Strategy Informer: Firstly could you introduce yourself to our readers and let us know your role within the Supreme Commander Production?
Chris Taylor: Sure, my name is Chris Taylor, I am the Lead Designer on Supreme Commander, and I am also the Creative Director at Gas Powered Games.
When did the idea of creating Supreme Commander come about?
Chris Taylor: It's been in my head for quite awhile, but it wasn't until around the summer of 2003 that I actually started writing the master design document.
We know that there will be three races featured in Supreme Commander. Could you tell us a bit more about the single player side to the game? Will each race have a campaign?
Chris Taylor: Instead of calling them races, which tends to suggest they are of very different genetic backgrounds, I call them factions. Each faction has a single player campaign that can be played through from beginning to end. What's cool about that is that you get to see your faction win, and you don't get switched around to the other factions mid campaign. It also adds a lot more play time, as all three campaigns add up to a huge amount of gameplay.
What can you tell us about the graphical and physics features?
Chris Taylor: The Supreme Commander engine was built from the ground up to support the features that we wanted. The graphics engine component is very state-of-the-art and uses all the latest shaders and has also been prepped for some cool new DX10 features that we will be releasing soon. The physics engine is also our own technology and was designed to provide very fast results due to the massive number of units that are in battle at any one time.
There are a few other popular RTS titles out right now which offer excellent support to people which wish to create addition content for the game. Is this something you’ll be supporting for Supreme Commander and will you release some helpful tools?
Chris Taylor: Absolutely... supporting the mod community was something we had in mind right from the very beginning, and the engine has been architected to support mods. We even built a "mod manager" right into the game and will also be releasing information about how to create new mods for SupCom.
Can you give us an assessment of the health and long-term viability for Supreme Commander?
Chris Taylor: I would like to think that we have created a game that will be around a long time, especially when you consider the mod support and how the engine is so extensible. It's going to be a very exciting time for RTS games, and we want to be right there at the front of the pack, exploring the bleeding edge.
On the subject of support, what have you got planned to extend the life of the multiplayer side to Supreme Commander; that’s if anything is planned.
Chris Taylor: Absolutely, and our online community will have total support with GPGNET, which takes the whole matchmaking and ranked ladder game experience to the next level. And it's also a great place to create friends list, have a clan, and swap replays (replay files are saved up on GPGNET after each game).
Supreme Commander currently has a strong reputation for having great AI, are you personally pleased with the AI and could you tell us some of your experiences whilst battling against them?
Chris Taylor: AI is always one of the toughest parts of an RTS game to create, but we are very proud of how the AI plays, and we'll continue to improve upon our AI technology in future updates. I think the thing that continued to surprise us throughout development is how much the AI was very much a digitization of our AI designer/creator John Comes. It was like we were playing him!
As a gamer, what's your favorite part of Supreme Commander, what makes you proud to have helped create it and why is it a game people will want?
Chris Taylor: Without a doubt it is the Strategic Zoom. It has made it very difficult for me to play any other RTS game and enjoy it in the same way.
The game went gold today, how have the celebrations been so far?
Chris Taylor: The celebrations have been a lot of fun, but rest assured we are back at work on the next thing... too much cool new stuff to work on!
The team has been hard at work on Supreme Commander for a long time now, what has been the hardest challenge for them, development wise?
Chris Taylor: The toughest part of development was right at the beginning when we worked hard for almost a year to build the foundation of the game and had very little on the screen to show for it. It's in those early dark days that you have to keep a strong vision of the game when everyone is wondering if the game will be any fun or not.
Do you plan on releasing a demo so fans can try out the game before it’s released or is this something you’ll leave until after it’s released?
Chris Taylor: Absolutely, we are busy working on it right now, and we'll release it as soon as possible... hopefully in a few weeks or less if we can.
We've come to our last question, is there anything you'd like to say to the fans of Supreme Commander which are eagerly awaiting the release of this title?
Chris Taylor: Sure... I would like to say that I hope they enjoy the game, and that everyone should know how much we appreciate all the kind words and support over the years. It's been a long trip, but we finally made it, and are all very excited to finally hear what everyone thinks. We'll see you online!!