No Chicken Supreme: Supreme Commander 2

By Kieron Gillen on November 19th, 2009 at 11:48 am.

I don't often link an image to click through to another site, but this is a special occasion. THIS IS A PC GAMING SCREENSHOT.

More news leaking out about Supreme Commander, which is due for a Spring 2010 release now. The new screenshot gallery really does make me say “Crikey” more than I normally do (Normal Crikey rates are about 1.5 per minute. Supreme Commander 2′s screens rise it to a mighty 5.4). I mean, have a look at this bad boy. There’s also a HD version of a video we’ve linked to previously, which really shows off the game to its best. Basically, Supreme Commander increasingly reminds me of hyperviolent lego meets Epic-scale 40K. Fuckyeahosity is high.

I hope they pull it off. Supreme Commander’s update of Total Annihilation wasn’t quite right. I approve the more-is-more design, but bits of the single player – like the game urging you to complete a section as quickly as you can, but if you actually did that, the next challenge would crush your depleted forces. What it always actually meant was “ignore the game insulting you for being slow – construct a proper infrastructure, and rebuild your forces before crushing the final few enemy units, because the second you do the next objective will send a wave of fighters at your position and end the game”. That they did the same thing in the expandalone sequel implies that they hadn’t quite learned the lesson – or, even worse, think it wasn’t a mistake. We’ll see. That they’ve realised lots of faults like the over-busy AI makes me hopeful. And the upgrading of the units seems aces, as does some of the more mental special thingies – I approve of the cannon which fires units at the enemy. And, as previously stated, Fuckyeahosity is high.

Hmm. Just as a thought: someone really should do an Warhammer 40K skin for Supreme Commander.

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92 Comments »

  1. Ian says:

    Not much going on in that screenshot, is there.

  2. Rinox says:

    Still can’t get over that mecha dinosaur :-D

  3. TotalBiscuit says:

    I have serious concerns over 2 issues.

    Firstly, the dumbing down of the economy. Why? You’ve got a huge-scale sci-fi RTS that is only going to be played well by folks who are good at RTS anyway, so why dumb down the economic aspect of it? Managing resources is part of playing an RTS, whether you like it or not. Either you go the whole hog and take the Ground Control/World in Conflict route, eliminating the economy completely, or you accept that good econ is part of the skillset required to play RTS at a decent level.

    Of bigger concern is the use of Demigod style maps. Sure, they look great, but they were a disaster for Demigod. The reason? They were too expensive and too complex to make any more of and the community did not have the tools or expertise to make custom maps themselves. Demigod’s maps are by and large awful to play on, even though they look stunning. If SC2 goes down the same route, it will kill the competitive scene before it even starts. Some of the best SC maps are custom made and playing on the same few maps over and over again will rapidly get old.

    I have to admit my faith in GPG has taken a severe beating lately. Demigod was awful, so was Space Siege and so far I’m not liking the look of what they’re doing to what was one of my favourite RTS’s ever.

    • Severian says:

      As a Demigod fanboy, I have to speak up here. I agree that that DG has failed its player-base by not provided enough maps, esp those well-balanced for 3v3. I am dead sick of playing Cataract and so is everyone else who has stuck with the game. And yes, they should have released modding tools earlier and made it easier for players to generate their own. But I love the style and play of the DG maps – even Cataract – and they’re a major reason I’ve stuck with the game through all the absurdity.

      GPG understands “fun”, I think. Their failure is in execution. I even felt this way about Dungeon Siege, which I played to death.

    • Tei says:

      it renders 3D visually, but I have not see a map with hills or other 3D element, so is 2D maps to me. Maybe not that important, in a RTS where shotting from a hill has not advantage… what is strange. Also, maybe this type of RTS are more about choreography (be able to move all the units in perfect coordination) and comonsense/knogwment (know the rock papar scissor rules) than about strategy. Most games try to move the player from a “exploiter mindset” where the player search a weakness to exploit, to a “sport” mindset, where the player must follow some random rules and play how is suppose to.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      When they released the modding tools is of no consequence, the way that those maps are designed makes creating more almost impossible for the community. They said themselves that the maps were so time-consuming and expensive to produce that they probably wouldn’t be making any more of them, so how they do they expect modders to do it? It was an extremely bad design choice on their part and unfortunately it looks like they haven’t learned from that.

    • Tei says:

      Modders ability to mod, sould not limit devs. If dev’s can make something awesome, go for it. Is differnet wen a dev walk out of his way to try to stop modding:

  4. Radiant says:

    My pc is going to cry out in pain!

