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Research - SotS


From SotS

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science." — Charles Darwin

Research Cost

Each technology in the game is assigned a cost in research points. The player is then required to spend money towards obtaining each technology.

Once 50% of the research cost has been spent towards obtaining a selected technology, the player begins to have a chance to make a breakthrough in the research of that selected technology. From 50% through to 150% of the designated research cost, that chance is checked for every turn that research occurs on that selected technology until the breakthrough occurs. Any technology that reaches the 150% research cost will automatically have a breakthrough.

Research is normally paid for by selecting how much of your per turn income will be diverted to the appropriate laboratories. The only time research has a stopping point before the money is spent for the turn is when the cost of researching the technology hits 150%. Consequently the only time a player gets money that was spent on research back is when passing the point of automatic breakthroughs ( 150% research ). Money allocated to research past that point is returned. Correspondingly, money allocated to research which successfully completes before reaching 150% of the technology cost is not returned.

Research Rate

The different races each have their own rate at which they perform research — that is, the rate at which credits are converted into research points toward the cost of a selected technology.

Race 24,000 Credits Simple Estimate
Liir 345 Research points Credits / 70
Human 276 Research points Credits / 87
Morrigi 276 Research points Credits / 87
Tarka 240 Research points Credits / 100
Hiver 228 Research points Credits / 106
Zuul 200 Research points Credits / 120

Thus a technology that costs 15,000 research points will cost 1,300,000 credits on average to complete for the Humans and will cost 1,043,500 credits on average to complete for the Liir, for example.

Boosting Research

It is also possible to directly place funds from the central treasury into researching the selected technology via the "Boost Research" option in the Research interface. Any credits used to boost research generate twice the research points than credits invested in research normally. This may reduce the number of turns required to research the current project. The bonus for boosting the research in this fashion is restricted by the total of your normal spending on research.

The downside to boosting research in this fashion is that as you place more money towards the project, the greater the chance of lab accidents (as indicated by the changing colour of the boost slider). See the research risks section below for more information on lab accidents.

The bonus for boosting research is doubled (which then means 4x the point to credit value versus normal research) if the technology is currently over budget, however this does not reduce the chances of an accident removing all progress made.

Research Capacity

The speed that you can research new technologies is directly related to the income of your colonies. The income of all of the colonies is added together (including the cost of colonies with hostile climates), interest is added (for positive treasury balance) or removed (negative treasury balance), and ship maintenance and the funding of special research projects (if any) are deducted. Then the player chooses how to divide the leftover income between savings and research.

Only one technology can be researched at a time for the entire empire, though special projects DO run concurrently with your main research project. You can temporarily abandon a research topic without losing all the progress made up to that point. The progress WILL slowly decay over time. "If you get back to it in a few turns you don't lose too much."

Race Specific Technologies

Your available technologies are determined by the race that you are playing. For example, Tarka players cannot research Human specific technology nor gain it from salvage.

It has been stated that technologies will diverge according to race very quickly i.e. after the end of the first turn.

Some technologies have no corollary in other race's technology trees, effectively giving a race distinctive special abilities. In addition, some general technologies (especially ship technologies and power technologies) will have different effects for different races.

Randomised Technologies

Players will have their own uniquely generated technology tree regardless of race. This prevents the development of an optimal technology progression and adds strategic challenge to your game – what do you do if you rush to get, say, Bursters, only to find that they do not appear in your technology tree?

All players of the same race will share the same statistical weights on each branch of the technology tree, but whether the "dice" give that branch or not is determined independently for each player.

Not all branches have random weights though. There will always be a central core of vital technologies all players will have in every game. These "core technologies" comprise about 30% of the technology tree. While it is possible to only have core technologies or to have all techs that are available for your race, it is very, very unlikely. "It's possible like winning the lottery is possible...random chance does allow it...BUT that is MUCH different than saying you are likely ever to see it."

You only learn what a tech leads to once it's finished and any mandatory pre–requisites for the subsequent tech are met. For example, you won't know if VRF Technology leads to Point Defense Tracking until you've finished VRF, and you won't know if Mass Drivers leads to Bursters until you've got a ship that can hold large turrets. Randomised technologies that you do not have access to in the game do NOT appear in the Tech Tree at all. And there will be NO indication in the tree which techs are random and which are not. Each game is an island unto itself.

The technology tree is set at start of game initialization.

The game "rolls" for each link on the tech tree until it comes to a dead end (a "failed" roll) and it stops rolling for that branch. This effectively sets the remaining techs on that branch to null chance. The game then moves on to next branch where, if that branch has a link back into a previous branch, it may result in a previously null tech being introduced to your tree with subsequent techs on that branch now rolled randomly until that fails and nulls any remaining techs on that branch again. This is repeated for every branch in all the Technology Categories listed below.

One of the more curious side effects of this is that techs with multiple tech requirements can be rolled for even if you don't roll up all the requirements. Missing requirements that don't give links to a tech don't stop rolls for the links to that tech from happening. For example, Arcology Construction requires both Polysilicate Alloys and Environmental Tailoring but is only linked to by Polysilicate Alloys. So if the roll for the link from Polysilicate Alloys to Arcology Construction succeeds but the roll for Environmental Tailoring from Atmospheric Adaptation fails, Arcology Construction won't show up in the Tech Tree. But if you acquire Environmental Tailoring later in the game (say through Salvaging, see below), Arcology Construction will then show up and be available to research as normal.

