Scrap Management Guide
This document was written by Nathan Mates, email firstname.lastname@example.org. As
this document may be updated over time, please do not copy out its
contents to other websites. A link to
http://www.visi.com/~nathan/bz2/scrapmgmt.html is acceptable. Note:
this information is NOT provided as an official source; please refer
to the game manual for that. Please do not call or email Tech Support
for help with anything contained below.
For the official BZ2 discussion boards, please see
http://www.pandemicstudios.com/bzii/, or Activision's website at
Version 1.0. Last Updated: January 4, 2000.
BZ2, while it may seem to have a fairly straightforward/simplistic
approach to gathering scrap (resources), there is a lot of ways to get
the most tank for your scrap, err, bang for your buck. This guide
covers the following:
* Managing deployed scavengers (extractors)
* Managing free-roving scavengers
* Build order for map 'hilo.bzn'
Managing deployed scavengers (extractors)
Scavengers that have been told to go to a scrap pool permanently
change from free-roving mode to a building called an extractor. While
it may seem counterintuitive to cover the extractors first, you'll see
the rationale for that after the extractor system is covered first
[Tip: if you want to play around with things without pressures of
combat, start a 'LAN Only' Multiplayer Strategy game (or disable joins
on handin a gamespy game), and choose a map like 'ST: High & Low'
(hilo.bzn). You'll then be able to have a 'sandbox' for building
Familiarize yourself with the scrap gauge at the left side of the
screen. When you start a multiplayer strategy game, a default game
will have that gauge consist of one large vertical component, filled
with white, and count of 40 scrap below. That long component is your
recycler, and it's at maximum capacity.
For any scrap to come in from extractor(s), two things must happen:
(1) your recycler must be deployed (i.e. not a vehicle), and (2) you
must have a extractor (deployed scavenger). When this happens, your
scrap gauge will change: it will have a smaller section below the
recycler's component. If you have a second extractor, it'll also
appear below the recycler. An 'upgraded' (use a Constructor/Builder)
extractor has a red background, and is below the regular extractor(s).
Also, note this: your maximum scrap capacity (i.e. what you can have
on hand) is the sum of the capacities of all your extractors and
recycler. If you want to build anything that costs more than 40, you
better have an extractor built. Two extractors and a recycler give you
a maximum of 80 scrap .
Here's the hard facts on the three sources of scrap via extractors:
1. Recycler. Cost: N/A. Capacity: 40 scrap. Production rate: 1 scrap
every 3 seconds.
2. Extractor. Cost: 20. Capacity: 20 scrap. Production rate: 1 scrap
3. Upgraded Extractor. Cost: 80 (20 for original extractor, 60 for
the upgrade). Capacity: 20 scrap. Production rate: 2 scrap every
This points out one important rule:
Your fastest scrap producers are at the bottom of the scrap gauge.
Next, note that the current level of scrap (the white bar) is
contained somewhere within one of the segments, i.e. a specific
extractor or the recycler. That happens to be the 'active' scrap
producer-- and only one can be active at once. Anytime your scrap bar
is within an upgraded extractor, you'll get 2 scrap per second.
Anytime the scrap bar is within the recycler, you get one scrap every
From this, I conclude one very important rule about extractors: 'Time
is Money'. Consider a 3-second period of gameplay: if the scrap bar is
within an upgraded extractor, you'll get 6 scrap. If it's within a
regular extractor, you'll get 3 scrap. And if it's in the recycler,
you get 1 scrap. Thus, your scrap income depends on how well you
manage your scrap bar.
Most strategy guides for RTSs point out one thing: there's no interest
paid for keeping your money in the bank-- it's better to keep it
spent. BZ2 really reinforces that, as the lower your scrap is, the
more you'll take in. [Of course, if you spend your scrap foolishly,
just to keep it low, you're not guaranteed any success in the matter.]
Because 'Recycler Scrap' is so costly (3 seconds each), I try and keep
from using it as much as possible during a game. Say you want to build
a bunch of tanks costing 55 scrap each. The following is the time
needed to go from 0 scrap to 55, with the given equipment, sorted by
worst time first:
* Recycler only
Impossible: max scrap is 40, and your recycler will not produce
scrap without an extractor.
* Regular Extractor + Recycler
First 20 scrap (coming from extractor): 20 seconds. Next 35
scrap: 105 seconds (35*3, coming from recycler). Total time:
125 seconds (2 min, 5 seconds).
* Upgraded Extractor + Recycler
First 20 scrap (upgraded): 10 seconds. Next 35 scrap: 105
seconds (35*3). Total time: 115 seconds.
* 2 Regular + Recycler
First 40 scrap (extractor): 40 seconds. Next 15 scrap: 45
seconds (15*3). Total time: 85 seconds.
* Upgraded + Regular + Recycler
First 20 scrap (upgraded): 10 seconds. Next 20 scrap (regular):
20 seconds. Next 15 scrap: 45 seconds (15*3). Total time: 75
* 3 Regular + Recycler
All 55 scrap (extractor): 55 seconds. Total time: 55 seconds.
* Upgraded + 2 Regular + Recycler
First 20 scrap: 10 seconds. Next 35 scrap: 35 seconds. Total
time: 45 seconds.
* 2 Upgraded + Regular + Recycler
First 40 scrap: 20 seconds. Next 15 scrap: 15 seconds. Total
time: 35 seconds.
* 3 Upgraded + Recycler
First 55 scrap: 27.5 seconds. Total time: 27.5 seconds.
