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Yes, that's two entire fleets duking it out.
Supreme Commander is a real-time strategy video game by Gas Powered Games that has been hailed as the Spiritual Successor to Total Annihilation, which is not surprising as they are both designed by Chris Taylor. Set in The Future, man has used quantum tunnels or portals that are opened from the fabric of space leading to a designated location that can be light-years away. Earth is unified into the Earth Empire and man starts to explore and colonize the stars with the development of this technology. Then it all goes sour.
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The first nail in the coffin of this golden age is the symbionts, humans enhanced with cybernetic implants - the chief figure having had their brain merged with an advanced AI computer in a process patented by Dr. Gustav Brackman. Unfortunately, the Earth Empire treats the symbionts more like slaves than real people which is something the symbionts and their father figure Brackman don't particularly like. So Brackman and a group of followers rebel, set up their own country - the Cybran Nation - and start waging a guerrilla war to liberate their fellow symbionts.

The next and probably biggest nail in the coffin of the Earth Empire is the formation of the Aeon Illuminate, that got founded when human colonists on one planet ran into alien intelligent life, the Seraphim. See, the Seraphim had a peaceful and advanced society, complete with a quasi-Buddhist philosophy they called The Way which they shared with the human colonists. Unfortunately, the local Imperial military commander overreacted, and caused the genocide of the Seraphim with a bioweapon. The Seraphim's human cohorts didn't like that too much, formed the Aeon Illuminate and pretty much told the rest of the galaxy to join or die.

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Then, the Earth Empire collapses and is reformed into the United Earth Federation. And then you have a thousand year long three sided war being waged by these factions. These are the events leading up to the first game. Then the expansion pack, Forged Alliance, comes out and we find out the Seraphim are actually Not Quite Dead. The colony that was destroyed was only a very small fraction of the entire Seraphim race. Naturally, they are pissed at what happened to their colony and proceed to attack humanity. This causes the Aeon Illuminate to break in two with one faction siding with the Seraphim and the other forming an alliance with the other two human factions to stop the Seraphim in their tracks. In the process, the Seraphim also have the upper hand, since they control QAI, Brackman's Master Computer.

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It was followed in 2010 by Supreme Commander 2.


The setting contains examples of:

  • A.I. Breaker: Completely walling in your base (either a perimeter of walls or simply walling in canyons leading to it) will break the AI of enemy ground units - they will simply drive up to the wall, and come to a complete stop. In the single player, the AI enemies will then spam gunships and T1 bombers, which are easily countered by SAM turret spam.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: QAI, after being controlled by the Seraphim.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The Czar, an Aeon experimental unit based off the alien ships from Independence Day (core laser included), is one of these, being able to not only carry aircraft but also produce them. The factory feature is shared by all aircraft carriers in the game, including the UEF submersible aircraft carrier experimental, but only the Aeon version is airborne.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Averted. The Seraphim units have their names in the Seraphim language, and their commanders even taunt you in their language. It even appears to be a well thought-out language - several Seraphim names have reccuring fragments, such as the use of "Ya" for economy facilities. On top of that, even not knowing what they're saying, you can just tell that they're taunting you through tone of voice.
    • The aversion continues even after Brackman is able to devise some Translator Microbes for the player, as you can hear their native language in the background as you listen to their translated words.
  • The All-Seeing A.I.: Played With. The A.I always knows where your base is, but averted with stealthed and/or cloaked units.
  • Always Accurate Attack: Cybran T3 air superiority missiles will always hit their target.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: Bots, Armored Command Units (ACU), and support commanders (sACU).
  • Artificial Stupidity: Direct-fire units sometimes ignore little things like mountains between them and their target, and will sit plinking away at it forever. This hits the Cybrans especially hard, since most of their low tier ground units use lasers with no arc.
    • On island-based skirmish maps, the AI will usually build huge numbers of low level ground units that do nothing except die in the inevitable naval bombardment. Weird, since the game features a very user-friendly method of setting up complex ferry operations with air transports. But the AI never uses it outside of scripted missions, where the air transports spawn loaded.
    • Pathing can be very bad on maps that aren't completely flat.
      • Units will actually get stuck if you just issue a move command without planning out a proper route.
    • Despite the fact that Hover units are IMMUNE to torpedo attack, torpedo-equipped units will still fire at them.
      • The hover mechanic is independent of the amphibious attribute which is what the AI checks to see if it can be attacked by torpedos.
    • Units do not attack walls (unless it's an engineer set to attack-move or patrol), allowing the player to set up labyrinth-like killing fields with walls, with a 1-block wide entrance that forces enemy ground units to enter one at a time, all while being fired upon by point defense turrets. The UEF are particularly good for setting up killing fields, courtesy of their T3 Ravager turret.
    • Building T2 Artillery on high ground should make logical sense as it gives them more range and a larger field of fire but there are problematic instances where the Artillery will fire into the ground in front of them which will cause friendly fire if you have other units or structures near it.
    • The importance of Radar is that it allows units to fire at enemies beyond visual range. The catch is that Radar cannot differentiate between real units and spurious contacts created by jamming. Because of this, base defenses can be fooled into continuously firing on "phantom units" (which only exist on radar but disappear when brought into visual or omni-sensor range) to no avail which allows other units to safely approach the base.
