History Of Supreme Commander

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Supreme Commander : Vanilla

Supcom logo
Supreme Commander Case, Chris Taylor Standing In Front Of a banner

23rd February 2007 It was there, it was in your store, you could see the commercial or the trailer on TV, Supreme Commander was released by THQ! The E3 2006 awarded RTS, the first large scale with strategic zoom game, the spiritual son of Total Annihilation from Chris Taylor was finally playable.

GPG logo
Logos of THQ and GPG, the publisher and delevoper of Supreme Commander

Many players have already played the beta, or the demo on finn's revenge, but those were only 1% of the huge community coming to the brand new client lobby called GpGNet. The first month of the game was not a full success. Gpg was aware of it, but sup com had a huge bullet in the feet : Many of the players had some terrible lag problems. Only the strongest 2007 computers were able to play more than 2vs2 on bigger than 10x10km maps. During months they had dreamed of the colossal battle on the announced 81x81 km maps, and then had the feeling of unability to use the all potencial of the game they bought.

Well that being said, there were hopefully way more interesting points. The community was born ! A very mixed age community with a 25-40 years old generation from Total Annihilation in addition to « the yougths » A pro scene was emmerging. At first the new comers from the Beta, like Eshez, prepare, mrlsfleyer (aka FunkOff), DI_Corpus, RapierX, RS_Gollum ... but also the famous TAG family : TAG_ROCK, Pic, timmyfred, TAG_Natas, nemir, HappyMan, FrogNucker were some well known TA players. Then the ranked, the clan system, the replay vault got released. The main chat, Halcyon was limited to 100 players not ingame so freeport and then a 3rd chat was created. There were also some other chat rooms for german, french, russians and all other languages, moderated by some volunteer players. The chat helped a lot to make this community fairplay and cheerfull, with players able to easly pm and meet their opponent after a match and add him to a friend list. Those little tools coded by the gpg team got really underestimated but they really made easier the way to meet other players, and then could duplicate the life expectency of the game.

Top Players

A player dominated alone Supreme Commander during the 2 first months : Unconquerable. With a 90% winratio, he was feared by all the other top players and was winning tournament after tournament. His strategies were very inovative, and the time top players needed to adapat to his build orders, then he already had some new ones. His most famous game is a roanoke abyss final where he had lost the all 6 islands, but had 20 SACU with Ressource upgrade. With a mobile eco and buildrate, he managed to stay in the game, with no base : one of the biggest comeback ever seen. He also made a 2v2 ranked record of 47 wins 0 lose with his teammate Mentel. Note :Unconq is a former Warcraft3 progamer, known under the name of Invincible_Rice.

March 2007, This is the month when Sup Com missed to become a global world played RTS. GpG sadly missed the WCG step and GpG didn't involved his community in the vote that was electing the games of year 2007. Unconquerable and SoS spent a lot of energy to make some noise around the WCG 2007 circuit, but SupCom lost the vote to C&C : Tiberium Wars and didn't get selected. Until 2009, the World Cyber Games was the biggest e-sport event in the world and the cashprize were incredibly high. That's how Warcraft 3, Counter Strike and StarCraft Broodwar were shinning back in these early days of e-sport.

Commentary And Casting

In 2007, the youtubers were far from existing, so it was way harder to find some stream of official matches. Actually only 1 shootcaster was active and famous : Deman, working with QuadV. In contact with the pro clans of this time ( TFU, ISU, DI, CZAR, RIP, S_D, TAG, MRS...) he manged to make some monthly casts followed up by all the community, assisted by co-caster Gowerly. Deman also casted the i30 offline final of Sup Com 2v2 2500£ tournament. Note :We have to notice that today (2013) Deman is the most famous LeagueOfLegend caster and official english caster of the LCS Tournament, as a Riot Employee.

GPG Support and Patches

GPG logo
Various tools for Supreme commander, including GPG client and tournament organizer

The presence of GpG with some regular patches and some active admins/emplyee like SonofShagrat, AngryZealot, Servo were making SupCom looking very healthy and constant growing. Each months new tools were avaiable. After the map and mod vault, an avatar and award system, they added a Tournament manager tool. Some mods like Phantom, Survival, Art of Defense or Tug of War made the glory of some modders. Later arrived the famous ReplayBot, allowing anyone to follow in live any game if the players had activated his replaybot. This had never been done before and was a really appreciated tool.

Then arrived the mercy. A patch introduced 3 new units to the game to make T2 air more usefull : Janus fightbomber for UEF, Corsair fightbomber for Cybran and Mercy for Aeon. Of course 2 patches got requiered to balance the mercy which was banned from all of the games at this time.

