Supreme Commander 2

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Supreme Commander 2

Developer:Gas Powered Games Genre:Strategy Release Date: Download Games Free Now!

About The Game

The sequel to Gas Powered Games' epic-scale real-time strategy game will be one of Square Enix's first collaborations with foreign developers.
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Supreme Commander 2

Supreme Commander 2 Review

By James Archuleta |

Supreme Commander 2 is a broad and bold real-time strategy game that might surprise fans of the 2007 original. Don't worry: If you loved Supreme Commander, the sequel still offers the tactical flexibility and enormous scope you were expecting, albeit tempered by a bit of economic streamlining. But SupCom 2's not just a retread of what's come before; it's a slick retooling of classic gameplay that happily and successfully embraces both complexity and user friendliness. This is an inviting package for both veterans and newcomers--intricate enough to keep your mind nimble but welcoming even to those daunted by the original's magnitude. Most importantly, it's great fun, letting you play with a variety of interesting units and giving you lots of room to experiment with all the tactical possibilities. The strategic joy doesn't go unhindered; pathfinding headaches and predictable AI keep Supreme Commander 2 from having the sharp cerebral edge of its predecessor. Yet, while not quite as special as its fantastic forebear, it still stands out for its fluid gameplay, excellent multiplayer maps, and the thrill of emerging victorious after an hour-long battle of wits.

Appropriately enough, you need to give fatboys a wide berth.

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One thing you'll notice right away is Supreme Commander 2's clean and slick aesthetic. The original was an astonishing technical powerhouse that rendered hundreds of detailed units at once, but it came at the expense of consistent performance. The sequel is clearly less visually impressive; sharp textures and rich lighting have been dulled in favor of stability and speedy frame rates. Yet, while your first impression might be how surprisingly dated SupCom 2 looks, you'll soon grow to appreciate how smooth and supple it feels to move about the battlefield. You can still zoom all the way out to get a godlike view of the proceedings, but you aren't likely to encounter any visual hiccups when you do. And, on three test systems, Supreme Commander 2 performed fluidly even at maximum settings. That the original looks better than the sequel makes the trade-off seem somewhat drastic, but the upside is silky camera movement and overall responsiveness. It's breezy and enjoyable to zip about the map, issuing orders and checking in on the skirmishes in progress.

The game may not push many polygons, but it does sport lots of personality and verve. You battle in misty mountaintops connected by a series of bridges and fend off hulking robots within towering industrial complexes, and the environments benefit from a distinct sense of place. The art design won't floor you, but Supreme Commander 2 has more style than its predecessor, which took a more matter-of-fact approach to its visual flourishes. The story also boasts added personality, following three military commanders that met during training after three warring factions--the United Earth Federation (or UEF), the Cybran Nation, and the Illuminate (formerly the Aeon Illuminate)--formed a coalition to destroy the invading Seraphim. The character models that appear in cutscenes and within talking-head story updates have a stylized, almost cartoonish look that sometimes seems at odds with the dignity and drama of the main story. (Some campy dialogue and hammy acting don't help matters, either.) Nonetheless, these characters provide an intimate view of the conflict that puts an end to the tenuous treaty, and they're appealingly scrappy, which makes it easy to root for them.

You get to know them as you make your way through Supreme Commander 2's good-sized single-player story, which features 18 missions--six for each faction. There's a nice sense of forward momentum to the campaign, which opens up features and units to you over time, but it does so without holding your hand every step of the way. The first couple of missions for each faction might take you 20 minutes or so, but the biggest ones might last well over an hour and keep you occupied on multiple fronts. It's an excellent campaign, getting you into the fray quickly and letting you focus on strategy rather than on the "take these few units over here" objectives that all too often invade real-time strategy games. It's a smart, top-level approach that highlights the game's strategic flexibility. If you play on normal difficulty, don't expect too much challenge until you reach the Cybran missions, however; the AI usually sticks to some noticeable patterns and rarely veers from its comfort zone. (Veterans should go for the harder difficulty straightaway.) However, there is always a lot going on, with some missions throwing enemies at you from the get-go and others forcing you to build a base from scratch.

These King Kriptors rule with iron fists. And with limbs made out of guns.

Regardless of your mission objectives, Supreme Commander 2 is a whole lot of fun because it gives you room to play with the units at your disposal. Each faction's units are similar, but they aren't exact mirrors. For example, while the UEF boasts multiple land vehicles that meet specific needs, the catch-all antimissile/antiair Cybran adaptor fulfills multiple roles at once. The UEF and Cybran factions possess capable naval units--but Illuminate players do not get a navy at all, though their hovering ground units won't leave them landlocked. The differences are sometimes subtle, but they're palpable enough to make each faction feel unique. You won't find the factional variety of a game like Universe at War or even StarCraft, but the upside is that factions are beautifully balanced and don't require a complete shift of gears when moving from one faction to the next.

As before, each faction uses similar methods to accumulate resources: by collecting mass from predetermined nodes using mass extractors and by building generators to produce energy. There are some notable changes to the formula here. In Supreme Commander, your available resources didn't limit your build queue; you could essentially order up new units and structures "on credit." Now, you can only spend the funds if you have them, which is a change that may disappoint some SupCom loyalists. The other major difference is the complete removal of unit tiers. Units are upgraded via research points that you accumulate by building research centers; the more you build, the faster you earn those valuable points. Your research trees are divided into multiple categories (air, ground, structure, and so on) and follow multiple paths that let you unlock new units and structures, as well as improve existing ones. For example, you can add an extra barrel to your tanks and a personal shield to your gunships. Most significantly, you can also gain access to the all-important experimental units and, yes, the nukes that caused you so much joy and heartache in the first game.

The economic changes aren't for the worse or even necessarily for the better, but they do place the focus squarely on moment-to-moment battle decisions in favor of convoluted economic tweaking. You spend less time speeding up production times with engineers and more time spreading your units around and reacting to your opponents' actions. Matches might last for well over an hour, giving you a chance to play with different ideas and a reason to use every unit at your disposal. If you like turtling, shield generators and long-range artillery will buy you time to amass a large force. If you like harassing the enemy, stick to the air and put your bombers on a patrol route. Your base building isn't restricted to a specific region, and the research trees are generous and robust, so there's plenty of room to be creative. And this is where Supreme Commander 2 shines most brightly. The flexibility leads to a ton of fun because on the best maps, no game plays out the same way twice. An intense battle may erupt when you least suspect it, or you might foil your nemesis' plans with a well-timed artillery barrage. And if you can't decide whether to be conservative or aggressive, spread your forces quickly and be both at once. Imagination is often rewarded with shocking and exciting victories, though crazy strategies may naturally lead to soul-crushing defeat as well.

Yes, it's big, and no, this isn't the entire map.

The game-changing experimental units give you even more flexibility and can change the flow of battle in awesome ways. Some of them, such as the UEF's returning (and slightly tweaked) fatboy and the gigantic King Kriptor robot, are offensive powerhouses and as subtle as a destructive blast to the forehead. Others, however, take a bit more skill and produce much more unexpected and enjoyable results. A well-considered placement of the Illuminate's loyalty gun will convert invading experimentals to your cause, so that a hulking Cybranosaurus might end up mowing down its previous comrades. The space temple teleporter helps you take your enemy unaware, and using it multiple times in a row may lead to several concurrent scuffles. If you want more dramatic invasions, however, you can build some ground units within the UEF's land cannon and shoot them across the map into enemy territory. It sure beats a boring old transport ship.

Rarely would you ever call Supreme Commander 2 boring, however. The net result of the changes--the adjusted economy, the speed at which you can earn experimentals and upgrades--is that you don't need to wait a long time to get the fun units in play. It takes time to unlock high-cost experimentals, but the less-expensive ones are fun to watch and fun to use, and you can put them in play early on. This is a game in which you can pit colossal robots and hulking metal dinosaurs against each other, and the pace of the campaign is excellent, keeping you excited to see what toys the game is going to give you next while making it fun to use the ones you have. The game's conventional but rousing soundtrack and excellent sound effects enhance this drive forward, and the resulting tension is constantly relieved by massive explosions and frenzied masses of tangling aircraft.

After you cut your teeth on the single-player campaign, you can easily jump into online play to challenge human opponents. The GPGNet interface has been jettisoned for a clean in-game multiplayer interface that lets you get into a match quickly or join and host games in a more traditional manner. There is a healthy number of great maps; some of them are pulled from the original Supreme Commander, and conflicts can include up to eight players. Online matches perform as smoothly as offline skirmishes and let you tailor the game using multiple specifications, from speeding up the tempo to removing nukes from the equation. Online play provides the game's finest pleasures, mostly in the broadly designed maps that smartly avoid a lot of chokepoints and narrow walkways. A seemingly staid opponent may suddenly launch nuclear death from above, teleport in a couple of powerful assault blocks, or take out all of your air units with a few antiair experimentals. Everything can go from cerebral to stimulating within a moment's notice.

The best way to avoid pathfinding flaws? Stick to the air!

