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Video Game / Warzone 2100

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Warzone 2100, released in 1999 by Pumpkin Studios, is a Real-Time Strategy game and was one of the first to be fully 3D along with Homeworld. Pumpkin eventually closed down, but the game did not die. On December 6, 2004, a day now celebrated by its fans every year as 'Liberation Day', the game's source code was released under the GNU General Public License, making it a freeware game. A small but dedicated group of fan followers have worked to keep the game alive and improve it, under the Warzone Resurrection Project (also known simply as 'the Project', a token to the game's protagonist faction of the same name).

The game is set in a post-apocalyptic scenario in The Future, in, obviously, year 2100. In year 2085, a space-based American nuclear deterrence system, NASDA, develops what is thought to be a systems fault and launches nuclear missiles at all the major cities around the world. The world's countries, detecting the launches, fire their own nukes at North America, and NASDA's Laser Satellite defenses fail to fire against them. In an Planetary Societal Collapse Apocalypse How that becomes known as "the Collapse", civilization collapses, and nuclear winter ensues. The surviving humans split into bands of scavengers as a result, fighting for survival.

A small group of survivors fled Seattle in early 2086, trying to escape to the Rocky Mountains, which they had heard to be relatively radiation-free. After a long struggle against marauders, and wars over the most basic of resources, they find an abandoned underground military base. The group took shelter here and, eventually, were able to restore the old systems to service. They were determined to build a new world out of the ruins and recover as much pre-Collapse technology as possible. They called themselves the Project...

The game has two main modes: the campaign, and a sandbox mode called 'Skirmish', which can be played online against humans or against A.I opponents. The campaign follows the story of the Project, as they search for Artifacts of technology from before the Collapse, encounter and fight off hostile Scavengers, meet factions like the New Paradigm and Collective who are not friendly, and eventually discover the true cause of the Collapse.

The game has some unusual features in that its units are not preset - they're modular and designable, and the weapons, chassis and propulsion options are unlocked from research or, in the campaign, through Artifacts. Vehicle bodies are available in different sizes and larger bodies require larger factories. Ground propulsion options consist of basic wheels, moderately armored half-tracks, heavily armored tracks, and fast but fragile amphibious hovercraft. Aerial propulsion exists via Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) technology and allows for hover-capable air units, which require a separate aircraft factory to build. Also present are cyborgs, cheaper (but weaker) infantry units that, unlike tanks and aircraft, are not modular or customizable, produced by their own factory.. There is only one resource used to build everything - power- which is produced by Oil Derricks connected to Power Generators. Artillery and VTOL air units can also be attached to complex sensor networks to guard areas, coordinate attacks, and retaliate against enemy artillery attacks. Commander units also exist, but their role is to merely coordinate ground forces, and are not super units.

The now-freeware version can be found here.

This game contains examples of:

  • A Commander Is You
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: NEXUS. Or not.
  • The All-Seeing A.I.: In skirmish games, the computer will send trucks over to power resources without even needing to scout the Fog of War.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Mission Gamma 3, where NEXUS takes over Team Gamma's base and uses it against you. And Mission Gamma 5, where NEXUS starts taking over your base, one by one... until you research the proper level of resistance circuits to prevent this completely from thereon
    NEXUS: Structure/unit absorbed.
  • Anti-Air: The first is a quad barrel turrets that can attack VTOLs, followed by a flak cannon to hit clusters of aircraft, and Surface-to-air missiles. As an emergency backup, regular machineguns and some other weapons can also target air units, but don't inflict that much damage in comparison.
  • Anti-Structure: The Bunker Buster missile specifically damages hardened structures and bunkers, when other artillery weapons do less damage against hardened targets.
  • Apocalypse How: The Collapse is a Planetary, well, Societal Collapse.
  • Big Bad: NEXUS.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Nothing on this game ever needs a trip back for a reload... well, except aircraft, that is.
  • Character Select Forcing: Not set in stone, but the game places greater emphasis on artillery and sensors than other RTS games do. Although it's well within your power to tank rush, learning how to effectively use artillery (fixed and mobile) and the appropriate sensors and then combining that with VTOL and tank movements can make missions much easier, resulting in fewer losses or trips back to base for repair.
