Part 30: Commentary Corner - Mission 9So it's time for
Mission 9 Extra Stuff!
As ArchWizard pointed out, you have to go rescue Mobius from the Technology Center, a plot device that appears in a handful of levels between C&C1 and RA1. I half wonder if that's an intentional nod to the fact that the same building was used as both a tech center or a prison between the first two games. As mentioned in this great article about C&C1 behind-the-scenes stuff, in the first game, there was actually mission-specific code for the third Nod level to override the Technology Center with the name "Prison." In the case of Renegade, it's blatantly a Prison and a Technology Center!
I think the fact this place crawls with stealth tech is indeed a reference to the TD Nod mission where you can only purchase Stealth Tanks if you capture the Tech Center, as ArchWizard mentions.
Anyhow, the mission begins with Sydney being worthless as usual, and a Transport Helicopter being of no use either (as usual). Don't ask me why they hopped off with the Nod prison right behind them, either. You know it's Nod, since they used the distinctive grey-concrete-with-red-stripe aesthetic.
That awful Mobius Suit is an alternate appearance option for Sydney and Mobius in multiplayer. The good doctor gets a white suit. One of the old cut powerups was going to be the "Mobius Armor," too. Anyhow, it's a far cry from the high tech looking armor in the old C&C1 teaser trailer for C&C2. Command & Conquer has long had something of an obsession with power armor, and three or four different designs were planned for the first game, including a jump-capable version.
Like many great C&C ideas it never took form until successive entries in the series, with Sun's Wolverines and Jumpjet soldiers. The first sketch there also looks remarkably similar to the later Zone Troopers from C&C3 of course. And like many great C&C ideas, it was kinda meh in Renegade.
This is veering towards more TD-era concept instead of Renegade specific, but why not have a few more pictures? Here's an alternative jumpjet look for TD (as opposed to the unused flying-XO, and the TS-era jumpjet) and a GDI-styled "stealth tank suit." Take a stealth tank, a Wolverine, and a Titan, and give it rollerskates? Yes please.
Yeah, they loved their mechsuits, but remember that C&C 1 was all about the future of warfare. A small number of highly-capable forces, yadda yadda. If they were looking to put in crazy shit in Renegade, either one of these would've been awesome fun. That last one there's just a crazy "extra gun arms!" attachment to make one soldier into an un-ambushable powerhouse. Goofy, but could've worked in a game like Renegade. Imagine if all those ceiling-chainguns were strapped to your soldier instead, nobody would ever sneak up and C4 your butt (this will probably happen many times when we do multiplayer).
Ever notice how I can hardly get past the videos without going on and on? They really have a lot to talk about, especially because they were often finished before the rest of things were finalized. Check out the Stealth Tanks, visible for just a few seconds:
They're from another time, when vehicles were scaled much larger than infantry, like you can see in some other early shots I've posted. In the final game they're kinda small. Also check out the different canopy/windshield on them, as compared to the flat shine black that most vehicles like the Nod Buggy or Humvee got. That, too, contrasts with the older and non-shiney "drawn blue glass" that appears on older vehicles like the Nod Artillery, Supply Truck, and SSM (and dead Nod Buggies or Humveess).
One other fun thing to notice is that even though we've seen laser rifles regularly by this point, the Stealth Black Hand soldiers have just autorifles. Speaking of, here's the new soldiers for this level, the SBH and Acolyte:
And since I didn't post them earlier, the rest of the Black Hand guys:
Needless to say, the cool glowy effect for the SBH was chopped, and instead he gets a blue overlay effect. The uncloak/recloak noise was also removed for the tank and soldier. Instead of the one you hear in the intro video, at one point in the lower parts of the Temple of Nod later in the game, you do hear the classic C&C cloak noise but it's just to tip you off that there's an ambush.
Also, here's an older picture of an Acolyte appearing in... yes, the volcano island level! The one that's really great for showing off all kinds of things and is just sort of stuffed in out of nowhere! So, we can see the Acolyte is kind of old development wise. Seeing an Acolyte this early in the game, given the volcano island's mission number, wouldn't have made sense. I'd been waiting to post that since that level, but didn't want to spoil anything.
"Nice suit, detect anything else?" Well, actually, it's a little bit strange that it doesn't pick up Havoc's EVA arm unit, but does somehow detect Nod stealth forces even though the tech has nothing to do with tiberium and everything to do with not being detected Anyhow, Havoc gets captured and put in jail. They let him keep his EVA and transponder because Nod have become inept supervillains in red jumpsuits. At least they're carrying the right rifles.
Havoc gets a backpack full of goodies. It's also one of the powerups I keep mentioning. Why don't I just go ahead and show you some of those?
