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 Research and how it's conducted is one of the things that always kinda bugged me.

Partially because scientists are treated like omnidisciplinary geniuses that can tackle anything, and partially because of the way research was handled - you research one thing at a time.

 

A far superior way to handle research is that multiple projects can be researched at the same time, but you are limited by fields. Research into computing, high energy particles, bioengineering, construction methods, etc - they are completely separate fields. Sciences are divided into branches in RL for a reason.

So, how I would envision it is that the labs you build are just nerve centers that coordinate global efforts. Scientist you hire would have a field of expertese that would limit how many projects from a branch you can tackle. If all you have are scientists that specialize in organic/biological research, then that research will progress fast, but other fields will suffer.

 

The idea is that 1 project (of your choosing) from every branch is researched at the same time, and the progress depends on your distribution of resources AND staff.

Every scientists in a field adds to a the research speed in that field (passive, you influnce this by hireing scientists with specializations). And additonaly, funding is put into projects (with diminishing returns).

So something that is basically a mix between THIS:

1394903-3.jpg

and THIS:

research.jpg

 

With you allocating funding percentage and perhaps personnel (although that could be passive)

 

 

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  • The realism argument really shouldn't hold any sway imo.
  • Science branches are mostly an incentive to focus on one type of research or spread it out. A balancing tool.
  • But if scientists of a certain type are rewarded from certain mission types, your path of research will also change your mission choice, which is neat.
  • However it's not as good as just making the necessary artifacts for research unique/rare as done in most OpenX mods. That leads to real diversity and storytelling. It occupies a similar role but actually works.
  • Also it has the problem that unspoiled players will have researchers which do literally nothing when they run out of things to research in that field, and spoiled players will just pick a boring balanced mix. Kinda like the airgame. The XCOM genre in general needs to focus a little more on making every campaign different, not just being a scenario generator for squads with one or two of every class.
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I don't get the "every campaign different" argument here.

As it is right now in 99% of such games, there's always the same research path, because most of the tree is linear and offers little choices and because there's obvious best picks.

With a simultaneus research system, it never feels like artifacts and research is just waiting there. Does it make sense to you that anti-gravity is put on hold because you're researching lasers?

With more reasearch, less optimal paths (less linear upgrades, more utility) and a system like this, where what scientists you get may affect your research choices AND where research funding is fluid (you can dump more money into research to TRY* and speed it up), it just gives the player more options.

 

As for running out of research - that can happen by the end game in the regular game too. There's no real solution for it, other than adding generic research (something like Xenobiology 1, 2, 3, 4, where each rank grants you a small % bonus damage against an ayyy or something). In other words, things you can research after all the main items are done, but is generic and doesn't have as much benefit.

You can create many research projects and items and put a time limit on the game (enemy fleet comes in 2 years, we have to defeat them by then to stand a chance or something), so the player simply cannot research everything. That works too.

 

Master of Orion had a system where research items were semi-randomized and you could only pick 2 out of 3. You could NEVER research everything in a game, and what you have available may be slightly different the next game. Interesting mechanic, but one I'm undecided on.

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Yeah, good points. I'm just used to roguelikes and OpenX mods which have more of a "tech web" where you need to fight hard monsters to get certain tech early. Research branches is a lot easier to implement than truly rare artifacts, so it's the way to go for vanilla games, I agree now.

More significantly diminishing returns when applying scientists to the same project, or random tech discounts as in XCOM2 would held to make tech a bit more random in the short-run. But that's not as important as the long-run.

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I've toyed with the idea of splitting the research tree into different schools of research, but every time I've tried to do so I've bumped up against the fact there's just not really that much stuff in the research tree. There's several tiers of new researchable weapons, several tiers of researchable armour, several new aircraft / aircraft weapons, a couple of vehicles, a handful of base buildings, and the plot research. It doesn't go far if you're trying to split it over different research trees.

A lot of it comes down to the setup of the game; you're not exploring and expanding and building an economic base like in a 4X game (which is where both of your screenshots come from, I believe). There's just not that many ways to interact with the Geoscape and the aliens, and it's even more limited by the specific setup of an X-Com game where you start in nominal control of the whole (fully known) world and have to defend it. Even a ostensibly game like Phoenix Point has a much more interesting setup from a tech perspective because you're exploring and expanding a world rather than trying to hold on to something you already have at the start of the game.

I doubt we'll be making fundamental changes to the research setup in vanilla X2 but if there's good ideas then it's something I'd definitely be interested in exploring in DLC for the game. But at this point I think I'd have to see cocnrete examples of an alternative tech tree rather than just vague ideas about how one might work, because my experience so far has taught me there's not enough content for it to work.

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As someone who created 1000+ research for X-Division mod, i tried to do it but then i saw that, it's not so wise to force ppl to play more then one just to see everything. 