The narrow walkways of other maps highlight Supreme Commanderís most notable problem: pathfinding. Ground units may have trouble figuring out how to arrange themselves or get through not-so-narrow gaps, even performing occasional dance routines as they attempt simple move orders. An experimental might get stuck on a defeated unit's charred remains or your armored command unit may wedge itself between structures, though most pathfinding flaws are far less problematic. These moments might happen even when you've taken care to avoid them, and micromanaging units just to get them to where you need them to go is not a welcome diversion. These frustrations aren't common, but they are noticeable nonetheless.

Whether you're a newcomer or a veteran tactician, you'd do well to overlook these flaws and enjoy Supreme Commander 2 for how entertaining and exciting it is. The game maintains a difficult balancing act, providing the scope and flexibility of the original Supreme Commander with a user-friendly makeover that lends some freshness and personality. This is the kind of game where you glance at the clock and discover that hours have passed and you're still waist-deep in assault bots and antiair turrets. Do yourself a favor and get lost in the fun and flash of it all.

Supreme Commander 2 Cheats

Find your Game.prefs file in: For Windows 7/Vista C:Users{Your User Name}AppDataLocalGas Powered GamesSupreme Commander 2 Open the Game.prefs file in Notepad. Right at the very top above the "options_overrides" add the following to the very top of the file: debug = { enable_debug_facilities = true } Next Press Ctrl+F in notepad and type in: CheatsEnabled = Then click search, If it comes up change the 'false' into 'true'. If it does not come up in search, find the following text.: options = { Then below that tab over a few times and add in the following text: CheatsEnabled = 'true', Once everything is done and that you have enabled debug and cheats... Now you can save and close notepad.CheatEffectBrings up the console window for command line cheat input.['Z']Launches the Create Unit Interface and will create the selected unit at the cursor position.['Alt-F2']Teleports all selected units to the cursor.['Alt-T']Gives (ALL!!) players 99999 of mass, energy, and research points['Ctrl-Alt-B']Deletes all (Selected!!!) instantly without explosion or (nuclear effects) from the map.['Alt-Delete']Shuts down the enemy AI for the rest of the match (Unconfirmed!?)['Alt-A']Copies the selected units into the clipboard.['Ctrl-Shift-C']Creates all units that are inside the clipboard.['Ctrl-Shift-V']Prevents (ALL!!) units and players from getting damaged.['Alt-N']Toggles fog of war from the map.['Ctrl-Alt-Z']Gives (ALL!!) players all research.['Ctrl-Shift-R']
Complete each requirement to receive the achievements.UnlockableHow to UnlockComplete the 'Surface Tension' operationWell StockedComplete the 'The Final Countdown' operationTerra FirmaDon't lose any units during the first attack in 'prime target'SurvivorSurvive multiple waves after the download completes in 'Fact Finder'SurvivalistComplete all three campaigns on 'Hard' difficultySupremest CommanderWin 25 Ranked online matchesSupreme Online CommanderWin a skirmish match on every multiplayer mapSightseerWin a Ranked online matchRankerComplete all primary and secondary campaign objectivesKnows it AllWin 10 co-op matches vs AIGood FriendsComplete all three campaigns on 'Easy' difficultyEasy GoingComplete the 'Fact Finder' operationDownloadingComplete all hidden campaign objectivesCompletistComplete the 'Gatekeeper' operationClass ReunionComplete the 'The Trouble With Technology' operationBugs in the SystemComplete 'prime time' with an army made up entirely of assault botsBot LordComplete the 'The Great Leap Forward' operationAnimal MagnetismComplete all three campaigns 'Normal' difficultyA Winner is YouWin 25 skirmish matchesTo the Vict...Play the game for over 24 hours in totalTime CruncherComplete both parts of the tutorialStart HereDestroy 10,000 unitsSharp ShooterGet a complete campaign score over 150,000Score HoarderWin a skirmish match with each factionSamplingWin a skirmish match in less than five minutesRushin' FrontComplete the 'Prime Time' operationReunitedComplete the 'Back on the Chain Gang' operationPrison BreakBuild 10,000 unitsMaster BuilderExtract 1,000,000 massMassterComplete the 'Steamed' operationHole in the GroundComplete the 'Cliff Diving' operationGorgedWin a co-op match vs AIFriendsPlay 10 skirmish matches with one factionDatingPlay 25 skirmish matches with one factionCommitted RelationshipComplete the 'Delta Force' operationBarge AheadComplete the 'Lethal Weapons' operationAlarmingComplete the 'End of an Alliance' operationRodgers is RelievedImprove your score on any operationReplayerComplete the 'Factions or Family Plan' operationNuclear StrikeWin an online matchInternet CommanderWin a skirmish match against all AI opponentsGood GameComplete the 'Titans of Industry' operationFatboy ParadeComplete the 'Strike While Cold' operationDeep FreezeComplete the 'Off Base' operationSecond TargetWin a skirmish match without building any ExperimentalsLudditeComplete the 'Prime Target' operationCommunication BreakdownWin a skirmish match against any AI opponentCakewalk
  • UEF Hidden Campaign objectivesThere are 7 hidden objectives :UnlockableHow to UnlockMission 1 : Survive the initial wave of Cybran attackers without losing any units.SurvivorMission 2 : Build at least two Mass Extractors in enemy territory.Economic OpportunistMission 3 : Build an Atlantis II Experimental Aircraft Carrier.Master of the SeasMission 4 : Defeat Coleman without the aid of the Fatboys.Brutal ConquerorMission 5 : Build at least four Experimental unitsExperimenterMission 6 : Launch your first nuke.Nuke KingMission 6 : Prevent any enemy King Kriptors from crossing the main fortress bridge.None Shall Pass!
  • Illuminate Hidden Campaign objectivesThere are 9 hidden objectives :UnlockableHow to UnlockMission 1 : Prevent the blockade from taking more than 25% damage.BlockheadMission 2 : Complete the operation by constructing fewer than 30 mobile units.Master TacticianMission 3 : Take out the enemy air defenses.Not the Bees!Mission 3 : Take out the prison's defensive structures.Pro Anti-AirMission 3 : Capture all of the Security Stations.Agent ProvocateurMission 4 : Build at least eight Experimental units.Experimental FanaticMission 6 : Prevent any enemy King Kriptors from crossing the main fortress bridge.Supremest CommanderMission 6 : Complete the operation with an army made up entirely of Assault Bots (you cannot build any other type of units).Bot LordMission 6 : Build your first Darkenoid.A Czar is Born
  • Cybran Hidden Campaign objectivesThere are 8 hidden objectives :UnlockableHow to UnlockMission 1 : Survive Gauge's onslaught after the download completes.Survival ExpertMission 2 : Capture a Rogue Engineer.Master ThiefMission 2 : Complete the operation without a unit being captured by the enemy.Great EscapistMission 3 : Collect all of the Technology Caches.Cache and CarryMission 4 : Build at least four Soul Ripper Experimentals.Sultan of SoulMission 5 : Build a Kraken Experimental Submarine.Master of the DeepMission 6 : Complete all available research.Research SavantMission 6 : Win the operation without the aid of any Experimentals.Master of Pawns
  • Supreme Commander 2 Game Walkthrough

    Vax's Guide To Supreme Commander 2
    Version 0.15
    Dec-02-2011
    
    Copyright Larry P. Schrof, 2011
    
    You may use this article for any non-commercial purpose IN ITS ORIGINAL
    FORM. You may not modify this article in any way. Copies of this article
    may be distributed so long as attribution of the author and copyright
    remain intact.
    
    Section 1: Introduction and Background
    Section 2: Beginner's Guide to Online Team Games
    Section 3: (Almost) Everything About Mass Conversion
    
    ==========================================
    Section 1: Introduction and Background
    ==========================================
    
    I should have written this guide 18 months ago, when we still had a
    relatively large community. SupCom2 is a challenging yet rewarding game.
    For beginners, it can be VERY challenging.  Right now, it's tough for a
    beginner to play with so much stiff competition and top-notch players
    out there who have thousands of hours of experience.  I'd like to help
    make this game as rewarding as it is challenging for beginners. This
    section of my guide attempts just that.
    
    So for the tardiness in getting something like this out late, I
    apologize. But late is indeed better than never.
    
    Next, this is a work-in-progress. Pardon the typos and grammar - they
    will be corrected soon. But for now, we need this to get out there,
    and we need that to happen now.
    
    Who this guide is for
    ---------------------
    
    This guide, in its current state, is for:
    
    - Any SupCom2 player with less than 100-200 hours of
      experience
    - Any SupCom2 player new to playing multi-player mode online
    - Any SupCom2 player wishing to improve their play at 3v3 and 4v4
    
    Most of this guide applies to 3v3 and 4v4 team games. It can help for
    1v1 and 2v2 if you're a total beginner, but it won't get you far.  For
    that I'll write more later.
    
    A word about the SupCom2 community
    ----------------------------------
    
    The SupCom2 community is dying fast. We need as many new players to
    enjoy the game and come back as possible. If you're a pro, please
    welcome and encourage all new players. If you realize you're going to
    steamroll them because they're simply too new, back off a bit and work
    with them. Send them attacks they can counter, and work with them
    through the counters. You'll be surprised, but this can actually be fun,
    and it really ENCOURAGES GROWTH IN THE COMMUNITY.  Pub stomping can be
    fun, but the community can't afford much of it these days. We
    need every new player to come back that we can get.
    
