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IGN preview of Supreme Commander

August 27th, 2006 by Troy Goodfellow · 5 Comments · Uncategorized

Despite the confusion over the release date in the final paragraph, Jeff Haynes’ preview of the highly anticipated Supreme Commander should further whet the appetites of Total Annihilation fans.

The highlight of the preview is the confirmation that you can zoom out to a global level, see every ongoing battle and give orders from this God-view. A developer of another RTS has said that if you make this sort of thing too useful, then all the best players will just use this angle since more information is always better than less. So, a lot of people won’t spend a lot of time with the units on ground level. I’m sure that Taylor has thought of this pitfall and will find a way around it. After all, if you can just control everything from the vantage point of a deity, why watch your little metal toys at all?

Total Annihilation is one of the big gaps in my strategy gaming pedigree. It came out at a time when my discretionary income was spent mostly on second run movie theaters and good Chinese food. I haven’t picked it up since, though I should probably look around for a copy. This means that I can’t get all wrapped up in the energy surrounding Supreme Commander.

I’ve written earlier about how science fiction is really not my bag. I like a good sci-fi movie or TV show. Babylon 5 is a personal favorite in spite of the crappy final season. True, Galactic Civilizations II is one of my favorite games of the year so far, but that’s an aberration since it’s so damned good.

I write this as a bit of a confession that there won’t be all that much Supreme Commander news, then until it comes out in early 2007. I have no investment in its success since I never played the first one and the subject matter doesn’t grab me as much as, say, the next great historical war game does. But I encourage you all to read the previews, follow the interviews and point me to stuff that I should know before I can comment intelligently on Chris Taylor’s new RTS. I am willing to learn.


5 Comments so far ↓

  • Toby Hede

    I played a fair bit of TA “back in the day”, but it never really superceded StarCraft and C&Cin my little group’s regular network play.

    The resource model meant that you could sit back and build power stations – you did not have to venture away from your stronghold to collect resources. Not that I am a massive fan of excessive recoure micro-management, but I love the rolling strategic battles for resources neccessary in games like Star Craft. TA seemed to always play out as a bunker, build, then unleash game. Of course, the battles at the time were at a scale we’d never seen before – hundreds of units rather than dozens, so it was definitely fun, but always tended to brute force rather than finesse.

  • Troy

    The battle for resource supremacy is part of what makes Battle for Middle Earth II so great. An efficient economy entirely depends on you pushing your resource buildings into the middle of the map. There aren’t specific resource nodes to protect or rush to, so there are options, but you can’t survive by sitting and waiting for the wealth to pour in.

    Reportedly, a BfME2 update will make walls and siege craft more useful, a plan more friendly to turtling, especially on those maps with natural chokepoints, but I’m with you on making people fight for their wealth.

  • baby arm

    You can find out all you might want to know about Supreme Commander in Shack’s recent Chris Taylor interview.


    Some of the big selling points are the ground-to-global zoom, fully simulated projectiles, and integrated sea-air-land combat. Really though, I’m guessing the bulk of the excitement about SC revolves around the sheer visual spectacle. The game just looks cool, even though most individual units are actually pretty bland. Check the trailer to see what I mean:


  • Alan

    Uh oh, it looks like the linkspammers have found us.

  • You read it here first…

    […] Six months ago, I hypothesized that Supreme Commander’s use of a super zoom could lead to players’ ignoring all the artwork and animation so they could look at the big picture strategic zoom. Why deprive yourself of more information in real time combat by sticking close to ground level? […]