Research costs as EL increases : breakthroughs

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Research costs as EL increases : breakthroughs

Postby thebard on Wed 23 Mar 2016 13:34

As my empire increases, EL research increases in cost and developing technological items goes up in price:
not too surprising.

As I go up in complexity (EL or SL), specific research+ development costs goes up : not too surprising


If I want to stimulate a great breakthrough, I equip my labs, pay for the best minds and spend loads of Money on the toys that they want . . . .
. . . and this has the same cost when my empire is EL=1 or EL=40
I find it difficult to justify why breakthrough research has no tech level modifyer (did Faraday's lab cost the same as current fusion research? - NO!). You could say that its difficult to exactly define costs, as the SL of the breakthrough that you'll end up getting is unknown, but I would assume that a cost based upon your current EL would make sense and be quite easy to apply.

Looking at this more: getting a random breakthrough costs (statistically) 1000MCr (10 MCr per 1% chance). To verify a breakthrough that I stole/bought/swapped I have to pay (makes sense) for 1 month and that value depends on the SL of the breakthrough that I'm verifying. Verifying a SL=20 breakthrough costs more than 1000MCr . . (and don't forget that buying it first will cost even more......). So I spend more on testing a known, working technology than on finding it from scratch.


So, suggestion: make breakthrough research cost ( 10+EL ) MCr per 1% chance (doubled cost for focussed)
(a simpler formula than most that you find in SF)

Comments?
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Re: Research costs as EL increases : breakthroughs

Postby Cralis on Wed 23 Mar 2016 18:25

Actually that's by design, and it's because of the two different ways we see breakthroughs.

A "random" breakthrough is simply theoretical research. Whether in physics, chemistry, computer science, whatever; the research is considered relatively easy-paced and usually lacking engineered experiments. Plus there's the point that for gameplay purposes, we want it to be easy since you need so many of them.

Even a "targeted" breakthrough will often end up advancing something other than the target, which reflects the reality that sometimes you try to build a better battery and end up inventing a better solar cell instead.

Verifying a breakthrough is different. Now you know about something, but you have to try and figure out how to engineer that something. This kind of research is 75% or more engineered experiments. EXPENSIVE engineered experiments. Now the cost is going to be variable based upon the required technology and what you have to do to it.

So... we didn't overlook it. Random breakthrough costs are by design.
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Re: Research costs as EL increases : breakthroughs

Postby thebard on Wed 23 Mar 2016 19:52

Cralis wrote:A "random" breakthrough is simply theoretical research. Whether in physics, chemistry, computer science, whatever; the research is considered relatively easy-paced and usually lacking engineered experiments.


So a random breakthrough is "pencil-and-paper" , no large expensive experiments.

Cralis wrote:Verifying a breakthrough is different. Now you know about something, but you have to try and figure out how to engineer that something. This kind of research is 75% or more engineered experiments. EXPENSIVE engineered experiments. Now the cost is going to be variable based upon the required technology and what you have to do to it.


But verifying needs a large experimental set-up.



Lets see if I understand this:
I'm at EL10, SL9 point defense. I want to open the knot for SL10 Point defense.
EITHER I have a load o "paper-and-pencil" scientists thinking about it - and when they get it I can research SL10 without any expensive experiment.
OR I buy the breakthrough from someone (costs Money). Now with this knowledge (that the seller got from his pencil-and-paper scientists without any need of verification in expensive experiments), before I can push onto SL10 I have to do an expensive experiment.
No, I'm afraid that I don't understand this, unless the idea is that we have to verify every breakthrough (random, focussed or bought) but N11.06.1 says otherwise. We're all playing by the same rules so its not important so I'll leave this .......
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Re: Research costs as EL increases : breakthroughs

Postby Cralis on Thu 24 Mar 2016 00:56

thebard wrote:
Cralis wrote:A "random" breakthrough is simply theoretical research. Whether in physics, chemistry, computer science, whatever; the research is considered relatively easy-paced and usually lacking engineered experiments.


So a random breakthrough is "pencil-and-paper" , no large expensive experiments.


Before I respond, I should point out that we are going with presumptions: we can always, always find exceptions.

That said, I said before "usually" and I said "engineered" ... scientists are always trying experiments to test their hypothesis. A lot of times the experiments are observational ... not all general knowledge projects require a hyperloop or orbital telescope. Quite often these large general knowledge projects are shared by dozens or hundreds of scientists and groups, and could easily have been part of EL research.

And honestly, some of the most ground-breaking discoveries are accidental, such as finding that the diabetic drug met formin may actually extend the life of a healthy person by 50% or more. Up th this point, no other drug has shown such a potential life extending effect.

Tech Item Projects are the engineering side of science. This is, by necessity, the designing of tech prototypes, trsting, refining through testing, rebuild, retest, etc.

Cralis wrote:Verifying a breakthrough is different. Now you know about something, but you have to try and figure out how to engineer that something. This kind of research is 75% or more engineered experiments. EXPENSIVE engineered experiments. Now the cost is going to be variable based upon the required technology and what you have to do to it.


But verifying needs a large experimental set-up.