  • Another Side, Another Story: You can choose which faction to play with from the main menu, and each faction follows its own story. Some missions in are concurrent with others in another faction. For example, on planet Minerva, if you're playing as Cybran your objective is to escort Dr. Brackman's convoy off the planet safety while a UEF player must try to stop it, and of course happens in the last mission where all three factions engage each other to wrestle control of the Black Sun.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Every player that is present is limited to having a maximum of 500 units (which can be changed to as low as 250, to as high as 1000). Structures also count as units. Justified to prevent the game engine from being too overtaxed and causing problems like lag or crashing.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The Galactic Colossus, Ythotha, Monkeylord and Megalith. The huge siege bots and ACU's are two to three stories tall and these things make them look puny. The cheap infantry bots you expend in their dozens are taller than trees.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The Commander Units live and breath this trope. How many Real Life military commanders ride around in a mech that can lay waste to an entire country and at the same time construct an entire army, navy, and air force within a few hours all by themselves?
    • That said, in direct combat they'll have trouble with tier-3 units and experimentals will kill them.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The "game ender" experimental units, usually oversized superweapons which take ENORMOUS amounts of resources to build and have paper-thin armor. In the time it takes you to build them, conventional weapons could have wiped out your enemy twice over. And if you do build them, expect your (human) enemy to come down on you hard in desperation.
  • Base on Wheels: The Fatboy combines the functions of a superheavy tank, a top-tier land unit factory, a shield generator, an artillery battery, an anti-air gun, and an air staging station. And it can go underwater and launch torpedoes.
  • Behind the Black: "Operational Area Expanded." Suddenly, the map is twice as big and there's a new base for you to destroy.
    • Enemy units can fire from outside the area you can see; your own units cannot fire back.
  • Benevolent Architecture: You can get resource production bonuses by building storage units next to mass extractors, mass fabricators, and energy generators.
    • The only downside to close-knit construction is this: The more buildings you have close together, the more painful it becomes when an artillery bombardment or a well placed nuke comes in and sends all of your hours of base building down the drain.
    • Many buildings which you would want to build close to each other for adjacency bonuses are volatile and explode on destruction. Most units will produce some kind of explosion and splash on death. It is entirely possible for a crashing wing of bombers shot down by your AA turrets to crash into your generators and fabricators, explode a few; which in turn explode and cause a chain reaction.
  • BFG: Numerous examples, of which the most impressive are probably the beam weapons on the experimental bots (nonchalantly sweep beam across line of enemy units, whole line dies), the super-long-range artillery cannons (capable of slaughtering advancing armies to a bot well before they are in sight of your base), and of course the nukes - game-enders capable of turning entire bases into clouds of scrap.
    • Worth special mention is the Seraphim experimental nuke launcher, whose nukes destroy about a quarter of a medium map, including experimentals with the most ludicrous amount of health, and to top it all off, takes two anti-nuke missiles to destroy while building nukes about five times faster than anti-nuke missiles can be made (unless you have half-a-dozen with missiles already built; then you might have a chance of stopping this thing).
    • The UEF Mavor is the biggest gun in the original and the expansion, being an artillery piece with antimatter warheads. While it's attack power is comparable to T3 artillery with a slightly faster fire rate, it has (almost) no range limit and it has much better aim; it can fire a continuous stream from one corner of an 81x81km map to the opposite corner with reasonable accuracy, and will wear through shields and devastate your base.
  • Bigger Is Better: Leaves a larger explosion too.
  • Black-and-White Morality: The expansion casts all three of the human factions as heroic defenders of the human race against genocidal Scary Dogmatic Aliens and their cultist lackeys.
    • Rhianne's conflict with Marxon over the Aeon leadership in the Aeon campaign. Rhianne wants to turn the Aeon away from the violent purges that have charaterized them for most of the Infinite War. Marxon wants to take rule of the Aeon Illuminate himself and exterminate the UEF and Cybran Nation.
  • Brain in a Jar: Dr. Gustav Brackman.
  • Brick Joke: The Aeon T1 Anti-air unit is called the Thistle. The Seraphim T1 Anti-air unit is called the Ia-istle. Hmm...
  • Catchphrase: Dr. Brackman's "Oh, yes."
  • Church Militant: The Aeon Illuminate.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: Unless there's a specific time frame for one of your objectives in the campaign (say, the reactor of a facility is in meltdown and needs to be fixed, or you need to secure a spot before the enemy destroys it), you can take however long you like going about it. However, if the original game feels you're procrastinating, command will call you up every few minutes to remind you of what you should be doing. The expansion at least takes far more time between calls.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Everything will spark, smoke, and catch fire before destruction but that's about it.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Goes a long way to describing the look of the Aeon Illuminate.
  • Cyber Punk: The Cybrans' hat.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Cybrans. Well, they're no more or less good than anyone else in this game, but this trope applies since their units are painted red and black and are the most menacing-looking overall.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Experimental Units getting swarmed by hordes of lower-tier units.
    • The Aeon T3 Rapid Fire Artillery Installation. Those 36 bomblets that the shells break into aren't very impressive in damage, but anything on the receiving end of those bomblets will eventually succumb.
