Chapter 1

Building your economy

This chapter is probably the most important of the guide because your economy during the game is the most important thing. During a game, it's almost every time the player with the strongest economy who wins. From the beginning to the end of a game, you must constantly improve your economy, and never stop doing it. If your enemy is doing nothing, you should use all of your economy to improve your economy ! Notice however it's not because the enemy isn't attacking that he's not mounting something. You have so to keep an eye on what the enemy is doing or you will be stupidly killed : 3 T2 power generators will protect you against nothing.

All factions have the same economy. The cost of the power plants, mass extractors, fabricators or energy and mass storages are exactly the same everywhere. There is generally no differences between the four factions when we speak of their economy.

Mass-equivalent units

The use of mass-equivalent units is no longer recommanded. Endless debates all showed the relation 1 mass unit = 150 energy units is in fact a borderline case, being a crude approximation for most of the game situations. A complete discussion of this problem will be published next month. Please note most of the analyses made throughout the guide using me units remain accurate.

Praying Mantis, 15 october 2008.

As you probably already know, all you can build in the game requires two collectable resources : energy and mass. To compare the costs of two buildings, vehicles, planes and so on, you will have, each time, two sets of values to look at. Let's take an example. The famous Monkeylord (also called Spiderbot, see the big unit with legs on the right picture) need 16000 units of mass and 200000 units of energy to be built. Imagine now that instead of a Spiderbot, you choose to build some T3 power generators. A T3 power generator costs 3240 units of mass and 57600 units of energy (all factions included). If we compare the energy costs, we find a Monkeylord is equal to 3.47 T3 power generators. But if we compare the mass costs, we find a Monkeylord is equal to 4.94 T3 power generators.

These results simply mean a Spiderbot needs 4.94 times more mass than a T3 power generator and 3.47 times more energy. Great : what value do we pick for our comparison ? We could ignore the costs in energy, saying that since mass is a quite more valuable resource, it's the only one to matter. A Spiderbot is then roughly equal to five T3 power generators. It's not a bad way of thinking, and we actually will use it several times in this guide, but it is not very accurate, especially if you perform comparison between units for which the energy costs relative to the mass costs aren't negligible.

The basic idea to solve the problem properly is to establish a relation between mass and energy, and it's not very difficult to find out : since a T2 mass fabricator uses 150 units of energy to create one unit of mass, we're going to say one mass unit = 150 energy units. We could have taken the relation from a T3 mass fabricator, saying that 291.67 energy units are needed to do one unit of mass, but we will choose the T2 mass fabricator relation because it's the more efficient one. We can now use the mass-equivalent units. A Spiderbot costs 16000 mass units and 200000 energy units, and so it costs meu (mass-equivalent units). The T3 power generator costs meu. By looking at these two new values, we can now say a Spiderbot is equal to 4.78 T3 power generators.

Mass-equivalent units are a powerful tool. You can now compare the costs of everything in the game with only one value, not two. Most of the data are expressed in the me units in this guide. You will see this unit naturally yields to integer values for most cases, thus being quite pleasant to use.

Of course, other ways of mixing energy and mass to obtain a single value are possible. For instance instead of searching a relation between mass an energy, we can multiply the two values to obtain a unified one. By doing that, we see the “economic value” of a Spiderbot is 3200000000, let's say 3200, and that for a T3 power plant it's 186624000, let's say 186.624 (we divide the results by 1000000 to avoid big numbers, it's a trick we can always do if applied to all results). It seems here a Spiderbot is equal to 17.15 T3 power plants. It is a complete different result than before but it is not more false or true than 4.78 calculated above. The only difference is that the mass-equivalent units are based on a real relation (one mass unit = 150 energy unit, according to the T2 mass fabricator) when multiply two values is something very abstract and that doesn't take into account that mass is a more valuable resource than energy. In fact this multiplication system intensifies the cost differences between two units or buildings compared to the meu system. If we take a land factory, costing 254 meu, and a T1 power plant, costing 80 meu, we see that with the meu system a land factory is equal to 3.18 T1 power plants. But with the multiplication system, we see that the economic value of the land factory is 504000 and is equal to 56250 for the power plant, meaning a land factory is equal to 8.96 T1 power plants, a quite bigger number, once again.

Power plants

T1 power plant

unit name

T1 power generator

mass cost

75

energy cost

750

hp

600

production

+20 energy units/second

explosion damages

250

explosion radius

small, almost negligible

The T1 power generator produce +20 energy units every second and costs 80 mass-equivalent units. It has 600 hp and, by exploding, can cause 250 damage points for the closest buildings or units. This means that, for instance, a T1 Cybran engineer, with 145 hp, will be destroyed if close of an exploding T1 power generator. Fortunately, the radius of the explosion is here very small, almost negligible.

T2 power plant

unit name

T2 power generator

mass cost

1200

energy cost

12000

hp

2160

production

+500 energy units/second

explosion damages

1500

explosion radius

average

The T2 power generator uses 9 times more space in your base than the T1 power generator. But it produces +500 energy units every second, where 9 T1 power generators produce only +180. It's therefore a more compact way of producing energy.

A T2 power generator costs 1280 mass-equivalent units. We have thus +500 in energy with 1280 meu, it's a ratio of . You will spend 2.56 meu to produce +1 energy unit every second using T2 power plants. Compared to the T1 power generator, with a ratio equal to : , we can conclude than energy is cheaper to produce with T2 generators than with T1 generators.

The T2 power generator has 2160 hp and causes 1500 damage points when exploding for the closest units or buildings, which is not insignificant. Be careful not to build this kind of building near objects with less than 1500 hp, typically T1 objects or T2 mass fabricators. If you want to initiate a big explosion in the enemy base, try to destroy his T2 power generators : the explosion radius is here not insignificant.

T3 power plant : the most cost-effective way to increase your energy output

unit name

T3 power generator

mass cost

3240 meu

energy cost

57600 meu

hp

9720

production

+2500 energy units/second

explosion damages

8000

explosion radius

huge

The T3 power generator use 16 times more space than a T1 generator. It produces +2500 energy units and has a ratio equal to . T3 power plants are a cheaper way to produce energy in comparison of T2, T1 or hydrocarbon power plants.

But you need to be carefull, because when a T3 power generator explodes, it causes 8000 damage points with a quite big radius of explosion ! Almost everything near it will explode as well. This building can be the origin of a dangerous chain reaction in a base, igniting a real firework display. The T3 generator has 9720 hp.