There are a couple others that never made the cut, plus ones we've already seen that managed to make it into the game (like armor increase medals, and healthpacks). We can speculate what some of them do easily; double-damage is a no brainer, anti-noise emitters silence your actions, stealth armor makes you cloak. Data discs we technically saw, where they function as a way to get either map information or a pokedex update. The yellow ammo crate gets used a lot as a general bundle of items, or in multiplayer as a way to refill your current weapon, but a planned powerup included increasing your maximum clip size. Also included is the commando's headband, and nanites if you feel like going all Metal Gear.
Something interesting about this game is how health + armor are handled. You never really notice in the vanilla game, but each normal object has both a health and armor counter (evident by falling damage bypassing armor). The thing is, it's pretty sophisticated, and you can have damage scale differently depending on the warhead (weapon type) and armor class it's hitting. You can also allow bleed-through, and use armor settings to control special damage like "catching on fire" or "tiberium choking."
You could imagine how powerups could change your armor classes for a variety of effects. For A Path Beyond, we used that to make fire damage bypass infantry armor somewhat, electric weapons bypass vehicle armor somewhat, mechanics repair outside armor and "simpler" vehicles faster, and some weapons (such as machine guns) gain a damage bonus against armorless targets. It is also why the cyborg Volkov has falling damage impact his whole frame (armor) instead of hitting his health, letting him pull off ludicrous jumps and helidrops. Needless to say, all these mechanisms go virtually unused in the stock game.
There's actually also a glitch with the much hated Ramjet Rifle in the default game and how it interacts with near-full-health vehicles. You can "snipe" at them for lots of bonus points, and you can imagine how the community would split on the subject of "something that contributes little to the team, but ratchets up my own score with little effort or danger."
So, Havoc breaks out of jail with a little help from Sakura. That's the most help she'll give us this mission, aside from impotently hovering overhead in her stolen Commanche. As Havoc makes his escape, he notices how you can glitch certain moving objects such as doors, or even elevators, with dropped powerups. As usual, Havoc hands out chainguns to anybody willing to hold one. One of them would also roar at him if talked to, either because of too much time in solitary or a conversation glitch. Havoc manages to find one of the "roaring" prisoners when he hands out some chainguns at another building further on. And, yet again, Havoc finds that Nod is holding GDI's most powerful handheld weaponry just kinda there. At least this time it makes sense-- in multiplay, Sydney in her power suit uses the Personal Ion Cannon, so we can assume they took it from her. But couldn't they have put it in the more secure armory Havoc later finds?
Making his way outside, Havoc hopefully recognizes the buildings and realizes that he had a helicopter drop him off literally in front of a Nod detention center. Seriously, how can you fuck that up? About 2:53 into his prison break, Havoc notices something else while shooting at a far-off gun emplacement: weapons often shoot beyond their stated effective range. This is true of many weapons, and it's set completely independently of actual rifle range or rocket flight time. It's just a setting for how far away you can get brackets and a "you can hit this" friend/foe indicator. It could have been used to let GDI engineers check a unit or building's health from far away, but again, this game mechanism goes underutilized.
Havoc finds some... interesting snack machines. Tiberium soda? If you shoot those vending machines enough they'll drop goodies A funny bit of foreshadowing to show Nod's top-level mutant on the tiberium soda cans.
A Light Tank that can't seem to turn its turret dies easily to a Nod Buggy. That owes to the "AI" variant having a very slow turret turn.
One thing I was hoping ArchWizard would come across on this level is a set of ancient ruins out in the desert. Those paths that go up into the mountains are a little interesting but do add to the mission length if you want to go exploring.
At about 12:30, Havoc enters a building and a set up pipes appear on the wall to the left. Renegade's trick to allowing such large worlds is visibility culling, and there are some rare instances where you can catch it blocking something you should see. To fix this, a mapmaker needs to manually run through the level checking for issues and at the "bad spots" take a manual snapshot to correct it. Takes a damn long time to do perfectly, so it's rather impressive how few issues there are.
At about 13:59 Havoc walks past some Tiberium research stations. They say something, but it's not quite clear, and he doesn't have time to stop. He's got scientists to save! An intel team later took a closer look and found this:
"Danger contents under extreme pressure, do not open till x-mas you dorks. That's all for now."
Havoc also notices something odd, that I haven't been able to see on video to point out until now, but the PIC actually changes its display now and then. A lot of people never notice this little, useless, detail. Instead of randomized uniforms for Nod soldiers (they all say "8") we get random numbers on a random display in the first person view of a gun you do not regularly use
Anyhow, that's it for now.