  5. Dodo says:

    @kieron
    I actually loved the big attacks after you completed your objective with depleted resources and almost no units. It made you rethink your strategy, improvise and you sometimes have to move your entire base to an small island and start making a large naval force, as the mainland was overrun by the enemy.

    • PHeMoX says:

      I agree, it enhanced the gaming experience as it prevents you from being careless. Also, it seemed to work fine against tank-rushes and all that.

      It made the game less accessible I guess, but a whole lot more fun to play. I appreciate the fact that the map starts small, then when you progress it expands and you’ll end up in challenging trouble.

      I think they thought about that for a good while and realized it’s gaming potential, which is PLAIN AWESOME.

      I’m sorry, but fck the inexperienced casual gamers. This game is an RTS.

  6. CMaster says:

    Oh god the slowdown.
    Oh god the micro.

    If they can fix either of those two, it will be a worthwhile upgrade on the first game good but deeply flawed game. I’m not sure they will however.

    • David says:

      The slowdown in the original was attributed to the cost of pathfinding for so many units in the previous version of this video. Which, when you realise just how much CPU work that is, at the scales requires, poor caching performance, frequency of update, etc. seems entirely understandable.

      It’s something they’ve spent significant time addressing in the sequel; they make reference to Flowfield techniques developed by the University of Washington in the video; I think the previous version had more details..

      I think there was something about offloading some of the parallel computation previously done by the host CPU to the GPU, which could also have a significant impact.

    • Draken says:

      Take the micro away from a RTS? What do you want, that the game plays itself?

      After you learn, microing in SupCom becomes quite easy, especially since no unit has any active abitily that plagues RTSs since Warcraft.

      Also, three-front war is epic.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      what micro? supcom is about almost automating the base and moving blobs around.

  7. ourdreamsoffreedom says:

    That looks awesome. I loved Supreme Commander. It was really underrated. I truly welcome the advent of aesthetically pretty nonsymmetric maps. The whiny competitive scene can eat my shorts, really. Not sure how I feel about the streamlined Aeon merging with the blocky Cybrin (sp?) though.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Ahh yes, balance is just for spergin’ whining tourneyfags, amirite guys?

      You need only look at Demigod to see what a bad idea that is. Do whatever you want with the single-player but if there are no good multiplayer maps then the game is dead in the water anyway. Don’t tell me you played SupCom for the singleplayer, because I’ll turn around and tell you you’re crazy.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      TotalBiscuit: Funny you mention that. I’ll be posting something later about that from Stardock’s end of year report. Only 23% of the people who bought Demigod even *attempted* to go online. That’s on a clear multi-player centric game as DemiGod.

      KG

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Kieron – I read the same report and was flabbergasted by that particular statistic. The single-player aspect of Demigod is almost non-existent. It’s like buying Counterstrike Source and then only ever playing with bots. I suppose it’s possible that folks liked the concept, bought the game, played it’s lackluster singleplayer option and then shelved it, but for that number to be the overwhelming majority boggles the mind.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Total: Absolutely. On the other hand, it does kind of undermine your previous argument.

      KG

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Kieron – I find forced cognitive dissonance to be an immense help in these situations. Either that or flagrant overblown elitism. Sometimes both.

      Is ‘bitches be crazy’ a valid argument?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Biscuit: Whatever gets us through the day.

      KG

    • MonkeyMonster says:

      I never played suppcomm in mutli player and really rather enjoyed playing through the sp playing through each race

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Well let me have a crack at rationalising the point.

      Demigod does not disprove my assertion that without proper multiplayer balancing and decent maps that the game will end up dead in the water. How well did Demigod sell? Not very. Did the multiplayer scene of Demigod ever take off in any way? Not really. There are a number of ways that one can interpret Stardock’s data. In terms of the 23% statistic, one could argue that the majority of players started in single-player mode in order to get to grips with the game and disliked it or got bored to the point of never bothering to go online. I also believe that RTS has a particular stigma attached to online play, in that it’s like swimming in shark-infested waters. Competitive RTS can be absolutely brutal and new players can and do get annihilated over and over again by experienced players. This puts non-competitive folks off playing online.

      Regardless of this, the competitive scene is required in order to keep an RTS relevant. Campaigns generally have no replayability as well as obvious finite length, online play keeps people from shelving the game. An active online scene encourages post-release sales and keeps the developers invested into providing balancing changes and updates. The scope of the competitive scene is far larger than the tiny top-tier of eSports professionals, anyone who goes online to play against random people is, in their own way, a part of the competitive scene. A game with an active enough online community will push top-tier eSports to the fore. The fact that this hasn’t happened with Demigod, when the online playerbase consists of Demigod’s most competitive players (ie. those not scared of online play), is indicative of the fact that Demigod is fundamentally broken in a number of different ways, not least of which is the terrible map design, a vital element of that particular subset of RTS.

