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Remastered AMAA – Die Fragen und Antworten!
29. Mai 2020 von moby3012
Heute fand auf Reddit, eine Woche vor Release der Command and Conquer Remastered Collection ein umfangreiches AMAA (Ask Me Almost Anything) statt. Wir haben für euch alle wichtigen Fragen und Antworten herausgesucht.
Hi Frank! What was your favorite track to remaster, and what is your fav cnc track of all time?
Too many to list! I’m just surpised that this collection alone is 7 albums. Really enjoyed doing all the new bonus versions with The Tiberian Sons.
Will there be modern QoL features added or improved for the game as time goes on? Similar to how Age of Empires 2 has been brought back to life.
We are currently working on our first post-launch patch for the game, where we hope to address some the recent community QoL requests. We are then looking forward to seeing what the community creates with the newly announced Modding Support. (You can already see an example or two of these on the Steam Workshop)
One of the objectives with the remaster was to keep the fidelity and integrity of the original game intact. However, let’s pretend that this is not a remaster, but a remake – what would be ONE thing you would change from Tib Dawn and RA1, if given the chance? (Might give our modders some ideas!)
One of my favorite features from other C&C games is unit veterancy. I think it would be exciting to see this in Tib Dawn and RA1, and perhaps there’s a modder out there who wants to give it a shot!
Frank! Thanks for your massive involvement on this project. I’m looking forward to going through all of the tracks just to make extra sure everything is included 😉 Can you list which tracks you had to redo from scratch due to missing assets? Like Fogger and Snake, which you already mentioned in a community post from last year. Also were there any tracks in particular that were a highlight to either remaster or completely redo?
Tracks that needed to be redone from scratch were mostly from RA: Fogger, Snake, Red Alert Menu theme, Red Alert Map theme, and Heartbreak from C&C. I was delighted that I was able to find the majority of the original instruments I used back then to faithfully redo it. Fogger was a particularly fun one to redo.
Will the game support 21:9 ultrawide?
The game can be played on an Ultrawide monitor, but will display some black bars on the sides during gameplay.
Joe, what has the experience been like for you, going back to the beginning of the franchise, and did you finally fix the harvester AI?
As much as I would have liked to fix the harvester AI, I really couldn’t without affecting balance and we wanted to keep the original balance the same. As far as working on the remaster, it was kind of like going back in time and looking at 25 year old source code. I was surprised how well it stood up and very thankful that I was super anal about commenting code to describe ‚why‘ of the algorithms, not just the ‚how‘. If you really want to fix the harvester AI, modifying the game logic DLLs is an option. While you’re at it you could modify all pathfinding and attack logic for all units as well. Your imagination is your only limit.
I have been given my steam key by Limited run. But preloading still isn’t working on steam? When will preloading begin?
Pre-loading will begin at 10:00am PDT on June 1st!
Not sure if this has been asked, but was the audio for the game remastered(sound effects like gun fire and what not) or is it just the original audio?
Yes – all sound effects were remastered, and we also brought back the original EVA actress Kia Huntzinger to re-record all her lines. Anything else where original audio was able to be cleaned up and improved we did, such as the movies, and other original voices.
Why no mod support for multiplayer?
Multiplayer runs on dedicated servers and would not be compatible with players having mods activated. We’re hoping to add LAN play to support mods in multiplayer after launch.
Any updates on the game working on Windows 7?
We are not officially supporting Windows 7, but it should run perhaps with some minor issues. For the best experience, we encourage Windows 8.1 or Windows 10.
What is the biggest thing -outside of LAN- that you wanted to add, but couldn’t add?
My personal list would be Attack-Move, rally points for factories, waypoints for movement, better AI, better pathfinding. It is hard to say there is just one thing I would add. However, adding these things would alter the experience and balance of the game and turn it into something that doesn’t feel like the original game. I’m sure some features such as these could be added by modders since they have access to the game logic source code.
What is the most significant change you made to the games barring the obvious UI changes? And what was the hardest part of the remastering the game? Its awesome that you open sourced it btw.
The most significant change, other that completely replacing the network/matchmaking code and art/sound, would be adding AI skirmish mode to Tiberian Dawn. The skirmish AI in Red Alert was new at the time so shifting that code over to Tiberian Dawn was interesting since the units and structures are different.
Hey Jimtern and all the team behind this, can’t wait for next week. In what language is coded this remaster? What language(s) will we be able to use to make mods? Thanks.
