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The C&C Remasters will be... open source! Fully moddable!
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Banshee
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Joined: 15 Aug 2002
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 6:05 pm    Post subject:  The C&C Remasters will be... open source! Fully moddable!
Subject description: Nod has done some 'peace through power' actions at EA and Petroglyph to hack the battlefield!
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The EA's producer Jim Vessella has posted an update on reddit about the upcoming Command & Conquer Remastered Collection, which is too good to be the truth. And it is true indeed. You will be able to edit almost everything in the game logic, add units and do things you can't imagine with the game. I'll let his words describe the details, but what I can assure you is that I will really buy this game:


Quote:
Fellow Command & Conquer fans,

Since the announcement of the Remastered Collection, one of the top questions from the community has been if the game would provide Mod Support. Given the incredible C&C community projects over the past two decades, we appreciated how important this was going to be for the Remastered Collection. It’s time to finally answer the question around Mod Support, but it first requires the reveal of a special surprise for the community.

Today we are proud to announce that alongside the launch of the Remastered Collection, Electronic Arts will be releasing the TiberianDawn.dll and RedAlert.dll and their corresponding source code under the GPL version 3.0 license. This is a key moment for Electronic Arts, the C&C community, and the gaming industry, as we believe this will be one of the first major RTS franchises to open source their source code under the GPL. It’s worth noting this initiative is the direct result of a collaboration between some of the community council members and our teams at EA. After discussing with the council members, we made the decision to go with the GPL license to ensure compatibility with projects like CnCNet and Open RA. Our goal was to deliver the source code in a way that would be truly beneficial for the community, and we hope this will enable amazing community projects for years to come.

So, what does it mean for Mod Support within the Remastered Collection? Along with the inclusion of a new Map Editor, these open-source DLLs should assist users to design maps, create custom units, replace art, alter gameplay logic, and edit data. The community council has already been playing with the source code and are posting some fun experiments in our Discord channel. But to showcase a tangible example of what you can do with the software, Petroglyph has actually created a new modded unit to play with. So we asked a fun question - “What would the Brotherhood of Nod do if they captured the Mammoth Tank?” Well, one guess is they’d replace the turret with a giant artillery cannon and have it fire tactical nukes! Thus the Nuke Tank was born. This is a unit that is fully playable in the game via a mod (seen in the screenshot above), and we hope to have it ready to play and serve as a learning example when the game launches.

Alongside Mod Support, I wanted to be transparent and address a feature which many of you have also been passionate about, which is LAN Play. Earlier this year, we had every intention of including LAN Play in the launch version of the game, but sadly this feature did not make it in time. Unfortunately, LAN Play became the key impact of the Covid-19 situation as we realized the challenge of developing / testing a “local area network” feature in a workplace time of social distancing. We understand this feature is vital as both an avenue to play mods in multiplayer, and also to serve as a backup in case the online systems are ever down. We’re bummed this one got away and will continue to keep this on our priority list going forward.

Now in terms of discovering user content, we wanted to take full advantage of the PC platforms to streamline this process. For Steam players, we’re utilizing the Steam Workshop for sharing both maps and mods. Players can subscribe to maps and mods directly in the game’s Community Hub within Steam, or utilize in-game menus to browse / download content as well. Origin players can use the same in-game process for downloading maps but will need to manually install mods into their respective folders outside the game. For both versions, once you’re in the game, you may navigate to the Options / Mods tab where you can then activate the mod. We’re aiming to put together further documentation on uploading content and the entire UGC process around the launch window.

Overall, we are incredibly excited to see what the community creates over the coming months. We anticipate some fantastic content for the Remastered Collection itself, some great updates in current community projects as they incorporate the source code, and perhaps we’ll even see some new RTS projects now made possible with the source code under the GPL. One final note we want to emphasize - we’ve done our best to bug fix and prepare these UGC systems for launch, but we have no doubt that once thousands of you begin creating and sharing content, some quirks will be discovered. Please continue to share your experience once the game launches, and let us know how we can continue to improve these tools for your benefit.

We look forward to seeing all of you on the battlefield in less than three weeks, and in the meantime please stay healthy, safe, and thanks for all your support and feedback.

