Q: So, why an action game in the Command & Conquer universe, home to your strategy games?
A: The idea for Renegade actually came about when we were developing the original Command & Conquer in 1992. We loved the fast and furious action, the fascinating back-story, and the exotic settings and realized that it would be perfect for an action game.
We also loved the Commando character. In C&C, he's about six pixels tall, but made a huge impression on us and the public with the sarcastic comments he delivered just before blowing up a building. The more we thought about the Commando, the more the idea for the action game came into focus. It's through him that we're really able to bring players down to ground zero in the war between GDI and Nod.
Q: How does Renegade change the Command & Conquer universe?
A: It doesn't change. Renegade takes place at the same time as the original C&C and the fiction stays the same - even some of the missions are the same, just experienced from a first-person perspective.
Q: What are you adding to make sure Renegade looks and feels like C&C?
A: It's always the little things. As you go through the missions you'll see vintage C&C elements - Orcas flying overhead, SAM Sites shooting at passing enemy aircraft, Gunboats bombarding from offshore positions. But it's really the weapons, vehicles and buildings at Havoc's disposal that will give you the feeling that you're truly in the C&C universe. You'll be able to enter the Hand of Nod, blow up a Tiberium Harvester, waste Nod officers, use Ion Cannons to strike buildings, and much more.
Q: What makes Renegade different from all the other first-person-shooters out there?
A: Many things set Renegade apart from the other FPS games, and the ones scheduled to come out in the near future. Primarily, it's the deep, rich Command & Conquer universe and the unique tactical situations that this universe allows. It's also about Command & Conquer Mode - our really unique multiplayer mode that essentially puts you down on the ground in a C&C match of GDI vs. Nod.
Solo Play and Multiplay:
Q: What types of missions will Renegade players be able to look forward to?
A: You play out the single-player campaign as GDI's elite commando, Havoc. In one mission you'll have to enter a Nod base and download important information from the Nod communications mainframe. There's a mission where you must sneak aboard a Nod cargo ship and rescue hostages. Not to mention a flashback to the Commando mission of C&C in which you'll head out on foot with an order to destroy Nod SAM Sites to provide safety for GDI air-support. You'll need both brute force and stealth to get the job done.
Q: What about multiplay?
A: We're going to have some awesome C&C style variations on the popular multiplayer games. For instance, instead of capture the flag, we'll have capture Dr. Mobius. Dr. Mobius was an eccentric scientist from the first Command & Conquer, the man who first declared Tiberium to be a dangerous substance. In Capture Dr. Mobius, he's basically a moving flag that you'll have to escort into your base. We'll also have the classic modes like death match and King of the Hill. - NOTE: Removed from the game.
The most exciting multiplayer mode we have in store is C&C mode. In it, two teams of players - GDI vs. Nod - attempt to destroy the other's base. Each base functions in a fashion similar to a typical C&C base: Harvesters gather Tiberium and take it to the refinery for processing, power plants supply power to other base structures, etc. As part of the game, you can 'purchase' different character classes (Engineer, Rocket Soldier, etc.) and vehicles (Tanks, Buggies, etc.) with credits earned from kills or from Tiberium processed from your refinery. To win, you must destroy all of your enemy's base buildings, or place the 'end game' beacon (Ion Cannon or Nuke) in the enemy base.
Q: Can the player play Nod in multiplayer mode?
A: You can play Nod only in C&C mode.
Q: What weapons will be in Havoc's armory?
A: Havoc will begin each mission with a limited number of weapons, and as he progresses, he will acquire more - either off Nod soldiers or from supplies scattered around the environment. Many of the familiar weapons from C&C are returning - Sniper Rifle, Flamethrower, Shotgun, Chain Gun, etc. We also are going to push the envelope a bit. Expect to see a Personal Ion Cannon, a Tiberium Flechette Rifle and quite a few other special weapons. Havoc will also be able to drive (and fire from) familiar C&C vehicles: the Light Tank, the Mammoth Tank, the Humm-Vee, and several others.
Q: What about the C&C vehicles? Will the player be able to control them?
A: Absolutely. All of the familiar C&C vehicles are making a return in Renegade and Havoc will be able to control all of the ground vehicles, such as Medium Tanks, Recon Bikes and Nod Buggies.
Q: Will the dreaded Tiberium affect Havoc and the other infantry?
A: Tiberium is as dangerous to GDI and Nod forces as it has been in the previous C&C games. Infantry will take damage if they walk near or through it. Only Chemical Warriors and Mutants are immune to Tiberium radiation. Also, Tiberium continues to be necessary for base operation. As Havoc progresses through the missions, he will often see fully functioning Nod operations, including Tiberium Harvesters.
Q: Why did you decide to use "arcade-style" power-ups in Renegade, as opposed to more realistic weapon and health power ups like you see in some FPS games?
A: Renegade is a fast paced first person action game set in the C&C universe. All along, Renegade's gameplay goal is to recreate the excitement and strategy of the original Command and Conquer, but from a battlefield perspective.
Renegade does have more tactical and strategic depth than games like Quake or Unreal, but this doesn't exclude the use of power-ups. Even more 'realistic' games such as Counter-Strike have power-ups in the form of dropped guns you can pick-up off the ground. What makes those power-ups different is simply their artistic execution. We've struck a good compromise in Renegade - the health and ammo looks like an arcade-style power-up, but are found in realistic rational locations. Additionally, we have power-ups for our multi-player games in the form of crates - just like the original C&C.
Q: Tell us about the engine used in Renegade.
