Tiberian Sun Exclusive

Westwood releases exclusive screen shots to GameSpot News. And lead designer Erik Yeo tells us of the game's latest developments.

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Strategy fans waiting anxiously for the latest in the Command and Conquer series will want to see what the designers and programmers will come up with in the new title Tiberian Sun. Westwood sent us two exclusive screenshots of the game - which should help quench gamers' curiosity for a little while at least.

Greg Kasavin posed the following questions to Tiberian Sun lead designer Erik Yeo Thursday. Here is Erik's response:

GameSpot News: What are some of the new units fans can expect from the GDI and Nod, and how do they work? How many units total in the game?Erik: Keep in mind that these aren't the only units in the game. As we build, test, and play balance, other units will be added and tweaked. In fact, there are four or five that are pretty amazing, but we'll tell fans about them when we're sure they're all going to make the cut. Also, there are several third-party units that player's won't own but will have the use of during certain parts of the game. In all, both sides will have between 12 and 16 units. For now, here's what we know will be in the game.

GDI Units Light Battle InfantryLightly armored and can move over almost every terrain type. They carry pulse rifles that fire explosive charges that will do light damage to just about anything. Disc ThrowersThese guys throw explosive discs, and throw quite well thanks to the mechanical throwing extensions on their arms. Jump Jet InfantryAn Armored infantry unit with the ability to jump short distances using a jetpack. Over walls, up cliffs, over water. These guys don't care. They wear heavy armor and carry short-range rockets. A veteran jump jet troop will be able to engage aircraft. Art, a sketch. Medium Battle Mech (name to change)Medium armor. Armed with a 120mm APDS cannon. Tall enough to shoot over walls. Very powerful and versatile unit. Hover MRLS (Multi-Rocket Launching System)Cruises quickly over almost every terrain including water. Fires a powerful rocket salvo that can do damage to just about anything including flying units. The drawback is its light armor and cost. Deployable Sensor Array GDI's safety blanket. Used to detect those pesky stealth vehicles and those annoying tunneling units. Must be in its deployed state to see hidden units, but can't move while deployed. Heavy Bomber ORCAA bit slower than the ORCA Fighter, but more heavily armored and drops powerful bombs in a carpet bombing pattern. Hunter Seeker DroidThe droid searches the battlefield for the nearest enemy unit and attaches. Once attached, you see everything the enemy unit sees. Once you tire of the effect, you can self-destruct the droid, which will damage or destroy the unit it's attached to. The drawback is that you can't control what the droid attaches itself to. Nod WeaponsCyborg InfantryPart human, part machine, seven feet tall, and four feet wide. Armed with a Vulcan Cannon and flamethrower. Built for heavy combat. Will heal if standing in a Tiberium field. Subterranean Flame Tank (affectionately nicknamed "The Devil's Tongue")Will burrow to where GDI least expects it and will incinerate everything not heavily armored. Good for softening up base defenses from the inside out. Tick Tank Looks like your average light-armored tank until it burrows into the ground and doubles its armor, making it a mobile turret. Perfect for guarding Tiberium fields and choke points. Attack cycleNod's fastest attack cycle. Fires rockets. Great for scouting and hit and run tactics. Stealth TankNod's favorite unit is back. Now you see it. Now you're dead. GameSpot News: At E3, it was uncertain whether Tiberian Sun would include a map editor. Have you decided whether or not to include one when the game ships?Erik: It's something we're looking into, but we're actually more excited about the concept of a random map generator. This device is easy to use and essentially give fans an unlimited number of maps to play with. For tournament purposes, it's great because it would provide a level playing field. No more map memorization. No more creating maps that heavily favor one player over another. And exploration will remain an important part of the game. GameSpot News: How will fog of war work in Tiberian Sun? Will it go away for good once a unit passes through like in previous C&C games?Erik: That's exactly how it will work. GameSpot News: Any new features in the way of enemy or friendly AI? What about special terrain features, line of sight, etc.?Erik: To be frank, in the realm of strategy games, the term "AI" has been somewhat abused. In Tiberian Sun, players will genuinely see a step forward and they will feel a difference. We've taken a very different approach to the AI for Tiberian Sun. I don't want to give away too much just yet, but the AI is proving to be very adaptive. It's fascinating to watch it create solutions to player attacks. To achieve this, we are experimenting with a combination of scripted battle tactics and formations and a healthy mix of heuristics. This combination makes Tiberian Sun challenging engrossing and dramatic. As far as terrain, we have a deformable, kinetic battlefield that is truly 3D. We wanted to make the battlefield more interesting, exciting, reactive, and dangerous. For example, players will have to account for lakes and rivers that freeze, forest fires, winds that can carry poisonous gas, and ion storms that will cripple hi-tech weapons. GameSpot News: In the wake of so many great real-time strategy games, and a general sentiment that the genre, as it stands, is played out, how will Tiberian Sun prove that it's not just the same old thing?Erik: The huge demand for Tiberian Sun proves that the genre is not played out. There are more than 20 Tiberian Sun fan sites on the Web and more seem to pop up every week. At E3, the Tiberian Sun section was always crowded, and we had four demonstrators working almost nonstop. All the early evidence suggests that there is almost rabid anticipation for this game. And as far as Tiberian Sun being the same old thing, forget about it. We've created new units, new game strategies, new graphics, a new kind of battlefield, dozens of new game features, and a completely new 3D game engine. Several aspects of the original C&C gameplay dynamic have been retained while others evolved. We're creating a game that as gamers we would pay to play. If we do that, then we'll be successful.

GameSpot News: Thanks Erik.

Now, on to the exclusive shots:

The first shot shows off the urban terrain set. The buildings in cities are often of important use. For instance, hospitals heal units, and the national guard armories upgrade weapons. Cities are also populated with angry civilians who are tired of Tiberium and war and have decided to arm themselves. Cities are dangerous places.

The second shot shows Nod forces attempting to invade a GDI base over an access bridge. The GDI player, if he's feeling outgunned, might think about blowing up the bridge. If he does so, he can rebuild it later by putting an engineer in the construction hut, the little gray building next to the bridge. Also, the Nod tank going underneath the bridge is in 3D.

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