Home Gaming EA is releasing the Command & Conquer source code to fans

EA is releasing the Command & Conquer source code to fans

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Next month sees the return of a classic, real-time strategy games which arguably made the genre mainstream and helped kick off a decade of tactical gaming that fans look back at with rose-tinted nostalgia goggles on. Command & Conquer is to its genre what the PlayStation was to consoles at the time: Big, loud and the reason why it was suddenly cool to hunker down in front of a computer as you threw waves of disposable soldiers at the enemy until they were either overwhelmed or ran out of bullets. A winning strategy!

In some absolutely nice news, next month’s release of remastered editions of the original Command & Conquer and Red Alert will also see the source code for the game made available to the wider community via Electronic Arts. Over on reddit, producer Jim Vessella detailed how EA is looking to keep the players invested in the game for the long-run, not with cosmetic DLC but rather with the tools that’ll allow them to mod the game, craft their own maps and even create their own units if they’re savvy enough to learn how to play with those assets.

“Since the announcement of the Remastered Collection, one of the top questions from the community has been if the game would provide Mod Support,” Vessella wrote.

Given the incredible C&C community projects over the past two decades, we appreciated how important this was going to be for the Remastered Collection. It’s time to finally answer the question around Mod Support, but it first requires the reveal of a special surprise for the community.

Today we are proud to announce that alongside the launch of the Remastered Collection, Electronic Arts will be releasing the TiberianDawn.dll and RedAlert.dll and their corresponding source code under the GPL version 3.0 license. This is a key moment for Electronic Arts, the C&C community, and the gaming industry, as we believe this will be one of the first major RTS franchises to open source their source code under the GPL.

It’s worth noting this initiative is the direct result of a collaboration between some of the community council members and our teams at EA. After discussing with the council members, we made the decision to go with the GPL license to ensure compatibility with projects like CnCNet and Open RA. Our goal was to deliver the source code in a way that would be truly beneficial for the community, and we hope this will enable amazing community projects for years to come.

According to Vessella, mod support and the map editor are already live and will result in plenty of fan creations being available come launch day. And one amazing new unit to boot. “Along with the inclusion of a new Map Editor, these open-source DLLs should assist users to design maps, create custom units, replace art, alter gameplay logic, and edit data,” Vessella explained.

The community council has already been playing with the source code and are posting some fun experiments in our Discord channel. But to showcase a tangible example of what you can do with the software, Petroglyph has actually created a new modded unit to play with. So we asked a fun question – “What would the Brotherhood of Nod do if they captured the Mammoth Tank?” Well, one guess is they’d replace the turret with a giant artillery cannon and have it fire tactical nukes! Thus the Nuke Tank was born.

This is a unit which is fully playable in the game via a mod (seen in the screenshot above), and we hope to have it ready to play and serve as a learning example when the game launches.

EA usually gets a ton of flack for some fan-unfriendly practices, but it’s kind of nice to seem them going the extra mile to make the return of Command & Conquer that much sweeter for veterans and newcomers. Nice move, EA. Nice move.

Last Updated: May 21, 2020

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