Chapter 3

Static weapons

Relief dependence

Some weapons miss sometimes systematically their target, because of a mountain between them and the target. A good example is given by T2 artillery sites : every good player knows they cannot be built in front of a mountain if the targeted unit is only some spm away, on the opposite side of the moutain, because with such small distance between the weapon and the target, the trajectory of the bullets are too close to the ground, meaning the mountain is going to be a problem. Other weapons aren't very affected by the relief of the map. The more a bullet, missile or laser trajectory is close from the ground, the more likely the bullet, missile or laser is to be stopped because of the relief of the map.

How can we estimate the relief dependence of a weapon ? Let's first consider one of the worst cases : the Cybran T2 heavy tank, called Rhino (clickable icon on left). This mobile weapon fires in straight line (laser technology) from a low height (roughly 0.5 spm, the height of the unit). Relief dependence ? About 100%. This unit is powerfull on a flat battlefield, but pretty useless otherwise. In fact every unit firing almost horizontally from a low height has a huge relief dependence.

Another extreme is the static T3 strategic missile launcher. The missile is fired vertically from the ground, goes up till an height of about 24 spm, then quickly turn toward its target, fly horizontally till it is above the target, and then just go down on it, striking it vertically. Relief dependence : 0%. A strategic missile cannot miss its target because of the relief since there is no mountains with an height of 24 spm or higher in Supreme Commander Forged Alliance.

In this game, most of the trajectories are straigh lines or parabola. Exceptions are for weapons firing missiles where trajectories are more sophisticated. There is two kind of parabola : low height parabola and high height parabola. For instance, the UEF T3 point defense fires its bullets using a low height parabola. It's of course weapons using an high height parabola as bullet trajectory that have the lower relief dependence. However, most of the time weapons having a low relief dependence are also weapons not very accurate and not appropriate for a close combat.

To estimate exactly the relief dependence of a weapon, we have to integrate the trajectory of its bullets over a chosen range. As examples, let's calculate the relief dependence for two Cybran units using laser technology : the T2 Cybran point defense and the T2 Cybran heavy tank. Since the trajectory of a laser is always a straight line, these two Cybran units will be some of the easier units to study. We will also look at the relief dependence of the static T3 strategic missile launcher (the faction of the T3 static strategic missile launcher we study isn't important : all T3 static strategic missile launchers launch their missiles the same way).

First we have to choose a range. The T2 Cybran heavy tank has a max range of 23 spm, the T2 Cybran point defense has a max range of 50 spm and the static T3 strategic missile launcher, all faction included, has a maximum range of 20000 spm. It is clear we have to choose something equal or smaller to 23 spm since the T2 Cybran heavy tank cannot fire farther than this number. For our case, we will arbitrarily choose 20 spm, although it's of course too close for our static strategic missile launcher : with such range, it will simply nuke itself.

With 20 spm as width of our trajectories in mind, the second step consists in finding out the equations of these trajectories. Because the height of the Cybran T2 point defense is 1.8 spm, let's say every shot will come from that height. It's therefore easy to obtain the equation of the red line at right : at x equal to zero, we have y equal to 1.8 and at x equal to 20, y is equal to 0 (we fix the turret at the position x equal to zero).

Using knowledge from high school, we know every line can be expressed as y = ax + b. In our case, b is simply the height of the turret, 1.8 spm. The parameter a requires to use the well-known expression :

Using the points (0, 1.8) and (20, 0) from our little graphic above, we find the parameter a is equal to 1.8 - 0 divided by 0 - 20, that's -0.09. Our final equation is thus y = -0.09x + 1.8. To have a value of the relief depence we need now to integrate this equation from 0 to 20 spm, meaning we are simply going to calculate the surface between the ground and the line from 0 to 20 spm. The mathematical expression allowing us to do this is :

where 18 is the surface under our straight line trajectory, in spmē. If you find the above expression hard to understand, then you should try to revise the theory about integration. Notice however we can find 18 spmē quite easily by just doing 1.8 multiplied by 20, all divided by 2. You precisely found 18 too, simply because in this very simple case, the surface under the trajectory is a right-angled triangle ! But it will not be as easy if we have to integrate the surface under a parabola. For parabola, the use of integral calculus makes things really easier.

Let's now find out the equation related to the laser trajectory for the T2 heavy tank. The parameter b is this time 0.5 spm (the height of the unit). We find a is equal to 0.5 - 0 divided by 0 - 20, that's -0.025. The equation is here y = -0.025x + 0.5. We can check that if x is equal to 20, then the equation becomes y = -0.5 + 0.5 = 0, as expected. For x equal to zero, we have y = 0.5, the height of the unit. We have now to integrate the equation from 0 to 20 spm :

What about the strategic missile launcher ? The trajectory of a missile is here roughly the result of three straigh lines, two being vertical, one being horizontal. Because the surface under a vertical trajectory is zero, we only have to pay attention to the horizontal line. And the equation of an horizontal line is very simple. In our case, it's y = 24. The parameter x simply disappear, meaning you can give to it whatever value you want : it will not affect the equation y = 24, because it's not part of the equation. We have to integrate y = 24 from 0 to 20 spm, again :

Please note the three values we calculated by using integral calculus are inversely proportional to the relief dependence. The bigger they are, the smaller is the dependence of the weapon on the relief. The static strategic missile launcher should therefore obtain a huge value and it's exactly what we have : 480 spmē. Notice this value is simply 24 multiplied by 20 : the surface under the trajectory is a rectangle here.

To have a value inversely proportional to the relief dependence isn't very convenient. As a final step, let's put a -1 exponent to our values to make them directly proportional to the relief dependence. We obtain 0.2 for the T2 Cybran heavy tank, 0.056 for the Cybran T2 point defense, and 0.0021 for the strategic missile launcher. These new numbers aren't really nice, so let's multiply them by 1000. We obtain 200, 55.56 and 2.08. The Cybran T2 heavy tank is almost four time more dependent on the relief than the T2 point defense if the targeted unit is at 20 spm.

But the mathematical treatment we applied gives us results for the particular case where the targeted unit is at 20 spm of the weapon. Is it impossible to obtain a value of the relief dependence not related to a particular range ? Well, that's where the mathematics involved become quite hard.