  • Colour Coded Armies: In two ways, in fact. For your convenience, we'll name the colors according to flagnote  and chassisnote . While flag colors are changeable, chassis colors are predetermined.
    • The New Paradigm: yellow flag, tan chassis
    • The Project: green flag (by default), gray chassis
    • The Collective: gray flag, cyan chassis
    • The NEXUS forces: black flag, off-black chassis
    • The Scavengers: aqua flag, yellow chassis (with the exception of red fire trucks)
    • The neutral superheavies: red chassis
    • This results in the possibility of having multi-color tanks due to having a certain chassis (eg. Tan New Paradigm) and the tracks and gun being a different color (like the aforementioned tan with a green flag).
  • Command & Conquer Economy: Comes with Easy Logistics.
  • Construct Additional Pylons: One such case is with Oil Derricks and Power Generators. One generator can accommodate up to four derricks; any more of the former and you'll need more of latter.
    • And the only way you're going to build and improve troops any faster is to build as many factories and labs as the game lets you.
  • Counter-Attack: There are "counter-battery" sensors which can locate and help destroy far-away enemy artillery emplacements by tracking the trajectories of incoming projectiles, and then directing your artillery and/or VTOLs to fire back on them. This is the easiest counter for the Glass Cannon stationary artillery emplacements, but mobile artillery is far more difficult to hit back at. Note that the enemy will also use these sensors against you, often resulting in awesome-looking cross-map crossfires of artillery, until one side is pacified.
    • A recent release has made sensor hunting possible, so you now have a choice of removing either the spotter or the shooter first.
  • Creepy Monotone: The New Paradigm in all of its transmissions. The the Collective combines this with a Voice of the Legion.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Dictated by damage modifiers of the weapon in question. Double points goes to weapons which haven't received upgrades yet. Antitanks, for instance, excel only against vehicles and (before the late game upgrades) fails miserably at everything else. Weapons can also be severely limited to attacking aircraft or ground targets only. But the eponymous Bunker Buster tops the rest by being the only antistructure weapon, meaning that unless you are clearing bunkers, there is little point to use the Bunker Buster besides spare firepower.
  • Coup de Grâce Cutscene: Once the player has won the game's final mission, there is a cutscene showing Nexus's HQ being blown to smithereeens (with Nexus itself destroyed in the process) before the epilogue proceeds.
  • Death from Above: There's the Kill Sat mentioned below, several different kinds of indirect-fire weapons(mortars and howitzers, with rotary and incendiary variations, and rocket artillery) and of course VTOLs, which tend to pack twice the firepower of their ground counterparts, balancing its need to re-arm with more ammo at base frequently.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: Played straight in the fact that one of the game's features is the in-game unit editor. The game was also one of the first, if not the first, RTS titles to use such a system. However, only ground vehicles and VTOLs can be designed so far - as of the present release, cyborgs and defensive structures exist only in preset designs; the latter needs to be researched individually. Also, while there might be some thirteen million possible combinations of parts according to the developers, the number of useful combinations is somewhere in the low hundreds, depending on your play-style.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Collective's tank chassis naming convention follows that of Nazi Germany. The Panther (medium class) even bears a passing resemblance to the Panzer IV's hull.
  • Dog Food Diet: The intro cutscene mentions that "wars over cans of dog food" became one of the biggest causes of death in the post-nuclear apocalypse world.
  • Easy Logistics: Perfect example. No supplies or unit maintenance needed. Unlimited fuel. Unlimited ammo for everything except VTOL aircraft. The oil wells never run dry, and don't need even need any kind of worker unit connecting them to Power Generators. The only supply lines you need to worry about are the paths between your force and your nearest Repair Facility, as retreating damaged units are slow and make easy targets.
  • Elite Army: In the campaign, not only are Nexus's unit chassis stronger and faster than yours, his weapons have twice the attack range of your weapons (they can start shooting before you can even see them approaching) and they can Heal Thyself.
  • Enemy Exchange Program:
    • The NEXUS Link Turret converts your units into NEXUS units. You can get this too in the Skirmish and multiplayer modes, but it is fairly high-tech and can be nullified by simply researching Resistance Circuits, making it a sort of Useless Useful Spell.
