Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance

Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance

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SC:FA Strategy - The Incomplete Guide
By ZaidusRecon
ZaidusRecon's guide to Supreme Commander Forged Alliance (Forever) strategy.

The aim of this guide is to give you the knowledge that comes from experience.

I hope that this guide will be able to bring new players up to my level before they even start playing.

Be warned that I try not to waste sentences, so this reading is quite heavy.

This guide is not finished. If enough people pressure me, I'm sure I'll be motivated to complete it. Probably.

I hope it helps.
 
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Opening Notes
This guide last edited November 2014. (I mean actually changed content, not merely reformatting for Steam.)

Prepare for a big guide. It's huge, I'm not kidding.

I give permission for people to quote parts of this guide if they provide a URL to either this guide here on Steam, or my Profile on Steam. Do share this guide (by giving a URL) with others to help as many SupCom players as possible. The URL for this guide is below
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=403039944

The best place to start FAForever
http://forums.faforever.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=3058

Possible solutions to game connectivity problems
http://forums.gaspowered.com/viewtopic.php?t=2531

Improve game performance and framerate
http://forums.gaspowered.com/viewtopic.php?p=29778
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=185082592

Playlist of video tutorials
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWe0mYs3ObwL36zemynMh5G4b-3s5vol0

Economy progression video guide
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IhjuFY8t3w

CoreMaximizer utility
http://healthandmana.googlecode.com/files/CoreMaximizer1.03.zip
but read this first! http://forums.gaspowered.com/viewtopic.php?t=15556
and read this too http://forums.faforever.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1209
and you should know that many people argue that it is only a placebo, among other things;
to quote [izit]sykoste, "it is worth noting that from vista SP2 and win7 onwards the core maximizer is not required - the OS handles threading much better, in fact running the CM looses a bit of performance on 7 and 8"

Hotkey List by Japanlander
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=450431726

An excellent guide by TAG_UBER
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=121797666

A very technical guide by Praying Mantis
http://supcomfaguide.uw.hu/

Some game casters on YouTube
Gyle, ZaphodX, PraiseGugleOurMaster, TA4Life, BRINKoINSANITY, Zock, Swkoll, CrazedChariot, TheForgedAllianceColonel, Aulexer, JackSparrow, Styrbjorn, ObliteratingWave

Some famous players you should probably know about (because they are very good at the game or because they are a caster or a developer, or a combination of those)
Ze_PilOt, CrazedChariot (Crazed), Zock (ZockyZock), Congreve (Varro), Lu_Xun, TAG_UBER, BC_Blackheart, Sir_Loui, TAG_ROCK, TAG_Chosen, Voodoo, RK4000, TLO, Freshy, BC_Capt_Chlorgas, MnB, TAG_PEBBLE, UES_Sheppard, ZLO_RD, LuXy, BrainFart, BC_Tiep, Koecher, IridiumBLOWS, TAG_Seton, LordVader, Remmy, SCAccount, BRS_DCCC97, Pachuriko, VoR_MadStork, TBO, Brain_Washed, Adjuton, Isen, Jok3r, Deathlys_Rage, BC_Napalm, BlackDeath, Raging_Squirrel, TEA_Aulex, Washy, TAG_eXivo, Yama_Dharma, The_Unpwnable, Maverick, RA_MadMozart, Mephistophile, Nefarious, Armageddon


Introduction
You should read this mini-guide (or list of hints and tips)* only after you have had some experience playing Supreme Commander. Completing the campaign is enough to prepare you for this guide, assuming that you have done the tutorial before that. Please be aware though that completing the campaign on hard means nothing compared to the extremely strong play that you will see (or perhaps have already discovered) in player versus player gameplay. To help you get the picture, player matches generally involve no moments of either player stalling their eco, something that many new players generally don't even know the meaning of.

*This "list of hints and tips" gradually turned into a mini-guide as I have added to it. In fact, I have learned so much and typed up such a quantity that I feel it qualifies as a fully fledged guide, even if the structure breaks down a bit when it does return to hints and tips.

The aim of this guide is to give you the knowledge that comes from experience. Most guides give you data and information. Some guides try to explain what a player must do to best prepare themselves for learning, or explain what to do to learn. I aim to help people do what I tried to do when joining the FAF community: become as good as possible in as few games as possible. This is very much counter-intuitive, because more games means more experience, and so getting better. And it is that way. I don't think that anyone can become 'as good as possible'. I believe that everyone can improve their 'best' indefinitely (in relation to this game). And the best way to get better is definitely playing as many games as possible. At the time of typing this guide, I have played a total of less than 100 player matches. Despite all that I learned before starting FAF, I have learned much, and I will learn much much much more. I hope that this guide will be able to bring new players up to my level before they even start playing. Of course, putting this entire guidance into practice is something that must be learned in itself, but hopefully that is compensated for by the fact that I still do not perfectly implement into my games all that I have learned. We're human. I know it's annoying that we can't be the maximally efficient robots that we give orders to through this game, but having humanity is crucial to intelligent strategy, so who would you prefer to be like: QAI, or Zock?

Be warned that I try not to waste sentences, so this reading is quite heavy, so you may need to read this guide multiple times. Also, I use terms and concepts that are not yet defined in some of the definitions and examples of other concepts, futher necessitating re-reading. Note also that I use the term 'you' to refer to you, the reader, and I use the term 'a player' to refer to any given player of a match in Supreme Commander Forged Alliance Forever, hopefully encouraging you to see the points I make as applicable to any opponent that you may face while playing as well as applicable to you, and so allow you to develop most effective strategy. Note that the data tables are accurate to patched Forged Alliance as fas as I know (I use data tables to prove my points, and not to give you the means to spend ages figuring the points out by yourself).


Learning-Enhancing Mods (A)
First, some notes on User Interface mods. You should know that "User Interface" is the term for all of the buttons and information that is shown on screen. Without a UI, all you would see while playing the game is the battlefield and your cursor. Players often feel that they want to avoid helpful UI mods because they want to be so epic that they don't need any help. This attitude is a waste of valuable time. Yes, perhaps a player could learn to play just as effectively without such help, but at a great cost of many more hours of learning. Quite simply, many UI mods present data and control options that enable the player to learn faster. A cheap and nasty shortcut is the wrong way to look at it.

I will introduce my favourite UI mods below. None of these mods require you to download them off the Internet (manually). They are all available on the FAF client Vault. To make a UI mod work in game, a user must double-click on the mod in the Mod Vault, click on the Download Mod button, wait for it to download (it looks like it isn't doing anything, but just wait), then click on the Manage UI Mods button in the top-right, and select the desired mod. To uninstall a UI mod, (close Supreme Commander Forged Alliance,) deselect it in the Manage UI Mods window, then find it in the vault again, double click on it, and then click the Remove Mod button (it replaces the Download Mod button). UI mods do not change multiplayer compatibility; you can play online with other players no matter what difference in UI mods there are. This definitely does not apply for mods that change anything other than the User Interface.

GAZ_UI is considered the single best User Interface mod out there. I am so used to it by now that I had to actually research to figure out what changes it makes. It: "adds features to automatically upgrade and manage SCUs"; offers "Build Template improvements", "clearer Strategic Build Icons", an expanded "key remapping system", "draggable factory build queues", "enhanced unit info", and "zoom popping". These are all quotes of the forum with the Release 6 version of the mod for FA on Gas Powered Games forums, found at this link http://forums.gaspowered.com/viewtopic.php?t=23447. Again, you do not need to download the mod from this link. GAZ_UI can be found under the Vault tab, and then the Mods tab, of the FAForever client. This mod will deselect itself after loading up a game after being activated through the Manage UI Mods window, but don't worry about that, and don't uninstall the mod. Many more features have been added over time. It is well worth exploring all of the customisation options in the standard in-game Settings>Interface menu, as well as testing all of the features yourself (especially the Reclaim box), in addition to experimenting with different key binds ("hotkeys") that can be changed through the menu summoned by F1. This mod overhauls the UI so greatly that it has been reported to, sometimes, cause glitches in the UI. I personally have not noticed anything out of ordinary function.

MoreUnitInfo is a mod that provides much more detailed in game data on individual units. It does not apply to produced units (on the battlefield), it only applies to the icons in build bars. When a player "hovers" their mouse cursor over a unit icon (moves the cursor to rest over the icon, but without clicking), two small, semi-transparent tooltip windows appear. This mod adds wondeful data to the bottom of this second tooltip window, including damage per shot, rate of fire, weapon range, potential damage per second (DPS), top movement speed, maximum deceleration of movement, rate of movement turning, and all sorts of stuff I can't recall. Although it is not directly useful in many matches, it is invaluable when you need to weigh up strategic options based on unit stats.

Notify Enhanced does count as a UI mod because it does not affect multiplayer compatibility. This mod automatically sends a chat message to all player allies when an ACU upgrade is started, and when such an upgrade is cancelled or completed. This message appears as though it was sent by the player with the mod installed. Additionally, it will provide a report on the time taken to complete the upgrade, in seconds, along with the completion message. All messages take the form "ACU > *Upgrade* UPGRADE STARTED" or "ACU > *Upgrade* DONE (nn.nns)", where *Upgrade* is the ACU upgrade that the player selected, nn.nn is the number of seconds that the upgrade took to complete (to four significant figures: a tens digit, a units digit, and two decimal places), and s means seconds. The purpose of this mod is to make allies aware of any ACU upgrade, so that they know that the player has little or no surplus Energy, the player is vulnerable, and that any spare Mass should be donated so as to prioritise the upgrade, especially for the RAS upgrade, since it requires so so much Energy. Good teamwork is vital in getting the upper hand in team games.