The quantity we are going to evaluate now will be called the total relief dependence. Let's consider the Cybran T2 point defense. We begin by rewriting our equation y = -0.09x + 1.8. This particular equation is for the case where the distance on the ground between the T2 point defense and the target is equal to 20 spm. If we use the value 10 spm between our two units, we simply have y = -0.18 x + 1.8. The only change is for the parameter a : it has been multiplied by two. The link is obvious : by dividing the distance on the ground between the target and the point defense by two, we found the parameter a has been multiplied by two. Our new equation is now :

where the parameter z is the distance on the ground between the target and the weapon. You can check for the case z = 20 we find the equation y = -0.09 x + 1.8 and for z = 10, we find y = -0.18 x + 1.8.

If we integrate this equation over x, from zero spm to z spm, we will obtain an equation expressing the surface under the trajectory as function of the width of the trajectory, z :

Be sure to understand well what 0.9z is. If we put z equal to 20, we find 0.9 multiplied by 20 equal to 18 spmē. It is precisely the surface under the trajectory when the distance on the ground between the target and the weapon is 20 spm. And as expected, it is equal to 18 spmē, the same value we calculated some paragraphs ago.

What do we do now ? We are going to add together the results when z is equal to zero, one, two, three, four, till the maximum range, 50 spm. It will look like : 0 + 0.9 + 1.8 + 2.7 + ... + 44.1 + 45, it's the summation of 50 values (51 if we take into account the 0 in the beginning of the summation). Because this summation is annoying to do (especially for weapons where the max range is even more than 50 spm), and because this summation doesn't take into account the cases where z isn't an integer (what happens if z = 1.5 spm or 2.7 spm ?), we rather use integral calculus again :

if we put a -1 exponent to 1125, will the result be the total relief depence of the Cybran T2 point defense ? The answer is no. You have to realize there is no sense to compare the value 1125 to the value of a weapon with a different maximum range, simply because 1125 is the result of an integral calculus from 0 to 50 : for the T2 Cybran heavy tank, it will be from 0 to 23 the way we did and for the T3 strategic missile launcher, from 0 to 20000 ! We have to normalize everything by the max range. For our case, we divide 1125 by 50 equal to 22.5. We put a -1 exponent and multiply the result by 1000 to obtain 44.44, the total relief dependence of the T2 Cybran point defense. We can summarize the T2 Cybran point defense case by the following monster :

We already know the relief dependence of the Cybran T2 heavy tank at 20 spm is higher than the one related to the Cybran T2 point defense with the same range. What about the total relief dependence ? We know the equation for the laser trajectory of the tank is y = -0.025x + 0.5 when the target is 20 spm away. For the case 10 spm away, the equation becomes y = -0.05 x + 0.5. The parameter a has been multiplied by two. By dividing the distance on the ground between the target and the tank by two, we found the parameter a has been multiplied by two, exactly like for the T2 Cybran point defense case. Our new equation is now :

where the parameter a is actually equal to 0.02173913043, rounded to 0.022. You can check when z is equal to 20 we obtain y = -0.025x+0.5, as expected.

What we need to do now is to solve the following expression :

Recall this is not as bad as it looks like. To solve this, you just have to do in a step by step way. First, let's perform the integration over the x :

You then replace the value z into the x variables and you obtain this :

Let's perform the integration over z :

As final step, we put a -1 exponent to 2.875 and multiply the result by 1000. The total relief dependence of the Cybran T2 heavy tank is therefore 347.83.

Last case, the strategic missile launcher. The trajectory of the missile is, for 20 spm between the strategic launcher and the target, y = 24. What becomes the equation for a trajectory width of 10 spm for instance ? It stays y = 24. Whatever the distance on the ground between the target and the strategic missile launcher is, the trajectory of the missile is always y = 24. The equation we have to solve to obtain the total relief dependence is thus :

Solving it step by step gives :

The total relief dependence of the strategic missile launcher is therefore 0.0042. It's probably the smallest one we can calculate.

Let's summarize all the results we obtained in this section :

unit name

20 spm relief dependence

total relief dependence

Cybran T2 heavy tank

200

347.83

Cybran T2 point defense

55.56

44.44

T3 static strategic missile launcher

2.08

0.0042

You can see the total relief dependence of the Cybran T2 point defense is smaller than its 20 spm relief dependence ! Although I'm not going to explain the exact reason of this decrease (maybe in the next update), remind you every weapon firing in straight line is less relief dependent when firing at max range : that's what this decrease tells us.

The truth is these numbers are of limited interest. The mathematical treatment to obtain them is hard, especially for the total relief dependence, and we have to find with a good accuracy the trajectories of the missiles, lasers or bullets of a weapon, which is not always easy. This is were we have to ask ourselves if so much mathematics and calculus time are worth it. Instead of using advanced mathematics, we can use a three value scale like this one :

low relief dependence : weapons firing missiles flying at high height in the sky, weapons using high height parabola like T3 artillery or mobile T1 artillery.

average relief dependence : weapons firing missiles flying at average height in the sky, like T2 mobile and static missile launchers, weapons using low height parabola, like T2 artillery, UEF T3 and T2 point defenses, Aeon T2 point defense, weapons firing in straight line but from some height, like the Spiderbot and its destructive beam.

high relief dependence : weapons firing in straight line from low height, like Seraphim and Cybran T2 point defenses, T1 point defenses, Cybran T2 heavy tank and most of the combat units.

The reason I did not show you this simple scale in the first place is because I wanted you to know it is possible to make accurate calculations, and not only some harsh filing based on a three value scale. In this chapter and the following ones, we will use the above three value scale only.

Point defenses

The point defenses are extremely important during a game because they are very powerfull in comparison with mobile units. Indeed, if we look to the characteristics of the aeon T1 point defense for instance, we see that it is able to do 166.67 dps, way more than any T1 land unit, all faction considered (except for one land unit : the aeon T1 mobile artillery, able to do 100 dps, but it remains less than 166.67). Point defenses also always have a maximum range higher than most of the mobile units.

To help me explain a new an very important parameter here, I will first speak of the T2 point defenses.

