Skip to the bottom for the actual question.
Ashes of the Singularity has me really excited. The way it has been described hit all the right notes. Company of Heroes similarities are great. One thing in Supcom that always bugged me way that the only defensive capabilities a unit had was HP. That really reduced the depth in unit choice and design. I love what I’ve read about armour in the Post-Humans vs. Substrate: Units dev journal.
My question to the devs and designers is tangentially related to that. Human warfare has always involved infantry. Even today and for the foreseeable future there will be boots on the ground. Part of the reason for this is that the infantry unit is extremely versatile. An infantryman can move across and fight in nearly all land terrains. An infantryman can carry weapons to fight tanks, aircraft, and other infantry in long, short and close quarters. This versatility has kept infantry in a core position in all armies.
There are a few other points that are relevant to my point here. Nothing else can exploit terrain like a person. While a person is slow in overall speed, the ability for a man to rapidly pop in and out of cover is extremely important too. A group of ATGM teams has the same effective tank killing power than the same cost in tanks, and is in fact more dangerous to the tanks than the tanks are to the ATGM teams. This can be demonstrated by the 1973 Yom Kippur War where ATGM teams decimated tank forces that were unsupported by infantry. This is due to the fact that the infantryman is much smaller and more agile than the tank. Harder to spot, and able to hide nearly anywhere. On top of that, infantry can dig in, creating more cover for themselves. (Cover would have to be part of the game though.)
In summary, infantry has the following advantages:
+All Terrain capability
This does, of course, require that there are actual humans. That’s what infantry is. But Ashes of the Singularity is post human. So there’s no ease of training up men and giving ‘em guns.
I think there’s a lot of potential for it. The idea of meta-units reducing micro is fascinating. For example, IAs could be carried in transports that automatically load and unload depending on the meta-unit’s status, whether it’s engaging the enemy, moving long distance, etc. To add some difference, the Substrate’s IA’s could simply ‘combine’ into a faster, long distance unit while the post-human’s IAs require dedicated transports.
I could add paragraphs more about the imagined function of infantry analogues (a 'carrier' unit that automatically deploys its slower moving, but colourfully armed drones in a wide area?) in AotS, but that’s beside the point.
Will there be any kind of cover, or will the impact of terrain be restricted to impassable/passable and higher/lower?
Will there be an units analogous to infantry in AotS, or will everything fall into the classification of vehicles?