Electronic Arts (EA) has announced that they plan to release the source code for the classic real-time strategy games Command and Conquer: Tiberian Dawn and Command and Conquer: Red Alert. The source code for both games will be made available at the same time as the release of the Command and Conquer Remastered Collection. This title includes remastered versions of both games and their expansions and will be released on June 5.
What open sourcing means for the community
The publisher is making a huge step by open sourcing the games. This act should give players the assets needed to create mods that could be quite far-reaching. EA’s Jim Vessella, producer on Command and Conquer Remastered, had this to say: “These open source DLLs should assist users to design maps, create custom units, replace art, alter gameplay logic, and edit data.” The open soured assets can likewise be used with the new map editor that is included as part of the collection.
Players can use both mods and custom maps whether they play the games via Steam or EA’s Origin game launcher. The process for using custom assets will differ somewhat between platforms, according to Vessella. On Steam, players will need to use the Steam Workshop to distribute maps and mods. Players can likewise download content both from the game’s Community hub as well as while running each game. If you’re using Origin, you can download maps in-game, but mods need to be installed manually.
Using the GLP license
The release of the source code will be done under the GPL version 3.0 license. These titles will be the first RTS franchise to open source code under the GPL. The goal behind this is to ensure compatibility with projects such as CnCNet and OpenRA so that the community can more-easily create mods.
What should be quite exciting is the inclusion of a map editor. While little was said on this, players can expect a world of possibility. Combined with the ability to create and install mods, players will be able to create some truly unique and difficult maps that will be fun to play.
One feature they also brought up was LAN Play. While this feature was intended to be included with the launch version of the game, they unfortunately could not include it in time. Ultimately, the Coronavirus pandemic impacted development time and made the concept of developing and testing a “local area network” rather difficult to pull off given the social distancing measures required. But we can hope to see the feature included later into the year. Hopefully.
June 5 is just around the corner. So we’ll be jumping on the mod bandwagon before long and creating our own versions of the “Nuke Tank” and so on.