OpenRA Guide: Chapter Two: Time, Build orders and shortcuts!

In theory, time is the single most game-winning aspect of OpenRA. Time determines everything. How quickly you build your base, how quickly you micro-manage your army into battle, how quickly you construct a nuclear missile. It determines the entire outcome of the game.

economy and early harrasment

Look at this picture. Which player do you think will win first? At about 3 minutes, Player "Polish Army" (blue) has expanded to two different ore fields and has a secure base with a Yak. Player "British Army" (Purple) has his ore refinery situated far from the intended ore field and most likely has no money! On top of that, he also has a submarine pen in a small lake which serves no purpose. A waste of time and money! All Polish Army has to do is fly his yak over and attack "British Army's" one power plant and bam! Low power for him, making him even more far behind than he already was. Polish Army did a very good job of planning, placement and expanding. He ended up winning that one easy.

Time Zones

Their are certain "Time Zones" you need to recognize in-game.

"Starting" Timezone - player has just started to build his base, has very limited structures, seldom has defenses and has only a couple infantry. Starts to build economy. (0:00-1:00)

"Expansion" Timezone - player's base is still under construction, player has some defenses and infantry out. Economy is increasing, Player is expanding to conquer more ore. (1:00-3:00) In some circumstances if fast aircraft build order is used the player might have a yak or hind.

"Production" Timezone -player's Base has decent Defenses and has a small amount of units and infantry. Light tanks, Artillery, V2 Rockets are possible in this time Zone, player is looking to expand and produce armies for attacking. (3:00-7:00)

"Standard" Timezone - All Players have adequate defenses and economy. Has an army built up for attacking, Has successfully expanded. (7:00-13:00)

"Attacking" Timezone -Players Economies are in full time. Players are engaged in attacking, super weapons are possibly used at this point. (13:00-18:00)

"Standstill/Endgame" Timezone - The teams at this point are at a standstill, (ore is used up, no armies left, all super weapons used and have been destroyed) teams are most likely balanced because of this standstill. Endgame point. (18:00 - ~)

Time most importantly encompasses how fast you build your base and still have a strong structured economy. Almost ALL players have a certain way they build their base. This is called a "Build Order".

Build Order - A certain order a player uses to create his base, defenses, units and super weapons in a fast timed manner and still maintain a structured economy.

Most players have perfected their build orders. Experienced players have several build orders for different factions and map layouts, which allows the players to be dynamic in any game and in any circumstances.

So you're probably wondering, well what's a good build order? Well, here are a few sample ones you can use:

For a fast tank build order (allies or soviets) go: Deploy> Power plant >Barrack>Ore Refinery>War Factory>Ore refinery>Service Depot>Start Producing Tanks!

yak rush build order

For a fast aircraft build order (soviets) go: Deploy> Power plant >Barracks>Ore Refinery>Radar Dome>Airfield> Yaks

These are just a few simple ones but in order to establish a great Build order you must do some experimenting yourself. Find out which Build order fits you; what kind of player are you? A defensive or offensive Player? Do you like to use naval units or aircraft? Infantry or vehicles? Find out what works for you!

Let's say you have a build order that works and you want to perfect it. First off you should understand the use of shortcuts.


"Shortcuts" are keyboard commands that you can use to cut your build order time down by seconds! An example would be after you deploy your MCV, instead of clicking the "Build Power Plant" button you could just press "P" instead, Then when it is complete press "P" and Right click to place it in desired spot! The next step is to re-memorize your build order's Building Shortcut keys!

Using the Example "Fast Tank" Build order: Deploy> Power plant >Barrack>Ore Refinery>War Factory>Ore refinery>Service Depot>Start Producing Tanks! The "shortcut" keys would work as followed: Deploy> "P" >"B">"E">"W">"E">"D">Start Producing Tanks! Try doing this build order without the Shortcut keys and record your time, then try it with shortcut keys and compare the two, I promise your time will increase by at least a couple seconds using shortcuts.

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About Giampaolo Rossi.

Fond of computer and video games. Stay informed of the latest news on games for Linux and Android. The future of gaming is in Linux. All you need to know about How to play Windows games on Linux.
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