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Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 Time Study Tips & Tricks

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Command & Conquer - Red Alert 2 Time Study

Document updated and maintained by Jason Heyes (
Document originally written by PyroFalkon (
Version 2.0b
Last Update: 1 November 2002


v2.0b (1 November 2003)
It's been nearly a year, but unfortunately PyroFalkon's site is down for the 
count. Luckily, IGN has decided to host my FAQs too, so it's all good. A new 
copyright notice is the only change.

v2.0a (28 December 2002)
No new information, but I've changed the look of my FAQ, as well as my legal
info. I'm now carrying my guide on my own website; you can find the URL at the
bottom of the document.

v2.0 (10 November 2001)
Second release under a new writer.

v1.0 (03 November 2000)
First release.


I've written two semi-popular time studies already (one on Age of Empires II,
and one on its expansion pack). To continue the tradition, I've decided to make
one for my newest love, Red Alert 2.

This FAQ has little fat, and a lot of meat. There's no review, no fluff talk
aside from this section and my disclaimer. I give you the info you need, and
that's that.

I assure you that this time study can't and won't help you if you're a newbie.
Check out NVarkovsky's fantastic FAQ for detailed info on missions and units if
you're starting out. This FAQ is for the vets, especially those who frequently
ally. Using this, you can accurately give your allies information on how long
it'll take before you ready your army, or navy, or whatever.

I won't go into the tech tree or what the units do. I'm going to assume you
know the game well enough that you don't need to question "what's this?" every


I'm not as interested in Red Alert 2, or PC games as a whole, as I once was.
This FAQ was never updated in over a full year, which is simply something that
should not happen. As such, I'm turning the FAQ over to Jason Heyes. You'll
still be able to get it from my website and any other website that you've been
able to get it from before; I simply won't be updating it or answering
questions on it. Everything from the end of this section are his words and
timings, not mine.

My thanks go to everyone who wrote me an e-mail complementing or condemning me
for writing this; and my thanks go to everyone who read it, whether they wrote
me or not.

Okay, enough talk. Take it, Jason.


The following study is intended for the elite class of commanders. To the
average novice the information presented here will have little bearing. The
purpose of the study is to help experienced commanders broaden their strategic
vocabulary so as to give them an edge, a slight advantage over their human

|Time as a Strategic Element|

Just as all commanders must work within the limits of the battle arena they
must also work within the restrictions of time. Most commanders take the notion
of time for granted. Few go further.

To better appreciate the importance of time we should consider two very
different types of commanders: offensive and defensive.

Offensive commanders are those who employ "rush" based tactics. They appreciate
the importance of time because they waste none. The best of these commanders
don't act prematurely though, they act when the time is right.

Defensive commanders are also aware of time but their appreciation is different
to that of the offensive commander. Some prefer to draw a game out to one final
battle which determines success or failure. And others prefer to gradually
weaken their enemy over time.

In both cases time is the fundamental strategic element at play.

|Taking Advantage of Time|

Having the answers to questions like:

* How long does it take to build an allied ore refinery?
* How long does it take a war miner to harvest $1000 worth?
* How long does it take to train a spy?
* How long does it take for my night hawk chopper to get to my enemy?

can give the commander an edge over his/her opponent.

The answers to all questions like these can be found from the methods and
information detailed in this study.

|Red Alert 2 Build-Times|

Power Plant ($800) -------- 32
Ore Refinery ($2000) ------ 80
Barracks ($500) ----------- 20
War Factory ($2000) ------- 80
Naval Yard ($1000) -------- 40
Air Force Command ($1000) - 40
Patriot Missile ($1000) --- 40
Pill Box ($500) ----------- 20
Fortress Wall ($100) ------ 4
Prism Tower ($1500) ------- 60
Gap Generator ($1000) ----- 40
Battle Lab ($2000) -------- 80
Service Depot ($800) ------ 32
Ore Purifier ($2500) ------ 100
Weather Control ($5000) --- 200
Chronosphere ($2500) ------ 100
Spy Satellite ($1500) ----- 60

G.I. ($200) --------------- 8
Engineer ($500) ----------- 20
Rocketeer ($600) ---------- 24
Spy ($1000) --------------- 40
Tanya ($1000) ------------- 40
Attack Dog ($200) --------- 8

Grizzly Tank ($700) ------- 28
IFV ($600) ---------------- 24
Harrier ($1200) ----------- 48
Mirage Tank ($1000) ------- 40
Night Hawk ($1000) -------- 40
Prism Tank ($1200) -------- 48
MCV ($3000) --------------- 120
Chrono Miner ($1400) ------ 56
Amphibious Transport ($900) 36
Destroyer ($1000) --------- 40
Aegis Cruiser ($1200) ----- 48
Aircraft Carrier ($2000) -- 80
Dolphin ($500) ------------ 20

Tesla Reactor ($800) ------ 32
Ore Refinery ($2000) ------ 80
Barracks ($500) ----------- 20
War Factory ($2000) ------- 80
Naval Yard ($1000) -------- 40
Radar Tower ($1000) ------- 40
Flak Cannon ($1000) ------- 40
Sentry Gun ($500) --------- 20
Fortress Wall ($100) ------ 4
Tesla Coil ($1500) -------- 60
Psychic Sensor ($1000) ---- 40
Battle Lab ($2000) -------- 80
Service Depot ($800) ------ 32
Cloning Vats ($2500) ------ 100
Nuclear Silo ($5000) ------ 200
Iron Curtain ($2500) ------ 100
Nuclear Reactor ($1000) --- 60

