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On the top of the display, you have two meters. One of them is white and represents "command".
Command is required for building units, buildings and ordering aircraft. At the start of the game most of your command income will come from base command income, which is by default set to 25 per second. You can increase the amount of income you get beside base income by capturing flags:
Flags are the main command income generating object in the game. They will start giving you income once you capture them, starting at their base rate which can be seen over the flag at the start of the game. The income rate however will increase over time, proportional to the time you had owned the flag. If someone else captures the flag then the income will reset. It is CRITICAL to capture high value flags in the back as early as possible and to guard them, while those near the front line will change hands many times and are thus less important.
Terrain flags can be captured by moving either rifle, submachinegun soldiers or soviet commissars within the flag's radius (at start white and subsequently team-coloured ring around the flag post). The more troops there are the faster it gets captured. For most factions a single soldiers will capture in 10 seconds, but soviet players will require either the whole squad or a single commissar to achieve this effect. Sea flags can only be captured by armed boats and amphibious tanks. Rafts and dinghies will not work.
You do not need to keep them there after the flag has been captured, but it is wise to do so as minimal protection against enemy capturing skirmishes with a single soldier or commissar (they are invisible until very close but have only a pistol) snuck behind enemy lines.
Managing you economy well is perhaps the most important key to success. When you start playing, absolutely do not build 10 engineers as every engineer building something wants to drain up to 15 command per second and you only have enough command income at the start to support HQ infantry production and a single working engineer. Having 10 of them will only speed up whatever it is they are building at the expense of other production. Thus it is far better to invest 9*300=2700 command used for building excessive engineers into more useful units. It is also not possible to speed up factory production by having engineers or other units assist.
Speaking of that, always have the headquarters building producing infantry squads, they are the cheapest there! You may want to set your headquarters on REPEAT and then to build one infantry squad. After it is finished building the game will submit another order for them to be built and so on:
Factories cannot be assisted by builders. Below are some informative command drain figures:
|Unit||Command points per second max|
|Towed gun factory||50|
|Upgraded boat yard||100|
The other meter at the top is yellow and represents logistics, which is for all intents and purposes equal to ammunition.
Ammo is consumed by anything other than small arms, grenades and RPGs. Beware that when your logistics/ammo in storage drops below 50 (not 50%, but 50), your infantry will receive a 30% rate-of-fire penalty. See the image below to learn how to see ammo usage of a unit.
Your ammunition is stored both in units themselves (you cannot take it out yet) and in special buildings called "storages". You always get one free storage when you start the game. For soviets this is a truck that can deploy into a building for added protection and back again, but all other factions have it as a permanent building. You can build more storages using builders (every storage gives you roughly ~1000 additional ammo storage capacity). Each faction also has a unique storage upgrade for late game. These are usually expensive per amount of storage gained, but often have additional desirable properties.
Storages are refilled every seven and a half minutes (think of a supply convoy reaching you) and the time until refill is indicated above the yellow bar. The only other way to refill ammo is to be japanese and upgrade your storages as they slowly refill all the time.
Never build storages at the frontline, they are very fragile, expensive and they are not helpful there. You don't want to lose them. Instead, build it somewhere behind your base, preferably as far away from the enemy as possible. It is also recommended to protect them against infantry raids by placing some soldiers around them and against vehicle/tank raids by walling of the area with tank traps and placing anti-tank infantry at the openings. Be careful to always put a space the size of two storages between them to prevent a chain reaction if one of them is destroyed.
Supplying units with ammo
However it is not enough to just have ammo in storages, ammo-using units must also be re-supplied with it. For re-supplying units, you need them to be in supply radius around a supply provider. Supply ranges will be indicated by yellow dotted circles if your hover over any of your supply providers. The size of this radius depends on the provider and is listed here from smallest to greatest:
- support troop carriers: This is only available in the light vehicle yard and large supply depot. Its range is the most limited of all ammo suppliers, but it can supply ammo on the move without needing to pick it up. Use it to follow tanks, so they are supplied when making a breakthrough. In addition it can carry troops and usually has a machinegun, this makes it an excellent support vehicle
- infrantry landing boat
- tank landing boat
- factories: these are the providers you start with. They are essential for giving newly-built units their initial ordinance load. You may want to set your factories destination to still be within range of the supply so they dont go into battle almost empty.
- deployed transport trucks: in every factory except tank yards there is a unit called a truck, which costs about 500 command. To use it, build it, then send it of to some map area and press the deploy button. After it is deployed (it will take roughly 20s), It will supply all units with a factory-like radius around it.
- Large Supply Depot: This is mostly later in the game as you can only build it using construction vehicles. This building's supply range is huge, it can cover half of a small map. In addition it has the ability to build trucks and halftracks and stores some minimal ammo itself.
The above supply units do not just resupply units, they also make infantry fight better! Currently, infantry within supply range gets a 30% rate-of-fire boost.