    • Apart from simply taking over enemy units, using stolen enemy equipment(and technology) is extremely common in the campaign - almost all of the Project's weaponry is reverse-engineered from enemy tech (in fact, about the only weapon the Project puts to battlefield tests first is the Lancer antitank rockets). Even enemy vehicle chassis schematics are stolen outright, and it's regular to see a player using Collective-designed Tiger tanks or NEXUS-designed Retribution or Vengeance tanks instead of Project-designed Pythons in the Gamma missions.
  • Escort Mission: Subverted. There are escort missions in the campaign, but the NPC forces always come under your control once you make contact with them. Then you can do anything you want with them.
    • Also inverted, because there is a Beta Campaign mission where you have to thwart an AI Escort Mission being run by the Collective. This is a perfect inversion, as the enemy NPC being protected (the Collective's Commander) is an asshat who runs at the first sign of trouble, gets trapped in tank traps that were meant to protect him, and sometimes drives straight into buildings and gets stuck..
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: If a unit does not belong to you in single player, it is always hostile, and usually told to "Fire at will".
  • Evil Laugh: NEXUS loves to do this. In Gamma 5 he occasionally laughs throughout the whole mission.
  • Faction Calculus: All weighed up with respect to simple balances between cost, construction time, firepower, durability and speed. The trend (well, at least for the first three factions below) is that the tougher and deadlier they are, the slower and costlier they are. By the way, this is relative to campaign only.
    • The Project's "Serpent series" hulls are built tough for frontline service and reasonably affordable. However, they are very vulnerable to heat weapons.
    • New Paradigm's "Insect series" hulls are super-cheap and optimized to resist heat weapons but are flimsy and will crumple under repeated hits from kinetic weapons. Best used for long-range support units.
    • The Collective's "Wildcat series" hulls are resilient with high HP and Kinetic armor but are expensive and vulnerable to heat weapons. Best used for long-term frontline combat.
    • NEXUS's "Aggression series" hulls are state-of-the-art with no flaws: They have high HP, Kinetic and Thermal Armor. However, they are very expensive to research and produce.
  • Fragile Speedster: Light wheeled units, hovercraft units and all but the heaviest VTOL units. They're fast, but are easy to kill.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Units regularly fire straight through friendly units. Splash damage does affect friendlies too, though.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: In current releases of the game, it has been noted that close clusters of units tend to get stuck against each other, and sometimes the final campaign mission fails to declare "Objective Accomplished" when the player has won.
    • Some recent game builds do not apply research speed bonuses properly. That makes one of missions towards the end unwinnable, since, despite not being actively timed, it requires completion before NEXUS destroys the building you are supposed to defend.
  • Gatling Good: There are "rotary" versions of many normal weapons: Machinegun (Assault Gun), cannon (Assault Cannon), antiair (Whirlwind). There are even triple-barreled rotary mortars (Pepperpot) and howitzers (Hellstorm)!
  • Glass Cannon: Generally, mortars, howitzers, rockets and missiles pack the most punch in a fight, but add very little to a vehicle's overall durability. You can compensate for this (to an extent) by equipping them on a heavier chassis or propulsion.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: How you acquire new parts in the campaign - all parts are simply "borrowed" from another faction.
  • Hold the Line: A few campaign missions simply involve fortifying your base while holding off enemy forces. Most notable is the penultimate mission where, after capturing a nuclear missile silo, all you have to do is survive long enough to crack the silo's launch codes and not get wiped out by either Nexus's roaming patrols or his Kill Sat in the process.
  • Hover Tank: The Hover propulsion can be used to make these.
  • Jetpack: The Warzone 2100 1.11 release featured jump jet cyborgs which can only be downed by Anti-Air when they're on the move. This feature was eventually expunged from 1.12 and onwards because of its ability to quickly eliminate armies without sufficient AA protection.
  • Kill It with Fire: Flamers, incendiary artillery, incendiary bombs.
  • Kill Sat: The NASDA Laser Satellites. Available as a superweapon in the Skirmish mode and used by NEXUS in the campaign.
