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In StarCraft 1, I didn't halt worker production until I had 3 for every 2 mineral patches, and 3 for each vespene geyser. This was my own personal guideline, and I have no idea how efficient/wasteful it was.

What's an appropriate guideline for maximum income rate in StarCraft 2? Does it differ by race?

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up vote 53 down vote accepted

I know some people have answered this but I thought I could add a little data.

For gas, full saturation is 3, however the third isn't worth as much as the first two. As a result its worth getting a second geyser before putting a third worker on the first.

This is also true for minerals as shown by this graph: alt text

As you can see after your first 16 workers the gain per worker starts to decrease dramatically. As a result when you start an expansion you should shift any excess workers (over 16) to the new expansion.

The original research can be found in this paper: Worker Income Efficiency in Starcraft II By Chet 'Cheticus' V. The paper reports original data collection and methods, as well as the formula's uses for the 'least squares regression.'

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Can you cite the formula for that graph? –  Joe Philllips Jul 23 '10 at 3:56
    
@Joe added to my answer –  tzenes Jul 23 '10 at 15:46
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It does show that 24 works gathers faster than 16 though based on the graph. If you have 24 at all expansions you'd be gathering faster than just 16. –  ioSamurai Sep 3 '10 at 17:06
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@Juan box all my workers and preform the following calculation: Workers - 2*Extractor - 16 = number to transfer. Box accordingly and subtract (shift click) if I have extra. –  tzenes Oct 14 '10 at 16:02
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@Juan I demonstrate the technique in this video –  tzenes Oct 15 '10 at 16:10
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Same values: 3 per gas, 3 per patch. I think that the in game tips also say that, but I got that info from looking at high-level replays.

Some players prefer less, though, for various reasons - less wasted supplies, for example.

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3 is what is necessary to "saturate" a patch or geyser.

However, I like to play with about 5 for every two patches or so and 3 on each geyser.

This almost maxes out gathering speed, wastes fewer resources, and scales nicely when a patch is exhausted.

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Since SC2 is much more economy based than SC:BW the golden rule is never stop producing workers!
If you get much more than 3 per patch: EXPAND and do a miner-slide (moving workers from main to expansion).

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This isn't that simple for Zerg.. –  gorsky Jul 5 '11 at 16:23
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