C&C Labs News Wire

— Thursday, July 31, 2008 —

Posted By: Phe0n1x at 7:50:58 PM ET

Forum Migration Complete

After many months of headaches, choice words, long nights, and thousands of lines of conversion code, Mike has comletely converted the old forums (Snitz) to YetAnotherForum. While I and a few other staff members have had a small share of the items previously listed, Mike has endured much more than the rest of the staff. I would like to thank him for his hard work and time spent on this project. Everyone, please enjoy the new forums!

If you cannot log in email Mike at MicScoTho@cncgeneralsworld.com.
If you see any bugs in the forum, please report them in the Community Forum.

Last edited by Mike on Friday, August 1, 2008 at 7:16:52 PM.

— Wednesday, July 30, 2008 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 5:28:27 PM ET

Tiberium Delayed, RA3 Updates

Two things of note:

  • Tiberium, EA's quasi-C&C first person shooter has been delayed, according to Gamespot. It definitely won't ship until at least April 2009.
  • The Red Alert 3 beta began last weekend. A few of the staff members here have access to it and we'll hopefully we'll get a chance to share our thoughts on it at some point. In addition, the beta will be expanding soon, with 10000 more people getting access, bringing the total to 12000.

— Saturday, July 26, 2008 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 3:19:11 PM ET

News Roundup

A sizable news roundup on community news, C&C 3, and RA3:

  • Cold War Crisis, a mod for Zero Hour, is finally done and will be available for download Monday.
  • MidEast Crisis 2, a C&C 3 mod, will not be released in July, contrary to what they said earlier this month.
  • BattleCast Primetime episode 12 is available for download from the official C&C site. The episode is primarily from E3.
  • Two new unit profiles are up for Red Alert 3: the Apocalypse Tank and the Allied Assault Destroyer.
  • The Red Alert 3 beta will begin soon for the first group of fans, possibly tonight.

— Tuesday, July 22, 2008 —

Posted By: Mike at 3:33:29 PM ET

Campaign for a Kane's Wrath Mod SDK

A swath of C&C fansites, us included, have begun a public campaign for a Kane's Wrath Mod SDK. While at least one additional patch for Kane's Wrath has been confirmed, there are currently no plans to release a Mod SDK for Kane's Wrath.

Unlike in past Command & Conquer games (prior to Tiberium Wars), an official Mod SDK is absolutely required in order for any actual "modding" of Kane's Wrath to take place, due to the nature of the game's engine. Without an SDK, there will be no substantial mods for Kane's Wrath.

A number of Tiberium Wars mod projects have expressed desire for a Kane's Wrath Mod SDK, to open up new engine features that Kane's Wrath has over Tiberium Wars. Our The Forgotten mod is among them.

We ask those of you who enjoy mods to kindly join us in this campaign. Visit this thread on the Official C&C Forums and let your voice be heard.

The following C&C fansites and mods are supporting this campaign:


— Saturday, July 19, 2008 —

Posted By: Mike at 10:29:26 AM ET

Pop Quiz: Who developed C&C 3: Kane's Wrath?

Answer: Breakaway Games. Not EALA.

In truth, that's a bit of an oversimplification. EA's Los Angeles studio certainly had oversight over the development process and provided guidance, but it seems the majority of the work was actually outsourced to a company called BreakAway Games. We are not the first ones to observe this, but in light of the Kane's Wrath 3+ month lack-of-patch debacle, we felt that it warranted additional investigation.

Generals World staff member Blbpaws has thus written an article investigating the effects of outsourced game development at EALA:

Looking in general across the board, RTS games that are outsourced by EA generally score in the 70s—that's 6 to 7 points lower than their counterparts developed at EALA. Looking in specific at two of the biggest game review sites, GameSpot and IGN, we can see that the effect still exists, with the average drop-off between an in-house game and its outsourced expansion almost nine points. Nor are these rankings easily dismissed. In a meeting with Wall Street analysts in February, Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello is quoted as saying, "our core game titles are accurately measured and summarized by these assessments [metacritic scores], and that is a very big deal." Obviously, the head decision makers at Electronic Arts find there to be some legitimacy to these scores.

Indeed, a simple glance at the games' MetaCritic scores highlights the curious pattern.

Game In-House? MetaCritic Score
Command and Conquer: Generals Yes 84
Command and Conquer: Generals: Zero Hour Yes 83
The First Decade Outsourced 71
Battle for Middle Earth II Yes 84
Battle for Middle Earth II: Rise of the Witch King Outsourced 78
Command and Conquer 3 Yes 85
Command and Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath Outsourced 77

These statistics aren't perfect (they're averages of various reviewers' scores, compared across games developed at different times by a varying group of individuals), but they do seem to reflect the general anecdotal consensus that I've found around the community. (Namely, that the development of The First Decade, the Rise of the Witch King expansion, and Kane's Wrath were all sub-par.)

Blbpaws' article delves into further detail, taking a look at the roles key Tiberium Wars developers had in Kane's Wrath's development (hint: little-to-none) and providing additional analysis.  I encourage you all to read through it.

To what extent does the outsourcing of Kane's Wrath explain the numerous desync bugs the game shipped with?  To what extent does it explain the balance issues?  And to what extent did it contribute to EA's inability to release a patch in a timely fashion?  These are the questions that you, concerned C&C fan, should ask.

Last edited by Mike on Saturday, July 19, 2008 at 2:38:19 PM.