T2 point defenses

These point defenses have a considerable range of action, way more than all the T1 land units and than lots of the T2 and T3 land units.

unit name

dps

Aeon T2 point defenses

150

Cybran T2 point defense

77.14

UEF T2 point defense

123.53

Seraphim T2 point defense

100

But from the four T2 point defenses available in the game, one is very particular and powerfull in some cases. All the T2 point defenses have a range of action from 0 to 50 spm. If we compare only the damages per second, we see that the winner is the aeon T2 point defense : Oblivion, with an ability to do 150 dps. The worst T2 point defense seems to be the Cybran one, with only 77.14 dps. The UEF T2 point defense and the Seraphim one can do respectively 123.53 dps and 100 dps.

Strangely, if you try to stop an army of 100 T1 units with only three T2 point defenses, you'll see the Seraphim and Aeon defenses will be quite easily destroyed, but not the Cybran and UEF ones ! This fact will lead to the study of a very important parameter in this game : the fire cycle of a weapon. Indeed, the Aeon T2 point defense only shots one projectile every four seconds. Each projectile is able to do 600 damage points (150 dps, so), but since the hit points of a T1 unit is typically from 15 to 300, lots of the damage points will be lost. Also, we can notice that with one projectile every four second, the Aeon T2 point defense will never be able to kill more than 15 units during a minute. And that's why this defense isn't so powerfull against T1 units.

In comparison, the Cybran T2 point defenses does 54 damage points every 0.7 second. Only a few damage points are lost here when the targeted unit has only something like 26 hp left : we will lose 28 damage points to kill it. And with a fire cycle of 0.7 second, the Cybran T2 point defense is able to do a maximum of 85.71 kills during a minute.

We are going now to do some graphical comparison between the four point defenses to fully understand what's going on. The first graphic I present you will count, for each faction, the number of units killed during one minute by a single T2 point defense given the hit points of the targeted units and making the units cannot shoot the point defense. We also neglect the time the point defense will need to turn between two targets. You have, vertically, the number of kills and horizontally, the hit points of the units considered. To simplify the study, we will only consider here a single T2 point defense for each faction, because when we have several point defenses together, they can in some cases all target the same unit, which lead to a waste of damage points and so add an extra parameter, complicating the problem.

Here is the graphical result :

The four curves look like stairs. Why ? We know the Cybran T2 point defense does 54 damages every 0.7 second. Whatever the attacking army is made up with units that have 35, 46 or 14 hp, there will be 85.71 kills a minute till 55 hp. That's the first plateau for the red curve. Units with 55 to 108 hp will need 2 shots from the Cybran point defense to be killed. That's the second plateau. Each plateau has an horizontal length of 54 hp for the red curve.

For the blue curve, it's 210 damages every 1.7 second. The length of each plateau is so 210 hp. Units with less than 211 hp will need one shot to be killed, that's the first plateau. Units with 211 to 420 hp will need two shots, that's the second plateau. For those who are interested, the equation I used to draw the four curves is :

Where CEILING(number) is a function that rounds a number up to the nearest integer.

If we look at the four first plateaux on the graphic, we see, that with an army of very weak units that have 23 hp, like the Aeon T1 Land Scout : Spirit, the Cybran T2 point defense is incredibly destructive. We can say that the most destructive T2 point defense in the game against very low hp units, from 0 to 108 hp, is really the Cybran one, way more destructive than any other T2 point defense.

Let's see now what happens with stronger units, like the Aeon T1 Light Tank : Aurora, a 140 hp unit. The most destructive point defense becomes the UEF one. The UEF T2 point defense is the most destructive for units from 109 to 210 hp, with the highest plateau on the graphic for this range of hp. Then, the Cybran T2 point defense is again the most destructive from 211 to 216 hp ! We can draw up a second graphic that will tell us which point defense is the most destructive given the hp of the attacking units :

Seraphim T2 point defense doesn't appear on that second graphic, and even if we extend it (what happens with 4000, 6000, 9000 hp units ?), we never will see yellow on it. This doesn't mean that Seraphim T2 point defense are bad, but only that the Aeon T2 point defense is systematically more destructive than the Seraphim one, since they both have the same fire cycle but not the same ability to do damages (600 for the Aeons, 400 for the Seraphims).

With the increase of the hit points, we also see on the above graphic the Aeon T2 point defense becomes the best (there is more and more green on the right of the graphic). In fact, with the increase of the hit points of the unit that must be killed, we simply tend to show that the best T2 point defense is the one able to the more dps, like we all think of first. If we extend and focus on the right part of the initial graphic I presented to you, we obtain this, where it is clearly apparent :

With 8500 hp units for instance, the order is :

Aeon faction > UEF faction > Seraphim faction > Cybran faction

which is simply the order of the dps.

The final conclusion is so very simple : when the army that must go through the T2 point defenses is itself a T2 army or better, the best T2 point defenses against it are the ones able to do the more dps. But when the army isn't a T2 army but a T1 army, Aeon and Seraphim T2 point defenses are quickly saturated (15 kills a minut, no more) and become powerless, even if the Aeon T2 point defense features a damage area radius of 2 spm. The best equipped defense against a very low hp army, including radar units, is the Cybran and UEF T2 point defenses.

If you think of all this a little, you can imagine how easily go through a line of Aeon or Seraphim T2 point defenses yourself. If these defenses are so easily saturated with low hp units, you just have to add lots of them in your army ! An army of 15 T2 units will probably die in front of 10 Aeon T2 point defenses, while the same army with 50 T1 land scouts added will succeed to do damages, maybe even destroy everything ! And remember : land scouts are very cheap. Be carefull however : do not think that you can go throught a single aeon T2 point defense with only a single T2 unit and lots of land scouts. If the turret seems to choose randomly to target a unit in its range of action when there is several units in it, the enemy player can still do it manually and order to kill first the single T2 unit you sent. You have in fact to do enough T2 or T3 units so that the enemy player cannot click on all of them before the battle ends.

Be aware all the study here assumes that the T2 point defenses choose randomly their target in an attacking army, and approximates that the T2 point defenses do not lose much time by turning themselves between two targets. These two statements are an approximation, but the results we obtain match well enough with what happens during a game.

