411 Interview With Supreme Commander 2 Developer Chris Taylor

February 10, 2010 | Posted by Adam Larck

On March 2 and March 16, Supreme Commander 2 will be released for the PC and Xbox 360 respectively.

To celebrate the upcoming release and get more information about the upcoming RTS, I had a Q&A session with Chris Taylor, the developer of SC2 and creator of Supreme Commander and Demigod.

Throughout the interview, you’ll see new information about the game, why Strategic Zoom is back and what happens when you shouldn’t tell developers about secrets.

You can check out the full interview with Taylor below.

Adam Larck:After creating Demigod last year, will any mechanics from that game be in Supreme Commander 2?

Chris Taylor: That’s a great question, because one of the coolest new concepts that we have brought to Supreme Commander 2 is an evolution of the Skill Tree in Demigod. As the player engages in combat, points are earned that unlock special abilities. We loved the way that worked, but it was not far reaching enough, so we took it to the next level. We call it a tech tree, and it really changes the game in a profound and deeply strategic way. And we made each faction’s tree unique, making the game more replayable than ever.

ALOne complaint about a lot of Xbox 360 RTS games are the control schemes of the controller. Taking what you know from the first game, have you made any changes to the controls?

CT: Most of the UI design is about making it easy to select units. You can double-click to select, you can right-bumper to select all units and you can Paint Select units as well. One new mode that makes things super easy is Paint Attack. You wouldn’t believe how fun that is to use, as you paint-out a swath of enemy units to target. We’ve also added a way to visualize the unit groups automatically when zoomed out… and you can select those groups super easily now too.

AL:I see from the videos of gameplay that the strategic zoom feature is back. Did a lot of fans ask for this to be included in the sequel?

CT: Strategic Zoom is definitely here to stay. What’s really evident to us is how fast players absorb it into their play style when sitting down in front of the game for the first time… it’s like they’ve used it their whole lives.

AL:What changes have been made in the strategic zoom and the rest of the user interface?

CT: First of all, we added the ability to visualize how many units are in an attack group when zoomed out. The player can then select the group without even assigning it to a key. And it’s really great to be able to quickly assess the strength of an attack group, and how quickly it is destroyed (which is a way to assess your opponent’s defense strength). We have also added something we call stretch cursor, which is an addition to make units easier to select without having to place the cursor exactly over the unit.

AL:What will some of the new technology and weapons in the game do?

CT: We have a bunch of new weapons, especially for our big Experimental Units. One of my favorites is the Illuminate loyalty gun, which fires a ray across the map, converting enemy units to your team. Just yesterday I captured a Universal Colossus that was attacking my base, which was pretty insane. And we also have an Experimental called the Unit Magnet, which attracts units, grinds them up and adds the Mass to the player’s economy.

AL:Going to the multiplayer side of the game, how many maps will be available upon initial release?

CT: We have a total of 20 maps in Multiplayer and Skirmish mode.

AL:Are there any new modes that will be available in the multiplayer?

CT: We have many of the modes that players have come to expect, plus a mode we call the Infinite War for players who just want to play around and build stuff. We also support voice chat over Steam, and are currently working on adding Leader Boards for the community that loves to compare scores and be very competitive online. We also support observer mode for those who just like to watch!

AL:Has there been any talk of releasing an expansion pack for the game after its release?

CT:You know us game developers all too well! We’ve had lot of discussions, but have not made any final announcements yet.

AL: Going back to the original Supreme Commander, were there any secrets that players may have missed while playing the game?

CT: LOL… well, I’m terrible at secrets so I’ve long since shared all of mine… but the other day, I learned something from the SupCom community. What was it you say? It was a way to cheat in a structure without paying for it… so we fixed it. See what happens when you tell the developer your secrets!

AL: Finally, what advice can you give players for the upcoming Supreme Command 2?

CT: When beginning it’s a great idea to play through the Single Player campaign, as that will familiarize most players with all three factions. Once a favorite faction is selected, it’s good to really study the tech tree to understand the trade-offs of researching some of the items before others… as this is an integral part of the game’s strategy. And then tons of practice!!

Supreme Commander 2 will release for the PC on March 6 and Xbox 360 on March 16.


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Adam Larck
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