  • Death Ray: The Cybran Heavy Microwave Laser, most notably mounted on the Monkeylord. It has the highest DPS of any weapon in the game, capable of melting an ACU in seconds. The best part about the laser is that it can be mounted on the Cybran ACU, which also happens to be capable of complete visual and (non-omni) radar invisibility with an upgrade, allowing it to simply walk into an enemy base and start slaughtering.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Everything explodes when destroyed, but the ACUs (which contain an army's leader) always detonate in a nuclear explosion once they suffer a Critical Existence Failure, which is capable of flattening a large chunk of a base. Since the default elimination condition is to lose your ACU, the massive explosion serves as a sort of punctuation mark for a match. Furthermore, when a player is eliminated for any reason at all, every unit and building in their army will self-destruct.
  • Downer Beginning: The Forged Alliance campaign begins with a timeline describing the aftermath of Black Sun's activation and the subsequent Seraphim invasion - Earth was invaded and cleansed of life early on; the Cybran Nation was crippled when the Seraphim hacked into QUI; and the Aeon Illuminate suffered a coup that drove out Princess Rihanna and her loyalists, before pledging fealty to the alien invaders. By the start of the campaign, the Seraphim are slowly scouring the galaxy of all human life, only opposed by the tattered remains of the three human factions, who have formed a coalition in an attempt to fight back.
  • Easy Logistics: Units typically don't require fuel or ammunition (save aircraft, which usually have enough fuel that it doesn't come into play), there are no supply lines from resources to factories, and all aircraft are VTOLs which can land on any solid ground. The ACU itself is an extreme example, since it can build and operate an entire military without additional resources of any kind.
    • Planes will not automatically land and recharge if you've given them any order (such as patrolling or attacking) unless there's a staging facility nearby. Similarly, a large number of structures (and units) either require power to operate at all or have additional features that require power to run. As such, a logistical strike against your enemy's power economy will result in shields dropping, some base defense going offline, no radar, stealth and cloaked units popping up for the enemy, and units that suddenly lack their warming layer of personal shielding.
  • Enemy Civil War: The Aeon Illuminate are caught up in a power struggle between Avatar Marxon and Princess Burke. Expect to find yourself smack-dab in the middle once you start the fifth mission in the Aeon campaign.
  • Enemy Exchange Program: ACUs and engineers can capture enemy units and structures. However, this takes time and resources proportionate to what's being captured, which leaves the capturing unit a sitting duck until it finishes.
    • If you capture an engineer from another faction, or a factory capable of building engineers, you gain the ability to cultivate a base with the enemy faction's assets and work your way up their tech tree with no restrictions. You can even build their experimental units, so have fun with them.
  • Enemy Mine: The plot of Forged Alliance. Some characters are less than happy about this.
  • Escort Mission: The fourth UEF mission has an escort sequence, with the character you are supposed to protect being in an unarmoured truck while the enemy have very long range weapons at their disposal.
  • Everything Fades: Averted in the same way as Total Annihilation, although there was one considerable step back in that destroyed ships don't leave reclaimable sunken wrecks any more. Considering that ships cost much more mass per unit than land or air units, this was a pretty big omission.
  • Expansion Pack: Forged Alliance, a stand-alone expansion, in fact.
  • Eye Beams: The Aeon Galactic Colossus fires a death ray from its eye-shaped head.
  • The Faceless: None of the player characters' faces are seen. The Cybran and Aeon characters are wearing helmets when they're seen, and the UEF character is only mentioned while he's entering his ACU. You learn that the Cybran character is Brackman's clone, though, so one can reasonably guess at his appearance from that.
    • Averted in the sequel, with the player characters actually having backstories.
  • Faction Calculus:
  • Fantastic Racism: The Cybrans receive this from both the UEF who see them as little more than slaves, and the Aeon Illuminate whose commanders view them as abominations to be purged.
  • Fashions Never Change: Dr. Brackman's holographic form is shown wearing what looks like a 20th Century suit-and-tie... even though he first showed up in the 27th Century.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: The Seraphim love this trope.
  • Featureless Protagonist: The player character, with the exception of gender: the Aeon is clearly referred to as female, and the other two as male. The Cybran character is a unique case though, as the end reveals that he's a clone of Brackman.
  • The Federation: The Cybran Nation is the only faction whose long-term goal is not to completely conquer the other two factions, but that doesn't mean they don't do some pretty nasty stuff.
    • This actually is in keeping with the standard disunity that characterizes The Federation in most settings. The core of the Cybrans are the least malicious of the groups in the setting, but because they stress individual freedom far more than the other two sides (they are separated into individual "nodes" that operate semi-autonomously and occasionally come into conflict with one another) they have trouble exercising any real control over their more radical elements, which eventually comes back to bite them in the Expansion Pack in the form of the traitorous Seven Hand Node. Understandable, considering that they are not so much a "nation" like the others as a loose coalition of people who the others seek to enslave (in the case of the UEF) or outright exterminate (the Aeon and the Seraphim) with little in common in terms of ideals.
    • The UEF, despite its name is an aversion, being considerably closer to The Empire and not that much on diplomacy or democratic process. On the other hand, it's shown that it tries to present itself as this to its citizens.
