The resource system of Fleet operations differs somewhat from Armada II. To start with, the officer limit and crew pool have been removed from Fleet Operations.
In Fleet Operations there are three different types of resources: Dilithium, Tritanium, and Supply. Dilithium and tritanium are mined from unlimited moons.
Dilithium is a crystal, used in antimatter reactors. Tritanium is a metal that is used to build much of the space frame and interior of vessels (note that it is not the armor, as that would be duranium and other metal alloys)
An average military vessel requires large amounts of energy to supply heavy shield generators and powerful weapons. Therefore it will probably have one large - or multiple - energy cores, leading to a larger usage of dilithium.
An average science vessel (your support units) will not have very powerful weapons and shielding, but instead other systems that may consume large amounts of energy. These include systems such as high resolution scanners, special containment fields and the like. These will probably require less energy than the average military vessel, but still a fair amount. On the other hand, the very advanced sensors and science labs or computers of these vessels need a much more advanced interior than a warship like the Defiant, so their tritanium usage should be much higher. You can see this reflected in a comparison of military and support vessels.
Research consumes large amounts of tritanium, as it requires the construction of prototypes, the testing of weaponry prone to failure, as well as new facilities and other experimental measures. Usually you do not build a new power generator for every research operation, but feed them from an existing energy source - that’s why these research facilities consume much more tritanium than dilithium.
These are of course just some thoughts behind resource management in Fleet Operations. Resources had to be drastically reduced to make a real time strategy game out of the Star Trek Universe. Antimatter, deuterium, bio-proto-matter, medical supplies and Romulan Ale would also be very important resources, but the developers had to select just two major resources. Of course, you can also argue that there is no unit or relative measure given in which dilithium and tritanium are measured in game. Naturally a power generator consumes much less dilithium (let’s say ten kilograms for a large one), while a starship is made up of tons of tritanium for all its decks. For usability reasons we just measure each type of resource in "units", but one could say that tritanium is measured in tons and dilithium in grams or something like that. Obviously there are still many flaws to these ideas. For instance, Romulan vessels do not use any anti-matter based generators at all, so they would probably not use dilithium at all. And who knows what the Borg feed off of. However, it’s a real-time-strategy-game, not a simulation game - although a simulation would be a very interesting project… but perhaps a boring one too.
Spare parts, replicator proto material, nanites or Romulan Ale - all things a starship requires to operate. In Fleet Operations such goods are simply called “Supply”. When a starship leaves the yards, its loading bays have been filled with all the supplies it will need during its journey. You will have to pay the supply units required to construct a ship along with the dilithium and tritanium costs at the beginning of construction. Supplies are required for the construction of vessels, turrets, and some types of research.
The Federation, Klingons, Romulans, and Dominion can obtain the Supply resource from their respective starbases (within the build menu, at the far right). The Dominion, Borg, and Klingons also have a different way to get supplies. In addition to buying supplies from the starbase, the Dominion can mine supplies directly from dilithium and tritanium moons after having built a Ketracel Synthesizer to deposit the mined supply. When a Klingon ship levels up in battle it will recuperate a small amount of supply (for this reason, purchasing Supply at the starbase is much more expensive for the Klingon Empire). The only way the Borg can gain supplies is by building Incubation Centers, which slowly generate the resource over time.
For the Federation, Klingons, Romulans and Dominion (before building the Ketracel Synthesizer), there are two ways to set up your freighters and mining stations in the most efficient manner possible:
- Setup 1: If a couplet of moons is roughly three physical mining stations apart or less (not the footprint of the stations), with no stations in the way, you can place a single mining station between these two moons with three freighters per moon.
- Setup 2: If a couplet of moons is further than three mining stations apart (aka singlet moons), or there is a blocking trigger (or a station) obscuring the middle then you should place one mining station and three freighters per moon.
However, occasionally depending on the setup of your mining facility, two miners can be in synchrony (pay attention to the load/unload cycles). Doing this is not recommended due to how fickle the system is. Generally, you should notice a small few seconds long gap when a miner is collecting dilithium or tritanium if you have only two freighters - this is what the third miner is for. If a mining beam is on a moon at all times then you have optimized your resource situation.
Note that a three miner set-up usually is not supremely efficient, as one of the three freighters will be idle for a short while so that you don’t really gain three times as many resources as if you had only one freighter per moon. Even though building three miners seems more wasteful at first, the extra miner will pay for itself within the next few loads, and thus that player will usually begin gaining resources faster than one who has only built two freighters very quickly.
The Dominion has an additional mining station, the Ketracel Synthesizer. This facility processes supplies mined by Worker Ships. Dominion freighters can be set to two different mining modes: the regular dilithium and tritanium mining mode and the supply mining mode. Although mining supplies is faster than regular mining, it has a much slower unloading time. Generally speaking, the Dominion has the most efficient mining system when there are two miners and one supply miner per moon and two mining stations and one Ketracel Synthesizer per moon pair. However, if you have a well protected moon pair, it is advised that you have two Ketracel Synthesizers and four of their miners on one moon, with the rest of your moons being occupied by the normal three miners (no supply freighters). This will allow you to gather dilithium and tritanium as well as supply at the most rapid rates possible.
