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Modifying A Classic


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Ahh, the original Command & Conquer.... The great great grandfather of an entire genre. A holy relic from the golden age of strategy games. Despite the broken mess of coding beneath the surface of the campaign missions, despite the issues with multiplayer "balance", It has rightfully earned its place in the history books and will forever have a special place in our hearts. 

But what if we didn't just take it as it is, what if we changed things up a bit for the sake of spicing up an old classic. My question to you all is this: would you... or have you ... ever changed the balancing in the original C&C? If so, what would you / have you done?

Using TibEd, I changed some things around to alter my C&C experience to better fit my idea of balance. You see, it has always been my opinion that GDI got the short end of the stick. They only have 11 units total, out of which only 5 are unique to them. Compare this to Nod, who has 13 units total, 9 of which are unique (not used by both factions). In my opinion, Nod has a very diverse tactical playbook and it's arsenal can support a number of different play styles. GDI simply pales in comparison, and is restricted to using heavy armor en masse to achieve victory. To even the playing field, this is what I did:

GDI changes

  • Increased the HP of the MLRS to 127 (Max TibEd will allow) and changed the armor type to 3, making the MLRS more resistant to infantry and bringing the MLRS into compliance with GDI's theme of being heavily armored but slow and expensive. At a cost of $800, the MLRS is priced the same as the medium tank. Being GDI's most effective infantry fighting vehicle, I feel the price tag justified the buff. 
  • Changed the MLRS build requirements to only include the Adv. Guard tower, to match the Nod SSM (which only required the obelisk). This allows the MLRS to be used earlier in the game, and not restricted to a final tier unit.  
  • Increased the HP of the Humvee to 170 to bring it into compliance with the GDI theme of heavily armored but more expensive. Infantry can still destroy the vehicle effectively, but the Humvee now has a slightly larger edge over the Buddy in one-on-one combat. 

Nod changes

  • Removed the APC and the MLRS from Nod's arsenal, making them unique to GDI like in the campaign. This makes GDI feel more unique as a whole.
  • Increased the speed of the recon bike to 42, while lowering its HP to 150. This makes the recon bike more of a glass cannon , and restricts its use as Nod's primary front line armored fighting vehicle. It gives Nod more of an incentive to use light tanks.
  • Increased the speed of the light tank to 26. As it stood, the light tank had no advantage over the medium tank save for being cheaper to build (by a mere $200). I increased the speed of the light tank by 8 so it actually feels like a light tank, and plays more to Nod's overall theme of hit & run tactics.
  • Lowered the HP of the SSM to 115, but increased its speed to 25 bring it into compliance with Nod's theme of  "light but quick".
  • Lowered the build level of the SSM launcher to 11, so it can be built in the campaign.
  • Lowered the ammo capacity of the Apache by 25% to make it less effective against structures and to reduce the effectiveness of Nod chopper spam.
  • Increased the price of the turret to $800 because of it's highly effective gun.
  • Increased the speed of the Artillery to 14 (turning speed left unchanged). This was done because the artillery is too inaccurate to be relied upon and therefore should have the ability to outrun at least tanks when fleeing after a miss.
  • *PROPOSED* Give the light tank a transport capacity of 2. To compensate for Nod's lack of an APC, I gave the light the ability to transport infantry, but its not nearly as effective as an APC. Seeing as how the light tank is based off of the M3A1 Bradley IFV, I felt it was fitting to return the vehicle to its role as an IFV / armored recon vehicle.

General changes

  • Increased sight range of all wheeled units to 4, making them ideal scouting units.
  • Reduced sight range of all tanks to 2, to the reflect the real-life restricted vision of tank crews, who mostly rely on sensors and fire control computers for targeting and firing solutions.

Thoughts? The only change I'm split on is the decision to give Nod's light tank the ability to transport infantry. This might make engineer rushes too easy to pull off as Nod, given that the light tank is more durable as the APC and GDI's base defenses are largely anti-infantry.



Edited by Darkstar387
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2 hours ago, ore_truck said:

What's the point of removing MLRS and APC from Nod? They are not the reason for these multiplayer balance issues.

To keep them unique to GDI. With my changes to the MLRS, I don't want Nod to have 2 heavily armored infantry killers. The flame tank is suprisingly durable and undoubtedly the best anti-personnel weapon on the game. For them to have both the flame tank and the MLRS seems redundant to me. 

