And so it's coming to the end of another year. A year of productivity and regular updates. I thought it might be interesting for a few to give a retrospective of the mod's long history as well leave perhaps a teaser to the future. So begins the Red-Retrospective...
2010 – The beginning of development
YR Red-Resurrection started life all the way back in 2010 in a topic on the now defunct Freedom Studios forum. Although even at the time it was a very quiet place relative to PPM or Revora, I chose to show early development progress on the platform for that very reason – it felt like there was a smaller, more connected audience and that I wasn't just preaching to the air (a concern of mine that would rear it's head later too).
Initially it began as another YR+ mod – that is to say one that kept the feeling of the original game but that rebalanced it to my liking. I chose that direction because for several years prior I had tried to create total conversions but without the true inspiration, dedication or skills to pull them off. They also focused too much on the story, which actually means nothing unless there is a campaign tell one, when I ought to have been focusing on gameplay first. Therefore, I felt like going back to a simpler time in modding with no grand vision, just the intention of making something fun.
To that end I wanted to solely focus on a war between the Allies and the Soviets, excluding Yuri. Primarily, because I always preferred the dynamic of vanilla RA2 and the Soviets with psychic tech was just a lot more compelling than the pure brute force they had in YR. I also never quite liked Yuri as his own country; it was just one step too far from the stereotype-driven cold war satire that was Red Alert 2 – and Yuri had no part in that.
That said, despite small intentions, I did want to fully rebalance the game, not only add a few new toys but actually go through every single existing unit, buildings and weapons with my own set of balance standards. This was actually quite a therapeutic and methodical process, as line by line everything was neatly organised in a way that became comfortable for me – certainly doing that helped to ingrain most aspects of the mod in the back of my mind that helped speed up development later in unforetold ways.
2012 – 1.0 release
The first release of the mod would finally come on the 13th of March 2012. This (like it still is!) was a multiplayer only build, with skirmish and online using CnCNet4 . It featured the Allies and Soviets with the same eight countries that are currently in the mod, however back then they only featured one unique unit and another that was shared with one other country, therefore not a lot of national distinction.
Back then too, GI's were replaced with Peacekeepers – a straight up Conscript clone, to add some simplicity and directness to the Allies. The Soviets did not have Scorchers but instead Scarabs; little drones with a heatray, and they still had Flak Tracks instead of Rykovs. Buratinos were nowhere to be seen, but instead the art was used for the suggestively named Penetrator, a long range anti-tank unit which felt rather bold at the time considering it hard countered the predominant force in C&C games and mods.
2013 – 2.0 release
The next year saw some attempts at diversifying the countries, involving lots of experimentation with new units, however I never found many that I was happy with, being honestly dry of inspiration and quite tired of modding in general. Interestingly, however, a lot of attempted designs from this period would stick in the back of my cranium and later resurface in some fashion, such as it did with the Overseer. That year also saw additions such as Dust Devils (early Scorchers with machine guns instead of flamethrowers), Archangels and the Equalizer ability, among others, that would become staples of Red-Resurrection.
A lot of these developments, however, drove the mod in a confusing direction that I ultimately felt detracted from the core experience, and thus halfway through the year I decided to re-download my own mod and start over from there (and it wouldn't be the first time that happens!). This meant I began patching from 1.0, incorporating only the best experiments that were seen since then, and thus a cleaner 2.0 was finally released on 10th of December 2013. However, the countries ended up being no more diverse than they were prior as a result.
Furthermore this year saw the first livestream of the mod by Hecthor Doomhammer and featured myself as co-commentator, the video of which can still be found on the YR Red-Resurrection YouTube channel today, if you really want to dig up history.
2014 – 2.1 release
The following year saw the release of a relatively quick patch (especially for back then) which largely made balance and bug fixes but most notably introduced a reworked Allied airforce which can still be found in the mod today – the larger airfield, Lightning and Spirit aircraft.
Silence. At least publicly. Around this time I had become very tired of YR modding, feeling like there was very little reward for all the effort that went into it. I also felt like there was too much of an expectation to compete with Mental Omega, which was probably at it's fervorous peak around that time. I never had the particular interest or manpower to produce a campaign and yet that was all people ever asked about, even after working hard for months on something else, and that was demoralising.
To try get away from the tired feeling of YR and Red-Resurrection gameplay I embarked on another big experimental development process, trying out ideas such as a network of invisible Gap Generators to produce a fog of war type effect (however that had issues), rework the tech tree to be more divergent and add four tiers (something you see in the mod today) and produce a number of new units, the basis of which later went in as country specials in 2.2.
