Date Held: 4th October 2002
Held In: Gamespy Arcade
Employees Present: Harvard Bonin and Chris Rubyor.
Facts: First Official Generals Chat.
Will there be deployable units like in Yuri's Revenge, like the guardian GI and Siege Chopper?
Harvard Bonin - Let's see...deployable units...sort of. Most (if not all) the units have alternate powers and can be accessed through our new style command bar. Multiple functions for units was one of the big reasons we went to the horizontal command bar. Vertical bars don't offer the room we need.
Is generals like all the other C&C games in terms of gameplay?
Harvard Bonin - Heh, oddly enough...yes! Dustin, the lead designer and I were talking about how surprised we were at how much it plays like C&Cs of old. Particularly, of course, RA2. We made a lot of changes so that has been a real eye opener. Hopefully we've been able to learn from our past titles and will be able to apply these learnings to Generals - I know we already have
Have you (and if so what) gained any ideas from other non-C&C RTS games for Generals?
Harvard Bonin - Absolutely. We have some great competitors out there and we try to learn from their mistakes & successes - as I'm sure they do us. Either way, there's plenty of room for us all to be successful. Each RTS for the "BIG 3" has its own flavour and emphasis. which is great for gamers! Specifics and ideas we've gained include multiplayer polish, GUI enhancements, etc I think we learned the most from just playing RA2
Is there anything special about the garrisoned buildings in the game?
Harvard Bonin - Right now they're pretty much like RA2 except you can put anyone inside. With our new command bar style you can click on a building to deploy who you want rather than having them all pop out. That means you can have anti air, anti infantry, anti tank combos that make them even more strategic.
What would you suggest be the recommended requirements for C&C generals?
Harvard Bonin - Actually, rec specs are always fun. The easy answer is "get the top PC you can" and this applies to ANY game. But the min spec is 1 gig GeForce 2 w/ 128 ram. Do the math from there. The card will be the big kicker; Make sure you get a nice video card to get the most bang for your buck
How will air to air combat work ? Will the units "float" like in other RTS games ?
Harvard Bonin - Comanches* hover but jets don't Jets don't stop and they aren't VTOLS** .We have Raptors, B-52, etc in the game and they all fly like planes, though slower and lower for gameplay reasons We're creating a special cursor to easily target the faster planes. Its bigger Planes, etc can target each other
"*" Commanches are Attack Helicopters
"**" VTOLS = Vertical Take off and Landing.
What's the deal with hidden missions? Any plans for something neat, like how TD had the Dino's, and RA had the ants?
Harvard Bonin - Right now we're focusing on making sure the core experience is great. I love Easter Eggs as much as anyone but if you sacrifice ANY polish on the main game that 99% of people experience then that's the wrong decision - err, me thinx!
Will players be able to donate money to theyre teammates?
Harvard Bonin - not now, we're keeping the core experience simple. In RA2 we offered a lot of options and modes that about 2 people played. Our philosphy this time around has been to define the core game, present that and make it great. Some of our competitors have had this philosophy in the past and we think its the right way to go At this point :) - next.
Will Generals have any type of custom-scripting languge(redifende C++/C)?
Harvard Bonin - hold on, checking, here comes our amazing tech director. That's Mr. Jeff Brown and he says its a visual scripting language and he knows all things Generals - next
Will you be able to just put troops in planes and have them parachute out?
Harvard Bonin - No but you can put them in Chinooks and they can rapell into buildings. Forgot that earlier re: the garrisoned buiuldings, typo! They flash bang the occupents out - next
Is generals going to be as good as many people say it is?
Harvard Bonin - I hope so! We've been playing and have some reference points and its stacking up pretty good. You'll be able to see the reaction from the MP test. Either way, we just want to give all you guys a really good RTS - period. next
Will there be good classical music similar to Red Alert and Tiberian Dawn?
Harvard Bonin - There was classical music in those? We have Bill Brown doing the score. Should be a departure from past games. Its very orchestral, Bill's got a web site if you'd like to hear more of his stuff. Not sure of the exact URL but shouldn't be hard to find - next
What makes C&C: Generals such a great online experience compared to other games of the genre?
Harvard Bonin - Wow! Let's see... We learned a WHOLE lot from doing RA2. Not sure where to start One focus has been to make it better for the power users. Originally we wanted it to be really friendly to the newbies. That's fine but the reality its the hardcore (y'all) that really play it seriously online. We've got - battle honors for acheivements, the Communicator so your buddies are ALWAYS accessible everywhere, personal ladders... refined QuickMatch, new Custom Match. PS hey, we're beating Spades! :) - next
How close is Generals to completetion?