Coloured Allies in Score is a small mod that colour-codes the list of players in the score board (top right of the UI) so that the player can immediately see which player is on which team. I think it doesn't actaully use colour, but bold instead. I'm not sure. I may have become used to it by now, much like many aspects of GAZ_UI.

UI Mass Fab Manager manages constructed Mass Fabricators for the player. Both T2 and T3 Mass Fabricators can be "added" to the Mass Fab Manager through its control box (a very small and nicely presented window that is draggable) manually, or automatically. Any Mass Fabricators under its control will be automatically deactivated when Energy approaches stall. These Mass Fabricators will also be automatically reactivated when Energy becomes sufficiently available. There are customisation options for the threshholds for Energy, as well as delays of deactivation and reactivation, in the form of sliders. Note that through automatic addition of Mass Fabricators, the Aeon Experimental Resource Generator is also added, but said building is never deactivated by the mod. I have found the following slider settings to be the most economically effective for my style of play: 40, 35, 0, 0; respective to the descending order of sliders. With the slider setup, all I do to make it work is right-click the triple-plus icon at the start of each match. Note that Mass Fabricators will normally never be built in a match. The payback time (time required to return initial build costs, thereafter allowing for actual productivity) for any Mass Fabricator is nearly always greater (worse) than a different strategic option, such as putting Mass into aggressive units so as to weaken the enemy economy (which does have a somewhat equivalent economical measure - a temporary offset). The "noob" matches are where this mod plays a part, as serious choke points and other strategic limitations are popular, and so Mass Fabricators will often become more cost effective than raiding.

Finally, Supreme Economy is a mod that displays realtime Mass and Energy output data, as well as stages of upgraded (and Mass Storage bounded) Mass Extractors. This is very beneficial for a player figuring out where their resources are going, and so evaluate their strategy. The display is shown on the left of the screen, and consists of two columns - one for Mass, and one for Energy. The entries under these columns (forming a table) are the units that the respective resource is being used by. This includes factories constructing units, buildings under construction, Mass Extractors (they do consume Energy to operate), shields, each type of intel structure (including Stealth Field Generators), and Mass Fabricators. The best part is that the player can click on any icon in the table to select not only a unit of that type, but every unit of that type currently consuming resources (double click). Also...
Learning-Enhancing Mods (B)
...Also, any builders that are putting resources into units will all count as one entry in the table, under the icon of the unit being constructed. I am unsure whether all builders building units of the same type will be listed as a single entry in the table (for example, if many Engineers are building many Land Factories). I think they do. This mod is really professional, but should eventually become redudant because you learn what happens from experience. I like to keep it just in case I miss something, like an odd factory or Mass Extractor I forgot to upgrade.

Well, thanks Steam for your excellently timed guide chopping.

Sarcasm? No, CZAR-Chasm. If someone could make a map of that then we'd all be very appreciative.


Concepts (1) Part
Explanations of important concepts within Supreme Commander, and many other strategy games, form the bulk of this guide.

'Map control' means how much of the map is controlled by the player due to the positioning of their armies. Map control often means winning the game, because controlling more of the map means controlling more of the mass points, controlling more of the Mass Extractors, and providing the Mass income to allow for a greater economy and therefore greater armies. Therefore, players should be aggressive so as to gain more map control. If the enemy isn't being aggressive, then they are focusing on Mass Extractor upgrades in order to compensate for their lack of Mass income, and will most likely lash out suddenly with a com snipe, or they are living off reclaim constantly coming in from failed assaults and raiding. If this is the case, the map control player should hold their forces just out of range of the enemy defences and get bombardment in (turtle is the counter to raiding, bombardment is the counter to turtle). Many new players have an urge to be defensive for fear of losing their ACU. This urge is somewhat valid and beneficial, but can be entirely replaced by sensible control of the ACU. Map control is more important. Do not let aggressive units pile up in your base! Send them out, sprawling across the map in all directions, converging on your opponent's base(s), only stopping to battle or measure up against opposing forces. Though simple enough, this last point can be very difficult to implement especially if noob play has been the main source of experience. Noob play (the choke points and other limitations on strategy) encourages the sort of army management that really is not beneficial for the greater part of serious games. Noobs can often be trapped by their experience of noob games and so never adapt to the better strategy of sprawling armies and map control. I recommend for players to play one versus one on the map Daroza's Sanctuary. This is the map I played thrice in a row to drill into my mind the concept I am teaching in this paragraph. The map is ideal because of the vast amount of reclaim available. The rocks contain so much Mass (and there are so many rocks) that a player can create an army of 500 or more T1 untis without building a single Mass Extractor. This map requires play for map control so that a player can get the reclaim and get the economy for massive amounts of units. Hint: Many players sit their ACU in their spawn point building nothing but T1 Power Generators for the first three or four minutes on this map, because Mass is so plentiful (and so Energy is the limiting resource to development). A note concerning land spam: Land spam (see paragraph somewhere below) is the best technique for gaining map control in the earliest minutes of a match. If the only thing preventing map control is space, then get units to cover that area ASAP, and the cheapest and fastest thing for that is T1 units - lots! of T1 units.

'Com snipe' or just 'snipe' is the strategy of destroying the enemy ACU with extreme focus. This often means very little collateral damage, and a very defined method of execution. In the (default for online matches) Assassination game mode, the objective is to destroy the enemy ACU, so executing a com snipe is definitely on the list of priorities. Examples include firing a small salvo of Tactical Missiles at the enemy ACU; sending T2 Gunships or T3 Strategic Bombers to fire solely on the enemy ACU, even to their quick demise; doing a telemaser; using air transport units to drop many land units behind enemy lines and on top of the enemy ACU.

'Focusing a task' or 'prioritising' is the technique of collecting units to put their work together to achieve the task faster. This may be focusing firepower from multiple tanks onto one target to take it out faster, which is useful for destroying individual units faster and so reducing the firepower of the enemy army so that less damage is recieved by the tanks and the battle falls in favour of the tanks, even if that means dealing less effective damage per second due to overkill (the front line of an army forming a concave is indicative of focused fire). Or it may mean pulling build power off multiple tasks and putting it on one shared task so that the one task is achieved as quickly as possible. Focusing build power on a string of individual tasks is better than designating one task to each unit of build power (each builder) because the result of an accomplished task can help in accomplishing other tasks, and gaining an option much sooner is better than gaining many options much later. However, balance is needed, because build power takes time to get to a place to execute a task. So, the magnitude that a task should be focused should only be calculated after the time it would take to accomplish the task is considered (a longer task needs more focus than a shorter task). For example, it is better for an experimental unit to be constructed over a 5 minute period of time than for several experimental units to be construced over a 30 minute period of time. Another example is, if a player wanted to build Tactical Missile Defenses all over their base, then it would be faster (and so better) to dedicate one builder to each TMD than to wait for all the builders to travel the entire distance between all the TMDs to build them (assuming the Tech Level of the builders is sufficient). The effectiveness of engineer stations can be observed when build power travel time is considered (because engineer stations put their build power to a task near instantly assuming the task to be done is within range). (Note that I use the term "engineer stations" to refer to both UEF Engineering Stations and Cybran Hives.)
Concepts (2) Part
'Distribution' of build power or firepower is something that is easier to grasp from experience, though it takes time. I shall try to explain it with a few detailed examples.

Two players move their armies forward and encounter the other's army. They engage, and the battle is intense, with great loss on both sides. Both players decide to withdraw to prevent further losses. There is now a massive field of wreckages in the centre, containing lots of Mass. It is clear that whoever reclaims more of the Mass will be able to build more aggressive units, and so overpower the other's army. It will take four minutes for the Engineers of one of the players to travel from their main base all the way to the front lines and start reclaim. The other player had a few Engineers casually following behind their army, reclaiming on the go and providing support in the form of repairs and possbily emergency point defence construction. This other player moves their Engineers in to gather the reclaim and win the match. This was down to the distribution of their build power.

In another example, both players have armies moving from their corner of a square map to the centre to battle. The first player executes an aggressive drop (completion of transportation of aggressive units to a specific location) to one of the unoccupied corners of the map. The units from this drop are able to destroy the Mass Extractors of the enemy in this corner and so weaken the economy of the second player enough to turn the game in favour of the player who did the drop. The loss of the match of the second player was due to a lack of distributed firepower. That is, if firepower had been present in that corner (not necessarily standing guard, potentially just moving out from a nearby factory), then the second player would have been able to reduce the damage from the dropped units enough to hold onto the match.

