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The Four Branches of Research

#1
Below is my submission for the Limit Theory Fan Contest which centered around research. I outline how I envision research working in the LT universe and state how long I think each branch of research should take. I'm interested in getting feedback on these ideas and expanding them as necessary.

The Four Branches of Research
Research is the study and improvement of materials, components, items and ships in the Limit Theory Universe. Each of these products are based on the raw materials which are found in asteroids and black box products which are generated at colonies. Minerals and other base line products are impossible to research since they are the building blocks of the LT universe.

Materials are the products that are made from the refined ores and other raw resources in LT. They are very difficult to research; taking large amounts of time and resources. Once a new material is discovered it unlocks a single material with several different traits. These special materials help distinguish particular factions from one another and can have huge impacts in regional control and faction relations.

Components are the molded products which are made from materials. Components allow for additional variety between items but do nothing on their own. They are what make two items of the same size and function have different attributes. Components have a shorter research time than materials which is in part because of engineering expertise and understanding of the materials being used in the components.

Items are composed of components which are typically bought and sold in the markets. These include turrets, sensors, engines and other items which are frequently used in building and designing starships. The discovery of new items happens fairly frequently since they depend on existing components and materials. A newly researched item may not be a huge game changer, but it will help fulfill market needs and provide a larger selection of items to choose from.

Lastly, new ship designs may range from very short to very long research times depending on the materials and components used to manufacture the craft and the overall complexity of the vessel. Ships can have a variety of roles or can be specialized for a particular role. Specialized craft typically take somewhat longer to develop than general purpose ships. This isn't always the case as ships using newly researched materials may take a substantially longer period of time to develop since the material may be in short supply and not immediately integrated into various components and items where it would be most beneficial.
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Re: The Four Branches of Research

#2
This should have had a reply much earlier, shame on us.

I like your idea that materials need to be researched and discovered before they can be used, however I would say that research would be done both on refined and raw materials, as well as analysis of a large number of asteroid scan data. The asteroid scan data would grant you access to occasional pcg raw materials with unique material stats, while research on raw and refined materials can result in alloys, with properties somewhere in the middle, but occasionally far better or far worse in a few ways. This would mean that even the very raw materials of LT universes would be different every game.

Component research, using raw materials could be something like a cooking pot, throw in some materials and a blueprint as a recipe, and you have a small chance of getting a component that does...something with the materials information to come out with a component that has it's own stats that then dump the various stats of its materials for efficiency sake. Said component may or may not be better than the original that the blueprint came from.

Items, items would i imagine have a list of required components to be made, research on items would be about changing that list. Some components in the list would be considered fundamental and would never change no matter how much research is done, while others could be swapped out to gain the stats from said components. That way you can have a gun, which will always require a barrel even if the barrel component can be researched upon and changed, but you could have the equivalent of a scope or a silencer component that changes how the item functions, but not at a fundamental level.

Ships though... I'm not so sure about ship designs being researched. what would this research actually be on? it doesnt take research to make a longer ship, just make a longer ship. The attachable components would i imagine be dependant on the components themselves. you want a ship thats a wall of lasers? ok, if you have the power supply for it, you shouldnt really need to research "how to build wall of lasers". imho, making ships require research just imposes needless limitations on to the kind of ships that can be made.
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When you're trying to fill an infinite multiverse, if you're not willing to consider the entire creative output of humanity as a starting point, you're wasting your time.
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Re: The Four Branches of Research

#3
:clap: to Hyperion. I agree.

The one question I have so far is how this works with NPCs.

More specifically, is the human player gimped with respect to NPCs? That is, have some of them already completed some of these branches of research?

It seems like it would be pretty odd if no one in the entire LT universe has a different level of research than any other when the game starts... but if some factions have more research knowledge than others, why should the human player start off at a disadvantage?

This isn't meant to be a "can't work" kind of response; I'm just thinking out loud.
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Re: The Four Branches of Research

#4
Like other aspects of difficulty and handicapping, |----------------[]-----|

But I would say that the player has a pretty average level of equipment for their area, but they probably don't have much in the way of research. And yes, factions would usually have better equipment and maybe actively conducting research. Why are they at a disadvantage? Why don't people who just graduated high school have the production and research capabilities of Microsoft? Is that a disadvantage? yes, but it would be weird if they didn't have an advantage.
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When you're trying to fill an infinite multiverse, if you're not willing to consider the entire creative output of humanity as a starting point, you're wasting your time.
User: JoshParnell is accountable for this user's actions.
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Re: The Four Branches of Research

#5
Well put Hyperion. Ship research would work the exact same way it does in the development video where Josh showed research. A ship could be researched which would have certain characteristics which could be researched further.

Flat, player technology is based on their starting conditions. If they are taking control of an existing NPC then they inherit everything that comes with that. If not, they get their factions tech and the faction manages the research since the player owns nothing.
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Re: The Four Branches of Research

#7
A player is "born" into a faction when they start the game. Otherwise the player is on uneven ground with other NPCs.