  • Kiting: One of NEXUS' more devious tactics against the Project is to repeatedly dispatch fast, long-range, self-repairing hover tanks and cyborgs in harassment runs. If you give chase, then you can expect NEXUS to have turrets awaiting your arrival. If you don't, then you can count on a slow death from his dispatches.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Certain turrets launch munitions (guided or unguided) in salvos of up to 8 at a time:
    • The Mini-Rocket Array fires 8 mini-rockets at a time, but has a relatively short range.
    • Ripple Rocket batteries fire 8 heavy rockets at a time, and can hit from extremely long ranges.
    • Nexus's "Seraph" (or Angel) and "Archangel" missiles fire six missiles at a time, the latter also being able to hit from extremely long ranges.
    • The "Sunburst" AA and the "Vindicator" SAM are antiair variants that are best used on singular, hardened VTOLs.
  • Mega Manning: Almost all unit upgrades in the campaign are acquired by stealing it from your enemies.
  • Mook Commander: The game allows the player to develop and utilize a "Command Turret" on the battlefield — while its only effect as a weapon is Scratch Damage, it offers a few improvements over manual unit grouping, such as an accuracy boost for all attached units and the ability to call in covering fire from stationary artillery batteries back at base.
  • More Dakka: A basic research for just about everything includes increasing the rate of fire. Especially the rotary/gatling weaponry.
  • Non-Entity General: You are simply known as the 'commander'.
  • Nuke 'em: NEXUS does this to the entire world. And to the Project's Alpha and Beta Bases during the campaign, successfully. And it tries it again against the Project's Rocky Mountain HQ, but is thwarted.
  • Powered Armor: Cyborgs. Super Cyborgs effectively count as Mini Mechas.
  • Putting on the Reich:
    • The Collective, but only vaguely. The naming convention of their hulls (Leopard, Panther, and Tiger), their Brute Force tendencies, team color (Grey), and being the only faction with a vaguely cross-shaped emblem makes them the faction that closest resembles the Nazis - or at least the Wehrmacht Heer - superficially. From their name, their politics perhaps more closely resemble the Soviet Union's.
    • NEXUS fits the Nazis' politics more closely, with the New Paradigm and the Collective being little more than power-hungry factions aligned with him. He's destroyed pre-Collapse civilization, and displays little remorse about doing it again. The fact that his units are black and off-black with very aggressive names (such as Vengeance and Retribution) and reliance on super-powerful weapons to fend off the Project even when the situation is dire for him makes a parallel to the German government more prominent.
  • Regenerating Health: Auto-repair technology self-regenerates the health of units, but only as long as they hold still and do nothing. One thing's for sure, though: It beats waiting idly for friendly mechanics to arrive, or having make a trek back to the nearest repair facility.
  • Reinventing the Wheel: Averted. The campaign is continuous and flowing, with your units and structures persisting between missions (unless destroyed, of course) and your technology persisting throughout.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Justified in case of factories thanks to the highly modular nature of units in Warzone, with vehicle bodies, propulsion kits and cyborg powersuits having been prepared from before — they can basically just bolt the components together and shove it out the door.
  • Rocky Mountain Refuge: Following the nuclear apocalypse, the founding members of what would become The Project fled Seattle for the Rocky Mountains, based on a rumor that they were relatively rad-free. They found an abandoned military base which they claimed as their base of operations.
  • RPG Elements: Units collect Experience Points based on the number of kills they score in combat. Levelling up provides gradual boosts to their overall attack and defense levels, with elite- or hero- ranked units being noticeably more dangerous than their rookie counterparts.
  • Scavenger World: A perfect example. Scavengers use crude weapons mounted on old vehicles like jeeps and school buses. They even have fire trucks armed with flamethrowers.
  • Scratch Damage: Armor can only provide up to 2/3 protection against damage - the attack still inflicts a minimum 1/3 of its base firepower (after type bonuses).
  • Slow Laser: The game code even implements lasers as a kind of cannon firing glowy, colorful bullets. The entire combat system is based on ballistics, although flamethrowers have been well implemented.
