What is the best building strategy?

The answer to this really depends on what end you are building for. However, in general, your first building
steps should be two metal extractors, three solar energy units and then a Kbot Lab (or a vehicle or air
production facility, depending on your preferences). Then your biggest concern is going to be metal. Find
metal patches as if your life depended on it. While you can produce energy almost at will, metal is a different

The importance of metal can be illustrated by a simple experiment. When playing equal players, look at who wins
and then look at the total amount of metal produced. We have found that nine out of 10 times, the person who
produces the most metal wins the game.

How do I get the most metal?

That depends mostly on the maps. On Core worlds, the ground itself is made of metal. Just plop down a metal
mine anywhere and it will produce over two units of metal a tick. Besides the Core maps, some planets are
metal-rich. When you put down a metal mine anywhere it will produce .5 metal every tick.

On these types of worlds, the metal problem is moot. Just build lots of mines in concentrated patches.

However, on most planets, metal can only be gained through finding metal patches and building mines on them.
This requires prospecting for metal patches. The best way to do this is to build two or three cheap, light
Kbots (A.K.s or Peewees) and send them out to run around all the areas near your base. Then send out construction
Kbots or your Commander to set up mines.

This, of course, leads to one small problem: you end up with mines spread out over a pretty large, mostly
indefensible, area making easy pickings for enemy air. Which leads us to. . .

When should I defend mines?

There is a definite cost/benefit ratio to defending far-flung mines. First you need the metal. But areas far
from a main base grouping are a hassle in both time management and resources to defend. What's the answer?

Our rule of thumb is that when two or more metal patches are in close proximity (less than one full screen at 1026 res),
set up at least a few missile towers to keep the small opportunity forces from knocking out your metal production.

On the other hand, we tend to let solo mines on anything but the most metal-scarce map fend for themselves in order
to conserve our resources and time management ticks.

Defense of mines, of course becomes a much smaller priority when you get your first fusion reactor up, as shall
become obvious in a moment.

Where do Metal Makers come in?

In the very opening phases of the game, they don't. Metal makers, which take 60 energy per tick, eat too much of your
energy at the opening phases of the game to be cost-effective. However, in the long run, the proper use of Metal Makers
is the key to winning.

Once you get a Fusion Reactor, with a whopping energy output of 1000 per tick, Metal Makers suddenly become a very
viable alternative to Moho Mines and normal Mines. As a matter of a fact, they become the only real alternative
for the winner.

When you have a Fusion Reactor up, the very first thing you should do is throw up 12 or so Metal Makers and watch
the metal roll in. Think about that 12 for a second. That is the equivalent of six good mines. Very nice.

But during battle, my Metal Makers are taking power away from my lasers!

Yeah, they will do that. And if you are seriously into using Metal Makers, it takes way too long during battle
to toggle them off individually to save the power and use it to help crush the enemy. But there is a solution.

You can simply group your Metal Makers and assign a hotkey group to them. We recommend "9" so that you don't
accidentally lose it while shifting the numbers of your attack groups, which most people assign to the lower
hotkey numbers. With your Metal Makers grouped, a simple hotkey command lets you turn them off or on at will,
giving you a good compromise between lots of metal and enough power to repulse attacks.

So, if Fusion is so important, when should I put it up?

AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! Our most successful players make getting a Fusion Reactor up their No. 1 priority.
Enough power means enough metal means winning the game. In a game with a 10,000/10,000 power/metal limit,
you can get right down to it. Build your Kbot Lab, Advanced Kbot Lab, Advanced Construction Kbot and then
have it start on a Fusion Reactor right away.

However, in games with lesser starting totals, you are going to have to wait a bit, but not really all that long.
With five mines and six to 10 solar plants, you should be in a good position to start your Fusion Reactor as soon
as you have an Advanced Construction Kbot to build it.

The basic difference in the two approaches is how much production help to put into the project. Assigning extra
construction units to a project reduces the construction time. When you have plenty of resources for the project
you are trying to build, such as in the 10000/10000 scenario, you should throw everything you have into speeding
the production of that Reactor. However, in lower total games, the extra resource drain this produces will leave
you high and dry. You might be better served having only one Kbot working on putting up the Fusion Reactor while
your other units are out trying to find more metal to help with the building process.

Important safety tip: while it is critical to get that Fusion Reactor up as quickly as possible, be sure to put
up at least a rudimentary defensive perimeter before you start. Normally, unless you know a Swarmer is gunning
for you, just a few missile towers to keep out the opportunists will do, but without those, it is going to be
easy for your opposition to disrupt your building process with just a token force.

When my Advanced Construction Kbot is done with the first Fusion Reactor, what should I put it on next?

That's easy: the second Fusion Reactor. Real games with real players aren't won on a single Fusion Reactor alone.
We here at the Happy Puppy Destructive Testing Team are pretty much unanimously agreed that the right number of
Fusion Rectors is three. One is enough to get you started, two is enough to run on with no sweat and three gives
you an extra for when the enemy takes one out.

And remember, with the building of the second plant, build about 16 Metal Makers to go with it.

How do I speed my production of mobile units?

Simple. Set construction units to guard your production plants, automatically adding to the plants'
production speeds. And don't think small about this. If you are serious about launching air or ground
waves at the opposition, put three or four construction units on each plant to get the maximum bang for
your buck. Also note that the best units for speeding production are Level 2 construction units, which pack
more punch than their Level 1 counterparts.

Mohos: When and why should I use them?

Short answer: not until late in the game. The reason is simple. They are great at cranking out metal, but are a
pain to build. If you are smart, you put the building time and resources into your Fusion Reactor/Metal Maker combos,
which produce not only copious quantities of metal, but can also give you mucho power.

Later in the game, when unit limits are starting become a real consideration, then you should build some Moho Mines,
get rid of some Metal Makers and construct more units to pummel the enemy.What about scavenging metal by patrolling
construction units?

Our advice is don't bother unless you are getting hammered in the metal department and are forced to. Units on patrol
have some really annoying traits, and one of them is to wander out into the line of fire to get really good metal chunks.
That blows large. Generally, if a unit's patrol route is far enough to the rear not to get hammered trying to scavenge,
then it is too far out to get enough metal to make it worth it.

Another good side effect, which we will talk about again under Defensive Tactics, is that the excess metal on a
battlefield often makes it more difficult for ground units to get through your defensive fire.