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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.
The Humble Nordic Bundle first appeared over a year ago, but re-emerges this week to let you pay what you want for great games like Supreme Commander and Titan Quest and Darksiders, and strange games that might be fun for a few hours if you need to work off a sugar rush, like underwater Descent-a-like, AquaNox.
The basic pay-what-you-want tier includes Supreme Commander's Gold Edition, which means the awesome Forged Alliance expansion is included, as well as Aquanox, Aquanox 2, adventure game Black Mirror, and venerable RPG Summoner.
If you pay over the average donation amount, currently $6.31, you get Darksiders, Red Faction: Armageddon, the overlooked action RPG, Titan Quest and MX vs. ATV Reflex. Pay $10 or more and you'll get Darksiders 2, SpellForce 2 and Deadfall adventures.
As always, you can use sliders to determine how your payment is divided between developers, the Humble Bundle folk, and supported charities, The Red Cross and Child's Play. You'll have to pay at least a dollar if you want Steam keys for your games. Here's a video teasing the collection, featuring some lovely dodgy early 2000s CGI work.