  • Forever War: The conflict between the three factions, barring occasional changes like the Earth Empire being replaced with the UEF, have been fighting for over a thousand years by the time the game takes place. You show up, however, at the potential end of that war.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The Monkeylord, a gigantic Cybran Spider Tank that mounts the game's most powerful non-explosive weapon.
  • Flying Saucer: The Czar, an Aeon flying aircraft carrier with a giant ground torching laser.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: While every faction uses laser weaponry in some way or another, the Cybran are the most prominent.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Applied to most single-target units, but not applied to anything that does Splash Damage, so it's pretty easy to accidentally lose your base if you don't set your mobile artillery to passive mode.
  • Game Mod: Some really excellent ones, but the most notable is probably 'Phantom' which is a free-for-all mode where 1-3 players are randomly and secretly designated 'Phantoms' and given a considerable resource bonus. The non-Phantoms (Innocents) have to identify the Phantoms and kill them for the Innocents "team" to win, while each Phantom as an individual has to be the last man standing. A really good Phantom player can misdirect the innocents into killing of each other and the other Phantoms before turning on the survivors and finishing them with his superior production.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Subverted with experimental units, which are generally as powerful as described if they are successfully built, but played straight with the supposedly advanced Seraphim (due to game balancing involved when making them a playable side).
    • Possibly justified for the Seraphim. The humans have been in a war with constantly-advancing weapons for a thousand years between times they are encountered while the Seraphim were living peacefully, so the gap simply closed in the intervening time. That said, individual Seraphim units are generally more powerful than any of the human equivalents, but cost more.
    • Played straight with the opening cutscene of Forged Alliance. An ACU, especially a UEF ACU, doesn't have nearly that much firepower in direct combat with T2 units, while Clarke's T3 Titan bots should have done better against those T2 Seraphim Ilshavohs, even with their superior numbers.
  • Gatling Good: The UEF Ravager point defense turret is basically a building-sized gatling gun with enormous range and firepower. They also have T2 Gatling bots. The Cybran Scathis experimental has a rotary artillery cannon - six T3 artillery cannons which fire like this. One barrel shoots, then spins off to the side while another gun is brought into line, and fired, which gives the Scathis an incredibly high rate of fire.
  • General Ripper: Avatar Marxon. The Aeon are stated to be infamous for purging those who refuse to follow The Way, but he doesn't even give people the chance. He flat out orders the population of entire world exterminated, and when Rhianne opposes him he attempts to overthrow her. In the final Aeon mission when captures the Black Sun he boasts that he will use it to rule the galaxy, making it clear he doesn't care about the Aeon's beliefs, he simply wants to crush anyone who stands in his path of domination.
    • From Forged Alliance we Brigadier General Fletcher. Unlike General William Hall who is willing to put aside old hatreds with the Aeon and Cybran, Fletcher insists that both of them are plotting against the UEF and betrays them in the final mission on Earth, intent on using the Black Sun to establish the UEF's domiance.
  • Glass Cannon: Just about every artillery unit, several experimental units including the UEF Mavor, the Cybran Scathis and the Aeon Czar, as well as regular units such as the Sprite Striker, Usha-Ah, and Aurora.
  • Gray-and-Grey Morality / Black-and-Gray Morality / Morality Kitchen Sink: There is no clear good or bad faction in Supreme Commander. The four factions are made up of good and bad people with different beliefs and ideals, and they all think they're right.
  • Hate Sink: Avatar Marxon in the Aeon campaign. While the Aeon campaign shows that they do have good people in their ranks, Marxon is simply an Omnicidal Maniac who demands that all who do not follow the Aeon be killed and intends to overthrow Rhianne. He demands his followers show no mercy, ordering entire worlds purged of their inhabitants with no offers of surrender. In the Aeon's final mission he proudly boasts of his intention to use Black Sun himself to rule the galaxy. Despite Rhianne wanting peace, she flat-out orders the player character to kill Marxon. In the mostly morally gray campaigns of the original game, he is the only character who can be considered evil.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: General Clarke in the expansion opening and Princess Rhianne in the expansion ending.
  • Humongous Mecha: Chris Taylor likes this one. About half the ground units fall into this category, though they aren't really humongous (relatively speaking). The really large, and most iconic ones are the Cybran Nation's Monkeylord spider-bot walker and the Aeon Illuminate's Galactic Colossus sacred assault bot.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: The UEF. Their Tier 2 and 3 generators are fusion plants, and their commander mech can be fitted with a backpack missile silo, which can hold one nuke and one counter-missile.
  • Instant-Win Condition: The default game mode is assassination - the player who loses their ACU is out. The end of the Forged Alliance campaign is a fairly straightforward example of this trope.
    • The UEF's Black Sun weapon serves as this in-universe for the vanilla game. With everything falling apart around them, the UEF's only surviving chance rests with the Black Sun, which can destroy any planet, enemy or otherwise, throughout the galaxy, effectively turning the tide to their favor. Needless to say, the Cybrans and the Aeons also want to use the Black Sun for their own purposes, and whoever gets to fire it in the end wins the war.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Said by Dostya, Doctor Brackman's Number Two, before the final mission of the Cybran campaign. The reason is that the Cybran Nation's strategy for ending the war is to temporarily shut down the Quantum Gate network, rendering all Faster-Than-Light Travel impossible during that time, and simultaneously broadcast the "Liberation Matrix" that will free every enslaved Symbiont in the galaxy, bringing them over to the Cybran cause. The idea is that this will cause a massive uprising on UEF planets, prevent the Aeon from hunting Cybrans by trapping them in their own systems, and give the Cybrans time to prepare for a new war against the Aeon once the Quantum Gates are rebuilt and the UEF is destroyed.