Conscript ($100) ---------- 4
Engineer  ($500) ---------- 20
Attack Dog ($200) --------- 8
Tesla Trooper ($500) ------ 20
Crazy Ivan ($600) --------- 24
Flak Trooper ($300) ------- 12
Yuri ($1200) -------------- 48

Rhino Tank ($900) --------- 36
Flak Track ($500) --------- 20
V3 Rocket Laun. ($800) ---- 32
Kirov Airship ($2000) ----- 80
Terror Drone ($500) ------- 20
Apocalypse Tank ($1750) --- 70
MCV ($3000) --------------- 120
War Miner ($1400) --------- 56
Amphibious Transport ($900) 36
Attack Sub ($1000) -------- 40
Dreadnought ($2000) ------- 80
Sea Scorpion ($600) ------- 24
Giant Squid ($1000) ------- 40

American Paratroopers ------- 240
British Snipers ($600) ------ 24
Cuban Terrorists ($200) ----- 8
French Grand Cannons  ($2000) 80
German Tank Destroyers ($900) 36
Iraqi Desolators ($600) ----- 24
Korean Black Eagles ($1200) - 48
Libyan Demo Trucks ($1500) -- 60
Russian Tesla Tanks ($1200) - 48


Note: The build-time of a unit decreases by 25% for every additional building
constructing that unit. The same applies for structures when you have multiple
construction yards.

Interesting Note: The build-time of any unit or structure is proportional to
its cost by a factor of 25. That means you can find the build-time by dividing
the cost by 25. So to find the build time for an Ore Refinery we can divide its
cost ($2000) by 25 and the result is 80 seconds. This works for every other
unit and structure. Just divide its cost by 25 and you have its build-time.

Important Note: The times listed above are measured in game seconds, not real
seconds. To understand the difference please read the next section.

|The Nature of Time in Red Alert 2 (Optional)|

The game speed option in RA2 allows us to change how fast things build and how
fast the game runs. When you change the game speed you are altering the "speed
of time" in the game. If you put the game speed on fastest (value of 6)
everything happens in fast forward like time were sped up. While if you put the
game speed on slowest (value of 0) everything happens in slow motion as if time
were slowed down. However if you put the game speed somewhere in between,
things will move around more normally. So how fast time goes by depends on the
chosen game speed.

Another way to see how time in RA2 can speed up and slow down is by watching a
superweapon countdown which appears on the lower right of the battle viewport.
We can see from watching the countdown that time speeds up and slows down as we
increase or decrease the game speed setting. If you compare your watch with the
countdown you will notice that they are usually not synchronised (they will not
be ticking at the same speed). The important thing to realise here is that your
watch indicates real seconds while the countdown in RA2 indicates game seconds.
Both are generally different in length.

|Some useful Discoveries on Time|

The superweapon countdown is like an in-game timer which we can use to time
events in RA2. Through using this timer I have come up with some useful
discoveries which might be helpful.

1. It takes about 100 seconds on average for harvesters to mine $1000 worth of
credits from yellow ore and about 50 seconds on average for harvesters to mine
$1000 worth of credits from multicoloured ore. (We assume at least one refinery
built directly adjacent the ore)

2. It takes one minute (60 seconds) for an oil derrick (tech building) to
produce $200 worth of credits.

3. Money is spent at the rate of 25 credits/sec on every unit or structure
being built at any one time. That rate increases by 25% for every additional
structure building the same thing.

4. To spend out of one category continuously throughout battle (eg. on tanks)
without falling into economic recession you need 3 harvesters mining yellow ore
or 2 harvesters mining multicoloured ore. When there is one extra structure
building out of that category you need 4 harvesters mining yellow ore or 2
harvesters mining multicoloured ore.

5. It takes 3 oil derricks to produce the same amount of credits as one
harvester does mining yellow ore and 6 oil derricks to produce the same amount
of credits as one harvester does mining multicoloured ore.

6. The cost ratio between any two units or structures tells us how many we can
buy of each for the same price.

a) tesla tank : rhino tank = $1200 : $900 = 4 : 3
So we can build 3 tesla tanks for the price of 4 rhino tanks.

b) grizzly tank : mirage tank = $700 : $1000 = 7 : 10
So we can build 7 mirage tanks for the price of 10 grizzly tanks.

c) conscript : apocalypse tank = $100 : $1750 = 2 : 35
So we can build 35 conscripts for the price of 2 apocalypse tanks.


An HTML version of this guide can be found at PyroFalkon's website, listed near
the bottom of this document.

This document is copyright 2002-2003 for J. "PyroFalkon" Habib and Jason Heyes. 
If you plan to use any of it as part of another FAQ, you need my permission 
first. However, if you plan to post it on a website or e-mail it to someone or
whatnot, you may do so without my permission AS LONG AS IT IS NOT ALTERED IN
ANY WAY. I'd like you to drop me an e-mail so I know where you're going to take
it, but I will not require you to do so. You may download it or print it at
your leisure.

The most updated version will always be found at these sites:

Other sites may have up-to-date versions, but check GameFAQs or IGN first.


I'm a stratagist and my email is I welcome all
non-offensive e-mails. If you found a mistake, or I missed something, or you
wish to offer comments, or wish for me to elaborate on something, e-mail me.
I'm open to conversation about stuff in general but my interests lie in games,
movies, programming, mathematics and physics. My favourite games at the moment
are RA2 (of course) and ThiefI/GOLD/II. My favourite movies are The Terminator,
Predator and Taxi Driver.

Good luck in Red Alert 2, and may you not get too distracted by Tanya's big
round... er, eyes.
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