StarCraft® II

MULEs vs Injects vs Chronoboost

Posts: 7,097
Is a bad comparison. I see this all the time on the forums, and I want to tell you what the more accurate comparison is in terms of mechanical difficulty and consequence. In order of Terran, Zerg, and Protoss:

MULEs vs Morphing Larvae vs Chronoboost.

And on the other hand,

Production vs Injects vs Warping In.

Obviously this isn't a completely accurate comparison since Injecting doesn't give you units but morphing Larvae does, but it's the closest you can get. This is because when you miss a MULE, all you lose is mining time, so you have less money. When you forget to make a round of Drones, again what you lose is mining time.

It's about the same because if you miss a MULE, you don't have enough Minerals to constantly produce out of your Barracks, and when you do call it down you have too many Minerals for all of your Barracks and you have to over-build something or build a CC.

On the other hand, if you forget to make a round of Drones you have less money to build more Drones and Units, so you have unused larvae; very similar.

Missing Chronoboosts delays your timings. If you forget a Chronoboost on your Warpgate research while you are 4-Gating, your push will hit 10 seconds later, which is forever when you are 4-Gating. If you forget a couple of Chronoboosts on your Forges to get 2-2 out in time to deal with Roach/Infestor or whatever composition, you lose a lot more units than you would have because 2-2 finishes in the middle of the battle instead of right before the battle.

All are important and different. None are more or less forgiving than the other, just different.

__________________________________________________________________________________

As for the second set, Production versus Injects versus Warping In, it's very simple. If you miss two Marines, you are missing an Inject on a single Hatchery for 20 seconds, or you are missing your Colossus for 10 seconds. Very very simple. The only difference is that Injecting does not directly give you units.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Xion's explanation of Terran production versus Larvae Injections
By Xion

A good post, it is very difficult to compare the way the different macro mechanics of each race works. The Zerg production mechanic is so different to the other races that to compare them is very complicated and difficult. Let's compare Terran and Zerg production, the most conventional and unconventional types respectively.

Terran Production Rates:
Marines take 25 seconds to build so you make 1/25 marines per second from a single barracks. Add another barracks and you make 2/25 marines per second from two barracks, so on so forth. We note that the rate of production for Terran is the reciprocal of a units build time multiplied by the number of PRODUCTION FACILITIES.

Rate of production for Terran:
P/x where P = number of relevant production facilities and x = build time of relevant unit.


Zerg Production Rates
Looking at Zerg we see a similar principle. Mutalisks take 33 seconds to build, so you make 1/33 mutalisks per second, if building one at a time. The difference is LARVAE. If you have 20 Larvae you can build 20 Mutalisks at once as you could build 20 Marines at once with 20 Barracks thus increasing the rate of production. Essentially you can make 1/33 mutalisks per second per larva. If you have 6 larvae your rate of production is 6/33 mutalisks per second. We note that the rate of production for Zerg is the reciprocal of a units build time multiplied by the number of LARVAE.

Rate of production for Zerg:
L/x where L = number of larvae and x = build time of relevant unit.


Larvae act as 'production facilities' for the sake of production rates. However with Terran the number of Production Facilities (P) depends on how many you choose to build. For Zerg the number of Larvae (L) depends on how many Hatcheries you have and how well you inject, i.e. the rate of Larvae production.

We can see that Zerg production has two layers, the rate of unit production which is reliant on the variable L, the number of larvae which is defined by the rate of larvae production.

Larvae Production Rates:

Hatchery with less than 3 Larvae will produce 1 Larva every 15 seconds for a rate of 1/15 or ~0.067 larvae per second (L/s). A Hatchery that has been injected will produce 4 Larvae after 40 seconds, or 1 Larva every 10 seconds for a rate of 1/10 or 0.1 L/s.

Hatchery with less than 3 Larvae will produce larva at a rate of 0.067 L/s.

Injected Hatcheries produce larvae at a rate of 0.1 L/s.