Hydrocarbon power plant

unit name

hydrocarbon power plant

mass cost

160

energy cost

800

hp

1600

production

+100 energy units/second

explosion damages

no

The hydrocarbon power plant costs 165.33 mass-equivalent units and produces +100 energy units every second. We have the ratio : . It's the cheapest way to make energy after the T3 power generator. If you have the opportunity to build such a power plant during the beginning of the game, just do it as soon as you can !

Notice this building cannot inflict damages around if it is destroyed. In fact, there is only a few number of buildings to have an explosion radius : it's not a so common property.

From now one, if no explosion damages are mentioned for the building we are talking about, it means the building does not inflict damages around if it is destroyed.

Mass extractors

T1 mass extractor

unit name

T1 mass extractor (T1 mex)

mass cost

36

energy cost

360

hp

800

production

+2 mass units/second

The T1 mass extractor costs 38.4 meu (it needs only -2 energy units per second to work, which rapidly becomes negligible in your economy) and produces +2 mass units per second. It has 800 hp and can be upgraded into a T2 mass extractor. Given the cost and the mass units produced per second, we can say that after being built, the T1 mass extractor will need 19 seconds (38.4 meu divided by +2 mass units every second) to pay back what you've invested for it. In term of mass, the T1 mass extractor costs 36 mass units an so will need only 18 seconds to pay back its mass cost. T1 mexes are very cheap to build, even in the beginning of the game. They are, after the walls, the cheapest static unit we can build in the game.

T2 mass extractor

unit name

T2 mass extractor (T2 mex)

mass cost

900

energy cost

5400

hp

3000

production

+6 mass units/second

The T2 mass extractor costs 936 meu (it needs -9 energy units per second to work) and produces +6 mass units per second. It has 3000 hp and can be upgraded into a T3 mass extractor. Compared to the T1 mass extractor, we see the T2 mex is a quite more expensive building. Moreover, it's important to notice that building a T2 mass extractor or upgrading a T1 mass extractor costs exactly the same price. By upgrading the T1 one, you simply destroy it and replace it by a T2 one. The two main differences are that for building a T2 mass extractor, you absolutely need a T2 or T3 engineer, when upgrading a T1 mass extractor doesn't require to have T2 or T3 engineers, and that when you upgrade a T1 mass extractor, it will continue to pump mass till the end of the upgrade. If you build a T2 mex on an empty mass point, no mass will be produced till the T2 mex is completed.

The T2 extractor will need 2 minutes and 36 seconds to pay back the initial investment (in meu) and 2 minutes 30 seconds to pay back its cost in mass.

T3 mass extractor

unit name

T3 mass extractor (T3 mex)

mass cost

4600

energy cost

31625

hp

8400

production

+18 mass units/second

This extractor is the most productive you can have in the game. It produces +18 mass units per second, has 8400 hp (a little less than the hp of a T3 power generator) and costs 4810.83 meu, more than a T3 power generator ! It will take 4 minutes and 27 seconds to pay back its meu cost and 4 minutes 16 seconds to pay back its cost in term of mass. This building needs -54 energy units to work.

Like explained in the T2 mass extractor subsection above, building a T3 mass extractor or upgrading a T2 one is exactly the same thing for the cost. By upgrading a T2 mex, you simply destroy it an replace it by a T3 one.

Mass and energy storages

Some people believe these two buildings need to be built when you produce more than you consume. They seem not aware of the fact that fluctuations in the economy is almost always too fast to let them the time of building some storages to avoid any waste. Those building have in fact only two purposes :

the more of them you have, the more time you will have to react to an unexpected fluctuation of your economy, thus maybe avoid some waste. Fluctuations in your economy can occur at any time, especially if you have a very large economy : the larger your economy is, the bigger will be the number of factors able to act upon it.

by building mass storages next to a mass extractor and energy storages next to a power plant, you will significantly increase the production of the building.

Energy storage : a building of limited interest

unit name

energy storage

mass cost

120

energy cost

2400

hp

1200

explosion damages

500

explosion radius

small, almost negligible

An energy storage costs 136 mass-equivalent units and has 1200 hp. By building 12 of them around a T2 power plant, you will increase its production of 50%. But doing that will cost you 1632 meu, more than a new T2 power plant ! The use of energy storages to increase energy production is in fact not cost-effective at all with isolated power plants. If you want it to become a cost-effective investment, you have to define large industrial zone with only power plants and energy storages between the power plants. Every energy storage has to be shared by two power plants, so that the effective cost of an energy storage will be 68 meu, not 136. We can now calculate that with a T2 power generator, increasing the production of 50% will cost you 816 meu if all the energy storages are shared. You maybe think it's good, but in fact, it's still not. 816 meu is more than half the price of a new T2 power plant. It's so still not cost-effective to build energy storages in that case... With T1 power plants, the problem is worse. With T3 power plants, we will need 16 energy storages to increase by 50% the production of an isolated T3 power plant. If we share de energy storages, we will spend 1088 meu. And it's less than the half of 3624 meu, the cost of a T3 power generator.

In conclusion : the only cost-effective way to use energy storages for an increase of the energy production is by using them only with T3 generators and by sharing every energy storage built between two or more T3 generators.

The last thing you should know is that the energy storage causes 500 damage points around if it is destroyed, but since the radius of the explosion is very small in this case, an exploding energy storage will not even hurt a linked T3 power plant, and anyway with 9720 hp, a T3 power plant isn't afraid by 500 damage points.

Mass storage : a good way to increase the mass output

unit name

mass storage

mass cost

200

energy cost

1500

hp

1600

explosion damages

no

Mass storages are very important for the mass extractors. A T3 mass extractor produces +18 mass units. But with four mass storages around the T3 mass extractor, you will see that now it produces +27 mass units ! It's an increase of 50%, like for the power plant case.

A mass storage costs 210 meu and has 1600 hp. It doesn't cause any damages around if it is destroyed. The question of cost-effectiveness doesn't affect this building like for the energy storage case, simply because if you want to have more mass, you do not have other alternative, where with energy you simply can build another power plant. This is, by the way, the main reason explaining why mass is a more valuable resource than energy.

When to build the mass storages ? Building four of them around a T1 mass extractor will cost you 800 mass units and will increase the extractor production of only one mass unit per second. Upgrading the T1 extractor costs 900 mass units and lead to a mass output of +6 mass units, an increase of four mass units produced per second. Building four mass storages around a T1 mex is thus not a good idea : you should upgrade it first.

