Command and conquer


In a previous issue, we looked at a game engine called OpenDUNE that allowed you to play the original Dune II real-time strategy game on a modern Linux computer (and lots of other things besides). It now seems only fair to look at OpenRA, because it does the same for Westwood's famous sequels to the original Dune II  – Command & Conquer (C&C): Red Alert and Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn, along with Dune 2000. All of these are classics and stay true to the original minimal design and maximum playability of the original Dune II. But there's another good reason to look at OpenRA now: The original games' publisher, EA, has announced it intends to release remastered versions of those games, and they've been petitioning the OpenRA community for ideas and feedback. That certainly makes a change from the usual approach of legal threats over intellectual property.

Like OpenDUNE, though, you still need to own and have access to the data files that came with the original games, although the game does offer to download the files for you when you first launch it. If you've not seen Red Alert for a couple of decades, it's quite a shock if you're using a high-DPI display; it's like you're looking at the game from orbit. Fortunately, the screen resolution can be changed, or you can run in windowed mode, and the games themselves don't feel so old at all. Like many old games, the gameplay itself has been very finely tuned because you couldn't fall back onto a 3D cutscene, and it's a breath of fresh air playing it in the same era of Red Dead Redemption 2, with its hundreds of miles of populated wild west, playable casinos, flora, and fauna. Unlike that blockbuster, OpenRA can still be modded, and there are plenty of terrains, scenarios, and games hosted by the community, which can only grow larger with the reissue of remastered originals. Fingers crossed.

Project Website

There's still a sizable community playing C&C, which means you can find a game online 20 years after its release.

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