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Tech secrecy classification

#1
I was thinking a little about how tech and blueprints should propagate throughout the universe. I'm working here with the ideas that were discussed in posts I made in this thread. The short version is that all tech starts as specific to a faction, and therefore "regional", but over time becomes "universal" and available to everyone.

Imagine this scenario: You have spent a considerable amount of time and research budget on developing a new tech that gives you a massive (i.e. >50%) increase over the best existing stuff. Now, you really don't want that becoming a universal tech in a just a short time. How would you prevent this?

I figured the best way would be to allow tech and blueprints to be classified at different levels of secrecy. The different levels would have knock-on implications for how the tech can be bought and sold, and how items can be constructed and repaired. A simple version of the idea has three classification levels:
    • Top Secret
    • Secret
    • Normal
    Top secret has the following ramifications:
    • The tech cannot be sold.
    • Blueprints or items based on the tech cannot be bought anywere. They only be granted to senior members of the faction.
    • Items based on the tech can only be constructed at the research hub where it was discovered
    • Items based on the tech can only be repaired at the research hub where it was discovered
    • Ammo for any weapons can only be acquired at the research hub where it was discovered.
    The ultimate impact of this is a tenfold increase in the time before the tech becomes universal.

    Secret, meanwhile, means the following:
    • The tech cannot be sold.
    • Items (but not blueprints) can be sold to close allies by vendors in your faction.
    • Items based on the tech can be repaired by vendors in your faction.
    • Ammo for any weapons can be acquired from vendors in your faction.
    The ultimate impact of this is a twofold increase in the time before the tech becomes universal.

    Finally, Normal:
    • The tech, items and blueprints can be sold.
    • Items can be constructed by anyone in possession of the tech, blueprints and materials required.
    • Items can be repaired by anyone in possession of the tech, blueprints and materials required.
    • Ammo can be acquired anywhere.
    This results in a quick progression from regional to universal.

    Such a system would mean that you could keep your heavy hitting hardware and tech to yourself, but at a serious inconvenience. Returning home to repair and refit every time may encourage you to classify at lower levels.

    Thoughts?
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    Re: Tech secrecy classification

    #2
    That might conflict with player autonomy (and the autonomy of non-allied AI), if reverse engineering is in game.

    Scenario: Player captures some secret tech, or gets it from a faction he is allied with. What is to keep him from setting his research centers to work on it and start selling it everywhere once reverse engineering is successful?
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    Re: Tech secrecy classification

    #3
    Rabiator wrote:Scenario: Player captures some secret tech, or gets it from a faction he is allied with. What is to keep him from setting his research centers to work on it and start selling it everywhere once reverse engineering is successful?
    So I see this kind of scenario being handled through impacts on your reputation. There is nothing to keep the player doing as you suggest. However performing a huge act of corporate espionage on your friends should result in some serious ramifications: serious negative change in their attitude towards you, along with similar changes from other friendly factions (who are now wary of you). On such things may wars start.

    Of course, that's if they find out...

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