You cannot afford to build all factories in normal games, usually you can only have one at start and more later. It is therefor important to decide on what type of units you will build. When playing team games it is important to coordinate on what types of units you will specialize in. The basic choices range from infantry, guns, light vehicles and aircraft. Later on you can build tanks if you have a vehicle or gun yard or ships if you have a barracks. In addition all yards have an upgrade option that will unlock more specific choices, these upgrades are expensive and take time however. Some units can counter other types better than others. For example: light vehicles will do very well versus infantry, however most of them will be useless against aircraft or tank destroyers. Meanwhile tank destroyers will be almost entirely defenseless against infantry, in most cases. Tank destroyers are a hard counter, as are some anti air vehicles, however some are not hard counters and can be used universally. In contrast tanks are in most cases jack of trades and can be used almost universally, some even have light anti air capabilities.
Knowing about the line of sight system in S44 is very important. Some units are weak and have excellent sight, while others are powerful but can't see a thing. And a big gun is quite useless if it does not see where to shoot at. It is recommended always playing in the line-of-sight overlay, which you activate by pressing 'L' on the keyboard. Tanks and other vehicles are pretty much blind, you always need to escort them with infantry! Nothing more frustrating than your brand new 10000 command tank getting killed by a simple grenade! Another perk is the fact that artillery become more accurate the more they shoot at a locked on target. There are two special-purpose scouting unit types available in S44: -> Binoculars: While this unit may appear blind, it has a special attack ability, which reveals a target area when you order it to attack the ground attack. You can get this unit only from a barracks and only in a squad with other units: mortars, machineguns, snipers and infantry guns where applicable. -> Scout plane: This is the long-term intelligence gathering unit. Should I build tank destroyers or not? Send a scout and see if they are building a tank yard! This unit is available in the headquarters and the radar once you request it, there is a 15-second delay before it spawns. If you return it safely back to base, you even get up to 750 command back, making the cost of knowing what to do be only 250 command.
Remember to always make lines with your infantry so that they don't all get killed in one lucky cannon shot! Try to leave atleast two soldiers of space between soldiers for the same reason. By holding and dragging the left mouse button you can issue a formation order for multiple selected units. When Attacking, always use the FIGHT command. That way, your soldiers will automatically stop and engage the enemy, making them more accurate and preventing them from going in too deep. Beware that spring currently likes to blob nits together if they are moving over longer distances or non-flat terrain. Issue multiple line-move FIGHT orders in that case. Double clicking quickly on the ground will issue a fight order. If it looks like you are going to lose a skirmish, it may be advantageous to retreat the force and later regroup them with newly-built units. Using regular move commands and to lose a few soldiers while running away. Infantry also have a drawback, when under too heavy fire they will become scared and stop doing anything for a little while. Always keep tanks behind your infantry lines, they outrange the infantry's sight anyway and will only get hurt after being spotted by enemy infantry. Only move them forward if you are purposely tank rushing the enemy base (such as to kill their logistic storage). If the enemy has entrenched himself and you do not have tanks, you will need to use support weaponry to drive them out. Always keep a squad of mortars and a scout (the binoculars guy) on the standby for this, you can also use regular artillery for this. Once you have sight, the artillery will lock on to the target very fast (some 10s) and become a deadly weapon. Or, if you are playing germany or japan, you could use the Nebelwerfer (self-propelled gun yard) or 200 mm mortar (barracks).
When you are ordering units that move at different speeds, use CTRL-fight to make the faster ones slow down You can also use the guard command to protect a targeted unit.
7) AIR SUPPORT
In order to use aircraft you need a operational radar, it can build like most other building. Once you have it operational you can order aircraft sorties which will cost you command. When the sorties is purchased you then must tell it where to strike. One or more, usually 4, aircraft of specialized type will move to the designated area and attack units in that area. Some aircraft will attack on their own while others need to be explicitly assigned a target. You can ofcourse give them commands like any other units, but with three restrictions. The first is that much like infantry aircraft are subject to fear, when under fire they will retreat and sadly usually crash. All aircraft have fuel, once it runs out they must retreat and fly back outside the map. Last but not least most aircraft have ammo, they cannot be resupplied, once it is exhausted they fly back, however they do not use your logistics. Also note that aircraft when they return in one piece will return 50% of its investment.
8) NAVAL OPERATIONS
To build ships you require a naval yard, which in turn requires a barracks and a deployable pontoon truck. The pontoon truck must be moved to a deep water area and then once deployed ships can be built from it. Ships have a unique thing to them, they have separated turrets that can fire on their own and be supressed too. Turrets cannot be destroyed, but if their health drops to zero they will be disabled and need to be repaired to work again. Likewise every turret has its own ammunition storage and needs to be resupplied to work. In addition turrets have limited firing arc, making the units position and manouvering even more important. To capture land you also have the ability to build landing craft, that unlike dinghies, already come preloaded with units. However dinghies require no naval yard and can be built by engineers, these are a simple and quick means to cross water. Ships are vulnerable to artillery and anti tank from land, these are the best means to fight them off.
If you like spring 1944 join the #s44 channel and don't hesitate to ask the regular players if you have any questions or suggestions. Note that s44 is a constantly evolving and changing game, new mechanics can be introduced anytime. Good luck and have fun!