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Command and Conquer 3 (Tiberium Wars) Compared

UPDATE: Command and Conquer: Kane’s Wraith

This game is impressive, and the new interface is growing on me. I was mortified to find out they had swapped over the mouse keys and very relieved to find that there was an option for "classic mouse buttons" from a patch. The latest patch available at the time of writing is v1.08.

Patches are available from the Command and Conquer website.

Command and Conquer 3 is a great game to play. The introduction video cut scenes are nice, the special effects are excellent, people are in better proportion to everything else.

Online gaming is a mad frantic rush to build up your base. With the addition of cranes, you can add extra production queue to speed up building of your base. The downside to the crane is it adds a useless queue for building defences.

New and Improved Features

  • War factory and Airport repair nearby vehicles, planes
  • Solider unit is now comprised of 5 men, rocket solider unit contains 2 men
  • Change attack stance
  • New camera controls (can rotate the map, zoom in and out)
  • Scrin
  • Reverse move
  • Multiple build queues
  • Tabbed Interface (as seen in Command and Conquer Red Alert and Red Alert 2)
  • Battlecast
  • Easy internet multi-player setup

With all the good things about this game, it is still not quite the Command and Conquer that everyone knows and loves. It misses a few key items that have been available in some or most of the previous games.

Missing Features (in order of preference)

  • Method for indicating whether a target is within range of attacking unit. (highest)
  • Walls, Tarmac and Gates
  • Indication of item being built is currently on hold
  • Collateral damage to near by buildings by a destroyed building
  • Water based units
  • Command Outpost controls the radar (no radar without any, and when last one is destroyed the radar is not available)
  • Engineers repair Garrisonable buildings
  • Multi-player options (Shroud regrows, tech level, super weapons, start with base, Tiberium regrows)
  • Control over game replays
  • Random map
  • Tiberium veins
  • Par times for campaign game
  • Better AI. (2x Brutal enemies crippled with 4 planes. Enemies built no anti-aircraft, when playing online.)
  • Change music (lowest)

Compiled below is comparison of all the Command and Conquer games (excluding CNC Renegade) and all the features that are missing or in need of improvement.

If any features have been missed, please post a comment about it.


Cursor indicates target is in range N N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N
Indicate why building cannot be placed Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N
Walls Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N
Gates N N N N N Y Y N N N N N
Tarmac N N N N N Y Y N N N N N
Indication of item on hold Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y *6 *6 N
Collateral damage to anything nearby N N N N N Y Y Y Y Y Y N
Water based units N N Y Y Y *2 *2 Y Y N N N
Command Outpost controls the radar Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y *8 *8 N
Engineers repair all Buildings N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Y Y *7 *7 N
MP Option: Fog of War N N Y Y Y Y Y N N N N N
MP Option: Tech Level Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N N N
MP Option: Super Weapons *1 *1 *1 *1 *1 *1 *1 Y Y N N N
MP Option: Start with Base Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N N N
MP Option: Tiberium Regrows Y Y Y Y Y N N N N N N N
Control over game replays N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A *3 *3 *3
Random Map N N N N N Y Y Y Y N N N
Tiberium Veins N N N N N Y Y N N N N N
Par for campaign game Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N *4
Good AI Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y *5 *5 *5
Control the Music Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N


  • *1:
  • *2:
  • *3:
  • *4:
  • *5:
  • *6:
  • *7:
  • *8:
  • CNC:
  • CNC CO:
  • RA:
  • RA AM:
  • RA CS:
  • CNC TS:
  • CNC FS:
  • RA2:
  • RA2 YR:
  • Gen:
  • Gen ZH:
  • CNC3:

Now we will go into more detail about what each one of these means to Command and Conquer to be missing or incomplete.

Cursor indicates target is in range

In almost all previous Command and Conquer games that were made before EA Games took over the franchise, you could see from the cursor whether the unit or building was in range. If it was not within range your unit would move to a position where it would be in range. This is not always desired.

Not in ranage

RA: Unit not in range

In range

RA: Unit in range

The vehicle in the right picture would not have to move before firing, where as the the vehicle in the left would. The change in the cursor is very subtle in RA, but in later games (RA2 and CNC TS), it became more obvious.

Not in ranage

CNC TS: Unit not in range

In range

CNC TS: Unit in range

Indicate why building cannot be placed

Do ever hear "Cannot be deployed here"? Well when playing usually that message is played multiple time when trying to expand the base. It is highly annoying and it does not help you figure out why you can not build here.

