Unlike other RTS games, where units must be sized to fit reasonably on the screen, the zoom range in Supreme Commander will allow for diversity in unit size. Previews have confirmed that there are units so large that they crush smaller units as they travel and some will not even be able to fit on a single screen at maximum zoom. The scale is large enough that Supreme Commander will feature sea and air battles as well as nuclear weapons at a realistic scale in addition to land battles.
To accomplish this, Supreme Commander will use fully 3D terrain that is dynamically tessellated as the camera is moved around. Both units and maps will also use normal maps in order to allow for a large amount of detail.
With such diversity in the size of units, one might expect the balance to be thrown off; making the game a race to build the biggest and most powerful weapons. However, the balance of units in Supreme Commander will be different than most other RTS games.
The game will operate using true Newtonian physics. Unlike most RTS games, where weapons are artificially limited in power or range to balance the game, Supreme Commander will use the natural weaknesses of units to keep things even. For example, a very powerful and accurate bomber squadron can decimate a base rather quickly. However, bombers must fly relatively slowly if they are going to accurately bomb a target. On the other hand, the enemy can defend with air supremacy units that can move very fast and would have no problem hunting down and destroying the defenseless bombers. Of course there are several other natural limiting factors that come into play, such as the time and materials that go into making more advanced (and powerful) units.
In Supreme Commander, three sides are engaged in an Infinite War of liberation and sought-after peace. The United Earth Federation, who are the generic human side, favours the track and turrets of tanks and armoured vehicles. The Aeon are humans who adopted the technology and philosophy of an alien race, and are obsessed with peace. Their units look slick and advanced, being seemingly weaponless, until you threaten them, in which case hatches open and wings split to reveal the guns. The Aeon have mastered cloaking, and most of their ground units hover. The Cybrans are human cyborgs, and fight for the liberation of their fellow Cybrans from the oppressive Terran Empire. The Cybrans use legged units primarily, and own the only Experimental unit shown to the public, being the massive six-legged spider-like machine armed with a potent heat laser