  • Kill All Humans:
  • Kill Sat: One of the UEF's experimental weapon systems, the Novax Satelite, fires a beam that can fry anything below it and cannot be attacked by anything. It's not meant for mass destruction, though, and it's mainly used for intel, and occasionally taking out important and unshielded targets, like mass extractors.
  • Knight Templar: Avatar Marxon. To him any human who doesn't follow the Aeon deserves to die, and Aeon who doesn't follow him also deserves to die.
  • Large Ham: Avatar Marxon, to serve as an indicator he is evil.
  • Last Stand: The expansion is about the united factions' last stand against extinction.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Fletcher, whose entire battle strategy (and seemingly entire build tree) consists of nothing but Fatboys being sent into the enemy base. At least until the final mission of the expansion, where you get to kick his ass for betraying everyone.
  • Magikarp Power: ACUs start out (relatively) weak, having trouble dealing with some T2 units and most T3 units. However, all of them (and the smaller SACUs) can be upgraded to have more firepower, abilities, and health. The Cybran ACU can become completely invisible to radar and visual (or get a personal teleporter), can carry the Heavy Microwave Laser - the single most damaging direct-fire weapon in the game, capable of killing other ACUs with almost no warning - and build T3 buildings in seconds. The Seraphim ACU likewise is almost at the same danger-level as experimental units when it is fully upgraded. The UEF's ACU is no slouch either - being able to upgrade to be able to launch tactical and later strategic missiles.
  • The Man Behind the Man: In Forged Alliance, Evaluator Kael is revealed to be this to Avatar Marxon in the original game, with her claiming that it was her plan all along to take over the Aeon Illuminate from Princess Burke, and that she's also involved in killing Evaluator Toth along with Marxon as well. The arrival of the Seraphim is a perfect chance for her to pull a coup and take over the faction from the princess, but even then not all of the Aeon follow her.
  • Master Computer: QAI, complete with Creepy Monotone and Turned Against Their Masters.
  • Meaningful Name: Colonel Arnold, a UEF commander, converts to the Aeon Illuminate. Now where exactly did the inspiration for this character come from?
  • Mecha-Mooks: All the units except the commanders.
  • Military Mashup Machine: Again, Chris Taylor seems to like this one. This is the concept behind most experimental units, which are built to fill several niches at once. The ultimate example is the UEF Fatboy: an amphibious land battleship with an area-covering shield that is capable of constructing its own support force.
  • Mobile Factory: The Fatboy.
    • The Megalith to an extent, though its build options are limited. All aircraft carriers are also mobile aircraft factories.
  • Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: Ranks somewhere in the middle.
  • More Dakka: Experimental Units can have up to ten weapons firing at once.
  • Nanomachines: Building macroscopic objects in minutes, no less.
  • Nerf: GPG removed the Titan's missile launcher a few builds before release, and forgot to change the description, this also nerfed the Loyalist as its missile redirect was the counter to the Titan.
    • In the expansion, all tactical missiles lost their homing capability, making them only effective against buildings and slow moving units unless used in a Macross Missile Massacre. This also nerfed the Loyalist by making the missile redirect pointless unless standing still, which will get them killed so many other ways
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Although the Cybrans aren't based on any one ethnicity or nationality, Russians seem to have been a considerable influence (if Dr. Brackman and his subordinates are any indication).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Forged Alliance reveals that the activation of Black Sun at the end of the base game's story weakened the walls between quantum space and reality. This allows the Seraphim to invade the Milky Way and begin their genocidal conquest.
  • Nintendo Hard: Forged Alliance's missions essentially boils down to you setting up your base from scratch and defeating the enemy. This would be easier said than done though, if it weren't for the massive bases made by the enemies themselves, and the maps frequently expanding with new objectives/waves of enemies. This makes early/mid-game rush tactics difficult without large amounts of units, whereas a slower tech-first approach will have an easier time of it, particularly if a focus of sending groups of experimental units is used.
  • Non-Entity General: See Featureless Protagonist above.
    • In the case of the Cybrans, Dr. Brackman calls all Cybrans "my children" and always refers to you as "my boy". The credits reveal he means that last part literally: you are his clone.
  • No Recycling: Averted like in Total Annihilation. You can reclaim the wreckage of destroyed units and buildings (and even functioning ones) for a quick mass bonus.
  • Not Playing Fair With Resources: The AIX cheats with resources, though the game does tell you it cheats. The players and non-AIX AI players can invoke this by building the Aeon Paragon experimental resource production building, which basically produces infinite energy and mass note , allowing the player to crap out dozens of experimental units in mere minutes.
  • Number of the Beast: The Cybran T3 strategic missile submarine, the Plan B, consumes 666 energy per tick when building its nuclear missiles.
  • Obvious Beta: Supreme Commander was heavily promoted as a DirectX 10 showcase, with unit creation and mapmaking tools both promised. In the end, the game featured none of these things out of the box, with promises of a major patch — as time went on, it became clear this too wouldn't happen. The game also included faction balance issues that had been identified in the Beta, dodgy pathfinding, poor optimisation and a raft of bugs.
