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TI, OpenRA and PPM featured on Vice.com (Germany)
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Banshee
Supreme Banshee


Joined: 15 Aug 2002
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:53 pm    Post subject:  TI, OpenRA and PPM featured on Vice.com (Germany)
Subject description: The world only believes what the media tells them to believe, and we tell the media what to believe!
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The German version of the MotherBoard, the technology channel from Vice.com, has an article on how the Command & Conquer franchise is still supported by avid gamers, almost 23 years after the release of its first game. Or, it should be something like that, since my german knowledge is extremely limited and I'm practically a slave of Google Translator for those things.

Anyway, the article is: "Deshalb sind Gamer auch nach 23 Jahren noch von 'Command & Conquer' besessen".



It features some of the C&C community survivors, including Twisted Insurrection, OpenRA and, yea, Project Perfect Mod as well. The author of the article, Christian Huberts, has interviewed several prominent community members such as Aro, pchote and yours trully. There were other community members that I could not recognize there yet.

The article shows the author's perspective on how the franchise impacts the RTS genre, attracts its fans and that C&C Rivals was not exactly the kind of game that fans were expecting for the franchise at this point. He explains his own point of view on how the C&C franchise derailed with the end of Westwood Studios and almost closed for good with Tiberian Twilight. It also shows how modders are still keeping it alive regardless of the awkward management from EA.

If your German is just as bad as mine, check it out the Google Translated version here. Bear in mind that Google Translation always has limitations and it may put some ideas out of place or add a couple of things that may not make as much sense as the original article. I.e.: OpenRA is not developed at PPM. But we have forums where we help modders, we have tutorials, post news about this engine, etc.

And... check the replies/comments of this news for an interesting bonus.

Key Words: #News #TwistedInsurrection #OpenRA #ProjectPerfectMod 

Last edited by Banshee on Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:06 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Banshee
Supreme Banshee


Joined: 15 Aug 2002
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:01 pm    Post subject: Bonus: Interview with Banshee Reply with quote

In order to write this article, Christian Huberts has interviewed all those people who he cited there. However, due to editorial constraints, he could only select random sentences of these people to place it wherever interests them. So, here's the interview that he has originally done with me:


Quote:
Christian Huberts: Could you introduce yourself? (How old are you? Where do you live? What's your name? What's your role in Project Perfect Mod? etc.)

Banshee: Hello. My name is Carlos Muniz. I am a 34 years old Brazilian. I am the administrator/webmaster of Project Perfect Mod. I code the site, post news, promote events, fix problems and do a lot more stuff there. I also do code some modding tools once in a while, like Voxel Section Editor III, OS BIG Editor, OS SHP Builder, among others.


Christian Huberts: What do you do, when you are not working on Project Perfect Mod?

Banshee: I am a computer scientist, Doctorate candidate, who strives to develop a software solution that understands and learns the shape and composition of computer graphical objects. And I also have a real life, of course, with friends, family, I do play games, etc.


Christian Huberts: What was your first encounter with the Command & Conquer series? And at the time, what made the games special for you?

Banshee: My first encounter with a Command & Conquer game wasn't really a successful one. Initially, I disliked Red Alert 1. I was very young and a fan of Age of Empires, Starcraft and Warcraft 2. Red Alert 1 looked so simple when compared to Age Of Empires 1 at the time. I guess I just had the wrong expectations. But sometime later, I've had the pleasure to buy C&C 95 for a very cheap price, which changed my opinion about the Command & Conquer franchise and motivated me to buy Tiberian Sun. Once I've learned that I could modify the units of Tiberian Sun and that it was a quite easy thing to do, I was very excited and that has certainly what has made the franchise special for me.


Christian Huberts: Which of the games is the best?

Banshee: It is hard to say which game is the best for me. I've really enjoyed a lot the campaigns from Tiberian Dawn, Tiberian Sun (without Firestorm) and Red Alert 2. Perhaps, Tiberian Sun nowadays is what I consider to be the best game of the franchise, being followed closely by Red Alert 2 and 3, without its expansions. But it wasn't at its release, because the game engine lagged a lot at the time. Once we get a much better computer than a typical one from 1999, Tiberian Sun becomes a real classic. I do also enjoy the gameplay from Tiberium Wars, Generals and Red Alert 1. Most of the game expansions deteriorated the balance of the games considerably, except perhaps for Firestorm, which, in my opinion has failed for its bad campaign. Kane's Wrath was an excellent expansion pack, although it would be better without the Epic units. Renegade was a great FPS game, although I am not the kind of player who enjoys this time of game that much.