Harvard Bonin - PPS I'm not slow - plz forgive the typos. We hit our alpha on Sept 15. That means all the stuff was in and we're fixing bugs and polishing. We're still adding a bit of stuff and wrapping missions but we're in the close it out part now. We're also reworking our shell/GUI to make it more enjoyable and polished. Other than that, we're in better shape than any game we've done before here at EAP - next
To what extent will a civilian AI be implemented? ..eg Will they just stand around in the middle of the street while tanks are rolling in, or will they take realistic actions like taking cover in buildings, taking up arms, or turning into angry mobs?
Harvard Bonin - They run away from threats. We learned alot from the Maxis guys on Sim CIty 4 (which looks amazing, by the way). They use something called "synchs & sources" which is just a fancy name to describe how the civvies move around the battlefield. They don't go in buildings though - next
How will the environment contribute to gameplay in Generals?
Harvard Bonin - That was one area we really wanted to hit home. No C&C has had more interactive terrain. You can run over trees, props, cars... blow up buildings and on and on Don't forget barrels! They explode nicely - next
Will you have a Random Map generator like in RA2 / YR?
Harvard Bonin - nope maybe in the future we are releasing the World Builder though Mission makers will be able to do anything we do Probably more as you guys tend to be very creative!
Are we still able to control (kind of control) the directions buildings fall to allow us to sqaush tanks and guys who get in the way.
Harvard Bonin - yup especially those big towers some structs explode, some sink and collapse, etc. Depends on the building We even have a fireworks factory we're hoping to blow up in really cool ways its polish time so we're doing things like this - next
How many maps will be offered in the MP test?
Harvard Bonin - right now we're slating 5
2 2 player
2 4 player
1 8 player
might change but shouldn't - next
Can we be expecting an expansion that brings another level of fun like what yuri's revenge did for red alert 2?
Harvard Bonin - Depending on how Generals does, we'll probably do an expansion. With YR it was important for us to really make sure players got their $$$ worth. That's why we made it like that with the 3rd side. Not sure what Generals will be yet. Send Delphi ideas! :) He loves email! next
Will we have characters in C&C generals like Premier romanov,Lt Carville for example?
Harvard Bonin - We have Col Burton, Black Lotus and Jarmen Kell. They are the hero type characters - like Tanya in RA2. In Generals YOU are the General, not someone else. You'll be treated as such by your XO next.
How much power will be given to the hero units ?
Harvard Bonin - Depends on the mission, They are really about the solo missions. You can gain EXP though and apply this to modify your army, Sort of like "choose your own tech tree" Some tracks will give Super Weapons, some units some veterency - next
Will the units be able to prone and if they can can they use this for cover?
Harvard Bonin - not right now, don't expect they will unless something pops up in the MP test - next
Are we going to see any Naval units?
Harvard Bonin - that this time around. That was a tuff one for us to choose. We figured we'd rather concentrate on land battles and make that experience great. Naval units come with another host of problems. Maybe in the future? - next
Will voice support like ROGER WILCO be supported for alied play?
Harvard Bonin - We had planned on it. Not sure if we've implemented yet More on this later - next
Will modders be able to add new 3d models to the game?
Harvard Bonin - we want to make sure that modders have easy access to everything Past C&Cs (RA2 included) weren't all that friendly to the modding community. Expect an about face on this issue, We'll only really care if some mod screws up the regular exp in online play Or they sell them :) Other than that, go to it. I expect models won't be any trouble - next
Can you reveal some more information about the US Special Forces? Are they the same delta force guys that come out of the helicopter to clear building? What weapons do they have , what are they effective against, and what will be their primary use?
Harvard Bonin - they are Rangers and can rapell into civvie structs Col Burton is the enforcer and can climb cliffs Rangers will be good at clearing buildings. They also capture structs - but its not like the engineer in past C&Cs. Works differernt. Capturing structs takes a bit and isn't instant anymore. We felt that was too painful for the losing player - next
How much work is being done on the net coding? Can we count on some good online playability?
Harvard Bonin - I hope so...that's why we're doing the the MP test. We're rewriting it from the ground up. I think between our exp from RA2/YR and our crack engineering team we should be good. You be the judge in the MP test - next
How long have you been making C&C: Generals?
