General Instructions

The objective of the game is to destroy the opposing teams' units.

Each player starts with a single commander unit which is relatively powerful on its own. It works as both a builder and a combat unit. They use it to build and defend an economy with energy generators, metal extractors, storage, factories that build mobile units.

Players try to grab as much land as possible to get resources (namely scarce metal and geothermal spots that are scattered throughout the map) while trying to prevent the opponent from doing the same.

Then they use a mix of economy advantage and clever tactics to overwhelm and defeat their opponents.

Units have basic AI : armed ones will turn their turrets and engage enemies in range even when given MOVE orders, builder units set on PATROL will repair nearby friendly units and assist construction of new ones, as well as reclaim resources from nearby map features and wreckage.

10 Commandments

10 things to know to play MF effectively:

  • 1- Use right-click-drag to move groups of units in line formation (or F-click-drag to auto-maneuver and engage enemies along the way) line formation example
  • 2- Use "B" key to cycle between build menu options
  • 3- Build enough energy generators to provide at least 15x energy/s as your metal income. It's used for construction, repairs and required to power some weapons and shields
  • 4- There are no dedicated anti-air units. Units with light lasers and missiles are cost-effective at fighting fast units and aircraft, but deal reduced damage to commanders, defenses and most bigger units (check the armor system below)
  • 5- You can start by building a construction tower near metal spots, then have it build the early base cluster while your commander moves out and expands
  • 6- Morph your commander to fit your play style! Note: get 200+ energy/s generation before starting to avoid running out of energy halfway through the morph...
  • 7- Use commander pads to revive your commander if it gets killed. It'll come back fully upgraded and experienced! You can also give one to allies that lost their base so they can keep fighting!
  • 8- Units become considerably tougher and deal more damage as they get experience. They get experience from dealing and taking damage
  • 9- Upgrade center can be used to build upgrade modules. Some permanently improve all units while others affect commanders only
  • 10- You can only stack a limited number of upgrades, so choose them wisely...

These are the basic controls, they also apply to most of the other SpringRTS Engine games.

note : "click" means left mouse button click, "right click" means right mouse button click

  • click selects units (click-drag to select within a box)
  • right click button can be used to give a default order to units selected, usually it's a MOVE order when over terrain, ATTACK order over enemy units, GUARD/REPAIR order when over friendly units
  • right click-drag can be used to order a group of units to move in line formation. THIS IS EXTREMELY USEFUL
  • click on the icons on build menu and then on a suitable nearby position to start building
  • SHIFT shows queued orders when held and allows queuing further orders. SHIFT clicking on a factory build icon queues +5 units of that type instead of +1
  • when units are selected, click on an order or use its hotkey and then left click on the target. Different units have different sets, common orders are:
    • ATTACK ("A"): attacks ground or an enemy unit (click-drag draws a circular area and queues attack orders for each enemy within, useful to target small and fast moving enemies)
    • STOP ("S"): stops the unit and removes all orders from the queue
    • WAIT ("W"): stops the unit without clearing the order queue. For builders, this can be used to stop resource drain without cancelling the build orders
    • MOVE ("M"): move command (left click-drag allows drawing line formation)
    • FIGHT ("F"): the attack-move command on typical RTS, units will move to a location but stop to track and attack enemies they find along the way (click-drag allows drawing line formation). Commanders and other builders will also reclaim wreckages and features along the way
    • PATROL ("P"): similar to FIGHT, but the unit will move back and forth between the queued patrol positions
    • REPAIR ("R"): repairs a unit or assists a unit under construction (click-drag draws a circular area and queues orders for each friendly unit within)
    • RECLAIM ("E"): reclaims features and wreckage for resources (click-drag draws a circular area and queues orders for each neutral feature or wreckage within)
    • CLOAK ("K"): toggles cloak state (on some units it also sets the fire state to "Hold fire")
    • GUARD ("G"): guards a target unit, attacks whoever is attacking it (if able) and repairs it or helps build whatever it's building (if able)
    • LOAD ("L"): for transports, loads a target unit (click-drag draws a circular area and queues load for units within)
    • UNLOAD ("U"): for transports, unloads one of the units inside at target location (click-drag draws a circular area and unload units within, spreads them randomly)
  • commander morph orders can be found on the second page of the orders menu
  • "B" key cycles through build menu filter options
  • Ctrl + click on a unit selects all units currently visible with the same name as the clicked unit
  • Ctrl + "Z" selects all remaining units with name within the set currently selected
  • "TAB" key toggles global overview mode
  • mouse wheel controls zoom in and out
  • ctrl + mouse wheel controls camera angle
Gameplay Notes

This contains a list of gameplay notes.

Some of them are written in comparison to other Spring games and Total Annihilation mods.