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Uh... and no thought is given to the impact of such things to the game? Especially the APC is a gigantic change.

19 hours ago, Darkstar387 said:

Increased the HP of the MLRS to 127 (Max TibEd will allow)

lel, tibed. I can exceed that. There are no such limitations internally.

In fact, I'm surprised TibEd still works on 1.06c.

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Nyer, I knew you'd give me a hard time about TibEd :dry:.

And I beg your pardon sir, each and every change was heavily researched and considered before being implemented. Taking the APC away from Nod is not as big a change as you think. Nod only uses it in the Covert Ops. Mission "Infiltrated!". Removing the APC will break a teamtype, but no serious side effects have been discovered. Nod can still build the APC if they capture a GDI weapons factory. I've played the entire campaign and all of the covert ops missions with these changes loaded. The only drastic change is the Light tank's new ability to transport infantry: that one I'm still debating the fairness of. Besides, this is all simply fuel for thought, 

Obviously, I saved the original C&C95 file so I can unload the changes whenever I want to jump back into normal multiplayer.

Edited by Darkstar387
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Well they'd effect the whole game, multiplayer included. I don't think the impact would be that significant, since Nod still has access to the Chinook. Nod players would basically have to play the same way they did in the campaign. I've never liked the Idea of Nod having GDI's units, it just didn't feel natural. There has to be a reason Westwood decided to remove the Nod APC from the campaign, I feel this change reflects the developers original design. The decision to give it to them in multiplayer has always confuse me. Besides, If I can find a way to modify the transport capacity, Nod would still have a transport with the light tank, but with a reduced capacity. I feel GDI is too vulnerable to early-game engineer rushes, this change would mitigate some of that.

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Not bad. I think editing the game itself with different rules isn't exactly "treason" as you put it, as the game is pretty much freeware now. It's fairly common for this to happen to other games well.

If you're interested, I did do the same to Red Alert as well. You've probably heard of it.

Tiberian Alert - been working on it for years. Feel free to take some ideas and inspiration from it.

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Some do!

Most don't.

So mod ahead.

Personnaly, most are shouting the same thing.

MRLS, stronger or cheaper. And certainly sooner. When I modded my C&C. The MRLS was open with the normal radar. And it had +2 range. Notching more, notching less.
Bazooka infantry +1 range.
Factory had twice the health.

That's it! APC and MRLS should be able to stay with NOD imho.

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Some notes:

- The tank hybrid with APC has been done by Achromic White if I'm not wrong. He made a real Bradley and the mod is somewhere here. Contact him if interested;

- If you come to edit the way you proposed, enable a MIX file so we can have a try and feed you back. Playing the campaign with different units sounds appealing;

- Once I wanted the Hospital to work. Although in RTS it's usual to dispose units, I like the micromanagement of fixing them. That's one feature I really liked in Tiberium Wars, not only the drones but the arsenal to recover infantry. But I think Nyerguds has said a long while ago it's not possible to mod that;

- It's a pity that TD is slot based and you can't really add more units to the game without taking some out.

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Yeah, I think I looked at a lot of this type of thing. I kinda agree with your direction, but there is stuff to mention which is important.
For example; you looked at speeding up the light tank to make it more 'on par' with the medium tank (cost efficiency wise), by making it quicker. Yet, we could make the same argument for the humvee vs buggy.

Understand perfect imbalance:

The individual units are not meant to be balanced, this is obvious in the case of humvee vs buggy. But I do agree that the light tank might be TOO weak. Buggies certainly make up for the lack of strength of their own team's tanks, but a large amount of what makes buggies strong is also related to the WF having not enough HP. And we can argue that the HP of the factory is also TOO weak (even if it is meant to be somewhat weak).
I'd also argue to keep the light tank's role AS a tank, and not try to move it into a role which is already filled out well by things like bikes/buggies. (else what happens is the meta game just becomes weaker. Maybe fun at first, as you see many more tanks, but then it becomes boring as you find that every game is tank, tank, tank). So long as each unit has a purpose, but can also be countered, it doesn't matter if the unit is "strong". Because if someone spams it, it can be countered BY the counter units. As the video explaining perfect imbalance explains regarding LoL Champions.

Here's what I'd suggest for changes:
GDI changes
-HP 300-400
(To give an idea. Currently the WF 200, a Con Yard is 400). I'd say make it so that 4 orca can still kill it while it repairs. But it just gives it a bit more ability to not die strait away.