The research possibility could be random.. like a commander enemy could give you an important research my bigger chance then a private. BUT the research should be there if you search all that enemies.. so sooner or later.. I like random research.. I like the original x-coms repeatable researches which gives you different thing everytime. It should be in the code for modding at least. It's boring to have what to get at 2. gameplay after you know it from your first experience.. this is a good replayability.. but locking something for entire game is a big no and not fun. This is not a game which you will finish in 1 hour like a rogue like.. 

As i read PP forums, their research idea is not so loved as you just can't have your own research division and don't have any special tree. So you only can get from other factions or enemies. I think it's week too.. good idea but should not be used alone. 

As content, yeah if you got not enough numbers, you just go for simple way. But still some special things which won't change the gameplay (as something OP), could be used as i said.. Like one or two special weapon/armor/bullet types per research branch.. a shotgun type laser, a sniper plasma, an EMP bullet.. something you can get from repeatable research lines with a chance. 

Example: Caesan Engineer interrogation: repeatable: a shotgun type laser %20, a sniper plasma %10, an EMP bullet %5, ufo types and none. After everything researched, stop repeat and do not show again. 

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On 2/8/2020 at 11:07 PM, Chris said:

a 4X game (which is where both of your screenshots come from, I believe)

In case the reverse-image-searching doesn't function to some of the readers there, the screenshots are / should be from 
"Star Trek  Birth of the Federation"
and
"Master of Orion II"
---

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On ‎2‎/‎8‎/‎2020 at 10:07 PM, Chris said:

I've toyed with the idea of splitting the research tree into different schools of research, but every time I've tried to do so I've bumped up against the fact there's just not really that much stuff in the research tree. There's several tiers of new researchable weapons, several tiers of researchable armour, several new aircraft / aircraft weapons, a couple of vehicles, a handful of base buildings, and the plot research. It doesn't go far if you're trying to split it over different research trees.

A lot of it comes down to the setup of the game; you're not exploring and expanding and building an economic base like in a 4X game (which is where both of your screenshots come from, I believe). There's just not that many ways to interact with the Geoscape and the aliens, and it's even more limited by the specific setup of an X-Com game where you start in nominal control of the whole (fully known) world and have to defend it. Even a ostensibly game like Phoenix Point has a much more interesting setup from a tech perspective because you're exploring and expanding a world rather than trying to hold on to something you already have at the start of the game.

I doubt we'll be making fundamental changes to the research setup in vanilla X2 but if there's good ideas then it's something I'd definitely be interested in exploring in DLC for the game. But at this point I think I'd have to see cocnrete examples of an alternative tech tree rather than just vague ideas about how one might work, because my experience so far has taught me there's not enough content for it to work.

I'm in no position to argue that, given that I don't know the size of the x2 research tree.

But does it technically need branches? Just the abiltiy to do multiple projects at the same time, with an optimal number of scientists/funds (where going over can help or not).

On another hand, you can expand the tree by splitting research. Instead of researching laser weapons, you research each gun individaully, with a discount the more things from a family tree you researched (the first laser weapon, you get nothing. The second you get a 20% research bonus/research reduction. For the third you get 40%, etc..)

This is all theoretical of course, but interesting food for thought. I like thinking about different mechanics and implementations.

 

Oh, one more thing. Please tell me there is actually going to be varriance and soul to the weapons/tier, not just re-skins with +1, +2 stats. If I see a laser shotgun again, I'm going to scream.

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If you have more than one lab, you should be able to research more projects, up to the number of lab and scientist, on staff.

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The original Xenonauts had a que and you could assign a number of scientists to each item. That was what I would expect from an organization tasked with defending the planet against an enemy with superior tech. Research on a number of different paths would be the best way to quickly catch up.

Edited by Challenge

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Perhaps I missed this being mentioned somewhere above, but with any game mechanic/system I think it's useful to think about what you want to see a player encouraged to do--and whether players who don't share your preferences can deviate from the "encouraged path."  For example, a dev might think it's more fun/challenging/suspenseful to have to be aware of and try to compensate for, ammo level and armor--so the dev decides that players don't get unlimited ammo and impervious armor. 

With science research, the fun/tension tends to come from choosing how many resources to put into which weapons and abilities.  Perhaps there is some way to make choice of scientist type or skill interesting, but I think it would be difficult to equal the fun of choosing the mix of troop abilities and specialties when considering who to hire. 

One thing I thought of was making the scientists go on missions, perhaps with special abilities to operate or repair complex equipment or something of the sort.  A scientist-soldier could be another factor to consider when hiring more troops.  And having a scientist or engineer along on a mission would present another level of tactical challenge.  Unfortunately, it would also mean re-balancing humans v. alien battles.  Oh well.

Edited by maxm222
clarification

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