Part 27: Commentary Corner - Mission 6Mission 6 Extra Stuff!
The Mission 6 intro begins with Havoc's handiwork on the boat. Those torpedos and missiles we've "rewired" were more like "wired up" with explosives, and we're treated to a nice scene of destruction reminescent of one of the original C&C cutscenes depicting a commando's handiwork. Gotta give Renegade some real credit for trying to recreate a lot of C&C's scenes. Something I should've mentioned during the mission 5 stuff: Because our hero sabotaged those SAM warheads, when the enemy EVA said a civilian aircraft was detected and sent a launcher up, it self-destructed.
So, we get to meet the remaining members of the Dead 6 here again. One of the more interesting characters is Patch, and he's part of what makes GDI in multiplayer so stupid in the face of canon: they actually deploy more chemical weaponry, and are using it more recklessly.
Patch gets the tiberium flechette gun (basically a nailgun that shoots tiberium) and Sydney gets an automatic rifle that shoots blobs of liquid tiberium. Patch's protective gear is limited to a pair of goggles and bare arms, while Sydney wears a zippered jacket. Havoc will get both of these weapons later in singleplayer.
Patch is interesting, because he is a really good budget character. For 450 credits, you get a really nasty mid-range high-damage character that is good against infantry, light vehicles, and can do enough damage to actually turn the tide in an armored vehicle fight (he's just kinda bad against buildings).
Sydney is just complete trash, especially because her rifle's projectile travel time is so slow, the rate of fire's bad, the reload is long, the damage is pretty crap, and it's not good against anything really. You're better off with an officer, especially because chemwarriors can safely ignore Sydney. Outside of screwing up in cutscenes and being a vague point of romantic tension, you really ought to ignore Sydney always.
Did I say to ignore her? Well, she actually has another version where she's armed with the Personal Ion Cannon that we've already seen by this point in the thread. That version's a lot more potent and gets regular use. She used to be a bit more showy but they made her zip up for the final version of the game, unless you want to pay for the more expensive variant with the good weapon; only the bad girls get to show off. Sydney does have another look with the PIC, but it's a minor spoiler still.
The Mision 6 intro also shows us Nod behaving like proper terrorists, using a Flame Tank to torch some civilians. That, too, is a callback to an old C&C cutscene. Nod is well known for terrorizing sleepy Eastern European themed villages with Recon Bikes in addition to Flame Tanks, as we also see in the "modern" Renegade cutscene. We've already discussed the presence of Recon Bikes in Renegade, this being the only real in-game shot we get of them as Havoc lazily wastes a helicopter (and pilot?) while spouting classic C&C commando catchphrases
Actually, you never get to fly a helicopter either in singleplayer, even though mission one dramatically has you rope down from a helicopter and this one shows you using one at the start. Originally, the game shipped without player-controlled helicopters at all, despite that being a feature people wanted to see! A patch later added the Orca, Apache, and Transport Helicopter for specific _Flying variants of existing maps. Fans actually tried to add them in themselves first, and one early mod of this type also came with a keylogger. Whoops!
The Orca and Apache are functionally identical, but which weapon is 'primary' is swapped between the missiles and chaingun. In the original game, of course, Orcas had missiles and Apaches had chainguns only. Renegade homogenizes a few things a bit in the interest of balance, although funny enough, the game also has several glitches in its settings and how damage is dealt (surprise!). One example is that Nod basic soldiers carry weapons identical to GDI soldiers, except they do less damage. It's only by 2 points of damage, but multiplied by the generous 100 rounds you get and it's a lot of potential gone. The basic Nod soldier's head is also larger, and you better believe it that people are still arguing over that ten years later. Tragic big-headedness also impacts Chem Warriors, who should be otherwise great in infantry fights.
Speaking of Chem Warriors, here's their original look as seen through the original look of a sniper rifle:
Like most of the units, they had several texture-style revisions before the final version. This one's more saturated looking, and it's got the Nod logo on his sleeve. One problem with a logo on your sleeve is that it shows up backwards if you mirror the texture for each sleeve, which is probably why it was removed if I had to guess.
You might notice that the Chemwarriors have tanks; in multiplay, liabilities like that were removed. Even though the Nod rifle soldier's head was so big, his actual head hitbox isn't that much larger than the GDI guy's. It would be totally possible to have any backpack/tank not count as a hit, but that would be confusing/frustrating. Not only that, it would be hard to mount a player's carried weaponry on his back. Hip-mounted stuff doesn't look good either, we've tried it.
Anyhow, the mission goes on and it's a fun one, with civilian resistance helping you out from time to time, and good places to hide. There are some interesting aesthetic things to see, too. Watch carefully as Havoc attacks the debris blocking Hotwire; it's got some leaves casting shadows on it! And the shadows are there on Havoc as he enters the brief cutscene with Hotwire, although not on the floor inside. The engine actually has support for fancy cast-shadows like that, albeit at a performance cost, and fancy shadows from terrain objects don't actually cast on the ground (that's precomputed) but do cast on soldiers, vehicles, and things like this chunk of crap. The active sort of object can cast a fancier shadow, however, as we've seen all along. In the vanilla game, the resolution of cast shadows wasn't very high either, but you've got to remember this was going to be an engine that would work on the PS2! That's actually still alluded to in some of the documentation. The tools were a bit of a hackjob for this game as you might imagine and are full of half-done or altered/removed functionality, but I won't go into that right now.