Christian Huberts: Why is the Command & Conquer series still important for you today?

Banshee: Command & Conquer is still one of my favourite franchises and it is also important for me because of its popularity at Project Perfect Mod.


Christian Huberts: Why not any other modern RTS game?

Banshee: I don't see why not. I do enjoy modern RTS games when they really have RTS mechanics. I do enjoy Starcraft 2, newer Age of Empires games, Halo Wars, Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War III, GreyGoo, Forged Battalion, 8-Bit Armies, OpenRA, 0.a.d. and so many other games. I have a lot of fun playing these games.

And I don't see a reason for Project Perfect Mod (PPM) not supporting them. Project Perfect Mod is a site dedicated to modify games. Contrary to popular belief, it is not restricted to the Command & Conquer franchise at all. It is not Project Perfect Command & Conquer Mod or Project Perfect Tiberian Sun/Red Alert 2 Mod. It is Project Perfect Mod because we want to modify every game. It has content related to other games as well and, occasionally, we do cover news about other games as well, although it doesn't happen very often. However, PPM is very dependent on content and feedback generated by its visitors. I am not the kind of person who starts modding a game to change one or two units and this is not the kind of mod that is usually promoted at the PPM's news posts either. So, creating a new mod for a new game demands a lot of effort and dedication, which ends up being an obstacle for me to create content to explore different games. If the visitors create this kind of content at PPM, we will extend our support for it and promote it as we would do with any Command & Conquer game. However, finding dedicated visitors to create content that is not popular on a certain community is quite a challenge.

Although PPM does not restrict the support of other modern RTS games, there are also restrictions on most of these games that affects PPM's support for them. Some of them are simply made to not be modded at all and many of the things that modders would do are sold as DLCs. On other games, the developer tries to protect their intellectual property by encrypting its files or putting some kind of protection to them. Some developers are famous by hunting the development of derivative work of their intellectual property, specially if it doesn't use their own products. There are many games that are not properly documented by the community or the developer, which complicates the creation of graphic resources for them. And on some of them, the mechanisms are far too complex which discourage modders to work with them, specially those who are inexperienced or not too much acquainted with 3D modelling.

However, if newer RTS modding friendly games are released and the visitors of PPM get interested on them, we'll certainly support them there.


Christian Huberts: How big is the Project Perfect Mod community approximately?

Banshee: I have not been tracking the size of Project Perfect Mod's community for a very long time already. I don't think that the existing tools would allow me to have fair numbers of its size. There are many people who visits PPM, but it doesn't do it daily and there are bots, spammers and other undesired visitors as well.


Christian Huberts: Why do you think is Command & Conquer still so important to the Community?

Banshee: Command & Conquer is still one of the main references of real time strategy for the fans of the genre. It has helped to define the genre. It is also a great reference in terms of modding and how successful and popular some of its games still are due to the modding community. It is amazing what mods like Mental Omega, Twisted Insurrection, Contra and Rise of the Reds can achieve. Mental Omega, for instance, is so much popular in China that it is even able to influence the units featured on that chinese Red Alert Online mobile game from Tencent. And finally, we can't forget our charismatic leader Kane. Brotherhood, unity, peace.


Christian Huberts: Is it all about mods or does Project Perfect Mod also a social gathering point of the community?

Banshee: While Project Perfect Mod's objective is all about mods, it also naturally becomes a social gathering point for a part of the community. I think it is an inevitable consequence of community forums that are active. People will always try to chit-chat, regardless if the leader of the place want it or not. Resistance is futile.


Christian Huberts: Could you summarize how the project developed over the last ten years? What were major milestones and obstacles?