In an effort to more generally explain, distribution of firepower and build power is how well they cover the map, and so how quickly they can tend to necessary tasks. Time is important. Getting things done sooner because units are already there to start them is a massive benefit in comparison to needing to transport units. This brings to mind a concept we shall call 'potential distribution'. If a player has a few Engineers ready to go in an air transport at all times, then build power is potentially distributed across the map better, because a transport is very fast. You will observe this play in high ranking matches that get well into the experimental stage of play. Good players will have a transport full of Engineers ready to distribute build power to an experimental unit wreckage so that the Mass can be reclaimed as soon as possible. It may even be worth having a transport full of Engineers at all times, ready not just for recliam but for any case of urgently required build power across the map. This can be done similarly for firepower. Many players stock up on a few T2 Gunships at 14 or so minutes into a team game so that firepower can be immediately dispatched to a location of sudden enemy attack. This is also useful as a backup in case a friendly ACU gets into a tight situation.
Concepts (3) Part
'Level of development' is the term describing the magnitude that a specified player has managed to accumulate units (both as buildings and mobile units). The level of development of a player is represented roughly by the score of the player (seen in the top-right box next to the player's name, assuming score has been enabled in the Forged Alliance Forever match setup options). A player having a higher Tech Level than another does not necessarily mean that they have a higher level of development. A player increases their level of development by putting resources into units and buildings. A player having a high level of development usually means that they have large Mass and Energy incomes, however it may not be the case, but is certainly a recommended factor of attaining a high level of development. A player wants to increase their level of development both on a regional (specific parts of the map) and global (entire map) scale, because a higher level of development means more options available to achieve objectives. Is is fully possible for the level of development of a player to fall. Just as turning resources into units increases the level of development, a player having their units turned into resources (in the form of wreckages) decreases their level of development.

'Eco stall' or 'Mass stall' or 'Energy stall' or just 'stall' is the situation a player finds themself in when Mass or Energy or both resources are depleted from storage. The bottom line is that having an eco stall is a bad thing, because it slows the rate at which tasks are carried out (such as building turrets, creating armies, or shielding important units). The way to fix an eco stall is to switch economy focus onto economy. That is, pulling build power off tasks and putting build power onto the specific resource-producing building respective to the resource that you are stalling. This also applies to 'stalling build power', which is equivalent to floating resources. Stalling can be seen in two ways: (1) Either a player is stalling their economy or they are not, depending on whether they have any resources stored at all for Mass or Energy. (2) A stall is only occurring if the lack of one or both resources is slowing the rate of one or more important tasks. Generally, players use the second definition, because the significance of the problem caused by an eco stall is very much dependent on how long the stall lasts, so a half-second long stall is effectively negligible. It is wise for a player to inform their allies if they are stalling their economy, as their allies may be able to help by supplying resources or donating resource-producing buildings. Take note that Energy stalling is more significantly disruptive than Mass stalling because Mass Extractors require Energy to operate, and so an Energy stall causes a Mass stall. It is important to understand how important it is to prevent an eco stall. A sufficiently significant eco stall can slow the progress of tasks (tasks that contribute to the overall level of developement of the player) to such a great magnitude that keeping up with someone who did not stall can be impossible. For example, a 45-second long Energy stall is almost guarunteed to put a player at such a great advantage in the long game that catching up is impossible. Expert players will play entire matches without stalling at all, even for a second, and without floating any resources either.

'Floating' a resource (not to be confused with overflowing) is the situation a player finds themself in when a lot of Mass or Energy is being stored, and so not being used. Having excess Energy as a 'buffer' (to compensate for moments of unpredictable resource fluctuations) is considered a necessity, so floating almost always refers to Mass (unless of course the Energy buffer is far too large, and so large amounts of Mass are wasted in the form of Energy production buildings). Floating Mass is a bad thing because Mass that is in storage is available to be utilised for tasks. For example, 800 Mass in storage (or 'floating 800 Mass') is wasting 800 Mass, because that 800 Mass could be taking the form of some T1 Light Tanks and raiding the enemy base, or could be used by builders to build resource-producing buildings.

'Overflowing' is the situation a player finds themself in when Mass or Energy or both resources have filled all storage, and so are being wasted. Overflowing is bad because resources that are not able to be stored are not gained at all, and so cannot help in achieving tasks. Again, an Energy buffer is the exception. Even with one or more allied players, overflowing is bad because overflowing resources can only come after floating resources, and we all know how bad floating resources is (unless you skipped the last paragraph... you). Expert players will play entire matches without overflowing at all, even for a second, and without stalling any resources either. Of course, floating resources is extremely difficult to prevent in a very long lasting match (40+ minutes) because at a point resources generally come in faster than they can be spent, or storage is still so low that entire storage can be filled within the time it takes to switch build power between tasks.

'Rank-up' is when a unit gains a level of veterancy. Hopefully you are aware of this mechanic and have already observed its usefulness. Units that can gain veterancy include any with weaponry (mobile aggressive units, Command Units, defensive turrets). A unit gains veterancy by accumulating kills, whether those kills be mobile units or buildings, each kill awarding 'points' towards the next level of veterancy. The number of veterancy points required for the next level of veterancy for a unit is proportional to the significance of the unit. That is, higher tech units require more points to gain rank-ups. Each level of veterancy grants extra HP and HP regeneration to the unit that is ranking-up. Any unit can attain a maximum of five levels of veterancy. T1 and T2 units are generally so weak (in terms of HP and firepower) that veterancy is negligible. The strength of veterancy is seen most definitively in experimental units. T4 units are so powerful anyway that the added HP and HP regeneration from multiple rank-ups result in such a hyper-powered unit that it can prove unbeatable at that time in the match.
Concepts (4) Part
'Ctrl+K' is the keyboard shortcut for self-destructing a selected unit or group of units. Self-destruction has its useful applications, usually in quite extreme scenarios. The most common is probably when an opposing experimental unit moves unstoppably into a player's main base and so the player chooses to 'Ctrl+K' all their T1 Engineers so as to deny the experimental unit free rank-ups. Also, in close ACU combat, a player may decide to self-destruct their ACU if they are being overrun and blocked by the enemy land units so that the explosion destroys the enemy ACU before it escapes, ending the match with an immediate draw rather than risking a worse outcome. Be aware that the explosion of any faction's ACU does exactly 2000 damage to all units in range, the size of a nuke.

'Macro' is what a player does when they manage the larger strategy of their part of the match. Examples include a player: evaluating their part in map control; thinking about how to defeat a particular opponent; making sure their economy is working and progressing effectively; considering what their opponent is doing, and whether they know enough about their opponent's base to expect what is coming at them next; watching and thinking about what they are seeing when they get a glimpse of the enemy base; deciding what to build in their factories; preparing a com snipe.

'Micro' is what a player does when they manage the smaller scale of things, usually on a per unit basis. 'APM' represents actions per minute, a measure of how much microing a player does. A greater APM means doing more micro. Remember that a player uses micro to organise units, and so a high APM (or doing lots of micro) is only good if those actions are helpful in progressing towards some objective. Supreme Commander is good for players who are not able to execute many actions per minute, because the game has many convenient micro-reducing controls, such as the Assist order. Quality of orders given to units is more important than quantity. FAF does not have an APM meter anywhere (as far as I know), but this remains as a way of referring to micro. Examples of micro include a player: queueing specific objects for an Engineer to reclaim; ordering a tank to move to dodge artillery fire; queueing up units to build in a factory; ordering a transport to drop off units to a specified location; using their ACU's Overcharge ability to destroy selected groups of enemy units; moving a scout unit to the enemy base to gather intelligence; moving their units back and out of range of the enemy units; executing a com snipe.

'Tech up' means to upgrage economy and/or Tech Level of units. To do this a player may: upgrade factories so that they can produce more powerful units; upgrade Mass Extractors so that more Mass becomes available to them; build more and higher tech Power Generators so that more Energy becomes available to them; produce more T1 Engineers so that their build power can be increased; upgrade or replace shield generators with more effective ones; upgrade intelligence structure(s); self-destruct obsolete aggressive units and put the reclaimed Mass into aggressive units of higher tech. When used with only reference to a player, teching up usually refers to the upgrading of factories only.

The 'Third resource' is build power. This is determined by the number and Tech Level of the construction-capable units ("builders", including engineers, factories, Command Units, and engineer stations) a player possesses. Build power is important as it is required to spend Mass and Energy, reclaim Mass from the battlefield, and produce units and structures. A player is incapable of progress if they have no builders. There is no presented measure for the magnitude of build power available, though it is calculable. A single T1 Engineer is said to have a build rate of 5 per second. Using this base measure, all build power can be quantified. Of course it is an unworthy investment of time for a player to work out the exact measure of build power available to them at a given time. However, merely zooming all the way out, double clicking on a T1 Engineer, and clicking on the button just below the build (spanner) icon will show the number of units selected, and so immediately give a good impression of total build power available. It is very much worth reading this entire page on build rate: http://supcom.wikia.com/wiki/Build_rate

'Map cover' is the measure of how much of the battlefield is territory of a certain player. The term is also utilised to refer to intelligence (that is, if an area is covered by vision, then the space is considered to be covered). Territory of a player may not necessarily mean that the ground is occupied by the player's units. Merely the control of that space by firepower makes it territory. For example, the air of the entire map could be 'covered' by one player's huge wing of Air Superiority Fighters, though they sit stationary in the player's main base (the threat of the firepower is enough to maintain control of the space). Map cover can also be Civilian or neutral. If the Civilian faction (defaultly spawned on some maps) is set to aggressive, then it can control some of the battlefield by its firepower. Neutral territory is either map that is not covered by any factions, or it is space that is controlled by the firepower of multiple factions. An example of the latter is when two players are having a turtle-off (firebase battle), where turrets destroy anything that comes in range, so the map where each firebase is located is considered territory of the respective player, and the map in between the two firebases is "no-man's land" - a space that belongs to neither player.