      To conclude, campaigns do not keep games alive, online play does. One need only look at Starcraft to see that this is especially true with RTS. Proper, balanced map design is an important part of keeping people playing and some of that design will come from the community if the developer lets it. Going down to the route of a few, uber-expensive, assymetrical 3d maps, as opposed to the more traditional and easier to design format, is dangerous and if Demigod is anything to go by, will consign the game to rapid irrelevance faster than SupCom (which deserved better).

    • ourdreamsoffreedom says:

      Now you’re just making things up.

      It’s very unlikely that anyone who bought a game for multiplayer would simply abandon the game after a match in singleplayer.

      It’s clear that the vast majority of people buy (PC) games for singleplayer campaigns or skirmishes.

      As far as competitive gaming goes, it can die in a fire. Sure, fine, enjoy your ugly games, ridiculous gamma levels and bright yellow models and boring gameplay in the name of balance, but don’t push that shit on other people.

    • Starky says:

      I’m one of those people who never took Demigod online, and I can tell you it’s because when I bought the game, you could not get online, it just didn’t work.
      So I played it offline, and it sucked – killing any intrest I might of had to try the game online when they got around to patching the fixes in, or sorting our their servers.

      What Demigod underlined for me, and what Heroes of Newerth highlighted in nuclear glowing green is that even the most online centric game needs a good and gentle single player tutorial or I (and going by those statistics many others) lose interest.

      I always feel bad jumping straight into multiplayer in competitive games, because it sucks being the utter newb and having no idea how to play, dragging down your team – and if the community is as hostile as Heroes of Newerth you’ll get insulted, flamed and most likely kicked for trying to learn.

      It’s not so bad in FPS games, because they’re all basically the same, when I loaded up TF2 for the first time I’d had 10+ years of training and practice, and Valve made it really easy and pleasurable to get into, nice tips, simple controls, easy to understand objectives and feedback, all spot on.

      ARMA 2 is harder, but again, single player, tutorials and sandbox mode lt you get a feel for the game and how to play before you ever step online.

      So in a way that statistic does not shock me, given that 77% of people who never played Demigod online were probably first 2 weeks sales, when trying to play online was an exercise in frustration, and there was no real single player to speak of. A tutorial (+ points for voice over rather than text) with bots explaining the game and letting you experiment is all that is needed.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      “Now you’re just making things up.”

      Really? Can you prove that?

      “It’s very unlikely that anyone who bought a game for multiplayer would simply abandon the game after a match in singleplayer.”

      Who said anything about ‘a match?’. How about several hours worth of matches? I was unable to play a game of Demigod on launch for weeks due to the total screwup of the online launch. By the time that was resolved to a satisfactory standard, I had no desire to play it online anyway because it wasn’t a very good game.

      “It’s clear that the vast majority of people buy (PC) games for singleplayer campaigns or skirmishes.”

      No it isn’t. That one statistic does not prove that at all and is an extremely thin piece of ice to balance that monolithic assertion on.

      “As far as competitive gaming goes, it can die in a fire. Sure, fine, enjoy your ugly games, ridiculous gamma levels and bright yellow models and boring gameplay in the name of balance, but don’t push that shit on other people.”

      Let me guess, somebody got their ass kicked one too many times and bears a grudge? Since we’re going down the internet hostility route, allow me to retort.

      Sure, fine, enjoy your shiny, shallow broken games with flashy graphics, terrible shelf-life and awful balance, but don’t push that shit on other people.

      If the majority of folks buy RTS for the single-player mode, would you mind explaining to me why exactly Warcraft 3 and Starcraft are still two of the most popular games in the world, years and years after their release? Do you think they’re just going through the campaign over and over again? Don’t make me laugh, RTS belongs online, it’s the only way to circumvent the horrible, cheating AI that has plagued the genre since Dune 2. If you’re going to advocate devolution of my most beloved genre then will you kindly go and do so on a platform that doesn’t matter, like say, the Wii.

    • Rinox says:

      Also, regardless of the MP/SP debate, you shouldn’t forget that many people who buys games don’t have any idea of what they’re really getting. Sure, we’re usually superinformed about a game’s purpose and qualities (thanks RPS!), but we don’t exactly make up the majority of the market. A lot of people will buy a game just because “it looks cool”, because it’s hyped, because they think they saw their nephew play “something like that” and want to buy him a christmas present…etc.

