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Although superior to synchronous tech levels, the current class-based, linear tech tree has always had its flaws. Notably, it can be temporally inconsistent between like depths (Republic-class/Reef Home-class) and it has problems dealing with units in the same class that historically launched in the same period (Venator-class/Victory-class). There needs to be more flexibility, choice, and authenticity in how research can be conducted. There needs to be a tech tree 2.0.
For over the past four months, this is what I've been working on behind the scenes. I've only completed it within the last few days. Just in time for the release, I present to you the tech tree 2.0 for Phoenix Rising v1.1:
No longer is one line of research confined within a class; each individual unit has its own prerequisites, as illustrated by the arrows. Similar lineages are aligned roughly vertically, while units generally get bigger going from left to right.
The new tech tree is organized into levels, which are an indication of how much prerequisite research is required to unlock a given unit. I have purposely designed these with the intent of corresponding to a certain period within our timeline: these levels are directly used for both the starting tech level setting for Galactic Conquest and the station upgrade level in Skirmish. Rather than viewing a ship's placement as a sign of its launch date, consider it to be the period in which the ship came into widespread use with the faction.
In a normal game, Level 0 represents your starting units and Level 1 represents the beginning research. Upgrades function the same as before and can be thought of as a third dimension to the tech tree. Between the two options, there are nearly infinite unit possibilities.
One last note on tech. I've reworked both the prices and build times for research and upgrades to make it more accessible in this release. Research costs are now based on the tech level instead of the unit cost, while build times are based on class. The initial price of upgrades has been lowered, but the step has been increased to compensate. Regardless of how many there are for a certain unit, they should total to around 50k for everything. The rule of thumb is that research is time-consuming and upgrades are expensive.
The tech tree images will be included with the release, but start planning your galactic domination now!
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