Orca Dropships were GDI heavy duty military freighters, capable of transporting large amounts of soldiers, mechs and other equipment long distances. They were used during the Second Tiberium War and the Firestorm Crisis.
With four powerful engines and a massive hold, the Dropship is the next generation cargo plane. It has full VTOL capability and can fly into a combat zone to deploy substantial GDI forces nearly instantly. In fact, it can even ferry the heavy Mammoth Mk. II.
A number of dropships were equipped with atmospheric entry thermal shields and significantly more powerful engines, allowing them to land on the GDSS Philadelphia. They are known to crash during ion storms, like all other aircraft.
The Dropship was not seen after the Firestorm Crisis, as it was replaced by the new V-35 Ox transports.
The dropships are computer-controlled units that deliver the player's forces to the combat zone in single player missions. In custom made scenarios they can be controlled by players if allowed to, however, due to engine limitations they can only carry infantry.
In single player, dropships (like Orca Transports) can be scripted to drop off all kinds of units.
In patch 1.13, Orca Dropships and Orca Transports received a new locomotor which prevented them from landing on water. However, this caused them to rapidly seek a free cell to land on, and as a result they erroneously follow the nearest unit or structure and circle around uncontrollably until shot down. If they are modified to be player-controlled, they will become unresponsive after their first liftoff. This issue was fixed in HyperPatch 0.3, but this requires the Carryall entry in rules.ini to be set to no. In most campaign missions, the scripting avoids this issue, but one Dropship that is supposed to land in an outpost in front of the dam in the Destroy Vega's Dam mission suffers from this issue.
Unused loadout mechanic
|The following is based on content cut from Tiberian Sun and has not been confirmed by canon sources.|
The Tiberian Sun GDI campaign was to feature a mechanic where the player could choose the starting units that would be delivered by Dropships. They were to dock at a unique structure called the Dropship bay, which was scrapped during development.
|“||Tiberian Sun‘s development had many challenging moments when features had to be cut for one reason or another. A perfect example of this was the ability to order a limited number of units through a drop-ship loading screen before a mission. This sounded like a great idea on paper and we had already coded it and incorporated it into the game. It wasn’t until we actually played with it that we realized it just didn’t fit and had to be removed.
- Rade Stojsavljević for GamaSutra, 4 April 2000
There is some residual code and art that can be applied to restore this mechanic, and an example of this is available at the XCC downloads page, where it is applied to the first GDI mission. Without additional code, however, the cursor in this menu can be invisible and the menu does not have a visible closure option.
- Stojsavljević, Rade (4 April 2000). Postmortem: Westwood Studios' Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 9 October 2017.