Upgrading a T2 mex will cost you 4600 mass units and lead to a mass output of +18, it's an increase of +12 mass units a second. Building four mass storages around a T2 mex will increase its output from +6 to +9, an increase of +3 mass units per second for 800 mass units, in other words, an increase of +12 for 3200 mass units (+3 multiplied by four, 800 multiplied by four). You should build your mass storages before upgrading a T2 mex. The best time to build four mass storages around a mass extractor is therefore when it's a T2 one.

Please note when we calculated previously the time needed for a mass extractor to pay back its mass cost we didn't take into account we can build mass storages around it. For instance, the T3 mass extractor need 4 minutes and 16 seconds to pay back its mass cost without any mass storages around. But if we build four mass storages around it, the new output is +27 mass units and the mass cost to pay back becomes 5400 (the mass cost of a T3 mex + four times the mass cost of a mass storage). With the new mass output, you need 200 seconds to pay back these 5400 mass units, it's 3 minutes and 20 seconds, almost one minute less in comparison of what we calculated previously.

Proper way to upgrade your mass extractors

We know we have to build the four mass storages around a mass extractor when it's a T2 one. But this knowledge isn't enough if you want to increase your mass production using the most effective way possible.

Imagine you have three T1 mexes built only, infinite energy supply and infinite and instant build force. Your mass production : +6 mass units a second. You want to increase your mass production and therefore start upgrading. Did you know all ways of upgrading your extractors get the same results but aren't equal regarding the time needed to finish the total upgrade process ? Here are several ways of upgrading your extractors :

Let's assume first you do everything at the same time. We begin by upgrading the three T1 mexes. Because all your mass extractors are equal, each of them will receive +6 divided by three, that's +2 mass units a second (each T1 mex actually use its own output). And because a T2 mex needs 900 mass units to be built, your three mass extractors will be upgraded after 450 seconds. You then put four mass storages around each of them. You will build a first mass storage around each T2 mex and because there is three of them, there will be three mass storages to be built at the same time. Your total output is +18 mass units a second and three mass storages costs 600 mass units. You therefore need 33.33 seconds to build the first three mass storages. Mass output right after they are completed ? +20.25. Each T1 mass storage you build around a mass extractor increases its ouput of 12.5%, four mass storages increasing the output of 50%, as previously said. We build now the second mass storage around each T2 mex. Time needed : 29.63 seconds. New mass output ? +22.5 mass units a second. We build the third mass storage around each T2 mex. Time needed : 600 divided by +22.5 this time, it's 26.67 seconds. New output : +24.75. We then build the last mass storage around each T2 mex. It will take 600 divided by +24.75, equal to 24.24 seconds. New output : +27 mass units a second. Total time for the mass storages : 33.33 + 29.63 + 26.67 + 24.24 = 113.87 seconds.

Let's now upgrade the three T2 mexes at the same time again. A T3 mex needs 4600 mass units and you are building three of them. We divide +27 by 3, it's +9 mass units for each T2 mex to perform its upgrade. 4600 divided by +9 is 511.11 seconds : you will complete the upgrade of your six T2 mexes after this time.

You finally obtain +81 mass units/sec after 450 + 113.87 + 511.11 = 1074.98 seconds = 17 minutes and 55 second. This way of upgrading all your mass extractors is the worst one you can imagine. The exact formula allowing us to calculate the time you need to upgrade all your mass extractors using the way described here is

this formula and its result are not only related to the case where the number of extractors is three : in fact, whatever the number of extractors is one, two, or ten, using this first way of upgrading your extractors will always take 1075 seconds in theory.

Let's give another shot. This time, you only launch the upgrade of one T1 mex at a time, put the max number of engineers on it (to be sure it will receive the entire mass production) and right after the upgrade is completed, you build four mass storages around and then upgrade the T2 mex into a T3 mex. The first T1 mex you will upgrade this way will receive the entire mass production, it's +6 mass units a second. Time needed to complete its upgrade ? 150 seconds. After 150 seconds, your total mass production will become +10 mass units a second. We then put four mass storages around. The production will become +13 mass units/sec. The first mass storage will need 200 divided by +10, equal to 20 seconds. The output will become +10.75. The second mass storage will need 200 divided by +10.75, that's 18.60 seconds and a new output of +11.5. The third mass storage will need 17.39 seconds to be built. Mass production : +12.25. The last mass storage therefore will need 16.33 seconds to be built. Total time for the mass storages related to this first mass extractor : 20 + 18.60 + 17.39 + 16.33 = 72.32 seconds.

We upgrade now our T2 mex. Time needed : 4600 divided by +13 equal to 353.85 seconds. Mass production : +31. Total time for this first T1 mex : 150 + 72.32 + 353.85 = 576.17 seconds. We perform the same sequence for the second T1 mex using the new mass production. T1 mex T2 mex = 29.03 seconds. Mass production becomes : +35. Four mass storages around the new T2 mex : 5.71 + 5.59 + 5.48 + 5.37 = 22.15 seconds. Mass production : +39. T2 mex T3 mex = 117.95 seconds. From this second T1 mex to the T3 mex, we used this time 29.03 + 22.15 + 117.95 = 169.13 seconds. New mass production : +56. For the third mass extractor, the time needed will be 16.07 + 13.09 + 73.02 = 102.18 seconds. In the end we obtain a mass production +81 units a second. The total time needed is 576.17 + 169.13 + 102.18 = 847.48 seconds = 14 minutes and 7 seconds.

It is possible to establish a formula, allowing us to calculate the time needed for more or less than three extractors using the way described here to upgrade them. The formula is

where n is the number of extractors. Because for the cases where n is bigger than one or two, the manual calculation is really annoying, we can use computational power to help us. Hereafter, you can enter the value of n you want. You then just need to click on the “perform calculation button” to get your result :

Notice if you put n = 1, you obtain 1074.98 seconds. It's not a surprise, since way A and way B to upgrade your extractors become the sames if there is one extractor only.

At last, notice the formula result get smaller and smaller when the variable n grows. This second way of upgrading your extractors is more interesting to use with a big number of extractors.

What about this now : you upgrade a T1 mex into a T2 one and then put four mass storages around it. You do the same for the second T1 mex, till all your T1 mexes become T2 mexes surrounded by mass storages. Only then, you upgrade one by one the T2 mexes into T3 mexes. The first T1 mex to be upgraded will need 150 seconds. The mass production will be +10 mass units a second. We build now four mass storages. The first of them will be built using the +10 mass production. Time needed : 20 seconds. The second mass storage will need 18.60 seconds to be built and the third one, 17.39 seconds. The last one will need 16.33 seconds. Time needed for the mass storages related to the first T1 mex : 20 + 18.60 + 17.39 + 16.33 = 72.32 seconds.

