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Any time a unit with more a more powerful or sophisticated weapon, armor, or chassis is ordered to be built, that unit is a Prototype. As they require a great deal of research and development, a prototype costs 50% more minerals to complete than subsequent units of this type will. A prototype unit gets +1 to morale, since new technologies are put in the care of elite forces.

Build completion is done sequentially in the base sequence as shown on that unsorted display ‘Base Operations’ display (‘F4’); once a prototype is complete, units constructed later in the queue, even if built in that same turn do not have to pay the prototype penalty.