Part 23: Commentary Corner - Mission 3Update 3 Bonus Commentary and Cut Content Roundup! Super late.
So our hero is thrown in the brig by the GDI MPs, to show what a rebel he is and that Locke is Getting Serious. That militay police character oddly enough will show up in straight up assault situations later in the game, because that's how GDI rolls I guess.
The Dead Six team has found some intel. They're like the GDI SEAL Team Six except multinational, being from GDI. I don't think it's been made very clear so far, but Havoc used to be in the Dead Six until he was such a maverick that he began working as some solo operator.
Sakura was also Havoc's girlfriend from the Dead Six days. You can see all the members together in this sorta-spoiler retouched image I dug up off the internet, which also shows Havoc in his Dead Six outfit. They're on the Mission 4 island map apparently
For those who pre-ordered the game, you got Havoc's various camo uniforms as a pre-order bonus thing. It's too bad they didn't give you Havoc and Sakura in Dead 6 gear instead, that might've made more sense.
Sydney and Petrova I should talk about later. Suffice to say they're available as a normal and extra multiplay character, respectively, but Petrova's multiplayer version is one hell of a spoiler for the time being.
Anyhow, something way more interesting. The scar-faced, beret-wearing, black turtleneck sporting badass with the mean look to his face and something of a Hugh-Jackman-as-Wolverine beard. That used to be the Big Bad, General Raveshaw, before some changes were made. You'll note his fashionable-yet-paramilitary outfit looks a lot more like what Seth and the rest of the Nod temple staff wore in the original C&C game.
Nod's general, Gideon Raveshaw, leader of the Black Hand.
The "Columbian seperatist movement" tatooed commando on the Nod side, Mendoza, used to be this fine fellow:
And a reminder that Nick Parker was going to be the tatooed GDI commando, who evolved into Logan:
Sakura didn't change:
Anyhow, there were some shakeups in the design midway through its development, and we went from paramilitary-terrorist Nod to comic book supervillain Nod instead, resulting in things like the new Raveshaw and gaudy Light Tank, plus red jumpsuit baddies. A lot of the old style were seen as late as E3 in 2001, and Renegade fans often tried to work on recreating "the E3 models."
Things like this had been displayed on media sites and in magazine articles, and that's the style people wanted. An older look for the Humvee we use in this mission is visible in the tool set documentation. Anyhow, a few people got lucky, and, at one point a long time ago some of the "E3 models" were rumored to be included in a new version of the RenAlert project. That never happened in the end, but:
A lot nicer looking, right? The Recon Bike vehicle actually made it into the game's files in supervillain mode, but is not available for purchase.
Most of the prerelease footage and screenshots (where you'll see urban BDU enemies) show from the third person perspective, which brings up another interesting thing. Renegade was to be a third person action game. The inclusion of a first person view might be tied to ditching some of the fancier third person entry animations, but that's speculation on my part.
So, as to the mission itself
The surplus of rocket launchers and warnings about Apache strikes make more sense in the context of older game mechanics, where you would have actual lock-on Stingeresque missiles. I think I've mentioned already that the lock-on logic was gutted, although remnants remain in terms of sounds, reference strings, bits of code, and artifacts left in the game's editor for lock times and such. The retail lock on system was effectively "the missile tries to hit the point selected at the time it is fired."
A quick aside to multiplayer. This leads to great things like missiles that cannot hit their (dead) target just doing tight loops in the air, often seen in multiplayer because the GDI advanced guard tower has a lot of "fuel" in its missiles. In order to get a shot to home in on those rare homing weapons, you must fire while directly pointed at the target, and even then it might not "lock" because of netcode silliness. There is actually an exploit on the multiplay map C&C Field, where you can put your back to a mountain as a GDI MLRS and fire "behind" yourself. The missiles curve just right that they clip through some mountains and hit the Hand of Nod; three or four guys doing this could kill it swiftly, but many servers patched invisible walls into place.