Using these values we can gain a more meaningful value to substitute for L in the production formula L/x (re: Zerg production rates).

Number of Larvae at a given point in time

If we want to find out how many larvae we have right NOW, say at a given point - t - we can find out the rate of production for Zerg. Given that the first Hatchery you make will not be injected it will produce larvae at a rate of 0.067 L/s. This will occur up until a point - q - where you first begin injecting your first Hatchery. From when you first injected that Hatchery (q) until now (t) minus the time that you missed injects (m) you will have had larvae production rate of 0.1 L/s. Now take away larvae that have been spent and this will be the number of larvae you will have at a given point in time

Number of larva at a given point in time for first Hatchery:

0.067q + 0.1(t - q - m) - s

where q = the point in time (seconds) you begin injecting;
t = a given point in time (seconds);
m = number of seconds you have missed injects;
s = number of larvae spent


For multiple hatcheries it depends on what time your Hatchery finishes, when you begin injecting it and how many hatcheries are involved. The rate of larvae production for a Hatchery starts at time (a) and starts at 0.067 L/s until time (i) where that hatchery is injected. From time i until time t the rate of larvae production is 0.1 L/s minus the number of seconds you miss injects by (m). If you take a to be the sum of all points at which new Hatcheries start and i to be the sum of all points at which these Hatcheries begin to be injected and minus the number of spent larvae then you can get the number of larvae at a given point t:

Number of larvae at a given time for multiple Hatcheries:

0.067q + 0.1(t - q) -0.067a - 0.034i - 0.1Hm + 0.1Ht - s

where q = the point in time (seconds) you begin injecting your first Hatchery;
t = a given point in time;
m = number of seconds you have missed injects per hatch;
H = number of Hatcheries;
s = number of larvae spent;
a is the sum of all points in time the Hatcheries finished;
i is the sum of all points in time the Hatcheries were first injected.


To give an example. I have three Hatcheries, my starting Hatchery one, the second one which finished at 3 minutes and the third one which finished at 5 minutes. I began injecting my first and second Hatchery at 4 minutes and my third Hatchery at 6 minutes. I missed 1 minute of injects from each hatch and have spent 150 larvae on drones and units. My larvae count at 10 minutes is:

0.067*240 + 0.1(600 - 240) - 0.067*(180+300) - 0.034*(240+360) - 0.1*3*60 + 0.1*3*600 - 150

= 11.52 Larvae at 10 minutes into the game.

When creating Mutalisks my production rate at time t will therefore be:

11.52/33 = 0.35 mutalisks per second.


Conclusion


Comparing Zerg and Terran production rates and the like shouldn't be engaged in on a whim. Zerg production is very complicated and depends on, when you start you start you Hatcheries and how long you have them for, when you start injecting and how many injects you miss, how many Hatcheries you have, how much larva you use and the build time of units. The only variables Terran has in production rates are the build time of units and the number of production facilities. With the number of variables that Zerg production has it can be very difficult to use as a point of comparison and how good production is completely depends on how a given game plays out.

__________________________________________________________________________________

TL;DR: The correct mechanic comparisons are Production vs Injects vs Warping in, and MULEs vs Morphing Larvae vs Chronoboosting.
Edited by Fencar on 11/28/2012 8:08 PM PST
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Posts: 610
All are important and different. None are more or less forgiving than the other, just different.


I think this about sums it up. I agree with your point that while they are each races respective macro component, they are not necessarily comparable when you want to talk about their specifics.
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MVP - StarCraft
Posts: 22,504
Excellent post, Fencar. Different and important macro mechanics and important and different. Starcraft II has diversified the races beyond the level that Brood War did, which was considerable already. Granted, there's been problems that need solving, and HotS is an effort to solve the many shortcomings of WoL. Many threads already about that, even as I type, so I won't go into detail

That said, have you seen my thread on offracing yet, Fencar? "No Offracing Allowed." The community is making a push to solve an issue that has plagued SC2 from the beginning.
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Posts: 10,506
11/02/2012 11:32 AMPosted by Fencar
None are more or less forgiving than the other, just different.