Cheers,

Jim Vessella

Jimtern



It is really fantastic to see EA taking the initiative to open the source code of TiberianDawn.dll and RedAlert.dll. Our possibilities with it are limitless and I am sure that this Remastered Collection will continue to sell for eons with such initiative.

I should mention also that it is a pity that LAN parties will not be featured when the game releases, but as he said above, there is still a chance that it gets done at some point, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic social isolation cools down on their area.

Key Words: #News #CommandAndConquer #CommandAndConquerRemastered #RedAlert1Remastered 

Last edited by Banshee on Thu May 21, 2020 7:00 am; edited 1 time in total

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secondwtq
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Joined: 26 Jun 2010
Location: China

PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I doubt whether it's "fully" moddable. Only the DLLs are open sourced. God knows what's in these DLLs and what's not.

My guess is that it's something like "mod" in OpenRA, and the actual "engine" still stays closed source, so it's very likely that modders will still be heavily limited.

That being said I'm very excited about this. It's an incredible move for the game, for the community, and for EA. As the announcement says, it's the first major RTS to open source (actually Relic has fully open sourced Homeworld 1 long long ago, but that's not GPL, so EA did get the wording correct ...), that should at least offer us much better composability of game logic (and of course may help OpenRA). The GPL license is also what I'll give credit to, it's what's going to be truly "beneficial for the community", at least it forces modders to release source code as soon as the release of the mod, instead of trying to guard his/her "little secrets" all the time (well, if anyone does care about it).

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Banshee
Supreme Banshee


Joined: 15 Aug 2002
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I doubt whether it's "fully" moddable. Only the DLLs are open sourced. God knows what's in these DLLs and what's not.


I think it should work somewhat like OpenRA, C&C3 and newer games. The executable is used to read the DLL (in CnC3's case is the .SkuDef file) where the whole game logic and rules is read/interpreted.

So, it will be open source, but you will need the game to run it, of course.

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secondwtq
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Joined: 26 Jun 2010
Location: China

PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banshee wrote:
I think it should work somewhat like OpenRA, C&C3 and newer games. The executable is used to read the DLL (in CnC3's case is the .SkuDef file) where the whole game logic and rules is read/interpreted.


Well then this is the best case, and my speculation is the worst case Smile It's a great thing anyway.

This update: https://www.ea.com/games/command-and-conquer/command-and-conquer-remastered/news/remaster-update-source-code says they are using parts from both the original C&C source code and Petroglyph's proprietary GlyphX engine. We don't know much about this GlyphX engine and we also don't know how it mixes with original code in the Remastered. I don't think Petroglyph would be willing to open source its own engine. However considering it's just a 2D remaster of a 1995 game after all, it's very possible to be mostly trivial and nothing worth protecting ...

Oh, EA also has a Modding FAQ here: https://www.ea.com/games/command-and-conquer/command-and-conquer-remastered/modding-faq. The content indicates there is some limitations, though it doesn't say how these limitations are applied.

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G-E
General


Joined: 09 Feb 2015

PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banshee wrote:
Quote:
I doubt whether it's "fully" moddable. Only the DLLs are open sourced. God knows what's in these DLLs and what's not.


I think it should work somewhat like OpenRA, C&C3 and newer games. The executable is used to read the DLL (in CnC3's case is the .SkuDef file) where the whole game logic and rules is read/interpreted.

So, it will be open source, but you will need the game to run it, of course.

Yea, the DLL is what makes the engine into the game. The Petroglyph code probably handles the basics like i/o, gui and rendering.
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EVA-251
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Joined: 20 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's probably as Banshee and G-E suggest.
Quake 2 would be another example. You have the game engine, and then you have the gamex86.dll file, which is what contains all the game's entities and the code governing how they work. Compared to working within a limited scripting language (say QuakeC in Q1) or basic configuration files (rules.ini) in CNC, it's quite a bit more powerful.

My concern would be, would this replace the concept of rules/art.ini entirely?

