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.

Visit the patch website
Visit the patch forum
Read the patch release article
Read the patch FAQ

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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!

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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

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

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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  (70 - 80 of 111)
APOTHECARY888
APOTHECARY888

Nyerguds

Can you create one for C&C TS too?

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Nyerguds Creator
Nyerguds

Ehh, no, it doesn't work like that. I had to research this game for several YEARS before I could even start editing stuff inside it. Program hacking is not easy, and entirely focused on getting to know the innards of this one specific exe file.

Besides, CCHyper, the guy who taught me pretty much everything I know about editing exe files, is creating his own patch for TS. See Ppmsite.com

Reply Good karma+3 votes
TheUnabridgedGamer
TheUnabridgedGamer

Might I suggest your next target be The Force Unleashed 1 or 2? You'll gain the thanks of every Lucas Arts fan (or former fan).

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Valherran
Valherran

I replied, you might find that editor I/we found interesting...

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Valherran
Valherran

After toying with the options I got it to work by adding a number to the FPS. But the frames on the videos are super choppy and unwatchable when I the game runs smooth, If I set the FPS any higher the game slows down and the video image freezes and only plays sound. Oh well, guess I will have to play without videos, or play with laggy game.

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Nyerguds Creator
Nyerguds

Well, that's stuff you'll have to bother hifi with; I didn't make cnc-ddraw.

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Valherran
Valherran

Can you also help me with a topic I made in CNCNZ? Here is the link:
Forums.cncnz.com

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Nyerguds Creator
Nyerguds

I replied there, but it seems you're confusing it with RA1 options. The C&C1 harvester doesn't even have autoheal.

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Valherran
Valherran

For some reason the game lags really bad on the high resolution, and when I pan over to another area using the minimap, the game freezes for a couple seconds to load the area you clicked on. Any chance you can make other resolutions for the game? On my PC this game shouldn't lag at all... :-/

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Nyerguds Creator
Nyerguds

Are you using cnc-ddraw (the OpenGL graphics override)? It's known to fix issues like that. Link is on the download site. The next version will include it as standard part of the game (since it has cool features like video stretching, and aspect ratio correction)
Mind you, objects like trees are known to lag the game anyway, even on really strong machines.

And yes, the next version will have all resolutions you want, with 800x600 being a standard option on the setup tool. Though going beyond 1024x768 is still not advised, due to radar minimap related crashes (which I'm currently trying to fix).

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Valherran
Valherran

That ddraw.dll does not work unless I have v1.06c r2 patch, which I cannot seem to locate anywhere.

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Nyerguds Creator
Nyerguds

1.06c r2 isn't released yet, but cnc-ddraw works perfectly fine without it, trust me.

The thing in cnc-ddraw that requires the next version is just one specific function (namely, stretching the 640x400 scenes, like the videos, to fullscreen), which is disabled by default anyway. And even that's just because it required me to fix some parts of the game to prevent the video stretch system from activating in wrong situations (specifically, on the Covert Ops briefing screen). So it works on the current version too, just, a bit too eagerly.

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Valherran
Valherran

Well, I got it to work, barely. I left all the settings alone just to get it to run without it crashing, turning them off caused it to crash. Another thing that made it crash, was that it I was using the .exe in the TFD folder. For whatever reason it runs fine when I use the autorun, but when I use the .exe in the directory, *CRASH*.

So, even though I got it to run, guess what? It still lags... -.-
Any other suggestions on how to get it to stop lagging?

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Nyerguds Creator
Nyerguds

Did you follow the instructions on the cnc-ddraw website? It requires that you disable all compatibility modes on C&C95.exe, and enable the "back buffer in video memory" on the ccsetup.exe tool. As for cnc-ddraw's own settings, well, I don't think you should change anything besides maybe windowed mode, but you could always try the two different graphics renderers and see if that fixes anything. Just look through ddraw.ini a bit and see what's there. The cnc-ddraw site has more info about it I think. Hifi.iki.fi

You are running 1.06c r1f1 though, right?

By the way, you can always post error messages on the forum; it helps me to fix them (I need the full address on the crash message though).

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Valherran
Valherran

I will give it another try, and it doesn't give an error, it just ecounters a problem and needs to close.

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