Finaly, in May 2007, the pro scene had changed a lot. Unconquerable was still around, but not active anymore, however some new players were becoming extremly strong. The famous german brothers TheLittleOne and TheBigOne, with WinTer, Mentel, Djinn and the new mascot of the game Sir_Loui, founded the SupCom-Live clan (SCL) : a new pro clan and first sponsored clan. Sir_Loui was the name any random player knew. #1 of the ranking, and very friendly to the community, the sweden player was definitly the player to follow, dominating the top 10.

GUEF cup
The top 10 players during October 2007

We could also mention the names of : FunkOff and Matiz_pl for TFU, ROCK, duris, _PINK, DragonForce(PEBBLE), Natas, Metn, Pic for TAG RS_Gollum, JacK__, BeatleJuice, (later Beetle in SCL) -Mat- and petraque for french clan RIP, BlueScreen, ICG, Bhaal and Melkor for ISU some other notable players like Eshez, prepare,BrainsteelInc, monarch, Zulan, Zock, BattleMoose, out (TheArmCommander), wetlettuce were making some good results.

The pro scene was active, and followed by the rest of the community. At this good timing, in June 2007, Gpg announced the breaking news ! The company wants to push his game in the e sport lights, and announce 4 Faction Cups with important cashprizes. And announce the first Premier Tournament of Supreme Commander : The 5000$ UEF Cup !

GUEF cup
The Banner for the UEF Cup

The activity in gpgnet became extremly important before and during the UEF Cup. The tournament was hosted by the whole admin team and was split into different divisions so that any player could enjoy and play the tournament. Of course the pro division was the one with the biggest cashprize and when everyone was expected to see SirLoui winning it easly, he finally got defeated by the very solid german player: BlueScreenISU who won the UEF Cup. 2nd Division was won by AnimaBis and 3rd Division won by Zavior.

An other patch added 3 more units to the game : T2 land long range Mangoose for UEF, T2 land long range and anti gunship Hoplite for Cybran and T3 anti shild Disturber for Aeon. Those 3 units were an other preparation to the coming Add On : Forged Alliance. The global idea is to nerf the turtle strategies, to get a more dynamic gameplay and fight for mapcontrol.

Forged Alliance Beta

Aeon Tourney
The Banner of the Aeon Ascendant Tournament

In October 2007, the beta of FA was avaiable for a pretty large number of vanilla players, but the pro scene put a last stand in SupCom vanilla for an ultimate fight, 1 month before the release of the AddOn

The 5000$ Aeon Ascendant Tournament, 2nd GpG premier tournament of his faction cycle. When everyone was wondering who of the SCL member would win this tournament (Sir_Loui or TLO), the favorite sweden player Sir_Loui reached the final but lost to JacK__ a french top player. 2nd division was won by -Mat- and 3rd division final result unknown.

Forged Alliance arrived in the end of November, but after the Aeon Ascendant Tournament, all the players started to train on the beta.

During 2008 and 2009, vanilla was still avaiable and played by some casual players, but the community entierly switched to Forged Alliance. Some 1vs1 tournaments were sometimes hosted to remember the old gameplay.

Forged Alliance Release

SupcomFA logo
Supreme Commander Forged Alliance Logo

23rd November 2007, The first Add On of Supreme Commander is avaiable after a community played (and listened to) Beta. A new era of the sucessfull Sup Com was just beginning over the solid foundations of the previous opus. The switch from Vanilla to Forged Alliance was way more difficult and deep than most players expected.

Forged Alliance got some excellent critics and reviews. Some people were even talking about an entire new game more than a simple Add On :

  • New graphics and optimisation
  • 110 new units
  • An entire new faction : The Seraphim
  • A new campaign following the storyline
  • And before all a total rework of the gameplay.

Note : you needed Vanilla and FA to be able to play the 4 factions online.

An all new gameplay, with the same non the less growing community. This gameplay was searching for more dynamism and constant agression. The turtle strategies in vanilla were too safe and the advantage gained by good mapcontrol was not significant enough to secure a win against a turtle strategy. With a huge nerf of the T1 (now T2) and T3 mass fabricators, and a more spread mass extractor field, the fight for the map was now a must have! Gpg also worked on balancing the 4 tech levels to get those reached one after the other. Although a heavy T1 land spam followed by a T3 air rush appeared to be one of the strongest strategies.


