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Ever since the release of Westwood’s Dune 2 in 1992, real-time strategy (RTS) games have become the hottest-selling computer games around. Countless RTS games were released soon afterward including Command & Conquer (C&C), Red Alert, Warcraft II, Age of Empires, and Total Annihilation. These games have propelled the genre to new heights and have drawn an increasing number of fans.
After the success of C&C and Red Alert, the team at Westwood Studios started work on Tiberian Sun, the sequel to C&C. To build the game, we assembled a team that consisted of veterans from C&C and Red Alert along with a couple of new faces, including me. We started with the goal of taking what made C&C fun and expanding it even further.
To begin the development process we reviewed what makes a great RTS game and came up with one answer: tactics. Westwood doesn’t build games based on a specific technology and we never sell technology over the game play. We have a firm belief that a great strategy game must have interesting, fun, and new tactics that afford players a multitude of unique ways to play a game.
We wanted Tiberian Sun to appeal to a broad audience, yet also appeal to core game players and fans of the series. Towards this goal, we continued to apply a “wide and deep” approach to designing the tactics we created. Wide and deep essentially means a nice assortment of diverse yet readily apparent tactics that, under the surface, contain an even greater number of tactics. With this approach, you can provide first-time players with a number of different things to do while letting more experienced players discover new and advanced tactics on their own. These design goals made working on the game more challenging — as if being the biggest project in Westwood Studios’ history wasn’t enough.
Concept sketch of a GDI Titan.