Audio production guy, musician, and developer of strategy games. Also a full-time database engineer and coding geek in denial. Computers have a reluctant corner of my life, as I very much enjoy being outside and working with my hands.

As a kid, my brothers and I loved networking multiplayer strategy games like Age Of Empires and Command & Conquer. My wife's family introduced me to the first mod I would ever play: "CannisRules" for Red Alert 2, Yuri's Revenge. I was shocked at how so many subtle changes could drastically improve an old favorite. After conquering that mod, I recalled a long-forgotten dream about hacking and improving my favorite PC games someday.

I didn't want to learn more computer code, but...

Fast forward over 3 years, and the mod I began simply to tweak Red Alert 2 has been re-written several times on its journey to becoming "Nod's Revenge". I'm excited to contribute to the conversation here on MDB.

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Modding Q&A (Part 1)

Bucknife Blog

As the fall 2015 beta release for Nod's Revenge draws near, we interviewed the developer to get a peek into the creative process.

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Q: What is Nod’s Revenge?

A: Its a modification, or "partial conversion" mod I created for C&C Red Alert 2, Yuri’s Revenge to re-introduce GDI vs. Nod and the classic Tiberium story to one of my favorite 2D RTS platforms.

Q: What motivated you to mod Yuri's Revenge?

A: I played a lot of Command & Conquer as a teenager, then I got busy with school and stopped playing any games for years and years. My wife taught me to let my hair down again, so to speak, and got me playing computer games again using the CannisRules mod for Yuri's Revenge. It was the first mod for any computer game I ever played . . . and I was so surprised. It still felt like the good-old Red Alert 2 that I remembered - just faster and more intense. That "little" mod made the game feel like it was the way the game was always meant to be, and I was sold. I eventually realized that there were things I wish I could add to the game, so I started doing my homework to see what was possible.

Why Yuri's Revenge specifically, as opposed others versions of the game? I've played tons of Tiberian Sun, as well as the Generals games, and I simply had the most fun with Yuri's Revenge and thought it would be the best platform for collecting everything I liked about the other C&C games.

UNGDI DesertTest NodsRevengeSmal

Everything about this project was a trip down memory lane. The old C&C games had a 2D (or 2.5D) style to them, often rendering 3D structures and units using an “orthographic” perspective to create a visually flat plane. In my opinion, YR had the best version of that old 2D interface. The 2D/sprite style used in the older games is pretty timeless. As we see from many modern phone apps, the style won’t be going away anytime soon.

Q: How did your project develop and change as you went?

A: The goal was never to make a "big" mod that was all nicely packaged and released to hundreds of people. I just wanted to see what I could do. In the beginning, the list of changes I wanted were sky-high ... through the roof. And I didn't plan on releasing it online. I had no clue what kind of labor was required just to get the AI to use something different and how many things simply would not work in the game engine at all.

I'll probably write a "What I wished I knew BEFORE I started trying to mod Yuri's Revenge" blog eventually. It took a long time to figure out what the game engine could handle, and I'd say I'm still learning.

After coding, crashing, scrapping and re-writing the code dozens of times, I discovered the "thousand ways how NOT to make a light bulb". After 2 years of balancing new units and deciding the points that were genuinely important to me, namely the "cleaning up" of various violent graphics/audio elements in Command and Conquer, I felt like I might actually have something unique to share with people in the form of "Nod's Revenge".

Q: What kind of feedback have you received from testers about the changes you decided to make?

A: Well, as of September 2015, not many people have actually tested the mod yet, but something I've noticed in the C&C community is that people are very passionate about these games. I mean, RTS people in general are usually pretty passionate gamers; but C&C fans seem to be especially so. I wasn't exactly prepared for how much criticism and suggestions I would get based on every imaginable graphical and technical aspect of the mod. But I guess that is also to be expected from a modding community that has been rolling for over a decade. They've seen a lot of stuff already.

A general rule of life that I've noticed is that when anyone steps up to make something or do something new, they will meet critics of every level.

I'm sure many people won't even notice the changes I made to clean up the violence aspect of the game (most people would say Yuri's Revenge is already pretty clean). And then I'm sure some other people will think those changes are totally lame. That's okay. I started this project because I care about the game enough to want to play it with my kids someday (okay, like when they're 14). I care about their innocence. There is enough negative and gross things in the world. I believe God wants us to create with inspiration AND with integrity. I know Nod's Revenge is not perfect by any means, but I hope it can be really fun in its own way and mean something to some people.


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