Supreme Commander 2: Even Supremier

Posted by Ryan (1263 posts) -
Maybe it's the way the genre's grown more complex, maybe it's a character flaw on my part, but I haven't been able to get deep into a real-time strategy game since the early days of Command & Conquer. That said, it's hard to deny the impressive technology that Gas Powered Games brought to Supreme Commander, an RTS that valued scale over just about everything else. We got to see its upcoming sequel, the aptly named Supreme Commander 2, behind closed doors at Square Enix's E3 booth, and it seems to be refining the formula and improving the technology in some smart ways.

The first and most obviously improved aspect of SupCom2 is the environment. The maps in the original were pretty huge, but they were also kind of lacking in detail and character. This is certainly not the case for the sequel, and the map we were shown featured a terrific sense of verticality, with a futuristic city built into the side of a huge red-rock cliff with several towering mesas nearby. The game still appeared to operate on a relatively flat plane, making it seem like the map changes were mostly for show, but it left an impression nonetheless.

The art style for SupCom2 is being refined in general, with what we saw looking a little less grim and a little more fantastical. Not to say that the first Supreme Commander didn't have some crazy, ridiculous stuff, but this one definitely looks to go further. One of the things that gave Supreme Commander's sense of scale any meaning were the massive experimental units, and we were told that there will be over 25 experimentals in SupCom2, in both mini and major forms. We got to see a couple of the major experimentals in action, including a giant, lumbering humanoid robot and what Taylor himself just described as a robot dinosaur, as well as a mini, which came in the form of a unit cannon that you could use to launch a unit immediately into the action from your base.

SupCom2 will also take a few plays from Demigod, the last game that Gas Powered Games brought to market, most apparently in the research tree. In typical RTS fashion you'll collect resources to pay for access to new technology, as well as upgrades for existing unit types. There will also be a system in place where you'll earn points by attacking your enemy that you can use in a similar fashion. It sounds like the net effect of this is that you can either turtle up or play aggressively and still get access to the cool toys.

What probably shocked and impressed me most about SupCom2 was the performance. The game was running a crazy resolution of 1920 by 1080 on a machine that we're told was decidedly less than cutting edge, and even with dozens of units getting into, the frame rate was almost unnervingly smooth. It sounds like a lot of this performance will come from the ways Gas Powered Games is increasing unit detail while reducing the number of polygons they use, as well as some new pathing technology. However they're doing it, it seems to be working.

In addition to the PC version that we were being shown, Supreme Commander 2 is coming to the Xbox 360, with Taylor stating that the controls are being radically overhauled. It'll still use the basic radial menu concept, but it sounds like many lessons were learned from the 360 version of the original Supreme Commander.

Considering how insular RTS games have become over the years, I think it speaks volumes that Supreme Commander 2 was able to impress an outsider like myself. Supreme Commander 2 is currently set for a 2010 release.
Staff
#1 Posted by Ryan (1263 posts) -
Maybe it's the way the genre's grown more complex, maybe it's a character flaw on my part, but I haven't been able to get deep into a real-time strategy game since the early days of Command & Conquer. That said, it's hard to deny the impressive technology that Gas Powered Games brought to Supreme Commander, an RTS that valued scale over just about everything else. We got to see its upcoming sequel, the aptly named Supreme Commander 2, behind closed doors at Square Enix's E3 booth, and it seems to be refining the formula and improving the technology in some smart ways.

The first and most obviously improved aspect of SupCom2 is the environment. The maps in the original were pretty huge, but they were also kind of lacking in detail and character. This is certainly not the case for the sequel, and the map we were shown featured a terrific sense of verticality, with a futuristic city built into the side of a huge red-rock cliff with several towering mesas nearby. The game still appeared to operate on a relatively flat plane, making it seem like the map changes were mostly for show, but it left an impression nonetheless.