Note to self: edit onward.

'Land spam' is the strategy of focusing on aggressive land unit production to overwhelm the enemy. This is arguably the single most common strategy in one versus one matches. Usually it involves producing maximum numbers of T1 land units until it is necessary to tech up. Going with higher tech units means more concentrated armies, so map control is harder. Massive numbers of land units means more sprawl and map cover. This video is an excellent example of how spam competes against tech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kttBIMkmLqw&list=PLghkifCs4DHNtb-RzXDZ60hISXmfeFowx&index=5
Many new players dislike land spam because of its relation to rushing (and we have all experienced the horror of being rushed). Rushing (the technique of a player getting as much firepower to their opponent's base as soon as possible) is, although many players hate it when they hear it, a valid strategic technique. It works to accomplish progress towards the ultimate objective (killing the enemy ACU). There is nothing wrong with rushing except the universal inability to counter it. The secret is: persevere. A player who succeeds in rushing probably has more experience than the 'victim'. And the game is, yes, probably doomed to go one way berfore the first rushing units arrive to wreak havoc. Learning is often done the hard way: through repeated failure, often against players who are straight up better than the learner. Similar to the secret to success in Dark Souls, the way to pass this difficulty is to use defeat to learn faster. (Pride prevents perpetuity and patience promotes progress.)
Concepts (5) Part
'Air superiority' means having control over the air space. This is both a measure (how much there is), and a strategy. The measure of air superiority is how much of the map is controlled by a player because of the strength of their air firepower. In many cases, air superiority over a particular part of the map also entails air superiority over the entire map because of the speed of air units, the lack of obstacles in the air, and how effective (and easily managed) air fighters (Interceptors, Combat Fighters, Air Superiority Fighters) are at defeating other air units. The air superiority strategy involves gaining air superiority over the entire map, and that way using air units to defeat ground units (most notably, the ACU). Due to the speed of air units, map control can be gained very quickly by an air army that is effective against ground when air superiority is possessed. In this way, total map air superiority can result in winning the match.

'Turtle' is the technique used by a player in which they invest heavily in defensive buildings such as static shields and Point Defence in an (usually very successful) effort to hold their current map control. Countering is easy enough: use mobile units that outrange the static defences. Do not feed units to the turtling player. ("Feed units" means to lose units easily to the enemy, and lose them at a location within easy access of the enemy such that they can Reclaim the wreckages for easy Mass.)

'Overcharge' is an ability on the ACU (and Seraphim SCUs with the appropriate upgrade) that fires a single powerful shot at a designated target at the cost of 5000 Energy. An Energy Storage is therefore required to use the ability. Overcharge can be activated (shortcut O (not 0) key) every 2.5 seconds, deals 12,000 damage, and has a decent splash radius. That is enough to kill any T2 or T3 unit. Overcharge is very useful for finishing off experimentals too. However, Overcharge only deals 500 damage against ACUs and 900 against buildings (so as not to be used for some kind of rush cheese ("cheese" means to abuse an imbalance)).

'Roll off' or 'runoff' is what a unit does when it has just been constructed by a factory and is moving out (and the factory cannot construct another unit until the first is sufficiently far away). Therefore, 'roll off time' is the time required for a unit to leave a factory, and so the time that the factory is not being useful. Given this phenomenom, we can see that adding build power to a factory (by tasking T1 Engineers to assist it) slowly dimishes in benefit since each added unit of build power lessens the total time it takes to produce a unit from the factory by a smaller amount, due to production time decreasing but roll off time staying the same. The situation that it would be a more effective investment of resources to build another factory compared to more T1 Engineers to assist the first factory is unclear. Perhaps it is when there are 100 T1 Engineers assisting it. Perhaps it is when there is not enough space for more T1 Engineers to get close enough to actually be in range of assisting the factory. Perhaps it is when the roll off time passes a threshhold fraction of each unit total production time. Figuring out this turn of investment benefit (the turn of the situation) would require some complicated (simple) integration that, although I have the ability to do, I am unwilling to put myself through.

Note to self: edit and then re-read onward.

'Ghetto gunship' is the combination of air transports and T1 Light Assault Bots (the only unit that can fire whilst being transported). This is relatively cheap at a few minutes into a match, but very powerful if players have been neglecting air. Most transports can carry 6 T1 Light Assault Bots, with the Seraphim transport being the exception at 8, though this does not benefit them in the use of ghetto gunships as they have no Light Assault Bots, and the Selen Combat Scout cannot fire from transports. This provides a lot of air to ground firepower that can really cause casualties if used correctly. The cherry on the top is that, when the transport is damaged and about to be destroyed, it can drop the T1 Light Assault Bots onto the ground to continue wreaking havoc. Ghetto gunships are generally useless at the T2 and T3 stages, as anti-air flak projectiles will damage both air transports and units carried in the transports (even if the shielded UEF T3 Heavy Air Transport: Continental is used), making very short work of T1 Light Assault Bots.

'Super turtle' is the strategy that is usually employed by UEF players with lots of resources (a 'big eco'), wherein their base is slowly expanded with patterns of endless shields and defences (against ground attacks, against air attacks, against tactical missiles, even against strategic missiles). The UEF's unique T3 building, the Ravager, is the only T3 Point Defence in the game, and so makes UEF the best option for doing a 'super turtle'. The massive range on this structure (70) makes it counterable only by T3 Mobile Artillery or a Fatboy (or Destroyers or Battleships). When the super turtle player also uses T2 Artillery Installations, possessing a range of 128, there is no effective counter to my knowledge. Sure, mass for mass, there probably is, but the turtle player always gets the reclaim of a mobile army attack, the resources invested in defence become readied firepower much faster than the resources invested into mobile firepower, and this player can also employ mobile units of their own to make quicker counters to your attacks. The only suggestions I have are: scout to know that they are doing this strategy and be prepared for it, use the advantage of not turtling to take map control and get a better economy in the earlier part of the game, and switch up attacks if it does get hard. There may not be one single counter, but a base designed to equally counter all types of attack cannot effectively counter an attack that is 100% of one type of attack. That is, switch from super bombing, to super tactical missiling, to super artillery, to super experimental gunships to super direct fire. This will, if done correctly, cause the turtle player to spam the respective counter to this type of super attack during the attack, and then watch their economy go to waste because their new structures are of no benefit to them against this new type of attack. To summarise: scout, be prepared, and do strong attacks, not half-hearted ones that feed the super turtle player with mass.

'Telemaser' is the strategy of upgrading your Cybran ACU with the Microwave Laser Generator and Personal Teleporter -and probably the other gun upgrade- so that you can teleport your ACU across the map and right next to your enemy's ACU, destroying him very quickly (com snipe), and then teleporting to safety. These upgrades cost much time and resources, but the strategy is well known for being almost completely unaffected by important aspects of more general strategy, such as map control, air superiority, build power, etc., and so it is very hard to counter. Due to these things, the strategy of telemaser is often frowned upon. However, there are counters to it, such as building T1 Point Defences regularly, to protect your main base and ACU by outdoing the DPS on the Microwave Laser (you'll need 30 T1 Point Defences in range of the enemy ACU to keep your ACU alive, 20 to kill the enemy ACU before he can teleport to safety after your death, or 10-15 to worry your opponent into not even attempting telemaser, because he would surely scout your base to find your ACU before he risks sending his ACU in); keeping a T2 Transport near your ACU to lift him to safety when the enemy does a com snipe (edit: does not work since the transport is shot down by the laser during pick-up); or simply sitting your ACU on the seabed, completely submerged by Microwave Laser proof liquid.
Concepts (6) Part
'MEU' or 'meu' is short for mass-equivalent units. This is a measure of cost, unifying the two main economic resources in the game based on the energy to mass exchange rate of a T2 Mass Fabricator. Putting a single price on something helps in comparing it to prices of other things. This makes a good basis for weighing up combat choices. Of course, there are many different factors and scenarios affecting both the actual exchange rate (and so the definition of 1 meu) and the applicability of a full price. That is why all costs and prices measured in meu are very approximate.

Sandboxing is good. Spend a few hours on a flat map in sandbox mode to practice ecoing (improving your economy fast and teching up), creating and testing templates,
and trying different techniques out against enemy units. Set cheats to allowed in the game options in the lobby before you go into your sandbox game, and then press Alt+F2 whilst in game to bring up the cheat menu. It is fairly easy to learn how to use it, and is very useful for setting up the perfect conditions for testing purposes.

Many people think too much about how best to destroy opponents' units to counter them. What you should think about is how to nullify your opponents' strategy, instead. For example, resources can be wasted in trying to crack the shell of a heavily fortified base; but the objective is to kill the enemy commander, not to lay waste to his base. In this situation, don't overpower the defenses with brute force. Find a gap or weakness that will allow for a snipe. Even though counters to attacks are much cheaper than attacks, countering everything evenly is not enough to be able to defeat a very defined attack force that specialises in one thing (T3 Strategic Bombers, for example).