The remaster is written in C++. The original code was written in C++ as well. This was before the C++ standard was even officially defined. I guess you could say we were on the cutting edge at the time. In spite of this, the original code held up pretty well and didn’t require major rework to work with modern compiler. The mods can use C++ to alter the main logic code so you can change basic behavior — even make the harvester behave better for pathing! Actually, you can change almost everything with gameplay because you will have access to all the gameplay logic through the modable DLL source.
Say that you’ve played the old games to death. What is the biggest selling point for such a player? Will there be new missions for instance?
I would say that seeing all the legacy content now in 4K would be a huge incentive, especially with the ability to swap between the legacy graphics and remastered graphics in solo play. If you’ve only ever played on PC, then we have added the console missions as well. In addition, the over 7 hours of remastered music by Frank is a must-listen for any C&C fan. And of course, as the community begins to create new content, there should be an ever-expansive amount of new items to play with.
Will we able to mod Veterancy levels like Tiberian sun and Red Alert 2 had i? And implement these in c&c 1 and Red Alert 1 ? Because I want to mod this in!
Hey, that would be cool! You would need to track the # of kills each unit has made and apply a bonus based on tiers of kills made – but it should be possible. Just remember that the more „tendrils“ a change requires into UI, AI, and game functionality, the more challenging it will be to get it to work without issues.
Just wanted to say a very hearty thank you to everyone who remastered this game!I am eagerly awaiting this and can’t get enough c&c! Hoping for more remaster soon!
I haven’t had a chance to look through the questions, so my apologies If this has been asked, what was the most challenging part of bringing this remaster to life?
What was your favorite thing about working on this? Thanks again!
Too many great things about all this. Rediscovering what my 20 year old self was thinking when working on this, and remembering a lot of interactions and stories from the time. I enjoyed seeing all the bonus b-roll footage and happy to have found previously unreleased music tracks. Probably the most important thing is seeing a proper complete soundtrack in high quality which the fans have been asking for for years.
Hey Jim! What’s your favourite unit from each C&C universe?
I always loved the Orca from Tib Dawn, the Tesla Tank from RA, and the Overlord Tank from Generals : )
What was the most difficult work on the remaster?
The toughest part of the remaster, I think, is making the visuals and gameplay not only match the legacy, but improving them carefullly such that we could support modern features without damaging the original experience. The sidebar, for example, went through many interations before we figured out the exact functionality we ended up with. Getting the art into HD but still capturing the look and feel of the legacy was also quite challenging. Fortunately, we had the original source code, so core functionality was less challenging than if we had to do a complete rewrite. The multiplayer logic is all new, so that posed some challenges as well. The remaster had to fulfill not just what the legacy game was, but how players remembered the legacy game. Lots of the quality of life improvements were driven by that goal.
Is literally every button re-mappable? I find it annoying when games don’t allow you to use buttons like Caps, or the scroll wheel on a mouse.
Most all the keyboard keys are remappable (except for a few like ESC). Unfortunately the mouse is not remappable, but you can switch between Left Click and Right Click commands in the Options menu.
Frank, what was your biggest challenge with the Remaster? Oh, and is there any chance you could record the EVA announcer lines as the Commando? 😉
Biggest challenge with the remaster was probably just the sheer attention to detail, specific to searching for all the sources of the original sound effects. I had to recreate all those from scratch too, but fortunately I kept my CD sound effect libraries from back then which we also had at Westwood. As far as EVA lines as Commando, I think that’d make him less special, best leave the one liners to him.
Will adding difficulty settings to the TD campaign impact its gameplay? Other than one-key graphics switching, will there be more rendering options such as adjustable FOV, scaling algorithm, true-to-DOS 6:5 aspect ratio…
Great question, the core gameplay will not change with the added difficulty settings, as the difficulty only impacts core unit stats. We do not have additional rendering options beyond the graphics switching in solo play and camera zooming.
I have a gameplay question. How exactly similar will everything be to old games in terms of unit damage and movement, and do you have plans to balance things out if the games pick up any E-sports following?
The core gameplay is intended to maintain the authenticity of the original experience. As such, the way units move and their balance data is the same as the legacy titles. We found that altering balance data had extreme ripple effects in the campaign missions, which we didn’t want to compromise.