A: The Renegade engine is Westwood-created with real world physics. Vehicles have multiple points of contact and are completely force driven (torque, inertia, mass, etc.), with each vehicle having its own driving characteristics derived from its tread type, wheel count, and engine size.
The rendering system is very cool as well. It allows us to create huge indoor and outdoor environments that coexist within the same level, meaning as the player enters a building, he doesn't have to wait for that level to load. We support light maps, projected shadows, and multiple point ambient lights. The animation system uses skeletal deformation, which allows a huge range of natural motions. We also have a multitude of other systems including environmental effects (rain, snow, etc), and talking heads with eyebrows and lips that are synced.
Q: What can you tell us about the camera controls, in relation to the first and third person perspectives?
A: Havoc defaults to first person (third while in vehicles), but the player can toggle back and forth between the first and third-person perspectives with a simple keystroke. Each mode offers advantages: targeting feels more accurate in first person, and it's easier to look around corners while in third. We've worked very hard to make both perspectives easy to use and control, so it really is a personal preference as to which mode the player uses.
Q: What sort of graphics and lighting effects can we expect? Will the game contain fog, rain and realistic daytime and nighttime effects?
A: Absolutely. Our engine has an entire weather and environmental system. Players will see day and night, rain, snow, and even lightning and volcanic ash raining down on them. The entire world is lit with a radiosity solve and multiple dynamic lights can affect the characters at any time. We also have static and dynamic shadows.
Q: Are you incorporating any of the new features in DirectX 8?
A: We are currently using DX 8 for hardware skinning and compressed textures. We are looking at supporting bump mapping, point sprites and n-patches. The n-patches will give very detailed and smooth high polygon characters. The point sprites will increase the number and density of particles that can be displayed.
Q: How realistic is the Enemy AI? Will they react to sounds or movement by Havoc?
A: We have designed the AI with innate behavior that will allow it to react to its environment (seeing the enemy as well as hearing sounds of bullets, movement, yells of other AI, shelling, etc.) This means that when Havoc sneaks, walks, and crouches, he makes less noise and becomes harder to find. We have different levels of AI: grunt, officer, Special Forces, boss, etc., each with a different level of hearing, sound generation (to bring the other AI) and range of reaction. The AI is able to use the surrounding environment for cover and will switch position based on how the battle is progressing. We also have additional modes that we can set the AI into, such as defensive, aggressive attack, sniper mode, etc.
Q: How do you plan on balancing the gameplay and making it challenging, so that it's not too hard or not too easy?
A: That all has to do with the pacing of the game - a cycle of empowerment and threat. We're spending a lot of time on that cycle and retaining it through multiple difficulty levels. As we test the product we track huge amounts of information, such as chart time vs. health and armor. This kind of information is useful to see where players get stuck, where they need extra ammo, etc.
Q: Will the missions be focused on reconnaissance and stealth, or more "shoot 'em up based" activity?
A: One of the great things about Renegade is that the player can decide for himself how best to complete the missions - go in guns a-blazin' or use the covert approach. Both have benefits and drawbacks, and each scenario will be different. The tactics also depend on any secondary objectives the player wishes to accomplish. For example, one secondary objective might call for Havoc to take out SAM Sites so GDI can bring in reinforcements. Havoc will get help that way, but the explosion will also alert the Nod base to his presence. Stealth can be quite important at times - in fact, Havoc's sniper scope is equipped with a special microphone that allows for him to overhear conversations being held a long distance away.
Q: What are the different ranks and classes for the Nod and GDI troops?
A: We have four levels of units in the game. The base soldier (or grunt level) includes the mini-gunner and standard rocket soldier and engineer. We have added officers to support the mini-gunner and rocket soldier classes. We have a Special Forces level that contains the members of the Black Hand -- Nod's elite -- that includes the Sniper, Special Forces Rocket soldier, Chemical Warrior, and Flamethrower. We also have a "Boss" level, the elite of the elite.
Q: Can we expect to see Kane at all in the game?
A: Kane is a key element in the C&C universe and his presence will be felt throughout Renegade. Havoc will have a running commentary with him throughout the game.
Q: Will there be in-game cinematic sequences?
A: The game will feature both pre-rendered (using in-game assets) and in-game animations. We wanted to focus on the Havoc character and the ongoing story line so we opted for cinematics that would maintain the continuity with the in-game action.
Q: Will Havoc make comments on the battlefield? Can he talk to his superiors on the battlefield?
A: True to C&C form, Havoc will make comments on the battlefield, and it will also be possible to speak to other characters on the battlefield via an action key. There will be communication devices that can be accessed via an action key as well. Who knows? Havoc could even be talking to Kane himself.
Q: What are the minimum system specs?
A: We won't know that until closer to launch.
Q: What is the projected release date for Renegade?
A: We don't have a specific date yet, but it will be on store shelves Fall 2001. - NOTE: Changed to February 2002.
Q: If Renegade is a success, could there be an expansion pack or a follow up game that puts you as a Nod Black Hand Elite, scouting through GDI bases?
A: We evaluate all of our titles for the possibility of an expansion pack or follow up game and we will do so once Renegade is complete. Right now we're just trying to finish Renegade and make it a great game before we go down that path.
Q: Will gamers be able to customize their own maps and skins? Will Westwood offer a level editor?
A: We know how important it is to our fans to have a map/mission editor, mods and skins, and we are looking in to providing all of these things. We'll know more about that closer to launch.
Q: What's the one thing you'd most like Renegade to accomplish as a game?
A: I want Renegade to appeal to C&C newcomers and fans of action games in general, as well as satisfy the strict demands of the current C&C fan base. I think we're really going to surprise a lot of people with a game that is not only easy to play, but rewarding and fun at the same time.