Build rate is the attribute which determines how quickly a unit or structure can finish a construction project assigned to it. Higher values mean faster construction, thus build rate is inversely proportional to the time required to complete that project. Faster construction also means faster spending of resources, so higher build rate increases the amount of mass and energy spent per second. Managing the balance between build power and resource drain is the key to prevent one's economy from stalling or generating waste. Build rate also determines the speed of reclaiming, capturing and repairing.
As an example, a unit with a build rate of 30, such as an ACU equipped with a T2 engineering suite, would construct a factory six times faster than a T1 Engineer, which possess a build rate of 5, but would also drain resouces six times faster.
Typical units with build rate include engineers and factories, although certain other units come equipped with engineering suites which are capable of performing build functions. These include ACUs, engineering stations, carriers and mobile factories, and many types of missile launchers.
Build power refers to the sum of the build rate of all production units (engineers and factories) and thus the player's ability to spend resources. There are two main types of objects which can do construction/production and hence two ways to increase one's build power - engineers and factories. If the player's storages are full (particularly mass) and all factories and engineers are busy producing, then the player will need to produce more production objects (of either type) to spend their incoming resources and avoid waste, increasing the player's build power in the process.
Factories (and Quantum Gateways) are a stable source of build power and resource expenditure by building units. Each factory has higher build power and hence spending potential than an individual engineer. Building a few factories can be potentially used to exponentially increase build power by building more engineers (which can in turn build more factories). However, the more central role of most factories is to generally produce combat units, which are a linear drain on the economy as combat units do not consume mass once built (if anything, tending to indirectly increase income by capturing mass deposits).
Factories are less flexible sources of build power because they cannot move nor swap to producing other types of objects (without going through the intermediate step of building engineers first and then sending those over to another factory).
Engineers are a more variable source of build power, and are also the central means by which resources are reinvested into resource producing structures.
Cybran and UEF have Engineering Stations, which are an intermediate step between the two categories. They are less strategically mobile than engineers but very effective at providing build power to any nearby production.
Overall, as build power can be an economic constraint as much as mass, knowing efficient methods of obtaining build power can lead to better use of resources and stronger production.
Build rate per mass
The table below compares the build rate of several units and their respective cost in mass in order to determine their efficiency. Some observations of note:
- T1 engineers are the most effient way to convert mass into build force. However, care should be taken when relying heavily on them, considering that:
- They bump into each other. Large groups of engineers will maneuver poorly when operating in tight spaces, such as the interior of cramped bases. Employing fewer units with higher build rates can remediate such issues.
- Veterancy. Massed T1 engineers will feed several kills to the enemy's army if attacked, which may greatly increase the threat presented by sturdier units, such as Experimentals. Use radar intel to identify potential attackers early and move your engineers accordingly, or Ctrl-K them as a last resort. (See photo below)
- When assiting land factories, the engineers may get in the way of the built units as they get off the platform, slowing them down slightly. This can be easily prevented by moving the factory's movement waypoint (Shift + Left click).
- It is actually cheaper to build a new TML silo than to assist an existing one with T1 engineers.
- T1\T2 factories are more efficient than their T3 counterparts but should be upgraded as needed during longer matches.
- Build rate is not always the reason why you would want to produce a certain unit, naturally: A Harbinger should be raiding an enemy's firebase instead of assisting factories, obviously.
- Some of the units below, quite simply, are not worth constructing for their build rate, if at all: A Fatboy, powerful and versatile as it may be, will rarely see the light of day aside from singleplayer and the most evenly-matched multiplayer games, due to the strain and time required to finish it. A SACU, despite its potential as a durable field engineer, is virtually useless when it's energy and mass cost is compared to cheaper units: In UEF's case, for less mass (Quantum Gateway included), one could build 10 Percivals or 40 Stingers.
All values are from the latest patch of the game, except when there are two values and the second is inside parenthesis with no further notes. In that case, the first value is for v.3599, and the second for v.3603. Factory values apply to all factories in 3603 or later; or specifically Land factories prior to that.
|Type||Build rate||Unit||Mass cost per unit of build rate|
|Engineers||5||Tech 1 Engineer||10.4|
|UEF T1 Engineering Drone: C-D1 "Rover" & C-D2 "Rover"||24|
|10||Tech 2 Engineer||16|
|UEF T2 Field Engineer: Sparky||22.5|
|15||Tech 3 Engineer UEF/Cybran||32.7|
|(20)||(Tech 3 Engineer Aeon/Seraphim 3603)||(24.5)|
|20||UEF T2 Engineering Station Drone: C-D2 "Rover-2"||27.5 (36.6) for T2 Kennel|
|40||26.25 (35) for Upgraded T3 Kennel|
|Hives||20||Cybran T2 Engineering Station: The Hive (1)||22.5 (25)|
|30||Cybran T2 Engineering Station: The Hive (2)||23 (26.9)|
|45||Cybran T2 Engineering Station: The Hive (3)||20.7 (28)|
|Factories||20||Tech 1 Factory||12|
|40||Tech 2 Factory||26|
|60||Tech 3 Factory||69.8|
|120||T3 Quantum Gateway||25|
|ACU & SACU||10||ACU||–|
|30||ACU with Tech 2 Engineering Suite||36|
|90||ACU with Tech 3 Engineering Suite||39|
|90||SACU with Engineering Upgrade||125|
|Build rate||Unit||Mass cost per unit of build rate|
|1||Cybran T1 Assault Bot: Mantis||52|
|3||Aeon T3 Heavy Assault Bot: Harbinger Mark IV||280|
|150||Cybran T3 Aircraft Carrier: Command Class||24|
|150||Aeon T3 Aircraft Carrier: Keefer Class||26.6|
|150||Seraphim T3 Aircraft Carrier: Iavish||29.3|
|180||UEF Experimental Mobile Factory: Fatboy||136.7|
|Cybran Experimental Megabot: Megalith||187.5|
|Aeon Experimental Aircraft Carrier: CZAR||250|
|240||UEF Experimental Aircraft Carrier: Atlantis||50|
|Aeon Experimental Battleship: Tempest||116.7|
|2160||Seraphim Experimental Missile Launcher: Yolona Oss||116.7|
|80||UEF T2 Tactical Missile Launcher||10|
|1080||Strategic missile launcher||11.1|
|Strategic Missile Defense||6.9|
|UEF T3 Strategic Missile Submarine: Ace||9.3|
|Cybran T3 Strategic Missile Submarine: Plan B||10.2|
|Aeon T3 Strategic Missile Submarine: Silencer||9.3|
|Seraphim T3 Battleship: Hauthuum||10.4|