Explore GameReplays...

Command and Conquer 3

The Golden Age - A Visual History of Nod

Reply to this topic Start new topic
# 1Luvaskot Nov 27 2012, 09:32 AM
We take a look at how the Brotherhood of Nod developed over the years, mechanically and stylistically, from the original Command and Conquer through C&C4

IPB Image

Ah, the Brotherhood of Nod. Easily one of the most famous, or notorious, organizations in RTS history. What RTS gamer hasn’t heard of and either admired or reviled the prophet Kane and his minions? Sadly, nowadays they and their eternal opponents the GDI seem to exist only in the browser as factions in a game that doesn’t very strongly resemble the Command and Conquer most of us grew up loving. Read on to travel down memory lane with us, and revisit the glory days of the Brotherhood as we look at how the Brotherhood has evolved over the years.

IPB Image
"Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity" – Charles Mingus

The Glory Days – Command and Conquer

Ah, Command and Conquer. The genre was fairly young when this game came out in 1995 (and so was I!). There was no Shift- (or Alt) queuing for structures or units, Fog of War dissipated permanently when revealed, and units had inspiring names like “Chemical Warrior.” But, in reality, there is still something a little inspiring about this title, as long in the tooth as it might seem at first glance to the younger gamer. It’s the start of one of the most loved real-time strategy franchises out there, and there’s something about the gameplay that is appealing despite it really showing its age. There's something almost…elegant about the design of this game, which boasts some surprisingly complex graphics for a game of its age. The minimap is only activated after the construction of a Communications array, the MCV can unpack into a Construction Yard, and the classic Command and Conquer sidebar is present, though not as full-featured as it becomes in its future incarnations. When I started playing this game for the article, I found myself having a lot more fun than I'd expected, which is saying a lot for someone like me who really enjoys the conveniences of modern RTS user interfaces.

IPB Image

Though I poke fun at the unit names in this game, we see here what go on to become some of the iconic units of the Command and Conquer franchise: the Engineer (though this isn’t unique to the Brotherhood, obviously), the Stealth Tank, the Devil’s Tongue Flame Tank, and the Obelisk of Light, just to name a few. These units, along with the aforementioned Chemical Warrior, gave the Brotherhood their reputation for stealth, terror tactics, and brutality that remain hallmarks of their nature to this day.

Getting Hotter – Tiberian Sun

IPB Image


Interestingly enough, the Brotherhood undergoes some major design philosophy changes from the Tiberian Dawn to Tiberian Sun. Looking back, before starting my "research" (hours of gaming!) into this topic, I had assumed that later C&C titles would feature increasingly divergent design philosophies in terms of game artwork. But, right out of the gate, we see that Petroglyph was evolving the Brotherhood. In some cases, as with the Obelisk of Light, structures become more angular and complex, where in the case of the Temple of Nod and Hand of Nod, we see rounded architecture with angular piping, very unlike their predecessors in many ways. The Obelisk in particular undergoes a sea change: it’s fitted with a large semicircular base that greatly adds to the size of the structure.

In some ways, the unit and structure art is a refinement of that seen in the first game, and in some ways it is a change of aesthetic philosophy. The Refinery, which in Tiberian Dawn was a generic-looking structure, is replaced with a circular, flame-gouting facility that’s much more up to Brotherhood code than the somewhat generic Refinery of the first game. The Power Plant likewise gets a reimagining, and generic walls are replaced with sinister red Laser fencing. The oddest departure is the Hand of Nod. Where in the first game this structure was depicted as a military barracks surmounted by Kane’s hand grasping a globe, the Hand of Nod is much more humble in the second conflict, looking for all the world like a discarded glove.

IPB Image

In addition, the Brotherhood received a whole host of units designed to further differentiate them from the GDI. In addition to the returning basics (including a renamed Chemical Warrior called the Toxin Soldier) hijackers, mobile stealth generators, hunter-seekers, and the first uses of Cyborg technology appear in this game. The Cyborg units also surprised me - I'd forgotten that they were introduced in Tiberian Sun, and not Tiberium Wars (the 3rd installment).

Here, we see a refinement, rather than a replacing, of the vehicle mechanics from the first game. There are so many new units that it’s hard to compare directly. Do note though that all of the most important Nod units (from a design perspective) are carried over from the first game. Namely, the Stealth and Devil’s Tongue tanks, attack buggy, attack cycle, and even the Nod’s nuke superweapon are carried over from the first game (though this last has a different source than the Temple of Nod).