  • each commander has 5 distinct upgrades with unique visual and attributes
  • commanders can be respawned for 500 metal, regardless of upgrade level (respawner pad can be built by any constructor for 200 metal)
  • commander experience and upgrade state is restored on every respawn (they get stronger as the game progresses)
  • commanders no longer have a huge death blast
  • commanders have unique weapons instead of the 1-hit-kill dgun
  • commanders morph one of their weapons into a torpedo launcher while underwater
  • no decoy commanders


  • unit factories build about twice as fast as usual
  • construction towers can build all level 1 buildings
  • players are expected to build some metal extractors and energy generators before the first unit factory
  • commanders share the same build options as level 1 builders (includes geothermal, heavy laser towers, med range plasma cannons and such)
  • advanced metal extractors provide about 2.5 times as much metal/s as basic ones
  • there are no ENERGY->METAL converters (players cannot grow their economy exponentialy without grabbing more land)
  • all players get free 8 M/s and 80 E/s baseline economy
  • construction units build faster than usual when compared to commanders, unless commander picks the "Builder Form" upgrade
  • wreckages have two stages (the first provides 40% of the original unit's metal cost, the second 20%)


  • Light (L) (takes full dmg from all sources)
  • Medium (M) (takes half dmg from light hitpower weapons)
  • Heavy (H) (takes half dmg from medium hitpower weapons and quarter dmg from light hitpower weapons)

Units with light lasers, small missiles and EMG deal minimal damage to heavily armored units, so even if they are cheaper, they aren't cost-effective at fighting heavy units directly (for the same reason you can't destroy heavily armored tanks and ships with machinegun fire in contemporary warfare).

You can view the unit's armor type and weapon hit power on the tooltip. Or browse the units section here.

Taking damage reduces build and repair rates by half for 2 seconds (resource drain is halved too). This allows smaller raids to be effective even if there are enemy repair towers nearby. There's also disruptor weapons that deal paralyze damage which scales up to 3x the base amount depending on target's % missing HP and also deal 33% base damage as normal damage.


All construction units can build Upgrade Centers, which can build Upgrade Modules
  • Upgrade modules under construction cannot be assisted
  • Upgrade modules significantly improve commanders or slightly improve all units
  • The bonuses they provide are permanent and apply to all the existing and future units the player owns and builds
  • Units given to another player retain the owner's upgrades until the new owner builds an upgrade module
  • There are currently more than 20 different upgrades which have different types and categories, some can be built multiple times. Each player can only stack up to 5 minor upgrades, 3 commander upgrades and 1 major upgrade
  • They are affordable early in the game, but the limits ensure that players can't simply wait and get them all, they need to choose them wisely and pay attention to what the enemy is doing
There are also drone upgrades, which make small flying units periodically spawn above commanders and perform useful combat or support actions. They're built automatically and only drain the corresponding unit's energy cost (you do need to pay the metal cost for the upgrade once).
  • Players can opt to assist construction but then need to pay the metal cost
  • Small drones take 5s to build, medium drones take 10s, and there's a 4s delay between building each drone
  • There's a limit for maximum simultaneous drones for each type, which is currently 2 for light drones and 1 for each of the other types
  • Drones will automatically move around the commander and engage nearby enemies or assist friendly units
  • They cannot move farther than 600 distance units away from the commander and are destroyed if the commander is destroyed


  • SPHERE has unit shields that protect the owner and regenerate 2%hp/s at the cost of 4%hp E/s. There are also larger area shields that do not protect against AOE damage and cost twice as much energy to regenerate (8%hp E/s). Large Shields can boost their regeneration by draining up to 10% of maximum charge per second from nearby large shields and 1% from small ones.
    Shields take full damage from all weapons.
  • Unit ranges are a bit higher than usual, except for longer ranged artillery weapons. Typical short-ranged raiders have about 300-400, med-ranged units have about 600-800, artillery 1000-1800
  • Cloaking is relatively affordable (30-100 E/s per moving unit), but cloakable units are uncloaked when attacking. Cloakable mobile radar jammers mean that it's possible to sneak small cloaked armies into the enemy base undetected!
  • Air units are expensive. Think of them as extreme examples of fast attack units that fly out of reach of short ranged ground weapons and avoid artillery type weapons. Given the same resource investment, they're meant to lose in a direct confrontation with ground-based units (the ones that can hit them, usually armed with lasers or tracking missiles)
  • All ground units have 600 LOS and aircraft have 720 LOS
  • Idle units regenerate HP at 2+0.2%*(max base HP) per second after 25s


  • A built-in LUA AI is used, called MFAI (currently for land maps only)

The AI currently has 3 modes which currently share the land-only limitation:
  • Easy : wastes time, underestimates opponents and is more prone to let units die
  • Normal : the default mode, it's somewhat conservative with units and will wait until it's strong enough to overpower enemy positions before attacking
  • Brutal : very agressive AI with built-in resource advantage, can be very hard to beat!

Null AI does nothing. It's there for testing purposes. Other AIs may not work properly with Metal Factions.

If you're trying to start a single player game and MFAIs aren't listed on the "add bot" options on Springlobby, try clicking on "tools" > "reload maps/games" or restarting the lobby.