never ending research

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Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:06 pm

Re: never ending research

Postby AstralWanderer » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:39 pm

Never-ending research is different from a "deep tech" tree - virtually all SF games have limited research for game balance/testing reasons. So why would it be a desireable feature?
  1. Realism - It is very rare for item development to reach a final limit in the real world (consider batteries, computers, lighting) so research limits in a game tend to be artificial and arbitrary.
  2. Research strategy - assuming that empires have a finite number of research points/effort to spend, there should be a choice between specialisation (intense research on a few areas) and generalisation (less research spread over a wider area). Finite research limits specialisation since empires using it will reach the end faster.
  3. Endgame Uniformity - if the game lasts long enough, then every empire will reach the same (or similar) research levels with finite research, lessening the effect of technology at the end of a game.
However implementing "infinite" research has downsides too:
  1. Game balance becomes impossible to measure or maintain if 10,000,000,000+ levels are possible ("Double-Entry Book-Keeping 10,000,000,000: Your accountants blind enemy empires with tax avoidance, fiscal manipulation and n-level derivative trading").
  2. Non-boring ("Laser MMDCCLXVII") infinite tech-level names are hard to create.
  3. Some fields' effects may not allow for infinite development, e.g. technology for reducing fatalities from disease could never lower them below 0%.
What I would therefore suggest is:
  • Infinite technology only be considered for certain fields, where they could be counter-balanced by other tech (such as ever-improving weapons versus ever-improving shields or armour).
  • Some degree of randomness should be included (maybe as an option) for such fields to vary how quickly they can be researched and when advanced effects come into play, such as extra weapon effects.
  • Names should have a random element, so rather than Laser I to Laser XX the game might generate a progression like Basic Laser I-III, Advanced Laser I-V, Focused Laser I-IV, High-Power Laser I-VII, Ultra-Beam Laser I-IX, Super Laser, etc. At very high levels this could result in some bizarre names (Ultra-Power MegaDeath PlanetKiller Laser III) but that would still be better IMHO than most other games' limitations.

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Re: never ending research

Postby May Player » Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:46 pm

deep tech tree -> plenty of techs to choose from or to specialize at
never-ending tech tree -> include techs to do something extraordinary and not only mere few extra points for weapons or shields.

Extraordinary tech -> not something that will allow to kill all oponents but rather something to open another possibility like another galaxy, another 'space' etc. Remember 'Species 8472' from fluidic space (StarTrek Voyager)?

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Re: never ending research

Postby AstralWanderer » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:57 pm

Having the occasional "game changer" technology (alternate means of space travel, major genetic engineering offering super bonuses, significant ship enhancement) would be a cool feature but might be better left to future expansion, given what the M.O.R.E. team have to do. Such "breakthrough" techs could have the following checks to limit their usefulness:
  • Require specific research commitment, i.e. you don't get them through normal research.
  • Other races are informed that you have started research for that technology and when you're close to getting it (much like the warning given about Wonders in Civilization).
  • Any breakthrough tech with military use should worsen diplomatic relations with AI players ("Why are you developing this, if not to use against us?").
  • Penalties may apply to production empire-wide due to the demands of the research program.
  • Some technologies could have severe downsides (alternate dimensions and space travel allowing new, hostile, advanced aliens to appear - as with the Vorlon gate in the Babylon 5 film "Thirdspace"; genetic tech could result in a portion of the population being wiped out by new diseases or mutations, etc).
  • Other empires could be given a bonus to develop the same tech - much like the Manhattan Project was leaked allowing the Soviet Union to develop atomic weaponry sooner).

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Re: never ending research

Postby Andzo » Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:22 pm

I have the idea of the tech tree composed of many fields with several properties, something like that:
Field: armor
Properties: price, the necessary resources to production of the one unit, health points (HP), damage threshold (damage subtracted from the power of the weapon), maintenance, weight etc.

You can choose your own name to the armor, like: "light armor I". Then you choose properties to reasearch like price -3% (you can choose how much % you want - it has influence to the amount of the needed research points (RP)).

If you want to upgrade your "light armor I", then you choose properties again, like: weight - 3%, however this time the upgrade is more expansive (proportionally to the RP paid for the previous development of this armor), however...

...You can begin a new project, and name it like "heavy armor" and research to it a new bonuses e.g. HP + 2% etc.

Researching some bonuses may change other properties of the armor, so when you finish HP+10% then it change:
- price + 1%
- needed resources + 2%
- weight + 1%
- maintenance + 3%

This will force players to choose specialization in each field, so each empire will be unique.

In research should be the threshold of the effectivity. Above it any additional money will bring less benefits than below. It will force players to spend all RP to one technology and get it faster or spend RP to many technologies and get them later at the same price.

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