The second T1 mex will need 69.23 seconds to be upgraded. Mass production : +17. We build the four mass storages. Time needed : 11.76 + 11.27 + 10.81 + 10.39 = 44.23 seconds. Mass production : +20. Third T1 mex upgrade time : 900 divided by +20 equals 45 seconds. Mass production : +24. We build the four mass storages : 8.33 + 8.08 + 7.84 + 7.62 = 31.87 seconds. Mass production : +27. In the end, we will have all our T1 mexes upgraded into T2 mexes and surrounded by mass storages after 150 + 72.32 + 69.23 + 44.23 + 45 + 31.87 = 412.65 seconds.

We now upgrade one by one the T2 mexes. Time needed : 170.37 + 102.22 + 73.02 = 345.61 seconds. Total time = 412.65 + 345.61 = 758.23 seconds = 12 minutes and 38 seconds for a production of +81 mass units a second.

It is again possible to establish a mathematical expression, allowing us to calculate the time needed to upgrade more or less than three extractors using this third way of doing it :

where n is, again, the number of extractors. Once again, we use computational power to help us :

According to the computer, three extractors need 758.27 seconds to be upgraded using the way described here to do it. Notice, again, the time needed for upgrading one extractor is 1074.98 seconds.

This time, you only launch the upgrade of one T1 mex at a time again but you try all T1 mexes to be T2 mexes before your build any mass storage and you try to upgrade the T2 mexes into T3 mexes one by one after the 24 mass storages are completed. The first T1 mex will receive the entire mass production, it's +6 mass units a second. Time needed to complete its upgrade ? 150 seconds. After 150 seconds, your total mass production will become +10 mass units a second. We then upgrade the second T1 mex by putting the max number of engineers on it again, helping us to give the +10 mass units a second to the extractor for its upgrade. Time needed to finish the upgrade this time : 90 seconds. Mass production : +14. We keep going with the third mass extractor. Time needed to complete its upgrade : 64.28 seconds. Mass production becomes : +18. In the end, we will need a total of 150 + 90 + 64.28 = 304.28 seconds to upgrade one by one all T1 mexes into T2 mexes.

We now build mass storages around all T2 mexes. We build four of them around the first T2 mex. Time needed : 200 divided by +18 + 200 divided by +18.75 + 200 divided by +19.5 + 200 divided by +20.25 = 11.11 + 10.67 + 10.26 + 9.88 = 41.92 seconds. Mass output : +21. We now build four mass storages around the second T2 mex. Time needed : 9.52 + 9.20 + 8.89 + 8.60 = 36.21 seconds. New mass output : +24. Last mass extractor will need 8.33 + 8.08 + 7.84 + 7.62 = 31.87 seconds. In the end we will use 41.92 + 36.21 + 31.87 = 110 seconds to build our 12 mass storages.

We have now to upgrade each T2 mex into a T3 one, one at a time. The first T2 mex will need 4600 divided by +27 to become a T3 mex. It's 170.37 seconds. Mass production after upgrade : +45. The second T2 mex needs 102.22 seconds to become a T3 one. Mass production after upgrade : +63. The third T2 mex will need 73.02 seconds. Final mass production : +81. Total time needed to obtain this mass production : 304.28 + 110 + 170.37 + 102.22 + 73.02 = 759.89 = 12 minutes and 40 seconds.

And the mathematical expression is this time

where n is, as usual, the number of extractors. If you want to know the time needed to upgrade less or more than 6 extractors using this fourth way of doing it, put in the beneath box a value for the parameter n and get your result :

According to the computer, six extractors need 759.89 seconds to be upgraded using the way described here to do it. It's almost exactly the same time in comparison of the the previous way to upgrade your extractors.

What's the best way to upgrade your extractors regarding the time needed ? The way C and D sound like the best ones, being almost identical regarding the time needed for upgrading three extractors, but also for two, three, four or five extractors. However, way D of upgrading your extractors lacks realism. If you have several extractors to be isolated and far from your main base (where there is usually four mass points only), your build force (your engineers) will have to travel too much : they will have to go to each T1 mex to help its upgrade till all T1 mexes are upgraded, then to go to each T2 mex to build four mass storages around till all mass storages are built everywhere, then to go to each T2 mex to help its upgrade till they are all upgraded. Unless you use the UEF faction, where the engineering drones from their T2 engineering stations are two time faster to move than conventional engineers and are equal to five T1 engineers for the build force, you should avoid using way D of upgrading your extractors, as it is described in this section.

You should therefore upgrade your extractors using way C. Let's summarize it : upgrade your first T1 mex into a T2 one and then immediatly put four mass storages around it. Do the same for the second T1 mex, till all your T1 mexes become T2 mexes surrounded by mass storages. Only then, upgrade one by one the T2 mexes into T3 mexes.

To conclude, here is a little graphic to help you visualize what we worked out in this section :

as expected, curve C and curve D are very close and, in fact, appear to be the sames from one to four extractors in this graphic.

Mass fabricators

T2 mass fabricator

unit name

T2 mass fabricator

meu cost

126.67

mass cost

100

hp

360

production

+1 mass unit/second

consumption

-150 energy units/second

explosion damages

370

explosion radius

small

This building costs 126.67 mass-equivalent units. It uses -150 energy units a second to produce one mass unit. Three T2 power plants can feed 10 T2 mass fabricators. One T3 power plant can feed rougly 17 of them (16.67 if you want the exact number). The most notable observation with this building is that when it explodes, it causes 370 damage points to the closest units. The T2 mass fabricators have 360 hp, less than 370. So if you build those buildings together, in a “pack”, the enemy has just to destroy one of them to destroy them all ! It's what I call a simple chain reaction process : you have to destroy only one building to initiate the chain reaction. Here is the advice : avoid building the T2 mass fabricators in pack. You have to spread them all over your base, to avoid destructive chain reaction processes.

A quick example : we have built a T2 power generator and 12 mass fabricators around, so that we can benefit of the adgency bonus. Then, some enemy planes succeed to destroy only one mass fabricator. Because of the chain reaction, the 12 are rapidly going to explode. But every mass fabricator causes 370 damage points, so the central power generator, is going to take 12 times 370 damage points, a total of 4440 ! We lose then the T2 power generator too.