    What this guide is now, and what it will become
    -----------------------------------------------
    This first guide release is super-small comapred to what I'm going to
    try to release over the next couple of months. This is just to get
    beginners up and running in multi-player. I hope to augment it with
    an in-depth guide to the many facets of this amazing game.
    
    This version of the guide is essentially what I consider the most
    important advice that new players should receive concerning the
    game. These tips, opinions, and facts, should give you the most "bang
    for the buck" when it comes to improving your skills and taking you
    into an intermediate level of play quickly.
    
    New players tend to exhibit behaviors and patterns that cause them to
    get DESTROYED, and thus get pretty frustrated with the game.  If you
    want to get rid of that 'noob' status quickly, read this guide a
    couple of times. Try a game or two, practicing only one or two points
    mentioned. Then come back, and read some more.
    
    ****************************************************************
    * Rule A: - the most important rule ------ DON'T GIVE UP EVER. *
    ****************************************************************
    
    Don't give up. SupCom2 is CHALLENGING when playing against experienced
    players. The community is getting smaller as players move on to more
    recent games, but once you master the basics, this brilliant RTS is
    about as rewarding of a game experince as you can get.  This game didn't
    have millions of dollars of backing that StarCraft 2 did, and yet it's
    player base agrees that it's a far-superior game. (Just use your mouse
    scroll-wheel to see what I mean.) Stick around and learn. You will lose
    many games in the beginning, but that's okay. Remind yourself that the
    only way to learn is to lose. Winning teaches us nothing; it only feeds
    our ego.
    
    When the game starts, hit SHIFT-<ENTER> to set your chat window to
    team-chat only. (Make sure the little check is hilighted at the
    bottom.)  Then say, "I'm sorry but I'm new. I'll do my best, but any
    advice is welcome." That right there will change the mindset of 90% of
    your teammates. Instead of being frustrated with you, they actually just
    may help. (And even if they're annoyed, they'll at least know that they
    need to play differently to compensate.)
    
    Once the game starts, don't be concerned if people don't respond to your
    chat right away, if at all. SupCom2 moves very quickly for an RTS game,
    so every second that players spend typing is time they're not actually
    playing. During my first few hundred games, I put myself at a heavy
    disadvantage by typing so much; trying to teach new players *during* the
    game.
    
    Don't get depressed if people are frustrated with you. SupCom2 is
    unfortunately heavily weighted against teams with even one new player,
    so some frustration with new players is to be expected. Ignore it.
    Keep being nice, and keep asking for help. But above all else...
    
    DON'T EVER QUIT PLAYING SUPCOM2. THE COMMUNITY NEEDS YOU BADLY.
    
    Next meta-rule: ----- Ask for help and keep learning ----
    
    Ask everyone you meet for advice. Especially the people who beat
    you. And ESPECIALLY the people who beat you badly. Then ask them to be
    a mentor or at least to give you advice. Get more than one
    mentor. Learn learn learn. When a game ends, there is a post-game
    lobby with a chat window. That is a GREAT place to ask for
    advice. When you realize you are going to get whomped during the game,
    turn off team-chat only and tell your opponents you would appreciate
    if they could stick around and offer advice in the post-game lobby.
    
    Become friends with everyone you can on Steam. You will always see me
    in-game as '[EdC] Vax' - you can always ask me for help. Other good
    players whose names rarely change are 'Nuclear Pizza', 'redarrow', and
    my favorite, and perhaps the best all-around player in SupCom2, 'Iron
    Commander'. (These guys will have letters in front of their names,
    ignore those - they are clan tags. Instead, look at the right-hand
    side portion of their name.)
    
    Another learning tip when you're just starting out - don't play
    'Fast' game speed. In the multi-player lobby, get in the habit of
    looking in the lower right. You want to play games where the speed
    says 'Normal' or (less preferrably) 'Adjustable'. Fast game speed is
    VERY FAST. The only reason you'll see it being played is from people
    who get bored quickly.
    
    Another valuable learning tool is the replay feature. Sign up for an
    account on gamereplays.org, then begin downloading replays into your
    SupCom2 replays folder. (The folder is something like Users -> My
    Documents -> My Games -> Square Enyx -> <some number> -> replays. That
    order is not exact, but you'll get the gist.) Once you save a replay
    file, you can launch it from the main menu by choosing Extras ->
    Replays.
    
    NOTE: There are non-DLC replays and DLC replays. If you do not have DLC,
    you will not be able watch DLC replays. Each type requires its own folder.
    Do a Google search for specifics on which replays should get saved where.
    gamereplays.org probably has a good article on it.
    
    Another fantastic way to learn is to meet players you like on teamspeak
    and ventrillo. If you haven't heard of these tools, they are software
    that you download and install that allow you to communicate, using a
    microphone and headset, with other people. Even better, you can
    communicate DURING THE GAME. This is an immensely powerful way to learn
    and coordinate.
    
    If nothing else, you can use CTRL-Q in-game to turn on and turn off
    voice chat. WARNING: Voice chat can become extremely annoying very
    qickly.  Use it SPARINGLY, unless your team has agreed to use it as
    their primary choice of communication.
    
    The last tip I can think of for learning is to download shoutcasts from
    gamereplays.org.  These are audio commentaries that are designed to be
    watched along with specific replays. Do a search for them on
    gamereplays.org and you'll find more details.
    
    ---- Next meta-rule: Purchase the DLC (downloadable content) -----
    
    Do yourself a favor. If you've played even 1-2 games of SupCom2 and
    think it looks worth some of your time, buy the DLC through steam.
    It improves the variety and gameplay by roughly 50-80%. That's a lot.
    It adds maps, units, technologies, and just adds a lot of fun all-around.
    
    ----- Next meta-rule: Don't play with exclusions. -----
    
    In general, try hard not to play a lot of games with exclusions turned
    on.
    
    Exclusions are things you can "turn off" in the game, like nukes, air
    units, experimentals, reseaarch, etc.
    
    Exclusions in SupCom2 are essentially a marketing tool designed to get
    more people to buy the game so that they can play it in a very contrived
    fashion. I know the game developers will not agree with this, and it
    wasn't their intention, but essentially that's what exclusions have
    turned into: establishing very contrived games that only a few people
    enjoy.
    
    The occasional exclusions game can be fun, and even allow you to focus
    on a particular unit or style of play. In particular, for your first
    20-30 hours of team play, you may like to turn nukes or arty off. That's
    okay, for a short while.  But don't get addicted to exclusions.
    Exclusions do more to make you a bad player than they do to make you a
    good player. (The exception is the 'Slow Research' exclusion - when this
    exclusion is enabled, AND NO OTHER EXCLUSIONS ARE ENABLED, it can be an
    invaluable learning tool.)
    
    Many times in your career of SupCom2, you will lose, and lose badly.
    But on top of that, you'll feel like there was NO WAY TO STOP IT.  Don't
    worry - everything in SupCom2 is counterable. Some things are much
    harder to counter than others, but it's doable. If you don't believe me,
    go meet players like Iron Commander and Nephylim. They'll show you it
    can be done.
    
    Go to the GPG supcom2 forums. Search those archives. I guarantee you'll
    find length discussions on countering all sorts of stuff you think can't
    be countered.
    
    So that you know you're not alone, I'm going to list all of the things
    you'll feel are unstoppable at first. (You'll feel this way as you start
    learning the game):
    
    - ACU rushes (an enemy spams early research and techs their acu quickly
      to a very powerful unit)
    - Long-range artillery barrages
    - Blobs of air experimentals
    - 20 tanks in your face after 3 minutes
    - Nukes
    - Cybran megaliths knocking on your door after 8 minutes or earlier
    - Cybran naval battleships pummeling you from out of range
    
    Throughout your days, you'll see people set up 'No air' games, 'No arty'
    games, 'landwar' games, etc. These can be dangerosly tempting to play.
    And in some respects, you CAN learn from them.
    
    But don't make exclusions a habit. Occasionally, a 'no nukes' game is
    okay - I won't fault you, AS A BEGINNER, for playing those. But your
    long-term enjoyment of SupCom2 will be guided by your ability to enjoy
    games with no exclusions, as these games offer a much fuller, richer
    experience.
    
    ====================================================
    Section 2: Beginner's Guide to Online Team Games
    ====================================================
    
    Okay, what I've given you so far are meta rules. Rules for behavior
    and how to learn. Now I'm going to go into more concrete rules - these
    pertain to straetgy. They are in no particular order. For now, these
    are pretty much "rules". As you improve and gain experience, you can
    think of the material below more as "guidelines" that aren't set
    in stone.
    
    But for now, as a noob, you should probably treat the following material
    as if it was Holy Writ. In fact, for SupCom2 multi-player beginners,
    it IS.
    
    Let's get started.
    
