Hier ein paar Concepts von Dingen, die es nicht ins Game geschafft haben wegen Designgründen.
The units in Red Alert 3 bring back a ton of nostalgic history, from the Kirov to the IFV, to the Tesla Trooper and Conscripts, and of course Tanya. There are also quite a few never-before-seen units for the Red Alert universe like the Bullfrog, Sickle, King Oni, and the entire Empire of the Rising Sun faction. But what about the units that didn't make the art and design cut? You'd want to know, right?
We discovered some very confidential info regarding this, and went straight to our Lead Art Director Matt Britton and Designer Jason Torres for answers. Now it's time to unleash this intelligence to you, Comrade!
How many people contribute to the production of a single unit? How long does it take to complete?
[MB] Like most things in game development, the creation of an in game unit is very much a group effort. It all starts in the mind of the game's Designers. I'll then discuss the design for a particular unit with the Lead Designer or Unit/Structure Designer to establish a visual direction. From there the unit makes its way through the hands of a Concept Artist, Modeler, Animator, Effects Artist, and finally a Technical Artist who gets the unit functioning correctly in the game. Along the way, I?m working with the Artists as well as our Senior Producer who gives a unit final approval. If all goes perfectly, I imagine we can get from concept to in-game with a unit in about four weeks time. However, things rarely proceed quite that smoothly. Usually there are some missteps, redirections, and changes along the way. But great units and structures are the core of great RTS games. It?s worth taking the necessary time to get them just right.
What decisions go into cutting a unit from the game? How much of it ends up being art related and how much is design related?
[MB] Usually, cutting a unit from the game is more about balance and game design than it is art and aesthetics. That said, if a particular unit is being considered as a cut candidate, its artistic merit or failure can definitely save it from the cutting room floor or push it over the edge.
[JT] For the most part a unit is cut for one of two reasons: 1) it's role is redundant / not needed or 2) we change our minds about what we want for that unit role. As we go from paper design to getting something in the game and playing with it, we generally move to a process of finding the fun in the game. The things that aren?t working well are deemphasized or go back to the drawing board, and the elements that are working well get put in the spotlight. When it comes time to cut a unit, however, we do have some options. Sometimes we try to salvage it by making it what we want, or we can just include it as a fun unit in the single player campaign, where we don?t have to worry as much about the combat chain redundancy or role.
THE CHRONO TANK
Nearly resurrected from Red Alert: Aftermath, what was the original purpose of the Chrono Tank for Red Alert 3? What was the original design and directive?
[MB] The Chrono Tank idea was pretty straightforward. On the art side it came together easily - it's just a slightly futuristic tank with a chronosphere mounted on it.
[JT] The original design was to utilize a unique movement mechanic (teleportation) on the Allied Faction's special tank. We thought it would be fun to teleport Chrono Tanks and surprise the enemy, but we didn?t want that ability on the main battle tank (the Guardian Tank) for balance and faction asymmetry reasons (the Rising Sun already had a unique, fast traveling main battle tank in the Tsunami).
What power was the chronosphere effect going to have. Was that intended to be a secondary ability?
[MB] The intent was that the tank would have a teleportation ability by virtue of the onboard chronosphere.
[JT] Actually, I don't think we came up with a secondary ability. Or at least I don't remember it. The teleportation was its primary method of travel, so I don?t think that was its secondary.
Why was this unit ultimately cut from the game?
[MB] I think our Designers felt that a teleporting tank was going to be very difficult to counter.
[JT] One major reason was that we wanted to emphasize Navy with RA3, and thus we came up with the amphibious Assault Destroyer playing the role of the tough tank on the Allies. Then it came down to the Chrono Tank and the Mirage Tank for the unique tank. All of the designers loved them both, but we knew we couldn?t have too many units from past games, and we knew their roles were pretty similar, so one of them had to go. It was like a cage match to the death (actually, to the cutting room floor). Eventually, I think the gameplay advantage of the Mirage Tank?s spreading Prism Beam weapon eventually won people over. I can assure everyone that there were absolutely no coins flipped in this decision.
ANOTHER SECRET CHRONO UNIT ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR?
EMPIRE of the RISING SUN MECHS
What was the inspiration behind this deep exploration of mechs for the Japanese side? What were you looking for here?
[MB] As we started dreaming up the look of the Empire's robotic units, we wanted to create something which was both original and yet recognizable from Japan's long history of heroic robots in anime and manga. This proved to be quite a challenge and was made even more complex by the need to have units transform in a mechanically convincing fashion.
Is this a set of robotic units which were cut, or was this an exploration of a single mech unit? Is this the original King Oni?
[MB] These are actually early designs for the VX Striker. The design of this unit called for it to have both a VTOL form and a humanoid one. Our early explorations on this unit were almost apelike. Later it became more akin to a robotic insect. In the end, we settled on something more like a prehistoric bird. I think it?s one of our game?s more original units, and I really love the way it looks in our opening cinematic sequence.
Why was this set of units cut from the Empire?
[MB] Technically, they weren?t cut. The gameplay design for this unit didn?t really change, but its visual development went in a number of different directions before reaching the final form. This set of sketches is a great documentation of that visual development process.
THE MANY FACES OF SHINOBI
The Ninja is in game and is bad-ass, but it looks like you took a deep exploration on a pretty simple unit. Why?
[MB] The art team played with some far-reaching ideas for the look of the Ninja unit, but ultimately our Producers wanted something more conventional.
Was the Ninja originally going to be able to change face through a series of masks?
[MB] No. At our game's scale I imagine that would be somewhat difficult for the player to see. That?s a fun idea for a different game, however.
Was the original intent of Shinobi to be robotic as these concepts suggest?
[MB] We explored the idea of a robotic Shinobi and a female Shinobi. If we?re lucky, perhaps one of them will come to life in another Red Alert game.