-Cost 600
-HP 120-125
-Requires Comm Centre (or AGT) instead of Adv Comm.
(Just gives it little more ability to stay alive. It's pretty weak as is). I'd say keep it light armour, though. It is an artillery unit.

Nod changes
Speed=9;  (is currently 10, minigunner is 8. This is to not over nerf him, but to give more room for the chem warrior to have value)
HitPoints=50 (This makes it the same as minigunner/gren. Is currently 70).

E5 (ChemWarrior)
Speed=10; (used to be 8 (same as minigunner) now 10 (same as old flamer/gren)).
Cost=220; (Maybe 220-250)
HitPoints=80; (A commando is 80, so maybe 70?)
Prerequisites=Hand of Nod, Comm Centre?

Turn rate 5 (up from 2)
Increase it's turn rate to be the same as tanks. It currently has an 'extra slow' turn speed, which makes it hard for the unit to lock-on to a target, and then as a result, the arty doesn't fire.

Light tank:
Currently, it's cannon has less range, less direct damage AND less rate of fire, than a medium. Just up some of that value. Probably keep the lower range, would be my advice. First part of the test, I'd say up the RoF.

Stealth tank
HitPoints=190; This is aprx a 75% increase in HP, as the stealth capability is largely effectively nullified (due to the smoke animation) once they're at 50% hp anyway and completely broken once they're in the red.
HasTurret=Yes (if you can). This would help it to hit and run better. Which is obviously important.

Ammo: 6 (same as orca) Maybe 7 (which would be 50% of it's current value).

SSM: Maybe less HP or a slightly higher cost of like 900. It's a very powerful unit. Some have speculated about putting it at Temple Tech. That's not actually as crazy as it sounds, either. Just because it IS so damn strong. Though, some of it's strength comes from killing infantry (important to GDI), but with the MLRS active, the troops would become less important as the game gets into later phases. So it'd have to be check on. I'd say, make the GDI changes and test from there.
Keep the speed low; it IS an artillery unit. Not every unit has to be fast in order to have Nod with a 'fast' flavour. Diversity in units is key to a compelling game.

I agree with just kulling the APC and MLRS from the Nod army. It's simply not needed, and it would actually make the game MORE engaging through asymmetric balance.

Here's where you expect to see bikes/buggies, but I think they're fine. Note that the MRLS will help to deal with them later in the game. The MLRS is less tech AND cheaper, which means there's MORE of them, which in turn means that they can dish out MORE fire power, the kind needed to counter mass light vehicles. (even if the efficiency of the light vehicles is strong, that just keeps them relevant, but as long as their's a counter, it'll play out fine).

No change needed until the other changes are tested. A lot of what makes the turrets strong is that it's too easy to stick bikes all around them, too. Meaning you then HAVE to use troops to push, but static splash units from Nod are too easy to hold with.
So long as the MLRS can deal with a lot of the bikes/flame/chem troops, the tanks should be able to push OK. This again keeps turret very relevant, but still counter-able

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Change one thing at a time and test it. Or else you get lost in your own adjustments.

Keep a log for your changes. The "what has been changed". And "why it has been changed".
So you can always track back to a previous point that felt better.


I know that jedi curve. In my eye's, it is applying imbalance, in a rather balanced way. :D

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The problem with making changes is the downhill snowballing of counter-changes and audits that represent different players views of the game once you go down that road.


It is best to leave a classic intact, even if it is a bit off under proper scrutiny.



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17 hours ago, Myg said:

The problem with making changes is the downhill snowballing of counter-changes and audits that represent different players views of the game once you go down that road.


It is best to leave a classic intact, even if it is a bit off under proper scrutiny.



Yeah, while I have me ideas on improving parts of the game, I'd only like to see such changes as a mod/unofficial expansion.

Even the faster cargo plane makes me feel a little uneasy. Heck, even the higher resolution somewhat does, too. I still like both changes, it's just something with changing the game.

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Added in some changes to the Humvee and artillery i forgot to mention. Humvee got  a slight HP buff, artillery got a speed buff. Argument for each change listed in OP.

While I haven't tested these changes with a large community, they've played out pretty well in local LAN games i've played within my own circle. They certainly add a nice spice to the campaign, which has been my main focus. 


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Must be nice to have LAN games of C&C :) I haven't played it in multiplayer for years, and only once or twice with Nyer with MASSIVE lag haha.