After probably working for half a year or more, I ultimately became too exhausted with it and retired from modding altogether. I deliberately refused to touch the game in order to focus on other hobbies, such as music ( Soundcloud.com ), screen writing for film and broader game development. I successfully managed to not touch the game for almost two years, which was something of an accomplishment considering I'd done it like habit for about nine years prior at that point.
2017 – Nothing ever dies
I had known for a long time that after CnCNet 4 went down, YR Red-Resurrection 2.1 would no longer launch without some decent understanding of YR modding from the user. This was because of a poor decision on my part that went into the launcher that relied on making a connection to CnCNet 4 to even start. But oh well, the mod was dead and I didn't plan to fix it.
However, at some point I saw Doomhammer streaming some old YR mods. One of them was Mooman's Rules and the moment I saw the old loading screen it infused me with a sense of nostalgia and the inspiration hit me to resurrect (redly) Red-Resurrection with the, at the time, relatively newly available CnCNet 5 client, so that it could once again be playable. I did not anticipate there would be any interest, nor how big that endeavour would become.
I believe around May time I started talking to Starkku (developer of Project Phantom, and someone I'd discussed modding with for many years) about the idea of updating the mod and the bringing it to CnCNet 5. Luckily, and really what sparked 2.2 entirely, he was willing to provide a build of the client that would function with Red-Resurrection, as it requires some coding knowledge to set up. He did so and the porting took place, initially purely with the intention of it being version 2.1 with a few bug fixes and shiny new client. I (once again) re-downloaded my own mod to retrieve the files and set to work. I also established a discord channel for the mod, hoping that some old testers would return and anyone interested in playing the mod, as it was still multiplayer focused. To my surprise many people started joining, some old faces and some new, and soon enough in June a beta was put out for people to engage with. Games were had and feedback started rolling in. That's where the modding bug hit me, as really for the first time people actually seemed to show genuine interest in playing, largely I think thanks to the development of discord itself proving to be such a great place to create a community.
Taking that inspiration I proceeded to start dripping in content that had been developed shortly after the release of 2.1, starting with the most reasonably complete stuff and then adding entirely new content as well. It started off with eliminating the shared country “uniques” and getting five or six specials per country, but the development kept on rolling and I just seemed to have endless ideas and energy to the work on it! I would actually say 2017 and 2018 were the most productive modding years in my 13 year 'career' thus far, and I'd attribute that to the active discord community that formed, showing constant interest and being a place where ideas could be thrown around and rapidly tested. The entire development process of 2.2 was a quick cycle of iteration, a way I really enjoy working. It wasn't the usual monotony of developing for six months to a year in solitude, then finally releasing everything to inevitably brutal feedback, but rather a more free flowing system that crafted the mod into something that worked not through theory but practice. So a lot of credit has to go to the community on discord for at least being there, otherwise 2.2 would've been nothing like it is right now.
2018 – Control less
In the end, the small patch turned into a gigantic one that added nearly a hundred new units, buildings and powers since 2.1! Yes, MASSIVE. I don't think I'd created that many units in the ten years prior, but it happened. Every country got approximately twelve unique assets and felt much more developed and fleshed out as a result. Wanting to release the mod finally, I set a date and worked towards it, finally releasing 2.2 on April Fools day 2018. The 0.1 increment would be deceptively small, as not only did it include the three digit additional toys to play with, but also a fully ported Red Alert 2 campaign, CnCNet 5 support, new gamemodes, maps and a comprehensive manual both online and offline.
Immediately after launch I continued with development, fixing bugs and adding content. I will note though that these additions are never for the sake of it. I don't want to develop something indefinitely or beyond the scope of the project. YR Red-Resurrection should have a particular feel to it and I intend to uphold that. Any additions are purely there to try to squeeze out the most from the countries so that they have a personality and gameplay theme that is fun and engaging. The intention is never to please everyone and I know that due to the fast paced and aggression focused gameplay many C&Cers would never be a fan, but its what the mod needs to be and what I'm interested in.
Overall, 2018 has seen some huge and very regular updates, thanks to the client update system which makes it so much easier to do than ever before.
2019 – The future
How far will this mod go? I don't know, just like I didn't expect it to go this far. There are plans however. The UK is the last country that I'm not entirely happy, so intend to give them a refesher. Some countries also suffer in naval combat, due to others getting distinct advantages thanks to their unique arsenals, and that's also something that can be adjusted. Then there's always the usual stuff like balance changes, fixes and new maps.
Oh and, maybe more. The possibilities of tiberium are limitless.