Indication of why a building cannot be placed

RA2: Indication of why a building cannot be placed

Indication of why a building cannot be placed

CNC TS: Indication of why a building cannot be placed

In previous games, the foot print of the building would turn red in the areas where you could not build, rather than the whole foot print. Numerous times the forward base has been over run, because additional defenses could not be deployed.


In the original game of Command and Conquer, we had the ability to build walls and gates to bolster your base defenses, you could build a wall around your base, or around certain structures. In later games walls were extended to speed up how quickly they are built. Now walls have been completely removed. Its disappointing as in some missions, you can clearly see walls being used for base defense.

Walls can thwarted engineer rushes and commando from taking away your base. I tend to use walls against the computer in skirmishes, rather than online, but it would be nice to have the option in CNC3. You can get a MOD that will give you the ability to build walls, but if its not officially supported, you are reduced to playing with a small subset of people.

Base with wall

CNC TS: Walled Base


Gates are an extension of being able to build a wall. You cannot build a wall around your whole base, as this would prevent your units from leaving. Gates allowed you to have your wall , but also be allowed to leave. The downside, they are slow to open and close, so something could sneak past. It is possible to minimise units being able to sneak in by doubling up the gates, and having a unit in between them that can detect stealth if you are feeling particularly paranoid. Usually one gate per exit is sufficient though.

Walled Base with Gates

CNC TS: Walled Base with Gates


Tarmac was only available in CNC TS and FS, but it was a fabulous idea. Highly destructive weapons when deployed could blast a hole in the ground, making it harder to build a base. Tarmac stopped this whole from being created. Tarmac also allowed vehicles to travel quicker over it and stops burrowing vehicles surfacing. When you combine walls and tarmac in CNC TS, you get a great defence from engineer rushes and pretty much any kind of surprise attack.


CNC TS: Effects of Tarmac

On the left is a crater from the enemies attack with an Ion Cannon. Above that the enemy attacked again ( you can see a flame), the tarmac protected the ground from being deformed. In the middle and on the right, you can see the difference from placing the tarmac before and after deploying a structure.

Why wouldn't an Ion Cannon and other super weapons deform the ground? They are very powerful weapons.

Tarmac is the perfect tool for preventing these weapons from deforming the ground.

Indication of item on hold

What were EA thinking? When you click to build something in CNC3 and you do not have any money, the item is put straight on to hold. However if you do not know this happens, at quick glance it appears to be building. You should not have to remember or guess that an item is on hold. The interface should be indicating that it is no longer being constructed. This is just a bad User Interface design that should never have slipped through beta testing.

Item on hold

RA: Item on hold

Item on hold

RA2: Item on hold

Item on hold

CNC TS: Item on hold

Collateral damage to anything nearby

This is something that adds realism to a game. When you take out one your enemies planes that are attacking your base and it crashes into one of your buildings, it should cause some damage. The same thing if you build your buildings too close and one of them is destroyed.

Structure destroyed

CNC3: Structure destroyed

Nearby Structures didn't suffer any damage

CNC3: Nearby Structures didn't suffer any damage

This layout of power plants should never be a viable way to construct a base. You should be given some incentive to spacing your base out, to minimise collateral damage. When you build air defence, you should be thinking about where the air craft will be crashing down. You shouldn't be thinking its alright as long as they don't manage to get a shot off.

In previous games, I'm normally frantically scrolling round trying to repair any buildings that have been damaged after the computer has sent in a load of air based units. They normally drop like flies, but end up crashing into numerous buildings.

Collateral damage adds realism, which can only be good for a game.

Water based units

Water based units give an extra dimension to any battle. You could sneak around the back of an enemies base, and unleash the wrath of some very powerful navel units. This feature however is typically seen in Red Alert series. (Hopefully also in Red Alert 3).

Water Based Unit / Shipyard

RA2: Water Based Unit / Shipyard

Hover Mlrs

CNC TS: Hover Mlrs

I would love to see the CNC series allow deployment of naval units. I do not expect EA to add this to the CNC3, maybe addition for Kane's Wrath?

Command Outpost controls the radar

In the previous games, one building gave you the radar. The building that controls the radar has been given different names over the all the games (Radar or Communications Center). When you first start a game, you do not have access to the radar, you need to build the Command Outpost. If at any time your base has low power, the radar will be temporarily disabled. If the enemy destroys your last Command Outpost, you lose the radar, but also you the Fog of War is reset. Currently in Command and Conquer 3, the command outpost building does not really serve much of a purpose, except as a requirement to build other buildings and units.