Was anything done to fix how skirmish games always end up with max number of AI players? The ore quickly runs out and every game turns into a case of the AI stops building anything because they have no money. Or at least would it be easy to globally change ore regrowth for all maps? I believe in the original game the ore regrowth was set per map.
Ore regrowth should be controllable in the ‚rules.ini‘ file. Of course, individual settings could be overridden on a per-map basis as well. I don’t recall the actual entry identifier in the rules.ini for tiberium/ore regrowth. If you make a new map, you should be able to add those entries to the scenario.ini file and get more rapid growth.
I was curious, what sort of tech was used for up-scaling of assets and videos in the game? If any? I feel like a lot of the modern remasters don’t take advantage of up-scaling tech and I am trying to learn more about it. That said, your remaster is looking fantastic!
We actually worked directly with the community to develop an algorithm which would upscale all the legacy FMV content. I would encourage you to watch this full video here outlining the journey of remastering the FMVs with this approach. https://www.ea.com/games/command-and-conquer/command-and-conquer-remastered/news/remaster-update-fmvs-bonus-gallery
In Red Alert, you could „Ctrl+number“ to group units. Has this functionality been backported to Tiberium Dawn? Also, is there controller support?
Yes you can utilize „Ctrl+number“ to assign control groups in Tiberian Dawn. However, there is no controller support for the Remastered Collection.
What (if any) changes can we expect to the AI in this version?
The good news is we were able to bring the Red Alert Skirmish AI over to Tiberian Dawn, so Tiberian Dawn will now have Skirmish for the first time. We’ve made slight bug fixes to the AI over the course of the project, but on the whole the AI will operate in a similar way as the legacy games.
In a previous comment you mentioned that things like indicators would be added to a proverbial „future wishlist“. It may be too early to say, but as it stands do you know what’s the scope of the post launch support is looking like?
We’re currently working on our first post-launch patch, which is aimed to address several of the community requests we didn’t quite get to for launch. We should have more details around this soon!
Will the Remastered be released in every timezone at the same time?
Yes, it will be a simultaneous release at 10:00am PDT on June 5th.
Did you consider actually remaking the non-actor FMV’s (like the one with the unpacking mcv for example) since you aren’t limited in actors and they look pretty outdated?
The quirkyness of the FMVs is part of the charm of the game so we didn’t reconsider remaking them. It would have taken considerable effort as there are MANY of these non-actor videos and we wanted our art effort to go toward making the in-game battles look as good as possible.- Joe Bostic (Design Director)
Will miners/harvesters gather in a checkerboard pattern or will we have to manually babysit them?
This was a tough one, and at launch Harvesters will retain their legacy harvesting behavior. However, we are experimenting in our test environment a change suggested by the Community Council which may make some slight improvements to this.
Will mods for the original games be compatible with the new version? Additionally, will the rules.ini/spawner.xdp files in the old games be present and modifiable in the remasters?
This would be on a case by case basis, but it’s likely existing mods would need to be adjusted by their creators to work with the Remastered Collection. It’s possible some mods may need to be rebuilt entirely in order to work properly.
What was the biggest thing to decide NOT to change?
We wanted to add Attack-Move, better AI, better pathfinding, waypoints, rally points, etc, but as we discussed these features, we realized that those things would radically affect gameplay and we wanted to match original balance as much as possible. The idea was that you could dust off a strategy guide from the 90s and all the strategy advice would still be valid in the remasters.
How has the work been with the community council? Did they have major impact to some parts of remaster? How powerful is the map editor? Is it limited to making mostly layouts or does it have heavy scripting allowing for custom campaigns or special maps (kind of like starcraft/warcraft3 that had practically completely different games within the game)? If you could go back in time to the beginning of the project, is there something you would do differently now? Sorry for bombardment of questions.
If I could go back in time, would I do anything differently? I’m not quite sure since the code is actually holding up pretty good — even though it was written in C++ before the C++ standard was even defined. I would probably have made the game more modable. Although you can do alot with modifying the ‚rules.ini‘ file, there are some things that are hard coded that could have been written with a more mod-friendly focus.
Will we see optimizations such as support for GPU-accelerated rendering or multi-threading? I’d be interested in anything you can say about the nuts and bolts.
The original code that runs the game (which we used as the skeleton for the remaster) is single threaded, but we did incorporate mutithreading capability into the game client with the addition of our own technology.