The Borg have a slightly different resource system. Borg resource processing nodes are built by the freighters themselves. Borg freighters also have a huge capacity and so only two freighters are needed to archive optimal mining conditions per moon, as these vessels will then be in synchrony.
For the Borg there is only a single optimum set up and that is to have one Resource Node and two Resource Assimilators per moon.
To avoid Resource Assimilators being unable to dock with their mining station, click the option to place the Resource Node when you are not directly next to the moon.
Actual Mining Rates
With three non-Borg miners per moon or two Borg miners per moon, the dilithium accumulation rate is about 432 per minute and the tritanium accumulation rate is about 288 per minute.
For Dominion with one supply miner and two normal miners per moon, the dilithium accumulation rate is about 366 per minute, the tritanium accumulation rate is about 226 per minute, and the supply accumulation rate is about 37 per minute. Note that these values can likewise be used to determine rates for two or even one miner per moon for the other non-Borg factions.
For Borg with one miner per moon, the dilithium accumulation is about 244 per minute, and the tritanium accumulation rate is about 169 per minute.
It is vital that you keep an eye on your resource situation at all times—especially when making a build queue or constructing new stations. You should use your resources as efficiently as possible and try to maintain constant ship production and / or research. Always plan ahead for how much resources you will need to build that brand new station or to hire that glitzy new research team while keeping shipbuilding relatively stable.
Even though the guidelines state that three miners are best per moon, be sure to adjust your mining according to your needs. Although in the early stages of a game you will likely want to maximize your resource intake by having the largest feasible number of miners per moon, later in the game you may need fewer freighters. Since you usually use less tritanium then dilithium it is wise to shuffle your miners so that you can maintain production. Do not decommission miners, as this only wastes time. If you get a resource imbalance, try to use the situation to your advantage. You can always research expensive global technologies (for the Borg these Energy Node researches are quite dilithium heavy, while for the other factions similar technologies are very tritanium expensive) or change ship classes in your build queue. Note that support vessels are more tritanium expensive than your normal ships of the line.
Ideally you should never horde resources unless you are planning on researching a costly technology or are trying to build a new yard or an expensive class of vessels. When you are not preparing to do new research or fabricate stations, ship production should leave you with negligible amounts of dilithium and tritanium. If you start to accumulate resources faster than you can spend them, it is time to build or do more research (in other words, tech up). Don’t forget to build more shipyards as you expand.
Alternatively, if you overextend yourself or your mining operations are damaged, it is not the end of the world. Stop production of bigger vessels and stations, and concentrate on rebuilding and producing more of your cheaper vessels. Even though low-priced vessels (usually early game warships) are usually less cost efficient than larger vessels, if you are suffering from a lack of resources it is wiser to produce a few of these then to wait a long time until you have the necessary funds for that expensive Sovereign class battleship.
Never forget the 95th Rule of Acquisition: Expand or Die! Even if you are “winning”, if you forget to expand and invest in mining facilities and freighters, you will eventually be out produced. Conversely, if you expand quickly enough that you cannot build shipyards and vessels fairly consistently early on you will lose - even despite that resource advantage. Usually for non-Borg factions it is wise to expand as your construction ships become idle (generally within five minutes). By that time you should have a few ships to protect your construction ships. If your mining is destroyed, do not be afraid to re-expand again and again, otherwise you will never be able to regain your footing.
Decommissioning and Cancellation
You can cancel production of any vessel or station at any point in time before it finishes and get all of your funds back. Likewise, by canceling a research before it is acquired you will regain all resources back as well. This includes tritanium, dilithium, and supplies. This can obviously be useful if a construction ship is under attack while building a station. Generally it is wise to let a construction ship finish a turret if there are only a few seconds remaining until fabrication is complete as you can usually frighten off any enemy forces with just the threat of a nearly completed defense structure.
Many ships and stations also have the ability to be decommissioned. Any station you wish to decomission must have its queue cleared first. Structures can be decommissioned in the field, but vessels must return to a yard. Although decommissioning a station is a good way to regain some of your resources if you are under attack and have no way of protecting the structure, rarely is it wise or necessary to decommission a warship. The dematerializing vessel will prevent all other ships from being able to be repaired at that shipyard and because the process is sluggish, this will slow down your recuperation significantly. Decommissioning any vessels will return 30% of the initial cost (in dilithium, tritanium, and supplies) of that unit to you.
Note that while a yard is decomissioning it is still possible to repair vessels and decomission them. This can be used to great effect in a losing battle, as ships will automatically target nearby units and be unable to preferentially target the dying (and decomissioning) station.