    • Some of these issues have been fixed by further patching and the Forged Alliance expansion, and even more have been fixed since by the modding community.
  • Obviously Evil: Avatar Marxon. Between his talk of purging entire worlds and villainous hamminess, everything about him screams evil.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Forged Alliance addressed issues with artillery hitting aircraft by making aircraft tougher than tanks. This meant that a tank column could have serious problems destroying a single parked plane.
  • One World Order: In the backstory, the nations of the world were unified into the Earth Empire. And the UEF continue that tradition.
  • Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: The UEF follow this aesthetic.
  • Path of Inspiration: The Way.
  • Photoprotoneutron Torpedo: The Aeon Illuminate has strategic bombers which drop "quark bombs". There are also "graviton bombs", "neutron bombs", " proton artillery", "meson rockets", and a "quantum beam generator". Slightly averted by the UEF's use of gauss cannons, railguns, and napalm, but they also use plasma weapons and antimatter artillery.
  • Plot Armor: In Forged Alliance's first mission, your soon-to-be base's Quantum Gate comes under attack from Seraphim air units, with you being told to hurry and gate before it's destroyed. Yet until you choose your faction, the situation remains the exact same: the Gate isn't destroyed by the assault, and neither are the air units by the base's anti-air defenses. Once you make your choice and gate in, both are immediately, simultaneously destroyed on the spot.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Zig-zagged. During one mission, Princess Burke attempts to convince a UEF commander that the player wants to save the civilians, but doesn't mention that that's exactly what they're doing right now, instead attempting to soothe him with her words that they mean no harm. On the other hand, the commander not only wasn't in a mood to listen to someone he believes is a fanatic, he also insanely attacked the civilians simply because you were protecting them, meaning it likely wouldn't have made any difference anyway.
  • Purposely Overpowered: The "Game-ender" units are designed to do exactly what their name says, by being incredibly powerful. The UEF Mavor can hit anything on the map with extremely accurate shots that penetrate shields. The Aeon Paragon gives them infinite resources to pump out hundreds of experimentals. The Cybran Scathis has less range and power than the UEF Mavor, but fires six times faster and is mobile. The Seraphim experimental strategic missile launcher can puke out nuclear bombs at a phenomenal rate - enough that the enemy needs eight strategic missile defenses to counter one Seraphim experimental launcher. The game-ender units are great for ending stalemates, though their long build time and costs balance them out on most maps. The game does allow hosts to disable game-ending units, useful for large water maps where they can be easily defended from destruction.
  • The Quisling: Evaluator Kael breaks away from the Aeon and forms her own faction called the Order of the Illuminate and allies withe Seraphim. She hopes to help the Seraphim in wiping out the Coalition in hopes to become the leader of the remains of humanity. But they already plan on killing her when their reinforcements arrive.
  • Real-Time Strategy: One of the better strategy video games out there, and among the most epic, thanks to the implementation of the strategic zoom: You can zoom far enough in to see your little Mech Marine pick its nose, then zoom out to see the entire battlefield and the several radioactive trefoils bearing down on your army.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Dr. Gustav Brackman may be little more than a Brain in a Jar by the time the game takes place. But he also happens to be the oldest human character in the entire game, having been instrumental in founding the Cybran Nation in the first place.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Each faction has at least one;
    • Princess Rhianne Burke for the Aeon. She is opposed to their way of murdering all unbelievers and wants to establish peace in the galaxy and in the Aeon ending to the original campaign she gives her life to allow it.
    • Dr. Gustaf Brackman for the Cybran. He is fighting for the freedom of all Symboints but despite the UEF's oppresion and the Aeon's genocide he has no desire to inflict the same fate on them. He is taking extreme measures to do achieve his ends but the threats he's facing he actions are unstandable. In the Cybran ending he encourages the commander trapped on Earth to make the planet a better place for everyone, rather than making any declarations of vengance.
    • From Forged Alliance we General William Hall for the UEF. He foremost concerned with ending the threat the Seraphim posed to humanity, and feels the Aeon and Cybran have as much right to survive as the UEF. In the UEF's ending he gives a speech about how the UEF must not hold onto its old hatreds with the Cybran and Aeon and acknolwedges both as soveriegn nations with hopes of forming a long term alliance.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Subverted, the Cybran have this color scheme but they are the most sympathetic faction in the game.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Justified, like in Total Annihilation, by the use of nano-particles to construct units and buildings, which work like laser-powered 3D printers.
  • Robot War: All of the four factions' units, with the exception of the titular Commanders, are AI-controlled war machines.
    • And the occasional Support Commander you can call in once you build a Quantum Gate.
  • Rule of Cool: All of the units embody this trope.
  • Saintly Church: The Way, depending on who the preacher is. Reaches Religion of Evil levels in some hands, and the two sides fight civil wars in both games.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The Aeon were founded when the first follower of The Way saw a vision of a future where star systems were stripped and destroyed with incalculable loss of life. As a direct consequence, a thousand years of total war followed, ending with the development of a planet-killing weapon.
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: Averted. Nukes are devastating, and there's a reason why Strategic Missile Defenses exist in this game.
