This article originally appeared in issue 230 of PC Gamer UK.
Ever since I got obsessed with the original Supreme Commander last year, I've been trying to set this up. All of us, in one game, against AI opponents so powerful they might obliterate us all.
It's 6v2: me, Graham, Rich, Tim, Toms Senior and Hatfield are the human team, and the two AIs we're facing get double resources and build speed. That could get out of control fast: they can get to higher tech units faster than us. So we need a plan.
The AI can make terrifying numbers of planes, so Graham and I take the front line positions and build masses of anti-air. All our bases are on the coast of one vast body of water, vulnerable to assault by sea, so Senior goes naval, churning out endless subs.
His first attack on the red AI is wiped out by one torpedo turret, simply because it's higher tech. So Tim and I join the naval assault, building Tech 2 sub killers, and our next assault works. We smash their torpedo turrets from the depths, Senior brings in Destroyers to pelt their naval factories, and soon we've lined their coastline with subs they can't attack from land. We can't attack them either, but it will stop them from ever getting a navy up.
That's when they finish building their Soul Ripper gunship. “Er, did anyone go air?”
No, no, no, no, no, and kinda. The kinda is me: I have a few good gunships myself, but nothing compared to a Soul Ripper. And if it comes for the missile boat I'm building, it'll undo about 15 minutes of work in a second.
It comes straight for my base, but I can't send my gunships right away – the AIs have placed their entire fleet of inteceptors in a busy mess between us.
Once the Ripper clears that crowd, my own swoop in and start pelting it – to little effect. It ignores them, swings ominously over my naval yards, spits a little death at one of them, then wanders curiously off. It's noticed Hatfield is building an experimental assault bot, and it plans to stop him. All that matters now is whether my gunships can whittle it down before it reaches him.
It loses its last hitpoint over Hatfield's base, and crashes to the ground about an inch in front of his commander. Best possible outcome: he can reclaim it for a ridiculous mass income while building his bot. Meanwhile, I'm being pounded by a land assault I'm not prepared for, and Graham and Tim are losing factories to strategic bombers. But we've held, we've stopped them from owning the map. Now it's our turn to attack.
My missile ship finishes. It's a boat that can launch an unstoppable barrage of tactical missiles at anything within 10km. Rich has built a satellite that can fire from orbit, untouchable by anything so long as its ground control building survives. Graham is just finishing a Soul Ripper of his own. Tim and Senior both have battleships out, and Tim and Hatfield have experimental assault bots wading through the water.
This, this is going to be a thing.
Rich's orbital laser burns out all the AI's firebases outside of their shields. Senior's boats pelt the coastline, and my missile ship crumples their turret banks. Tim's bot is killed before it can reach land, but Hatfield's storms the red AI's beach. Graham's Soul Ripper finishes, and I set my gunship to join it in the final assault. When Hatfield's assault bot finally goes down, the electrical storm from its death zaps the red commander, and he goes nuclear. Blue's is hit by a beam from Rich's satellite just as Hatfield's lesser bots swarm it, and the blast destroys what's left of his base.
“Did anyone save the replay?”
Graham did, and we've embedded it at the top of this post.