Continuing my Quake 2 example, Quake 2 offered far greater modding capability than Quake 1 due to this DLL file, but the Quake 2 modding community ended up being smaller and shorter lived than Quake 1's, in part because the switch to C/DLL compiling presented a huge barrier to entry for many people.
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Last edited by EVA-251 on Thu May 21, 2020 6:04 am; edited 1 time in total

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Graion Dilach
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Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

secondwtq wrote:
As the announcement says, it's the first major RTS to open source (actually Relic has fully open sourced Homeworld 1 long long ago, but that's not GPL, so EA did get the wording correct ...)


Warzone 2100 is under GPLv2. And that one has all assets GPLed, including graphics and music.

Although I'm amused, since up until this point I felt C&CR cannot step up against ORA. Now it can. This is utmost interesting and I'll look forward how that'll play out.
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G-E
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Joined: 09 Feb 2015

PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

EVA-251 wrote:
Continuing my Quake 2 example, Quake 2 offered far greater modding capability than Quake 1 due to this DLL file, but the Quake 2 modding community ended up being smaller and shorter lived than Quake 1's, in part because the switch to C/DLL compiling presented a huge barrier to entry for many people.

I had the same thought... the ini schema was very approachable.
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secondwtq
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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

EVA-251 wrote:
My concern would be, would this replace the concept of rules/art.ini entirely?


I think unless Petroglyph is losing their sanity, they will use some configuration for themselves. I did some preliminary search and it seems GlyphX is using some XMLs. (I won't be surprised if it shares some traits with SAGE)

Even if it's not builtin, I still don't think that's a problem. It's open source right? Then nothing prevents you from crafting such an mechanism yourself. That's exactly where having the code available really shines.
The real problem, however, would be getting it adopted by the community ...

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^Rampastein
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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is great otherwise, but lack of multiplayer support for mods makes the overall mod support still quite disappointing.
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MadHQ
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Joined: 07 Nov 2003

PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting! I am really looking forward to receiving this game. I was kind of disappointed that my collectors edition was delayed... But I think I will receive it in a reasonable time, and since I will be emailed a steam key I will be just fine.
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Dynamo
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Joined: 31 May 2014

PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 12:19 pm    Post subject: Re: The C&C Remasters will be... open source! Fully moddable! Reply with quote

Quote:
We’re bummed LAN play got away and will continue to keep this on our priority list going forward.

I just hope they will stay true to their word on this one and that we will see multiplayer options available for mods in a subsequent patch. So far they seem to have delivered on all their promises so hopefully they deliver on this one as well, because this is very much a big deal.

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Reaperrr
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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Graion Dilach wrote:

Although I'm amused, since up until this point I felt C&CR cannot step up against ORA. Now it can. This is utmost interesting and I'll look forward how that'll play out.

It remains to be seen if/when C&CR receives multiplayer mod support beyond LAN games and how much work it will be to add more sophisticated features to those dlls or refactor parts of it, but for projects like my TDX (will definitely port that asap after launch) C&CR is certainly nearly perfect, so I imagine many smaller RA/TD-based projects that don't hard-depend on (online) MP will jump ship quickly.

For more sophisticated projects, or Gen2-based ones in general, I imagine ORA will still remain in the lead overall for the forseeable future, unless hordes of community coders turn the remaster dlls into stable Gen2-compatible modder paradises in record time (not completely ruling that out, mind you).

But things would certainly get REALLY interesting if EA followed up with Gen2 remasters relatively quickly (<= 2 years) and open-sourced their dlls, too (if they were able to get get hold of those games' sources as well, that is).
That's when ORA would need to have carved out enough exclusive niches and features that can't be copied/ported so easily (or at all) to stay relevant, I guess.

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secondwtq
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In case some of you guys aren't aware, The source code is already published: https://github.com/electronicarts/CnC_Remastered_Collection

Looks it's not too far from my guess. Also I'm not observing the presence of a non-trivial rules.ini. The Nuke Tank Sample Mod was supposedly made by changing the DLL code directly (search for PETROGLYPH_EXAMPLE_MOD in the codebase if anyone want to know how to do it).

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Banshee
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, we are aware of it and you have posted it right after I've posted a news about it. Wink

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