  • Superweapon Surprise: Several. All caused by NEXUS. First with the nuking of Alpha Base, then Beta Base, then the attempted nuking of the Project's Rocky Mountain HQ, then the attempted nuking of your forces, then the absorption of Gamma Base, then the attempted absorption of your base, then the Kill Sat attacks on you.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Weapons receive various attack bonuses or penalties based on the type of target they're used against, and many weapons can only be used against ground or aerial targets specifically. Can lead to Crippling Overspecialization; this is most apparent in low-tier battles. There are certain combinations. For example, antitank cyborg → antiaircraft vehicle → antibunker aircraft → antipersonnel turret → antitank cyborg. This fades away when you rise up the tech tree, where upgrades make everything more effective against anything.
    • The one notable difference is artillery weapons, which do significant damage to whatever gets caught in the splash radius. They simply do bonus damage against buildings.
  • Tech Tree: A very, very big, sometimes confusing tech tree with an obsession about upgrades.
  • Tank Goodness: Super-heavy Dragon tanks wielding up to two weapon turrets and riding on two sets of crawler tracks.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: NEXUS, by a mile or ten. Even after acquiring railguns and Scourge missiles for yourself (which itself happens only near the end of the campaign), he still has advantages like superior attack range, self-repairing units, jetpack cyborgs, the NEXUS Link turret, and a deadly Kill Sat.
  • Theme Naming: The chassis used by the factions follow this. To an extent, so do weapons, but "straightforward" isn't a naming theme.
    • The Project names its bodies after types of snake: The Viper light body, Cobra medium, and Python heavy.
    • The New Paradigm uses insect themed names: Bug, Scorpion, and Mantis.
    • The Collective uses types of wildcat: Leopard, Panther, and Tiger.
    • NEXUS names his hulls aggressively: Retaliation, Retribution, and Vengeance.
    • The two neutral Superheavy hulls use mythical creatures - the Wyvern and Dragon.
      • As well, for the actual units, players can come up with their own names as they see fit. While it's hardly themed, default names follow the trend of "Weapon Chassis Propulsion", leading to "Machinegun Viper Wheels", for instance.
  • Timed Mission: Almost every mission in the game has a timer attached to it. This is partly because of the persistent nature (you keep your base and units from mission to mission), as otherwise you can simply hoard resources, amass a huge army of units, and steamroll over everything. The only missions without a time limit are the first mission in the last two, and most time limits are actually one or two full hours.
    • The campaign's penultimate mission features the game's shortest timer: After claiming posession of a nuclear-missile silo capable of destroying Nexus's Kill Sat, Nexus makes you an offer to abandon the base, with a time limit of only five minutes before he resumes his satellite strikes. The mission has no other timer this - it ends when you either launch the missiles or get eradicated from orbit.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: You probably want to keep your veteran units alive as they will be carried on in the campaigns, at least you can also transfer veterancy of old units to the next units that rolls out the factory which allows you to keep their pilots for your better vehicles.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: Played with. It depends on what they're up against. Flamer weapons are great against bunkers and buildings with soft armor but struggle against other structures like hardpoints, most towers, and walls. They are good against hover units and cyborgs and middling against wheeled, tracked, and half-tracked vehicles, but they have trouble against VTOLs. Overall, they can help you against late-game units, but they ought to be combined with other weapons to cover their weaknesses (though diversification is a good idea in general).
  • Voice of the Legion: The Collective's transmission voice has hints of this.
  • Worker Unit: Any unit with a Truck module. This can range from the basic wheeled truck model you start games with, to slow-moving behemoths based on heavy tank chassis, even amphibious hovertrucks. Multiplayer skirmish also adds a cyborg variation, the Cyborg Engineer.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness - Implied when Nexus launches a nuclear missile at Beta base. Not only does he not warn the Collective about the strike, he outright tells them to throw everything they've got at Beta Base, congratulating them for their work and saying that their "just reward" is "on its way". He later regards both the Collective and Paradigm factions as mere fools.
  • Zerg Rush - The game tries to discourage you from doing this. You're limited to 40 units, some of which will be trucks and commanders, not to mention missions are time. So throwing all your forces in at once will likely get them killed and waste time and resources replacing them. It's much more sensible to use artillery and VTOL's to soften up enemy positions so your tanks can move in and finish them off.