How long will it take to pay back the initial investment in term of mass ? Unlike the mass extractors, we cannot neglect here that you need energy to make work a T2 mass fabricator. With T2 power plants, we need 2.4 mass units to have +1 energy unit a second (1200, the cost in mass of a T2 power plant, divided by +500 is equal to 2.4). Since the T2 mass fabricator needs -150 energy units a second, we have to spend for it and extra of 2.4 multiplied by 150 mass units, equal to 360 mass units. The total cost in term of mass is so 460, and the T2 mass fabricator will need 460 seconds to pay back this investment, in other words 7 minutes and 40 seconds.

With T3 power plants, we need 1.30 mass unit to have +1 energy unit a second (3240, the cost in mass of a T3 power plant, divided by +2500 is equal to 1.30). Since the T2 mass fabricator needs -150 energy units a second, we have to spend for it and extra of 1.30 multiplied by 150 mass units, equal to 195 mass units. The total cost in term of mass is so 295, and the T2 mass fabricator will need 295 seconds to pay back this investment, in other words 4 minutes and 55 seconds this time.

We can even consider to build your T2 mass fabricators next to T3 power plants. If a T2 mass fabricator is linked to one T3 power plant, its energy needs decrease to -121 energy units/sec. You gain +29 energy units a second. If it's linked to two T3 power plants, you'll need -93 energy units a second only ! It's a gain of +57 energy units a second. However, notice we cannot surround a T3 power plant with more than 16 T2 mass fabricators. If we build two T3 power plants and surround each of them with 16 T2 mass fabricators, we will gain 32 multiplied by 29 equal to +928 energy units a second. But if we decide to share four T2 mass fabricators between the two power plants, we gain 24 multiplied by 29 added with four mutliplied by 57, all of this equal to +924 energy units a second. The difference isn't even half the output of a T1 power plant ! But if you do have space, you should avoid sharing your T2 mass fabricators with two T3 power plants : doing this will force you to define large industrial area ready to explode because of the chain reaction processes. If you isolate each T3 power plants and its 16 T2 mass fabricators, like on the right picture, the chain reaction process will be limited to one T3 power plant at a time : the enemy cannot make explode your whole industrial area by just destroying one T2 mass fabricator. Building your T2 mass fabricators linked to T3 power plants remains less safe than building T1 energy storages as we discuss previously.

If each T2 mass fabricator needs -121 energy units a second, how long will it take to pay back its cost in term of mass ? The T2 mass fabricator costs 100 mass units and an hypothetical T3 power plant producing +121 energy units a second costs 1.30 multiplied by 121 equal to 157.3 mass units. The system T2 mass fabricator + hypothetical T3 power plant producing +121 will therefore need 257 seconds to pay its mass cost, 4 minutes and 17 seconds, exactly the time a T3 mass extractor not surrounded by mass storages needs. If they are built like on the above picture, T2 mass fabricators are really worth it !

T3 mass fabricator

unit name

T3 mass fabricator

meu cost

3433.33

mass cost

3000

hp

6000

production

+12 mass units/second

consumption

-3500 energy units/second

explosion damages

5000

The T3 mass fabricator costs 3433.33 mass-equivalent units. It's a little less than a T3 power generator. This mass fabricator uses -3500 energy units a second to create +12 mass units a second. Creating one mass unit thus costs us 291.67 energy units, more than the T2 mass fabricator. The T3 mass fabricator isn't the cheapest way to convert energy into mass, the T2 mass fabricator is. Nevertheless, one shall be concerned by the fact that 12 T2 mass fabricators use 33% more space than a single T3 mass fabricator. The T3 mass fabricator is the most compact way to convert energy into mass.

You will notice a T3 power generator causes 8000 damage points when exploding, more than the hp of our T3 mass fabricator. If you build some mass fabricators next to a T3 power generator, don't forget that if the enemy destroy the central power generator, you will lose the T3 mass fabricators too.

Since a T3 mass fabricator have more hp than the damage it will cause by exploding, you probably will think this building can be built in groups and will not be the origin of a chain reaction, unlike for the T2 mass fabricator case. Wrong. We can observe with this building painfull chain reaction processes too. The difference is that the ignition of the chain reaction is in two steps at minimum, it's what I call a complex chain reaction. Let's take an example : you have build a line of 7 T3 mass fabricators (see picture one at the bottom of this subsection). The first T3 mass fabricator (at left in the line) is then destroyed. Because the radius of the explosion is quite huge, the closest T3 mass fabricators (the second and the third in the line) will lose 5000 hit points (see the result on picture two). Now let's kill the second T3 mass fabricator in the line (having only 1000 hp left). By exploding, this T3 mass fabricator will take off 5000 hp to the third and the fourth ones in the line. But the third T3 mass fabricator has only 1000 hp left ! So it will explode as well, causing 5000 damages points around. The fourth T3 mass fabricator takes a total of 10000 damages points and the fifth one takes 5000 damages points. The fourth T3 mass fabricator is so going to explode, causing 5000 damages points to the fifth and sixth ones. But since the fifth has already received 5000 damage points, 5000 extra damage points will lead it to explode, causing 5000 damages point to the sixth and seventh mass fabricators... a chain reaction is clearly running here. You can see it running on picture three. Picture four is the final result, it is what we obtain by just killing the first and the second T3 mass fabricators in the line, one after another. Please note that this kind of chain reaction is remarkably fast : to take the third screenshot, I had to put the speed of the game at “-10”, and even by doing that, the chain reaction lasted only less than two seconds ! At normal speed, you cannot hope to see anything : the whole line will seem to explode at the same time.

In conclusion : never build T3 mass fabricator in groups.

Be aware that it is almost the T3 mass fabricators that feed complex chain reactions when they occur, helping them to spread in the whole area. This building is extremely dangerous and should always be built far from the rest of your base.

Finally, let's speak about the time a T3 mass fabricator will take to pay back its initial investment in term of mass. Because with a T3 power generator you spend 1.30 unit of mass to produce +1 unit of energy a second, you will need to spend 1.30 mass unit multiplied by 3500 equal to 4550 mass units to make work a T3 mass fabricator. The total cost in term of mass to have a working T3 mass fabricator is therefore 3000 + 4550 = 7550 mass units. With a production of +12 mass units a second, the T3 mass fabricator will need 10 minutes and 29 seconds to pay back its mass cost. That's not very good, but still interesting to do on a game that will last more than 20 minutes.

T2 or T3 mass fabricator ?

