Supreme Commander: updated impressions

Gas Powered Games' producer Gary Wagner is a pretty tall guy. One look at him and we knew that he's spent a lifetime hitting his head on low overhangs, stooping under short showerheads and ducking into tiny foreign cars. So when Gary set out to help produce the buzz-tastic new real-time strategy game, Supreme Commander, he'd be damned if he was going to hit his head on the camera ceiling.

Once we saw Supreme Commander in action at E3 last week, we realized that backing the view out to take in ever more of the battle was central to the gameplay. Everything in the game grew progressively in size and scale. The units that we began with seemed tiny after we'd produced some of the giant, lumbering war machines that were built later on. We had to zoom the camera way out just to fit them onscreen. Even then, it wasn't far enough.

One of the longest-range weapons in the game, the UEF faction's battleship, spat hateful artillery from miles away at sea until it was engaged by an armada of Cybran Destroyers. We watched in awe as the cyborg-like Cybrans finally took her down. The floating island of death exploded into several sections, cracked apart and finally sunk Titanic-style. The guys making Sup Com clearly love to blow things up.

The flotilla of destroyers came back alongside the land battle that the battleship had been assisting with. Sprouting legs and clambering up onto dry land, the ships walked over to join forces with an enormous Cybran Spider Tank. This monstrosity was so huge that it crushed everything underfoot - enemies and friendlies - as it walked along the terrain. The genius of Sup Com is that no matter how disjointed and frenetic the battle got, the relative scale of the units told us how strong they were. This guy was big - his giant laser cannon was about as long as the battleship we'd previously seen - and scorched entire swaths of forests, buildings and enemy ships in it's wake. Nice.