Did you manage to make the light tank carry units? I forget how easy it is to do that or not.

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I am not a big fan modifying the classic, especially when it is good as it is but if I have the chance to make a change, it should be something small that doesn't break the game. Something like slightly increasing the range for minigunners and increasing speed and damage for chemical warriors.

Buff minigunners range (same as grenadier's range maybe). This will increase the chance of:

  • Getting people build more minigunners (it is underused other than the ones from destroyed/sold buildings or vehicles).
  • Making GDI easier to repel bikes, grenadiers are good but having a hitscan infantry fighting alongside grenadiers would be better since minigunners never miss,  and the cheaper cost allows GDI to train more infantry early in the game... the current minigunner range makes them more of a cannon fodder and usually die before they can do some real damage... Hence, experienced GDI players refrain from training them.
  • Encouraging the use of artillery and MLRS, currently Nod players usually rely on flamethrowers against GDI infantry, because they can dodge grenades and have same range as minigunner so they don't have to worry getting shot by a hitscan weapon out of range, but if minigunners have better range, flamethrowers will be less effective and there will be more use of MLRS/Artillery. Maybe chem warriors too if the above buff for them is applied.
  • For Nod to have better range infantry to fight grenadiers, more balance in tech level 1 wars since grenadiers dominate everything there.

Off course, I'm not saying the above points is gonna happen if minigun range is increased, it may not impact all games but it may increase the chances for them to happen on some games. I don't like major changes that makes the game feel different, just small ones that only impacts some games. In other words, I'm only expecting to see the differences, such as artillery/MLRS being actually used in 1 out of 10 games, better than not being used (correctly) at all.

But I do welcome major classic changes if it's treated as an unofficial mod or expansion separated from the original classic game like Tiberian Alert because it gives new experience.

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15 hours ago, AchromicWhite said:

The issue with buffing the hummer, and maybe light tank, is that it starts to kill flavour of the 2 teams.
If the humvee comes to the same cost effectiveness, or more, than the buggy, then GDI owns the speed game, and buggies become obsolete in non-mirror matches.

The light tank was near useless and needed help, increasing its speed makes it more effective at flanking, which is nod's flavour anyway... So in this case I''m actually adding flavour. I think if i upped the ROF or damage, like you suggested, then we'd actually be bringing the light tank closer to the medium tank in terms of DPS, which would start to infringe on GDI's flavour. 

I didn't touch the speed of the humvee, just the armor value. The buggy and the humvee actually have the same speed, Westwood set them both to 30. All I did was buff the HP of the hummer to justify the price. It could actually probably stand to have its speed dropped to 28 to make the buggy the faster vehicle. In-game, the change isn't very noticeable. The only time you'll really see the difference is when the humvee takes on single infantry units or lone buggies. The humvee comes out of the fight with just a little bit more health than it would normally, but humvees still die easily to groups of infantry and groups of buggies. IMO, the humvee hardly had any advantage over the buggy.


3 hours ago, ore_truck said:

Buff minigunners range (same as grenadier's range maybe).

I think buffing them to equal the grenadier would be a step too far, minigunners are cheap and are quite dangerous when grouped together. When in a squad, the minigunners ROF and collective DPS make it more effective than grenediers, who have a much slower ROF and cost $60 more. You also have to think about how this would affect Nod, 3-4 minigunners would easily outrange and kill advancing flamethrower infantry, who cost twice as much and should be one of the most effective anti-personnel units. 

On the subject of bikes, I think the key to balancing the bike is to do what I already did, lower the HP to make it more fragile. This makes them easier to counter with more than just grenadiers. I think the bikes have always been a bit OP, given the punch they pack.

Edited by Darkstar387
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On 30/06/2017 at 5:07 AM, Chimas said:

- It's a pity that TD is slot based and you can't really add more units to the game without taking some out.

Ah, actually, the unit expanding code is fully finished, and there are in fact 4 dummy units inside the exe. All that needs to be done to re-enable them is linking their init up to the main code, and increasing the value that determines the units list length :D

It's just vehicles, though. Back when I did this I couldn't be arsed to repeat all that work for structures, infantry and aircraft.

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I'm no good at balancing and don't have much to contribute but it would be nice to somewhat give GDI more early game protection and give Nod better late game protection like stronger light tanks or something. Just have Nod still rely on numbers and fast units to win.

Edited by Chad1233
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