    • Averted further by the Seraphim Yolona Oss Experimental Launcher's nuke, which will destroy any unit caught in their blast radius and requires two anti-nuke missiles to destroy.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Seraphim, and then you have the Aeon Illuminate, scary dogmatic humans.
  • Schmuck Bait: The fourth mission in the first game's Cybran campaign will conclude as a failure if you try to kill the enemy commander early by punching through her base and units in an open attack. She even taunts you that she rigged an important building to explode if you attack her.
  • Sequel Hook: The endings in both games.
  • Serial Escalation: Maps in this game can become much larger than the largest maps in other RTS'es. For example, you could be playing in the Forged Alliance campaign and realize the map is a small fraction before the AI says "Operation Area Expanded", and realize there's still hidden areas. On average, the game says that line twice.
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: Much less egregious than in most other Real-Time Strategy games, due to the huge maps, but still a factor. World War II battleship cannons had a range of about 40 kilometres; in this game, any artillery piece with that kind of range is a skyscraper-sized superweapon, and the regular battleships tend to have ranges closer to 5 km or less.
  • Spider Tank: The Cybran Monkeylord and Megalith. The latter can even lay eggs as a bizarre unit construction method.
    • They even have land-capable Spider destroyers called the Salem-class, and they fight on land equally as good as on water, although moving slower.
  • Spiritual Successor: Chris Taylor, the brains behind Total Annihilation wanted to make a sequel but didn't own the rights on TA. Supreme Commander was the result.
  • Straight for the Commander: Played straight. The default victory condition in multiplayer is assassination, where to win one must kill the enemy Armored Command Unit. This is no small feat considering that the Commander usually has a full-out army and/or base protecting him, not to mention the fact that he's one of the most powerful units in the game. Some players might try to send a group of high-damage units on a suicide run to snipe the enemy commander, or if one player is too reckless with using his commander as a combat unit then they could find a surprise waiting for them.
    • When the victory condition isn't assassination, this trope may become inverted as one player suicides his commander into the enemy army/base so the unit's nuclear reactor meltdown takes out as much stuff as possible.
    • Averted with the very first mission in the expansion's campaign: Exploiting a hole in the Seraphim commander's defenses to assassinate him will not end the mission if you bypass his experimentals and another character outright tells you that you will need to kill those experimentals.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: Averted in two cases in the expansion.
    • Samantha Clarke in the opening cutscene of Forged Alliance. When Dostya recalls, she stays to try and buy more time for the evac ship to get away, but it gets shot down anyway. She's clearly trying to recall, but her ACU doesn't go through the process (having been sabotaged), and she can only stare at the Seraphim ACU as it levels its gun at her and destroys her with one shot.
    • Also, later in the campaign, the same thing happens to you and Dostya in mission 4, after the Seraphim and the Face–Heel Turn Hex5 tampered with the Quantum Teleporter on planet Hades. Dostya shared Clarke's fate, leaving you to Hold the Line against endless hordes of enemies while HQ tries to fix the teleporter.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: The Seraphim.
  • Super-Persistent Missile: Invoked when a unit equipped with AA Missiles fires on a false radar signature and, to hilarious effect, by torpedo-equipped units trying to attack hover units to no avail. On the other hand, Cybran ASF missiles will always hit their target.
  • Tank Goodness: Yup. They range from tiny T1 tanks to Experimental Base on Wheels like the Fatboy.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The "ALX" AI in Instant Action are explicitly said to cheat in their info tooltips. In the 5th mission of Forged Alliance, the AI will begin to build units off of the available map and send them towards the player's starting position when it thinks the player isn't looking, or simply teleport them near the default position.
  • The Stinger: Each of the campaings in the original game had an after-credits sequence, collectively hinting at the expansion's story. The UEF's pick up a sudden, massive influx of unknown forces appearing from thin air; the Cybran's have Brackman question QAI, who reveals "They... are coming" and that his true purpose is complete; the Aeon's have an ethereal Princess Burke floating in the void, before her eyes snap open and she whispers "No!" in horror, the Book-Ends to her having vaguely sensed an unknown danger at the beginning.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: The Cybran Campaign. Dr. Brackman, creator of the Symbionts, calls all Symbionts "his children" and refers to the player as "my son". The debriefing at the end of the campaign reveals that he's being literal about that - you're his clone.
  • Trailers Always Lie: Averted almost to the point of lampshading. Not only can you play the map from the main trailer (it's Seton's Clutch), the wreckage from the battle in the trailer is present. The only things that aren't true in the transition are various unit changes that were removed, such as featuring UEF bots firing homing missiles from a launcher, an Atlantis with retracting SAM launchers when surfaced, and a Monkeylord dealing crush damage to friendly units. note 
  • Turn Coat: Colonel Arnold, QAI, Evaluator Kael, Celene, Hex5, Brigadier Fletcher... In a Forever War you can't trust your own comrades.
  • Useless Useful Stealth: Stealth isn't useless at first, but once the enemy builds Omni-Sensors that see through both stealth (can't be spotted on radar) and cloaking (can't be spotted visually), it really loses a lot of its appeal. The Omni stealth-detecting range is significantly shorter than its standard radar, but it's enough to keep you from getting inside a base easily.