I think people often think otherwise because terran production for example is:

make scv
make barracks units
make factory units
make starport units

Where as zerg it is

inject

Production is centralized and this is what makes larvae injects the most forgiving/least forgiving, where everything in a cycle depends on the hatchery/inject a terran cycle is split between different structures.

It ends up being equal.

Miss a whole cycle of production as terran? Is the same as zerg inject if scvs are missed as well.

While terran can make more production, zerg makes more hatches...

It is pretty darn similar ;)

BTW I think I would include MULES as part of production as well because MULES are largely there to make up for the deficit of SOOO many production buildings.
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Posts: 4,510
They are are different but it does not mean their balanced.
Zerg can allin and drone behind it because they have an exponential economy.

Zerg can 7 pool and do no damage and still be in the game because of an exponential economy.

Zerg can take a free third base with no way to punish it. This allows the exponential economy to kick in much faster which allows them to have 200/200 armies when the other player is at 120 - 140 supply.

Larvae inject allows Zerg to not have to invest in more production which means Zerg can have bigger armies quickly and don't have to commit to a tech path unlike Terran or Protoss.

Exponential economy of larvae inject allows zerg to always be ahead of terran and protoss if they decide to play greedy except Zerg also have the choice to just go kill him because of exponential production.

The worst part is then you add infestors and broodlords which means even with the forgiving macro mechanics they still win because the only thing that can beat it is a money vortex.
Edited by Memadbyte on 11/2/2012 12:11 PM PDT
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Posts: 10,506
Zerg can allin and drone behind it


That means it isn't an allin.
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Posts: 6,974
11/02/2012 12:14 PMPosted by fingrknitter
Zerg can allin and drone behind it


That means it isn't an allin.


6 pool with drone pull is really the only zerg all in.
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Posts: 10,506
11/02/2012 12:18 PMPosted by Ruin


That means it isn't an allin.


6 pool with drone pull is really the only zerg all in.


Well technically, the only all in is one where all workers are pulled but people extend that term beyond the extreme of actually sending ALL you workers.

Is the agreed definition of all in when you stop making workers?
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Posts: 7,572
The forums seem nice today.
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Posts: 7,097
Excellent post, Fencar. Different and important macro mechanics and important and different. Starcraft II has diversified the races beyond the level that Brood War did, which was considerable already. Granted, there's been problems that need solving, and HotS is an effort to solve the many shortcomings of WoL. Many threads already about that, even as I type, so I won't go into detail

That said, have you seen my thread on offracing yet, Fencar? "No Offracing Allowed." The community is making a push to solve an issue that has plagued SC2 from the beginning.
I have, but I couldn't think of anything to say that hasn't been said besides "+1" so I just clicked "like" and moved on.

11/02/2012 12:14 PMPosted by fingrknitter
Zerg can allin and drone behind it


That means it isn't an allin.
It's aggressive. Any player who does an aggressive build or strategy will be behind if he:

  • Trades unevenly.

  • Doesn't do damage.

  • Doesn't force enough money spent on defenses.

  • A Zerg can usually do one or two of these things more consistently, but he has to do it while microing his Banelings correctly, making sure they don't hit stray units while making sure he keeps making Hatcheries, Injecting, spread Creep, making sure to make enough units to be effective but not so many that by the end of it he has 40 Drones to 40 SCV's, and managing Gas and upgrades.

    With all of this in mind, I think being aggressive --but not all-in-- as Zerg is harder than it looks.
    Edited by Fencar on 11/13/2012 3:47 PM PST
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    Posts: 10,506
    It's aggressive. Any player who does an aggressive build or strategy will be behind if he:

    Trades unevenly.

    Doesn't do damage.

    Doesn't force enough money spent on defenses.


    Or...if he doesn't pull an economic advantage because of it (another expansion, continues to drone).