A note on the very first minutes of a game: Every tank counts. The more 1v1 matches someone plays, the more they learn how to super optimise their starting three or four minutes so as to get the most T1 Tanks (or equivalent) out of their economy without stalling. The pro players (I don't know, 1000+ games (yes, one THOUSAND)) are so good at the opening minutes that they can win matches against lower ranked players by having one more tank to do raiding with, and make that tank count enough to kill a couple of T1 Engineers and so tilt the game in their favour, which quickly reels away to their ultimate victory. Do not forget how powerful early sprawling units can be in gaining map control. Do not forget how powerful early groups of (even as little as) four or five tanks can be when heading directly towards your main base, especially when your ACU is elsewhere. Balance, and efficiency of early economy, are essential. Practice using up all the Mass in storage in the first ten minutes of a match (done by building land factories and spamming tanks or equivalent). The full Mass bar that one starts with is usually completely consumed by the build order, but the Mass that comes in soon after from early Mass Extractors is just as important to be used up. Each T1 Mass Extractor produces 2 Mass per 'tick'. Each T1 Land Factory consumes 4 Mass per tick (not for roll off time though) when not assisted. So, whenever two Mass Extractors are gained, it is wise to build another T1 Land Factory if land spam and early map control is the idea.

A build order is the order that the first buildings are built at the start of a game by your ACU. Any Engineers produced by the first factory usually go straight to reclaim of nearby mass or building T1 Mass Extractors.

The 'standard' build order is T1 Land Factory, T1 Power Generator, T1 Power Generator, T1 Mass Extractor, T1 Mass Extractor.

The 'second land' build order is -following from the standard build order- T1 Power Generator, T1 Power Generator, T1 Power Generator, T1 Land Factory.

The 'second air' build order is -following from the standard build order- T1 Power Generator, T1 Power Generator, T1 Power Generator, T1 Power Generator, T1 Air Factory.

The 'first air' build order is T1 Power Generator, T1 Air Factory, T1 Power Generator, T1 Mass Extractor, T1 Mass Extractor, T1 Power Generator, T1 Power Generator. Usually, a T1 Bomber is the first thing built in this factory, and the ACU assists the factory to produce this bomber as fast as possible, before moving onto something else.

The 'hydrocarbon' build order is T1 Land Factory, T1 Mass Extractor, T1 Mass Extractor, T1 Mass Extractor. In this build order, the first thing that the factory produces is a T1 Engineer which immediately goes to the nearby hydrocarbon point and builds a Hydrocarbon Power Plant, with the ACU following and assisting as soon as the buildings noted in the build order are complete.

What to build in that first T1 Land Factory? Usually, T1 Engineer, T1 Engineer, T1 Light Assault Bot, T1 Light Assault Bot, T1 Scout, T1 Scout, 3x T1 Engineer. Get the first scout to assist the first Light Assualt Bot, get the second scout to assit the second Light Assault Bot, send them both at the enemy to kill their Engineers.

What to build in that first T1 Air Factory? Usually, T1 Bomber, T1 Air Scout, 10x T1 Interceptor. The first bomber is purely to kill enemy Engineers. The interceptors are purely for air superiority.

When considering what to build in a factory you have, you should build only enough units to gain map control, counter the attacks from your enemy, disrupt the enemy base, or kill the enemy ACU. If your plan or strategy does not involve any of those, production of units should stop, and all resources should go into progressing your economy. This is also why intelligence is so important. You need to know what units the enemy is sending at you in order to know how to counter and so what to build, or to know whether you should tech up or land spam.

Any builder can build up a cliff edge. If the builder is below the cliff, and the building to be constructed is above the cliff (and within the build range of the builder) and the cliff top is flat, then the building will be built. If, however, the builder is not at the base of the cliff, and is ordered to build a structure at the top of the cliff, and the structure is not immediately within the builder's build range, then the builder will move all the way round to get to the top of the cliff before beginning the construction, despite the building being within range if it were to just move slightly closer. So, build at the top of a cliff by moving a builder to the cliff, then building. The UEF Engineer Drones count as air units -the only airbourne Engineers-, so they do not have to worry about such silly things as cliffs.

Beware of the UEF Engineering Drones (built from either UEF Engineering Stations, or directly from the ACU through an upgrade), as they can fly, and so enter an early base and reclam stuff. It's a good idea to get an Interceptor out before a UEF Engineering Drone gets a chance to attack.

Switching strategies is how to keep the enemy reacting to you, giving you control, and leading you to victory. But remember, the goal is to kill the enemy ACU (assassination win rule), and not to reach a fabulous economy that lets you build anything you want.

Mass economy upgrade scheme (spreading out from base): all mass points build T1 Mass Extractors, upgrade all to T2 Mass Extractors, surround all by four Mass Storages, upgrade all to T3 Mass Extractors, then build T3 Power Generators surrounded by T2 Mass Fabricators. Don't forget that reclaim is even better than T1 Mass Extractors. The balance between efficiency of upgrades and the waste of time for Engineers to travel all the way out to upgrade and 'cap' mass extractors is the tricky part. Also, if at any point during this upgrade scheme that the Mass could be better used as combat-capable units (eg effective raiding, valid defences) then put a much smaller amount of resources into Mass economy upgrading and put them into units.
Concepts (7) Part
Need more T1 units? Build more T1 factories. Need more T2 or T3 units? Don't build more T2 or T3 factories. They have to go through upgrading, which costs. And while they are upgrading, they can't produce units. Build more (T1) Engineers instead, and put their build power on the T2 or T3 factory that are already building the units. Actually, FAF comes with the 'Engi' mod by default, which allows the building of T2 and T3 factories straight from a builder of sufficient Tech Level at roughly half the cost of a Factory HQ, after the Factory HQ has been built and upgraded to that Tech Level, and so gaining you the build power with the new factories efficiently.

Reclaim is awesome. It is a waste of resources to repair a unit. Reclaim it then build it up again instead. This goes for damaged buildings too. In fact, don't even use the half-built build on wreckage bonus. Reclaim it and build it up instead (50% of Energy and Mass versus 80% of Mass), if the time is available. Giving Engineers attack moves (alt+right click) is the easiest way to get them to reclaim over an area. Engineers doing this also conveniently recliam enemy units, including units invisible to them (great counter to Selens). Experiment with factory attack move, as there are bonuses to Engineer reclaim with it - mostly build (reclaim) range.

Only use Walls to protect T1 Point Defenses or to funnel/direct enemy armies.

Production of T1 Engineers is the cheapest way of increasing build power, but will cause traffic jams and Unit Limit consumption in the late game. Management of builders and build power is key to managing a base and winning.

HOW TO MICRO MANAGE YOUR AIR UNITS!!! Air superiority battles (teams battling with dedicated anti-air air units) occur uncommonly in matches, but they last seconds. This means you have to be on the ball with the air encounters and make them count. To do this, form your air units into a nice tight bunch (using a formation works), send them in at the enemy's air units (unless they are over air defences or other support), and get them to fly in tight circles. This enables them to get round behind the enemy air units, which is a better shooting position. There are three things to remember at this point: the direction the enemy air units are, the direction that your air units are going, and the angle at which your air units can fire. These things analysed, assessed, and evaluated, will allow you to work out what to do to allow your air units to get behind the enemy air units and do more damage to win the battle. Basically, have all your air units selected, zoom out, and do move orders at obtuse angles to the direction of movement of your air units describing the circle that you want them to follow. (The zoom out allows the move order to be the same for all the air units, so they don't split up and get shot down.) For example, if your air units arrive to battle, and you want then to begin a clockwise circle, click move to the far right of the units' direction of movement, and keep clicking the move order in that same direction respective to the units' direction of movement. Another example, if your air units are doing nice clockwise circles and staying as a group, but you want tighter circles, then click the move order (respective to their direction of movement) more rapidly (to make the circle rounder), and make the angle larger (but no more than in the opposite direction of their direction of movement). The enemy will probably do the same microing, so you could end up having the air armies doing circles that are a mess. Generally how the perfect circles of combined micro work out is down to luck. If it's not working in your favour, then that's unfortunate, because there is no way to compensate for epic loss of air superiority battles. Retreat will allow the enemy air units to get behind your air units, and shoot them down. Just dedicate more production to air units to be more ready for the next air superiority battle (if there is one). Single air units can also be micro-managed to turn extremely tight turns by repeatedly pressing S (for stop) and giving a move order to the side of the air unit. In addition, air units can travel backwards in the air when following repeated movement commands that are very close to the back of the air unit. This is how to make single bombers do as much damage as possible (pause above enemy units so the time between bombs is minimised compared to waiting while a valid bomb release trajectory is available (this is the problem with long turns to align a target)).


Tips and Hints and Hips and Tints (1) Part
This is where the (still unfinished) guide accelerates towards the "list of tips" format. You are officially out of the hard to read and into the hard to get-helpfulness-from.