    • More to the point, whereas many games have stealth units, Supreme Commander utilities stealth field generators, allowing you to sneak an engineer or two behind enemy lines and build your own stealth base.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The Aeon and Seraphim's justification for waging their respective campaigns.
  • Units Not to Scale: Mostly averted. An infantry bot is realistically smaller then a main battle tank, and downright puny when placed next to higher-tier units or Experimentals, although downplayed in that even those tiny infantry bots are about 12 meters tall. Plus, the maps can be as large as 81 virtual kilometers, making even the most massive units seem tiny.
    • Though aircraft carriers, as ever, play this trope straight, even though they're big enough to qualify as actual warships, they're still nowhere near large enough to contain the dozens of aircraft they carry.
    • Super-units with the "Massive" trait will crush small units that get too close, instantly destroying them. In this case the Friendly Fireproof trope is in force - the tiniest of friendly units are unharmed by the passage of such a unit, while larger-but-still-relatively-small enemy units suffer heavy damage or are destroyed instantly. (This protection doesn't apply once the super unit starts firing, however.)
  • Verbal Tic: Doctor Brackman's "Oh yes..."
  • Veteran Unit: Veterancy ranges from 1 to 5 Marks which are gained when a certain number of kills are reached. The bonuses are increased HP and attack efficiency.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Most Experimental units and T3/Experimental Artillery are armed with huge guns designed to annihilate anything that gets in their way. The Cybran Heavy Microwave Laser takes the cake, however - it has the single highest DPS of any weapon in the game, has hitscan, and it can be carried by their ACU
  • We Have Reserves: With the right amount of Mass and Energy (in other words, basically anything you can grab), there's no limit to the amount of times you can replace your forces. They aren't even living things, either, just robots, making them that much more expendable.
    • Lampshaded in the slogan of this trailer: "In every battle, only one casualty matters."
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: Black Sun, which can be used to spread devastation, a powerful computer virus, or peace and love throughout the galaxy. Its builders were aiming for the devastation. The latter two options only used the quantum access part of the weapon, probably with some slight modifications.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Cybran Nation are the most sympathetic faction who simply want to free Symbionts from being used as slaves by the UEF and prevent the Aeon's attempts at extermination. But while they don't mean any malice their actions are shown from the UEF's perspective to undermine their efforts to fight against the Aeon, not to mention they would lead to years where all planets were trapped in isolation quantum gates being destroyed and rendered useless.
    • The UEF. From the Cybran Nation's perspective they are brutal oppressors. The UEF however are on the verge of defeat against the Aeon, religious fanatics known for employing mass purges, while their efforts are also being undermined by uprisings caused by the Cybran. The use of Black Sun to destroy planets is horrifying but to the UEF it's the only thing standing between them and the Aeon's mass exterminations.
  • Weapon of Peace: Various Aeon weapons, and the Cybran Liberator.
  • You Are Number 6: Cybran character names sometimes include numbers, such as Hex5.
  • You Nuke 'Em: When you reach Tier 3, you can build Strategic Missiles to nuke your enemies to oblivion.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: Uses the same flow system of resources as Total Annihilation did, only with mass replacing metal.
    • Although both resources are infinite, running out of them is the only annoying problem you'll encounter when usage outstrips production and you run out of one resource during construction. Additional extractors, fabricators, generators, and storage units will only delay this problem, not prevent it altogether.
    • The Aeon Experimental Resource Generator Paragon completely eliminates this problem by automatically adjusting its energy and mass output to exceed current usage, up to a certain very high upper limit that to many might as well be infinite. The big catch? If it's not protected by shields and it gets destroyed, everything around it will be consumed in a nuclear explosion. Well, that and the fact that if you could afford the epic time and resources to build it, you probably didn't need it.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Which faction holds the Sanity Ball and is surrounded by omnicidal maniacs is decided only by your choice of said faction. If you play for the UEF, the Cybrans are psychopathic terrorists plotting to destroy what semblance of order and stability the Federation provides. If you play for the Cybrans, the UEF consists entirely of General Rippers out to slaughter and enslave everyone who doesn't fit with their vision of humanity. An Aeon Player sees the worst of both and their own. In addition, almost all non-player Aeon commanders are Omnicidal Maniacs even in the Aeon campaign (where this leads to civil war).
  • Zerg Rush: Given how easy it is to build a dozen Tech 1 land factories and have them all pump out T1 mobile artillery or tanks, expect to see a lot of this. On the popular Seton's Clutch multiplayer map, the front position players usually have to zerg or die. The viability of this tactic is actually a holdover from Total Annihilation, where it was absurdly easy to swamp an uninitiated player (or default 'Hard' AI) with T1 anything. A common workaround is for all players to agree on a self-imposed 'no-rush' timer.
    • An especially good tactic for Aeon players on maps with a lot of water. Their basic T1 tanks are amphibious.
    • The game rules actually discourage mindlessly Zerg rushing with Tech 1 units. Individual units gain "Veterancy Bonuses" once they score enough kills, which increases their max HP and regeneration speed, which is very bad when said unit is an Experimental.
    • On the other hand, a single Cybran T2 turret can hold off an entire tank rush single-handedly, if you can get it up fast enough.
    • A few well-built firebases can destroy a zerg rush unless the attacker has overwhelming artillery, tactical missile, or bomber support.

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