The Past Ain't What It Used To Be...

The first Command & Conquer received its last official update on the 21st of June, 1996. Since then, the game has been ported to Windows (as "Gold" version), and re-released in the big "The First Decade" and "The Ultimate Collection" collection packs, but has never received any more bug fixes.

The C&C Gold Patch 1.06 project aims to bring this classic into the new millennium, by fixing the old bugs, supporting higher resolutions, and adding new modding and mapping possibilities. It also contains an addon-based language system, allowing anyone to create translation packs for the game.

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Everyone keeps asking me about skirmish AI that builds bases, despite me saying it can't be done. So let me explain, once and for all, and in great detail, why it can't be done.

First of all, we'll look at how it is done in the campaign. As you probably know, the AI builds, or at least rebuilds, buildings in the campaign. However, let me go right ahead and crush any illusion that this would imply that the C&C95 AI knows, in any way at all, how to build bases.

Exhibit A:
[Base]
004=NUKE,436215040
003=HAND,436213760
002=SILO,436216064
001=SILO,436215552
000=PROC,469769984
Count=5

This is what the base building AI in C&C looks like. This piece of text is taken from GDI mission 3. Now, it's not immediately clear from these values, but, once converted to hexadecimal, you can see they're just X and Y coordinates of the locations where the buildings should be built. If we decipher that block of ini code to readable language, we get this:

Priority of (re)building structures:
1: Tiberium Refinery at X=31, Y=28
2: Tiberium Silo at X=31, Y=26
3: Tiberium Silo at X=33, Y=26
4: Hand of Nod at X=24, Y=26
5: Power Plant at X=29, Y=26

I say "(re)building", because this system can also be used to build new ones. As long as the structure isn't there, it'll try to build it.

Now, let's take an actual screenshot of the base, and see which buildings that are.

Base

It should now be clear that the C&C1 AI, even in missions, can't do anything but build buildings which are already listed for it. The only actual 'intelligence' involved in this process is that they don't attempt to build the building if they already have it standing there.


On to the original point: Skirmish.

As you see, the C&C95 AI has no base planning logics whatsoever, which means that the only plausible way building bases in skirmish can work, is by editing multiplayer maps, adding such a [BASE] section, and giving the AIs construction yards to build from.

But then, of course, you're heading into mission making territory. You can't go adding structures and mission scripting to a multiplayer map, and expect them to magically disappear just because you didn't tick the "AI players" option. If you play normal LAN games on the same map, those construction yards will still be there, and so will the scripting that lets the AI build stuff.

Now, with the hacking I can do, I might be able to make the AIs spawn MCVs in multiplayer games, just like all other players, and I might even be able to give them a Deploy command, but it definitely won't be smart enough to move that MCV to a place where it actually has enough space to deploy, or even to move its units out of the way to give it enough space.

Bear with me though. Even if none of that would be a problem, imagine playing a game against two AIs that build bases. Their buildings are all programmed into the map with a [BASE] section. So, logically, that would mean they can build everything just fine, right?

Wrong. You might have noticed, the BASE section is missing something. One small detail that is crucial to allowing multiple AI players to use it.

The buildings in the list have no owners.

The results of this get rather bizarre. I told you that AIs don't attempt to build the building if it's already there. This ONLY applies if the building that's already there is their own building, of course. Capture one, and AI units will rush in to destroy the obstruction so they can rebuild it.

Now imagine, if you will, a [BASE] list with the complete layouts of two AI bases. Say the AI players ingame are green and gray. The list has power plants, refineries, silos, troop production, everything needed for both bases.

Then you look at how it works in reality, and you see that both bases have a mix of green and gray buildings. In fact, the gray one is building Obelisks while it doesn't have enough power to make them work, because the green one has claimed some of its Advanced Power Plants from the [BASE] list. The green player, after building those power plants, seems to have stopped building completely, because Gray has meanwhile built the refineries for both bases, meaning Green has no money left.

What you'd get, when looking at one of the bases, would be something like this:

Mixed base

If they are enemies, they'll also be busy trying to destroy as many buildings as possible from the other AI because they obstruct their building plan. And no matter whether they are allies or enemies, you can expect to destroy a gray building and immediately see a green one pop up in its place.


So, let's sum up what we got here, all right?

  1. The base building AI in C&C is 100% scripted. There is no logic anywhere in the game for intelligent planning of a base.
  2. Maps with skirmish scripting and AI construction yards would keep those things when playing normal multiplayer games, meaning you can't disable the AI players on these maps.
  3. Even though the rebuilding logic can be used to make an AI build new buildings, and thus, entire bases, it fails spectacularly once the mission has multiple AIs that own a construction yard.

I'll add another one to that. I'm programming in bytes. In bare CPU commands. What I use can barely be called a programming language; it's just checks, jumps and byte manipulation.

