On game mechanics: RTS without APM


Another option to add some randomization without changing the current research system - Stealing tech.

Taking over a planet- There’s a 10% chance to steal a technology, and that increases 5% per lab on the planet.

Destroying a fleet - There’s a 5% chance to unlock a tech that was used on the fleet (the specific tech scales based on the percentage of that tech in the target fleet)

Hacking - Similar to how we can orbit a planet and steal resources without actually invading. Gives a 5% chance of success (maybe Syntis get a 7% chance or something)

Perhaps instead of stealing a tech these things just give a random RP bonus?

Also, I always thought we should be able to actually steal tech from other races. If I take over a Mankind homeworld with a T3 shipyard then I should be able to construct their ships. Perhaps the cost for a different race’s ship is 50% greater (because of modifications required to make the ship support my race).


Again, there can be no speeding up of tech, or free techs, not in this current system. Teching up is already wayyy too fast. The suggestion I posted above allows focus within an industry/type, rather than 100% random.

I am not dismissing your idea, because I think these things are neat, but its just not possible in a system that is currently needing an overhaul on how it works.


Concerning the “random bonus” and how it would further speed things up. I think that at this moment, we should not focus on the speed as that is sure to be adjusted either through more research or slower research, instead we should focus on the underlying system.

My idea could also be put like this, give player a choice of 3-5 random techs, or let them research something else at a slightly slower speed. Flipping the bonus to a negative solves the speed related issue.


That is the same thing though, thematically and mathematically, but now adds a negative option.


I’m also not a fan of randomised technologies per se.

I would prefer to see something along the lines of a choice in research approach…

So you can

  • choose your technologies and pay 100% research points.
  • specialise (if you complete 5 technologies of the same branch then the next is reduced by 20 or 30% and this applies along the whole branch. If you move away from the branch and back again then you are reset to 1 again.
  • holistic approach you apply 50 of your research points to your chosen branch and the remaining 50% have 15% added to it (65%) and applied evenly across the remaining branches… so they all grow at the same time. you are locked into the same branch for 5 technologies…
  • random - research is conducted randomly with a 15% chance its completed 50% early and a 5 chance its too difficult and takes 20% longer…

or something along those lines…

We need more technology, even filler technologies that provide no benefit other then create better branching…

We have a lot of weapon techs and could do with many more other techs that take longer…

Techs should expand the planet caps over a series of extremely expensive techs…

Each tier of technology should have an increasing chance that the research will over run…

say T1 0% chance
T2 10% chance of 20% increase.
T3 15% chance of 30% increase.
T4 25% chance of 40% increase.

There should also be a small chance that the research will completely fail…

T1 1%
T2 2%
T3 3%
T4 4%

Technology could also be bound to a planet… loss of the planet could see a 20% penalty apply to the branches where technology has been lost… So while all research points contribute, one planet is chosen as the planet where the research succeeded and the other were just processing nodes.

Well something to discuss anyway… :stuck_out_tongue:


That was my point. It was in response to:


At least we all agree we need more techs.

However if we are going to have an economy then people need to be able to specialize more than they are able to do now, a lot more.


Now I have a little time to reply, I hope I might be forgiven that I drag up this topic again.

I think it bears remembering in the discussion above that random technologies are given as a solution to a deeper problem of optimal strategy being easily determined without it. It can also be the case that variance in starting position provide adequate differences, where yes, every player gets exactly the same options for technology, but the feasability of pursuing them varies wildly.

One way to go down that route would be if you’d introduce rare (or strategic) resources, which spawn so infrequently that each player only has access to a few of them within their realm, and then make certain research/development paths dependant on them. i.e. a special warp drive which needs a certain resource, and in ever greater abundance when you gear your development towards it. The downside of such an approach is obvious as well: your optimal strategy is determined by your environment, and generally easily deduced from it - do I have enough of rare resource X? It takes player agency away, much moreso than randomized tech. None the less, a pinch of such an approach would be worthwhile, if only for the resulting trade.

I’ve played a number of city builder type games in the past, and the basic problem there is that no matter the starting variation, there is a certain optimal ratio to be established, a certain blanket pattern that is 90% effective. There is only so much you can do with the environment.

Ultimately, you’re going to need to implement interaction with other players as a differentiator between the viability of strategies. This requires a very delicate systems of degrees of co-operation and hostility. A very detailed system of diplomatic treaties and trade might be a must on the co-operation side, having smaller increments of hostilities than invasion and raiding on the other side too, for that’d be an act of war already. But what abut spies stealing maps or tech, what about sponsoring privateers, siphoning off some tax revenue by flooding the market with drugs (opium wars anyone?). Smaller steps are needed.

Another thing, in designing the decision tree for the game, there needs to be more care that feasable alternatives are presented. The present optimal strategy is directly going for colonizers, more people more taxes, etc. it’s a snowball that wont stop untill corruption gets serious. So then, ask yourself as designer: what options can I present to be a feasable alternative for rushing colonizers? Invasion is too far of in the tech tree, and by the time you get there, you’re way too far behind on industrial base. Entertainment centers for more taxes is the next researched after colonization, so you can’t get an advantage there in time for it to pay off either. And so on. More care is needed here.


I think specialization is key here. The idea that I can unlock all tech in a handful of months is a problem. Furthermore, it’s pretty obvious that a lot of tech can be ignored for a long time. There’s no need to max out all weapons, a lot of T3 structures aren’t worth it until late in the game, etc.

If players were given more options to specialize then it adds more variants to play. If I can play as a trader I would limit my research on combat and focusing more on trade. However, with no market place in game trade isn’t viable. The same applies for any other type of play. Addionally, without an endgame, victory conditions, or whatever you want to call it, the current gameplay is generally linear.

In Civilization, as an example, there’s a number of victory conditions. You can win the game without needing to attack. You just need to have enough might to defend yourself.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favor of more techs and a wider tech tree, it’s just that we need to have that discussion in the context of optimal strategy. And the one path being obviously better than the other doesn’t fix it self with new options, if they are sub par the dominant option they’ll get ignored, if they are better, the existing options get ignored. One can have a perfectly viable game with only a handful of tech options, provided each is on par with the others and what’s better is a matter of circumstance, and more importantly the reasoned anticipation of that circumstance.