What's the relief dependence of these weapons ? Here is table :

unit name

relief dependence

Aeon T2 point defenses

average

Cybran T2 point defense

high

UEF T2 point defense

average

Seraphim T2 point defense

high

Using laser technology, Seraphim and Cybran T2 point defense are highly dependent on the relief. You can encounter serious difficulties if the area of action of these point defenses isn't flat enough. Aeon and UEF T2 point defenses use low height parabola, they are less dependent on the relief. However, with the laser technology used by the Seraphims and Cybrans, the target is hit almost instantaneously. This is not true for the UEF and Aeon T2 point defenses where the muzzle velocity is 45 and 35 spm/s, respectively : the target can be 50 spm away and therefore the shot will need more than one second to come. During that time, the target can possibly move, leading the fired bullet to miss it. However, both UEF and Aeon T2 point defense feature an area damage radius of 2 spm, meaning they can hit the ground near the target without touching it, and still kill it ! For that very reason, we can say the accuracy of all T2 point defenses is the same : some can miss their target but in the end, they all always succeed to do damages to any target within reach, disregarding the relief dependence.

Finally, here is a comparative table of the costs and the hit points of the four T2 point defenses :

unit

cost in meu

hit points

Aeon T2 point defense

552.32

2000

Cybran T2 point defense

502.67

2000

UEF T2 point defense

564

2250

Seraphim T2 point defense

552.32

2100

The Seraphim T2 point defense has 100 hp more than the Aeon one and they both have the same cost. 100 hp more to balance the dps difference between the two point defenses (remind you : Seraphim = 400 dps, Aeon = 600 dps) ? The Seraphims are a little screwed for this.

T1 point defenses

The four T1 point defenses available in the game have the same range of action, from 0 to 26 spm, more or same than all T1 land units, except for the T1 mobile light artillery units (all T1 mobile light artillery units have a max range of action of 30 spm, meaning they can destroy a T1 point defense without being killed by it). T1 point defenses also have the same cost, hp, fire cycle and are in fact exactly the same in every way (except the design of course) for the four factions.

unit name

T1 point defense

cost

263.33 meu

hp

1300

dps

166.67

range

from 0 to 26 spm

relief dependence

high

A T1 point defense costs 263.33 meu, more than a land factory but less than a naval one. It's a quite expensive installation to build in the very beginning of a game. It is able to do, like previously said, 166.67 dps, little more than the best T2 point defense ! It has a fire cycle of 0.3 seconds, each shot making 50 damages. But sadly, the maximum number of kills a minute isn't here simply , because the speed of a shot is “only” 35 spm per second, meaning if the targeted unit is 21 spm away, the first shot will take 0.6 second to get there. And during this 0.6 second, the T1 turret will fire two extra times, whatever the targeted unit will be destroyed by the first shot fired or not. As you can see, the number of kills a minute is pretty impossible to determine here, depending of each situation. We can however try to determine it for some particular cases. Let's say the enemy units are all 26 spm away exactly and have very few hp (less than 50). A shot will need 0.74 second to go there. Since during that time, two extra shot will be fired, we see the destruction of one enemy unit will require a total of three shots, that is 0.9 second. The real fire cycle for that case is so 0.9 second, and the number of kills a minute equals here 66.67. If the enemy units are closer, less shots will be fired and the number of kills a minute will increase, which is good from the T1 point defense point of view. 66.67 kills is in fact the minimum the turret is able to do. If the units are farther, the T1 defense cannot reach them, and if they are closer, more kills during a minute will be possible, with a max number of kills equal to per minute.

If you want to efficiently destroy a T1 point defense with a T1 army having no artillery units, the best way to do it is to attack the T1 point defense from the farther place possible, decreasing its destructive power.

We did not take into account the speed of a shot when comparing the T2 point defenses previously. We only said a shot can miss its target for the UEF and Aeon case, but we did not take into account the impact of this finite muzzle velocity on the number of kills a minute. Recall the speed of an Aeon T2 defense shot is 45 spm/second, not infinite. Same for the UEF T2 point defense shot, with a muzzle velocity of 35 spm/second, like the T1 point defenses. However, since the targeted unit cannot be more than 50 spm away, it means the T2 Aeon shot will use 1.11 second at worst to go to the target, less than the fire cycle of the weapon (4 seconds). For an UEF shot, we will need 1.43 seconds, less than the fire cycle of the weapon as well (1.7 second). If the speed of the shots aren't infinite for the Aeon and UEF T2 defenses, it has nevertheless no impact on the number of kills a minute for these defenses.

Because the T1 point defense is able to do more dps and almost always more kills a minute than any T2 point defense, you should always make some of them even if you've reached the T2 or T3 level. They have a limited range of action, but they also cost half the price compared to a T2 point defense. If your T2 point defenses are saturated and cannot contain an enemy army, having some T1 point defenses can really help. Some players try to recycle their T1 point defenses as soon as they are on the T2 level, being convinced they are obsolete in comparison with the T2 ones. Don't do that.

T3 point defense

The only faction to have a T3 point defenses is the UEF one.

unit name

UEF T3 point defense

cost

1906.67 meu

hp

7500

dps

328.12

range

from 0 to 70 spm

relief dependence

average

area damage radius

1 spm

The UEF T3 point defense is a very powerfull weapon, able to do 328.12 dps from 0 to 70 spm, 20 spm more than the T2 point defenses. A line containing 10 of them is generally enough to kill a moving forward Spiderbot ! The fire cycle is here 8 seconds but is not so simple : during 3.8 seconds, the T3 point defense will shoot a bullet every 0.2 seconds, for a total of 15 projectiles fired, and during the 5.2 remaining seconds, it will reload itself. In fact, during the first 3.8 seconds, the T3 point defense acts as a T1 point defense having a fire cycle of 0.2 seconds. The very moment an enemy unit enter the range of action of a T3 UEF point defense, a first bullet will be shot, then a second one 0.2 seconds later, etc. The point defense will stop shooting after having fired a total of 15 projectiles, changing target if the first one is destroyed before the 3.8 seconds. Like for the T1 point defenses, the number of kills a minute depends of the distance between the targeted unit and the point defense. Indeed, if the enemy is 70 spm away and has very few hp, less than 175 (a T3 point defense bullet does 175 damages), one bullet only is necessary to kill it. However, since the velocity of a bullet is limited to 32 spm/second (see the database), we see it will need 2.19 seconds to reach the targeted unit, and during such time, the T3 point defense will shoot several extra bullets for nothing. After the death of the first target, the T3 point defense will consider another unit to fire at. In the end, during a complete fire cycle of 8 seconds, only two units can be killed at maximum if they are 70 spm away. That's a number of kills/minute not so great, of 15 kills a minute. On the other hand, if we look at the other extreme situation, with a distance of 0 spm between the targeted unit and the point defense, the max number of kills possible becomes one per bullet, that's 15 kills for 8 seconds, 112.5 kills a minute, the second best number of kills/minute possible from all point defenses ! So if you want to successfull destroy some T3 UEF point defenses with your army, try to attack it from as far as possible to decrease the number of kills/minute value, given the range of your units (remember most of the combat units have only half the range of the T3 UEF point defense). A T3 UEF point defense costs 1906.67 meu, almost the cost of a T2 artillery.