Advance Tech Levels by upgrading the ACU with the (T2/T3) Engineering Suite upgrades. Upgrading a Factory only to build an Engineer is a waste of resources. Of course, if the ACU is rather preoccupied (by map control fighting, for example), then it might be necessary. And by the time that you'd idealy be looking to tech up, you'd also be wanting to get T2 land or T2 air units out anyway. Again, situational balance is the key, and usually the latter holds (T2 Tanks needed, etc.).

Upgrade Armoured Command Unit with Resource Allocation System (RAS) as soon as possible, it is very beneficial for the investment. It is recommended that at least three T2 Power Generators are up first though. And then they can be destroyed (Ctrl+K) and reclaimed to get the mass back afterwards (the power won't be needed because of the RAS).

The T2 Guided Missile, the Mercy, unique to Aeon, possesses the remarkable ability to turn into several homing blobs that can hit targets on the move. Although perfect for sniping the enemy commander, many more mobile targets are available.
One Mercy each: Seraphim Ilshavoh (T2 Assault Bot), surfaced T2 Submarine Killers, UEF Riptides (T2 Amphibious Tank), T2 Mobile Anti-Air Flak, T3 Sniper Bots, Cybran Loyalists (T3 Siege Assault Bot)(not a kill but still use only one Mercy), UEF Spearhead (T3 Mobile Missile Platform), T3 Mobile Heavy Artillery.
At Tech Level 3 Mercies must stay away from the enemy bases, and only attack armies on the move.

Build T2 Point Defenses when at Tech 2, but keep building T1 Point Defenses. Bearing in mind that armies are more efficient. So only invest in turrets when either you don't have an army out and you know the enemy is attacking soon (and you know from which direction they will attack from), or when you need the range to attack their firebase from your firebase (in such a case you should use the next Tech Level of armies, or siege units). Of course, turrets are much easier as a panic defence, because it goes straight from economy to build power, to firepower (skipping factories and unit travel time).

A T2 Tactical Missile Launcher costs 700 Mass and 3500 Energy. A tactical missile produced from such a structure costs 180 Mass and 3600 Energy. If the target is not worth the cost of the projectile, then don't fire (assuming the target can be destroyed by the 6000 Damage of the missile). T2 Mass Extractors are great targets, as are T2 Artillery Installations. Although some T2 bots may cost more than a tactical missile, they are probably not worth shooting due to the possibility of missing. If there is a group of T2 bots that are standing still, snipe them good (more than one kill per missile is always a possibility, with a missile blast radius of 2). T3 bots are certainly worth sniping with tactical missiles. The T3 Armoured Assault Bots will take two missiles to down, but it is definitely worth the trade off of respective player economies. Firing tactical missiles at shields (buildings) is not advised economically.
Using tactical missiles from T2 Tactical Missile Launchers is an exceptional way of dealing damage to single high value targets. This is why T2 Tactical Missile Launchers can be seen as THE sniper rifle for sniping. Unfortunately, tactical missiles do not track nor predict enemy movement, so you will have to guess where the enemy will be before you launch. This can make it difficult. Just launch them at the target when the target is very close or at your base. And the fatboy. The fatboy is easy to snipe.
Never fire a tactical missile at a Cybran T3 Siege Assault Bot: Loyalist! It is the (only?) unit to feature missile retargetting - causing hostile missiles to return to sender!

Concerning T2 Tactical Missile Defences, it is very easy to overpower UEF, Cybran, and Seraphim TMDs, but the Aeon TMD can nullify as many as 132 tactical missiles if launched at the same time. This can be easily overcome because of the Aeon TMD 5 second reload time. Fire off the first tactical missile, and follow it with the rest of the tactical missiles launched exactly three seconds after the first launch.

Land units that can hover and thereby act as torpedo-immune navy as well:
Aeon: Aurora (T1 Light Tank), Blaze (T2 Amphibious Tank), Ascendant (T2 Mobile AA Flak Artillery), Asylum (T2 Mobile Shield Generator), Absolver (T3 Shield Disruptor).
Cybran: None. However, the Salem Class (T2 Destroyer) can crawl onto land, and thier T2 Amphibious Tank, the Wagner, can travel along the sea floor.
UEF: Riptide (T2 Amphibious Tank).
Seraphim: Zthuee (T1 Mobile Light Artillery), Yenzyne (T2 Amphibious Tank), Iashavoh (T2 Mobile Anti-Air Cannon), Athanah (T3 Mobile Shield Generator).
In addition, Engineers of all Tech Levels can travel through water. Aeon and Seraphim Engineers hover, and Cybran and UEF Engineers travel along the sea floor.

T2 Mass Fabricators surrounding individual T3 Power Generators are the best for Mass economy AFTER all Mass Extractors are built to T3. Note that resorting to this instead of map control is a strategy that is viable only in extremely limited scenarios, such as Battle of Thermopylae.

Build an Energy Storage or two early in the game to give the ACU the use of Overcharge. Only build Energy Storages after that if the buffer space is required because of irregular Energy consumption (such as ASF spam, where an ASF consumes lots of Energy when being constructed, but none when the factory is busy letting the unit roll off).

T2 Shield Generators are more resource efficient, so use one of them if the area required to be covered is much less than the area covered by a T3 Shield Generator.

Assist Shield Generators with builders only to help them not go down, not to get them back up faster. So, only really as a counter to artillery fire.

Build T2 Tactical Missile Defenses spread out and staggered, not in lines. You don't want them to all waste their fire on a single missile and not be ready for the next few that undoubtedly pack a bigger punch.

Always surround T2 Artillary installations with T1 Power Generators, to increase the rate of fire. Build multiple T2 Artillary installations diagonally so as to use the power generators more efficiently. Conveniently, like the TMDs (and normal turrets), this prevents overkill and unnecessary recharge time.

Leave the space of four tiles between T2 Mass Fabricators to prevent explosion splash damage.

Do not surround non-economy buildings with economy buildings by default (for the adjacency bonus) - the space is better used for devoted resource production, and their massive adjacency bonuses.

Leave a space of one tile between T1 Power Generators and one tile between T2 Power Generators to prevent explosion splash damage.

Leave the space of four tiles between T3 Power Generators to prevent explosion splash damage.

Leave the space of two tiles between T3 Mass Fabricators to prevent CHAIN REACTIONS. Leave the space of nine tiles to prevent explosion splash damage. I do not advise building T3 Mass Fabricators at all, ever. Ever. Everrr. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Do not assist Strategic Missile Launchers and Strategic Missile Defences, build more of them if more nukes or anti-nukes are required. (Strategic missiles require a lot of build power to be built, and the buildings have a lot of build power to compensate, so extra build power doesn't change much.)

Do not build normal T3 Artillery installations. They are resource inefficient.

Surround the T3 Rapid-Fire Artillery installation with T1 Power Generators to increase the rate of fire.
Hints and Tips (2) Part
A T3 Strategic Missile Launcher costs 15 000 Mass and 210 000 Energy. A strategic missile produced from such a structure costs 12 000 Mass and 1 350 000 Energy. (That's a total of 37400 meu.) If the targets are not worth the cost of the projectile, then don't fire. All factions have the exact same structure, with the same costs, same times, everything.

Launch Strategic Missiles at the border of an enemy defense by "building" a Strategic Missile Defense over theirs to see the range - the Strategic Missile Defense is the same for all factions (maybe not cost though). Build Strategic Missile Defenses to cover a third of radius in excess of base edge to compensate for this.

It takes one T3 Engineer 52 minutes and 10 seconds to build a Paragon. It takes one SACU (Engineer Preset) 21 minutes and 16 seconds to build a Paragon.

Every now and then building a T1 Point Defence as you expand your base is the most effective counter to the telemaser strategy. Keeping a T2 Transport close to your ACU so that you can order it to pick your ACU up to nullify the enemy ACU's weaponry DOES NOT work. The weapon shoots down your transport as it "lands" to pick up your ACU (possibly killing your ACU in the process). This is the same for Spiderbots, so get your ACU out of there before it gets within missile (not laser) range.

