See here, question .6, and The Silent One's ideas.
For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.
The inital/basic layout of the current tech tree has been done a very long time ago, long before I joined the project (which was in 2011), I think it has been Geoff how did the most work here.
Since then many things have changed: game elements/mechanics added/removed/modified (e.g. the Food and Minerals resources are gone, the way shields work has been fundamentally changed, stockpiling has been removed, came back in the form of the Imperial stockpile, etc., the list is endless). The adjustments to the tech tree however have mostly been limited to keep things from outright breaking, with the occasional rebalancing to prevent things from getting thrown off too badly.
Which means we still work with a tech tree that in it's fundamental design has been tailored toward the game as it has been maybe a decade ago. Which means patching things up here and there just won't do it. IMO nothing short of redesigning the entire thing from scratch will be necessary.
I'm not sure what you mean by that... technically redoing the tech tree isn't different from modifying it (aside from being a lot more work of course). The Theory/Application/Refinement model isn't something enforced by the engine. Strictly technically speaking, there is no such distinction, there are only techs. Each tech belongs to a category, has a RP cost and minimum research time, (optionally) a list of prereq techs which need to be researched first before the tech is unlocked for research, can unlock game items like buildings, ship hull and parts upon completion, can have associated effects etc. That's it.I'd be happy to oblige, but I must confess that at the moment, I haven't the slightest idea on how to do that, technically.
What kind of tech tree you build with that is up to you. The Theory/Application/Refinement model is one possibility, and the one originally chosen. It means that, when designing the tech tree, you work with three "types" of techs:
- Theories, which basically gate the access to an entire branch/tier of the tech tree. They don't provide anything upon completion besides unlocking more techs. They are supposed to be expensive, so players need to decide which research path they want to follow, and make a research everything approach unfeasible. Fluff wise they represent the theoretical basis/foundation for the other techs (basically theoretical science).
- Applications, which basically provide new stuff upon completion, like a new building, ship hull/part, new kind of bonus etc. Usually not as expensive as the theories by which they got unlocked. Fluff wise these represent applied sciene.
- Refinements, which basically enhance the stats of stuff you've already researched. Think "Laser Mk2" etc.
[...] for Man has earned his right to hold this planet against all comers, by virtue of occasionally producing someone totally batshit insane. - Randall Munroe, title text to xkcd #556