Artillery

T2 artillery

With this unit, you can destroy an enemy base easily without any army. The range of the T2 artilleries is, for the four factions, from 5 to 128 spm, one of the biggest range of all T2 units available in the game. The only T2 units able to better are the Seraphim and UEF destroyers, with a max range of 150 spm, and the tactical missile launchers, with a 256 spm range (all factions included). The only way of protecting something from T2 artillery projectiles is with shield generators. All T2 static artillery sites fire bullets using low height parabola. The relief dependence for this weapon, all faction included, is average, being sometimes critical when the target is only some spm away. In that very case, bullets are fired more horizontally than vertically. If the target is at max range, then bullets are fired more vertically, although the parabola will never look like the high height parabola from T3 artillery. The relief dependence of this weapon decreases while the distance on the ground between this weapon and the target increases.

unit name

Aeon T2 static artillery

cost

2904 meu

mass draining ability

1.4

energy draining ability

10

energy consumption

-72.5

hp

2200

dps

143.75

damages for one shot

2875

area damage radius

2 spm

The Aeon T2 artillery, called “Miasma”, costs 2904 meu. Like all T2 artilleries, the Miasma is very expensive for a typical emerging T2 economy. Also, the Miasma needs -72.5 energy units per second to fully work, which isn't negligible. It shots one projectile every 20 seconds, each projectile able to do 2875 damages in a 2 spm radius from the impact point. This T2 artillery is the most expensive one of the four factions but also the one able to do the most dps in the game. It has, however, the smallest area damage radius of the four factions.

unit name

Cybran T2 static artillery

cost

2346.67 meu

mass draining ability

1.4

energy draining ability

10

energy consumption

-57.5

hp

3150

dps

87.5

damages for one shot

1750

area damage radius

4 spm

The Cybran T2 artillery, called “Gunther”, costs 2346.67 meu. It needs -57.5 energy units per second to fully work. It shots one projectile every 20 seconds, each projectile able to do 1750 damages in a 4 spm radius from the impact point, which is the biggest area damage radius of the four T2 artilleries. This T2 artillery is the cheapest but has also the weakest damages per second and damages for one shot.

unit name

UEF T2 static artillery

cost

2640 meu

mass draining ability

1.4

energy draining ability

10

energy consumption

-50

hp

3600

dps

100

damages for one shot

2000

area damage radius

3 spm

The UEF T2 artillery costs 2640 meu. It needs -50 energy units per second to fully work. It shots one projectile every 20 seconds, each projectile able to do 2000 damages in a 3 spm radius from the impact point. With 3600 hp, it is the strongest T2 artillery site available. Any T2 artillery site will need two shots to kill it, even the Aeon T2 artillery.

unit name

Seraphim T2 static artillery

cost

2786 meu

mass draining ability

1.4

energy draining ability

10

energy consumption

-65

hp

2850

dps

120

damages for one shot

2400

area damage radius

3 spm

The Seraphim T2 artillery costs 2786 meu. It needs -65 energy units per second to fully work. Like all the T2 artilleries, it shots one projectile every 20 seconds. The projectile is able here to do 2400 damages in a 3 spm radius from the impact point. With 2850 hp, the Seraphim T2 artillery site can be destroyed by only one Aeon T2 artillery projectile.

Remember what we said during chapter 2 with the study of the shield generators. A single T2 artillery isn't able to destroy a shield generator or anything within the radius of the generated shield, since the recharge time of the shield generators are almost always lower than the fire cycle of the T2 static artillery sites. You always need to build two of them and make them fire not a the same time. If the target is under shields, building only one T2 artillery is a waste of time, mass and energy. It will at best succeed to put under stress the enemy.

But there is a way to decrease the fire cycle of a single T2 artillery site : you simply need to build four power plants around it. Doing that with T1 power plants will decrease the fire cycle from 20 seconds to little less than 18 seconds and will cost you 320 meu (4 times 80 meu). Unfortunately, the Aeon, Seraphim and UEF T2 static shield generators as well as the second version of the Cybran static shield generator have a recharge time still lower than 18 seconds. To put four T1 power plants around your T2 artillery site will work only if the targeted shield generator has a recharge time of 18 seconds or higher and if the generated shield cannot recover its hp faster than the T2 artillery site take them off. The following shield generators have a recharge time of 18 seconds or higher : all T3 ones (including the only mobile one), Cybran shield generator first, third, fourth and final version and all T2 mobile shield generators.

Should you always make T1 power plants around your T2 artillery sites ? Is this trick really interesting ? Is it worth it to spend 320 meu for a fire cycle of little less than 18 seconds instead of 20 seconds rather than doing a new T2 artillery ? Let's do some math again and first consider the most expensive T2 artillery, the Aeon one, with a costs of 2904 meu. If we use the trick of the four T1 power plants, we see that we will spend 3224 meu (2904 + 320) to obtain a fire cycle of little less than 18 seconds (starting now, we consider it is equal to 18 seconds exactly). With two T2 artilleries and eight power plants, we will have, theoritically, a bullet every 9 seconds for a total of 6448 meu. A bullet is fired at time t=-9 seconds by the first artillery, 18 seconds later a new bullet is fired at time t=9 seconds, etc. The second artillery fires a bullet at time t=0 second, and a new one at time t=18 seconds. In the end we have a shot every 9 seconds. And with three T2 artilleries and 12 T1 power plants, it's 9672 meu for a fire cycle of 6 seconds. We can now do a ratio with the bad parameters (I mean parameters that need to be as smaller as possible) on the denominator : for one artillery site, for two artillery sites and for three artillery sites. We multiply by 1000000 only to have a nice number. It's always the same value coming, which is good, proving us what we do here is mathematically accurate. We have thus a ratio equal to 17.23 for the case with the four T1 power plants. We are now going to do exactly the same thing for the case without the four power plants, obtain a ratio for that case and finally perform a comparison between 17.23 and the new ratio.

