Supreme Commander 2 • Page 2

Experimentally unexperimental.

Eurogamer: And you've really pushed the gigantic Experimental units to the fore - you were showing us a giant dinosaur, a structure that can catapult armies to the other side of the map...

Chris Taylor: We have 27 Experimentals - minor and major. Minors show up earlier in the game, 10 or 15 minutes in, rather than having to wait 40 or 50 minutes before you can build something awesome. We also have the notion of half-baked, where you can be building an Experimental unit but need it in a hurry - so you can push it out of the gantry after it's 50 per cent built. There's a percentage chance that it will fail, based on the completion: so if it's 90 per cent done there's a 10 per cent chance it'll fail. It cycles every 10 seconds or so, and decides if it's going to work, over and over again. If it fails, it's only going to be another 10 seconds until it tries again. It's like the guys in the engine room have oil spraying everywhere, are hitting things with a spanner - we simulate that. It's a neat bit of drama.

Eurogamer: Given all these different types of killing machine, how are you going about making good on your promise of this being a more accessible game than SupCom 1?

Chris Taylor: Some things had to be cleared out. I think the building adjacency bonus has gone, we dropped co-ordinated attack mode, that we don't believe anybody used, we dropped a lot of our travel time estimates system which we don't believe anyone paid attention to either. We made some tough cuts - think of it as we had to lighten the game up to add new stuff to it, because otherwise the overall result would be a game that's unbearably huge. You don't want a game where your friend is doing all these things to you and you don't know why you're losing. There are a lot of things that happen more on the surface now.

2

You don't have a limit on mass and energy like you did in the first game. So it's never a bad idea to have an engineer picking up resources. You just don't get punished that way any more - there's no downside to having too much.

The next big thing that we did is reduce the unit count from over 300 in the first game to around 120 or so. What this does is allow the player to learn the units then delve into the depths of the tech three. The tech tree is now this system by which you accumulate points, and can assign them yourself - range here, I'll throw some health, here's a demolisher mobile artillery unit...

You get these points by doing damage to your opponent, or you can build research stations. You've got land, air, naval structures to upgrade and the ACU, and it's tough - because when you're in a game and you're fighting with land, fighting with air, do you put your points into land or air? Or onto the ACU [the commander]? Adding a tactical missile launcher - that sounds like a really great idea, right? But you want it all. You have to a tactical decision as to what you're going to do.

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Alec Meer

Alec Meer

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A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.

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