Research and Technology

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Research in Distant Worlds is carried out in three major areas (providing new advancements in the relevant technological areas):

  1. Weapons research: Beam weapons, Ion weapons, Area weapons, Energy Torpedo weapons, Star Fighters, Missile weapons, Bombard Weapons, Rail Gun weaponry, Armor Plating
  2. Energy & Construction research: Shields, Engines, Hyperdrives, Reactors, Energy collectors, Resource extractors, Construction yards, Manufacturers
  3. High Tech & Industrial research: All types of sensors, Combat targeting, Countermeasures, Command centers, Commerce centers, Research laboratories, Life support, Habitation modules, Docking bays, Fuel storage, Cargo storage, Troop compartments, Passenger compartments, Medical centers, Recreation centers, Colonization modules

The actual benefits you can gain from Research include:

  • Completely new components: They can be built into your ships and bases, giving them new capabilities.
  • Improvements to existing components: your ships and bases that use these improved components are automatically and immediately upgraded with enhanced capabilities. This reduces the need to retrofit your ships and bases to benefit from research breakthroughs.
  • New planetary facilities: They can be built at your colonies.
  • New abilities for your empire: For instance colonizing new types of planets or building larger ships and bases.
  • New fighter and bomber types for your carriers.

You can access the Research through the Research screen (F7). The window lists separate tabs for each of the three research areas, as well as the tab with all your Research stations (and labs).

How Research works

Research is conducted in Research laboratories, found in Colonies and Space stations.

.... more blurb about Tech trees etc.

Tech trees



Research Stations overview example

Research potential vs. Lab capacity

The Research Stations tab in the Research Screen (pictured above) shows you an overview of your Total Empire Research Potential, Total Research Capacity, and Actual Output.

Total Empire Research Potential (TERP)

TERP is the largest number of researchers in your empire that could be dedicated to any combination of the three major areas of research, if you built enough laboratories to employ them.

This upper limit of researchers is determined by the size of your empire's population and the state of its culture. If you increase either or both of these, the TERP will rise. It is useless to build more laboratories than your research potential can handle, so knowing this number can be helpful when considering your investments.

TERP is modified by the green bonuses or red penalties shown directly beneath it, derived in the example above from the current form of Government and race. However, these modifications are not included in the TERP number. Thus the term Total is a bit misleading. Some players, therefore, find it useful to compute their empire's Adjusted Research Potential (ARP) (some call it Research Capability). This would be your empire's total research potential including the bonuses and penalties. The ARP is calculated as follows:

TERP x Bonus1 x Bonus2 ... = Adjusted Research Potential
thus, using the example above: 583 x 1.25 x 1.15 = 838

Total Research Capacity (TRC)

TRC denotes the capacity of the laboratories working on the projects in the given research area in your Empire, unadjusted for any individual bonuses from locations, bases, tech, characters or the like.

Actual Output (AO)

Actual Output factors in all relevant bonuses for each area of Research.

To get each area's AO you need to take the base TRC for that area and multiply it by all relevant bonuses for that area.

Let us illustrate from the picture:

Weapons AO = TRC 200 x 1.25 x 1.15 x 1.26 = 362.25 =~ 362

Energy AO = TRC 80 x 1.25 x 1.15 = 115

HighTech AO = TRC 80 x 1.25 x 1.15 = 115

Important note: If the total TRC is higher than the TERP, the Actual Output calculation does not use the actual TRC number. Instead, for each Research area the sum of the three TRCs and the ratios between each area and that sum is taken into account. So unless you omit to build labs from a certain Research area, the scientists will be distributed between the laboratory space based on the ratios of (laboratory space for a Research area) / (total laboratory space). This is because even if you have many more labs than your actual science manpower, say TERP = 820 scientists and TRC = (650 Weapons Research labs + 320 Energy labs + 350 HighTech labs) = 1320 labs, you can still only get those 820 scientists to work on the projects and not more. Scientists will be sent into the labs in an amount equal to the (laboratory space for a Research area) / (total laboratory space) ratios: (650/1320=0.492) / (320/1320=0.242) / (350/1320=0.265) - to comply with your "focus" based on the amount of the laboratory space you build for each scientific area. Let's see what the Actual Output would be with these hypothetical values (for the sake of the example) and the existing bonuses from above (note only Weapons Research gets the 26% bonus):
TERP = 820; Total TRC = 1320 (650 + 320 + 350)
Weapons TRC ratio = 650/1320 = 0.492
Weapons AO = 0.492 x 820 x 1.25 x 1.15 x 1.26 =~ 731
Energy TRC ratio = 320/1320 = 0.242
Energy AO = 0.242 x 820 x 1.25 x 1.15 =~ 285
HighTech TRC ratio = 350/1320 = 0.265
HighTech AO = 0.265 x 820 x 1.25 x 1.15 =~ 312
The above calculations are not 100% mathematically correct, there would be some decimal numbers hanging around in each multiplication, thus resulting in slightly different results. However for illustration purposes this is enough.

Research bonuses

The are three types of bonuses applicable to research:

  • Global bonus on TERP
Mostly you will get this bonus from empire-related attributes. In the example picture above you get 25% for Democracy and 15% from being a Human culture. This bonus applies to your TERP directly. This bonus is always a multiplier: [Brutto TERP, a.k.a. ARP] = [TERP] * (1 + Bonus1) * (1 + Bonus2) ... This means that with this bonus you get more overall TERP, but you will also need more labs to utilise it. On the other hand you can use this TERP for any research eria.
  • Location and Scientists Bonus for Research area
You get this bonus from Research Stations and Scientists located in them. In the picture above there is a bonus of 26% from the Weapons Research Station on Gundagale. Please note only the highest such bonus is counted from each Research area, even if multiple sources are available. For instance: if you have two Energy Research Stations in two locations, one with 15% and the other with a 20% bonus, you don't get a 35% bonus total, but only the highest - 20%. Subsequently a Scientist located in the relevant Research Station adds his own bonus to the base Station bonus. This is shown in the parenthesis and in the case above there is no Scientist available in Gundagale Research Station, thus no additional bonus is applied to the 26%. But the Station/Scientist bonus comparison between similar Stations is computed from the combination of Station + Scientist, so even if you had a weaker HighTech Research Station employing a powerful Scientist, you might get the empire-wide HighTech Research bonus from this Station over others.
  • Global Bonus for Research area
You can get this bonus from Ruins or from special buildings in Colonies. This bonus is usually 100% for a specific Research area. For each Research area only one such bonus of 100% can be used, even if you have Ruins with a 100% bonus AND a building in a Colony with a similar 100% bonus.

Bottom line and suggestions

TERP means how much physical research manpower you are able to employ.
ARP means how much manpower you are able to employ including in your empire and government bonuses.
TRC means how much physical lab space you have available.
AO means how much research you actually produce in each area, including in all relevant bonuses.

Try to optimize Research Lab building and the amount of lab space (TRC) and get that number at or slightly above the TERP, because excessive (and in the end, empty) labs will only cost you money. On the other hand there is of course no harm in having more lab space available (if you are not short on money), as this is for instance good for future expansion, providing you will have your colonies gradually grow and increase in their culture quality. In the end your strategy is yours to follow, the above is just a recommendation for optimized behavior.

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