Without the four T1 power plants, we spend 2904 meu for a bullet every 20 seconds, but we cannot just ignore that we don't have here +80 energy units per second after spending the 2904 meu, like we have above with the four T1 power plants. So we will assume the player has build a T2 power plant nearby, producing +500 energy units for a cost of 1280 meu, that's 204.8 meu for +80 energy units. In the end we have a bullet every 20 seconds for 3108.8 meu. With two T2 artilleries, we will have a bullet every 10 seconds for 6217.6 meu. With three artillery sites, we will have a bullet every 6.67 seconds for 9326.4 meu. The ratio is for one artillery, for two artillery sites, etc.

We see the case with the four T1 power plants has a ratio of 17.23>16.08. We just demonstrated the trick of doing four T1 power plants around an Aeon T2 artillery is a good trick.

Let's now see if it's still good with the cheapest T2 artillery site, the Cybran one. For the case with the four T1 power plants, we have a ratio of 20.83. And without the T1 power plants, we have 19.60. Since 20.83>19.60, it's also interesting to do four T1 power plants around a Cybran T2 artillery site. Because the prices of the UEF and Seraphim artillery sites are between the Cybran one and the Aeon one, we can say that you should always do 4 T1 power plants around your T2 artillery sites.

It is also possible to do four T1 power plants for the first artillery site, and only two for the next ones, like on the right picture. For the first Aeon T2 artillery site, you will spend, as usual, 3224 meu, but the second one will cost 3064 meu, not 3224 again, since we build only two new T1 power plants with it. The ratio for two artillery sites becomes . Previously, we obtained 17.23. The ratio is increased by sharing the T1 power plants between the T2 artilleries and it is true not only for the Aeon faction, but for all factions, so try to share the T1 power plants between the T2 artillery sites if you can. Notice the fire cycle will decrease even more if you put four T2 or T3 power plants around your T2 artillery sites, although doing this is pretty silly.

To end this subsection, we will just say a few words about the firing randomness. You certainly know T2 artilleries miss often their target. This is also true for T3 artilleries and mobile artilleries, especially T3 mobile artilleries (T1 ones are quite accurate). You cannot expect to destroy rapidly a small target with T2 or T3 static artilleries.

T3 artillery

These artilleries are very heavy units, very expensive and consume huge amounts of energy to work. Given their range of action, it is possible to reach the enemy base from your, even if it is more than 600 spm away ! Because the cost of the T3 artilleries is so excessive, lots of players choose to do nuclear missile launchers or experimental units, quite cheaper, rather than doing T3 artillery.

unit name

Aeon T3 static artillery

cost

97600 meu

mass draining ability

3

energy draining ability

30

energy consumption

-425 energy units/sec

hp

12000

dps

600

damages for one shot

12000

area damage radius

4 spm

range

from 150 to 900

The Aeon T3 artillery, called Emissary, costs 97600 meu. It's the cost of almost 6 Spiderbots. The Aeon T3 artillery has a fire cycle of 20 seconds like T2 artilleries, and inflicts 12000 damages every shot in a 4 spm radius from the impact point of the projectile. Because of this fire cycle of 20 seconds, one Aeon T3 static artillery is unable to destroy shield generators having a recharge time lower than 20 seconds ! It requires -425 energy units per second to fully work and has a range from 150 to 900 spm, the second biggest range from all T3 artillery installations available in the game.

unit name

Aeon T3 rapid-fire artillery

cost

306000 meu

mass draining ability

3

energy draining ability

60

energy consumption

-4838.71 energy units/sec

hp

10000

dps

2554.84

damages for one shot

7920

area damage radius

~ 20 spm

range

from 175 to 1800 spm

The Aeon faction also features a rapid-fire T3 artillery, able to fire every 3.1 seconds, a quite small fire cycle. But the cost, already very huge for usual T3 artillery, is here even more huge, equal to 306000 meu. As you will see in chapter 5, it's a typical cost for a huge experimental unit. This building can be seen as an experimental unit. Instead of this unit, you could do almost 13 Galactic Colossus. This rapid-fire artillery needs -4838.71 energy units per second to fully work, it's the output of two T3 power plants. If you build this unit, be sure you have enough energy to allow it work at full capacity : it would be a shame to spend 306000 meu for it and to lack of energy to make it work. The range of action is here one of the biggest available in the game, from 175 to 1800 spm. The area damage radius is also incredible : 20 spm. Notice the database shows us 2 spm as area damage radius. A single shot is in fact equal to 36 projectiles. Each of them has an area damage radius of 2 spm from the impact point. But they will hit the ground spreaded, leading to a global area damage radius of about 20 spm.

unit name

Cybran T3 static artillery

cost

92800 meu

mass draining ability

3

energy draining ability

30

energy consumption

-700 energy units/sec

hp

10500

dps

460

damages for one shot

4600

area damage radius

8 spm

range

from 150 to 700 spm

The Cybran T3 artillery costs 92800 meu. It has a fire cycle of 10 seconds, each shot inflicting 4600 damages in a radius of 8 spm from the impact point. It requires -700 energy units per second to fully work and has a range from 150 to 700 spm, 200 spm less than the T3 Aeon artillery : Emissary. The fire cycle is here 10 seconds (see database). Unlike the Aeon T3 static artillery, it can destroy shield generators having a recharge time lower than 20 seconds.

unit name

UEF T3 static artillery

cost

96000 meu

mass draining ability

3

energy draining ability

30

energy consumption

-800 energy units/sec

hp

15000

dps

550

damages for one shot

5500

area damage radius

5 spm

range

from 150 to 750 spm

The UEF T3 artillery costs 96000 meu. It has a fire cycle of 10 seconds, each shot causing 5500 damages in a radius of 5 spm from the impact point of the fired projectile. It requires -800 energy units per second to fully work and has a range from 150 to 750 spm. It can destroy shield generators with a recharge time lower than 20 seconds.

unit name

Seraphim T3 static artillery

cost

94400 meu

mass draining ability

3

energy draining ability

30

energy consumption

-750 energy units/sec

hp

13500

dps

500

damages for one shot

5000

area damage radius

6 spm

range

from 150 to 825 spm

This last T3 artillery from the Seraphims costs 94400 meu. It has a fire cycle of 10 seconds, each shot causing 5000 damages in a 6 spm radius from the impact point. It requires -750 energy units per second to fully work and has a range from 150 to 825 spm.