Verifying breakthroughs is somewhere between the theoretical and engineering sides. You're no longer just trying for any random breakthrough that changes your empire's scientific knowledge, but you're trying to understand the breakthrough you already know exists. Since the knowledge of the breakthrough is in the context of a scan of advanced technology, or a blueprint, you'll be experimenting with that tech to try and figure it out.

Lets see if I understand this:
I'm at EL10, SL9 point defense. I want to open the knot for SL10 Point defense.
EITHER I have a load o "paper-and-pencil" scientists thinking about it - and when they get it I can research SL10 without any expensive experiment.
OR I buy the breakthrough from someone (costs Money). Now with this knowledge (that the seller got from his pencil-and-paper scientists without any need of verification in expensive experiments), before I can push onto SL10 I have to do an expensive experiment.
No, I'm afraid that I don't understand this, unless the idea is that we have to verify every breakthrough (random, focussed or bought) but N11.06.1 says otherwise. We're all playing by the same rules so its not important so I'll leave this .......


No. Like almost everything else in Starfire, the process is abstracted and mapped to a set of rules to produce a specific result that mimics how it really works. In this case, the presumption is that random breakthroughs are the result of a random, unpredicted advancement that makes something possible.

Using Squadron tech as an example, either:

A) One day a group of scientists working on theoretic modeling of drive-fields discovered that a certain geometric configuration layered over a new material being used for drive-field experiments allows for miniaturized drives that would fit in a shuttle but are many times more powerful!

or

B) A friendly NPR decided to sell is some blueprints on engines for gunboats. Great!... but how does it work? How can we use this to make our own? We gather together top scientists and engineers to try and build this engine so we can then design this gunboat we know the NPR can build but we can't. We don't understand the science yet but if we reverse engineer the design and experiment until we figure it out...

The point is that this is how we see it working. Your welcome to house rule it differently -- nobody said that our way is the only way! But I thought you should know the whole thought process so you can at least make an informed, intentional decision :)
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Re: Research costs as EL increases : breakthroughs

Postby LordKron on Thu 24 Mar 2016 08:26

Let's use a real world analogy. Scientists came up with a theory that predicted the Higgs Boson (pencil and paper project). The next step was to attempt to prove or disprove the theory by experimentation (verification requiring hardware etc). That's the difference between theoretical, speculative research (random or focused breakthrough) and putting that knowledge to work (verification, non Knot SL projects, specific hardware etc).
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Re: Research costs as EL increases : breakthroughs

Postby Cralis on Thu 24 Mar 2016 10:49

LordKron wrote:Let's use a real world analogy. Scientists came up with a theory that predicted the Higgs Boson (pencil and paper project). The next step was to attempt to prove or disprove the theory by experimentation (verification requiring hardware etc). That's the difference between theoretical, speculative research (random or focused breakthrough) and putting that knowledge to work (verification, non Knot SL projects, specific hardware etc).


I was avoiding the collider because it's a massive, expensive experiment. But honestly, the complete picture looks something like this:

While using the supercollider to search for the Higgs Bosun (EL Research), scientists discover a new particle and field that completes the supersymmetry picture and physicists finally create a unified theory (breakthrough). This theory inspires a research team from NASA to develop a new theory on using the new field for inertialess propulsion (SL research) and then build a prototype drive from the theory (Tech Item Research) to advance humanity's ability to travel in space...
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Re: Research costs as EL increases : breakthroughs

Postby Whitecold on Thu 24 Mar 2016 12:08

For me the question would more be why you need to verify bought breakthroughs and not random breakthroughs. Any sensational new theory needs to be put to the test before you can be sure it works. It makes sense that it costs additional money if you are trying to figure out the some principle only from knowing that it must be possible somehow from observation, but if someone sells you the tech data I'd assume the theory included is sufficient that you don't need to invest more in verifying it than the original discoverer.
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Re: Research costs as EL increases : breakthroughs

Postby Cralis on Thu 24 Mar 2016 13:12

Two reasons, Whitecold;

First, for game balance: if you could simply purchase all of the tech and breakthroughs you can coast through the tech. This is especially true if two or more players research different trees and then sell the knowledge to each other.

My brother and a good friend and I have discovered in games like Endless Space, Galactic Civilization III, and Master of Orion 2, that we can research almost three times faster than the computer by sharing tech freely with each other. It REALLY breaks game pacing.

Second, there is a realism aspect. Just because an alien race shares their secrets of the universe with us, it does not instantly give us all that knowledge. We would have reconcile their math and models against ours, make changes, develop new theories and models... and then laboriously determine how it breaks or changes everything else that we know.

And that doesn't even count translating language, differences in math, differences in scientific theory, etc. Something they take for granted could be a complete unknown to us and they may have built their entire breakthrough on that... and we'd have to learn it before we could even begin to understand the breakthrough... let alone use it.
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Re: Research costs as EL increases : breakthroughs

Postby olivertheorem on Thu 24 Mar 2016 18:50

Random/Focused breakthrough - "Hey, look! This works because science!"

Bought breakthrough - "We know it works, but how?!"
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Re: Research costs as EL increases : breakthroughs

Postby PracticalM on Thu 24 Mar 2016 22:15

Another reason that breakthroughs do not need to be increased in cost. You need more of them as you open more trees and have more research locations. Thus, Breakthroughs scale because you need to be spending more on chances to get them because you never have enough breakthroughs in the mid to late game.
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