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Comparison and contrast between ZK and Starcraft or other RTS games.


This list outlines some of the main differences and similarities between ZK and Starcraft (other games could be added here as well). It could give a head start to players learning ZK who are already familiar with popular RTS games.


Units and UI

Give Attack Orders rarely

Nearly all mobile units can fire while moving. This means that instead of giving attack commands you should focus on the positioning of your units. Micromanagement is mostly done with Move Orders.

Right+Drag to give Move Orders

A normal right click will give a move order. But Right-Click+Drag will give a line-move order which positions your units along a line. This is a much more powerful way of giving move orders and quickly deploying formations. Units cannot fire through each other and AoE weapons are common so using line-move is required.

'Attack-Move' and 'Patrol' Orders enable Unit AI

Long ranged units with an Attack-Move or Patrol command will automatically kite. Short ranged units will attempt to dodge shots. This behaviour is not as good as a player could implement but it means units can be ignored for some seconds.


Queue Construction

Shift queuing units and structures does not reserve the resources as it does in Starcraft. Queues have no downsides.

Resources are Spent Continuously, not in Batches

Constructors and factories work by constantly draining resources to add the the progress of a project. If you are trying to drain more than your income each project will take longer.

Metal and Energy costs are equal

The cost value of a unit is both its Metal and Energy cost. As a rule of thumb try to have slightly more energy income than metal income. Both resources are equally required for production; energy is also required for some unit abilities.


The wreckage of dead units can be reclaimed for metal. This is an important part of the economy. Map features such as rocks and trees can also often be reclaimed.

Game Flow

Constantly Expand

Expansion in Zero-K is about taking control of an area and building Metal Extractors. This should be done gradually throughout the game in multiple directions at once. Defense for each Metal Extractor should be no more than a Defender or Lotus. Your Commander is a powerful tool for expanding and defending the most pressured edge of your territory.

Constantly Raid

Raiding is similarly gradual. Raid the outlying Metal Extractors, not the base.