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Bridges that could be destroyed and rebuilt, for example, wound up taking over ten times as long to program as we originally estimated. Adding bridges complicated systems such as path-finding, Z-buffering, rendering, unit behavior, and AI.

– Rade Stojsavljevic on Gamasutra postmortem of Tiberian Sun.

As I was recently playing through the game, I couldn’t help but notice that almost every level seemed to contain multiple bridges. After finishing the admittedly mediocre campaign I used the Final Sun map editor to go through the levels and make some statistics about these constructions.

The numbers

A short broken bridge in

A short broken bridge in

I counted the number of distinct bridges in each level of the vanilla Tiberian Sun, so I didn’t take any Firestorm levels in to account in this calculation. Some of the bridges consisted of multiple segments, but I considered them as a single bridge. Both broken and whole bridges were counted.

A two segment bridge in

A two segment bridge in

The number of bridges per map

=== GDI ===   2   2   3   5   3   1   6   6   5   2   8   3   2   2   0   1  2  2  1  4

=== NOD ===   0   3   4   1   2   6   5   3   2   3   1   2   3   3   0  3  5  6  0

On average, there are 2.87 bridges per level, and the median number of bridges is 3.

A core element

Since only four levels of the total 38 don’t contain a single bridge, I consider it safe to say that these destroyable pathways are a core element of the game. I’m not sure if this was intentional right from the beginning, or did the development team decide they better make the most of the feature they spent so long programming.

At any rate, it’s an important mechanic and also visible in a later installment of the series, Red Alert 2. I don’t have any numbers on that though, but if my memory serves me right they toned it down a little bit.

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