What is a Build Order? Edit
Build Orders are fundamental to all Real Time Strategy games. Supreme Commander may have a less intensive build order strategy in comparison, but it still applies to this game.
A build order is simply the time, way or position where you place your buildings, and the order you do so. The units that you build also connect to this, but may not be strictly defined to a build order. Many skilled commanders often have multiple build orders stored in memory to speed up the process and are prepared to adapt them to their situation. A good build order optimizes the resources available later in the match, involving resource and construction mechanics.
This may seem primitive and ineffective to more experienced commanders, but it's surprising how many fresh recruits do not ever learn a build order, which can lead to their downfall and a quick nuclear detonation. To find the best build orders for any scenario, younger commanders have observed replays or operations of the higher ranked commanders.
Build Orders in Supreme Commander Edit
Note: The instructions here are based in the Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance expansion. Some may apply in the vanilla version, but no guarantees.
A generally recommended build order is the one used by the much older commanders who originally fought in the Infinite War. With a commander's ACU, they build a factory, normally land, as an air factory is very risky as their cost is more inhibitive in extremely early build order which may make a commander meet their maker much sooner. Afterwards, a commander builds a mass extractor, two Power generators, normally attached to the factory, then another mass extractor.
A factory, a pair of power generators, and two mass extractors. Seemingly simple, but at this point, the options begin to get exponentially larger, which can cause problems for commanders as they have too many options.
As soon as construction of the factory is complete, most commanders immediately begin building engineers first, from as little as two to as many as five, depending on the scenario and aggressiveness of the commander. Some commanders also choose to build a reconnaissance task force or wing, with a scout and some light bots and T1 light/medium tank tanks or fighters and bombers to accompany outgoing units. Overall, it is up to the commander, as they should play to their strengths, and if known, the other commander's weaknesses.
Supreme Commander Example Build Order Edit
In most maps, the first thing to build is a land factory, with two power generators adjacent to it. Then build four mass extractors (on the four mass deposits in closest proximity to a commander's starting location), and then put more power generators around your land factory, not building the 2 on the parts of the factory where the units exit. While your commander is doing that have your factory pump out about 20 engineers. It might seem a little drastic but it will help later. After your engineers are out have all engineers assist your commander to T2. You may run a little low on power but you won't be down for long. After that's done save up around 1000 mass and begin upgrading two mass extractors to T2, having one assisted by your ACU and engineers, then ring the 4 sides of the extractors with mass storage.
Repeat the process with all four Mass extractors, and ring them with storage. Then put down a radar installation and surround the radar tower with some T2 power generators once you have reached T2.
If done correctly, this should only take about 6 to 8 minutes.
This example, however, does not include any defenses and if it takes you 6 to 8 minutes, the enemy will likely be sending scouts or attack units your way. Your ACU will be able to defend you from a few units, but if the enemy sends a medium sized group or a few air units, you will be in trouble. Try building a couple point defenses and air defenses, 3 to 4 minutes in at the latest.
Experiment with different build orders and find one that fits your play style!
This generally is a good suit for Seraphim players, but it can make do for other factions as well. First, build a Land Factory. When it is finished, use your ACU to build four Mass Extractors. Meanwhile, build four T1 Engineers from the factory. Then build four T1 Power Generators around the T1 Factory. Wait for the Mass Extractors to be finished, then upgrade the Factory to T2. You will most likely Mass and Power stall, but that's okay. when it is finished, build four Ilshavohs and keep them around your base as a mobile Point Defense. this gives them a significant boost over normal Point Defense, and therefore their veterancy rate will be higher. Continue to build Ilshavohs, then storm the enemy's base when you have twelve or so.