    How to begin playing SupCom2 in 3v3 and 4v4 team games
    ------------------------------------------------------
    
    *** Every time you build a point defense tower (PD) or anti-air ***
    *** tower (AA), you increase your chances of losing.            ***
    
    Yup, that's right. You know how us pros can spot a new player in the
    first 90 seconds of game time? Our air man scouts you and we see you
    plunking down 1 (or 10!) pd or aa towers. You haven't even been attacked
    yet!
    
    Try to learn how to play the game from your very first day without ever
    having to build one of these. Yes, there are times when you will need
    them. Yes, they can be used offensively by experienced players.  But
    YOU, for the love of God, should not use them.
    
    In fact, here is your mantra for the first 100 hours of playing SupCom2:
    
    "If I have built more than 3 PD turrets in a game, or more than 3 AA
    towers, then I have made a tactical or strategic mistake that I need a
    mentor to help me correct."
    
    Go out and find 1v1 replays of Nephylim, Iron Commander, FunkOff,
    Nuclear Pizza, sleeping cloud, and tell me how many pds and aa towers
    they build. Then tell me how many units they build.
    
    If you're in a situation where you feel the only thing that will save
    you is a cluster of PD towers or AA towers, it means you made a mistake
    at some previous point in the game that you'll need to learn to correct.
    It also probably means it's too late and you've already lost. SupCom2 is
    very unforiving like that - losses are often guaranteed about 30-40% of
    the way through the game - the rest is just watching your base slowly
    blow up.
    
    Here's some deeper food for thought on this. I want to emphasize how
    worthless your point-defense turrets are, even if there are 30 of them
    in a wall. I am going to list every unit I can think of that doesn't
    fly, but can still crush your pd's. The worst part is, your pd's won't
    be able to reach any of these units, so your PDs are helpless. In the
    end, your PDs will prove to be nothing but a waste of your hard-earned
    mass.
    
    Here we go. All the surfaced-based reasons why your point defense turrets
    re Absolutely Worthless: 
    
    - Mobile-missile launchers (mml)
    - Illuminate Tactical Missile Launcher (tml)
    - Factory missile launcher (Factory add-on that fires arcs of missiles)
    - Artillery fire from cybran or UEF long-range artillery
    - Artillery fire from UEF fortified short-range artillery
    - Missile volleys from upgraded UEF or Cybran ACU
    - Artillery fire from an upgraded UEF ACU
    - UEF naval unit: mastdon (cruiser)
    - UEF battleships (bs)
    - Cybran jump-jetting land units that self-detonate on your pds
    - Cybran naval/land unit: destoryers (salems)
    - Cybran naval/land unit: Executioners (bs)
    - Illuminate experimental: loyalty gun
    - UEF experimental: Fatboys (fatties)
    - Cybran experimental: Megaliths (megas)
    - DLC-unit: Cybran monkey lord (monkey, ml)
    - DLC-unit: UEF jack hammer
    - DLC-unit: cybran recylcer (can be used to kill live units)
    - UEF experimental: King Kriptor / Aeon experimental: Universal Collossus (*)
    - Nukes
    *: PDs might actually outrange these guys. Either way, it's very close.
    
    *THAT'S TWENTY EXAMPLES, AND WE HAVEN'T EVEN LISTED AIR UNITS*
    
    Everything I named travels along, or is built on, the surface, out of
    range of your PDs.
    
    If this still hasn't sunk in, let me offer you this statistic. In the
    several-thousand games I've played, many times I've seen a player making
    PDs and AAs in their base within the first 2-3 minutes. When that
    happens, that teams *loses 98% of the time.*
    
    Ok, if PDs and AAs are worthless, what SHOULD you build??? (Hint: it's
    not research stations)
    
    ---------- Factories pumping early units win games ----------
    
    The first step to keeping your enemy from finding out you're a new (and
    hence vulnerable player) is to make early factories. In fact, as you
    become more experienced, you will learn that it is frequently proper
    to have 2-3 factories pumping units before you have "capped" (built)
    your 9th or 10th mass point.
    
    When you have a factory selected, there is a circle icon in the lower
    right.  When you click it and it becomes hilighted, that factory will
    produce units continuously. You can then click one unit, or even several
    different units, and the factory will progress through that cycle on
    infinite repeat.  For example, if you think to yourself "I'd like to
    produce three tanks for every one missile launcher", you'd select the
    factory, click the circle icon, then click the tank icon three times,
    and the mobile missile launcher icon one.
    
    In general, you want units coming out of factories to GO SOMEWHERE. This
    should not be over enemy territory. Generally, you'll want them near,
    and in front of, your base. For air units, you (generally) want them to
    the front of your team's side of the map to provide accessibility to all
    areas of the map quickly. To tell a factory where to send units, simply
    click the factory, then right click the spot on the map where all future
    units it builds should be sent.
    
    TIP: You can easily tell ALL factories of a given type (land, air,
    sea) to send units to the same location. Select a factory, then hit
    CTRL-Z to select ALL factories of that type. Then right-click to set
    the destiniation.
    
    ----- Next rule: Know your role in 3v3 and 4v4 team games -----
    
    These rules primarily apply to 3v3 and 4v4 team games. 1v1s and 2v2s
    are a different story entirely.
    
    When learning SupCom2, you will primarily be dealing with learning
    these three roles: land, air, navy.  I recommend saving land for last
    - it is both the most vital and also the most intricate and difficult
    to learn. Starting with naval can be your best bet as naval combat is
    generally slower, requires less multi-tasking, and less decision
    making. Also, with proper knowledge, it's extremely difficult to
    lose a naval battle. Even a beginner armed with proper knowledge can
    stalemate even the best of SupCom2 pros in the water. (This also
    makes for some mind-numbingly boring battles, which is why most players
    gravitate away from playing naval.)
    
    You need to decide what type (air, land, sea) units you will produce,
    and this is dictated by your starting location, NOT WHAT YOU FEEL
    LIKE MAKING. Want to know how to piss off experienced teammates?
    Randomly say, "I'm going air", or "I'm going land and naval", etc.
    
    *** YOUR STARTING LOCATION DEFINES YOUR ROLE WHEN LEARNING THE GAME ***
    
    You can break the following rules later on in your SupCom2 career.  Not
    now. You need help and you need people to help you grow as a player.
    You won't get that if you piss your teammates off by playing the wrong
    role.
    
    So how do you decide which role to play? It's fairly simple. Apply the
    following rules, in order. As soon as a rule describes your situation,
    you go with the corresponding role.
    
    1. If you are closer to your enemies than any of your teammates, you
       should go land. Additionally, if this is true, AND you are close to
       a large body of water, playing as Illuninate is probably a good idea.
       On some maps like Van Horne Core, two players will be "closest" to
       the enemy. Generally, both should go land.
    
    If the above rule does not apply, see if this next one applies.
    
    2. If you are the furthest of your team away from the enemy, you should
       almost always play air. Playing air, by the way, means spamming jets
       until the other side has no chance to make stuff that flies. This is
       called 'owning the air'. More importantly, PLAYING THE AIR ROLE DOES
       NOT MEAN SPAMMING GUNSHIPS.
    
    If neither of the above rules applies, use these guidelines:
    
    - If the map doesn't have water, go land if you know someone already has
      air covered. If no one volunteers to take air, you do it.
    
    - If the map has water, then you should go naval IF you are pretty close
      to water AND someone else is covering air. Setons Clutch is the best
      example.  There is a starting location where your ACU is a 5-second
      walk from the water. That's a prime opportunity to play naval.
    
    - If all else fails and you're completely uncertain, go air, because:
      - Many people on your team won't cover air, and your team will need it
      - Your team is guaranteed to have good scouting (because that's
        what you'll do - more on this soon)
      - You have a wide variety of locations to apply pressure on the map
      - If no one on the enemy side goes air, you'll (virtually) free reign
        to sow death and destruction.
    
    Now, let's move on to proper execution of your role.
    
    --- Executing your role properly ---
    
    The first rule of executing your role properly is this:
    
    +--------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    | Your job is to focus on eliminating any players who play the same role   |
    | as you. This is often, but not always, dictated by starting location     |
    +--------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    
    If you start in an air slot, your primary object is to kill (or
    effectively take out of play) the enemy player going air. Same for
    naval.  Same for land. The only situation where this becomes untrue is
    if you get double teamed in air or land. (If you are playing navy
    correctly, you could get triple-teamed and still win. More on this
    later.)
    
    For now, let's assume you're only against one player in the same role.
    (This is quite common.) Failing to destory him means letting your team
    down. If some other enemy, not lined up across from you, slaughters
    your team, it means someone else probably dropped the ball, not you.
    
    Bottom line: Figure out which guy is across from you, and put
    crosshairs on him. In the following material, when I say your primary
    opponent or primary target, I am referring to the
    person you are lined up against, or the person who's destruction is your
    responsibility.
    
    Now, on to the first few minutes of the game: executing your role...
    
    **** While you are still new to the game, don't build ****
    **** research stations in the first six minutes.      ****
    
    Don't make early research stations. It makes you so vulernable that it
    brings tears to my eye. Get your factories up and running quickly.  9
    mass points is enough to support 4-5 air factories, 4-5 land
    factories, or 2 naval factories. (4-5 uef naval factories if you're
    pumping nothing but subs.)
    
