Part 29: Commentary Corner - Mission 8Mission 8 Extra Stuff!
I'm way behind on this due to holidays Sydney is barely saved from Saturday Morning Cartoon Villain Mendoza (as opposed to Far Cry 3 badass Mendoza, who never made the cut). Much like Sakura, Mendoza is full of all sorts of special boss logic that's very hard to see except in the particular circumstances in which he appears. Part of this is because unlike most enemies, Mendoza will seek out and use health powerups (that are randomly spawning around the fight zone) so it makes sense to limit where he's willing to search for goodies. He's also showing off his melee attacks. A while back I mentioned the pitfalls of trying to use melee attacks in this engine since they're not really supported. That's not really fair to say. His health is pretty low compared to the weaponry you're packing at this point so we don't get to see, but Mendoza's chock full of attacks and swaps between a wide variety of them-- such as that flying kick at the start. The game actually bothers to check if e.g. the correct "punching fist" hits your character during his attacks and it works pretty well all things considered. But, it's all hardcoded to a Mendoza object, it's not something regular infantry can ever use.
What's weird about Mendoza is that he's got that "RPG" or "Fireball" attack that's more similar to what Flamethrowers in Red Alert 1 had than what the Nod ones did in the original game (or in Renegade for that matter). I guess it's there just to give him some ranged attack power. In addition to the two fire attacks and the flying kick, he's throwing left and right hooks and does some karate kicks, too. He's also supposed to pull a pistol, but that never happens. His actual punches, kicks, etc. all use the same damage type that the chainguns use, so he could actually kick apart a helicopter if he wanted to, perhaps making it a better choice than pulling a gun anyhow
Anyhow, Mendoza shows us the dangers of wearing a canister on his back and goes down like a chump. Another good reason for the Flamethrowers and Chemwarriors to not have the big tanks on their backs (despite a couple different tank designs being made) and on the guns instead, although Mendoza clearly has both. No idea why the HUD stays on for the little in-engine cinematic, just a mistake I guess.
By the way, the powerups placed during the fight have logic to actually-randomly spawn in, unlike all multiplayer powerups that are pre-placed. In fact, due to some bad maths, randomly spawning objects (despite allowing multiple pre-set permutations in their location) will generally only spawn in one or two spots in the base game. From what I remember there actually are extra spawn points for many weapons in say, the multiplayer map Under or Walls, but they effectively never show up there. Maybe I'm misremembering but I do remember we had to tackle spawn maths glitches for some A Path Beyond stuff.
Havoc escapes by jumping on the roof of the... wait, what? Up until this point, all we've seen are empty supervillain transport trucks. By the time they reach the door and make their escape, it looks notably more utilitarian and less supervillain-red, supports for a canvas back and everything! Sydney accidentally found the old Nod cargo truck design I linked at the end of the last extra content roundup, in the time it took to look backwards out of the garage and back in again.
Anyhow, Sydney's magical version-changing truck makes its escape and is spotted by Deadeye through the scope of... wait, what?
Since we last saw him for the Reunion mission, Deadeye accidentally found the old sniper rifle and reticule! It could only be more magical if he saw the red one while scoped.
You know, despite many references to that two-circles reticule, including in the "EVA set up," in-game you always have the same broken-circle one no matter the weapon or vehicle you use even if using a weapon with a scope (which also only includes one shared look for all zooming weapons in the base game). It's a pretty bad aiming device and probably the most popular texture mod if I had to guess.
It's actually not the first time the truck screw-up happens, just a wonderful time where it happens within 5 seconds in the same cutscene. Those with a good eye may have spotted it when we escaped from that volcanic island that's right outside the Andes. What we see driving along the dockside doesn't match what's in the garages:
The weapon screw-up isn't the first time, either. Would you like a wonderful time where it happens within 5 seconds in the same cutscene? From the Island, once again:
From time to time, Havoc enjoyed an underslung grenade launcher in his rifle, too:
Initially, Renegade was shown to have some AR-pattern rifles with M203-style attachments. A lot more real-world looking weapons were envisioned, such as the more industrial and less-supervillain looking chemsprayer shown earlier as its concept and its in-game version. The silenced pistol also wasn't the bulky version with the "internal silencer" we ended up with either, and didn't have all the "vent holes" in the back like the sniper rifle got.
Although in C&C 1, soldiers are depicted as using the M950, but calling it a GAU-3 or sometimes M16A2 (it does fire with a 3-round burst in C&C 1)
Instead in Renegade everybody uses the AR-70:
The rifles were changed probably to bring them closer to what we see in Tiberian Sun during the arcadification process and general timeline massaging. The M16MK2 Pulse Rifle:
Which itself is basically the M41A Pulse Rifle from Alien
So if you want to believe it, the Aliens movies are the reason why they're using goofy guns with 100 round clips instead of an M16 variant
A problem with something like the M203 as Renegade shipped is that a weapon's primary and secondary fire modes draw from the same pool of ammo, and there's no way to be sure that two individual weapons are treated as a group (e.g. you always get the M203 when you get the associated rifle). Very recently some new code was added for the TS: Reborn and RA2:Apocalypse Rising projects to at least let you have a way to swap between the firing modes. Actually, your primary and secondary weapon stats are linked in many weird ways that make it hard to have special cooldown behaviors between them that can be a pain in the ass. Just simply making the primary fire "free" or one bullet isn't that great either; for A Path Beyond, "Volkov" has an anti-tank gun that can fire in single-shot or tri-shot mode, but tri-shot is available even if you only have one ammo left despite taking 3 ammo to fire.
