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"Quality of Life" mod?


Yah-Nosh
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Hi everyone!

As I'm sure you all know, TS had a rough release, with lots of features either not fully polished, or cut from the game entirely. This includes features that WW clearly was not happy with, since they greatly altered them in RA2 (Jumpjet Troopers vs Rocketeers, just to name one example).

I recently introduced a friend to these older C&C games, and while he likes TS, we both could not look past a lot of shortcomings. Thus, I wanted to know if there exists a mod that tries to fix/restore the content of the game to improve gameplay, i.e a sort of "quality of life" mod.

I know there's plenty of total conversion mods and "remasters", but I'm looking for something that sticks as close as possible to the original, and merely improves on the less impressive features. TS Retro is a good example, introducing some neat features and fixes, but I'd prefer a mod that doesn't add new content (beyond stuff that was meant to be in TS in the first place)

Below I listed a few of the bigger issues we had (we gathered them based on the GDI campaign, didn't get to the Nod campaign yet, so it's not fully comprehensive):

  • Orca Fighter (serious AI issues, and you need dozens of them to kill something reliably, I can assume the Nod Harpy has similar problems)
  • Jumpjet Troopers (they take forever to get in position and shoot at anything, require constant micro to stop them from landing and getting killed)
  • Air units in general being horrible at revealing terrain and having awkward mobility
  • Anti-armor weapons dealing pathetically low damage to infantry, and non-AP weapons doing almost nothing to armor
  • Flames and railguns getting caught on slopes
  • Unit voices (not enough variety, the TS Retro mod had an amusing solution for this)
  • Firestorm walls do not work

This is all that came to mind off the top of my head. Any suggestions?

Edited by Yah-Nosh
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On 5/9/2019 at 9:25 PM, Yah-Nosh said:

I recently introduced a friend to these older C&C games, and while he likes TS, we both could not look past a lot of shortcomings.

The main advice I could give is... start with Dune II.

I'm serious, by the way. When you start, it will barely seem like RTS at all, and you'll have to get used to the way the game works. But if you go up from there, to C&C1, then RA1, then TS, you will not see shortcomings. You will see improvements.

On 5/9/2019 at 9:25 PM, Yah-Nosh said:

 Below I listed a few of the bigger issues we had (we gathered them based on the GDI campaign, didn't get to the Nod campaign yet, so it's not fully comprehensive):

  • Orca Fighter (serious AI issues, and you need dozens of them to kill something reliably, I can assume the Nod Harpy has similar problems)
  •  Jumpjet Troopers (they take forever to get in position and shoot at anything, require constant micro to stop them from landing and getting killed)
  • Air units in general being horrible at revealing terrain and having awkward mobility
  • Anti-armor weapons dealing pathetically low damage to infantry, and non-AP weapons doing almost nothing to armor
  • Flames and railguns getting caught on slopes
  • Unit voices (not enough variety, the TS Retro mod had an amusing solution for this)
  • Firestorm walls do not work

 

  • So what exactly is the Orca issue?
  • Jumpjets are the only air units with full sight range. Their speed is the payoff for that (see next point)
  • Westwood never wanted air units to be for exploring. This is a game design decision. This is very clear from the way they have no sight at all in C&C1 and RA1.
  • Anti-armour weapons are anti-armour. If they changed that and made it good vs infantry as well, infantry would be come completely useless. This pretty much happened in Red Alert, and it was not a good thing.
  • Terrain stopping projectiles is annoying, yes, but there's no much that can be done about that I think. It's just how the engine works.
  • Unit voices... variety? Really? In C&C1 the only unit with custom voices was the commando.
    Nyerguds's Rule #1 of playing old games:
    DON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT FEATURES THAT WERE ADDED IN ITS SUCCESSORS.
  • Firestorm walls don't stop missiles since the firestorm patch, because they made missiles pretty much 100% useless in multiplay. It also doesn't stop energy weapons like lasers and the Distruptor. but besides that, it should work fine...
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17 minutes ago, Nyerguds said:

The main advice I could give is... start with Dune II.

I'm serious, by the way. When you start, it will barely seem like RTS at all, and you'll have to get used to the way the game works. But if you go up from there, to C&C1, then RA1, then TS, you sill not see shortcomings. You will see improvements.

Well we started kind of in "reverse order", i.e C&C3. Main reason being that I wanted a "soft start", i.e a game more in line with modern RTS design. My friend comes more from the Warcraft/Starcraft world, so it was a big enough jump already. To have him suddenly have no build queue, no shift-clicking, no nothing (not to mention graphics with fewer pixels than its current age in years :D ) would have been a headache beyond all measure.

I should clarify two things though:

  1. The "negative opinons" aren't really mine. I fully appreciate the C&C series for what it is, even with its shortcomings. It's just that I've already played the games as they were originally released, and wanted to see if the modding community had managed to boost it (but not via a total conversion)
  2. My friend also really enjoys it, he says that TS and RA2 in particular were light years ahead of their time. The complaints we mention do not make the game "unplayable" in any sense, we just wanted to know if people have met these same issues, and if they did, have they managed to tackle them.