    By the way, learn from experienced players what I call 'mex
    ettiquette' 'mex' is a nickname for mass point. On each map, there is
    standard ettiquette that says which mass points belong to you and
    which belong to your teammates.  If you're not sure, ask. Don't get
    into fights with your teammates over who gets which mass.
    
    On most maps 3v3 and 4v4 maps, you will have 9 mass points. On some
    maps, such as Boolon, you may have more. Don't be a mass hog - if a
    mass point is closer to a teammate's starting spot that it is yours,
    it was meant for him, not you. Sometimes, teammates will intentionally
    leave mass points vacant. If you'd like to have them, ASK. If they don't
    respond, say "Unless I hear from you in chat, I'm going to take such-and-such
    mass points in 30 seconds."
    
    VAX TIP: Use the f5, f6, and f7 arrows to 'ping' a location on the map.
    Use these keys to show your teammates which mass points of theirs you'd
    like to take. NEVER PING SOMETHING MORE THAN TWICE. Seriously. Multiple
    pings is very annoying. Don't worry - we see them.
    
    Now for timing. In general, if you don't have at least one factory
    pumping units by 2:30, you need a really good reason. As a new player,
    you won't have this reason. By 3:00-4:00 for land and air (4:00-5:00
    for naval), all 4 of your factories should be under construction or
    better, finished building and pumping units.
    
    --- What do I make? ---
    
    Here's another rule you need to keep in mind:
    
    AS A BEGINNER, NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, MIX LAND / AIR / NAVY.
    
    When you become more experienced, you can (and will need to) do this.
    But as a beginner, DON'T. Do not make land and air. Do not make navy
    and land. Do not make all three. PICK ONE, AND ONLY ONE TYPE,
    DEPENDING ON YOUR ROLE, AND STICK TO IT.
    
    --- Roles for beginners in ten minutes of reading ---
    
    The following are extreme generalizations, but, they should suffice
    for helping a beginner know how to play based on where they start and
    what faction to pick. They will hopefully make you less of an easy
    target.
    
    Playing UEF NAVAL:
    
    If you are lined up against a UEF or cybran player, you want 9 mass
    points, 4 power, then and 2-3 naval factories pumping out subs. Send
    an engineer early way out into the water to build a sonar that covers
    all water of your primary opponent. If you see enemy naval, make a
    total of 4 factories and pump subs on repeat from all of them. Assist
    one factory with your ACU and assist each other fac with EXACTLY one
    engineer. (Not zero engineers, and not more than one engineer per
    factory.)
    
    Push as soon as you think you have an advantage. If you are against
    cybran naval, you MUST prevent them from getting legs and walking onto
    land.  Keep your subs between the cybran naval player's base and the
    most likely point of where you think the boats will hit land. UEF
    naval is designed to take out cybran naval. When you are playing UEf
    naval against cybran, push hard, early and often. Take out enemy naval
    units, then factories. Do not approach enemy factories (facs) with
    less than 6 subs.  Do not fight cybran ships within range of their
    factories, unless you have a big blob of subs. When attacking
    factories, surface your subs (icon in lower left.) This will cause
    them to not only fire their torpedoes, but also their surface
    cannon. This is great for taking out shielded facs.
    
    When enemy naval factories start dying, you have essentially won the
    naval war. Stop making new subs. Use your remaining subs to clear out
    any enemy naval units, then use your (now-surfaced) subs to bombard
    any mass points in range.  After that, dive them back under the water
    and keep them on the enemy short to prevent him from getting back into
    the water to estbalish a navy.
    
    Congratulations - you did your job well. Everything you do after this is
    icing on the cake for your team.
    
    At this point, as a uef naval player, you have done your job. You can get
    artistic. Spam cruisers from 1-2 factories if you like - those will
    absolutely destory enemy bases in range. (Albeit a bit slowly.) But with
    the naval radar upgrade, even one cruiser is perhaps the single most
    powerful addition to a uef player on any water-based map. An upgraded uef
    cruiser simply has INSANE RADAR COVERAGE.
    
    Alternatively, make some research and tech to artillery, noah, or
    experimentals.
    
    Now, the story above is completely different if you are playing UEF
    naval against aeon across from you. In this case, get cruisers out as
    quickly as possible. Do not leave them by your base. Send them as soon
    as they are built to bombard your primary opponent's mass points. Aeon
    land units can hover on water, and if they get in range of your
    cruisers, you lose quickly and decisively.
    
    A quick note to new players: UEF cruisers have exceptional anti-air
    capability. The best thing you can hope for is that the enemy team's
    air player sends bombers and gunships 5-6 at a time to try to take out
    your cruisers. They'll learn a valuable lesson... the hard way.
    
    Don't make more than 8-10 cruisers. This is where most
    intermediate-level players get it wrong. If 8-10 cruisers aren't going
    to crush your opponents, it means you're headed into the late game and
    you're going to need a lot of mass for research stations. Besides,
    more than 8-10 cruisers turns out to be mostly overkill.  Try to
    remember to turn off your naval facs. Or better yet, when you win the
    naval war and start making cruisers, just click 3-4 times on the
    cruiser icon for two of your naval factories.  This will save you mass
    in case you forget to turn the facs off later.
    
    My final thought for beginners playing UEF naval: If you win the naval
    war, you have done your job. If your team loses, it probably wasn't
    your fault. Anything you do after winning the naval war is icing on
    the cake. If your teammates are good, your cruisers are what will add
    value. If your teammates are really good, there won't be much left for
    you to do except plop out a couple of long-range arty and watch them
    score a couple of hits before your team wins. If your teammates are
    mediocre, you'll need to find other ways to assit them. Usually, this
    means using cruisers to trash as much of the enemy players' mass
    points as possible. When using cruisers, attack mass points and mass
    converters. Those are your primary objective. If you think you can snipe
    an enemy acu sitting still in his base, go for it, but this will fail
    9 times out of 10. (And it wastes precious volleys.)
    
    PLAYING CYBRAN NAVAL:
    
    I don't advise this for beginners. Yes, Cybran navy can be upgraded to
    walk on land. Yes, cybran navy has incredibly powerful offensive
    potential. Yes, salems can be cranked out quickly. Here's why I advise
    against playing cybran naval:
    
    It is just too easily countered by even a semi-competent player.  If
    you line up in the lobby as cybran on a navy slot (starting point),
    and the guy across from you then siwtches to UEF, you're against a
    vet.  Don't even try to go naval.
    
    If you INSIST on going cybran naval, the following are things to keep
    in mind.
    
    Hit early, hit hard. But if you see UEF subs early, stop making naval
    completley.
    
    You can support two cybran naval factories spamming salems
    (destroyers) on repeat with only 9 mass points and 4 power generators
    (pgens).  From LOTS of experience, I recommend making one research
    station before you begin having both factories doing salems on repeat.
    Use your ACU to assist one factory, put one engineer assisting the
    other factory. Have your factories send all salems to the water on the
    coast of your primary enemy. Send your second engineer with them to
    build a radar to cover your enemy's base. That allows the salems to
    bombard from a bit of distance. Salems have reasonable anti-air, but if
    you see a cluster of more than 3-4 gunships headed your way, fall back
    to the middle of the ocean until your cluster of salems is larger,
    then move against the air units.
    
    Your primary target is any naval units your primary opponent may be
    making, along with those naval factories if you can reach them without
    dying.  After that, kill all enemy base structures that you can reach
    WITHOUT HAVING TO WALK ON LAND. If you attempt to hit land and walk
    before the proper time, you could lose your entire fleet.
    
    Killing base structures will earn you lots of research points, Use
    these to upgrade your naval units. If you can invest the research
    points into the 40% distance upgrade, that is absolutely worth it.
    It's expensive, but outstanding.  It can ensure a quick subsequent
    victory.
    
    While bombarding the enemy coast, KEEP YOUR SHIPS MOVING AT ALL TIMES.
    Otherwise, missile volleys from factories, mml, and cruisers will quickly
    kill your ships.
    
    Your primary targets when bombarding with salems should be, in
    (roughly) this order of priority: (Remember, you are staying in the
    water at this point)
    
    - Enemy naval ships in range are always the most important
    - Enemy naval factories if no enemy ships are in range are also critical
      to take out. Then, take out...
    - Enemy naval ships out of range
    - Mass converters (You should be attacking early enough the enemy doesn't
      have these yet!!!)
    - Enemy ACU, if it's Assassination mode or if the ACU is near a lot of
    structures
    - Air factories spamming gunships or any experimental gantries
    - Land factories actively making units
    - Point-defense turrets
    
    Basically, clear out anything the water first. Then clear out anything
    that could make life difficult for your slow-moving salems once you're
    land-locked. Then, slowly creep your way through each enemy base and
    crush your way to victory. If you see a land blob, RUN AWAY. If a land
    blob gets in range of your ships, they will die. I can kill three
    battleships with five tanks if they're in range. I'm not kidding.
    Kite the land blobs - take them out, then proceed forward.
    