— Sunday, July 13, 2008 —

Posted By: Phe0n1x at 7:57:15 AM ET

Cold War Crisis Mod for Zero Hour

ModDb released an article yesterday about an up-and-coming Zero Hour modification known as Cold War Crisis.

Travel back to the 1980's Cold War era and control either the USSR or US forces in their struggle to achieve military superiority. The mod is Cold War Crisis for C&C Generals: Zero Hour. After four years in development does this mod earn a download or will it crash and burn behind enemy lines? Mod DB has a preview, trailer and in-game footage all on show.

This seems to be a very high quality, and to me, fairly interesting concept. One interesting concept this mod incorporates is secondary functions.

Individual infantry units have different stance and secondary functions as well. Going prone will stealth your units until they start to fire. This places more importance on the micro-management of units.

The mod is slated for release late this month or early August.

Last edited by Mike on Sunday, July 13, 2008 at 7:46:22 PM.

— Sunday, July 13, 2008 —

Posted By: Phe0n1x at 7:50:03 AM ET

RA3: The Empire of the Rising Sun

Today GameSpot released an article outlining Red Alert 3's newest faction, The Empire of the Rising Sun (Japan), which was featured at E3. Overall, the article gives a good teaser into what to expect from the new faction. Coincidence or not, many of the units transform and seem versitile. Being an avid anime fan, the King Oni (Oni means demon or monster in Japanese) with it's laser eyes reminds me of mechas from many of the series.

Last edited by Phe0n1x on Sunday, July 13, 2008 at 11:57:57 AM.

— Wednesday, July 9, 2008 —

Posted By: Mike at 2:16:00 PM ET

Kane's Wrath Patch 1.01 Released

EA has (finally) released the first official patch for C&C 3: Kane's Wrath. The patch fixes numerous desync issues, resolves some exploits, and also majorly rebalances the game.

<Bug/Exploit Fixes>

- The Message of the Day will now show up online for Kane's Wrath.
- In-game rank/stats now show up alongside player name while in the game lobby.
- Improved Automatch performance
- Reaper 17 - You can no longer sell a stasis chamber to receive a group of Ravagers for only 600 credits.
- You can no longer use group selecting to allow a Mantis, AA-loadout Firehawk, flying Shadow Team, or Slingshot to force-fire on other ground units.
- Titans crushable level increased. Titans can no longer crush other Titans.
- Fixed the minimap while match is loading
- Can no longer build more than one VOICE of Kane
- Can no longer build multiple epic unit factories

You can find a complete list of changes here. You can download Kane's Wrath Patch 1.01 from the Official C&C Website or by simply logging in to Kane's Wrath online.

— Saturday, July 5, 2008 —

Posted By: Blbpaws at 9:40:43 AM ET

News Roundup

For those of you (still) waiting for the Kane's Wrath patch, here's some news that might tide you over:

  • CNCNZ has the Red Alert 3 Summit Roundtable up. Yours truly participated, along with folks from EA, Planet CNC, RADEN, CNCWorld, Derelict Studios, and CNCNZ.
  • Two new unit profiles are up: the Allied Apollo fighter and the Japanese King Oni mech.
  • MidEast Crisis 2 has a new batch of screens, in light of their coming release.
  • Session 7 of the Red Alert 3 Q and A is up.
  • One other note: we're working on a piece here that I think a good number of you might find interesting. We hope to release it next week, so check back then.

— Thursday, July 3, 2008 —

The bad news is that Kane's Wrath patch 1.01 - originally slated for release today - has been pushed back until next week. Presumably, this is because a bug was found in the patch that EA decided to fix - so in a way, this is actually good news. Despite the vehement and completely justified anger on the official forums.

The other good news - if your definition of good includes promises for the future, which it may not - is that EALA General Manager Mike Verdu has announced that EA is creating a "live" team for supporting their released RTS titles:

I am not as proud of our record in supporting our games after launch. In fact, I'm downright unhappy with that aspect of our business. There have been some bright spots: For example, our community manager's passionate advocacy on behalf of our customers, the huge patch 1.05 for Battle for Middle-earth II that was a labor of love between our team and the community, and our fast response to some initial problems on C&C3. But overall, the level of support has been lacking. We tend to put out a limited number of patches for our products and in many cases those patches take longer than they should to finish, test, and release. It’s been a chronic issue for more than four years, and we need to fix it. (emphasis added)

It's good to see someone at EA admitting that they suck at supporting games.  And it's good to see that they are, in theory, taking substantial steps to get better.

However, this isn't the first time Verdu has apologized for EA's poor performance and promised to do better in the future (to dig up an old favorite - see the Generals Ladder Kit, for starters). So, forgive me if I remain a skeptic. Indeed, I think Verdu's comments support my skepticism:

I am not going to say that this initiative is going to instantly solve all of our support issues – and I don't think we have the credibility with our customers to make that claim anyway.


Last edited by Mike on Thursday, July 3, 2008 at 7:38:16 PM.

— Tuesday, July 1, 2008 —

Posted By: Phe0n1x at 7:34:41 AM ET

New Generals and Zero Hour World Builder Tutorials

Generals World is proud to announce that three new tutorials have been added to the site.

We at Generals World would like to thank Me Myself & Pi, Drummin, and paimail for their contributions to Generals World. If you have a tutorial you would like to contribute to Generals World, feel free to post it in our tutorials forum. If it is good enough, we may add it to our tutorials pages.

Last edited by Mike on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at 1:11:34 PM.