      That also explains how some of those awful, awful games that litter the stores’ lower racks get sold. Stuff like The Butcher.

      http://cgi.ebay.nl/The-Butcher_W0QQitemZ350257688803QQcmdZViewItemQQimsxZ20090927?IMSfp=TL090927148001r281

    • Rinox says:

      Well frakked up that post. Sorry about that.

    • Colthor says:

      What was that statistic about the proportion of people who played Unreal Tournament (was it 2004?) online?

    • CMaster says:

      ““Now you’re just making things up.”

      Really? Can you prove that?”

      Actually, Biscuit, it’s on you to prove that you aren’t making things up in this case. Find numbers or even more wooly statments showing a game where the majority of purchases ended up playing online. With regards to UT 2k4, not sure if they ever gave a number, but pretty sure it was “less than half”. Most of the evidence points towards the majority of games being bought and played single player.

      Of course, you make a solid point that if you can get a really solid multiplayer component and community going then this does indeed keep the game alive and selling for years and years. But games that manage that, out of those that set out to are few and far betweeen.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      CMaster – Of course, I am aware of where the burden of proof lies. However, as you know, that proof does not exist one way or the other, all we have is anecdotal evidence. I was curious as to whether the other fellow had some information I hadn’t read.

  8. kyrieee says:

    Chris Taylor is a horrible narrator

  9. Heliocentric says:

    Who plays rts for the campaign anymore? Unless its coop. I always play the coop to learn the units but on easy to avoid some of the design bumps. Ever play spellforce? Its actually harder on easy. Wtf

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      The only 2 exceptions to this rule are Command and Conquer games (for the cutscenes) and World in Conflict (because it’s awesome).

    • Dominic White says:

      “Who plays rts for the campaign anymore?”

      Most people, as mentioned above. Even multiplayer-centric games are more often played offline than on. The multiplayer hardcore are a disproportionately loud minority, that’s all.

    • Dominic White says:

      Replying to myself, because something that just occured to me…

      The cheap-but-huge singleplayer-only expansion for Red Alert 3, Uprising, got shat on by reviewers because it didn’t have multiplayer (despite it actually being longer than the original RA3, and having skirmish mode on top). If the vast majority of the audience would never have touched online mode in the first place, isn’t this a pretty glaring flaw on the part of the reviewers in question?

    • Rich says:

      “Who plays rts for the campaign anymore?”

      Me. Always have, always will. Same on any genre.
      I’m really not interested in multiplayer RTS’, unless it’s coop.
      Was put right off, when I were a lad, by the Zerg rushing buggars on Battlenet.

      Although SupCom’s campaign was annoying for a number of reasons.
      Typically I like to be able to play with the full tech. tree for a few good levels before the end game.

    • autogunner says:

      how about the little known total war series, whose last outing was no 1 on ALL games charts for about a month after release? not multiplayer there…

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Total War is not an RTS.

    • Yargh says:

      I do (play campaign), in fact I still much prefer playing with myself most of the time instead of wasting time trying to organise multiplayer game matchups

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      Loads of people, judging by the statistics. Including me. I’m a huge RTS fan, but the only RTS I play multiplayer (other than a handful of skirmishes) is Company of Heroes, and even with that I’ve played through the campaigns (with all the expansions) multiple times. And Demigod, if you count that as an RTS.

    • Rinox says:

      I only play RTS games for their single-player…last one I really attempted online was SC. I’m just not interested enough in the genre/not good enough to play against people online, and losing over and over again against superior players isn’t my idea of relaxation. Plowing through ranks of meaningless n44bs, however, is still mildly amusing. ;-)

      That said, co-op is tons of fun. RA3 deserved the label ‘good’ thanks to its co-op for me, but the camp-o-tastic FMV helped (and the Hoff…).

      Maybe it’s the loser in me speaking, but I find that many modern RTS games just come down to lighting-speed clicking and building anyway these days. They’re more of a testament to one’s stress management skills than actual strategy.

    • Heliocentric says:

      I was being devils advocate with who plays single, i even admitted i play single player. Its a pretty established fact that multiplayer in strategy games is about 10% of the player base and about 15% of the playtime, but about 95% of the forum posts.

    • Vinraith says:

      “multiplayer in strategy games is about 10% of the player base and about 15% of the playtime, but about 95% of the forum posts.”

      A-freaking-men.

      I’d say that’s true of more than just strategy games as well.