    Alternatively, you can try to play with battleships as
    cybran. Everything regarding targeting priority, land-fall, etc. still
    applies, but your starting build order should be a bit different. If
    you are on a large water map, and are committed to the idea of going
    cybran battleships, then finish off your 9-mass economy first. On the
    4v4 map Seraphim Isles, it may take awhile for your engis to arrive at
    the 8th and 9th mass points. Go ahead and start building a research
    station if this is the case. Once 9 mass points are up, make an
    additional 2-4 research stations, depending on taste. Finally, build
    another 5 pgens (power generators) for a total of 9 pgens.  9 mass and
    9 pgens will support one factory continuously pumping cybran
    battleships. Have your ACU and both engineers assisting the factory.
    
    I would say the range upgrade is even more important with battleships. It
    lets them hit almost anything with impunity. An unaddressed navy of
    cybran battleships always results in a loss. Some things left unchecked,
    like bombers, become a nuisance. Some thinks left unchecked, like arty,
    can be annoying. A cybran battleship fleet left unchecked is Game Over.
    Remember that.
    
    ---------------- Playing as Air man for the Beginner -----------------
    
    Generally speaking, you'll want to select UEF as your faction. This is
    because UEF fighters are significantly cheaper and faster to build than
    other factions. In fact, one major complaint that pros have about
    SupCom2 is that the air game is very stale due to the ease with which
    UEF can gain air superiority so quickly. Many will argue that there are
    one or two specific Aeon research technologies (shields and, especially,
    flares) that can overcome the disadvantage against a UEF air player. As
    a beginner, don't worry about that for now. JUST PLAY UEF AIR WHEN
    STARTING OUT IN MULTI-PLAYER.
    
    Remember, playing air does not mean spamming gunships. It means spamming
    fighters without stopping until you are sure you own the air.
    
    As your team's air man, you have one creed to live by. It defines your
    job the entire game. If you follow this rule, you did your job. If you
    ignore this rule, you let everyone on your team down.
    
    ***************************************************************
           	    	  The Air Player's Creed:
    
                      "If it flies, it dies."
    ***************************************************************
    
    That's it. Period. End of story. That's what dictates your approach
    and decision-making when you are fulfilling the air role. Your primary
    goal is not to assist your teammates. Your primary goal is not to bomb
    incoming ACUs. Your primary goal is not to attack outlying mass points. 
    These are all "good things to do", but they are not the first thing you
    should be attempting.
    
    Your ***PRIMARY*** role, as air man, is to utterly annihiliate any enemy
    unit that is capable of flight. Once you own the air, you must keep it
    that way. Unskilled opponents will continue trying to pump air units
    from their factories. You must kill these air units to keep your air
    superiority. (Or suffer the painful consequences for failing to do so.)
    A good opponent recognize once he's lost the skies to you, and turn off
    his air factories. He then glumly hopes he can come up with a clever
    strategy to help his teammates before you come swooping in with your
    gunships, bombers, and air experimentals to kill everything you can find.
    Chances are, he won't be of much value once he's lost the air.
    
    You also have an important secondary role: you are the eyes of your
    team.  You are the scout. If something from an enemy comes at one of
    your opponents that they had no warning of, it's your fault. It is
    important to send individual planes very early in the game (Between
    1:30 and 3:00) over your enemy's starting areas to get a feel for what
    they might be up to.
    
    Aggresive air players will make an air factory as one of the first three
    bulidings they construct. (Their first air fac often comes out even
    before a 5th mass point or any power gens!)  Until you get better at
    SupCom2, don't worry about this. Make your 8-9 mass points and 4 power
    gens. Then start making your 4 air facs. Have them start making jets on
    repeat as soon as they are finished bulding. Use the first couple of
    planes to fly over enemy starting positions (and more importantly,
    slightly in front of those positions) to see what your opponents are
    doing. On water maps, use your scouts to skim the coast lines, looking
    for enemy naval. Use the f5, f6, and f7 keys to ping the map when you
    see something noteworthy. Use short phrases, such as "South guy has 1
    cybran naval fac", or "Two guys on left going air", "3 land facs up
    front" , etc.
    
    As a beginner, this may not tell you much, but it will be CRUCIAL
    information for your more-experienced teammates. In fact, games can be
    won or lost just to scouting in the first two minutes. (I'm not kidding)
    
    Use the shift-click technique to queue up the movement of your initial
    planes (scouts). Planes will slow down drastically at your waypoints,
    so don't place waypoints near enemy bases. Generally, you want a long
    straight line to cross any area you're interested in checking out. This
    ensures your jets (scouts) fly over the likely-hostile area at max speed.
    
    It is tempting to scout the 4 starting mass points of each enemy. What you
    actually want to do is scout the open areas immediately to the front of,
    and immediately behind the 4 points. This is where factories and important
    structures are made early in the game. On chokepoint / bridge maps, such as
    Setons Clutch, Van Horne, Boolon, and Iskellian coast - scout the main avenue
    of approach between your ally's and his main opponent's base. This "lane"
    is where tank rushes and ACU rushes will approach from.
    
    As air man, except for lone scouts, keep all your planes together.
    Keep your factory churning out fighters until you have killed
    everything that's flying, and you are sure your opponents are no
    longer producing flying units. Never engage in an air battle unless you
    can get a decisive victory. If at all possible, lure enemy air units into
    fighting over your ally's navy - ESPECIALLY uef cruisers.
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    VAX PRO TIP:
    
    Never focus fire on non-experimental air units with your air
    units. (Focus-fire means selecting most/all of your air units, and then
    ordering them all to attack the same enemy air unit by right clicking
    it.) Instead, when you wish to engage in an air battle:
    
    1. Make sure you stand a good chance to win the
       engagement. Engage when you have superior numbers,
       are fighting over friendly aa, or preferrably, both.
    2. Select all of your air units that you want involved. (This should
       almost always be ALL of your air units capable of air-to-air combat)
    3. Tap the 'A' key, which should make your cursor turn red.
    4. Left-click somewhere on the ground near enemy air units, and all of
       your air will rush in to kill whatever's in the area. This yields
       results 400-500% more effective in air battles.
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Air units are finicky when it comes to movement. It takes them a while
    to switch directions. Get used to this. Also, air is extremely
    vulnerable to AA fire of any kind. Stay zoomed out and look for
    quick-moving yellow dots hitting your air - that's aa fire.
    
    Once you've gained air superiority
    ----------------------------------
    
    As a UEF air player, your wasps (jets) won't be able to attack anything
    that doesn't fly. As soon as you gain air superiority, you should generally
    consider making bombers, gunships, or air experimentals. This is because
    you have probably invested some of your research points into air
    technology already - so it's wise to make use of research points
    you've already spent, instead of heading down a different tech tree.
    
    As a UEF player who has gained air superiority, you have no excuse to
    lose the game. (Unless your teammates are collectively doing very
    poorly.) My favorite approach is to make ac1k terrors (uef minor air
    experimental) which are outstanding for sniping. If it's Supremacy,
    and not Assassination, you may need to tech for the late game. Air
    forts, mass conversion, arty, noah cannon - everything's an
    option. But don't lose that air advantage.  Keep scouting, and keep
    radar on the enemy. A lone UEF cruiser with upgraded naval radar on a
    water map is an outstanding way to see if your opponent is trying to
    make "sneaky" air units in the back of the map.
    
    In any case, if you see grey triangles starting to come into play, one
    of your enemies is trying to get back in the air game. Don't let that
    happen. Ever. Once you win air, it should stay won.
    
    A note for cybran and aeon air players:
    
    You have bomber capability as well as fighters. Don't get distracted
    bombing ground targets. Your primary mantra is still in effect: "If it
    flies, it dies." ONLY once you have eliminated any threat of enemy
    fighters should you focus your attention on bombing targets.  Your
    primary targets are radars, sonars, and engineers you see that have
    wandered away from your enemy's base. Why these structures?
    
    - Most can be killed by a single pass from only a few bombers
    - They are almost always undefended
    - They rarely have an engineer by to re-construct them quickly
    - Killing outlying engineers is a FANTASTIC way to slow down
      your opponent's economy expansion. (Iron Commander is merciless
      with this strategy.)
    - Engineers, sonars, and radars are all intel-gathering instruments.
      (Engineers have radar). Eliminating enemy intel is ALWAYS a good thing.
    
    When you've taken out the easy targets mentioned above, mass points
    that are away from your enemy's base should be taken out next. More
    appropriately, *undefended* mass points should be taken out. Don't try
    to crack shields unless you have a LOT of bombers. (More than 25). Don't
    attack mass points near aa towers or factory aa. Remember - your next mission
    is to bomb UNDEFENDED mass points.
    
    The best part about all of this bombing?  IT GETS YOU RESEARCH POINTS
    FROM COMBAT KILLS.
    
    In general, 4 air facs are the most that can be reliably kept running
    churning out air. A 5th is sometimes feasible for UEF, but for now,
    stick to 4 while you're learning.
    
    ----- Playing land as a beginner -----
    
    Ugh. This is tough to teach thoroughly to a beginner, as there's a lot
    to know about land play. In fact, I would argue that land play is
    probably 5-6 times as intricate as air or naval play - there's that
    much to know about it.
    