All that said, yes, I will eventually try and take him further back in time. :)

Responding to the other stuff:

  • Orca issue: Orca fighters are generally almost useless unless you mass like a dozen of them. They have a lot of trouble lining up for their shots, the missiles themselves can easily miss, and sometimes they do that good old thing straight from TD where their firing rate bugs out (they start firing their 2 missile salvo with a huge delay between each missile). For some reason they can also just refuse to take off and attack a target you select for them, in spite of being fully loaded.
  • Aircraft sight range: the Jumpjets' sight range kind of negates this argument. Yes, they are slow, but not that much compared to everything else in TS (which I don't mind). I think this issue could be managed by enabling Fog of War, IIRC that works in skirmish, but I don't know if that can be done for campaign.
  • Anti-armor weapons: TD's solution was fine for this imo, in fact they brought it back in C&C3. Rockets and tank shells have a hard time hitting infantry, but do good damage when they do land a hit. And yes, I know TS has a different engine, but as far as I could tell, it is possible to have projectiles that do not "snap" onto their target.
  • The terrain issue is a minor thing, but I feel so bad abusing it against Devil's Tongues :D
  • Unit voices: this is precisely why I made a reference to TS Retro. Also, this is by no means a "new feature". TD already gave each infantry and vehicle one of two voice sets randomly. It wasn't much, but it was some variety. By contrast, TS gives most infantry and vehicles the exact same voice. Personally I like the vibe they were going for, since most RTS games today feel obligated to give every unit a ton of "funny" lines. TS has more restraint, which I appreciate, but having to listen to the exact same voice all the time leaves one wanting.
  • Firestorm walls: they refuse to work at all. The only time they did was on the Hammerfest mission, where they could block any and all forms of attack. I then made one in the missile plant GDI mission, and every unit could shoot both over and into the wall while it was active. It also did not block chem missiles, though apparently that was intentional (although Kotovsky's video shows it being able to stop missiles)
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On 5/17/2019 at 5:53 PM, Yah-Nosh said:

My friend comes more from the Warcraft/Starcraft world, so it was a big enough jump already.

Come now. That also means you skipped Warcraft 1 :P 

On 5/17/2019 at 5:53 PM, Yah-Nosh said:

To have him suddenly have no build queue, no shift-clicking, no nothing (not to mention graphics with fewer pixels than its current age in years :D ) would have been a headache beyond all measure.

Dune II doesn't have multiple unit select. Heck, it doesn't even have a context-sensitive mouse cursor. It's the descendant of BattleTech games, which is really more like RPG/adventure games, in that you control one thing, and use buttons with different commands on them. The idea of the context-sensitive mouse cursor was actually conceived when they had to simplify the controls for the Sega Megadrive version of the game.

On 5/17/2019 at 5:53 PM, Yah-Nosh said:

that good old thing straight from TD where their firing rate bugs out (they start firing their 2 missile salvo with a huge delay between each missile).

That's... not a bug... it's just the same firing logic used for the Mammoth tank. They have dual rocket launchers, which need to reload between shots :huh:

On 5/17/2019 at 5:53 PM, Yah-Nosh said:

For some reason they can also just refuse to take off and attack a target you select for them, in spite of being fully loaded.

I've seen this, but only when either trying to move it too far (I think they have a maximum action radius?), or when having a group selected that's deemed too large for some reason.

On 5/17/2019 at 5:53 PM, Yah-Nosh said:

Yes, they are slow, but not that much compared to everything else in TS (which I don't mind)

My point is that air units are generally a lot faster than ground units. So the one air unit that can scout is only about as fast as a ground unit.

On 5/17/2019 at 5:53 PM, Yah-Nosh said:

TD already gave each infantry and vehicle one of two voice sets randomly. It wasn't much, but it was some variety. By contrast, TS gives most infantry and vehicles the exact same voice.

That's a good point... it's actually very sad to see how a lot of very nice features, like the little action cutscenes before and after missions, and such details as individualised voice sets (per actual individual, not per type), got reduced as they made new games. RA2 barely still has any action cutscenes...

On 5/17/2019 at 5:53 PM, Yah-Nosh said:

I then made one in the missile plant GDI mission, and every unit could shoot both over and into the wall while it was active. It also did not block chem missiles, though apparently that was intentional (although Kotovsky's video shows it being able to stop missiles)

As I said, that change was made in the Firestorm expansion pack, so if you install a plain old vanilla CD Tiberian Sun, you will have the old behaviour.

The fact everything can shoot through it is weird though...

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5 hours ago, Nyerguds said:

That's... not a bug... it's just the same firing logic used for the Mammoth tank. They have dual rocket launchers, which need to reload between shots :huh:

Yeah, plus it seems to happen when an enemy unit moves out of their firing range between the firing of the two missiles. So I think what is happening is that it is programmed to fire 2 missiles, but somehow that went out of sync with its magazine. So it fires 1 missile, reloads, then fires the 2nd and does its wiggle in the air before trying to fire another 2... at which point it fires a missile, reloads, and so on :D

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