After game initialization, the only way to get technologies not in your tech tree is through Salvaging or, with AMoC, by allied Empires offering to trade technology with you.

Salvaging Technology

A salvage vessel in the fleet allows for salvaging wreckage and orphaned sections from the destruction of alien ships and salvage infrastructure from destroyed colonies. Salvaging gives you a chance to research one technology used by the enemy Empire, though the probability of gain from this is remote. This technology is one that you couldn't research before because of the random tech tree, and can be used by your race (no salvaging the drives of other races). If you uncover technology X in a special project, the game does NOT start rolling again to see if you can research new technologies off of this newly discovered tech. But it DOES now open up the possibility of getting more special projects from enemy tech for all those things directly connected to X that you had no chance at all of previously. So, for example, if you uncover Reflective Coating in a special project, you won't have (and the game won't roll for) a link to Improved Reflective Coating or Polysilicate Alloys. But you will now be able to discover both those technologies through special projects. And this can continue on down the branch, as long as the prerequisites are researched first. So there would be no way to uncover Quark Resonators from salvage unless MagnoCeramic Lattices was uncovered and researched first, and you wouldn't be able to uncover Adamantite Alloys until both MagnoCeramic Lattices and Quark Resonators were uncovered and researched.

Salvage is undertaken during the strategic turn by the fleet that is in control of the battle site. Multiple salvage ships at a system will improve your chances of being able to salvage something.

Zuul do not need a salvage vessel to recover technology, though they have a better chance of recovering a technology with a salvage vessel in the fleet. Also, Scavenger Slave Disks and Wraith Abductors also have a chance of stealing a technology from a planet after a raid, with the Abductors having a smaller chance.

Learning the language(s) of your enemies will increase your chances of being able to salvage technology from them. Before A Murder of Crows this meant just learning one technology. Introduced in A Murder of Crows are multiple language technologies per species, and the higher the language level researched, the greater the chance of obtaining technologies from salvage opportunities.

Research Risks

You can try to speed up your acquisition of technology by spending additional money on research. The issue here is that the faster you try to acquire the technology you are researching, the more likely you are to invoke a laboratory accident.

If you boost your research, you have a chance of losing some or all of your progress towards that technology or even causing a small percentage of damage to one of your colonies' population and infrastructure. If you are not boosting your research, you cannot have a lab accident when researching most technologies. However, there are a few technologies which are exceptions and are always a significant risk to research.

The bio weapons are one of a handful of technologies that are extremely useful, but as a trade–off are risky to research. Every time you choose to research a bio weapon, there is a chance that there will be an accident and your research wreaks havoc on your own population. You could get yourself a weapon that will remove the population and leave the infrastructure largely intact (handy!), but if someone drops a vial....

There are different technologies you can research that minimize the chance of a "dropped vial". That specific helper technology doesn't help you against an AI rebellion, another research hazard which can occur when researching any Artificial Intelligence tech.

The idea is for it to be a potential challenge to players, like the randomised tech tree or the race–specific interstellar travel methods – it won't ruin your game and it will always be a surprise.

AI Rebellion

An AI rebellion is a special research hazard associated with the Artificial Intelligence line of research. The chance of a rebellion is independent of normal research accident chances and is different for each of the six AI techs. <ref>Mecron in Forum Post</ref> There is a standard, "pre boost" percentage chance of disaster for each AI tech and it is checked during each turn of research for that AI tech. <ref>Mecron in Forum Post</ref> And, as with all research projects, there is an additional percentage chance of having an AI rebellion, which is added to this "pre boost" percentage, when you boost your research. The chance of a rebellion is checked for every turn of research, though it is balanced so that slower research is not skewed against. <ref>Mecron in Forum Post</ref>

Once an AI rebellion has occurred, all AI technologies in your empire are disabled and any ships with AI Command Sections, along with some of your planets, become hostile, forming a new AI "race" controlled by the computer. This new AI race acts just like any other player in the game and will attempt to expand and win the game. If the rebel AI player meets up with another player with AI technology, there is a chance that the rebellion will spread to the new player as well. Rebel groups from the same species will actually merge into one player, while the other species rebel AI's will join up by forming an alliance.

There are two counters to an AI rebellion: AI Virus and AI Slaves. The AI Virus will destroy the AI rebellion, including rebel planets, but it will not remove the lockout of AI bonuses and sections. Only AI Slaves will reactivate the locked AI bonuses and re–enable the AI Command Sections.

SotS Canon information can be found within Via Damasco.

Technology Categories

Tech Tree

You will research general ideas (Waldo Units and Gene Modification are two known examples), which will have specific effects in the game.

Research projects will generally have prerequisite technologies that must be researched prior to researching a given project. For example: Before you can research Integrated Sensors, you must research Battle Computers.

As a result, the technology tree is more of an interconnected web than a linear progression.

See the Research Interface for screenshots and more details.

Forum Links

Further discussion on Research in this thread.


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