    Let me give you some super-general advice that will help ensure you
    (hopefully) don't get steamrolled.
    
    - You want a total of 4-5 land facs pumping out tanks (or loyalists if
      you're cybran)
    - You want 9 mass points (10 on a few maps) and 4-6 power gens, no
      more.
    - If you are in close proximity to your opponent, you absolutely need two
      factories early, making units. Open Palms is a prime example of close
      quarters.
    - Generally speaking, you want at least one factory pumping units, if not
      two, by the time you finish your mass points and power.
    
    Move toward your opponent when you have at least 10 tanks. Send an engineer
    to make a forward radar that covers at least some of your opponent's base.
    (Remember, the guy across from you). You are looking for one thing and
    one thing only: grey diamonds. Those are enemy ground units. More importantly,
    look for grey diamonds super-imposed on grey squares. Those are ground
    units being produced by factories. This tells you how many land factories
    you're up against. If there are more enemy units than you have, don't attack.
    Keep your units massing in the middle, knowing you'll eventually need to go
    to battle. If you are cybran or UEF, begin mixing in say 1 mobile artillery
    unit for every 3 tanks or loyalists you make. arty kills blobs.
    
    Do not engage point defense structures with only a few tanks. For
    every point defense turret you see, you want at least 7-8 tanks so as
    to not take a terrible beating. Double this figure for every PD you
    see under a factory shield. In other words, point defense means "stay
    away" to tanks. Make some mml from your factories, which out-range PD, 
    and crush the PD with your mml.
    
    There is another scenario - you could be against a new or bad player who
    hasn't read this guide, and is spamming a bunch of grey squares. Those
    are structures. If they're very tightly packed, they're point defense and
    anti-air. If they're spaced a little bit apart, they are power generators.
    If they're pretty far apart, they're research stations.
    
    In any case, I want you to say the following letters: "M M L". Mobile
    missile launchers. Illuminate and UEF get them for no research cost,
    but cybran need to spend SIX research points total to get "cobras"
    (the cybran mml). One you have one or more mml, CAREFULLY move it
    close to enemy structures and begin bombardment. I highly recommend
    purchasing the land range upgrade if you are UEF or Aeon. This really
    helps keep your mmls from accidentally wandering into enemy PD
    range. If no enemy units (grey diamonds) approach, build more mml and
    attack more heavily. Generally keep SOME tanks / bots close to your
    missile forces to guard them in case something approaches. 
    
    *** MML are virtually worthless against tanks. Do not over-spam them. ***
    
    The genral line of thought is that 8-10 mml is more than enough to do the job.
    If there are no enemy units (tanks, bots, etc.), and 8-10 mml can't crack
    his defenses, you need another approach.
    
    Also, move your mml back and forth every few seconds. Players who
    build mostly structures also tend to build factories with missiles on
    them.  Those missile volleys from factories can wipe out your mmls
    quickly. So keep them moving the best you can.
    
    Occasionally, you'll get close to a guy with mostly structures and
    then you'll suddenly see your units start to flash with light and
    start dying at a fairly brisk clip. This is because you are playing an
    aeon player, and they have activated what's affectionately known to
    the pros as "beamgen".  For a total of 8 research points, all power
    generators for an aeon player can be converted into
    point-defenses. This costs 500 energy to activate per power generator,
    and the target can not be selected. This capability has a cool-down
    timer, so it must be used carefully.
    
    What this mainly means for you is that ***beam-gen outranges your mml.
    Pull them back.*** You'll need to revert to another strategy to take
    your turtling, structure-building friend out. (Tactical missile launchers,
    artillery, or even gunships, if your teammate has kept the skies safe.)
    
    Approach cybran bases very carefully with your land units. ALWAYS
    ATTACK CYBRAN BUILDINGS FROM THE MAXIMUM FIRING RANGE A UNIT HAS TO
    OFFER.  Cybrans can purchase a tech called 'structure detonate'. This
    allows the cybran player to pick (almost) any of his buildings to
    unleash a MASSIVE blast that will crush any ground units and gunships
    in the immediate vicinity. Yes, he will lose his building, but he'll
    take out a lot of your units in the process. (I once destoryed 100+
    gunships by detonating a single factory!!) Most notably, cybran PD
    turrets, AA towers, research stations, and factories all have a nasty
    detonate blast. Approach with caution.
    
    Special tactis with Aeon:
    
    Remember, aeon land units can float on water.  Many times the opponent
    lined up against you builds structures, and nothing but
    structures. Normally these players are a cakewalk to beat. But
    sometimes they build nasty structures, like point-defense and
    beam-gens. If you can, use the water to your advantage and march your
    troops AROUND their obstacles, and right into, say, an undefended
    naval player's base. This is the classic move on Seton's Clutch. UEF
    navy is exceptionally vulnerable to early aeon tank raids. If you are
    playing as Aeon on Setons Clutch, and you encounter an enemy "front
    man" (opponent in front slot) who's turtling with structures and NO
    UNITS, simply take your initial tank blob along the water and hit the
    beach. You'll either take out a navy, or frustrated the guy by the
    beach because he wasn't expecting to have to defend against land so
    early. (He will be VERY mad at his front man!!)
    
    As a land player, you want to push and push hard - as hard as you can.
    Don't stop pushing until an enemy makes you stop. Focus on wiping out
    one player at a time, starting with the guy you lined up across from.
    You may see other land players move their ACU to the front as part of their
    land play. This is an advanced style of play that requires decision-making
    experience that you don't have yet, so don't try it right away.
    
    Rely on your teammates to kill things that fly. If you find yourself
    having to build more than 1-2 rare aa towers, your teammate is not
    doing his job as air man, OR, he just got overwhelmed. In either
    situation, it's best to retreat, turn off your land factories (if
    there's no land threat), and consider teching up to something more
    powerful, or trying to help your teammate out with the air situation.
    
    Some experienced players will say to just spam mobile aa units from your
    factories. I don't recommend this approach because:
    
    - You're new, and this takes experience
    - It's less mass that you get to spend on structure-killing and tank-killing
      units
    - Mobile aa takes awhile to build and takes even longer to get it where you
      need it
    - Enemy air can just run away from it
    - You shouldn't HAVE to make mobile aa in team games. Your air man should
      be doing his job
    
    If you are fortunate enough to make it to your enemy's base unhindered
    by his land units, you will begin racking up research by killing
    buildings.  Use this to further upgrade your land units, preferrably
    toward a land experimental such as megalith or fatboys. If you are
    Illuminate, do not bother with the urchinaw or willfindja - they both
    suck. Instead, tech to the teleport technology which lets your land
    units jump as a group, instantaneously, to another spot nearby on the
    map. This lets you keep up with faster units, ambush enemy ACUs, or
    get around pesky point-defence walls.  (But then again, you have mml
    for the point defence, right?)
    
    --- Important tip for moving groups of units of any type ---
    
    One of the most annoying aspects of SupCom2 is that when you have a
    group of units selected, and issue a move-order, they attempt to get
    into formation first, and then move. This has horrible implications if
    you have selected units that are far apart on the map. It can actually
    cause units to move in the OPPOSITE direction in which you order them.
    
    In general, it is a very good habit, to use control-click
    frequently. This tells the units to move to the location you specify,
    REGARDLESS of where they're at, and it tells them to not get into
    formation.
    
    ==========================================================
    Section 3: (Almost) Everything About Mass Conversion
    ==========================================================
    
    - Background: What is mass conversion? -
    
    Mass conversion refers to the process of converting energy to
    mass. Every faction has the ability to research the Mass Conversion
    technology. Once researched, this technology allows the player to build
    one or more structures called, simply enough, mass converters. 
    
    Each mass converter, when activated, instantly converts exactly 2,500
    units of energy into 250 units of mass. It is possible to select more
    than one mass converter at once, then fire them all off simultaneously.
    For example, if four converters are fired at once, then 10,000 units
    of energy are converted, instantly, into 1,000 units of mass. If you
    do not have enough energy to to fire all of the converters you have
    selected, you will not be allowed to activate them. Try selecting
    fewer mass converters such that the amount of energy to convert falls
    into the amount you actually have.
    
    Once fired / activated, a 10-second cooldown timer is then imposed on
    the any converter that was just fired.
    
    - How to determine if and when you should pursue mass conversion -
    
    Contrary to the belief of many inexperienced or casual players:
    
    - Mass conversion does not ruin SupCom2 games
    - Mass conversion is not a "noob" tactic
    - Mass conversion is almost never a good idea at the beginning of the
      game
    
    Mass conversion has many benefits and drawbacks. An experienced player
    will take into account many factors before deciding to "go
    conversion". Such factors include:
    
    - The map, especially the size of the map
    - Their location on the map
    - The skill level of their opponents
    - The skill level of their allies
    - The state of their opponents (Are the opponents attacking, turtling,
      teching, etc?)
    - Is their team generally winning or losing?
    - How long they expect the game to last
    - Style of the game (FFA vs team game, Assassination vs Supremacy)
    - The open space available to them for spamming power-generators (The
      lifeblood of the mass conversion super-economy)
    - How close are they on the tech tree already to getting mass conversion?
    - How desperate are they to pull off a miracle when losing badly?
    
