KERENSKY287 - RED ALERT 3 PARADOX
By: chickendippers, 5th June 2010
Red Alert 3 Paradox is a partial conversion mod project for Red Alert 3 which features an impressive 5 new factions as well as additional units for the existing factions. The campaign is set in the aftermath of Red Alert 3 the war-torn world is fractured and divided into numerous factions maintaining an uneasy ceasefire.
CD : Lets start with a brief introduction; who Kerensky287 is and what is your role within Red Alert 3: Paradox?
Kerensky287 : I'm the lead coder for Paradox and one of the 3 founding members. When Open_Sketchbook and Ferriswheel finish a model, texture, voice, or whatever, I'm one of the people who does the behind-the-scenes stuff to make the game actually recognize it as a unit. I also do a lot of the preliminary balance stuff - that is, the first time a unit goes into the game it naturally has to have damage and health and stuff, and it's the coder's job to choose those values first before any testing happens.
CD : Please describe Red Alert 3: Paradox , what are the main goals of the mod?
Kerensky287 : Red Alert 3: Paradox is what's known as a total-conversion mod for Red Alert 3. That means that we go beyond just adding a few extra units and maps - we're making new factions, new music, and eventually an epic campaign with full-motion video and everything. This is the kind of thing that we could sell if we had an engine of our own... and, of course, the copyrights to the Red Alert series.
The main goals revolve around making the gameplay as varied as possible. We're more than tripling the number of units available in the game and tweaking the existing ones to try and make them more viable or less dominating. It's our hope that by the time we're done, you won't just have 3 or 4 "build orders" that you follow from the start of the game - there will be enough units and factions that no matter how you like to play, you will occasionally be able to succeed if you are smart enough, efficient enough, or... whatever your plan revolves around.
CD : You have chosen to add a massive 5 new factions to the game, as well as new units for the existing 3, could you mention some of the new units of which you are most proud?
Kerensky287 : One of the units I think we all like is the Achilles Superfighter for the Allied Nations. This is the most high-tech plane in the game - armed with 4 pulse-lasers, a giant fusion torch on the back, and a witty Quebecois pilot, this top-tier aircraft will defeat any other one-on-one. It can outrun bullets, fly across the map in an instant, and lead the way to success in any air combat. But... it's expensive and tends to explode when it crashes.
I'm also a fan of the Confederate Sidewinder, which tunnels underground to ambush enemy forces with its powerful tornado generators. It doesn't do much in the way of damage to ground units, but it will give structures a cause for worry and ruin any air commander's day.
CD : Will you be adding any new gameplay mechanics or innovations; new build methods for example?
Kerensky287 : Every one of the new factions has a unique way of building The sneaky Confederates revolve around the use of bulldozers as a sort of mini-MCV, making them very hard to stamp out. The evil corporation known as the Mediterranean Syndicate uses Lifters that can build a single type of structure each, but can build it more than once - the price of a building is split between the lifter and the structure itself, meaning that you save money if you buy in bulk. The Electrical Protectorate will be the most difficult to balance - everything builds instantly, so you are limited only by your income, but they have no expansion units - you have to gradually stretch your massive base to reach the next resource point if you want to survive!
Other than build systems, we're planning to add as much of a tactical element as possible to the game. No longer will victory or defeat be decided only by unit composition - if you attack from behind with faster units, you can hit your enemy's rear armor and escape before they can engage you with their full force! We're also adding new game modes such as a territory control mode that revolves around capturing important structures to either give you Victory Points (that win you the game, but can be cashed in for bonuses) or other advantages.
CD : Who's working on Red Alert 3: Paradox, anyone we might recognise from previous projects?
Kerensky287 : The team leader, Open_Sketchbook, worked on a Battlefield 1942 mod known as Battlefield Advanced, which aimed to bring the colorful world of Advance Wars to the first-person shooter genre. We also have a number of team members who worked on or are currently working on mods of their own - we're getting help from Huhnu of Huhnu Alert, for example. I myself have experience with modding Halo but I never worked on anything big.
CD : How is development progressing, do you have a release date pencilled in?
Kerensky287 : We're aiming on having the first release - that is, the new Allied units and the new Confederate faction - done by July 4th. We're putting out bundles like this until all the factions are done, and then we'll start work on the campaign. We have also had "minimod" releases in the past, which contained just a unit or two extra, and we will probably continue to do this in the future.
CD : Describe a typical day in the life of the Red Alert 3: Paradox development team.
Kerensky287 : Wake up, eat breakfast, save the world, bench press 600lb, cure a terminal disease, and then code a unit before bed. Okay not really but the dev team doesn't have a typical schedule. We meet on MSN fairly often to talk about what's going on in the mod, and once we're organized we head off to work. It usually takes about 3-4 days to do a unit start to finish if we work solidly and don't encounter bugs.... which we ALWAYS do. Stupid finicky RA3 modkit!
CD : Have you experienced any difficulties so far in development and how did you overcome them, or do you foresee any in the future?
Kerensky287 : As I just mentioned, we encounter a LOT of bugs in development - some of it is because the RA3 code is fussy, yes, but admittedly most of it is because we're trying to do things the engine simply was not designed to do. There are no units that create landmines, no units that are designed to cloak themselves, no units that can do ANYTHING to make themselves immobile aside from unpacking... so naturally when we try to do things like that, we hit speedbumps. To make things worse, the engine has a whole list of different behaviours and special abilities you can grant units, but some of them are left over from CnC3 - more often than not, the old CnC3 functions are either only partially functional or completely nonworking. All it takes to get around them is a little creativity usually, though.
CD : This is a classic question; which is your favourite C&C game? (in terms of modding and playing)
Kerensky287 : Personally, I think that all the CnC games were excellent in their own time. I find it impossible outside of nostalgia to enjoy some of the older games, though - I can't live without modern touches like control forces, rally points and hotkeys. That said, I think that Red Alert 2 has stood the test of time very well. Unlike Tibsun it doesn't suffer from weird slowdown, and it's right at the sweetspot in RTS where they had perfected a lot of the features but hadn't gone crazy trying to add new things. Don't get me wrong - I like CnC3 and RA3 (and I like what CnC4 was trying to do) but Red Alert 2 is just distilled RTS, and when I play it I don't find myself asking things like "Why is there no directional armour?" and "How come EA never patched this?"
CD : Do you have any final comments or a message for your fans in the C&C community?
Kerensky287 : Quit flaming EALA all the freaking time! Having spent all this time with Paradox, I now know how it feels to have a game to call your own, and we spent all this time figuring it out based on what they did first. If people said half the things about Paradox that they said about RA3, CnC4 and the "new" games in general ("new" varies based on the person) then I don't know what I would do. The CnC team takes serious pride in what they do. I have no doubt that if they had more time to polish their stuff like Blizzard, Valve and Westwood-that-was did, then the Command and Conquer series would still dominate the charts.
CD : And finally, what is your favourite movie released in the past 12 months?
Kerensky287 : Kickass was a kickass movie about a teenager who became a superhero and then kicked ass. You should go see it.