Chris Taylor makes his return to the Real-Time Strategy market with Supreme Commander, a spiritual successor to his previous title, Total Annihilation. Many other elements from Total Annihilation have made their way to Supreme Commander, including the return of Commander units and the ability to queue orders. Players are once again given control of a large Commander, this time called an Armored Command Unit (commonly abbreviated ACU), that is used to create their base, and acts as their character within the game world. Supreme Commander emphasizes tactical coordination and large scale conflicts. Players are given many tools to help manage their forces, which can vary from 250 to 1000 units on maps as small as five square kilometers or as large as 81 square kilometers. Up to eight players can collide in a single match, either over the internet or against AI opponents. Game times vary accordingly, with matches lasting between an hour or less and an entire day's worth of gameplay, depending on the amount of units, players and the map size.
In the single player aspect of Supreme Commander, players take control of an ACU under the banner of one of three separate factions within the game: the United Earth Federation, or UEF; the Cybran Nation; or the Aeon Illuminate. The campaign spans multiple missions, and often times the map size can expand multiple times throughout a mission as new objectives are revealed. In each case, players are attempting to put an end to the "Infinite War," a war that has been raging for over a millennium between the three factions.
Supreme Commander was famous for its demanding system requirements at the time. Rather than suggesting which Graphics Cards, Processors, etc. and above would comprise their recommended system spec for play, PC Gamer UK's review simply suggested 'God's own PC' instead.
Supreme Commander was continued in the standalone expansion Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance and was ported to the Xbox 360 in 2008.
XBOX 360 VERSION
The Xbox 360 version has not been patched since release, creating many problems in terms of slowdown, and freezing after the player saves the game. Zooming into many units can sometimes "overload" the Xbox 360, making it freeze.
The game has an Xbox Live component, allowing up to 4 players to play on any 4 player map in a skirmish, in which each player can choose what faction to play as.
The game has three large campaign modes, for all three of the factions, like on the PC.
Thousands of years prior to the onset of Supreme Commander, humanity had finally engineered a means to travel the galaxy quickly, through the use of "Quantum Tunnels," a gateway allowing for near-instant travel over many light-years of space. Humanity quickly colonized many worlds throughout the galaxy; all ruled under the central "Earth Empire." The empire was at its peak. It was a "Golden Age" of peace and expansion. Many advances were made in the field of cybernetics, most notably by a Doctor Brackman, who successfully merged an artificial intelligence with a human brain, giving birth to the "Symbionts". Meanwhile, a group of colonists discovered a race of highly sophisticated aliens, known as the Seraphim, inhabiting a world the Earth Empire had planned on colonizing. The Seraphim taught many of the early colonists the beginnings of a philosophy they referred to as "The Way," but due to escalating tensions within the Empire, orders were made to attack the Seraphim, and they were driven into extinction. The colonists that had learned from the Seraphim became furious with the attack on their mentors and would come to form the Aeon Illuminate.
Over one thousand years later, the remnant of the Earth Empire, the Cybran Nation and the Aeon Illuminate are locked in a bitter struggle for total domination of the galaxy. The Infinite War has levied a hefty toll on its combatants, but the UEF has engineered a means to an end: the Black Sun. The Black Sun is a weapon capable of wiping out entire worlds, and players are tasked with leading their faction to victory and taking control of the Black Sun, in hopes of putting an end to the Infinite War.
The United Earth Federation consists of the remnants of the Earth Empire, after many Symbionts fled to join the Cybran Nation and the Aeon Illuminate declared their independence and hostility towards the old empire. The UEF seeks order in the galaxy and wishes to reunite humanity under a single banner, peacefully or otherwise. In combat, the UEF favors conventional arms, and many of their units reflect this. Solid payloads, explosives and flame-based weaponry are favored over the laser-based weapons the other two races use.
The UEF represent the normal human race, using technology that is very reminiscent of what exists today. Some units are seemingly advanced versions of modern technology, such as the SR-91 Spy Plane, a nod to the SR-71 Blackbird. Others are imaginative versions of existing technologies, such as the enormous "Fatboy" Tank that also acts as a mobile factory and air-staging platform, or the "Atlantis," a submersible aircraft carrier, capable of transporting hundreds of units right to the shores of your enemy base for surprise attacks or to relieve an already attacking aerial assault.
The Cybran Nation was founded when Dr. Brackman decided to take drastic measures against the empire's treatment of symbionts. The Symbionts demanded independence from the empire, but rather than grant it, the symbionts were pacified by a program fed through the very implants Brackman had created. Brackman fled, along with his closest symbionts and they formed the Cybran Nation, determined to free all those symbionts under the empire's (and later the UEF's) control. Brackman managed to preserve his brain, allowing him to forever lead the Cybran Nation. When addressed, he is able to project a holographic image of himself, rather than in his actual state. Due to their advanced technological nature, the Cybran tend to be the most adaptive race, with various amphibious units and liberal use of stealth technologies.
The adaptive nature of the Cybran's units can clearly be seen in their amphibious "Salem Class" Destroyers. If these ships are ordered to approach shallow water, legs will be deployed, allowing the ship to walk on land. Similarly, their hulking Spiderbot, the "Monkeylord," projects a stealth field around itself, allowing it to sneak up on an unsuspecting opponent. Many Cybran units have dual purposes, or can be upgraded to increase their usefulness, making them the most flexible of each race. The Cybran sit in between the two extremes, making use of laser-based weaponry as well as conventional weaponry.
