Red Alert: A Path Beyond brings the exciting storyline and epic clashes from the classic Westwood Studios game, Command & Conquer: Red Alert to realm of first person shooters, with a twist. We've remained loyal to the style and feel of the 1996 classic, while integrating content from its expansions Counterstrike and The Aftermath with a bit of updated history to add to the mix. Built off the W3d engine Westwood Studios built for classics such as Earth & Beyond and Command & Conquer: Renegade finished up in 2001, we help bring the fight to you as you play out your role as any one of a number of infantry classes participating in team-based combat that often involves land, sea, and air combined-arms clashes that just don't happen in any other game. Oh, and did we mention it is FREE?
Gamma's just about where we want it to be; actually, it has been for a long while! We've gone through somewhere around twenty full internal builds while working on APB 2.0 to try to get the new gameplay feel down, but one thing's still holding us back! Here's where we're at, and why the answer isn't "in your hands."
Posted by Chronojam on Jan 10th, 2011
Well, that didn't go entirely according to plan! Originally we had aimed for a December deadline. I believe that target formed in September or October and it looked truly attainable. Balance looked good, enough effects were done, we had plenty of new maps. And then... a failure to launch.The year-end holiday frivolties went well for you all, I hope, even without the expected Gamma deployment. If that ruined your Christmas, you've got my apologies, and with that settled let me go over what's going on.I'll be honest, here. For a long while, we've technically had something we could release in some form or another; that is, we could if we had the go-ahead from the folks responsible for the whole Scripts 4 package. The big names on that team are all doing great work, to be sure, and I hate to sound like we're passing blame here; but there are a ton of dangling threads for Scripts 4 left over that we really have no control over. Latency issues cropped up and were crushed and cropped up again and were crushed again, some graphics related issues mean that all existing shaders no longer function, basically it's a rollercoaster of excitement and frustration and we're locked on this crazy ride with truly no option to get off. That's why we went ahead and released Nuclear Winter in the first place; derailing Gamma off that Scripts 4 rollercoaster was not an option we could make.
For a long time we've been feature-creeping, and perhaps you could consider that as our current status overall. Better yet might be to describe it as "refining" as we've got a pretty good understanding of what we plan to include, I think. The M16 firing modes have probably been changed no less than four or five times, even.Some things won't be out the door on day one, and planning their development has been troublesome due to an uncertain Scripts 4 schedule (rather the lack thereof). For example, we have chronically had "not enough time left" for a lot of the infantry vocals even though it's now been so long since the idea came up. Considering that we've mostly got our testers and staff to draw from on voices, it doesn't make sense to have them work on that while we still have time to instead run more test games or touch up the gameplay.Internally, we've been pretty good about running with frequent updates. We'd like to see the public release work similarly. You'll get a 2.0 at some undetermined time, and then periodic, smaller, automatic updates. A map update, a small tweak to infantry health, something of that nature. So things like extra audio or map additions can happen along the way without waiting six months or a year or however long it takes usually.It'd be fun to blame some things also on hardware failures (I think TheBeerinator has had three or four failed computers in maybe six month's time?) but software also contributes, and I don't just mean the fact that LevelEdit ate the hell out of the files for Luna and have forced me to rebuild it. There have been a lot of good games out, both AAA titles and indie games, to sap our time One thing we haven't gone into too much is the fact that Wallywood is slowly replacing tons of sounds in the game, and Chopbam has been updating maps as we go along (that part you probably have heard about). The only two pieces that are really missing though, if I had to name two things, are the final textures for the Heavy Tank and Light Tank and those are really sorta optional although they do impact gameplay a bit. TheBeerinator and MightyBob are handling those, respectively.Otherwise, like I said, we're good enough to release and let you guys try the new gameplay model which is honestly the biggest part of Gamma. So far, things flow pretty fundamentally differently and we're trying to smooth out any rough parts of the ideal battle etc etc. We might use some of our bonus time here to try crazy stuff like effectively doubling infantry health to make firefights longer and give players more reaction time between "I'm being shot" and "I'm dead" or fiddle with infantry-versus-vehicles combat.Once our hands are untied we'll clean up whatever our internal Gamma build looks like, kick it out the door, and then begin a more focused item-by-item update sequence for whatever wasn't ready. We won't keep you waiting while we finish "this one last piece" if we can possibly help it. Right now, though, we can't help it because this piece, Scripts 4, is so tightly coupled that it is literally impossible to remove it and still have Gamma run.
Scripts 4 is approaching another public server test marathon I believe, with a public client version beta available (we all hope!) some time after that. If that server test goes well, and if a Scripts 4 client beta is released, we will give you something to play with as soon as possible. So, cross your fingers with us, and hope that works out well.
On the more wild side and more distant from Gamma, we've already played around with adding new units and abilities which have both had some very good results, and we've been investigating some more interesting, forward-looking things as always. In the time it's taken since we started working on Gamma we've probably rolled through two, maybe three, "full releases" worth of content and concepts. Some of that will probably get rolled back into the game once Gamma and Scripts 4 are done, like those Yaks you saw a long time ago or some of the Naval Transport ideas you heard about in the past.
I think I can't remember the last time we were only working on a single version of APB, now that I do stop to think about it.