Cooldown issues make it difficult to simply fire 3 single-shots rapidly to achieve the same effect. That's part of why, as those of you who played it may remember, old copies of "Renalert" had a secondary 3-round burst for the M16 that was just a shotgun-style attack with three rounds. There actually are some interesting settings used by AI weaponry, though. All the AI in the game get their own special copies of the guns or vehicles and whatnot, perhaps unsurprisingly (and certain weapons have special spawned-in variants, like the lower damage for spawned-in sniper rifles for multiplay). You can set a nominal cooldown between "bursts" for a weapon, which can help give controlled looking fire patterns to AI instead of just a bullet stream interrupted only by reloads.
Some later versions of A Path Beyond used this generally-for-AI setting on the M16, to give you a semi-auto / 3-round-burst on the M16. Holding the button fired 3 single rounds, tapping fired 1 single round, and clicking like a madman a la America's Army let you sustain a stream of bullets. Secondary fire was a single-round set to have higher accuracy, with a longer innate refire rate (secondary weapons can have a longer refire timer). To stop continuous/automatic fire on the main fire mode of course, an AI-style burst limit of 3 was coupled with a high innate rate of fire, with a long AI-style burst delay set rather high so that holding the left mouse would fire sets of 3 bullets spaced out by a waiting period.
Anyhow, that's how we managed to use the same setting that stops the AI from just mowing you down with a laser chaingun to simulate having several fire modes!
Anyhow, Havoc is a nuclear threat. Nod launches a comically small weapon that creates a plastic-like mushroom cloud. When I said that reticules were the most popular texture swap in the game, I could've mentioned that the mushroom cloud is the second most popular due to its simplicity and function as a big scrolling messageboard. Matrix text, the Halo logo, every tint of the rainbow, your website's URL, you name it and it's been applied to the mushroom cloud. In this mission-specific case it's simply a killzone kind of instadeath, but for ones characters place, they're treated like normal explosives for the most part once the countdown ends. Well, that's not altogether true. As I may have mentioned when fighting against those hard-to-kill tiberium silos, C4 and beacons have special hacks built in to let them do damage to buildings. As buildings are immune to splash damage normally, C4 must be placed perfectly to achieve any damage. Beacons are a special case for a damage event though, allowing them to really do splash-esque damage to buildings based on the distance... leading to players putting them inside caves/tunnels near buildings to make them more easily defended, known as tunnel-beaconing in mutliplay and generally considered kind of a twat thing to do. Any mod you see that has a weapon do splash damage to buildings (e.g. MAD Tanks, Demolition Trucks) is using special logic to achieve that result.
Beacons can be used in clever ways to summon up just about any effect you want, although like C4, special scripting is shared between them leading to headaches if you want to make them do really interesting behavior. The medic for A Path Beyond used C4 for his heal effect, with all kinds of bizarro logic to see if his weapon did no damage to apply a burn effect that also did negative (healing) damage but only to teammates (who can normally only receive negative damage, which doesn't trigger special burns the way fire/chem/electric do)-- and to also suppress the global "explosive charge placed" EVA notification that all other C4 had to have triggered.
Another funny C4-related glitch is that a unit's max ammo, and ammo they start with, do not need to be the same. A unit by default in Renegade only has a primary and secondary weapon. Any unit who comes with several weapons (e.g. A Path Beyond engineers) have their weapons added at creation via granted powerups. Anyhow, Hotwire in multiplay can hold one more proximity C4 (5) than what's granted to her (4) at spawn, needing you to immediately refill after purchase to have full ammo. Also, because the first-person, third-person, backpack-held, and placed versions of a weapon can all be a different model, proximity C4 in her hand is roughly 50% bigger than what it looks like on the ground. Great fun!
Anyhow, the mission I've not commented much on while instead discussing all kinds of other stuff. Havoc's done a good job so far, but ends up killing a civilian. A lot of the missions have that kind of warning if you harm/kill an allied unit. The GDI gunboats will have your EVA warn you if you shoot them, for example. Havoc manages to earn a nuclear strike beacon, and then passes a civilian holding a shotgun. A shotgun he still hasn't, and never will, earn during his campaign of violence against Nod forces. That was not always the case.
That's right, you get Nod's own most powerful weapon, but GDI only saw fit to hand out chainguns and shotguns to the populace. The infamous boat level was supposed to reward Havoc with a shotgun powerup once he disabled the engine room and killed all the technicians manning the computer stations there. Here's Havoc in another life in another timeline shotgunning down a Nod technician while some Nod sailors cower in surrender, roughly in the spot where the shotguns would spawn once you completed the objective. You can actually get a few technicians to surrender in certain spots in singleplayer, but they still hang onto their guns and you get nothing special for it nor can you really control it happening.
But by that time in the alternate reality, he already was wandering around with a combat shotgun, at least as early as the Island level preceding the boat level. He's just here to collect some extra ammo.