The Aeon Illuminate formed from those colonists that had learned "The Way" from the Seraphim before they were exterminated. They seek to convert whoever they can to their teachings but will not hesitate to cleanse any who get in their way. Their zeal is perhaps one of their greatest assets, but heavily contrasts the peaceful teachings of the Seraphim that the Aeon wish to avenge. Much of the Illuminate's technology is salvaged from what the Seraphim left behind and tends to have a very "alien" appearance. Rather than looking angular and mechanical, like the other two factions, Aeon units and structures are organic and flowing.
The Aeon almost exclusively make use of laser and quantum technology from their Seraphim predecessors. In their strive to have organic designs, many of their units have circular shapes, such as the iconic "Czar," an independence-day flying saucer that also acts as an air transport much like the Atlantis. While the Aeon's units may not be the most durable of the playable factions, they make use of their abilities to endure long battles. Their highest tier siege bots can repair each other, increasing their longevity ever so slightly and once all the chips are down, the Aeon can call upon their Galactic Colossus, a gigantic mech so durable it can withstand a strategic blast and fully capable of devastating anything on the ground with it.
Supreme Commander plays similarly to traditional Real-Time Strategy games; players are expected to scout out early on, build up a stable economy, expand as needed and eventually collide armies with their opponents. Because of Supreme Commander's unprecedented scale when it was initially released, players are given many tools to aid in the organization and management of their armies. Virtually any action can be queued by simply holding down the Shift Key prior to activating it, which is a key component to maximizing the productivity of a player's engineers and factories. Similarly, while a player holds down the Shift Key, the selected unit's orders are highlighted along with an ETA displayed next to each node. While the orders are visible, any order can be moved or removed. A key aspect of base construction, and one thing queuing greatly aids a player in, is adjacency. If a player constructs two buildings that share an entire side, they can gain benefits. For example, a base built adjacent to a resource generator will reduce the construction costs of anything that base produces by a certain percentage depending on the output of the generator, or if a structure requires energy to function, placing power generators adjacent to the structure will reduce its operating cost by a certain percentage.
One of the most heavily emphasized and used aspect of Supreme Commander is the "Strategic Zoom." While most Strategy games confine your view-point from a close perspective near your units to a "God" camera hovering overhead, Supreme Commander allows you to zoom out to where you can see the map in its entirety. As a player zooms out, their units are replaced with "Strategic Icons" that allow for greater control over larger numbers of units. From this "Mega Map," a player can quickly and easily select all units of a given type and issue a coordinated assault, or they can issue reinforcements or retreats without ever having to zoom in.
A scenario will open with the arrival of the Armored Command Units, and from there players can begin constructing a base from the small stream of resources being produced by the ACU. As a player builds up their supply of resources, they can begin upgrading their factories, which allow them to advance up the "Tech" tree levels. Initially, players can only really produce harassment units and small forces for light engagements, but as they move up the tree, they will be able to use more devastating units until they can eventually produce the "Tier 4 Experimental" units. These three units are unique to each faction and can quickly turn the tide of any engagement, or potentially be game-winning. Similarly, as the player advances Tech levels, they are able to construct different and more advanced buildings. A player can construct, among other things, stealth field generators, hiding a base from all but the best sensors; shield generators, for protecting vital structures; Missile Launchers and their appropriate defenses, either tactical (close range but powerful missiles) or strategic (devastating "nuclear" warheads); or sensors, for anticipating incoming attacks. More importantly though, players gain access to new resource generators, that can greatly bolster their economy.
Key to every player's match is a strong economy. Resource management several key aspects of building and sustaining a large force, not just dictating how much it costs to build a single unit. There are two resources players must balance during Supreme Commander: Mass and Energy. Mass is gathered from mineral-rich points scattered over a map, and can also be generated using energy-intensive mass fabricators. Energy is collected entirely from generators that can be placed anywhere, but early on "Hydrocarbon Deposits" can be used to give a player an added bonus to their power production by building a specialized plant over a deposit. Rather than having resources collect into a large pool, a player is constantly generating resources and must balance their input collected with their economic output. If a player's output exceeds its input, they immediately begin spending resources from a small back-up pool, but if that pool is depleted, all structures building and generating resources suffer a penalty based on what percent of the demand they are meeting. Any resource that is produced that is not stored is considered "wasted," but does not negatively impact the player during a match. Emergency pools can be expanded by constructing storage structures.
Scored by Jeremy Soule, who is most famous for his compositions for the Guild Wars series, Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
|Risk, Relief, Victory
|Clash of the Champion
|The Aeon Illuminate
|One Planet at a Time
|The Final Cataclysm
PC System Requirements
- Operating System: Windows XP (SP2), Vista
- Processor: 1.8 GHz Intel or equivalent AMD processor
- RAM Memory: 512 MB
- HDD Space: 8 GB
- Graphics Card: 128 MB video RAM or greater, with DirectX 9 and Pixel Shader 2.0 support
- Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
- DirectX: 9.0c
- Operating System: Windows XP (SP2), Vista
- Processor: 3.0 GHz Intel or equivalent AMD processor or better
- RAM Memory: 1 GB or better
- HDD Space: 10 GB
- Graphics Card: Nvidia 6800 or better; ATI X800 XL, ATI X1300 or better
- Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
- DirectX: 9.0c
Xbox 360 Game Installation
Supreme Commander requires 4.7GB of space to install on an Xbox 360 HDD.