Back to the mission. We see our intrepid hero crushing Nod soldiers, with a Humvee. Not just head on, but drifting as well. "You couldn't do that in C&C," you say; well, in Renegade, there are actually settings to adjust this behavior although they go unused. It's not just "death zones" taped to vehicles, either, but related to the physics model. The project "A Path Beyond" takes advantage of the unused engine functionality, so that helicopters cannot be used to crush infantry, and the jeep vehicle must be going really fast and/or land on a soldier hard to get a kill. Code's in there, just not used!
We also see Havoc trying to get his humvee inside a house. This is pretty much the bane of level designers, giving the users the freedom to do silly things and go where they want, while preventing getting stuck or breaking gameplay. You actually could fit the Humvee into several doorways in multiplay, letting you "lock" a friendly engineer inside to really do a number on the building and preventing the enemy from easily repairing. The Obelisk and AGT were also prime candidates for stuffing a jeep as a defensive matter, since one of the best ways to kill those is infantry C4ing it from the inside. A lot of that was changed once server owners and mappers realized they should block bad areas off.
At around 3:25, Havoc (in the driver seat) actually gets shot. Blood spurts from the vehicle. The game actually lets you assign riders to various positions in a vehicle, believe it or not. In multiplay your name appears where your soldier is "inside" the APC or whatever; a nice touch, but sometimes you'll bleed when shot (but take no damage). Vehicles also can be set to have "glass" portions which will show cracks when shot by some weapons; other surfaces won't show decals however. The game has some weirdly particular settings for other surfaces, as well. Like, the game actually has some shader style effects for water, but it is not used for any other surfaces.
Speaking of decals, no footprints in the snow as Havoc runs around. The game, however, supports footprints for running/walking/jumping and does a surprisingly good job at handling weird situations where you skip off surfaces with just one foot. There's no real reason to not have this, other than a very low decal limit in the release version of the game. One limitation, though, is that all infantry use the same footprint effect.
Back to the action! A Mammoth Tank! Mammoths in Renegade are a mixed bag, especially in multiplay. Because of how many points they are worth just for being shot, they can lead to very even points exchange and in the hands of a bad player could feed the enemy team a score advantage. They also have some interesting quirks. You can abuse the game's physics by firing your cannon behind yourself for small boosts to movement, if you were wondering. They have missiles (one of those rare tracking weapons), but the proper missile launch effects never appear in the base game. They're actually quite large puffs, too.
All vehicles in Renegade have the ability to have a turret, and then barrel and muzzle components which work together to aim the weapon and do the shooty effects. The game will alternate between two muzzles for the primary weapon, so Flame Tanks actually shoot from left/right rapidly in succession. You can have a secondary weapon which can fire from two secondary muzzle points, but they won't make the proper shot effects. Fans later fixed this for mod projects, ten years after the fact; some projects got fancier, using animations to move the muzzle bones according to the firing pattern. This way, a SAM site doesn't always fire the same two missiles endlessly.
That's the bulk of what there is to say. You finally meet the Nod Chef, who appears in a couple other levels, and is used as one of the multiplay "extras" as a flamethrower replacement. Also, Raveshaw (supervillain edition) appears here with a rocket launcher (he gets a railgun in multiplayer) and Mendoza (not-Raveshaw edition) shows up as some kind of kung-fu flamethrower who shoots RPGs. In multiplay, he gets a gun that shoots electricity for no reason
Bonus Video Extra Comments:
Elevators and most moving things can be set to have different attributes; namely to not care for collide events, to try to push the obstruction, to stop animating, or kill the offending object. They're almost always set to just pause their motion. You can abuse this in multiplayer maps that feature elevators, as you might imagine, by jamming something in them. Same for the elevator doors, not just the moving parts.
In the Hand, those posters Havoc stares at are all callbacks to old C&C cutscenes featuring Nod. Also, it's not the same image, but the tree background looks very similar to one made for some old material. A nice touch if intentional.