About that Hotwire cutscene, it was possible to run up into it and glitch the game such that the player-Havoc model is visible while the cutscene-Havoc chats it up
A nice little touch that enemies have are these "warning" sounds when you get close. It's typically some mumbling and their reload sound. After Havoc clears the flamethrowers off the bridge by some water, you can hear a Nod rocket soldier officer "rack" his rocket launcher menacingly to tip you off if you're being careful enough. Chemwarriors will also "rack" their sprayer and breathe menacingly. The AI actually reacts to sounds you make, too, which is why you'll hear them remarking when you shoot nearby. When not alarmed they'll stroll around, or even run places, without their weapons drawn. The player's got no way to holster however.
After the Nod helicopter gets shot down by the resistance, Havoc reloads his rocket launcher. Have you noticed it's quite a huge launcher that shoots, more or less, tiny tank shells? That wasn't always the case and I'll talk about some weapon changes later. Anyhow, the sound desyncs a little bit because the reload happens as he draws the gun. Settings for weapons taking different time to switch isn't really "there" even though it's something you can change in the editor, and no support for partial reloads-- you must keep a gun out the duration to get the fresh ammo. The sound'll play immediately when you go to reload, but the animation will start playing anytime you're in first person and reloading, just as soon as it can. So if you swap between first and third person, you'll see yourself reloading again. You can fire before the animation finishes if you do this, of course, since that's purely cosmetic.
We've already covered the PIC at this point in the thread, and the weirdness surrounding the fact Nod keeps having Ion Cannon tech all over. You can find one in the Hand of Nod in an early level, in the snow-cave with the giant tiberium meteor, and Nod's running around with personal Ion Cannons which makes no sense at all. It makes far more sense for it to have been one of Nod's weapons, like the should-have-been Railgun in the Chateau level from the bookcase
Anyway, the concept art for the Initiate! I don't think it was mentioned yet, but Initiates are another one of the "extras" units in multiplayer. They are a variant of the Chemwarrior and are fantastic, seeing as how they heal from tiberium. This lets them spray each other down for healing, and they're fast. No huge head target, hard to run over, heals in tiberium, and outruns other soldiers, and can heal its buddies? Crazy!
Anyhow, Havoc steals a light tank and meets a lady who sounds just like Deadeye on the radio. I'm not entirely sure what caused that, except that a lot of dialog is handled in the game in a special way. It's handled via a special "conversation" class you can set up, which handles making characters talk unsurprisingly. Probably just a goof. Some of the audio in the game is weird, with weird ranges specified. This level in particular is full of weird audio volumes and voiceacting. Like the "help me" guy who is so loud, it's hard to home in on him by audio. Now and then it'll freak out and play a sound far away at full volume for a split second; no idea why! In this case it's just odd settings in use.
When we reload the game, the glass settings reset. Basically anything in the game, when you model it, can count as "glass" which inherits all the glass properties. This can let you make some really slick effects, but all the quirks. Much like glass in older games like Goldeneye, you can stick explosives to pre-broken glass. Makes for fun times when you get proximity mines in multiplay!
Havoc gets to drive a flame tank, finally. Notice how the "where bullets hit" dot rapidly alternates its position. I mentioned why that happens in an earlier post. The AI is a little bad at using this, though, which helps DeadEye survive. That's also why Havoc has so much trouble shooting that rocket soldier. All projectiles in this game aren't as big as they appear-- in fact, they're all tiny traces. That huge spray from a flame tank isn't actually the weapon either.
Notice how the flame and chemical effects go through things? You can really tell with flame tanks. Those particle streams are essentially unrelated to the actual projectiles, and the Renegade particle system is unaware of collision events. In multiplay, this means you can be a huge asshole and blind people in buildings by firing through them forever with a flame tank.
There's actually another reason DeadEye and his buddies are so tough, though. When you see them take that little glowy yellow effect up in the church, that's just a timed healing effect to give them a hand. Anytime you heal up the game wraps that effect over you. Same as when you see the visceroids climbing through tiberium, that's just them healing up. It looks good on visceroids, but really weird on humans since it looks so unstable or mutagenic, I suppose.
Since we're talking about DeadEye and fire effects, and since I mentioned I'd talk more about the rocket launchers, here's some more good stuff. Witness Havoc (or really, Logan at this point) using one of the earlier looks for the rocket launcher, from before it was a big thick green tube that shot comically small tank shells. A beta flamethrower is attacking DeadEye who is not having a great time.
We also have one of those beta Chemwarriors shooting (fire!?) at Logan inside the tiberium refinery. And Logan trying to shoot down an Apache with yet another rocket launcher; I bet he'd be glad to have a functional lock-on system instead of what the game shipped with.
More stuff tomorrow.