      Personally, on the occasion that I DO take a strategy game (be it RTS or grand strategy) on line, it’s almost always to play co-op against AI with a friend, which really involves most of the same considerations as the single player game (like challenging AI) and renders things like perfect multiplayer balance just as unimportant.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Even if those statistics were accurate rather than fictional, it doesn’t really matter. Those playing the game for longer than a month or two are those playing multiplayer, so any post-release support at that point should naturally be aimed squarely at them. The multiplayer element is (yes, I am repeating myself) also what ensures long-term shelf-life and continued sales, so catering to that element is sound business sense.

      Blizzard don’t keep patching Warcraft 3 and Starcraft out of the goodness of their hearts. They do it because even after 10 years (in the case of Starcraft) the games continue to sell copies for the multiplayer.

    • Vinraith says:

      I can only speak for myself, of course, but I violate both of your rules TB. I bought Warcraft 3 quite a few years after its release for the mods. I’ve never played it in competitive multiplayer, and have no desire to do so, but I go back to it periodically to try new games that have been built on the engine solo or co-op with friends.

      Similarly, I find RTS games with an open campaign structure (Dark Crusade, Rise of Nations) are continual draws. I’ve been periodically breaking out an playing Rise of Nations SP and in co-op with friends against AI for 6 years now, so clearly competitive multiplayer has no impact whatsoever on the shelf life of a game for me.

      If anything, I think the opposite of what you suggest is true. Multiplayer communities shrink, become insular and hardcore, and generally aren’t worth much of anything (if they exist at all) beyond perhaps the first year of a game’s life. If a game is to be worth anything in the long run, it has to have strong single player and strong support for small groups of friends to play (be it against one another or the AI). I still break out the original Majesty from time to time, and that one doesn’t even function online anymore as far as I know. Quite a few games I play regularly don’t, so it’s a good thing attention was paid to their SP components or they be collecting dust in a box somewhere.

    • JB says:

      @ Yargh

      You just know that’s going to become a forum sig: “I still much prefer playing with myself most of the time”.

      Classic.

    • Jambe says:

      “Those playing the game for longer than a month or two are those playing multiplayer…”

      So they can’t make stuff up… but you can make up the opposite of what they say? If the single-player component of an RTS is good people will pay for it. I can’t think of how many hours I wasted skirmishing against custom bots on TA, playing metal maps and lining up Big Berthas just to watch the pretty explosions and such. I downloaded all the patches and extra units and bought the two expansions solely on the merit of the SP experience. I tended to get my ass handed to me on Boneyards so I only hit up MP with friends who I knew would go easy on me or who were about my skill level.

      Nothing stops people from putting out a solid RTS with a core campaign experience and releasing additional SP experiences as DLC (free or otherwise) post-launch. It’s just that, generally speaking, this doesn’t happen much. There’ve been some patches in games which could themselves constitute a hefty DLC add-on (Kerberos does this all the time) but by in large these sorts of games either sink right after launch or they get progressive mechanics patches with very little content additions and then they’re serialized.

      That’s my impression anyway. Could be totally wrong.

  10. RogB says:

    ive never liked TA/SC much but this looks pleasingly bonkers.

  11. kyrieee says:

    lol I think he thinks the silly stuff at the end is actually cool

  12. Lack_26 says:

    I only every played skirmishes against the AI, I had some fun. But it would be better against an opponent interested in playing the same way.

  13. Azazel says:

    Can we just all have a moment for Epic 40k?

    That really was one of GW’s very finest. The rules were brilliant even though it pissed off the fanboiz by being the first system that didn’t have about 10 billion separate rules for every chainfist/powerfist blah blah.

    I’d be interested to know if the guys at Relic ever played it when they were working on Dawn of War. The mechanic in Company of Heroes of units being suppressed and pinned by different weapons was exactly the same as the one introduced in Epic 40k.

    Anyway… great game.

  14. ToadSmokingDuckMonkey says:

    Ah, the Demigod-ish levels, the dumbed down UI, dumbed down economy, the Flash-game-like upgrades for everything, the emphasis of kitschy gimmicks over truly cool and fitting superunits for each faction. Well, thats what it looks like.

    We’re told that there will be more characterization of the personalities in single player.

    Both of these things make it sound like Squeenix is leaving their mark on the product.

    I am a huge fan of TA (I can’t begin to count the hours lost). My friends and I tried very hard to have fun with TA: Kingdoms (always very unbalanced). I probably plowed 300+ hours into multi in Supreme Commander and Forged Alliances. I made (crappy-looking) maps for our lan group for each, which always seemed to end up with 3 or 5 or 7 players (or 9-12 in TA), as the map choices for odd-numbered player FFA were thin in each. I play the fan-made TA Spring regularly. You might say I’m dedicated to the franchise.