We know that economically speaking, T2 mass fabricators are way beter. 12 T2 mass fabricators cost 1520 meu and consume -1800 energy units per second at worst. Producing the same amount of mass, the T3 mass fabricator costs, like previously said, 3433.33 meu and consumes two times more energy per second than 12 T2 mass fabricators. We also know that both T2 and T3 mass fabricators cannot be built in groups, because that way they are too easy to destroy, thanks to the chain reaction processes. But remember the explosion radius for the T3 mass fabricator is very huge, which is not true for the T2 mass fabricators, and therefore an exploding T3 mass fabricator is quite more painfull than 12 exploding T2 ones. According to all this, it seems we have no reason to build T3 mass fabricators instead of T2 ones. But there are, however, some particular cases where it's beter to build T3 mass fabricators :

if you do not have a lot of free space and can't even think of putting the mass fabricators in a way that avoid chain reaction processes. In such case, you should build T3 mass fabricators. You need 33% more space for the T2 mass fabricators relative to the T3 ones. It is not reasonable to massively build the T2 ones on small maps or on a small island, although a chain reaction with T3 mass fabricators will be more destructive.

if there is a unit limit : if in your game everybody is limited to a maximum of 250 units, do T3 mass fabricators only. Five T3 mass fabricators are equal to 60 T2 mass fabricators in term of mass production and with 60 T2 mass fabricators, you spend more than 20% of the max number of authorized units !

if you have poorly balanced your energy production with your energy consumption (don't worry, it happens even to the best players) and want to fix that problem quickly. One of the largest problems with T2 mass fabricators is that you cannot assign too many engineers to build them at the same place, because it will lead to too many traffic jams. You have to spread several groups all over your base to build the T2 mass fabricators. Organizing all that will take too much time compared to starting one T3 mass fabricators near a group of T3 engineers.

Some players argue there is another reason to build T3 mass fabricators instead of T2 ones, and a quite good reason : 12 clicks versus one is a waste of time during a game. You can indeed waste your time by doing 36 clicks to put the T2 mass fabricators properly, when you could have done the same job by three clicks with the T3 mass fabricators. Fortunately, this problem is no more because of the templates.

Templates

Templates are a very useful and powerful tool introduced in Forged Alliance. With templates, you can save the layout of a complete group of buildings in the game, and reproduce that layout as often as you want. To create a template, first select several buildings, keeping the shift key pressed to help you select buildings that aren't next to each other. Then click on the template icon (see the first of the two pictures on the bottom, the template icon is indicated by a red circle) for saving the arrangement. Select then an engineer (with a technological level high enough) and click on the template tab to access the list of all the templates you've already saved, which will include the one you just saved (see the second picture on the bottom). A template created during a game will be available for all the following games.

However, the use of templates should not become obsessive : using templates for nearly everything during a game isn't a good idea, since it simply will lead you to lack flexibility. In fact, a template should always contain the smallest number of buildings possible. By keeping that in mind, you will avoid killing your flexibility.

Other ways of making mass and energy

Extractors, power plants and mass fabricators are the common way are of making mass and energy. But they aren't the only one.

The commander is itself a mass and energy producer. In the beginning, every commander produces +1 mass unit every second and +10 energy units every second. It is possible to increase these numbers by upgrading the commander (upgrade name : Back Resource Allocation System or RCH Resource allocation System for the UEF commander), but this upgrade is expensive : 5000 mass units and 150000 energy units will be needed, that's 6000 meu, almost two T3 power plants ! Without any help from engineers, the commander will consume a minimum of -50 mass units and -1500 energy units during 100 seconds to achieve the upgrade. If your economy will not be able to endure at least -50 mass units and -1500 energy units during 100 seconds, you have to improve it first.

How exactly are the mass and energy production going to increase after the upgrade ? Is this upgrade worth it ? The cost of the upgrade is the same for the four factions, but the result isn't. Let's draw a table :

faction

Aeon

Cybran

UEF

Seraphim

before upgrade

mass production

energy production

+1

+10

+1

+10

+1

+10

+1

+10

after upgrade

mass production

energy production

meu production

+19

+2710

+37.07

+13

+3510

+36.4

+15

+3310

+37.07

+17

+3010

+37.07

The last column (at right) in the table is simply the two previous columns added together by using the mass-equivalent conversion factor that unifies mass and energy. This last column shows us a very remarkable fact. Although the mass and energy productions aren't the same for the four faction after the upgrade, the meu production is the same everywhere, with only a small discrepancy for the Cybran faction. This result was not really unexpected : we know the game is designed so that the mass fabricators, power plants, mass extractors have the same cost and production for the four factions. In fact, everything in the game to be purely related to the economy is the same in every way (hp, cost, production, explosion damages) for the four factions and the Resource Allocation System upgrade makes no exception to that rule. If we admit that the designers of the game had in mind to put the four factions on the same foot for their economy, the fact mass-equivalent units shows us so clearly an almost identical meu production for the four commanders after the Resource Allocation System upgrade being performed tends once again to fully justify their use.

We have now to ask ourselves if this upgrade is of any interest to perform, economically speaking. This isn't really difficult to see. Let's take the Aeon case. By performing the upgrade, we obtain an increase of +18 for the mass production and +2700 for the energy production, with a total cost of 6000 meu. To obtain the same results by conventional methods, using T2 mass fabricators and T3 power plants, we have first to build 18 T2 mass fabricators, that's 2280 meu. To feed them, we need 2700 energy units/second, and since with a T3 power plant we spend 1.45 meu for producing one unit of energy/second, we have to do 1.45 multiplied by 2700, that's and extra of 3915 meu to spend. Finally we just have to produce +2700 energy units/second. It will cost us 3915 meu, again. Total cost : 10110 meu, quite more than 6000 meu. Similar calculations can be done for the three other factions and lead to the same conclusion : if you know you will not use the space on the commander's back during your game for a weapon or something else, you should always perform the Resource Allocation System upgrade as soon as your economy is strong enough to support its cost.