No Radar

RA: No Radar

Radar deployed

RA: Radar deployed

Engineers repair all Buildings

Currently in Command and Conquer 3, there is no way to repair garissionable buildings.

If an Engineer can repair high tech buildings like the war factory or command outpost, it should a trivial matter to repair civilian structures.

MP Option: Fog of War

In traditional Command and Conquer games, once you had revealed terrain, it stayed revealed. This allowed for better tactics. Nod has stealth and GDI had GAP generators.

The GAP Generators would black out the around, so that you could not see the base, or the land. Whereas NOD had a stealth generator, that makes the base completely invisible. Both of these options would completely remove the base from the map.

I'm not saying I prefer this to the Fog of War in CNC3, however the option would be nice.

MP Option: Tech Level and Super Weapons

Sometimes you want a game where it is just bloody carnage. Super Weapons will make a game too easy or annoying to play. Usually the first person to build a Super Weapon will end up winning the game. To counter this, when playing with friends we will have a verbal agreement not to use them. However the computer will have no way of knowing about the verbal agreement, and will use them anyway. Either by using Tech Level limit or Super Weapons option, we want the option to turn off Super Weapons!

MP Option: Start with Base

This controlled whether you got an MCV (Mobile Construction Vehicle) when you started battle. This allowed for incredibly short games.

MP Option: Tiberium Regrows

This option limits the amount of resources on the map. It really forces you to spend wisely and guard your available resources ferociously. It also has the effect of shorten the length of the overall game.

Control over game replays

Why can we play game replays live a video? We have a fast forward button, why not a rewind? Whilst we're thinking about it, give the replays an interface like any decent video playback software. Give it a time line, so that you can skip to any point in the game.

If done right, this could be a very powerful training tool. The number of times I've wanted to check a replay for a pivotal point in a battle, to see what went wrong. At the moment this is tedious to achieve and you have to watch the replay over and over to get all of the information. EA are missing a great opportunity for people to learn and devise new strategies.

Random Map

When you play CNC as much as me and my mates, you can get bored of the default maps very easily. There are user created maps on the internet, which is great. However they never are quick what you want.

Maps effect everything about a game. How long, attack style and which units and buildings will be deployed. They are fundamental to any game. So trying to find the right one online can be difficult task.

What you need is a random map generator.

You specify all the parameters, exactly how you want them and a few moments later you will have your map. Don't like it? Generate a new one.

Once you've made a good one, you can save and share it.

I'm not sure why EA would have removed this option from CNC3. It is sorely missed by many people I know. It could even be enhanced by giving the option to make the maps symmetrical.

Random Map Options

CNC TS: Random Map Options

Tiberium Veins

Tiberium Veins were only seen in CNC TS and CNC FS. They was an extension of Tiberium and could only be used by NOD to launch chemical missiles attacks, however it was deadly to almost all buildings and units. You could destroy Tiberium Veins by attacking its eye, but doing so would unleash deadly gas.

Tiberium Veins

CNC TS: Tiberium Veins

Par for campaign game

Some times you just want an overall score of how well you did in a campaign level. Be it a percentage or a score.

Good AI

This is always going to be hard to get 100%. However in CNC3, in some previous battles, the computer forgets to build base defences. Sometime they even forget to build units that can take out air based units.

It should not be too hard for the AI to figure out which type of unit attacking and be able to build some units to counter this attack. Especially when the AI is attacked by the same type of unit, over and over.

When you find a bug like this, it takes the fun out of playing against the computer.

Control the Music

Command and Conquer is known for its great music. Most Command and Conquer games come with a great selection of music and gave you the ability to change which track was being played in game. The playlist is probably the least used feature by a lot of fans, but easiest to achieve the same functionality. To get this functionality back, you can in theory rip the music from CNC3, and play it using an external music player (iTunes, Media Player or Winamp). (If you can not rip the music from CNC3, you can certainly rip the music from previous CNC games)

Music Player

CNC TS: Music Player

In Conclusion

Command and Conquer 3 is a great game. It feels much more like Command and Conquer than the previous games Generals and Zero Hour. The interface is on the whole well thought out and looks very slick. The problem is the game is let down by a lack of multi-player options and a few visual cues from the interface. All it needs is a little more polish around the edges to make it the best Command and Conquer game yet.

EA; hope your listening.

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Tags: cnc3, command and conquer, ea games, generals, generals zero hour, missing features, please fix, ra, ra2, ts sun

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