In Supreme Commander, Intel (short for intelligence) refers to any means of obtaining information the location of opponents on the battlefield. These range from simple direct vision, to radar and sonar, but also underwater vision and the almighty Omni. All of these have their strength and weaknesses, and there is no simple end-all Intel solution. There are also several ways to break or limit the opponent's Intel. This is called Counter Intel. While the Cybran excel at this, any faction is equipped to deal with Intel.
All units in Supreme Commander, short of concrete, have at least some sort of Intel. There are 5 types of Intel:
Also commonly referred to as Line Of Sight, or LOS, is the simplest, yet one of the most efficient way of gathering information. Simply put, it is what your units see. The great advantage of Vision is that only Cloaking will break it, and it is the only Intel type that will identify units (their type, their Hp etc), rather than just their location. This is usually very advantageous when used in conjunction with Radar. The downside of Vision is that its radius is typically much smaller than that of Radar.
Vision is usually represented by normal colored ground (as opposed to darkened areas representing areas which you can't see in)
Underwater Vision Edit
The underwater equivalent of Vision. This is necessary for finding Submarines and amphibious units, which are hidden from both Radar and Vision. Underwater Vision radius is typically smaller than Vision, and much smaller than Radar.
Underwater Vision is usually not represented.
Radar is an Intel type that can detect enemy units from a very long distance. Just like Vision, it cannot detect underwater units. Also, Radar is broken by Stealth, but not cloak. Although Radar has usually a very long Radius, this is offset by the fact that it cannot tell what the detected units are. Radar can tell you it has detected a land unit, but there is no way of knowing its type, whether it's, say, a Tech 4 Experimental unit or a land scout. However, if the unit is identified through Vision, then the Radar will keep track of the unit, even after you have lost Vision Coverage (except ACUs which will lose track after moving a short distance). If Radar also loses track of the unit, then the unit's identity will also be lost. This is one of the reasons Energy Stalls are important to avoid, taking Radar off-line for even a split second will lose all the extra Vision Intel acquired.
Radar is usually represented by a Light Blue line.
Sonar is the water equivalent of Radar. It works the same, but detects only units in bodies of water, regardless of their motion type (Hover, Float, Sub or Walk). All of its attributes are the same as Radar.
Sonar is usually represented by a Green line.
Omni is a short range Intel type. It is both Radar and Sonar combined, but more importantly, breaks Cloak, Stealth and Radar Jamming. It is also the only Intel that detect a unit with both Cloak and Stealth. The downside to this Intel is that it is relatively difficult to acquire, is costly, and has a short Radius. All Armored Command Units are equipped with Omni.
Omni is usually represented by a yellow in Vanilla SupCom, and a red line in Forged Alliance.
Counter Intel Edit
Counter Intel are methods to protect your own units from the opponent's Intel Coverage.
Stealth is the most basic Counter Intel. It protects from radar coverage and can be used two ways, Tactical and Strategic.
Stealth comes in two flavours: Personal Stealth, which covers only one unit, and Coverage, which provides Stealth for several units. The Cybran are the only faction which possess mobile Stealth units and Stealth Coverage units.
Tactical Stealth Edit
Tactical Stealth is the art of using Stealth not to just sneak undetected, but rather as a protective barrier. While your opponent might know you have an army, and know its exact location, he cannot shoot at it, even if it is in range, if he doesn't know where the individual units are. This forces opponent units to come dangerously close to your army to confirm unit location before being able to fire. This technique is commonly used by the cybran to kite opponents, in the land based Hoplite and Deceiver combo, or the naval based Siren Class/Salem Class and CI:18 Mermaid combo.
Strategic Stealth Edit
Strategic Stealth takes full use of stealth to try to send units undetected into an unprepared base. This is something commonly done with Monkeylords. This is a dangerous move, as as soon as your opponent is informed of your plans, your Strategic Stealth will be broken to Tactical Stealth. Strategic Stealth is rarely used online due to the difficulty of pulling it off correctly and successfully, and the high level of skill required.
Cloaking is hiding from Vision. There are only 4 Units in the entire game that can do this: the Seraphim Selen, the Cybran Armored Command Unit and the Cybran T3 Support Command Unit when upgraded, and the Cybran Mole. Cloak is usually not that useful, as anything covered by vision is usually covered by Radar, thus breaking it. However, when a unit has both Cloak and Stealth, it is virtually invisible to opponents (only Omni can break this, as a combination of both Radar and Vision will not work). the Cybran Armored Command Unit, when also upgraded with the Heavy Microwave Laser, is a fearsome defensive unit, as it can quickly crush any assaulting force, in total impunity. The Seraphim Selen is also very useful, as just a few of them can cover an entire map's worth of Intel, with the opponent being able to do nothing about, until late game when Omni is available.
Radar Jamming Edit
Radar Jamming is the opposite of stealth. While stealth will hide your units from radar, Radar Jamming will produce multiple nonexistent units on enemy radars. Radar Jamming Can only be broken by Omni and Vision. The only units in Supreme Commander to be equipped with Jamming are the UEF T3 Support Armored Command Units, UEF T1 Frigate, UEF T2 Field Engineer and Cybran T3 Heavy Gunship.
Tactical Jamming Edit
Tactical Jamming works the same as Tactical Stealth, as it keeps opponents from firing at your units. Rather than by hiding your units, it uses decoys for this job.
Strategic Jamming Edit
Strategic Jamming can be used to hide, or in some cases, fool an opponent about the size of a navy (the UEF Frigate being the most common and heavily-produced jammer unit). This can be used in a multitude of ways, as can cloaking. You can make a developing base appear developed and heavily defended, instead of containing three units. You can also use it to feint attacks, sending in a small force of jamming units to distract a force. Strategic Jamming will not hold up to actual vision, and only works against Radar/Sonar. Likewise, it will not work against Omni Sensors. While not the same, if you are keeping an opponent away from a base and expecting hem to rely purely on Intel to determine the locations of structures, it's often easy to falsify defensive positions (especially T1 PDs) with wall sections. Obviously, the moment the opponent scouts you visually, they will know what you are doing, but often when an artillery bombardment begins, they will cease scouting your base and not expect you to do much more than rebuild your base. This can often be used to confuse an enemy by building a single wall section where a building had previously been (i.e. building a single wall section in the middle of where a shield had been to get them to target it to try and take the shield down). This will greatly punish your opponent if they are not visually scouting your base.