    11/02/2012 12:26 PMPosted by Fencar
    With all of this in mind, I think being aggressive --but not all-in-- as Zerg is harder than it looks.


    This is why I am not good as zerg; for me protoss is easier because you can be very aggressive but still manage to pump probes the whole time, I get queezy as zerg when I have to choose drones or army :S
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    Posts: 10,584
    11/02/2012 12:22 PMPosted by fingrknitter
    Is the agreed definition of all in when you stop making workers?


    All-in is either you win or lose. If the game can continues, it cannot be an all in.
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    Posts: 10,506
    11/02/2012 12:36 PMPosted by Magnijung
    Is the agreed definition of all in when you stop making workers?


    All-in is either you win or lose. If the game can continues, it cannot be an all in.


    I kinda meant the loosely applied use of it. An ACTUAL all in would have to have 0 minerals, gas and have ALL units attacking and the ones that can't attack soaking up damage.
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    Posts: 7,097
    11/02/2012 12:36 PMPosted by fingrknitter
    This is why I am not good as zerg; for me protoss is easier because you can be very aggressive but still manage to pump probes the whole time, I get queezy as zerg when I have to choose drones or army :S
    You and me both. XD

    11/02/2012 11:45 AMPosted by fingrknitter
    BTW I think I would include MULES as part of production as well because MULES are largely there to make up for the deficit of SOOO many production buildings.
    I don't include MULEs as part of production because you have a choice between MULEs, Scans, and Supply Call-downs. You have choices in this ability, similar to choosing to build Drones, Larvae-intensive army, Gas-intensive army, or spending Chronoboosts on Forge upgrades, Probes, or your high-tech units.
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    Posts: 719
    Bumping this because its a smart and nicely written post.
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    Posts: 7,097
    11/02/2012 06:53 PMPosted by SunnyD
    Bumping this because its a smart and nicely written post.
    You're nice. :D
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    Posts: 7,097
    11/02/2012 07:02 PMPosted by HEF
    I still believe that economic boosters should be earned not granted.
    Remembering to Chronoboost, MULE, or make Drones is earning it is it not?

    Any one of these can be substituted for something that benefits your army; Chronoboost can be used on Warpgates, you can Scan instead of MULE or use the MULE to repair, or you can make Roaches or Zerglings instead of Drones.

    It is often necessary to do so because of enemy timing attacks, and as such you are 'earning' the boost by using it to defend/attack at the right times instead of only using it for your economy.
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    Posts: 736
    A good post, it is very difficult to compare the way the different macro mechanics of each race works. The Zerg production mechanic is so different to the other races that to compare them is very complicated and difficult. Let's compare Terran and Zerg production, the most conventional and unconventional types respectively.

    Terran Production Rates:
    Marines take 25 seconds to build so you make 1/25 marines per second from a single barracks. Add another barracks and you make 2/25 marines per second from two barracks, so on so forth. We note that the rate of production for Terran is the reciprocal of a units build time multiplied by the number of PRODUCTION FACILITIES.

    Rate of production for Terran:
    P/x where P = number of relevant production facilities and x = build time of relevant unit.


    Zerg Production Rates
    Looking at Zerg we see a similar principle. Mutalisks take 33 seconds to build, so you make 1/33 mutalisks per second, if building one at a time. The difference is LARVAE. If you have 20 Larvae you can build 20 Mutalisks at once as you could build 20 Marines at once with 20 Barracks thus increasing the rate of production. Essentially you can make 1/33 mutalisks per second per larva. If you have 6 larvae your rate of production is 6/33 mutalisks per second. We note that the rate of production for Zerg is the reciprocal of a units build time multiplied by the number of LARVAE.

    Rate of production for Zerg:
    L/x where L = number of larvae and x = build time of relevant unit.


    Larvae act as 'production facilities' for the sake of production rates. However with Terran the number of Production Facilities (P) depends on how many you choose to build. For Zerg the number of Larvae (L) depends on how many Hatcheries you have and how well you inject, i.e. the rate of Larvae production.

