User:Evil4Zerggin/Return on investment

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Pops

A regular pop costs between 25 and 100 base Food.png Food to grow at a food surplus of 1. Past 1 food surplus marginal growth drops by a factor of 10, making the marginal cost per regular pop greater than that for robots. They consume a base upkeep of 1 Food.png Food.

Regular pops are therefore fairly cheap if grown at resource-optimal rate, even when farm quantization is taken into account. If we figure an average surplus of ~2 Food.png Food, the effective cost of a pop is perhaps 50 to 100 Food.png Food, comparable to a station. But they are quite slow to build at this rate. Still, they are competitive with stations on good natural tiles.

Robots cost 150 Energy Credits.png Energy and 50 Minerals.png minerals, and consume a upkeep of 1 Energy Credits.png Energy---a greater upfront cost but arguably a lower cost in the long term. The main advantage rather appears to be their flexibility.

Buildings

Each level of a resource building costs 30 Minerals.png minerals more than the last, and generally increases output by 1 and upkeep by 1/2. Assuming no natural resources are suppressed, the first two levels are a good deal, with the first being cheap and the second not costing additional upkeep. But after that I would build stations first.

Mining stations

Mining stations cost 90 Minerals.png minerals and take 1 Energy Credits.png energy to upkeep. An output of 2 resources is typical, comparable to a building.