    Mass conversion changes the flow of a SupCom2 game dramatically. In
    essence, it increase a player's economy exponentially. Before mass
    conversion, a typical player will have a mass income of roughly +9 to
    +12 mass per second. After a fully-developed mass conversion economy
    is up and running, a good player will have the equivalent of a ***
    +150 to +360 maMASS INCOME PER SECOND. That's anywhere from a 12x to
    30x increase in economic production. Properly utilized, it's a
    nightmare for your opponents.
    
    Many new players would ask "Wow - why *wouldn't I want that?" That leads
    to our next section, an important one.
    
    ---
    How to decide if and when you should attempt a mass conversion economy?
    ---
    
    This is a tricky section to write, because there are somewhat differing
    opinions out there. However, I think I can give some general rules that
    apply to a majority of games. There will always be exceptions to the
    guidelines below, but it should serve as an excellent starting point for
    newer players.
    
    - The earlier you are in the game, the more risky it is to tech
    straight to mass conversion. This is because the typical approach of
    teching straight to mass conversion requires investing most of your
    mass into defenseless research stations and p-gens, as opposed to
    mobile combat units.
    
    Conversely...
    
    - The later you are in the game, the more of a *necessity* mass
    conversion (usually) becomes. There is a simple reason for this: Your
    opponents have held you off to the late game, which means what you
    tried isn't working. Since they held you off, they often have the
    luxury of doing mass conversion themselves. Thus, if you don't, you'll
    eventually get crushed.
    
    The first rule above is true in any style of multi-player above. The
    second rule generally only applies to 3v3 and 4v4 matches, and
    sometimes 2v2 matches on larger maps. In 1v1 matches, you will often
    have your hands full from the start of the game, and attempting mass
    conversion just won't really be feasible very often.
    
    With regard to the above two rules, I generally keep two times on the
    clock in mind: 8:00 and 15:00. If you hit mass conversion before 8:00,
    you have taken a huge risk in your research purchases. By
    this, I mean high-risk / high-reward. Conversely, if you get 15:00
    into a game and have NOT researched mass conversion, you probably need
    to give serious consideration to making massconv your next investment
    on the research tree, unless you are nearing the end of the match.
    
    There are always exceptions and modifications to these times and
    rules, but the 8:00 / 15:00 rule is a good place to start.
    
    Now let's discuss some exceptions to the above.
    
    If you are on a small 1v1 or 2v2 map, or Open Palms (a small 3v3 map),
    you may never make it to mass conversion the whole game. This is
    because you will be in "close-quaters" combat the whole game, needing
    to spend your mass and RP on combat-oriented units and structures. The
    good news is that your opponents won't be going mass conversion on
    these maps either. And if they try, you'll crush them.
    
    Additionally, it is a huge gamble to go early mass conversion if you
    are against a team of aggresive, good players on any but the largest
    of maps.  Good players will know how to put the most offense on the
    board in the least amount of time and get it to your side of the
    map. This is not at all fun for you to have to try and address if you
    have spent your RP and mass on nothing but research stations and power
    generators. You simply won't have enough combat forces to fend off the
    attack. By the time the enemy forces are upon you, *it's too late*.
    SupCom2 is all about being prepared ahead of time. And pushing heavily
    for mass conversion early leaves you pretty much unprepared for all
    but the lightest of enemy attacks.
    
    Now for an exception that demands that you DO go mass conversion
    early. You need to learn to spot this early.
    
    You are against a team of players who are turtling and teching to mass
    conversion themselves, BUT, the nature of the map or their defensive
    posture prevents you from getting enough offense on the board in time.
    It happens a little more often than you think, especially on big
    maps. Yes, you can spam dozens of tanks and charge them early down the
    straight on Setons Clutch, but if the other team's front man does the
    same, he can easily hold you off. He is emplying a tactic called
    'stalling'. You can rush to get 3 AC-1000 terror's built around the
    7:30 mark, but by then it would be trivial for an opponent to have 4-5
    aa towers under a couple of shields - more than enough to vaporize you
    terror's.
    
    So there are times when your opposing team will be a tough nut to
    crack, and mass conversion sooner rather than later may be a
    requirement for 1-3 players on your team. Fortunately, by reading this
    section of the guide, you're going to be a far-better mass conversion
    player than your opponents.
    
    Assuming you are not in any clear-cut scenario descibed above,
    deciding when it's time to pursue / research mass conversion is all
    about experience and "feel". If you think you've got enough forces to
    deter whatever your opponents have in store for you *over the next
    five to seven minutes*, by all means, opt for mass conversion. Intel,
    scouting, and a knowledge of how your opponents play will help
    fine-tune the decision.
    
    Here are some exotic but somewhat reliable guidelines I've come up
    with that help me in the decision process, or to know that someone
    ELSE is setting up for mass conversion:
    
    - If my team does not get scouted in the beginning of the game, AND
    I'm on a big map, chances are 95% that at least 1-2 of my opponents
    are going mass conversion "out of the gate". This means at least one
    person on my team should probably go for mass conversion right away as
    well.
    
    - In an FFA of highly-skilled players, anyone who is able to kill an
    ACU and everything in their immediate vicinity will usually have
    enough research points to acquire the mass conversion technology
    instantly. If it looks safe to do so, they will almost always begin
    spamming power generators and ramping up their massconv economy.
    
    - If my team scouts within the 3-4 minute mark and we see a particular
    player with more than five power gens and/or 2-3 research stations,
    odds are 75% or higher that the player in question is bolting for mass
    conversion. We need to either attack that player asap or go massconv
    ourselves.
    
    -------------------------------------------------
    Proper establishment of a mass conversion economy
    -------------------------------------------------
    
    The first step was deciding if and when to go mass conversion. Once
    you've decided that mass conversion is the right path for you, the
    next step is to understand HOW to actually do it.
    
    This section describes how to properly set up a mass conversion
    economy, and things to keep in mind. It never ceases to amaze me at
    how many players ARE TERRIBLY INEFFECTIVE with a mass conversion
    approach.  Read this section of the guide thoroughly to avoid being
    one of them.
    
    Let's start off with some key concepts and considerations you need to
    be aware of about setting up your mass conversion economy.
    
    -- Blast Radius --
    
    Almost every structure in the game, when it is destoryed, causes SOME
    amount of damage to nearby enemy units. Many of these structures will
    also damage nearby FRIENDLY units when they are destroyed. Some
    structures, such as radars, sonars, do virtually no damage upon death.
    
    The mass converter structure, however, HAS AN ABSOLUTELY LETHAL DEATH
    BLAST. If a converter is destoryed, it will take out, or severely
    cripple, any of your other units and structures within almost a full
    point-defense's radius.  This includes other mass converters, which in
    turn will have their own blast radius and damage. This means that
    when one converter is destoryed that sits amidst a line or cluster of
    converters, a seriously devastating explosion (the equivalent of a nuke
    blast) will instantly erase that area of your base. (Think instant chain
    reaction.) 
    
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Vax Pro Warning:
    
    This death blast will also occur if you decide to self-destruct the
    converter yourself, so be forewarned.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    This large and powerful blast radius of mass converters has a few
    implications you need to keep in mind at all times:
    
    - ALWAYS guard your converters with shields. There is no excuse for an
    unshielded converter once your exponential economy is up and running!!!
    For Cybran and Aeon, it is physically impossible to research mass conversion
    without having already researched / unlocked shield structures. So you
    already have the ability to build them!
    
    - NEVER leave your ACU next to a converter. ESPECIALLY in an
      assassination game. If you are assigning build orders to make your ACU
      build converters, add a final move order that makes him walk away from them.
    
    - When possible, place your converters away from valuable structures.
    
    - If possible, place your converters next to hills / mountains /
      unbuilable terrain. This gives you one obvious advantage and another
      less-obvious advantage:
      - Terrain can frequently block direct-fire from enemy units such
        as tanks, loyalists, megaliths, or even fatboys.
      - ALSO, placing converters near terrain that won't let you build there
        means there will be less of your stuff that gets taken out by the
        death blast, should one of your converters get taken out.
    
    So now you have a decision to make - should you bunch all of your
    converters in one heavily-protected area, or spread them out?
    
    There are pros and cons to placing all of your converters in one area
    versus spreading them out. Personally, I do mine in small "clusters"
    of two to five each. 
    
    The main disadvantages of placing all of your converters in one large
    cluster are as follows:
    
    1. When one dies, they all will die. You will have no conversion
       ability until you (re)build more converters.
    
    2. When your enemy finds one of your mass converters, he's found them
       all.  Never assume that just because an enemy notices a particular
       structure of yours that he also notices one nearby. It's easier to
       hide structures than you might think.
    
    3. If your ACU is anywhere in the area when a converter gets taken out,
       he dies unless he's nearly fully upgraded on health / shields.
    
    On the other hand, the main disadvantage of spreading your converters
    is that you now have many points of "blast radius risk" in your
    base. This means there are now several potential big bangs your
    enemies could cause in your base. Using the placement tips above can
    help to reduce this risk. Additionally, going with the "spread your
    converters& 
                        

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