Them’s Fightin’ Words – Tiberium Wars

IPB Image

I want you to scroll back up to the Tiberian Dawn section for a second, and take a quick look at the images there. You see it too, right? They look very similar to the structures we see in Tiberium Wars. Interestingly, we see here a departure from the unit and structure designs of Tiberian Sun and a return to an aesthetic very reminiscent of the first installment of the series in many cases. We can see this very striking resemblance specifically in the structures which I picture above. (OK, it’s only striking if you look at Westwood’s design intent from Tiberian Dawn). It was very interesting playing all 3 games side by side and seeing how the developers of this game were interested in many ways in paying homage to Tiberian Dawn: the return of some classic structure designs, for instance.

IPB Image





IPB Image






Once again, we see the gameplay become more complex through the addition of more units and other gameplay elements. Support powers are introduced, which do things like jamming the enemy’s radar, drop land mines, summon Shadow Strike teams (unit call in) and, yes, drop Nukes on your foes. This is supplemented by new units not seen in the previous installments of the game, though interestingly, Nod loses its ability to burrow in this version of the game, meaning that the Pavement mechanic from the second game is no longer necessary. Walls, other than around individual structures, are also a thing of the past. In some ways, despite the new mechanics and research, it could be said that aspects of Command and Conquer 3 are simpler than its predecessor.

It’s also in this title that the Nod gets some really interesting and memorable units, notably the Avatar of Kane. . Also introduced in the expansion are super units, like the Redeemer.

IPB Image

The Twilight of the Franchise?

IPB Image





Sorry, I couldn’t resist comparing Tiberian Twilight, which many Command and Conquer fans consider to be an abuse of the IP, with Twilight, which many people consider a gross abuse on the human sensory system. In spite of the comparison, though, I’ll admit that I very much enjoyed this game, and played it regularly.

In many ways, Tiberian Twilight is the largest departure of Nod artwork in the history of the franchise. Even some artwork in Tiberium Alliances (we’ll get to that mess in a little bit) is closer to “true” Nod designs than what we see in this title. Some of the more outstanding departures:

IPB Image
and
IPB Image

The units in Twilight are much cartoonier, for lack of a better descriptor, than the units in previous installments of the game. Or, at least, than units in the 3rd title of the series. Looking back through the years, Command and Conquer titles have always been brightly colored (with the exception of Tiberium Wars) and a little irreverent. Could these unit designs stand on their own laurels without the gameplay changes which also blackened the eye of this title?

Ultimately, it’s much too late for Tiberian Twilight. The game was never particularly popular, due in part to the departure from traditional C&C basebuilding and its radical aesthetic changes, and with the launching of more interesting titles such as StarCraft 2, the community all but dried up. Some people still play it, but there are alpha and beta versions of games with larger communities. And not to say it would have ever been a hit, but the development team was reputedly unable to continue patching or improving the game past a very narrow window. Almost assuredly, additional content such as maps, units, gameplay modes, etc would have given this title a little more oomph.

IPB Image

Still, ingame, the graphics do hold up fairly well.

It's also interesting to note that Westwood Studios, who went on to become Petroglyph Games, in their turn have been experimenting with variations on the real-time strategy theme: from board game analogs, to MOBAs, Petroglyph is very interested in redefining and testing the boundaries of what is considered to be a real-time strategy game. It might be blasphemy to say this, but I do wonder if, had they not been bought by Electronic Arts and left to form their own studio, Westwood might have attempted a similar departure themselves.

A Devil’s Alliance

I’d originally set out to include Tiberium Alliances in this list out of a sense of honor to the franchise, and out of interest to see how the units and structures held up, at least across the latest 3 Command and Conquer titles. But in many cases, it just didn’t work very well: there’s no Temple of Nod, the Obelisk of Light is nigh unrecognizable, and the gameplay is just too different to draw real parallels with the other games. In short, and to no great surprise, Tiberium Alliances is a Command and Conquer title in name only. While it contains many of the units from previous titles, interestingly enough including the 4th, it simply doesn’t have that Command and Conquer feel, though in a far different way than the 4th installment.

IPB Image








n some ways, Tiberium Alliances looks somewhat like a combination of the second and third titles, and the sprites do look very good, but like 4, the gameplay just doesn’t hold up. It’s quite good for a browser game, and is apparently being played by a large number of people, but those of us who enjoyed the original or Tiberian Dawn are unlikely to appreciate it much.