    I’m not really sure I’ll be buying this. Chris Taylor and Gas Powered Games have had a bit of a run lately with big promises, miniscule followup, and missed chances (SC and Space Siege, SC/FA, every game he’s made at Gas Powered).

    • Rich says:

      “I’m not really sure I’ll be buying this. Chris Taylor and Gas Powered Games have had a bit of a run lately with big promises, miniscule followup, and missed chances (SC and Space Siege, SC/FA, every game he’s made at Gas Powered).”

      Seconded. I enjoyed playing SupCom like a bigger-than-normal RTS, but it was a let-down overall. The promises made about the tactical interface and scale was never really lived up to. The GUI was a mess at release for anyone without the ability to play at massive x enormous resolution. For goodness sake, it took them several patches before I could set up ferry routes that multiple transports could follow. And as for the supposed ability to coordinate attacks, don’t get me started.

    • ToadSmokingDuckMonkey says:

      Actually, Ferry Points and Coordinated Attacks worked during beta. Along with a number of graphic effects (better dust clouds behind units on sand, better, more linger-y smoke, and loooooong lasting normal-mapped craters, tread marks, and tracks), these were more or less cut out of the retail product for performance and network sync reasons. Coordinated attacks had about a 1/10 chance of causing you to desync during multi and drop.

  15. Rosti says:

    I’m more excited by this news than I thought I would – essentially, I gave up on the first one because it started feeling more like work than, well, my work. Excellent but exhausting.

  16. Colthor says:

    IIRC Uprising got shat on in reviews because some of its SP levels were awful.

    (Not played it, just remembering the PCG review.)

  17. Gap Gen says:

    My biggest issue with SupCom was the lack of scale reference. A Galactic Colossus zoomed out looks just like a tiny robot zoomed in. It took me watching the Rooster Teeth SupCom parody to go “Whoah. That robot is quite big”.

    Total Annihilation didn’t have this problem because of the fixed height camera. The SupCom camera interface is great, though, so I hope they find an appropriate compromise between the camera and the sense of awe you get from realising quite how big things are.

    • Tei says:

      “My biggest issue with SupCom was the lack of scale reference. A Galactic Colossus zoomed out looks just like a tiny robot zoomed in. It took me watching the Rooster Teeth SupCom parody to go “Whoah. That robot is quite big”.”

      Making the game more “epic scale big” will unbalance the game to singleplayer, IMHO. There was a video of a shinking boat in youtube, made “epic big scale” just changing the speed the thing shinks. I suppose to make a robot looks heavy, you need to make it a unstopable force (destroy anything in his path), and make his dead epic and slow, and apocaliptic.

    • Koozer says:

      All you need are reference points, things you know the size of that you can compare the big stompy robots with. Things like trees, people or buildings. REAL buildings with human-sized doors and windows, not the war factories and power plants. Going off of memory, the basic Cybran units (those little spidery things with the pew pew laser) were about half the height of a pine tree, about 1-2 people tall I’d say. The experimentals must be Massive with a capital M.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Yeah, they did miss a trick having robots stomp through a ruined city in SupCom. The human settlements in the game were always a little pathetic.

    • MajorManiac says:

      I agree. I like the look of the new map in that it give some sense of scale.

      I think the maps from the 1st game would have been greatly improved with simple (to image, perhaps not to impliment) details such as civilian roads, electric poles etc… Maybe they could steal people’s creations from SimCity. :)

  18. Arathain says:

    I play RTSs single player. Mostly because I’m not very good at them. Been playing them since Dune 2, and at this point I think I can comfortably say I’m not really going to get a lot better without more effort than I’m willing to put in. So no multiplayer for me, except once in a great while when I’m in a mood to get destroyed online.

    But I love them all the same. Well designed units are the perfect videogame toys, and playing with them gets you explosions, thus I am happy.

    My understanding for the ‘dumbing down’ of the economy was the removal of the engineers’ ability to speed construction. Was managing two dozen odd engineers all doing different things really that much fun? I think I’d prefer to spend more time with things that cause explosions, and making neat bases and absurd Maginot line defenses. I think ‘dumbing down’ is an odd charge for an RTS of this scale. The victory is still likely to go to the player who is able to do the most things at once and has the best micro. Taking away one aspect of micro is just going to re-emphasis others.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      SC’s automation meant that managing those engineers was not difficult. The ability to manage one’s income vs expense was vital to the SC experience, just as it was to Total Annihilation. If I want to be able to sacrifice stored resources in order to accelerate a building project, I should be able to do that, that is a strategic choice and one that encourages building and subsequently upgrading and defending a solid economic infrastructure. That’s part of the RTS skillset and I enjoy doing it, because mastery of such a system lets me blow things up in bigger and more effective ways.