Is it possible to decrease the rate of fire by putting some power generators around the T3 artillery installations ? Strangely, T1 power generators succeed to create links with the T3 artillery installations, but doesn't decrease at all the fire cycle if we put them around the artillery installations, except for the Aeon T3 rapid-fire artillery installation. Putting a total of 20 T1 power generators around the Aeon T3 rapid-fire artillery installation will decrease the fire cycle of 50%, from 3.1 seconds to ~ 1.5 seconds, for a cost of 1600 meu, negligible in comparison of the 306000 meu. It's so impossible to decrease the fire cycle of the T3 artillery installations by putting power plants around them, except for the rapid-fire one from the Aeon faction.

The cost of war

Why are some weapons more interesting to build than others ? Why are T3 artillery sites not interesting to build ? Is it just because of the cost ? Or because of the ratio ? Well, the answer is a little more complicated.

In Supreme Commander Forged Alliance, war is about one thing : economy. In most of the strategy games, you use to lead an army of 20, maybe 30 units a game. In such case, every unit is very important. But in Supreme Commander, armies are generally much bigger and much easier to produce. It becomes more a question of quantity than a question of quality. War in Supreme Commander is about enemy economies fighting, trying to be more powerfull than the others, trying to produce more than the others. Your main objective in Supreme Commander is to hinder the economical development of the enemy. Killing its units should not be your primary goal, but the result of your main goal : to destroy its economy or to improve yours faster by recycling its dead units.

To build a T3 artillery is a bad idea simply because the cost you encountered to build it is more than what you will make lose to the enemy by using this weapon. You have to build and use a weapon only if the damages it is able to inflict to the enemy are bigger than the cost of the weapon itself. This is the only true reason you have to build a weapon. Be sure you understand well this last statement. It's one of the most important of the whole guide.

Following this fact, we can easily see all T3 artilleries, except maybe the rapid-fire artillery from the Aeons, cost generally more than what they can do to the enemy. Imagine you just finished the Cybran T3 static artillery, and therefore spent 92800 meu. With it, you first try to kill an isolated T3 mass extractor from the enemy. Because T3 artilleries aren't very accurate and because a T3 mass extractor is a small target, you will take maybe several minutes to kill this unprotected mass extractor. But let's assume you succeed. What exactly does the enemy lose ? 4810.83 meu, the cost of a mass extractor ? No : the enemy can recycle the death structure, and, according to the SupCom database, a dead T3 mass extractor is worth 4140 mass units. The enemy only loses 670.83 meu so far ! You have to destroy the dead structure as well. Because dead structures have always almost the same hit points than the working structure, you will take several minutes again to destroy it. And to be sure the dead structure is gone, you will have to send an air scout or to select an engineer and see if it can recyle it. If not, it's gone. Otherwise it's still there. However, once dead, the mass extractor doesn't produce anything : the enemy loses 18 mass units every second the second the T3 mass extractor is destroyed. In the end, let's assume you use 3 minutes for all this. Three bloody minutes so that the enemy loses 4810.83 meu + 18 meu/seconds till he build a new T3 mass extractor ? If you want to destroy only five T3 mass extractors this way, it will take 15 minutes and the enemy will lose only 24054.15 meu + 90 meu/second till he build new T3 mass extractors. Clearly, T3 artilleries aren't interesting to build if you want to use them this way. Moreover, the T3 Cybran static artillery will consume about 630000 energy units during these 15 minutes, it's 4200 meu...

All right, what happens if you use this T3 static artillery against the main enemy base, trying to destroy bigger structures ? First it's very likely the main enemy base is protected under shields. Destroy them will probably take some minutes, especially if the enemy build new ones in the targeted area. It's even possible you never succeed to go through them with your single T3 artillery. Second, suppose you succeed to destroy some T3 power plants, maybe a T2 land factory. If you don't want the enemy to recycle them, you have to keep bombarding the area some time. After all this we can say the enemy's losses is 3 multiplied by 3624 (the cost of a T3 power plant) + 848 meu. Total enemy's loss : 11720 meu and 7500 energy units a second till he build three new T3 power plants. Time needed to do this if the targeted area isn't under shields and looks like the right picture : roughly 3 minutes. It's again not very good in comparison of what you invested for the T3 static artillery.

Maybe you never tought of war in SupCom this way, but be sure you already know a little of all this : for instance, would you launch a nuke on a single T3 mass extractor (except for fun, meaning you know you're going to die or to win in the next couple of minutes) ? Or on a single naval factory ? No, because you know it's not worth it : the strategic missile will cost you more than what you make lose to the enemy.

Everytime you build an expensive weapon, you have to ask yourself if the weapon will be able to do more damages to the enemy than what you will spend for it. If not, dont build it !

Making war to the enemy, with an army, follows the same logic. You don't have to attack the enemy if it's going to cost you more than the enemy will lose.

Every war action in the game should be taken only if there is an underlying economical reason. For instance : you see a Spiderbot moving alone in the map. You need to do severals gunships to kill it. Because you know the enemy will probably send some T3 planes to kill these gunships, you also need to build an army of T3 fighters. Because of the air war going to occur, you know you're going to encounter heavy T3 fighter losses. A dead Spiderbot is equal to 14400 mass units. If you know the number of T3 fighters you're going to lose in the assassination process of the enemy's Spiderbot is worth more than 14400 meu, then do nothing. Otherwise the action of killing an recycling the enemy's Spiderbot is economically interesting ! Recall this is just a very simple example : you can find 100 others.