New Players

On the players side : the chance for new comers, the fear of former champions, the resistance of vanilla addicted was making an exciting and exploding state. The community was so dynamic in every direction that it needed some order, some leaders.. That's when the SCL team already known from Vanilla started to organize things. A main website and forum was avaiable for the community, and TheBigOne was organizing the SCL Colliseum Clan League to bring some challenge in addition to the ranked and daily tournaments. Note: SCL sadly closed his website and forum in 2010, losing an incredible amount of tournament results and archives

In the first weeks, people were talking of the « Not so easy switch » (between vanilla and fa). We had noticed some new dangerous players in the beta, like CrazedChariot, mephistophie_ua, Zock, Dark Ragnos or HellsHound, however the ranking and results was there : BlueScreenISU, more dominant than ever was taking the first place of this new ranking. He's the one who established the « normal » 2 factories build order that is still being everyday. He managed to reach a 80 wins 0 losses until the first defeat from an emmerging top 10 player : Zock. Each rare lose from BlueScreen was making a lot of noise in the community. Actually he reached a 123-3-2 result. His other ranked lose was from the totally unknown blackjuge then 3rd one by a disconnexion. His training partner Bhaal was also a very dangerous top10 player.

ISU trailer : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd3PP9sN2Bk

SCL was still very active with SirLoui dominating little by little this new game. TLO, RS_Gollum and Beetle were also part of the top20, but some other members like Djinn, TBO or Battlemoose couldn't get used to this new gameplay, and didn't manage to perform well.


SCL Colliseum

The SCL Colliseum was launching his Season 1, and the clan league type of tournament was something the community really wanted. During this first season 300viewers (a good number for 2007 old streams)( and probably more with livereplays) were following and supporting every week their favorite pro clans between SCL (EU) , RIP (FR) , TAG (EU) , TFU , ISU (DE). The clan league was fully casted by Deman, and VoDs are still avaiable on QuadV (requiere to create an account) : http://www.quadv.com/ondemand/#/game/13-supcom With some back and forth, it's finally the unexpected TAG clan who won with some impressive 2vs2 teamplays. ROCK, duris, Natas _PINK and the new hired player mephistopile_ua managed to use FA's gameplay more effectivly. With the success of this season 1, TBO and RIP's clan leader VerseauX were launching, 2 weeks later, the season 2 in the end of December, this time opened to any clan level. Note : From those 5 clans, sadly only TAG and TFU clan leader (FunkOff) were still active in 2012 on FAF, although a lot of players still comes for 1 or 2 friendly games.

2 notable players from SCL Coliseum season 1 : SCL_TheLittleOne and TAG_ROCK_ Image

Note : TheLittleOne is a StarCraft2 professional player since 2010, under the name of LiquidTLO. He's also known on sc2 for his very creative and risky play style. He's still very appreciated from the FAF community, who'd love to see him back to supcom. http://wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft2/TLO


Sup Com Alliance

Another important organisation was the french Website : Sup Com Alliance (SCA). Already known in Vanilla, they were leading a weekly 2vs2 king of the hill french tournament called Calypso. Using Teamspeak for the commentary, livereplay for the video, and gpgnet french chat room, about 80 players were watching this weekly tournament. Surprisingly, french international caliber players like JacK__, Mat, VerseauX, Dark Ragnos, monarch were losing to new underdogs like Daxterfuss, Jerchaco. The tournament was very intense because no one managed to get the 5 wins in a row, even the favorite Beetle and his RIP mate Minidoow failed at the 5th match.

Image SCA website http://www.supremecommander-alliance.com/

Concerning the ladder, after the reign of BlueScreen over #1 rank, Sir_Loui finally took the throne just at the end of the year, but without the domination he used to get on Vanilla. Some other good new clans were becoming dangerous and promozing for next clanleague season :

-VoW(Voices of War) with Zock, Ridley, Zulan, Kryo and FunnyPredator (German clan) -AKC (Anarky Clan) with more than 150 members.Ciata and Veleiro for active members. -SBL(Snake Be Long) with GovtCheese, Dawkins and SimpleGreen31 (US clan) -VAS(Viper Assassin Squad) with mashup, Leaf, donuhue and LawnMower (and Maverick!)

Patch 3598

Gpg finally patched 3596 FA to 3598 in december. This patch was quite a disapointment from the community : It arrived late, and was not fixing more than 30% of the identified bugs. (Sera ACU was still receiving shots in the feet, T3 strat bombers were still missing their first bomb, etc.) Even if the game itself was a success, the lack of presence from Gpg was a first sign of fear. Volunteer admins like TCC (TheCoreCommander) and TAC (TheArmCommander) were not hosting tournaments anymore, and the patches were not coming fast enough. This is the main difference between vanilla and FA : When before Gpg was taking part in Sup Com's life, now the events had to be organized by clans or community websites. The community was still very active, with 800 players online each eu evening, peaks at 1000 players online. However, people were starting to think of what Sup Com would look like in one year.