The art style for SupCom2 is being refined in general, with what we saw looking a little less grim and a little more fantastical. Not to say that the first Supreme Commander didn't have some crazy, ridiculous stuff, but this one definitely looks to go further. One of the things that gave Supreme Commander's sense of scale any meaning were the massive experimental units, and we were told that there will be over 25 experimentals in SupCom2, in both mini and major forms. We got to see a couple of the major experimentals in action, including a giant, lumbering humanoid robot and what Taylor himself just described as a robot dinosaur, as well as a mini, which came in the form of a unit cannon that you could use to launch a unit immediately into the action from your base.

SupCom2 will also take a few plays from Demigod, the last game that Gas Powered Games brought to market, most apparently in the research tree. In typical RTS fashion you'll collect resources to pay for access to new technology, as well as upgrades for existing unit types. There will also be a system in place where you'll earn points by attacking your enemy that you can use in a similar fashion. It sounds like the net effect of this is that you can either turtle up or play aggressively and still get access to the cool toys.

What probably shocked and impressed me most about SupCom2 was the performance. The game was running a crazy resolution of 1920 by 1080 on a machine that we're told was decidedly less than cutting edge, and even with dozens of units getting into, the frame rate was almost unnervingly smooth. It sounds like a lot of this performance will come from the ways Gas Powered Games is increasing unit detail while reducing the number of polygons they use, as well as some new pathing technology. However they're doing it, it seems to be working.

In addition to the PC version that we were being shown, Supreme Commander 2 is coming to the Xbox 360, with Taylor stating that the controls are being radically overhauled. It'll still use the basic radial menu concept, but it sounds like many lessons were learned from the 360 version of the original Supreme Commander.

Considering how insular RTS games have become over the years, I think it speaks volumes that Supreme Commander 2 was able to impress an outsider like myself. Supreme Commander 2 is currently set for a 2010 release.
Staff
#2 Posted by Metal_Mills (2980 posts) -

I thought the first was really weak. The visuals were so incredibly bland and had no atmosphere, the UI dreadful and the AI probably the worst I've ever seen it was basically dead. I'll keep an eye on this but I'm not expecting a good game.

#3 Posted by Hamz (6846 posts) -

The first game was a bitch to play online due to performance issues. Having so many units, buildings and suchlike really dragged that performance level down. So hopefully this second game has improved dramatically on that front. I want to be able to play my 4 player online and send masses of little dudes to their death, instead of watch my computer have a heart attack as it struggles to do so.

#4 Edited by qlum (33 posts) -

I played supreme commander at max graphics but can't play forged alliance due to my CPU I think I will play this one when I have a better PC

#5 Posted by Lazyaza (2167 posts) -

I spent many many hours with supreme commander and its xpack, really looking forward to the sequel.  By the sounds of things sc2 is going to be a hell of alot more visually pleasing and hopefully less cpu intensive.
I have a pc that can run crysis at max flawlessly yet it still cant run forged alliance at a reasonable fps on larger maps with the unit cap set above 500.   I would happily trade poly counts for higher frame rates and improved art style.

#6 Edited by Agent47CSim2 (1085 posts) -

I actually thought the first on one 360 was good, sure the monkey lord had no detail on it at all, but I thought overall it was a good game and I will definetly be getting this one.

#7 Posted by Jimbo (9772 posts) -

SupCom 1 was close to being awesome, but I really didn't like how the higher level units would make the lower level stuff totally redundant.

I also didn't like it when the AI would take their giant spider, park it out in the middle of the sea and then leave it there for the entire game.

#8 Posted by Zelnox (383 posts) -

;_; The first one wasn’t easy to run on my PC. However, it was ossum to play even with scaled down graphics.


And this game is one of the reasons that made Halo Wars unplayable for me. 
#9 Posted by Media_Master (3283 posts) -

Soo, they're making it waaaay bigger

#10 Posted by ElectricHaggis (630 posts) -

I always wanted to play the original; I just never had a PC capable of running it.

#11 Posted by MrKlorox (11206 posts) -

i totally couldn't get into supcom at all. i'll be passing this one up.

#12 Posted by psyborg0815 (444 posts) -

I really enjoyed the first game in Multiplayer, but the AI sucked ...

#13 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6087 posts) -

Games like this are the reason I wish I had a better PC.

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