Harvard Bonin - originally it started in Feb 2000. We spent a long time building tech and concepting. We didn't know what it was in the beginning. We were considering RA3, the Tib series - even a Roman game. In the end we figured modern warfare is what we're pretty decent at so we went that way. On the news there are all these toys that we want to play with - like the Raptors, etc So we want with modern war - just a bit in the future - next
Will we be able to do kamikaze with planes?
Harvard Bonin - ahh, no - but not a bad though - joitting down - next
What type of missions will there be, like search and resue, search and destroy, defending positions?
Harvard Bonin - thougth thought! typos ahhh! all those but we're pretty heavily into production type missions Make an army, etc We tend to steer away from maze missions as they aren't fun to us for the most part - next
Are the individual units going to have realistic combat dialogue?
Harvard Bonin - ex. "Bravo 5, pull out, enemies on our left flank!" "Roger that Bravo lead" The chatter... That was one of the biggies we pulled out of E3 this year People loved the unit chatter. Yes, we're taking pains in the solo campaign to make sure this flavor is there - next
What is your favorite side in the game?
Harvard Bonin - I like the Chinese right now They have fire breathing units The Overlord, which I love Its a really really big tank and you can build defenses on its back It also crushes all other tanks We have 4 levels of crushing No crush trees, props but only people - Technicals, etc Crush all props, cars - Tansk Crush all other tanks - Overlord Crush all and can't be crushed - the train! We just put in the choo-choo a few weeks aga What is it about trains that are just som ^#^%# cool? :) We even have it plummetting into a ravine in one of the solo missions and don't forget the avalanche and dam bust :) - next
When your general leaves the command center, he loses all his special abilities, does this apply for negative attributes of each general?
Harvard Bonin - Nope, that's changed. There is no General on the ground YOU are the General and are making allthe command decisions - even modifying your army - next
Are there civilians in the game? if so how will they react around gun fire?
Harvard Bonin - They run away Answered this a bit ago but its still a good question They don't like guns :) or getting run over by tanks oopps - sorry :) The GLA has the Angry Mob which is a bunch or ruffians running around with molatove cocktails - They are a single buildable unit and act like a swarm. They can also be upgraded to AK 47w s - next
In the generals screenshots the graphics look great. what was done differantly in generals as to any other c&c game in terms of graphics design?
Harvard Bonin - Well, for a fantastic art director joined us - and we have some fantastic artists. They deserve all the props Richard, our AD, worked on Contact (painted the beach scene at the end) What Dreams May Come Was the art director for Star Trek Insurrection on and on Of course, the engineering team are the guys that have enabled the artists to really show off And the designers create the worlds Its a team effort all around And Delphi and I take the shots! :) - next thanks
Whats the most time comsuming project in making CnC Generals?
Harvard Bonin - dealing with Delphi! actually, working with the team is the most challenging Making sure everyone is satisfied at their job, etc is the hardest (but best) part
Elmar_EA - and visiting Germany :p
Will Generals have Movie quality cut scenes to tell its storyline. Will there be a collectors edition also that offers it on DVD like in RA2?
Harvard Bonin - Not sure yet on the CE. I like them though. We're trying to tell the story in game this time. We were looking one day and said "man, our engine seems to look pretty good...why don't we do our movies here?" So far its working out. This time around we've REALLY concetrated on gameplay over story. While we do have a story, we create the gameplay first and make sure its fun. Its easy to get distracted by story and we've seen other games fall into this trap Here's the honest take - gameplay first, always and did I tell you that trains are just so ^#^#^!@$% neat! CONGRATS TO Fubak1! I guess we're wrapping. Time to have dinner. oh, 2 more? ok - next
Is there any kind of a-bomb or something kinda like that? What would C&C be without a Nuke? :)
Harvard Bonin - We had a neutron missile but that seemed soft to us We've also got a Particle Cannon, EMP pulse, carpet bombing, Fuel Air Bomb How many ways would you like to blow someone up? - next
What is the future outlook & plans for c&c?
Harvard Bonin - Well, depending on how Generals does, the RTS genre isn't going away soon for us. We want EA Pacific to be a really good at this sort of game but we've got a long way to go. I know with the team we have and the sort of people we've been able to hire that its possible. We'll see Anyway, I expect you'll see a lot more to come in the future but honestly my head is deep into our current game.