The Retaliation expansion missions included new cinematics, but each cinematic encompassed several missions, how have you tackled this? Will there be some kind of world map selection screen for expansion missions like in the normal campaigns?
All the Red Alert expansion missions our chosen via our new Mission Selection flow. Each Retaliation cinematic is attached to one of the specific missions (IE, the start of that mission arc). So if you play the expansion missions in order, you’ll see the Retaliation story play out as originally intended.
Aside from unit queuing, what other Quality of Life QoL) changes were implemented?
As an aside for those who might be curious, we already know that the ability to build multiple wall segments at a time like the later C&C games are coming via mods.
Alongside unit queuing, we’ve added selection improvements (Like Shift-select and double-click to select), new Hotkey commands, and all Hotkeys can now be customizable via the Options menu. We’ve also added new camera controls such as Zooming and Right & Middle button mouse scroll. And of course the entire Sidebar has been redesigned for a modern experience.
Can you name the Westwood vets that hepled you with this release? Was Joe Kucan involved in this?
I bumped into the actor that played Greg Burdette (Eric Randall) at a party and told him about the remasters and he was very excited and fondly remembered all the video shoots and offered any help he could. Some of the most notable people that worked on the original include Steve Tall (Petroglyph Founder, Lead Engineer), Mike Legg (Petroglyph Founder, Engineer), Joe Bostic (Co-Creator, Engineer, Design Director), Ted Morris (Community, Producer), Brian Hayes (Programmer), Frank Klepacki (Composer, Audio Director), Dan Etter (UI Manager), and of course Kia Huntzinger reprised her role of EVA.
Will you be doing a remaster of the truly superior N64 version of CandC?
The N64 version of C&C was awesome, and we’re including all the N64 missions in the PC Remastered Collection! Along with the FMV cinematics from the PlayStation version of Red Alert.
Are you incorporating some of the UI enhancements that OpenRA has? Like repair a vehicle with the wrench => sends the unit to the repair pad Or superior pathfinding when 30 infantry units are ordered to attack they don’t block eachother and make way for their comrades to take position? And lastly, what about the dumb AI that at times made the game very easy?
OpenRA is an amazing community project, and we’ve been humbled to work with some of their team members within the Community Council. We were not able to make some of these improvements, but that’s also one reason why we decided to release the .dlls and corresponding source code under the GPL, so projects like OpenRA can continue to improve.
Will the Chrono Vortex return in Red Alert? 🙂
Yes we have indeed remastered the Chrono Vortex! Don’t get too trigger happy with the Chronosphere : )
Before anything else, I want to give you all the BIGGEST THANK YOU for remastering two timeless classics and being in touch with the community while doing it. Perhaps other games could learn a thing or two from you lol. I only wish that the remaster becomes a huge success because it truly deserves it. I only have 3 question lol. What was the toughest part in remastering both C&C and Red Alert? Is Red Alert 2 and Tiberian Sun next? What’s in store for the Command and Conquer universe in the near future?
The toughest part of the remaster, I think, is making the visuals and gameplay not only match the legacy, but improving them carefullly such that we could support modern features without damaging the original experience. The sidebar, for example, went through many interations before we figured out the exact functionality we ended up with. Getting the art into HD but still capturing the look and feel of the legacy was aslo quite challenging. Fortunately, we had the original source code, so core functionality was less challenging than if we had to do a complete rewrite. The multiplayer logic is all new, so that posed some challenges as well. The remaster had to fulfill not just what the legacy game was, but how players remembered the legacy game was. Lots of the quality of life improvements were driven by that goal.
I love the updated 4k graphics, but I was disappointed the animations still contain only a limited number of frames like the original. The jittery animations really take away from how much the rest of the graphics have improved. Was this a budget constraint? I can’t imagine it’s simply a matter of staying true to the original, because in the transition to 4k, you’ve added a lot of additional detail to the artwork that was never there before. I don’t think more animation frames would have detracted from the feel of the originals at all.
We certainly appreciate that perspective. The key reason we kept the frames the same was to allow for the real-time switching between graphics modes. So at any while in Solo Play, you can hit Space Bar to swap between the legacy graphics and remastered graphics, and this required us to maintain frame by frame authenticity throughout the game. We were able to extend the frames on a few cosmetic VFX items, like the Nuke and Ion Cannon.
Is a map editor included with the remasters?