Banshee: In the last 10 years, with the downfall of the Command & Conquer's popularity, Project Perfect Mod has been expanding its content to cover different games and even game development. The most popular game that has received support on PPM during this period is OpenRA, due to its similarity with the games that were always popular at PPM, such as Tiberian Sun and Red Alert 2. OpenRA is actually a great community response against how EA cares about the Command & Conquer franchise as a whole. The already supported games at PPM has received several tools that made modding easier for them or extended their modding possibilities, thanks to initiatives like Ares. And I think that this is the direction that PPM will progress in the next years.

Project Perfect Mod's future will be full of challenges. Specially when dealing with the recent monetization policies from many game developers. They want to fully control the distribution of their games, they try to capitalize on downloadable content that could have been developed by modders instead or they try to sell this same content through micro-transactions. Of course that this is a very hostile environment for the modding scene as a whole. And it s a tremendous mistake, on my opinion. Mods extends the replayability of a game, it makes them sell for a much longer much time and a modding based game engine could reduce not just the development costs of creating a game, as well as maintaining and promoting it. Many modders provide content for free that developers would charge a lot of money to produce. And it is not just that. I think that many companies underestimate the existing fiction of their franchises and how much money they could earn by working more carefully on it. Also, how much cheaper and effective would be to have fully moddable games where they could sell the extension of the fiction and game engine features instead of spending millions of dollars on gathering teams to make a new game every year or two and forcing undesired changes in the core of the gameplay mechanics of the genre to give a lame excuse for its fans to buy the new game.


Christian Huberts: What is your opinion on Command & Conquer: Rivals (don't hold anything back)?

Banshee: Rivals has received the attention of an AAA game at the EA Play 2018 event, which has created a lot more expectation from the fans than what the game really deserves. Rivals is not an AAA game and it was never meant to be one. It is as simple as Tiberium Alliances and it was never meant to be a major Command & Conquer game either. So, the first thing that I think is that we need to tone down our expectations about this game. This is a 2 to 3 minutes game that people may play in their spare time to get some distraction. It's as relevant as Sol, Sudoku or a Mah-jong game would be and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It is just not what the vast majority of the Command & Conquer fans wanted in first place.

As far as I could see, the game seems to be addictive in the first hours and then, eventually it tends to be repetitive. However, it is very early to take any harsh conclusions about it, since it is still in Pre-Alpha stages and many things can change in the next months. Last month (June 2018) I have written an article explaining 5 potential problems that could ruin the experience of the game: Incoherence with other games of the franchise, user interface and its implications on the game design, poor game mechanics, progression system (with or without micro-transactions) that affects balance and limited single player and multiplayer experience. I will write a new article showing a perspective that is closer to what the developers think for each of these problems in the next days. But for now, what I can say is that, except for the user interface and micro-transactions, I do believe that the development team will eventually improve the other things, but I don't know if these improvements will satisfy me, since EA does not reveal what do they plan to add into the game in the next months. However, I am very concerned about the micro-transactions. Although the developers want to cap the level of the players for the inexperienced players, the micro-transaction system has a great potential to create a pay to win experience for the top players. I am not against the fact that the game will have micro-transactions, however an RPG experience that affects the balance on a RTS game will always be a tremendous mistake, specially in multiplayer. You can't control it. Unlike in RPG, balance in RTS is sacred and messing it up will always compromise the game. Always. There are no exceptions.


Christian Huberts: And last but not least: What would be your wishes for a new official Command & Conquer game?

Banshee: Oh... I have so many wishes for a new official Command & Conquer game. First of all, I do expect to see the traditional Command & Conquer RTS experience back, allowing me to build units, control them and build harvesters, engineers. I also want to crush infantry, conquer tech buildings, garrison civilian buildings and use so many good gameplay mechanisms that C&C has to offer. I hope it has a good single player experience with an interesting storyline that is coherent with the other C&C major games and it has fun movies as well. And AI must be smart enough to be challenging, expand its base and not cheat.

A genre where people's skills are measured by "actions per minute" and competitive players plays frenetically has a lot of room for improvements, specially in terms of user interface and the player unit's AI. I'd love if the game allow us to set the building constructions in advance, provided us better tools to manage where harvester would mine money in advance and allowed us to program scripts to handle certain menial actions that would reduce micro-management to allow us to focus on ordering military units around and on macro-management.