Basically, I assume that all NPCs and the player start from somewhere which has some history with respect to the region they start in. I suppose the only way the player could have absolutely no allegiance would be if the player was an outlaw who just escaped from prison and who has lost contact with any allies in the area. It's possible to be neutral towards other NPCs but it is nearly impossible to be faction-less.

Do you have a counter example in mind?
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Re: The Four Branches of Research

#8
Personally, I'd prefer the player start with their own faction and then join a different, NPC faction if they feel like it. The player is, after all, the only person that actually spawns into the universe without previously existing/being brought into existence, by the very nature of the game. Everything else is brought into being through the actions of another except for the player, who enters the game voluntarily. Putting them in a faction that they did not themselves choose goes against this.
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Re: The Four Branches of Research

#9
Talvieno wrote:
Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:17 pm
Personally, I'd prefer the player start with their own faction and then join a different, NPC faction if they feel like it. The player is, after all, the only person that actually spawns into the universe without previously existing/being brought into existence, by the very nature of the game. Everything else is brought into being through the actions of another except for the player, who enters the game voluntarily. Putting them in a faction that they did not themselves choose goes against this.
This is what I also was expecting.

In a normal game start, it's just me in a solo fighter as a faction of one, and I have to accomplish simple missions for established factions to make money to afford better ships or to start my own faction.

In the meantime, I imagine either doing solo contracting work, or joining an up-and-coming NPC faction that is willing to hire a single-person ship for more reliable work. The solo missions are pretty much the LT Demo; working within a faction implies some kind of gameplay mechanics for advancing in the ranks -- I'm curious to see whether this is an accurate guess, and if so what those ladder-climbing mechanics may look like.
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Re: The Four Branches of Research

#10
BFett wrote:
Sat Jul 01, 2017 11:21 am
A player is "born" into a faction when they start the game. Otherwise the player is on uneven ground with other NPCs.

Basically, I assume that all NPCs and the player start from somewhere which has some history with respect to the region they start in. I suppose the only way the player could have absolutely no allegiance would be if the player was an outlaw who just escaped from prison and who has lost contact with any allies in the area. It's possible to be neutral towards other NPCs but it is nearly impossible to be faction-less.

Do you have a counter example in mind?
Like, for example, being a random planet dweller who just aquired a ship by any means?
The locals prolly wont have anything against you, but you are no member of their organisations either.

Also, when you say that the player is "part" of a faction, how would that work? How does the player get to own his own stuff? How does he get out of the faction without losing ownership of the one ship or making enemies by stealing?
How does the player get to make his own research?
How does the player aquire the data to get to approximate research parity if he gets to be independent at some point?
How is everything else handled when you are part of that faction? Do you have your own assets? Do you have money? Do you have to be a drone just following orders or be shot down?
and so on


Last but not least: what kind of idea is it in such a freedom based game like LT to start the player out as bound to some entity he didnt chose which actively limits the player freedom?
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Re: The Four Branches of Research

#12
Talvieno wrote:
Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:17 pm
Personally, I'd prefer the player start with their own faction and then join a different, NPC faction if they feel like it. The player is, after all, the only person that actually spawns into the universe without previously existing/being brought into existence, by the very nature of the game. Everything else is brought into being through the actions of another except for the player, who enters the game voluntarily. Putting them in a faction that they did not themselves choose goes against this.
Perhaps my phrasing is incorrect but I believe that when a player spawns into the LT universe (be it a NPC from a colony or the player) it is assigned the allegiance of the faction it was born into. What I'm saying is that since I'm a United States citizen I am automatically not hostile towards my own country nor are the members of my country hostile towards me (in general). By extension, the countries which are allied with the US are relatively safe for me to visit and the members of those countries are not hostile either.

Research is developed by the faction, just as it is in countries in the real world. Various technologies become available to the public over time. I think the process would be something similar to RnD-> Blueprint-> Assembly Chip (consumable object, ie # to produce)-> object-> commodities market -> purchaser.

The player can get their own things by creating a sub-faction below the main faction. This sub faction is on the business level where it can accumulate income through providing a good or service.

I also assume that the player starts out with a reasonable amount of credits to be able to make purchases (of at least a mining laser and a starting ship). Research is assumed to be a "mid-late game" mechanic which will occur from either stealing and then reverse engineering an assembly chip or blueprint.

So, in conclusion, the player is on the same ground as an executive NPC. They can work for any sub-faction (or the main faction itself if their standings are good enough.) and also have the freedom to create their own sub-faction whenever they choose to do so.



As Flat has noted this topic is primarily about how different branches of research could work together to create interesting results, so let's try to keep the discussion in that general area. I don't mind exploring factions and their role in the development aspect of the game, but if you guys really want to discuss factions in depth then it does need to be in a separate thread.
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