Aeon is often considered to have weak navy. This is mostly due to the faction's military pattern: each unit does one job, but does it very well. So, countering the mix of different units in other factions' navies requires excellent knowledge of the roles of specific units and the ability to weigh up how much use of different units is required. This knowledge is a quote from Hawkei, seen in this forum http://forums.faforever.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=4177&start=17
"
I would also be cautious for buffing Aeon navy too much. They are not under-powered. They are under-rated. Here is a run down on the three different matchups, and how Aeon would counter.
vs Seraphim
Seraphim Destroyer (poorly microed) >> Kite with Aeon Destroyer to use firing range disparity. Get Battleship ASAP.
Seraphim Destroyer (well microed) >> Counter with massed T1 and T2 Subs. The T1 subs are useful because they do more DPS, and are offered some protection by the T2 Sub torpeedo defence. (Aeon Subs have better defence then Cybran), >> Alternative counter is to use Frigate spam and Aeon destroyer to close range - mitigating the firing inaccuracies, with point blank fire (not highly recommended).
Seraphim Cruiser >> Counter with Vespers (T2 Subs). Sneak around the destroyer firing line and take them out.
Seraphim T3 Submarine >> Counter with T2 Mobile shield spam, and T2 Subs >> Alternatively, bring a Battleship into range and then use T3 Torpeedo bomber or Battleship ground fire >> Alternatively, thwart T3 Sub by avoiding all naval units, and use only hovercraft.
Seraphim T3 mobile shield >> Counter with T3 Shield Absolver.
Seraphim Battleship >> Counter with Torpeedo Bombers, Hover Tank spam, Submarines, or microed destroyers at close range. Smother fire with T2 mobile shield spam.
vs UEF
T1 Subs >> Counter with T2 Sub
Destroyer >> Counter with T2 Sub, or Aeon Destroyer using range disparity.
Cruiser >> Thwart with Aeon Cruiser and counter with Destroyer, Sub or Battleship.
Coopers (Torpeedo Boat) >> Counter with Destroyer or Battleship direct fire. >> Alternatively, counter with T2 mobile shield spam and T2 Submarines.
Bulwark (Shield Boat) >> Counter with T3 Shield Absolver **This unit is exclusive to Aeon, and will destroy the UEF's main advantage.
Adlantis Submarine >> Counter with T2 mobile shield and T2 submarine
Battlecruiser >> Counter with Torpeedo bombers, Battleship or Submarines of any kind (it's ASW capabilities are not that great, and it's AA is non-existant).
Battleship (not escorted) >> Counter with Torpeedo bombers, Air to ground, and Submarines
Battleship (fully escorted) >> Pray! :lol: ... No seriously, counter all the above simultaniously, and preferably with a nuke as well >> Alternatively, counter with standoff and manouver. Try to isolate the Battleships from the escorts, and use speed. Get equal battleship numbers, and close range. To exploit the Aeon Battleships higher DPS. (This is the most difficult challenge for Aeon navy)
Note - The key strength of the UEF navy is in the COMBINATION of units. Any particular unit if spammed is easily countered.
vs Cybran
T2 Subs >> Equal with T2 Subs + T1 Sub spam
Destroyer >> Equal with Frigate spam, Destroyers, mobile shields and good micro ;). Slugging it out at close range, will probably be necessary to counter the early stealth. Get Battleship ASAP.
Cruiser >> Counter with Destroyers and mobile shields
Stealth Boat >> Counter with Eye of Rianne, T3 intel structure. ** (This building defeats Cybran's main game on the water).
Battleship >> Counter with Battleship and Destroyer.
Gunship >> Initially counter with Cruisers. In larger numbers, get hovering flak and mobile shield generators.
As you can see Aeon is qualified to destroy the fleets of every other faction. As Aeon units are very good, but have a single focus. A sucessful counter consists in a combination, rather than a single unit.
Great Things About the Aeon Fleet
1. They get a T1 AA boat with meaningful AA. Whereas every other T1 naval AA is token only. Attack boats can actually bring down planes.
2. They are complemented with a full range of amphibious land units.
3. They have a missile ship, which is a totally awesome bombardment unit.
4. They have the Tempest. Which is not only a great battleship. It is also a naval facoty with no roll off time. So when assisted, it can churn out units faster than anything else on the water.
5. Their Shield Absolver (which BTW is a hover unit) will totally mitigate any attempts at shield countermeasures, on the water. Which makes the Aeon fleet even more deadly.
" - edited formatting only.
Following this was a comment on the difficulty of micro-ing Aeon T2 Destroyers. Hawkei then replied with the following.
"Guys, my post above is based on in game experience, and actual results. Yes microing Aeon Destroyers and Battleships has taught me that shots will miss when the unit fires. The missing is caused by the turrets turn rate being slower than the vessels turn rate. Which I have learnt to counter by doing a couple of things.
1. Assisting the turret by moving into the shot, not away from it.
2. Timing zig movements for when the destroyer is not firing. Essentially you move straight & fire, zig, straight & fire, etc.
2. Closing distance to minimise the projectile travel, and hence, posibility of a miss.
3. Avoiding the use of Destroyers in some siduations and using submarines instead.
4. Using Asymetric capabilities, like hover craft and torpeedo bombers.
You should also note that Cybran T2 ships suffer from the same micro issues. As it is quite possible to bleed off a lot of Cybran damage with micro. The advantage at least here is that they have a distinct fire cycle, giving a clear window for directional changes.
I will admit that the results I achieve with Aeon are not common, and that Aeon is a more difficult faction to use effectively.
" - edited formatting only.
Hints and Tips (3) Part
There is a lot of controversy over the Seraphim T3 Submarine Hunter. Many believe it to be overpowered. Countering it can be difficult. Each faction has its own method of dealing with Yathsou spam. Again, I quote from Hawkei from this forum forums.faforever.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4407&start=23
"
I think Cybran is quite screwed. But their T2 submarine has some goodies. You should try breaking off with hit and run attacks on weak flanks. The submarines are stealthed, you coming in behind to hit exposed cruisers could do some good. The stealth allows you to mitigate the T3 sub range, but don't count on it for drawn out battles. I'd use them for small gains, and annoying hit and run attacks. More T3 subs in pursuit is less subs yor main fleet will need to deal with. Taking out the cruisers wil make him more vunerable to Air. So that should be the submarines primary target.
Aeon have a couple of tricks. The first is hover shield spam with Vesper T2 Subs. A key difference with the Vesper is that it has better anti-torp, but lower DPS then its Cybran equivalent. So there is some scope for building T1/T2 Sub spam, and running straight into his T3 Subs. The Vespers will offer some protection to the T1 subs, which do a lot of damage up close. This only works in the opening exchanges. Not against numbers. The Exodus is comparible with the Vesper for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), With the addition of a surface cannon, but the disadvantage of slower speed. If your ASW is tied to Battleships, use the Exodus. If you need to chase, use the Vesper.
For numbers, Aeon need to use the tempest and shields.Tempest torps outrange the T3 sub, and shields tank the damage... If the Seraphim switches up to a T3 Sub + Shield combo. Aeon need to build the Absolver, which will defeat this countermeasure. Aeon can also build T2 hover, which can press the attack, and render the submarine pointless. Sometimes the best way to defeat the T3 subs is to not give them a target in the first place. ;) Aeon have anti-naval capabilities in their land and air units, so they will be more reliant on combined arms tactics.
UEF generally use the Adlantis to deal ranged damage, Bulwarks to take fire, and Coopers to stop any torps which get through. So they are the best suited navy for dealing with Seraphim.
" - edited formatting only.

OK... we are slowly coming towards the end now. Next up is a LOT of data and not much knowledge. Feel free to skip it entirely... I have yet to run proper analyses.


The Counter Tables
Note that not all viable counters are listed. Note also that the more readily accessible counters are prioritised in each list (such as T1 units instead of T3 units to counter T1 units, even though the T3 units would be more effective as a counter).

Well... pasting this into Steam ruins the formatting entirely, so I'm afraid it's going to be images from here. Sorry about that.

Tech Level 1 Units
---

Tech Level 2 Land Units
---

Tech Level 2 Air and Naval Units
T1 Interceptors defeat Fighter/Bombers Mass for Mass! They are a good counter.
---

Tech Level 3 Land Units
---

Tech Level 3 Air and Naval Units
---

Tech Level 4 Units
---

With the game enders, it is generally over if they complete it. Not because the new power enables them to win, but because if they were able to dump so many resources into a project with such a massive delay in returns without you winning in the mean time, then you missed your opportunity. Obviously there are many different possible scenarios where that statement doesn't apply, but make of it what you will.


Camera Controls and Related Console Commands
Hold space to attach camera to mouse, release space to return to default camera view

Press Ctrl+V to set the default camera view

Ctrl+Alt+F1 to hide/show UI/HUD

cam_FarFOV to set the FOV to use for perspective camera at farthest zoom, in degrees

cam_FarPitch to set the pitch of camera at farthest zoom, in degrees

cam_MinSpinPitch to set the minimum pitch resulting from a spin

cam_NearPitch to set the pitch of the camera at nearest zoom, in degrees

cam_NearZoom to set the closest distance the mouse can zoom in to terrain

cam_ZoomSpeedLarge to set how fast the camera actually moves in response to a large zoom

cam_ZoomSpeedSmall to set how fast the camera actually moves in response to a small zoom

ren_ShowNetworkStats to toggle the display of network data (useful to identify the player with the lowest sim speed, and so the one who gets the blame for slowdown)


Fun Mods
Again all found in the Mod Vault on FAF.

Unit Cap x4
You can even modify one file ''UnitCap x4/hook/lua/system/Blueprints.lua'' Open it using notepad. Find this line ''local CCdef = 0.25'' and change it from 0.01 to 1, as you want, for example 0.05. Modifying this line will enable you to have the limit as low or as high as you like, allowing potentially infinite units.

Advanced Shields V4

Cliff Hanger

Corpse Decay

Experimental Shields V5

Extended Graphics Options

Fast Build x2

Force Shields

GC Unit Throw

GraphicEnhancement Mod V1.1

HalfReclaim

Handicap

HotDrop

MoreUnitInfo

No Friendly Fire

Notify Enhanced

Overflow

Projectile Reflections V3
It's great fun watching units shoot at shields and die from their own lasers bounced back at them.