In the above, the biggest difference most players will see is between
2 regular + recycler (85 seconds) and 3 regular (55 seconds). That's
30 seconds off a tank's build time simply by having one more
extractor. That all comes because 'Recycler Scrap' is just so much
more costly than other methods. When I play, I try and spend out of
'Extractor Scrap' only, or dipping slightly into the recycler for
things costing say 65 if you have 3 extractors.
Also, consider your spending habits and consider skewing them around:
with 2 regulars and a scavenger and a scrap gauge around 50, it's far
better to buy a tank (cost 55) then a scavenger, rather than the other
way around. Do the math: buying the scav first will set the scrap
gauge back to 30, where it'll take 55 seconds to get to 55 scrap.
However, if you wait 15 seconds to get to 55 scrap and buy the tank,
your scrap gauge will usually be near 20 by the time production of the
tank is done. In other words: buy the expensive stuff first.
Note the following, though: for the first 12 seconds of a extractor's
time in the scrap gauge, it pauses while it starts up. [This applies
to when it first deploys and when it's upgraded.] You can see this
easily by telling two scavs to deploy at roughly the same time, when
your scrap is at zero. Both will be added to the scrap bar, but it'll
wait 12 seconds for the first extractor to start producing, and it'll
get to 20 scrap. Then, the second scavenger's 12-second dead time
starts before it starts producing scrap. This delay happens for only 1
time, though, and is unavoidable.
Given their cost of the upgrade (60 scrap), when does it make sense to
upgrade an extractor? Do the math: it'll take 30 seconds for that
extractor to produce that 60 scrap back, plus the 12-second delay.
Also, during that 12-second delay, you won't be producing anything as
opposed to 12 scrap in a regular extractor. Thus, your scrap gauge
will have to be in that upgraded extractor about 50 seconds to pay
back the cost-- or fill that segment completely just over 5 times.
Factoring in time/risk to get a (vulnerable and slow) constructor out
to the extractor, I figure that if a extractor is going to be in use
(fill up 20 scrap) for more than about 8-10 times, it's worth it to go
for the upgrade. The extractors close to your base(s) should
definitely be upgraded for a long game-- they more than pay for
themselves in a game that lasts over half an hour.
Managing free-roving scavengers
Each time a free-roving scavenger drives over a piece of scrap on the
ground and picks it up, you get 5 scrap, instantly. [Subject to
available capacity.] Also, as long as you have a deployed recycler,
they can scavenge, no need to have an extractor first.
From the above, we know that the worst time for extractors is when the
scrap gauge is in the recycler. So, the best time for free-roving
scavengers is when the scrap gauge is in the recycler. Do the math: +5
scrap when the scrap gauge is in an upgraded extractor is roughly 2.5
seconds worth. If it's in the recycler, that's 15 seconds worth of
income. It's more micromanagement to control your extractors so that
they scavenge mostly when the scrap gauge is in the recycler, but you
can get serious wins that way.
Build order for map 'hilo.bzn'
I've had a lot of practice on this map while testing stuff, so here's
my fairly well optimized build order for this map. You may have to
adapt it for other maps, as the amount of loose scrap on the ground
determines how fast you can reach the various stages. See the
directions above for playing a lan only game by yourself to practice
1) Deploy your recycler. This takes a significant amount of time, and
it travels slowly, so you may want to just tell it to deploy ASAP.
However, with practice, you may determine better locations and/or
orientations for it.
2) As soon as your recycler (key: 1) icon appears, build a scav. [Tip:
bashing the 1 key too quickly will get it ignored.] When that scav
(F1) appears, set it to scavenge.
3) Build a second scav (scrap now 0), F2 group. When it appears, set
it to deploy on the scrap pool near the starting location. Your F1
scav should have about 10-15 scrap by now.
4) Start heading towards the upper half (NW side) of the map. When
your F1 scav has collected 20 scrap (usually before F2-scav finishes
deploying), build a third scav (F3).
5) Send the F3 scav to the close uphill scrap pool, and set a nav
beacon on the mountain nearby.
6) As soon as you get 20 scrap again, build a 4th scav. [F2 group now
empty, so it'll go into F2]. Your F1 scav should be done collecting
the loose scrap near your base by now, so it's free to be pointed
7) At this point, be scanning your radar to see if your opponent is
doing the same thing topside:
7A) If they've not come up there yet, redirect your F3 scav to the far
top pool, and the F2 (4th) to the close top. Then, hightail it over
the cliff (no damage) to the 'close' (to your base) lower scrap pool,
where your 1st (F1) scav should go.
7B) If they have come up along with you, send the F2 scav to the nav
beacon, and head over the cliff to the close lower scrap pool, sending
your F1 scav to there.
8) Set a nav beacon by the mountain on the lower side. If you haven't
already, send scavs to both, and when you see them near their target
locations, set them to scavenge.
Summary: if your opponent followed the same build order, you've split
the scrap pools evenly between you (3 each, the close ones to your
base), and are in shape for some well-matched combat. However, if they
aren't ready to immediately expand, you can collect 4, maybe even 5
scrap pools, plus all the loose scrap. That's a huge tactical
advantage in the early game to be ahead in resources.
Downsides to the above: you cover a split-level battlefield. You can
go over cliffs, but your AI wingmen may want to take the long route
And, a final tip: a pair of turrets posted near an *enemy* extractor
do wonders in the early game for knocking them out (they're real
tough), and fending off the inevitable response.