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C&C4 - Game Design - Classes
September 02, 2009 - 05:48
Game Design - Classes

Jason Bender's presentation gave a lot of information about the class system in C&C4. Each class is designed to be a seperate entity from each other class, such that no units (besides specials like engineers) would be shared by classes. It originally was going to be 5 classes per side, each with their own characature. The 5 classes were Assault (which had an american football player characture), Support (female sporty character), Heavy (big dude, big suit, small bird on his hand..), Defense and Raider (think of a mutant hijacker in a light zone-trooper suit). However, as you may well be aware, there are now only 3 classes; Offense (Assault + Some Heavy), Defense (Defense + Heavy), Support (Support + some Raider). Personally I approve of this as having 5 I think would have been too much.

Offense:
These guys are all about ground forces with agressive tactics. You can use rush tactics, however there are big pay offs for properly micro managing your units, one of them being crates. Crates? Crates. When a ground unit/building dies, it leaves behind a crate. There were currently two crate types ingame when we tried it, elite (green) and upgrade blue). Elite crates boost the units veterancy, to which I believe there are the 4 states found in previous C&C games; (standard, veteran, elite, hero). The elite crates work in conjuction with the general experience you would get from simply destroying units normally. Upgrade crates are a benefit especially for the offense class because they're the only class who can use them. They provide units with the "energy" to give them a specific upgrade. The upgrade is unit specific (such as a Titan will gain a second railgun, and a mammoth will gain a speed/engine boost). I don't know if there is more than one state of upgrade, from what I saw there was only a single upgrade. There was some dispute with regard to the crates, such that an allied unit dropping a crate could still be picked up. The crate system was still early in development and is still undergoing balancing.

Some unit details, giving the name, command points, weapons and general info. Hover units, like the engineer, are able to go over water and fly over cliffs. Yay!

GDI Offense Units:
Engineer 3 Repair Beam + Capture Buildings (Hover)
Talon 3 Rockets (Hovers)
Hunter 5 Cannon (Tank)
Wolf 5 Machine Gun (Tank)
Titan Mk.2 5 Railgun (Mech)
Bulldog 3 Machine Gun (Tank)
Striker 3 Beam (Mech + Can jump up cliffs)

Nod Offense Units:
Engineer 3 Repair Beam + Capture Buildings (Hover)
Maurader 3 Machine Gun (Buggy)
Rocket Bike 3 Rockets
Scorpion 5 Laser
Avenger 5 Cannon


Defense:

This is the class which we have seen and heard about the least, yet have some of the biggest interest in. This seems to be the class which holds on to the "retro" aspects of C&C; Base building and infantry.
Speaking with Jason Bender, people would have had a distinctively different (better?) opinion of the game if they had had the chance to play this class. Which is entirely possible, given what this faction seems to contain, but the question still holds as to whether it'll be enough.
One of the questions brought up by the community was, is it possible to capture other Crawlers, particularly of different classes. While a popular idea, including with Big Mike, it doesn't seem possible, due to the way the game UI is different for each class. One of these differences is that the defense class doesn't rely upon Command Points, but more Power. This is the main restriction on the amount of buildings you can have.

Defense class will be able to build effectively a "complete" base, although the details are unknown. Barracks can be built (for infantry, obviously), and I believe a seperate war factory is also used? There are also many defensive and support power structures. With regard to special powers, they are mostly unknown (as they are mostly not coded ingame yet), but there was mention of particular special powers which can be "charged up". You can use these powers to a lesser extent when less charged, or you can let it build up.

However there was talk of a support power being revealled/announced once it had reached a certain size. I believe this described a cannon type support power, but I'm not sure.

Again, the specifics are currently unknown. Defense class will not have access to all of the special powers, Support class will also have several.

The build radius for the defense class comes from the Crawler, as well as smaller explorer/outpost units which can be deployed to give a build radius, like in C&C3. Additionally there are also tech structures known as "Pentopticons" which can give a build radius. These tech structures also enable you to deploy your Crawler within a certain radius. While these structures were apparently present in the multiplayer map we played (along with a targetable missile tech structure and a defensive cannon tech structure) their use wasn't clear in the UI and so we only really discovered their use afterwards.


Support:

Support was the second class we got to get our hands on, however they were only just added to the beta, so were in the very very early stages. Balancing was still an issue with these guys. I'm hesitant to comment much on this class simply because of how early in development they are. I felt the mirroring between the sides was particularly strong with this class, which while I liked the concept made me dislike the actual playable version of them. I hope they will be tweaked along the line to correct this and make the sides more distinct. I personally feel that, Nod should not have an equal airforce to GDI, because they never have in the history of C&C. GDI owned the airspace, and Nod owned under the ground. I would have preferred the Nod support class to reflect this. Maybe they will, as we only saw a small slice of the class. But I alas, have my doubts.

The biggest difference with these guys compared to Offense is simple, they like flying (after my own heart!). The units are quick response strikers.

Now as mentioned in the Offense class, the support class doesn't have the benefit of crates due to the fact that their units are continually in flight. Its still being worked out how to balance this, but I think its possible they will gain experience quicker (by kills) than Offense class.

Support class will apparently have some support powers / super weapons, although details are non-existant at the moment. But it kind of makes sense given the Class name "Support". I'd expect things like reinforcements and airstrikes.

GDI Support Units:
Engineer 3 Repair Beam + Capture Buildings (Hover)
Orca 5 Rockets (Fly)
Spanner 4 Repair Beam (Fly)
Sheppard 5 Cannon (Tank) (Named after Sheppard from C&C1-TD!)
Hurricane 5 Machine Gun (Fly)

Nod Support Units: (Stolen from JohnWE!)
Engineer 3 Repair Beam + Capture Buildings (Hover)
Marauder 5 Machine Gun (Fly)
Scalpel 5 Repair Beam (Fly)
Venom 3 Rocket (Fly)
Cobra 5 Cannon (Fly)

My general opinion of this class is, I like the concept, but I dislike how its been done so far. Firstly having more units able to target aircraft (such as railgun Titans) to some extent reduces the need for a support class, because it removes some of the advantage of aircraft being aircraft. Having less units able to target aircraft would help bring more of an actual difference to this class. Also if Nod had subterrean units for support class, the lack of Anti-aircraft weaponry would semi-balance the lack of targetability (I know, its probably not a word) for subterrenean units. I think I'm just blabbering now, but I still don't like how these classes have been approached in practise.