RealisticMotion

Resources x2 , x4 , x6 , xN , Rich , whatever

RK'sExplosions V7

Scalable Overcharge

Beabed Build Mod

Siege Walls Mk2

T1 Shield

TA Metal Worlds

TerrainDeform
The ground changes shape in response to explosions. That's exactly what terrain deform means, but it needed to be said.

TimeToTech

UnderwaterBuildings

UOKC WIP 19
Ultimate Over Kill Control Work In Progress *breathe*. Controls overkill... ultimately.

Vampire 1.0


Note to Self: To Do List
Change score comparison for 'level of development' to change in score over time (so as to more appropriately fit in line with falling level of development).

Continue editing from marked point.

Continue re-reading from marked point.

If you are intimidated by the size of this guide, then you may find this video to be of more use to you.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jpZJQIDuAs
Ten tips for new players by Nibelosky

A shorter guide by Trazer (.doc download)
users.tpg.com.au/trang_ha/SCFA.doc

Guide on FAForever wiki
http://wiki.faforever.com/index.php?title=Beginner%27s_Guide_to_Forged_Alliance

More guides
http://wiki.faforever.com/index.php?title=Learning_SupCom#External_Guides

Add transport video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XziKuKuH5KY

http://wiki.faforever.com/index.php?title=Learning_SupCom

Introduction to SupCom FA by Colonel Sheppard (very good stuff for a brand new player; if you can't be bothered to read it all then just read the red text and the FAQ)
http://forums.faforever.com/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=3058

Concise economy guidance for brand new players (@make required reading at start of guide?)
http://forums.faforever.com/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=1610

Bugfixing on FAForever wiki
http://forums.faforever.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=13963

FAChart, Replay Sync Tool

"this is done while you are playing...
Alt-Ctrl-Del
Task Manager
Right Click Sub-Com and goto details
Hit set affinity
Uncheck all but core 0
Repeat and recheck all cores
This will balance the game on all cores for your CPU. Prior to doing this the game runs only on one core."
2016.09.25 by jrb531

"The link is to guide on factions and units from a SupCom caster https://youtu.be/c5cTaTKJ5vI?list=PL8njGw0L9GCMz1U2y73hPk3DJP7GvFCa8
Anyway ill give a very brief concept guide on each faction.
Uef- Probably one of the most conventional factions in SupCom their main focus is on health,alpha strike/initial shot damage and defensiveness.
Cybran- The core philosophy of the cybran faction is aggression and versatility. They specialize in fast movment,high fire rate,stealth and aoe weapons.
Aeon- The aeons military philosophy revolves around efficiency(in mass and power) and hyper specialization. Their main strength comes from their specialization and versatility versus units of other factions. To give a example aeon t1 tanks have least amount of health than every faction but they out range every faction as well so they can kite groups of units they also can hover like many of aeons units so they can cross water and hard terrain easier.
Seraphim- Seraphim is mix of alot of thing but If I had to pick some I would specialization and well rounded. Seraphim units often have the 2nd highest hp in-game with decent rate of fire and damage along with having the best stationary shield and moblie shield in-game.
Hope this helps"
2016.10.16 by Rum & raisins

(My Forged Alliance Review on Steam was considered most helpful between Nov14 and Feb15.)

Add the note that FA *would* be the hightest user reviewed Steam RTS if it wasn't for it not working on so many peoples' machines.

I agree with what Benoker said "It looks as if you have to learn the stats of a few 100 units. You don't, because FA has a beautiful inner logic. As soon as you learn this logic you will be able to just look at a unit and tell what it is good for."

"Theory of Relative Strategy": Each action has a cost in not just resources, but underlying resources; namely Mass, Energy, Build Power, Firepower, Micro, Build Power Distribution, Firepower Distribution, Air Superiority, Intel, Intel Overwatch, Intel Feedback/Reaction, etc..

Edit the air and naval counter tables to include a column of cost in Interceptors/ASF and T1/T2 Submarines, respectively.

Add descriptions to the fun mods.

dps / mass for each unit in categories of role (eg land spam, ground turrent, etc.)

Perhaps replace counter tables with note that it is better to (learn to) efficiently read tooltip descriptions of units (and apply it quickly)(rather than memorise hundreds of units) and understand beautiful inner logic of Supreme Commander.

Test T2/T3 bombers versus cruisers:
per cruiser (2000 mass)
2 t3 solaces = 3300 mass
5 t2 skimmers = 1200 mass

Test Nukes colliding in mid-air? nope, not even a nuke explosion will collide with a nuke in mid-air

arty 1890, t2 shield 600
serentiy 800
asylum 144
so, for each arty, you can afford 1 t3 mobile heavy arty and 7 shields, nevermind the enemy shielding (which won't benefit mass-worth because arty is most effective when out of range of the enemy), guarunteeing you success

If you are going to try reading the following, I advise copying and pasting it into Notepad.
Add Now a comparison of shielding costs (Shld=Shield HP, M=Mass; Shld/M = bigger number is better, rounded to 1 decimal place)
STATIC T2 STATIC T3 MOBILE T2 MOBILE T3
Aeon 11000 Shld / 480M = 22.9 18000 Shld / 2400M = 7.5 3800 Shld / 144M = 26.4 ---
UEF 9000 Shld / 600M = 15 15000 Shld / 3000M = 5 3500 Shld / 120M = 29.2 ---
Cybran ED1: 4000 Shld / 160M = 25 15000 Shld / 1800M = 8.3 --- ---
Seraphim 13000 Shld / 700M = 18.6 21000 Shld / 3600M = 5.8 --- 10000 Shld / 540M = 18.5
Far more shielding is gained per Mass with mobile compared with static. Cybran should definitely make use of their mobile stealth unit for as long as it is useful.
But what about overlap? Overlapping shields are all damaged equally if they are all in the area of effect of the hit (bigger bubbles are better for AoE), find balance!

It also means that different shields are better in different situations. To counter attacks with very little area of effect, use Mobile T2. To counter attacks with a

larger area of effect, go with Static T2. To counter attacks with a very large area of effect, go with the largest shields, Static T3. So, basically use UEF Mobile T2

for all the time except when under attack by some kind of artillery (T2 stationary artillery, T3 mobile artillery, T3 stationary artillery) - wherein one should use

Seraphim Static T3 shields (largest radius shield) assisted by build power.

For water based anti-air, is floating (land) flak more mass (and/or MEU) efficient than cruisers?

Experiment with Fatboy buster squads?: transports drop mobile shield, disruptor, sniper bots

Find ratio of harbingers to sniper bots in order to defeat equal mass of percivals

Test will mantis beat everything mass for mass?
will mech marines beat everything mass for mass?
will mantis beat mech marines?
100 mantis = 5200 mass
5200 / 35 = 148.5 let's round to 150 because mantis take more power (proportional to mass as well as per unit)
mantis win against mech marines mass for mass

mantis against blazes?
blazes 220 x 100 => 22000 Mass => 423 mantis
mantis win

mantis against obsidians?
10 obsidians => 3600 Mass => 69 mantis
mantis win

mantis against harbs?
10 harbingers => 8400 Mass => 161 mantis
harbs win

percival beat everything? brick beat everything? Mass for Mass of course...
percivals vs bricks
1280 Mass per percival, 1280 Mass per brick

percivals vs mantis

bricks vs mantis

t1 anti-air vs t2 gunships


Finally
And, finally, a quote from somewhere in Gas Powered Games Forums (questions regarding T3 Sniper Bots I think).

---
Plasma_Wolf wrote: However, if you get to the point of ten to twenty of them, then you'll
be able to your ground pretty well.

DeadMG replied with: I often my ground too. It's amazing how my ground is. I think that
it could be improved by the ground though, that's some amazing.
---

Heh heh... ground.

Check out Plasma_Wolf 's Supreme Commander fan fiction stories online (search "Plasma_Wolf" in quotes, with quotes, in quotes, and quotes, too).


Well, that's the end. I don't know what more you are after. Fresh air maybe, after all that. I'm surprised you made it this far really. At least you are a pro now right? Right?

Seriously though, hundreds of hours of practice would have given you at least 80% of the knowledge that you have (hopefully) absorbed here (on a subconscious level for a lot of it).

Leave a Like and Favourite if you- no... I can't do it. It's far too cheesy.

Sorry the guide fizzled out a bit. It was going so well at the start.

Consider checking out my YouTube channel, especially this video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX5PX2SQWGY


Ok, I'll finish now.

Thanks for reading.


< >
3 Comments
belatedcube1021 Mar 10, 2015 @ 3:17pm 
if you are talking about an emergency pd when they are about to invade I understand.
ZaidusRecon  [author] Mar 10, 2015 @ 3:10pm 
For a lot of the counters I missed noting that a player's ACU is the best option. And in the early game land spam is only countered in some magnitude by similar land spam. Otherwise it's often the case of requiring a tech up. You are right though, point defence is risky because of its immobility. Still, a powerful weapon in the right situation, such as spamming up a couple in the centre of a base soon under attack.
belatedcube1021 Mar 8, 2015 @ 1:18pm 
I kinda disagree with some of the counters.
suggesting pd as a counter isn't (in my opinion) a good idea because just 1 mobile arty/mml can make it useless unless you are trying to delay their attack (if they can't go around the pd)