Supreme Commander - Strategy Boot Camp, Day One

You don't know Supreme Commander. You may rock at every Real-time Strategy game ever created, but you aren't prepared for the sheer size and scope of Supreme Commander. However, we can fix that. We talked right to the folks at developer Gas Powered Games, and they gave us a strategy brain dump. Just for you.

So wipe those Pop-Tart crumbs off your chin and throw away your year's supply of Mountain Dew. It's time to get into strategic shape and become an army of one. Today, we'll provide you with five of our sources' best battle-tested suggestions, certain to improve your combat capabilities in no time. Tomorrow, we'll drop some more tips and also show you three tricky scenarios you will find yourself in and how to successfully defeat them. Let's start commanding.

Show me the money
In order for you to have any chance at all against your implacable robotic foes, you're going to have to grasp one very specific detail about SupCom's economic model: it deals in income ratios rather than stockpiled resources. You'll see your Mass or Energy (the game's two resources) in terms like "+10 Mass per Second (MPS)" or "+70 Energy per Second (EPS)". This is a ratio of the amount of those resources you're bringing in per second, divided by the amount you're spending each second. So, just like purchasing a car on credit in the real world, you don't have to have all the money in the bank before you can buy that fancy new death machine - you just have to be harvesting enough resources per turn to make the payments.

A word of warning - it's all too easy to over-spend in your eagerness to churn out a massive army. You have to pay careful attention to these income ratios as you build so that you don't fall into the negative. If this happens, simply find the extra units or buildings that you'd begun constructing and in the construction controls area of the UI, pause or remove some of the ordered units until your income is back in the positive.