Conclusion

Ah, the Brotherhood of Nod. Across 17 years and more than five games, not counting expansions, who can fail to recognize your units or structures? Truly one of the most memorable leaders and design aesthetics in all of RTS history, the Brotherhood has lived under three game studios (if you count Phenomic) and may yet be resurrected for another title with the upcoming free to play Command and Conquer platform (there are some unsubstantiated rumors about EA’s plans for that). Before beginning my research for this article, I had assumed that the first two titles would resemble each other the closest, but when playing I found a lot of visual homage to the original included in Command and Conquer 3. And really, it’s the first 3 titles that are most interesting to compare against one another: Twilight and Alliances are interesting projects but bear little resemblance to what most people think of as Command and Conquer.

Whatever happens to the future of the Command and Conquer universe, we can be thankful for all of the moments we’ve had in the past playing these excellent titles: from the still-engaging Tiberian Dawn to the complexities introduced in Tiberium Wars, we’ve been able to enjoy this vision of the future, and the bitter wars that the Brotherhood fought under the direction of the prophet Kane.

By Brandon Casteel / Nov 20, 2012
http://www.rtsguru.com/game/75/article/458...ory-of-Nod.html

This post has been edited by zeh1r: Nov 27 2012, 15:10 PM

Posts: 1,833

Game: Command and Conquer 3


+
# 2kimosabe Nov 27 2012, 13:38 PM
fucking epic! Enjoyed the read!

Posts: 3,387

Game: Command and Conquer 3


+
# 3ToxicShock Nov 27 2012, 15:07 PM
QUOTE(kimosabe @ Nov 27 2012, 13:38 PM) *

fucking epic! Enjoyed the read!



+1 Awesome and worthy.

Posts: 39,212

Clan: Mates First

Game: Command and Conquer 3


+
# 4Luvaskot Nov 27 2012, 15:10 PM
Thanks men:)

This post has been edited by zeh1r: Nov 27 2012, 19:07 PM

Posts: 1,833

Game: Command and Conquer 3


+
# 5Luvaskot Nov 28 2012, 21:04 PM
Only 2 comments? cry.gif cry.gif cry.gif cry.gif cry.gif cry.gif cry.gif cry.gif cry.gif frusty.gif frusty.gif frusty.gif frusty.gif unsure.gif wacko.gif wacko.gif wacko.gif

Posts: 1,833

Game: Command and Conquer 3


+
# 6vOddy Dec 23 2012, 00:37 AM
Tiberian Dawn is still a fun game to blast through in a few hours. As for multiplayer, it starts out fun, but the better you get at the game the more apparent it becomes that this was one of the first attempts. At least that's what happened to me. The fun factor is very high, and everything feels "smooth", but there's not that much beneath the surface. Still, the best in its genre when it came out (Yes, it's better than WarCraft 1, get over it. It has better balance, and the factions are more different.)

Still a fun game today, for single player and casual multi player, at least.

Tiberian Sun... Ah. Many people dislike this game. They say it is slow. Games aren't longer than in StarCraft, and in fact they often end earlier. But I suppose people who say Tiberian Sun is slow are talking about the feeling of the game. The bad net code is a big part of this. If you play on a LAN, at speed 5, I think it feels very smooth.

Anyway. It has very good balance between the two factions. I play Nod, and the few good players who do think there's an imbalance think GDI is better, so I'm not biased. I used to play GDI, as well. I honestly can't admit to myself that GDI is better than Nod. I can't do it now as a Nod user, and I couldn't do it in the past as a GDI user.

It's a hard game, and very unique, because of the ways it makes you think. I'm not going to write a long wall of text about why Tiberian Sun is strategically interesting. It would take too long. Apart from the feel of the game, which is subjective, all the criticism I've seen the game receive is simply incorrect. It's not a "spam fest". You can't "just turtle with artillery and sam sites" and it's not "impossible to attack".

The only reason someone would say those things is because he's really bad at the game, or tried to play it like a normal RTS. Tiberian Sun is not a normal RTS. You don't attack the same way you do in a normal RTS. You also don't play defensively, or turtle, the same way you do in a normal RTS. However, if two bad players play Tiberian Sun like another game - one of them playing like a turtle, and the other one playing aggressively - the turtle will win. But that's only if you play the game like Red Alert.

I think Firestorm makes the game even better by fleshing out the races, making them less one dimensional, and covering some of their more glaring weaknesses (that didn't cause any imbalance, by the way) but no one plays Firestorm so if I ever want to play Tiberian Sun, I have to play the original sad.gif

I think it's a good game, and highly underrated by people who don't bother spending the time to learn it, and still think they can judge it accurately.
(If you do the same to StarCraft: Brood War, you will conclude that it's a spam fest and that whoever clicks faster wins).

