This article is written from a real world point of view.
Patch 3.00 beta for Command & Conquer: Red Alert was released in early 1999 to a select group of beta patch testers. Soon after this beta phase ended, the patch was entirely removed from Westwood Studios' servers and was not published to a wider player base, until several of the beta testers uploaded the patch on their own. It can be applied with and without either expansion installed.
The downloadable patch executable includes all the patches that were released before it.
Internet games no longer need the separate Westwood Online Chat program for the game setup phase. All the Internet chatting and game setup functionality is now integrated into the Red Alert program, enabling smoother, quicker Internet game matching.
To play a multiplayer Internet game of Red Alert, Counterstrike, or Aftermath, launch the game, then select "Multiplayer" from the main menu. Then from the Multiplayer game menu, select "Internet". At this point you'll be presented with a login dialog that allows you to enter your Westwood Online nickname and password. (If you have not previously saved a nickname/password, you will be given the opportunity to jump from here directly into the registration process).
Navigation between channels in Westwood Online has been altered somewhat, making it easier for users that are not yet familiar with the system. Most notably, the concept of game "lobbies" has been added. These are chat channels that only users of Red Alert may enter. It is in these channels that games are created and joined. To prevent excessive crowding, there are several Red Alert lobbies, each with a distinct name. In order to host a new Red Alert game, or to join one that is starting, you must first enter a Red Alert lobby. Press the "New" button to start a new game. Note that pressing "New" when you are not in a Red Alert lobby will result in the creation of a chat channel, not a game channel. You can join a game that is being started by highlighting the game you wish to join and pressing the "Join" button, or simply by double-clicking on the game.
When you initially log in to Westwood Online using Red Alert, you are automatically placed into a Red Alert lobby.
There is a new Westwood Online option, associated with these new lobbies. Ordinarily, the game channels that you see listed are all games that are currently being created, regardless of what lobby they were created in. If this list gets too long, or if you are looking for a game that you know has been created in the lobby that you are in, turn on the "Show local lobby games only" option. When this option is on, only those games created in the lobby you are in show up on the channels list.
Selecting "...back" from a channel list moves you "up" within the Westwood Online channels layout. Selecting any other option moves you "down" within the system. At the very top of the tree you will find three main channel categories:
Official Chat: Here you'll find chat channels that are officially sanctioned by Westwood. Users cannot create new chat channels in this area.*
User Chat: Located here are chat channels created by users. You can create your own chat channel by pressing the "New" button while in this part of Westwood Online.
Game Channels: Choose this option if you want to access the Red Alert lobbies, where you will find Red Alert games being set up. Also under "Game Channels" you can see other Westwood games that are being set up, such as Command & Conquer and Dune 2000 games.
If you have only used the Westwood Chat client application to start Red Alert games, and you do not use it for launching other games (such as Command & Conquer, or Monopoly), you may uninstall it without side effects. None of its components are necessary now for launching Red Alert Internet games. The Westwood Chat client application appears on your Add/Remove Programs list as "Westwood Chat" or as "Westwood Online" depending which version you have installed on your system. Note: The new "Shared Internet Components" are required for Red Alert (as well as other new Westwood Internet-playable games), so don't uninstall these.
Enhancements to Westwood Online
Players of Tournament games will be acquainted with the concepts of Red Alert and Aftermath "ladder rankings" of players. These rankings are now visible within the game; you'll no longer have to go to a Web page in order to see just how good a potential opponent is. Your own record is also clearly displayed, so that when game results get updated (occurs hourly), you can easily view how you are doing in the Red Alert and/or Aftermath rankings.
You'll now have a better idea whether you have a good connection to the opponents in a game, before the game starts. A new ping time meter has been added to the game setup screen, showing you how fast your connection is to each and every other player. (The ping meter in the lobby's game list still measures ping time between your machine and the game host - as it did previously in the old Westwood Chat.)
Red Alert Internet play
Red Alert now supports up to 4 players over the Internet; you can now select up to 4 players on the game setup dialog! Note that tournament games are still restricted to two players.
"Tie game" option. In two player games, you can now "Propose a Draw" to your opponent. If the opponent accepts, the game will be declared a tie. Your offer of a draw remains open and available for your opponent to accept until you manually withdraw it. This option has been added mainly for Tournament games; there is now a way to get out of a game that does not result in one player winning or losing. "Tie game" will be sent as the official game result.
Improved game results for Tournament games: better reporting of disconnect results has been added, so that the person at fault for interrupting a game by disconnecting will receive the loss. Note: it is now required that you allow the "Reconnecting..." dialog to time out by itself during a Tournament game. If you cancel out of this dialog, cancelling the game before it finished trying to reconnect, you will receive a loss for the game.
"Mega"-sized Aftermath maps are now available for download to players that do not have Aftermath, in Red Alert game channels.
If all of a players units have been destroyed except for his submarines, an automatic sonar pulse pinging will begin, enabling you to find his remaining units. No more annoying end-game sub hide-and-seek as a way to avoid a loss!
The page feature in Westwood Online allows you to send messages to other Westwood Online users, even if they are currently playing a Red Alert game. If you are in a game and an incoming message appears from a user not in your game, you can reply by hitting the enter key and then typing your message.
Miscellaneous Release Notes
This update is only applicable to the Windows 95 version of Red Alert. The DOS version of the game is not updated in any way. If you experience problems with the DOS version of the game after applying the update, we recommend that you either play in Windows or re-install the product from the original Red Alert CDs.
If you have the original version of Windows 95 installed on your system, you may need to obtain a Windows update in order to install and run this Red Alert release correctly. The latest Windows "service packs" are available via the Microsoft web site. Look for the "support" area and then do a "search" for "Windows 95 service pack" or "Windows 95 updates". Alternatively, the Windows components you need are automatically updated if you install Microsoft Internet Explorer version 3.02 or higher on your system. If your system needs these updated Windows files, you will see a message to this effect (which may mention a file called OLEAUT32.DLL) after downloading the Red Alert update files or when trying to play an Internet game. This issue does not affect Windows 98 users.
This update addresses an incompatibility between the Novell Client 32 IPX software and the original release of Red Alert. It should now be possible to play IPX LAN games when using the Novell Client 32 IPX software.