Welcome! - July 18th, 2006 (Day 1)
Greetings! Welcome to the website of Atlantis: Tides of War, a brand-new Total Conversion for Command and Conquer Generals: Zero Hour based on Atlantis DSV. Who are we? we're a trio of Multimedia students at Charles Sturt University in Australia tasked with making a game mod for an assignment in one of our subjects. Who says you can't do work and play games? Hah!
"Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated..."
Who am I? Well on this site and this project I'll go by the name JJWard. Not very imaginative, I know, but I gave up on creative monikers a while ago. Seriously though, people just call me "Jim", and I am the miserable sod responsible for this project and the creator of Atlantis DSV. I like women, I like things that go boom, I like having a dual core processor, and about the only thing I hate is people who speak in "1337". Fairly be ye warned. A few passerby may know me from another little place in the Command and Conquer community called "PlanetCNC" about 2 years ago during a period where I ran their recently-reincarnated Photoshop THIS! column. I'm certain Dario is still head-hunting for me, although it is good to be back in the fold. My sudden departure from the community at that time was due largely in thanks to the fact I started University, and no sooner than my first lecture ended did the concept of "gaming" then become little more than a highschool memory, now it seems gaming is the center of my studies. Beautiful irony.
The other two members of this mod team are Chris Gielis and Alexander Williams, also both Multimedia students with hardcore gaming diets and guys who do so much 3D modelling work that they see the world in polygons and pixels. I confess, I am no different in this regard.
James Ward - SAGE Coder, Texture and Graphics Artist, High-Res 3D Modeller
Chris Gielis - 3D Modeller, Webmaster
Alexander Williams - 3D Modeller, Texture Artist
All email can be sent to atlantismod [at] gmail [dot] com.
What is this mod?
Atlantis: Tides of War is the first Generals Total Conversion to attempt to change the game in to something besides land combat. This project will, over time, convert Generals in its entirety to a game of submarine warfare - and I'll assure now, it's not what you're expecting! Combat in the world of Atlantis: Tides of War takes place many thousands of feet beneath the surface of the ocean in the year 2041 amongst the many underwater colonies and cities of the world's major powers. Subfighters rule the world of high-speed combat while lumbering submersible battlecruisers and carriers exchange salvos of torpedo fire at a level never previously imagined. The new UN - the United Earth Oceans - is a nation in itself; a massive alliance of European and American powers (along with Japan) who have banded together their military strength to fight the growing threat of the Macronesian Alliance - a union of Pacific nations from Australia to Tonga and beyond - who gained much wealth by exploiting the massive deposits of natural resources scattered across the abyssal plains of the Pacific.
And what is the Atlantis? No, it's not a Lost City, Space Shuttle or old Oceanographic Research Vessel - it is the flagship of the UEO Navy, and the largest and most powerful submarine the world has ever known. It is also the center of our story.
The first question we asked ourselves when preparing this project was "What engine will we use?" And it was not an easy choice. Suggestions included the venerable 3D engine of Homeworld, the newer, prettier engine of Nexus: The Jupiter Incident, and even older, more simple engines like Star Trek: Armada. (I believe Warcraft 3 was briefly mentioned, but dismissed just as quickly.) Another question was if it would be an RTS, FPS or RPG. An RPG, simply put, would have been too much work, and none of us have much of an affinity for the 'recommended' engine of the course subject - Unreal Tournament.
The flexibility and great camera of Homeworld was attractive, while Nexus's gorgeous graphics engine suffered from a lack of developer support, and the grim fact the game is no longer being published. Armada was quickly ruled out simply due to its limited technology. In the end, it was really a contest between the Generals SAGE engine and Homeworld. If this were a space mod, Homeworld would have taken the cake, but the fact remains that in the submarine world, gravity still applies, and the importance of ships suddenly posessing the ability to travel vertically nose-up without the use of some magical (read: scientifically laughable) gravity manipulation to prevent the crew from falling down quickly diminished. Submarines, while posessing the ability to go up and down, get no real benefit from doing so. Yes, they can avoid surface ships easier, but as there are no surface combatants in this mod, it seemed kind of pointless. Add to that that Homeworld has no easy way of representing a crucially important sea floor and has very limited base building potential, and the choice rapidly became clear. It's unconventional, it's funky, and it's certainly unusual... But the SAGE engine offers us everything we need to make this happen.
What will the mod offer?
First and foremost, Tides of War will completely change the look and feel of Generals from a land-based game of warfare, to a game of naval warfare. Submarine fighters will become the 'infantry', while the massive subcarriers, battlecruisers and hunterkillers become the 'tanks' of your arsenal - and none of them will be grounded by the restrictions of terrain. The ocean is your battlefield, and you can go anywhere, and do anything. Massive Deep Submergence Vehicles like the Atlantis herself - submarines of over 400 meters long - will be reflected in their full size and will bolster your fleets with a wide range of abilities, providing you with what is effectively a mobile command base, dwarfing the fleets of escorts that you send with them, but they will be expensive and if they are deployed, you can rest assured the tide of battle will turn.
Bases built upon the seafloor will posess the facilities necessary to support and maintain your fleet and will play an ever-more crucial role... Because like the real world, your fleet will not be limitless in size. The larger the vessel and the more powerful it is... The fewer you will be able to call on to the field - and you won't be able to replace them should they be sunk! That expensive UEO Reverence class battlecruiser might be the epitome of the UEO's line-strength, but you'd better be damned sure you know how to keep her in the fight, because the Admiralty won't be sending you another of these behemoths should you get careless.
The weaponry you employ will range from supercavitating gattling railguns mounted on the UEO's lethal Raptor class subfighter through to plasma-warhead torpedoes, depth charges, particle lasers and sub-deployed nukes. And believe us, the nukes will make or break you, and could be the only thing possible of stopping a DSV in its tracks. Marine boarding parties embarked on stealthy infiltration subs will be able to board and cripple enemy warships where they lie, providing you with opportunities other than a costly frontal assault for taking down key enemy warships.
Three playable sides, each unique in their abilities, weaknesses and strengths. The technologically-savvy, all-rounded rapid-reaction carrier battlegroups of the UEO Navy, the massive but technologically "adequate" Macronesian Alliance fleet with strengths in overwhelming numbers and ship specialization, and in time, the awesomely powerful but numerically-few forces of the Nycarian Empire, combining wide range of energy weaponry capable of tearing apart even the largest of capital ships in seconds and massively powerful abilities.
It's also possible that each of these three sides will have their own individual "Admirals" (Much like C&C's "Generals") with specific skills and areas of expertise.
More to come in the following days, I am sure.
I'll leave you with the following Maya render... Consider it a teaser of what's to come.