And now, Command & Conquer 3. The only game I have ever been excited about before its release. The only game I pre ordered. Holy shit, I was excited for this game. I watched the trailers every day. I talked on the forums. I knew the story was going to suck because it was EA, and they were reviving the series, but the gameplay looked fun, and for fuck's sake it was still Command & Conquer, which I grew up with.

I was so excited about it that I decided to finally start playing RTS seriously. I was tired of being a noob, always getting my ass kicked in every game I played. I decided, when C&C3 comes out, I'm going to play it FOR REAL, and actually get good at an RTS game for once.

I think the game had a lot of potential, but not only did they stop patching it before it was done, they also changed the economy in the last patch, which made me enjoy the game much less, because it reduced the skill ceiling, lowered the amount of viable styles and strategies, and reduced how creative you could be as a player. Before 1.09, I always felt like despite the imbalance, the skill ceiling and possibility for creativity were so high that I could overcome any imbalance and win anyway. I had to climb higher than my (scrin) opponent, but since the sky was the limit, I always could if I worked hard enough. In fact, I even came up with an answer to Scrin lategame owning Nod lategame - a beam cannon transition at the right time with venom support for extra range. It was the beam cannon venom combination that no one used for some reason (and I can't believe it took me like 6 months to figure it out -.-). This also came with a pretty good timing push, which was the double obelisk + beam cannon attack. The game was crazy, and pushing it to its limit was fun and creatively stimulating. Infantry tech switches, fanatics, temples of nod (for the nuke), beam cannons + venoms, obelisk timing attacks with multiple MCV's - there was so much stuff you could do, and the skill ceiling was so high.

But then came 1.09, which took away all of that. In 1.09, if you're playing in the imbalanced match up (Scrin vs Nod, with Nod being OP this time), you don't feel like you can overcome the imbalance by playing better, because the skill ceiling and room for creativity is so low in comparison. Also, there are too few maps, and all of them are small. I slowly drifted away from C&C3 after 1.09, and then re discovered StarCraft: Brood War. The game that I had casually played as a child turned out to actually be the best RTS game ever made, and it was way more beautiful and complex than I had ever realized.

So for me, the game (C&C3) had potential, but it really got fucked up towards the end, and it never lived up to it. As for the story: Yeah, it sucked, and we all knew it was going to, because it was EA making the game and they were reviving the series, trying to bring in new fans. That cliff hanger at the end of Firestorm's Nod campaign will never see a conclusion.

I'm not even gonna talk about C&C4, and I wouldn't even know that Tiberium Alliances exists if it wasn't for online advertisements.

This post has been edited by vOddy: Dec 23 2012, 00:41 AM


Posts: 4,775

Game: Universe at War


+
# 7Luvaskot Dec 23 2012, 12:50 PM
QUOTE(vOddy @ Dec 23 2012, 02:37 AM) *

Tiberian Dawn is still a fun game to blast through in a few hours. As for multiplayer, it starts out fun, but the better you get at the game the more apparent it becomes that this was one of the first attempts. At least that's what happened to me. The fun factor is very high, and everything feels "smooth", but there's not that much beneath the surface. Still, the best in its genre when it came out (Yes, it's better than WarCraft 1, get over it. It has better balance, and the factions are more different.)

Still a fun game today, for single player and casual multi player, at least.

Tiberian Sun... Ah. Many people dislike this game. They say it is slow. Games aren't longer than in StarCraft, and in fact they often end earlier. But I suppose people who say Tiberian Sun is slow are talking about the feeling of the game. The bad net code is a big part of this. If you play on a LAN, at speed 5, I think it feels very smooth.

Anyway. It has very good balance between the two factions. I play Nod, and the few good players who do think there's an imbalance think GDI is better, so I'm not biased. I used to play GDI, as well. I honestly can't admit to myself that GDI is better than Nod. I can't do it now as a Nod user, and I couldn't do it in the past as a GDI user.

It's a hard game, and very unique, because of the ways it makes you think. I'm not going to write a long wall of text about why Tiberian Sun is strategically interesting. It would take too long. Apart from the feel of the game, which is subjective, all the criticism I've seen the game receive is simply incorrect. It's not a "spam fest". You can't "just turtle with artillery and sam sites" and it's not "impossible to attack".

The only reason someone would say those things is because he's really bad at the game, or tried to play it like a normal RTS. Tiberian Sun is not a normal RTS. You don't attack the same way you do in a normal RTS. You also don't play defensively, or turtle, the same way you do in a normal RTS. However, if two bad players play Tiberian Sun like another game - one of them playing like a turtle, and the other one playing aggressively - the turtle will win. But that's only if you play the game like Red Alert.