    • Arathain says:

      I get that. My personal problem with RTSs is keeping track of everything at once. I’m happy building bases, I’m happy prioritising construction and I’m happy commanding my forces. Ask me to do all of that at once, as multiplayer RTSs require, and I fall to bits. So that’s my personal bias. I have no doubt that for skilled players the spinning plates aspect is a large portion of the fun.

      One of the things I like about TA/SC is the automation, and I do use it extensively. But when I’m churning out engineers of different levels at different times doing different things while trying to fight a war I quickly lose track or forget where all my engineers are, or whether they’re doing smart things right now. It’s a distraction. So I (personally) am happy to see that gone. I hope the Commander retains the ability to greatly speed construction, because that effectively represents the player’s attention and priorities in a satisfying, onscreen way, and it’s a lot easier to track.

  19. Arathain says:

    And on the toy-box standard those screenshots have me drooling.

  20. triple_a says:

    Another concerned citizen reporting in. Looks like a dumbed & scaled down version of the first game. There was nothing wrong with the first one except the horrible narrative. I blame the Xbox for this. They made the first game for the PC first and tried to port it to the 360 afterwards. This time they’re developing in parallel so unless the versions are really different, we can expect lot less units on the screen at the same time.

    I’ll still give it a chance, but it doesn’t look too good at this point.

  21. WilPal says:

    I have never played the first game, but this looks like a hell of alot of fun. :D

  22. Railick says:

    I have to agree with Vinraith and I fall into the same commmunity he does more or less. I’ve never been into hard core multiplayer RTS games but I have purchased literally every RTS game released over the last 17 years or so. I’ve played many online but it is always in either co-op mode or in the case of Starcraft and Warcraft 3 in custom map mode. Some of those pit you against other players but I tended away from the ones that required hard core PVP action and played those you could either do Co-Op or were just totally silly. Like I played the paint ball maps but almost never played DotA. My favorite for starcraft where the Starship trooper co-op maps where you had to build up defenses against a never ending onslaught of zerg ^_^

    • lagmint says:

      I was mostly that way too :)

      I’m awful at resource management, but seem rather good at squad management. In Starcraft I was infamous for both my intricately timed drops/counter attacks/etc on people as well as my complete inability to gather the ‘correct’ resources for my armies.

      Which is funny, because I thought I was playing Sergeant/Leftenant/General, not playing Leftenant/General/Prime Minister/Finance Minister/Foreman/Welder/Medic/Sergeant/Agriculture Minister/etc.

    • Arathain says:

      But that’s the bizzare thing about the mainstream RTS, isn’t it? You’re the general, dictating broad strategy, but you’re also every squad commander- :Stand there! No, there! Now move over there! Throw your grenade… now!” You’re also the engineers, and the logistics core, and every role in between. Your true role: army nursemaid.

      I do like automation and streamlining, because the guy I want to be is the general, directing fire, broad movement, and calling in support. A whole army that blows up stuff just how I want it.

  23. lagmint says:

    “Managing resources is part of playing an RTS, whether you like it or not.”

    Thats bullshit. Unless you count the units themselves as resources. See Close Combat (the strat series, not the FPS one) for a good example.

  24. army of none says:

    There’s a giant cybernetic T-Rex as an experimental unit, you say? SOLD.

  25. SwiftRanger says:

    The most played RTS mode is easily skirmish. Going online with an RTS against real people is something else than joining a FPS multiplayer session. Winning or losing is a much bigger deal and while that means a victory can be much more enjoyable it also means the genre will never attract a big online audience like action games do.

    As for SupCom 1: ace, with FA one of the most important RTS games of the last few years. Imo it mostly had practical flaws like desyncs, lag, NAT issues online and the obligatory disappointing campaign (a “standard feature” of RTS games though) but the zoom, UI and shortcut keys should be featured in every new RTS. GPG nailed that like no-one else, not even the games which came after SupCom like SoaSE.

    As for SupCom 2: the game sounds promising again, for every “dumbing down” there seems to be a right reasoning and the flow of a match doesn’t seem harmed as well if we can believe a SupCom-AI-modder-turned-into-GPG developer. No, my biggest worry is the publisher, Square-Enix ain’t THQ when it comes to marketing and judging the quality of a PC RTS game.

