The designers assume that players will be eager to conduct R&D programs in order to boost their technologies during the course of the game. In order to conduct any type of R&D program, the player first must define the program, specify its location, and spend RPs on it.
The R&D System works on a “staged” system. While most players in Fire On The Suns will start with 2nd Generation drive systems, it is necessary to first detail how the staged system works by discussing 1st Generation systems.
Research and development is undertaken in three related stages. These stages are as follows,
The Research Stage cannot be started until the Discovery stage has produced at least one positive result or success. In a similar approach, the Development stage cannot be started until the Research stage has produced at least one positive result or success.
Discovery is the most basic of the three stages. In this process, the player normally spends RPs attempting to achieve a "discovery". The Discovery phase can be achieved easier and potentially for free if any of the following conditions are met,
2) A scientist lucks onto the breakthrough insight doing some other sort of research (see below),
3) The GM decides the player is entitled to it as a function of the species' history, environment, current circumstances, or in the case of other "events".
A single Discovery also has the potential of opening up multiple lines of Research.
In addition, for each 4 avenues of research currently being undertaken by an empire, there is a flat 1% chance per turn that a Discovery is made that is unrelated to these avenues. This Discovery is assumed to be the "serendipity" payoff of advanced research.
Once a player has made a Discovery, he is allowed to open an avenue of Research on this Discovery. Research may not be conducted until a Discovery has been made.
Research can be done "free" only through the transfer of technologies between players where, at the very least, the player is not paying to do the Research, or through scientific espionage.
Example:A player spends RPs to Discover Laser Systems Technology. Upon a successful Discovery result, the player could then spend RPs to research the following, Research Micro-Laser Emitters (a 1/2 space emitter (2 emitters per beam space, in essence 2 damage pts)), Research High Wave Lasers (2 pts damage (1 space per emitter)), Research Heavy Lasers (4 pts damage (2 spaces per emitter)), Research Gatling Lasers (a Standard Laser (1 space 1pt damage) that can fire 3 times per combat round)), Research Hypertunneling Lasers (a LR laser that travels via a hypertunneling tube (requires discovery of Hypertunneling Tech) at FTL speeds for an LR attack). The player would then have to have successes in these areas before he could Develop any of these technologies.
This is an example of the concept of multiple research avenues springing from one Discovery.
Once a player has conducted successful Research (i.e. has achieved a success in a Research project), he can begin Development of that Research. Development can be aided by help from another player who has the item of study already, captured installed specimens of the item being developed, or captured industrial facilities (shipyards, repair ships, etc.) that were built by an empire then capable of making the system being developed.
Once a Development project has achieved a success, only then can the item being developed be constructed and deployed.
Example 1:A player wants to research Jump Drives. He must first spend the RPs into Discover Jump Drives until he achieves a success. Then the player must spend the RPs to Research Jump Drives until he achieves a success. Finally, the player must spend the RPs into Develop Jump Drives until he achieves a success. Only then can the player start building ships that have a Jump Drive.
Each step on the ladder of
technology allows a small incremental increase to an existing technology
(although, in some cases, a new technology can also be developed). This
incremental increase is in the amount of 1 step or point in most
Each step on the ladder of technology allows a small incremental increase to an existing technology (although, in some cases, a new technology can also be developed). This incremental increase is in the amount of 1 step or point in most cases.
Example:The Terran Federal Republic spends thousands of RPs on improving its drive technology so its starships will have a speed advantage strategically. After many turns, the Feds have achieved 7 successes (each success here being a Research-Development pair). Their drive technology has, therefore, increased 7 times. This increases the Terran Federal Republic's cruise speed (2nd Gen cruise is WF 5) from WF 5 to WF 8 and they have had a success Researching WF 9 and now need to Develop it.
R&D is conducted by allotting a certain amount of RPs to each project. Science stations assigned to a project will yield a 1% increase to the chance of success to a project per laboratory bay onboard that science station.
The R&D curve (see Appendix 3 ) is exponential and is based on the amount of RPs spent on a project. The more RPs spent, the better the chance of success in a project. The curve begins with the expenditure of 25 RP yielding a 1% chance for success each turn the project is funded. The curve ends with an expenditure of 57,200 RPs yielding a 100% chance of success in a project. Each turn, the GM will make a random roll for each funded project, compare the roll to his R&D Table, and determine the success or failure of a project. Success resets the amount of RPs expended for the project to 0 for the next successful roll.
Projects may require many turns to yield results depending on the random die roll made by the GM. RPs spent towards a project accumulate each turn that RPs are spent on a project without success. Any success in a project resets the clock to 0 even for further projects in that same area.
Fire On The Suns allows players to conduct R&D programs in any of many different areas individually or simultaneously. Players & GMs should note that these lists are far from complete and are continually being added to by imaginative and creative people. The technologies listed in the Race Design section and in technology definitions below represent only starting points.
Each turn, the Gmmacro program will make a random roll for each funded project, compare the roll to the R&D Table, and determine the success or failure of a project. Success resets the amount of RPs expended for the project to 0 for the next successful roll.
Projects that go unfunded for 1 turn have the amount of RPs expended for the project reset to 0 for determining the amount of RPs spent on the project thus far. Players are advised to keep projects “warm” from turn to turn with at least a small amount of additional funding.
Science Stations are special bases that allow a player to temporarily (or permanently in some cases) store the information collected so far on various R&D projects without losing the RPs spent on the project to-date. The Science Station acts as a sort of bank which holds the RPs spent on an R&D project in case a player has to temporarily suspend funding that project for a turn or so. Funds held this way are not lost when the project is resumed later on.
Science Stations also boost a player's effective RP expenditure on a project by +1% to the RPs spent on a project per Laboratory Bay onboard any particular base or station assigned.
Science Stations are constructed according to the rules for designing and constructing bases, in accordance with a player's current build rate, using laboratory bays as “depositories” for information and additions to a player’s chance at success in a particular R&D effort.
The transfer of technology between two players of equal or slightly differing technology, depending on the GM's permission, is easily accomplished. The transfer consists of one player providing the other with all the data necessary for the player to construct the new technology for himself, and is usually handled by the delivery of the player's favorite method of data storage (e.g. a data crystal, disk, etc.) from one player to another via their diplomatic ambassadors. There is also a game fee incurred by the transfer of one player's technology to another player. This fee is 250 RPs for each transfer. This fee, once paid, is gone forever.
One technology being passed from a player to a second player counts as a transfer. The cost of the transfer is 250 RP’s to be paid for it by one player or the other. It does not require a 250 RP transfer fee from each player – only one of them.
Failure to pay the fee for a transfer of technology means that the player to whom the technology is being transferred did not receive quite everything he needed to make the technology work for his race.
Players with radically different technologies (such as the rest of the galaxy and the Swarm or the Hee'Dra) or vast differences in technological sophistication will require significant R&D investments in both time and money in order to transfer or develop technologies from other players.
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