs Speak Out

As we reported, EA has canned Tiberium, the quasi-C&C first person shooter game in development. This has led to a lot of spirited discussion among former developers on the team and at Electronic Arts. Almost universally, they are united in heavily criticizing Electronic Arts for their managment of game development and of creative talent. In fact, the biggest debates seem to be about which managers to blame. Here are some samples from a thread at Gameustra:

The thing is, Tiberium, along with Medal of Honor and all EALA/EA games, have one core fundamental problem, and that is an unnecessary and bloated amount of management. They not only gobble up the project budget while they contribute nothing to the project but needless and uninformed change, they at times only can survive by doing so, and thus are forced to, less they appear "uninvolved."

Another poster seconds this discussion of managerial bloat:

I was actually worried that [Tiberium] was going to get cancelled as soon I got put on the project two years ago because of the slowness and difficulty of getting things approved and in game. Just getting the ball rolling in general was an enormous task. Coming from an indie studio where spending that kind of money and time was not anywhere close to being an option, it was very alarming.

Yet another comments on the role of the Real Time Strategy team (the C&C team) in the EALA megastudio:

The RTS group sells far more than a million per game and has a ton of talent without too many managers. In fact, the Medal of Honor team has some incredible talent, too. It's the painful stories we can't forget that cast a negative light on the whole studio. This one started years ago and is only ending now.

Finally a fourth poster sees the problems as not specific to EA:

This industry as a whole is broken. I think we can all agree on that. Hiring decisions are the killer for any company, and a bad decision here and there can sink your project, and if the company is small enough, the entire company.

I think this is a discussion that needs to be had, which is why I've reproduced some comments for you here and might follow up on it at some point. My belief, informed only by conversations with developers and some limited investigation into EALA is this: there are enough unqualified and incapable people in managerial positions, at all levels, to obscure the significant talent of most, but not all, of the creative team. It's not about particular individuals. It's about a culture-wide problem that results in design stagnation, buggy code, and rushed products.

And it has to change, and fast.

Last edited by Blbpaws on Friday, October 3, 2008 at 1:47:45 AM.

— Thursday, October 2, 2008 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 7:13:21 PM ET

Red Alert 3 Updates

  • Of most importance EA has announced that a Red Alert 3 Worldbuilder will not ship with the game, but will instead be released with the first patch. It's unclear how long this could be. Obviously, C&C 3 was patched the first day to correct the myriad of problems with online play, but Kane's Wrath took months to get its first patch. In any event, it looks as if EA's efforts to get a modding-support team up and running have thus far not been enough to meet their first goal. They didn't comment on it, but I am nearly certain that a Mod SDK also won't be out with the game. Red Alert 3's support for modding and mapping is not off to a good start, despite the fact that some mods for the game, including one of our own, have been making good progress.
  • Music 4 Games has an interview with the Red Alert 3 music team. When I was at EALA last June, we had an oppurtunity to listen to some of the music samples and talk to some of the guys working on them. I came away impressed, and I hope the game's final music lives up to its positive first impression. Here's a piece from the interview:
    The score for Red Alert 3 includes over 100 minutes of live recorded music and features a diverse array of musical genres and styles encompassing epic rock themes; 'Exploring Music' in the vein of Mission Impossible or James Bond, themed to the location of the missions; dark and dramatic 'Threat Music,' and various rock music treatments for the 'Combat Music' with a different style for each of the three factions; Soviet Combat (Dark, Gothic), Allied Combat (American style punk), Japan Combat (J-Rock hybrid music mixing Big Beat, Rock and Techno).
    Full piece here.

— Wednesday, October 1, 2008 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 6:33:39 PM ET

C&C Trivia Contest

We're happy to announce our C&C Trivia Contest, in partnership with Electronic Arts. EA is giving away some neat prizes to celebrate the release of C&C 3: Deluxe Edition, which includes both the original C&C 3 and Kane's Wrath. To determine which three of our fans are most deserving of the prizes, we've created a C&C Trivia Contest.

We love learning cool facts about C&C and we know you've got some good ones to share! Submit your brain-busting C&C trivia question and its answer and you could be on your way to winning some great prizes, including a personally signed photo by Joseph Kucan, Kane himself.

Enter now!