Yes! We have a brand new Map Editor that will allow you to create both Single-player Missions and Mutliplayer / Skirmish maps. If you own the Steam version, you can directly upload your maps from the Map Editor to the Steam Workshop to share with the community.
Is the Modding Community going to have as easy a time modifying the Remasters as they did with the originals so long ago? I have a lot of fond memories of designing units in the .ini files (primarily in TS, but I remember a lot of good mods for TD And RA as well).
With the release of the .dlls and corresponding source code under the GPL, the modding community should have even more ability to edit the games. You should be able to create new units, replace art, edit data and logic, and create maps with the new Map Editor (And share it all via the Steam Workshop).
What was the most fun thing to work on in the remaster process?
Getting to collaborate with Frank on the soundtrack was amazing, and the recordings with the Tiberian Sons are phenomenal. Bringing in passionate community members to form the Community Council has been incredible, where they’ve had 24/7 direct access to our team throughout the course of the project.
C&C Red Alert 2 was one of my favorite games to play growing up, I did play C&C a bit later, but I guess my question is RA2 on the table in the future or is that more of a wait and see?
Right now we’re fully focused on the launch of the Remastered Collection. This will be the first PC RTS game EA has released in the past 10 years. We’re all excited for the launch and eager to hear the reaction from players.
Which part of the source code was a personal favourite to go back to for the Westwood devs? Curious to hear some nostalgia stories 🙂
I have two favorite stories here. The first is that the Petroglyph team would discover their own comments in the code they made 25 years ago. The second is a quote from Steve Tall, the Technical Director at Petroglyph and original Lead Programmer on Red Alert. „Turns out that crash was fixed in Red Alert in 1998. I’ll pull the fix over to TD now“
Just because I think it could be useful to have a public statement about this…Is there attack-move functionality in the game, or anything resembling it?
There is no ‚attack-move‘ per se, as that wasn’t originally coded into the game and adding that feature would definately change the balance to a great degree. We didn’t want to alter the gameplay of the campaign. The AI doesn’t know how to use attack-move either. If I had thought of implementing attack-move during the original development, I’m sure I would have. This reminds me of drag-select that I added to C&C, but would have added it to Dune II if I had thought of it at the time. Hindsight is always 20-20 they say.- Joe Bostic (Design Director)
The Q-move mechanic is a very important part of micromanagement in high-skill Red Alert 1. This allows you to queue moves by giving orders to units while holding the Q key. It also allows you to fire and move at the same time with tanks, by first picking a target and then giving a mode order while holding Q. Is this game mechanic still present in the remasters, and if it is present, has it been improved alongside the other QoL improvements? The biggest issue of the mechanic in the original RA is that there is no visual indicator for giving these „Q-Move“ commands, it’s all done internally with no information displayed in the UI that you just queued a command.
We worked closely with the Community Council to ensure the Q-move mechanic in Red Alert is working to expectations. We did not end up changing the indicator, but that’s awesome feedback we could add onto a future wishlist.
Thank you for working so hard on this project. I hope this is just the beginning of a phoenix-like rebirth of C&C. That said, how does it feel to be working on C&C once more?
It’s been a surreal experience to be honest. I started playing C&C when I was 12 years old, and was then able to work on the franchise with C&C3, Kane’s Wrath, and RA3. To then come back 10 years later to Remaster the original games with Petroglyph has been a childhood dream come true.
How are you dealing with the cut content like Megan and the Helicarrier? I assume you didn’t remake it considering it was „cut“ in the first place. Also will Chitzkoi and Volkov be their own units finally or are they still considered a special unit, for example if you wanted to make a map or mission using them as either recruitable or available? I love your work and this remaster is bringing so much joy back into a life. C&C was my childhood and I always felt melancholic thinking about it, feeling as if it was dead. This is the best tribute the series could get <3
We were able to remaster a few of the cut units, so they can be utilized in player created content. For example, you could create a mission with Chitzkoi and Volkov, and change their data any way you’d like. We can’t wait to see what you create!
Have you had any involvement with Joe Kucan for this remaster? Will there be any surprises in the bonus Gallery? Will there be any new content, like new missions or anything previously not seen, beyond the behind the scenes bonus stuff?
There’s over four hours of never-before-seen footage in the Bonus Gallery, along with unreleased music tracks Frank discovered in his archive. For PC players, we’ve brought the console missions and cinematics into the Collection as well. With regards to Joe, I cannot reveal Kane’s secrets…
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