Missile launchers

Tactical missile launcher

These missile launchers are very interesting to use for severals reasons : first, their cost isn't very big for an emerging T2 economy and is negligible for a T3 one. They cost about three time less than a T2 artillery site and a launched missile cost about 200 meu, less than the cost of a T1 air factory. Second, they have a max range of action of 256 spm, the biggest range of action possible on the T2 level, two times bigger than the max range of the T2 artillery installations. Third, they are incredibly accurate, having no problems to succesfully hit a small and remote target. Fourth, a single missile is able to do 6000 damages (all faction included) : two of them are enough to kill a not upgraded enemy commander !

unit name

tactical missile launcher

missile cost

204 meu

build rate

80

mass consumption

-6

energy consumption

-120

range

from 15 to 256 spm

relief dependence

average

missile damages

6000

area damage radius

2 spm

Of course, this is not the perfect weapon (there isn't such thing in SupCom). It's indeed quite easy to protect a base from tactical missiles, by putting in it some tactical defenses : they are cheap for an emerging T2 economy (301.33 meu for the four factions) and do not take lot of free space. Also, each missile from a tactical launcher has a cost of 204 meu, all faction included. Each time a player destroy a missile, he makes lose 204 meu to its enemy. And finally, launched missiles always go in straight line on the enemy target from the tactical launcher, meaning if a player want to protect some important buildings, he can simply build severals tactical defenses on the line joining the important buildings and the enemy tactical launchers : the area beneath the tactical defenses will be “missile free”.

One of the favourite technique to end a game on small maps is to build a line of three, maybe five tactical launchers base and to send five missiles at the same time on the enemy commander after having located it with a radar or with a plane. You need to know a single tactical defense is barely able to destroy a missile that go through its range of action and two missiles are enough to kill a not upgraded commander. How to avoid such technique on you ? First, always build more than one tactical defense in your base. Second, when everybody reaches the T2 level, begin to constantly move in a big circle your commander and avoid using it as build force. Missiles do not target a unit, they target the emplacement of a unit when you click at it. Tactical missiles cannot kill a constantly moving unit. Shield generators can also be use to protect you from tactical missiles, but with 6000 damages a missile, two of them are generally enough to put down a generated shield, and thus a third missile will go through.

Since they are very accurate, tactical missile launchers can be use on small maps to kill enemy extractors being remote from the main enemy base. Indeed, players rarely build a tactical defense near every extractor remote from their main base, and so, these extractors are easy to kill that way. Also, always on small maps, if the enemy commander isn't possible to target with your tactical launcher (because he is underwater, helping to do boats for instance or simply constantly moving), you can try to destroy instead some important units in the enemy main base : T2 power generators, T2 factories, T2 extractors. The T2 power plants are good to target, because they will cause 1500 damages by exploding, destroying for sure some extra units being close of it. Without any tactical defenses or shields, one missile will kill a T2 power plant or a T2 extractor (hp < 6000). You will need two of them to kill a T2 air or land factory (hp > 6000 but smaller than 12000) and three for a T2 naval factory. If the enemy hasn't a single tactical defense, it's also possible to completely freeze its economy. Simply fill your tactical launchers with enough missiles, and then rapidly launch several missiles on every enemy extractors. If you succeed to destroy them all, you can consider you've win the game. Recall however a dead extractor can always be recycled by the enemy. A T2 mass extractor costs 936 meu and a dead T2 mass extractor is worth 810 mass units ! Recall from previous section we said it's better to destroy dead structure as well : right after you killed an enemy T2 mass extractor or T2 power plant, you have to launch a second missile on the dead structure ! If you don't do this for the T2 mass extractor, the enemy lose only 90 meu + 6 meu/second till he build a new T2 extractor. It's only after 19 seconds the enemy's loss will be 204 meu. If he succeed to recycle the dead structure and to build a new T2 mass extractor before 19 seconds, the global result is like the enemy did damages to you !

You always need to be carefull with these missile launchers because a bad use of them can lead you to lose mass-equivalent units. You know every missile as a value of 204 meu. Avoid targeting a unit costing less than 204 meu with a single missile, except if you have a good reason to do it. Imagine you decide to kill a T1 power plant. Is it worth it to spend 408 meu (one missile to kill the building, another to kill the dead structure) so that the enemy loses a 80 meu building ? No, it's not. Recall previous section : if the destruction of a unit costs to you more than the loss of the unit will cost to the enemy, it's not worth it.

All faction have the same missile launcher and the same launched missiles. The only thing that changes from a faction to another is the cost of the missile launcher :

unit name

cost

Aeon T2 tactical missile launcher

723.33 meu

Cybran T2 tactical missile launcher

884 meu

UEF T2 tactical missile launcher

826.67 meu

Seraphim T2 tactical missile launcher

855 meu

Strategic missile launcher

unit name

strategic missile launcher

cost

16400 meu

missile cost

21000 meu

build rate

1080

mass consumption

-40

energy consumption

-4500

inner ring damages

70500

inner ring radius

30 spm

outer ring damages

500

outer ring thickness

10 spm

relief dependence

low

range

from 0 to 20000 spm

Every game where players know they are going to reach T3 level (typically on big maps) are a real technological and economical race. Indeed, the first player to finish a strategic missile can nuke the industrial area of another, putting him literally offside. You can choose to not participate this race for nuclear warfare by doing a strategic defense instead of a strategic launcher. A strategic defense costs, like said in the previous chapter, 8200 meu and every countermissile costs 6000 meu. The strategic launcher costs the same price for the four factions : 16400 meu. The strategic missile costs (all faction included again) 21000 meu, more than the launcher itself. It means you need a total of 37400 meu to nuke the enemy. And to avoid to be nuked, you need 14200 meu. It's clear everytime a player fail to nuke another with the first strategic missile, he will lose 37400-14200=23200 meu in comparison of its enemy, which is more than the cost of a spiderbot for instance.

Strategic missile launchers have a so big range of action, that we can consider it infinite (from 0 to 20000 spm). The explosion causes 70500 damages in the inner ring (30 spm in radius) and 500 damages in the outer ring (thickness of 10 spm), destroying T1 units having less than 500 hp. During a long game, you should always do such a strategic defense and/or check if the enemy is doing a strategical launcher.

Since it's possible to target the border of the area protected by an enemy nuclear defense, the area being really protected isn't from 0 to 90 spm but from 0 to 60 spm, like I said in chapter 2. How to successfully target the border of the enemy area protected during a game ? First you have to give a number to your strategic launcher, using your keyboard (select the strategic launcher, then press the ctrl key and a number from 0 to 9 : after doing this, you can select the considered unit just by using its number on your keyboard). Second you need to select a T3 engineer or any engineering unit able to build a T3 strategic defense. Superpose a T3 strategic missile defense on the one belonging to your enemy. You now see the precise area protected by the enemy strategic defense. Put your finger on the screen at the extremity of the circle you want to target. Use your keyboard to select your strategic launcher. Use the N key to load the missile and then click where your finger is.