Full credit for the research and writing of this article goes to the great Lu_Xun_17.
On 23rd February 2007 Supreme Commander was released in stores by THQ, with the trailer on TV !
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.
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 inability to use the all potential of the game they bought.
Birth of the communityEdit
A very mixed age community with a 25-40 years old generation from Total Annihilation in addition to "the youths"
A pro scene was emerging. 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 in-game so freeport and then a 3rd chat was created. There were also some other chat rooms for German, French, Russian and all other languages, moderated by some volunteer players. The chat helped a lot to make this community fair play and cheerful, 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 expectancy of the game.
A player dominated alone Supreme Commander during the 2 first months : Unconquerable.
With a 90% win ratio, he was feared by all the other top players and was winning tournament after tournament. His strategies were very innovative, and the time top players needed to adapt 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 Resource upgrade. With a mobile eco and build rate, 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; see here.
Promotion of the gameEdit
March 2007 was 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 cash prize were incredibly high. That's how Warcraft 3, Counter Strike and StarCraft: Brood War were shinning back in these early days of e-sport.
In 2007, the YouTubers were far from existing, so it was way harder to find some stream of official matches. Actually only one 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 (in 2013) Deman is the most famous LeagueOfLegend caster and official English caster of the LCS Tournament, as a Riot Employee.
The presence of GpG with some regular patches and some active admins/employee like SonofShagrat, AngryZealot, Servo were making SupCom looking very healthy and constant growing.
Each months new tools were available. 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 useful: Janus fightbomber for UEF, Corsair fightbomber for Cybran and Mercy for Aeon. Of course, 2 patches got required to balance the Mercy which was banned from all of the games at this time.
Finally, 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 Swedish player was definitely the player to follow, dominating the top 10.
Other noteworthy players and clans included:
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 !
The activity in gpgnet became extremely important before and during the UEF Cup. The tournament was hosted by all the admin team and was split in different level divisions so any player could enjoy and play the tournament.
Of course the pro division was the one with the bigger cash prize 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 Mongoose for UEF,
T2 land long range and anti gunship Hoplite for Cybran and T3 Shield Disruptor 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 map control.
In October 2007, the beta of FA was available 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 expansion:
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 available and played by some casual players, but the community entirely switched to Forged Alliance. Some 1vs1 tournaments were sometimes hosted to remember the old gameplay.
Gpg forum: Note that as gpg has shut down many pages many parts of the site are periodically down
FAF forums thread in which Lu_Xun_17 compiled this full history of Supreme Commander.
Next article: History of Supreme Commander 2: Forged Alliance Release