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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

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Supreme Commander 2 blooms in spring

Gas Powered Games details PC/360 sequel.

Square Enix has announced the spring 2010 arrival of Supreme Commander 2 on PC and Xbox 360.

Set 25 years after the original, SupCom 2 is based around a fragile and distrustful alliance between The United Earth Federation, The Illuminate and The Cybran Nation.

Obviously they'll be blowing each other to pieces in trademark battles of enormous proportions - which can be zoomed right in or out of at the scroll of a wheel (or press of a pad, presumably) - but Gas Powered Games also claims to have instilled character and emotion into the story.

Another point of interest is the new upgrade system, with which land, sea or air units, the commander and indeed structures can be improved. You'll need Research Points to do so, which can be earned by fighting or building specific structures.

Also new are wild experimental units such as a Colossus or Cybranosaurus Rex, which presumably require hefty resources but pack a serious punch in battle.

Multiplayer will obviously return, although there are no specifics just yet.

Square Enix and Taylor promise better graphics and mechanics than before, which covers a less intrusive user interface and new terrain such as platforms raised above clouds and groups that make formation quickly and without fuss.

Judging by the trailer and screenshots, Supreme Commander 2 will be as essential as ever to RTS fans, although GPG and Square Enix will no doubt be hoping they can get the game out well ahead of StarCraft II. Taylor has said the game is currently in early alpha.