But we aren't done yet with the Resource Allocation System. Indeed, two factions, the Aeon and the Seraphim ones, can upgrade it twice. The second upgrade is called the Advanced Resource Allocation System upgrade and has the same cost than for the first upgrade : 6000 meu for the two factions. The result after this second upgrade is, once more, not the same in term of mass and energy productions for the two factions concerned. Let's make a table :

faction

Aeon

Seraphim

before second upgrade

mass production

energy production

+19

+2710

+17

+3010

after second upgrade

mass production

energy production

meu production

+37

+5410

+73.07

+33

+6010

+73.07

Once again, the final meu productions (last column at right) are the same for the two factions concerned. If you look closely to the table, you'll see that this second upgrade basically doubles the mass and energy productions after the first upgrade, and therefore doubles the meu production as well. For both factions, this second upgrade leads to an increase of the meu production of +36 units a second with a cost of 6000 meu. Obtaining the same result with T2 mass fabricators and T3 power plants will cost you, again, quite more, and so you should always perform this second upgrade as soon as your economy can support its cost.

Another way to obtain mass and energy without building power plants, mass fabricators or mass extractors, is to reclaim the local flora, some rocks and dead or abandoned structures. Doing that will give you precious amount of energy and mass in the very beginning of the game, do not hesitate to use more than one engineer in that purpose. The first players who have drawn up all the “stuff” around their main base will usually be the ones with the strongest economy very soon. The need of mass should be your priority from the beginning to the end of a game. I mean of course that you have to take all the mass points you can, but also that you have to recycle all structures you can found on the map, especially dead experimental units. For instance, on the map “The Wilderness”, every player can found near his main base at least one T2 dead boat, which represents enough mass to upgrade a little less than 3 of your T1 mass extractors to the T2 level ! If you kill an enemy experimental unit, do not forgot to send some engineers to recycle it immediately if you can : a dead experimental unit represents often more than 15000 mass units, and 15000 mass units is the output of a T3 mass extractors during a little less than 15 minutes ! Also, after a big battle, send some engineers to clean the zone : you certainly will gain important amount of mass again. Finally, if a player leaves the game or is killed, send immediatly some engineers to its dead base to recycle all the structures (thousands of mass units, often a lot more) and to take the mass points. Use T1 engineers for this purpose, that way if you lose it, you will not lose a lot (T3 engineers are expensive and require time to be built, don't send them on the field without any protection).

Lastly, it's possible to obtain mass by reclaiming your T1, T2 and hydrocarbon power plants. As soon as you're on the T3 level and have build several T3 power plants, T1, T2 and hydrocarbon ones become obsolete. A T1 power plant is worth 68 mass units (see wreckage of the unit in the SupCom Database) if reclaimed. 20 of them are equal to 1360 mass units ! A T2 power plant is worth 1080 mass units. Three of them are worth 3240 mass units, the exact mass cost of a T3 power plant ! At last, we have the hydrocarbon power plant, worth 144 mass units if reclaimed. But this last power plant isn't really cost-effective to reclaim. Recall it produces +100 energy units. To replace its production with T3 technology, you will use, in term of mass, . You win 14 mass units. However, if we look the meu cost of an hypothetical T3 power plant producing +100 energy units, we see it costs 1.45 multiplied by 100, it's 145 meu, more than what you gain from reclaiming the hydrocarbon power plant (144 meu). Let's just say you can recycle T1 and T2 power plants as soon as you have a T3 one and let the hydrocarbon power plant in peace.

Only one Earth : don't waste it !

What is the point to develop a strong economy if you don't use its output ? You have to avoid energy and mass waste. Energy waste is a shame, but is in fact very common because of the shield generators, static artilleries and radar systems. These classes of units cannot work if your energy gauge is empty. Most players try therefore to always produce a little more than they need, so that the shield generators, static artilleries and radar systems can work with a minimal energy waste. But it is possible to never waste energy during the game and still to use shield generators and static artilleries at their full capacity. The idea is to always have too many mass fabricators, more than your energy production can support. When your energy gauge is almost empty, you shut down all the mass fabricators. When the energy gauge is almost full, you turn on all the mass fabricators. And you keep doing that during the whole game. Yes, it's very annoying to do, and it's probably better not to do it, because it will distract you too much during the game.

The other possible waste is the mass waste. This one is really to avoid. If you do not know what to do with an unexpected peak of mass production, try to stock the mass by launching a huge construction, like a T3 or T4 artillery. Keep in mind that you cannot waste mass, never, because mass is a too difficult resource to produce for wasting it. It's better to have a production of +180 units of mass per second and a consumption of -320 in mass than +180 and -170, where you waste 10 units of mass every second if your mass gauge is full.

As I just said, some units like T3 or T4 artilleries have the ability to drain your entire production when you build them. To keep your economy under control, the knowledge of these units (or upgrades of the commander or of some other units) can be very helpful. The study of this aspect of the game requires to define a new quantity, the draining ability. Everything you can build in the game has a cost and a build time (see the SupCom Database). If the build time is huge, the draining ability will be small because the spending of mass and energy will be spreaded over time. If two units have the same build time, then the one with the biggest cost will have a more powerful draining ability, because it will need more mass and energy every second to be built compared with the other. The draining ability is so defined by the relation : . We can check this expression easily : because the build time is at the denominator, the draining ability will decrease if the build time increases and because the cost (in mass-equivalent units) is at the numerator, the draining ability will increase if the cost increases.

Let's take an example. The T3 power plant has, according to the SupCom Database, a build time of 5400 seconds, all factions included (see on the right a screenshot of the SupCom Database for the UEF T3 power plant). Since the cost of a T3 power plant is 3624 meu, we find a draining ability for this building of : = 0.67.

As second example, let's find out the draining ability of the Aeon T3 Rapid-Fire Artillery (clickable icon on left). According to the database, the build time of this building is 90000 and its cost is 306000 meu. The draining ability is therefore : = 3.4. Such a value typically indicates a unit that has an important draining ability on your mass and energy productions when you build it.

At this time, some people can say this way of defining a draining ability isn't very accurate. Indeed, there are units able to dramatically drain your energy while your mass production will be less affected, and there are units needing a huge quantity of mass while the energy need stay stable. We have to define a draining ability for the energy production and a draining ability for the mass production as follow :

We can now say that the draining ability of a T3 power plant is, for the energy production, equal to : = 10.67 and for the mass production : = 0.6. For the T3 Rapid-Fire Artillery, we obtain a draining ability for the energy of 60 and a draining ability for the mass of 3. Notice that in both cases, the energy drainage is bigger than the mass drainage, which is a consequence that energy is a less valuable resource than mass : we always need more energy than mass to build anything during the game. Here is a table of the various draining abilities for the units or upgrades related to this chapter :

building or upgrade

T1 power plant

T2 power plant

T3 power plant

hydrocarbon power plant

T1 mass extractor

T2 mass extractor

T3 mass extractor

T2 mass fabricator

T3 mass fabricator

energy storage

mass storage

back resource allocation system

back advanced resource allocation system

draining ability

in term of mass

in term of energy

in term of mass-equivalent units

0.6

6

0.64

0.6

6

0.64

0.6

10.67

0.67

0.4

2

0.41

0.6

6

0.64

1

6

1.04

1.6

11

1.67

0.2

8

0.25

0.8

17.33

0.92

0.6

12

0.6

0.8

6

0.84

5

150

6

5

150

6

The red values are the highest for each column. Please note the build time of a building or upgrade is the same for all factions here, meaning that the various draining abilities depend only of the building or upgrade involved, not of the faction. This is of course true only for buildings and upgrades that are purely related to the economy. Most of the draining ability values are of minimal interest in the game, as the table above shows us : they all looks like very close and it's because they are. In the following chapters, I will mention the draining ability of a unit only if this unit is a big production drainer when you build it.