Another area that I would expect more care would be on the balance. The main objective of RTS games is to destroy the enemy buildings, so buildings deserve more care in terms of balance. They shouldn't be made of paper like in Generals and units that are good against them should be inefficient against other targets. I also hope that the game does not have any sort of progression system that affects balance at all.

I'd also love to see new gameplay mechanisms that increases the strategy depth of the game minimizing micro-management costs and also features that made the battle less predictable, non-symmetrical maps, etc.

Finally, but I'm sure that it will be impossible: a game designed to be moddable and a different monetization system based on selling the fiction and game engine features.

Last edited by Banshee on Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:44 am; edited 1 time in total

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pchote
Disk Thrower


Joined: 06 Feb 2015

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This was a fun thing to be involved with, and it's great to see you post the full version of your responses.  We plan to post the full text of the OpenRA version in the next few days.

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PussyPus
Commander


Joined: 14 Jul 2015
Location: Underground Clone City

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This article was............. Interesting
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Banshee
Supreme Banshee


Joined: 15 Aug 2002
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Go on, post here or post a link to your full interview.

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Mechacaseal
Rocket Infantry


Joined: 29 Aug 2015

PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

interesting read by banshee. i read only some of it since i know hes very reserved and boring. nothing too interesting will be in it. but then again thats why ppmsite has lasted so long.

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Banshee
Supreme Banshee


Joined: 15 Aug 2002
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll take that as a compliment, Mechacaseal (ShortBus), despite the boring part, although I think that the part that you've enjoyed was the moment that I told that my favorite C&C game is Tiberian Sun Wink. And it is clear in the interview that I am indeed very reserved, specially regarding talking about my private life in the internet.

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PussyPus
Commander


Joined: 14 Jul 2015
Location: Underground Clone City

PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banshee wrote:
Go on, post here or post a link to your full interview.


That's strange, are you replying to me? seems you didn't quote to know, your reply was below my post
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Banshee
Supreme Banshee


Joined: 15 Aug 2002
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nope. I was replying straight to pchote.

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Mechacaseal
Rocket Infantry


Joined: 29 Aug 2015

PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banshee wrote:
...I think that the part that you've enjoyed was the moment that I told that my favorite C&C game is Tiberian Sun Wink.


Actually I did notice that and smirked when I read it because ya a lot of people prefer other C&C games and actually talk shit about Tiberian Sun. Tiberian Sun is what I ended up playing for a decade nonstop ignoring all the other C&C games. However these days I am not that big of a Tiberian Sun fan anymore. I still like the technology and strategies and theme of what Tiberian Sun offers but it is so dated these days that I've lost interest in it. I think it would be interesting for a modern game to offer what it offered but that'll never happen.

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pchote
Disk Thrower


Joined: 06 Feb 2015

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The OpenRA responses can be found at http://www.openra.net/news/vice-interview/

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G-E
General


Joined: 09 Feb 2015

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pchote wrote:
The OpenRA responses can be found at http://www.openra.net/news/vice-interview/

Reading your wishlist for a new C&C game just affirms my commitment to stick with RA2 for my mod... keep it it traditional, while improving both unit diversity and artwork.

Gimmicks get people in the door, they don't keep players around.
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pchote
Disk Thrower


Joined: 06 Feb 2015

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Err... okay?  I don't see how my and Reaperrr's preferences for a focused story and singleplayer is in any way relevant to the technical choice of OpenRA as a modding platform, but as you will.

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Graion Dilach
Defense Minister


Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Location: Iszkaszentgyörgy, Hungary

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just ignore G-E, pchote. He's calling YR and Ares gimmicks as well. He's stuck with 2004 designs and can't move on over that.
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G-E
General


Joined: 09 Feb 2015

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Says the guy who used TS normals for all his cardboard cutout units...
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Mechacaseal
Rocket Infantry


Joined: 29 Aug 2015

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just glanced at both your mods. they look like minecraft blocks and sprite recolors for a two decade old game.

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TAK02
Commander


Joined: 28 Jun 2015
Location: It was Damascus.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...um... isn't RA2 and TS kinda like minecraft graphic-wise? I mean, we use literal blocks for all/most tanks, so...
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NerevarII
Civilian


Joined: 31 Jul 2018

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice reply G-E, just ignore them. They can't handle differing/opposing views, beliefs, or opinions from their own.

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