    We can see that Zerg production has two layers, the rate of unit production which is reliant on the variable L, the number of larvae which is defined by the rate of larvae production.

    Larvae Production Rates:

    Hatchery with less than 3 Larvae will produce 1 Larva every 15 seconds for a rate of 1/15 or ~0.067 larvae per second (L/s). A Hatchery that has been injected will produce 4 Larvae after 40 seconds, or 1 Larva every 10 seconds for a rate of 1/10 or 0.1 L/s.

    Hatchery with less than 3 Larvae will produce larva at a rate of 0.067 L/s.

    Injected Hatcheries produce larvae at a rate of 0.1 L/s.


    Using these values we can gain a more meaningful value to substitute for L in the production formula L/x (re: Zerg production rates).

    Number of Larvae at a given point in time

    If we want to find out how many larvae we have right NOW, say at a given point - t - we can find out the rate of production for Zerg. Given that the first Hatchery you make will not be injected it will produce larvae at a rate of 0.067 L/s. This will occur up until a point - q - where you first begin injecting your first Hatchery. From when you first injected that Hatchery (q) until now (t) minus the time that you missed injects (m) you will have had larvae production rate of 0.1 L/s. Now take away larvae that have been spent and this will be the number of larvae you will have at a given point in time

    Number of larva at a given point in time for first Hatchery:

    0.067q + 0.1(t - q - m) - s

    where q = the point in time (seconds) you begin injecting;
    t = a given point in time (seconds);
    m = number of seconds you have missed injects;
    s = number of larvae spent


    For multiple hatcheries it depends on what time your Hatchery finishes, when you begin injecting it and how many hatcheries are involved. The rate of larvae production for a Hatchery starts at time (a) and starts at 0.067 L/s until time (i) where that hatchery is injected. From time i until time t the rate of larvae production is 0.1 L/s minus the number of seconds you miss injects by (m). If you take a to be the sum of all points at which new Hatcheries start and i to be the sum of all points at which these Hatcheries begin to be injected and minus the number of spent larvae then you can get the number of larvae at a given point t:

    Number of larvae at a given time for multiple Hatcheries:

    0.067q + 0.1(t - q) -0.067a - 0.034i - 0.1Hm + 0.1Ht - s

    where q = the point in time (seconds) you begin injecting your first Hatchery;
    t = a given point in time;
    m = number of seconds you have missed injects per hatch;
    H = number of Hatcheries;
    s = number of larvae spent;
    a is the sum of all points in time the Hatcheries finished;
    i is the sum of all points in time the Hatcheries were first injected.


    To give an example. I have three Hatcheries, my starting Hatchery one, the second one which finished at 3 minutes and the third one which finished at 5 minutes. I began injecting my first and second Hatchery at 4 minutes and my third Hatchery at 6 minutes. I missed 1 minute of injects from each hatch and have spent 150 larvae on drones and units. My larvae count at 10 minutes is:

    0.067*240 + 0.1(600 - 240) - 0.067*(180+300) - 0.034*(240+360) - 0.1*3*60 + 0.1*3*600 - 150

    = 11.52 Larvae at 10 minutes into the game.

    When creating Mutalisks my production rate at time t will therefore be:

    11.52/33 = 0.35 mutalisks per second.


    Conclusion


    Comparing Zerg and Terran production rates and the like shouldn't be engaged in on a whim. Zerg production is very complicated and depends on, when you start you start you Hatcheries and how long you have them for, when you start injecting and how many injects you miss, how many Hatcheries you have, how much larva you use and the build time of units. The only variables Terran has in production rates are the build time of units and the number of production facilities. With the number of variables that Zerg production has it can be very difficult to use as a point of comparison and how good production is completely depends on how a given game plays out.
    Edited by Xion on 11/2/2012 11:15 PM PDT
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    Posts: 7,097
    Xion, great post. Mind if I quote you and put it in the OP?
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