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The mid-nineties was an era when PC gaming began in earnest, kick-started by the mighty Doom's release in 1993. First-person shooters burgeoned as a result, and their combination with the real-time strategy genre conspired to make the humble home personal computer a powerful commercial gaming platform. And when it came to RTSs, the one name on most people's lips was Command & Conquer. Except for those in the know. They namechecked Cavedog's futuristic adventure, Total Annihilation as a far superior game thanks to its huge battles, terrain-based tactics and imaginative units.
I interviewed its designer and coder, Chris Taylor, a few years ago to discuss this trailblazing game; now we're chatting again, only this time to celebrate Total Annihilation's spiritual follow-up, Supreme Commander, released just over ten years ago.
"I'd been thinking about another RTS since leaving Cavedog and starting Gas Powered Games," he begins, "but it wasn't until I was completely wrapped on Dungeon Siege that I began to really think deeply about what would become Supreme Commander." Gas Powered had enjoyed reasonable success with the technically-ambitious Dungeon Siege games, and these to a certain extent influenced Taylor's next project - but more on that shortly.