Big and bigger

StarCraft II Marine

The StarCraft II cinematic trailer is mainly about the awesome and terrifying technical processes involved in the production of the pissiest unit the Terrans have. Which is a great gag, and one which I've often found myself thinking would make for a good Supreme Commander promotion.

Not that it makes any real difference to gameplay, but SupCom's scale is the biggest of any real-time strategy game in which you still control individual units (check out the old '06 E3 trailer for some soul food for the 14-year-old boy inside all of us). Even little cute units like the spherical basic Aeon construction bots are half the hight of an adult tree, and they hover far enough off the ground that they'd whiz way over the head of StarCraft's battlesuited Terran Marines.

The Tech 3 siege bots that everybody uses in hordes if a SupCom game lasts that long are BattleMech-sized (this is 0.38-scale!). It has also been observed that the biggest gun in Supreme Commander is about as tall as the Eiffel Tower.

Nobody's going to be making any more official trailers or full-sized trade show models for SupCom now that it's out, of course, but I hope some nutty fan will work something up. A crowd of Siege Tanks desperately attempting to hold back the unstoppable might of four tech-1 light assault bots would be entertaining.

10 Responses to “Big and bigger”

  1. Anthony Says:

    I sometimes wonder what went through the design group's collective minds when they decided to make the most awesomest badass tactical unit of the 40k universe into cannon fodder.

    (This is accepting, of course, that two of Blizzard's IPs are actually straight rips of the Warhammer/40k games, with abovementioned modification)

    I'm still going to buy it though.

  2. Jonathan Says:

    It begins.

  3. Daniel Rutter Says:

    There's both inter- and intra-franchise one-upmanship at work; you have to introduce at least some bigger and badder things in your new modules and expansion packs to keep the munchkins interested. That certainly seems to have happened in Warhammer, not that I actually play it and can say with any authority, but the base grunt units for the Necrons (in particular) are much tougher (and more expensive) than yer average Space Marine.

    Supreme Commander has its own tiny homage to the dude-in-powered-armour in the Mech Marine, the cheapest combat unit for the UEF faction.

    Mech Marines are not completely useless, but they are still really quite miserable compared with every other combat unit in the game (not counting a couple of scout units that have tiny Christmas-cracker novelty guns).

    Judging their size next to trees, though, still suggests that Mech Marines would tower over Warhammer-sized Marines :-).

  4. Anthony Says:

    @Jonathan: I guess someone had to bring it up, eh? :p It's not a sore point, I assure you. I've played far more Warcraft or Starcraft than Warhammer. Far cheaper :)

    Actually Dan, that's a good point about the Necrons. From what I can gather from those who play more than me, the trade off with the Necrons is that they're quite a bit harder to play until you can get a monolith out. Something like the Tau, in that if you charge them you're pretty much guaranteed to win if you've got any sort of assault capability.

    They do, however, come back from the dead. Which would have to rank pretty high in the 'annoying bastard tactics' list.

    As for the actual topic ;) ..
    Mech Marines are probably my favourite early-game annoyance unit. Just pump out a bunch from idle level 1 land factories, and send them off as a squad to harass mass extractors. They'll rarely manage to do a great deal of damage, but it's a fun distraction.

    Same goes for early bombers, too. Just let 'em do countless runs against outlying economic targets for the sheer bastardry of it. It takes an age, and you'll probably lose a bunch when the mobile AA finally shows up, but it's keeping them occupied.

    It tends to worry the hardcore power-levellers, too, because they don't seem to build many offensive units early-game.

  5. Daniel Rutter Says:

    I’ve played far more Warcraft or Starcraft than Warhammer. Far cheaper :)

    There is, of course, no actual quantifiable reason to spend large amounts of money to play Warhammer, or even to spend time painting models. A genuine unpainted Baneblade model may cost $140 or whatever, but all it does is look pretty; you can replace it with a piece of cardboard, small shoe or bottle of Vitamin C pills and play the game just the same.

    (I imagine the heretical nature of this sort of thing is the subject of long and heated discussion among cash-strapped WH players.)

  6. sockatume Says:

    Got to love the Necrons. I remember getting the model off the front of White Dwarf when they first appeared, and using it in a brief game with an points equivalent of Space Marines. The immediate concensus was that we would never use it in anger again. In the end a leg came off and it wound up as battlefield decoration.

    Saying that, I grew up with 2nd Edition 40K (3rd ed. came out about the time I discovered Quake II) so units were banned all the time on the grounds of sheer irritation with their special rules. I had Chaos Plague Marines whose grenades produced gas clouds which had to be moved with special scatter rules every turn, followed by a special check for every model in the gas, then rolling for the consequences whatever effects that caused... I'm amazed they didn't think of resurrecting that version of the game as a Neverwinter-esque PC game simply to automate the dice rolls.

    Sorry, this is very off topic.

  7. evilspoons Says:

    I know it's not quite on topic, but Starcraft always manages to amaze me. I just don't understand why it has so many dedicated, hardcore fans, for a game that (I find) is nitpicky and irritating (hey, you can only select 12 units at once! yeehaw!). Unless you're a complete nutcase who memorizes build orders and strategies for individual maps, you basically get your ass kicked - it's not who's the best at strategizing, it's whoever can remember exactly the order to do things early in the game. Bah.

    I'm going back to my Supreme Commander, thank you very much.

  8. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Hey, in the huge gameplay movie that came out the other day they made clear that you could have GIGANTIC battles with as many as SIXTEEN units per group :-).

    SC3 looks very nice indeed, and seems in gameplay terms to be StarCraft 2.1, just as the entire population of South Korea requires.

  9. Echo_Hotel Says:

    So after cryogenic imprisonment of some unknown length this guy, some kind of sociopath assumedly, agrees to a diet of anabolic steroids, drastic surgery, physical and mental implants and almost certain death at the hands/claws of aliens on some deity forsaken planet.
    For what I ask?
    Nothing more than one last cigar before they weld him into his armor.

    Behold the power of tobacco!

  10. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Nothing more than one last cigar before they weld him into his armor.

    Well, that and the joy of getting his kill on, if only for a brief moment.

    Perhaps he's the Commando from the original C&C.

    "I got a present for ya!"

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