In other words, it is not the kind of programming environment that would allow me to program, say, a base planning AI. And even if it was, we'd be talking about such a complex piece of programming that it'd take me years to do. That 'little feature' people keep requesting from me happens to be the one major difference between the C&C1 and the RA1 game engine. The Red Alert base AI was rewritten from the ground up; I can't just 'patch' that in.

Another grave misconception is that I could just 'copy it from Red Alert'. It doesn't work that way. I remember, back in the early days of this hacking-to-upgrade stuff, it took the RockPatch team about three months to successfully copy a superweapon from Tiberian Sun to Yuri's Revenge. Now, in our case, we're not talking about a single superweapon. We're talking about a core mechanic of the game, with dozens of functions all tightly linked to each other, and all optimized towards Red Alert's internal workings. It'd be madness to even try that.


So there you have it, folks. I hope this clears up why I get frustrated every time someone asks this question, and why the answer is not a simple satisfying one-liner I could put in the FAQ. But for the record, let me sum this entire article up for you in four little words:

It Can't Be Done :)

Italian language pack released!

Italian language pack released!

News 0 comments

An Italian language pack was created, with the help of the wonderful people of the OldGamesItalia website :)

Issue with lagging videos and game abort

Issue with lagging videos and game abort

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A configuration issue has been identified in the july 1 2014 release, that causes lagging in the videos and when aborting a mission. Here's how to fix...

Video packs and small updates

Video packs and small updates

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Video packs have been added to the downloads and addons sections, and the game / patch downloads themselves have gotten minor updates, too.

Warning to everyone who downloaded the full game pack before April 9

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An error in the full installer made the CnCNet desktop icon run C&C95.exe instead of cncnet.exe

RSS feed Downloads
C&C95 v1.06c revision 3 patch

C&C95 v1.06c revision 3 patch

Patch 38 comments

The Command & Conquer Gold v1.06c revision 3 patch. Updated with cncnet5 and TUC support on 01/07/2014

C&C95; v1.06c revision 3 full game installer

C&C95; v1.06c revision 3 full game installer

Full Version 35 comments

Complete No-CD game installation pack of C&C Gold v1.06c r3, without videos, with all music included. Videos can be found separately in the downloads...

Command & Conquer German Videos Base Pack

Command & Conquer German Videos Base Pack

Movies 0 comments

This can be added to your game to give you the German videos. If you want to add additional videos for other languages, use the addon-packs. The other...

Command & Conquer French Videos Base Pack

Command & Conquer French Videos Base Pack

Movies 0 comments

This can be added to your game to give you the French videos. If you want to add additional videos for other languages, use the addon-packs. The other...

Command & Conquer English Videos Base Pack

Command & Conquer English Videos Base Pack

Movies 14 comments

This can be added to your game to give you the English videos. If you want to add additional videos for other languages, use the addon-packs. The other...

C&C95 v1.06c revision 2 full game installer (old)

C&C95 v1.06c revision 2 full game installer (old)

Full Version 3 comments

Complete No-CD game installation pack of C&C Gold v1.06c r2, without videos, with all music included. This is only kept here for archiving reasons...

Post comment Comments  (30 - 40 of 111)
wzk
wzk

how too put Chinese?...FNT no have chinese ......I use all day to do it.....

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Nyerguds Creator
Nyerguds

That seems hard. Even the Japanese version on Sega and Playstation just has English text. I don't think there's a DOS text encoding for Chinese.

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wzk
wzk

oh that is too bad . but do you have a fnt tool´╝či want try more .

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Nyerguds Creator
Nyerguds

You should ask Siberian_GRemlin about that... he has the only working version. He made Russian fonts for the game.

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PurpleGaga27
PurpleGaga27

Say, Nyerguds. Can you do a portable version of C&C with the latest patches and works for all versions of Windows?

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Nyerguds Creator
Nyerguds

Umm... that's kinda just the full installer. Once installed, it's technically fully portable; just copy the whole shebang to a usb drive.

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eukos
eukos

Great work on this!

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CaptainTorry
CaptainTorry

will this work for C&C Red Alert? I just got the first decade and everything worked except C&C and C&C Red Alert. Thanks for any info

CaptainTorry

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Nyerguds Creator
Nyerguds

Think for a moment... will a Starcraft II patch work on Warcraft III?

There are guides to fixing the games on the official forum, here:
Commandandconquer.com
Be sure to check out the sticky threads at the top of the forum, especially the one called "Common Problems".

Reply Good karma+2 votes
alliedwareagle
alliedwareagle

looks like i installed the mod for nothing, no skirmish mode :(

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Trailhog250
Trailhog250

First off it's not possible in C&C95. Secondly, the skirmish present here is just LAN with AI players. (which Nyerguds has made very clear in the FAQ/manual)

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Nyerguds Creator
Nyerguds

it's not a mod, it's a patch. And skirmish mode is just LAN with only AI players. Learn to read the manual.

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