Finally its time to talk about my progress on the procedural research and tech tree. This is an important part of the game I have mentioned before and wanted to show off a while ago, but I couldn’t get enough done to do a dev log justice until now. I underestimated the amount of coding required to flesh it out. Also the related UI really needed some extra work(as usual). Anyway, the time has come and here it is, so lets get on with it.
The research window does not look like anything special at first glance but it does not work how a typical 4x tech tree does. I guess you could say its more rpg than 4x in that department. Also the simplistic look is so it is both easier for players to use and for me to work on it over time. I doubt a fancy procedural tech tree that can keep going on technically forever is going to end up being good for ones sanity. Also this way you don’t have to scroll around the tech tree window too much to find the techs/research you want.
As of now I have implemented a few different types of main research categories: Basic, Military, Civil and Spacetime (working names). Each of these categories have their own points that you accumulate through doing things like exploring, combat, building labs on ships and colonies etc… There will be many ways to get these points, difficulty increasing for the “higher tech” types. I am also planning to implement at least one more techs/research type as biological science to go with medical related techs. Though it might be best to leave that for updates during early access.
There are two main types of research paths(different to the categories mentioned above), one which is a linear global improvement for some specific technology and the other which provides new components. Linear types have a global effect while the other provides new tech components which can be more varied. On occasion, a newer tech can be bigger, require a harder to find resource and or consume more power than expected than the previous one. Thus the older tech could be more suitable for your current purposes. These paths are where the bulk of the procedural research is and there will be a lot of paths to choose from. You won’t know the exact details of the attainable tech as you progress through these paths up until the particular research is complete. However it won’t be a blind dice roll either as you will be influencing the probabilities of what you will receive with your actions to high degree.
I have also made it so researching requires some logistics and pre-planning, which works in tandem with the resource system mentioned in dev log 7. You will require a place to research, either on a ship or colony and some scientist population including a lead scientist. Labs are required only for ships in order to do research. Colonies on the other hand only needs the player to allocate science capability points. The next achievable technology requirements are also procedural in most cases, thus some techs might need a specific resource to research(thats what that empty square in the branch boxes in the tech tree screenshot above are for). Though I intend these extra requirements only for later tier and rare techs. Another element I plan on implementing is the possibility of mistakes and unintended consequences during research, adding an extra risk. I will leave it until more testing is done though, I don’t want to go too far and end up making research frustrating.
So thats that for dev log 8. There are quite bit more details involved in the technology generation but I don’t want to give too much away, I might spoil it. Overall my real aim with the procedural research and tech is to allow the game to create some interesting situations on its own. Lets just say it could get a bit “fun” in the late game, maybe a solar system or two could be blown to smithereens or a whole civilization wiped out by a disease. Nothing too dramatic.
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