A summary of this thread so far:
- Absolute cost in RP and time for projects; this cost may go down through events or other tech but, relative to the MOO series, is fairly immutable
- Multiple projects may be researched at one time
- Projects may be suspended and resumed later with no penalty
- The last project started will be the first project automatically suspended if your RP count drops below the necessary level
- An option will be included at game start to set a research time/cost multiplier (with a reccommended setting for various galaxy sizes). There was a realism argument against this (: shoots utilae but all of the arguments made go away if you leave this in control of the player; some people will play with 'normal' settings regardless of galaxy size (like utilae, and myself, actually) while some people will want this to scale.
- There will be no 'random' element to the tech tree that blocks certain tech; however, specific modules may allow or disallow certain specific techs to certain races. Similarly, it will not be possible to research applications without fulfilling the pre-requisites, although of course alternate means of getting technology (such as spies, events, or diplomacy) do not require you to have pre-requisites.
I suggest that we use something similar to EU2's 'campaign' file to set suggested parameters for modules. So if skdiw wants to play with certain techs blocked out, he adds a few lines to the campaign file; so this is easily and delibirately done, rather than randomly.
- Spare RP allocation / Handling refinements
- Broad categories / Specific categories (alternately: many/few)
Note: There was some discussion about the UI that I have disregarded. While we are free to make suggestions, game design and interface design are two very separate disciplines, so I would rather limit our focus to 'how the game should work' and let the graphics folks work on the design.
The major issue that was discussed is spare RP allocation and refinements. There seems to be consensus that spare RP should be directed into a sort of 'engineering' pool (we don't have to call it that - I call it that just because it's related to but separate from 'pure research' which is really what the tech tree is about).
There was a suggestion that these 'engineering' refinements should be more like MOO2's minituarization rather than refinements in the sense we've been talking about them, which actually provide new functionality (the equivalent of continuous, armor-piercing, rapid-fire, etc. in MOO2).
Procedural note: Both tzlaine and Tyreth suggested entirely new ideas for this question, which, in a public review, is supposed to be verboten. So we need to either rework our decision making process or actually follow the rules, fellow team leaders, sir.
However I'm not married to the rules so let's change them if we want.
It is not necessarily the case that the player needs to be prevented from starting a new project simply because he has an existing project on hold. A 'dusting off' cost was suggested for projects placed on hold for too long, but I think this is a game balance issue that should wait until we're actually balancing everything at v0.9. If people are abusing this (and I've never heard of anyone abusing it in HoI) then we can deal with it at a later time.
Some suggestions were made in various forms (and some by me in the design thread) of letting people start a project with fewer than the required number of RPs if they met some other condition (racial bonus? excess RPs from previous turns left over?). The criticism of this is that it violates KISS - the 'cost' is then not a simple cost, it's a 'cost if x is true and y is false,' and so I've been won over to the pluarility on this. The research-oriented races may have other advantages: they can both produce more RPs and have exclusive techs available to them, perhaps that reduce the cost of whole categories.
About category names:
I think Tyreth presented a good argument for 'few categories, and general ones' although the consensus leans (barely) in the other direction. Specifically, one reason people are against many categories is clutter; this is a UI issue (but a fair one to think about). In strictly gameplay terms, people wanted specific ones. This remains an open question, and I will argue my side of it in a following post.
So as for what happens now:
We need to hammer out a few details of the 'spare RP allocation.' tzlaine brought up some good objections about interface/dual logic. I have a couple suggestions on how to make this very simple, because I think having this semi-parallel systems is an elegant solution to many things, but it does put us in danger of violating KISS; however, doing nothing also raises the temptation for micromanagement, which we definitely want to avoid. So I will give my two cents on this (which I've withheld so far) in a following post.
The next two posts I make should give you all a good idea of what we need to do before closing this thread. If you feel I've unjustly closed one of the questions, PM me about it and I'll reconsider it (as this took me all morning!)