I think Firestorm makes the game even better by fleshing out the races, making them less one dimensional, and covering some of their more glaring weaknesses (that didn't cause any imbalance, by the way) but no one plays Firestorm so if I ever want to play Tiberian Sun, I have to play the original sad.gif

I think it's a good game, and highly underrated by people who don't bother spending the time to learn it, and still think they can judge it accurately.
(If you do the same to StarCraft: Brood War, you will conclude that it's a spam fest and that whoever clicks faster wins).

And now, Command & Conquer 3. The only game I have ever been excited about before its release. The only game I pre ordered. Holy shit, I was excited for this game. I watched the trailers every day. I talked on the forums. I knew the story was going to suck because it was EA, and they were reviving the series, but the gameplay looked fun, and for fuck's sake it was still Command & Conquer, which I grew up with.

I was so excited about it that I decided to finally start playing RTS seriously. I was tired of being a noob, always getting my ass kicked in every game I played. I decided, when C&C3 comes out, I'm going to play it FOR REAL, and actually get good at an RTS game for once.

I think the game had a lot of potential, but not only did they stop patching it before it was done, they also changed the economy in the last patch, which made me enjoy the game much less, because it reduced the skill ceiling, lowered the amount of viable styles and strategies, and reduced how creative you could be as a player. Before 1.09, I always felt like despite the imbalance, the skill ceiling and possibility for creativity were so high that I could overcome any imbalance and win anyway. I had to climb higher than my (scrin) opponent, but since the sky was the limit, I always could if I worked hard enough. In fact, I even came up with an answer to Scrin lategame owning Nod lategame - a beam cannon transition at the right time with venom support for extra range. It was the beam cannon venom combination that no one used for some reason (and I can't believe it took me like 6 months to figure it out -.-). This also came with a pretty good timing push, which was the double obelisk + beam cannon attack. The game was crazy, and pushing it to its limit was fun and creatively stimulating. Infantry tech switches, fanatics, temples of nod (for the nuke), beam cannons + venoms, obelisk timing attacks with multiple MCV's - there was so much stuff you could do, and the skill ceiling was so high.

But then came 1.09, which took away all of that. In 1.09, if you're playing in the imbalanced match up (Scrin vs Nod, with Nod being OP this time), you don't feel like you can overcome the imbalance by playing better, because the skill ceiling and room for creativity is so low in comparison. Also, there are too few maps, and all of them are small. I slowly drifted away from C&C3 after 1.09, and then re discovered StarCraft: Brood War. The game that I had casually played as a child turned out to actually be the best RTS game ever made, and it was way more beautiful and complex than I had ever realized.

So for me, the game (C&C3) had potential, but it really got fucked up towards the end, and it never lived up to it. As for the story: Yeah, it sucked, and we all knew it was going to, because it was EA making the game and they were reviving the series, trying to bring in new fans. That cliff hanger at the end of Firestorm's Nod campaign will never see a conclusion.

I'm not even gonna talk about C&C4, and I wouldn't even know that Tiberium Alliances exists if it wasn't for online advertisements.


Yes man you said true, especially about Ea's sucking up smile.gif I have a question for you, could you and community build a new patch for Tiberium Wars. I want to help but I don't know about programming post-13661-1143531603.gif

Posts: 1,833

Game: Command and Conquer 3


+
# 8shocktapus Dec 23 2012, 13:07 PM
1.09 is actually not as bad as vOddy makes out. You can overcome the imbalance by playing better and there are plenty of creative builds you can do. I would be happy to show him some of my personal replay collection but I don't think he'd be that bothered biggrin.gif

Posts: 4,378

Game: Command and Conquer 3


+
# 9Luvaskot Dec 23 2012, 13:18 PM
Yeah, but it is allows less creativity than TS or 1.08

Posts: 1,833

Game: Command and Conquer 3


+
# 10shocktapus Dec 23 2012, 13:22 PM
I don't know about TS as I never played it, but Id say it's a much better patch and rewards creativity much more than 1.08. Look at WCG replays ffs.

Posts: 4,378

Game: Command and Conquer 3


+
# 11Luvaskot Dec 23 2012, 13:33 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6W5dcM1ZLYI. I find this mate tongue.gif Must be warm up game biggrin.gif

Posts: 1,833

Game: Command and Conquer 3


+
# 12shocktapus Dec 23 2012, 14:24 PM
I'm talking specifically about this match:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3W1KHr_XYU

Posts: 4,378

Game: Command and Conquer 3


+
# 13Luvaskot Dec 23 2012, 15:03 PM
yes man only seeker spam smile.gif

Posts: 1,833

Game: Command and Conquer 3


+

1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)