OK then, time for me to get involved here...
And now this... Suffice it to say that Ashes of the Singularity has very much caught my attention. We have flow-based economy. We have grand scale. We have great looking maps and units. We even have a simulated physics engine! I squealed with delight. Here, at last, is an honest-to-goodness effort to reinvigorate the true RTS genre with a game which may, finally, take the mantle from SupCom:FA.
Imagine my disappointment when I read this thread through... It's like the lesson simply hasn't been learned. So while I recognise that I have no authority, or influence, or any of that around here, I'm going to make this post and be absolutely clear and resolute:
This game needs Strategic Zoom. Without it, the game will flop. It may be a financial success, but if that's all you're going for here, then the potential is already wasted entirely. This game has the potential not just to be financially successful, but to be the RTS to beat, the yardstick, the top of the pile.
Without Strategic Zoom, it will fail in this regard. End of story.
Yes, it had been done before, but SupCom showed the way forwards in a way which has never been replicated, before or since. Only Sins came close, and even there IMO it was inferior. A player should never have to pan the camera. Ever. It's slow, cumbersome, and gets in the way. A player should only have to flick his finger to have an absolute overview of everything going on. Icons are a necessity to this game's success. Yes, they are ugly sometimes, but gameplay > visuals any day of the week, and as SupCom has proven unequivocally, icons are the best possible option for gameplay. They are the fastest way of getting data about what is going on to the player's brain such that they know what to do next.
I'll go further: The minimap, as a concept, is outdated and utterly without merit. Having it as an option is fine, especially if there's a cartographic mode. Making it necessary for gameplay because the importance and power of Strategic Zoom was dismissed or underestimated is just going backwards 15 years. It takes up screen space, it's never as detailed or flexible as a fully realized zoom, and with zoom around you'll find that very, very few people have any need for it. That, alone, should be reason enough to abandon it as your route and go the SZ route. Dual monitors is one thing, but once again please look at what SupCom tried to do, and just do it right: The second monitor shouldn't be a minimap as such (Though the option to have different modes should absolutely be there), it should simply be a fully realized second display port, also with full strategic zoom available if you want it. It's easy to move around and re-position inside it, it gives you exactly the info you want, and it's incredibly intuitive.
You have more than 30,000 potential hard-core RTS fans just itching to transfer from SupCom:FA to this game. For a simulated RTS game, that's an incredible number of players, more than any has been able to hold on to since SupCom. FAF is growing by the day thanks to community support, development, and promotion, and as a member of their development team I can say the future there looks extremely bright.
Don't throw all that away with one avoidable decision. Please... We all want this game to be the next step in RTS. Make it happen!