What's the best economic development we can imagine ?

If you play often 20 minutes no rush games, being able to develop a strong economy very fast is your only chance to win. How do you do that ? First you have to realise the true challenge is to increase your mass output, meaning your economic development will mainly depend on your ability to increase your mass output. This lead to three simple laws, one for each resource of the game (mass, energy and build force). The most important of these three laws, the mass law, is based on the previous sections from this chapter.

Mass, energy and build force laws

MASS LAW

You always have to increase your mass output step by step, as follows :

take your mass points as fast as possible. If you see you're going to lack mass before all your T1 mexes are built, start to exploit some rocks to help you finish all your T1 mexes as soon as possible.

begin to upgrade your mass extractors using way C to do it : upgrade your first T1 mex into a T2 one, then immediatly build four mass storages around. Do the same for the second T1 mex till all your T1 mexes are T2 mexes surrounded by mass storages. Only then, start to upgrade your T2 mexes one by one into T3 mexes.

it's during this upgrade process you need to reclaim or exploit everything you can. You should have exploit all rocks and local flora before your last T1 mex becomes a T2 one.

once all your mass extractors are T3 ones surrounded by mass storages, start to upgrade your commander to increase its mass output. If your faction is the Seraphim or Aeon one, it's possible to perform a second upgrade to further increase their mass output. Do it as well.

your commander is upgraded, all your mass extractors are T3 ones surrounded by mass storages, you reclaimed everything you can. The only way you have to increase your mass output is mass fabricators. Start to build T3 power plants surrounded by T2 mass fabricators. Recall it's a better idea to isolate each T3 power plants and its 16 T2 mass fabricators if you can. Moreover, there is no reason to share your T2 mass fabricators between two T3 power plants : it actually leads to a very very small cost-effectiveness decrease, as we showed previously.

BUILD FORCE LAW

Your build force should always be able to spend a little more than your entire mass production to increase your mass production, using the mass law. The little more is there to take into account your build force need to move between each new unit you want to build. During the time the build force is moving, your mass output isn't spent anymore and therefore your mass gauge will be filled a little. When the build force start to spend the mass output again, it must be able to spend the mass output + what you have in your mass gauge. Having a build force unable to spend a little more than your entire mass output in increasing this mass output will slow down your economic development or even worse, can lead you to waste mass.

ENERGY LAW

The energy output should be increased only if you need it to apply the mass rule. Any other energy output increase will slow down your economic development for nothing since any energy output increase will cost you mass : the mass spent this way will no be use to increase your mass output and therefore you slow down your economic development. T1 power plants and T2 power plants become obsolete as soon as your start to build T3 power plants. You should reclaim them to help you apply the mass law.

These laws do not know any exception in usual games

Pay attention anything else you can make to try a faster increase of your mass output is wrong. For instance, you can suggest to build some T2 power plants combined with T2 mass fabricators before you start to upgrade your T2 mexes into T3 ones. The increase of the mass output thanks to the T2 mass fabricators will help you upgrade your T2 mexes, and therefore you think it's a good idea. However, three T2 power plants can feed only 10 T2 mass fabricators. Since the mass cost of three T2 power plants and 10 mass fabricators is precisely the mass cost of a T3 mex (4600 units), you could have complete instead the upgrade of one of your T2 mex, increasing your total mass output of +18 mass units a second rather than +10. Doing one T2 power plant and three T2 mass fabricators to help you upgrading your T2 mexes is not a good idea either : you will need 1500 mass units (1200 from the T2 power plant, 100 for each T2 mass fabricator) to build the four buildings and they will need 500 seconds to pay back the 1500 mass units, more than 8 minutes. The only case where this can be cost-effective to do is when you have only one extractor, which isn't a daily situation.

Difficulties in applying these laws

Although they look like very nice, the three laws above are not so easy to apply. There is indeed two main difficulties :

the increase of the mass output from the commander requires to upgrade it, which requires very huge amount of energy. You have to build several T3 power plants before launching the upgrade (recall the energy draining ability of the commander for such upgrade is 150 !) and once the upgrade is completed you must be ready to spend all the energy output in something else.

the draining ability of T3 power plants and T2 mass fabricators in term of mass is quite low in comparison of T3 mass extractors. This mean your build force, able to spend your entire mass output in upgrading T2 mass extractors will suddenly become not enough to spend the mass output from your T3 mexes in building T3 power plants and T2 mass fabricators. The build force law therefore tells us to increase the build force very fast. Unfortunately, the build time of new engineers is generally to high before you begin to waste mass.

Most players avoid the first problem by simply not upgrading their commander. It's not a bad idea : you can start to build T3 power plants and T2 mass fabricators and once you know you have a good energy output, enough to upgrade your commander, you pause all your mass fabs and start the upgrade. In practice, I've seen dozen of replays where the player simply forget to upgrade the commander later.

The second problem is solved by many players in launching the construction of an experimental unit, well-known for their huge draining ability in term of mass. They begin to build T3 power plants and T2 mass fabricators with their current build force and use the mass they cannot spend in experimental units. From an economic point of view only (meaning we do not take into account there is war around you), doing this is of course not good. If you build several Spiderbots, it will simply slow down your economic development because you did not use your entire mass output in applying the mass, energy and build force laws. What do I suggest ? We know there is a discontinuity in the build force need when you stop upgrading T2 mexes and start building T3 power plants and mass fabricators. So, why can't we manage to have the build force we need before it happens ? This is the idea : at the same time you upgrade your T2 mexes, begin to massively increase your build force, do several T3 factories and build T3 engineers in it, even if you don't need their build force right now.