    The screenshots look awesome for a large-scale game.

    • DK says:

      “As for SupCom 2: the game sounds promising again, for every “dumbing down” there seems to be a right reasoning…”
      Except for the butchering of any and all existing art style or cohesive faction design.
      Instead of making the 3 sides into bland rainbow-coloured mecha-thing using blandraces they should have done what they claimed to do in the first SupCom before it was released:

      Make the art style and design consistent, and give it a gameplay impact. Where are the Aeon units that are invisible in their shell-form and only appear when they unfold to fight (some Taylor toured the press with by the way).

      If there’s one thing SupCom did do right it’s the strategic zoom. But if there are [i]two[/i] things it did right, the second is keeping the unit designs consistent:

      Cybran are spiky, reddish, buglike, spidery.
      UEF are blue, boxy, boring tanks designed by some poor depressed office worker.
      Aeon are round, shiny, chrome and seamless. (until the unfolding part that was cut out)

      None of the above is true anymore in SupCom 2.

    • SwiftRanger says:

      Euh, I think it’s still very clear how the blocky/tracked, sharp/legged or round/floating shapes point to a certain faction. So what if the Aeon weaponry doesn’t unfold like CT said once in one of the first SupCom 1 interviews which had several disclaimers in it that not everything promised could be accomplished in time (like the coop campaigns).

      The differences between the sides weren’t that big in SupCom 1 but they were in the details and it did matter in multiplayer games if you knew about them. When you hear that in SupCom 2 a whole side won’t have boats anymore (just hover crafts, presumably the Illuminate) then I don’t think we should be worried about less variety between factions.

  26. SirDorius says:

    I hope you can actually get past Tech1 in duels in the sequel. Oh, and netcode optimization. Also, is it so freaking hard to point out that you and a friend playing on a LAN have a different version BEFORE the game starts?

  27. Vitamin Powered says:

    As a fan of the first I’m interested to see whether all the maps are going to be in the new “tight confined area” mold or whether we’ll see the large open maps of the original complimenting the new focus. Whilst the new map style looks awesome and promising, it does seem to take away from the original’s sense of wondrous scale.

    Also: Dinobots. Fuck yeah.

  28. Torgen says:

    I loved TA, would love to get the game again, but those screenshots leave me cold. All the vehicles looks like kid’s toys. I guess TA was a “lightning strikes” type occurrence, not ever to be duplicated.

  29. Ginger Yellow says:

    I have to say I’m more excited about the pathfinding in this game than anything else. For that matter, I’m more excited about the pathfinding in this game than I have been about anything in an RTS for some time.

  30. nichevo says:

    One of the problems with Sup Com 1′s story was that it felt like a bad soap opera about giant robot pilots. The Sup Com “Infinite War” is a strange one, it’s a thin scattering of people supported by bucket loads of unthinking machines. You can’t tell a conventional war story.

    I think the story should have been more like TA’s. It was like commentary on a chess game. The deep-voiced narrator would speak about the planet-of-the-day and the strategies CORE and ARM were using.

    If one simply must inject human emotions into the story, then consider the maddening lonliness and stress of fighting alone over a planet for days, weeks, months on end. Consider that only the best and brightest would be selected as ACU pilots, not immature Top Gun types.

    Basically I’m saying it’s high-concept science fiction and I think it should have a equally non-traditional story to match.

  31. Mark-kun says:

    I must say nichevo, you’ve struck a point there. But i think its would be a bit lacking in emotion if it was just emo, it worked well before, and could work well for a sub campain but i don’t know how much i would like to play an entire game these days with a detached pilot. especialy when we know what the pilots look like, and understand/expect that there will be many many citys filled with people. In TA we know Commanders were solitry, but thats because of the mind transfer and the fact they could live eternaly as a machene, where now they are people fighting to protect family and nations.

  32. Ginger Yellow says:

    I liked the story in SupCom. But mainly because the voice actors were the voice actors from Ghost in the Shell.

  33. islisis says:

    looks like they’ve decided to take some leaves out of the Earth 21xx series’s book, modular units and a naval-less hover technology faction? i hope that series will never be forgotten…

  34. MadMatty says:

    WoooHOOO – looking forward to this one. Its true that SupCom wasnt too good in singleplayer, but we had countless hours blasting the crap out of each other in multi. Looking good :D

  35. vicx says:

    I loved supcom – used to single player it. Slow down the gamespeed and micro the hell out of it. Beating the level with least amount of losses was my game.

    Now these screens are awful. They have to be console screens. No AA and not nearly enough polys or texture resolution to be pc shots.

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