Author Topic: What research speed is recommended?  (Read 1031 times)

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Offline Floyth (OP)

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What research speed is recommended?
« on: March 25, 2021, 03:56:48 PM »
(due diligence disclaimer: did not find this covered anywhere)

I'm only just starting out, slugging my way through the most basic tutorials.  I have noticed that in these, at 100% research speed, the new tech is arriving at a fair gallop.  As in, the player is already three engine types in before the first ship is built, and similar.

Something that in most 4X games has ruined the mid- to endgame for me is that research becomes too easy: it feels like you are on a schedule to get at least some use out of current tech before it becomes obsolete - rather than working with the status quo and at intervals triumphantly scrambling up another hard-earned step on the power scale.  I very much prefer the latter.  I have seen people talking about 20% or even 10% research speed games, and I'm kinda hoping that this is the way to long, epic, highly polished playthroughs.

However, I haven't yet seen anything about the pros and cons.  Maybe that low a research speed is really just a self-imposed Hard Mode, and only suitable for the old pros?

So, questions:
- does lowered research speed result in longer, more enjoyable (YMMV) games, or does it just make things harder (i. e.  I'm more likely to screw up fatally)?
- if the former, what speeds are recommended?
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: What research speed is recommended?
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2021, 04:20:19 PM »
(due diligence disclaimer: did not find this covered anywhere)

I'm only just starting out, slugging my way through the most basic tutorials.  I have noticed that in these, at 100% research speed, the new tech is arriving at a fair gallop.  As in, the player is already three engine types in before the first ship is built, and similar.

Something that in most 4X games has ruined the mid- to endgame for me is that research becomes too easy: it feels like you are on a schedule to get at least some use out of current tech before it becomes obsolete - rather than working with the status quo and at intervals triumphantly scrambling up another hard-earned step on the power scale.  I very much prefer the latter.  I have seen people talking about 20% or even 10% research speed games, and I'm kinda hoping that this is the way to long, epic, highly polished playthroughs.

However, I haven't yet seen anything about the pros and cons.  Maybe that low a research speed is really just a self-imposed Hard Mode, and only suitable for the old pros?

So, questions:
- does lowered research speed result in longer, more enjoyable (YMMV) games, or does it just make things harder (i. e.  I'm more likely to screw up fatally)?
- if the former, what speeds are recommended?

I had asked something similar here with some useful responses.

I linked this specific message because it raises an important point about how research in Aurora tends to work, which is that after the initial stages of the game (i.e. once Earth/Sol is pretty much mined out) research tends to plateau over time. So if you play on 100% research, you will eventually reach a point where the progress through tech levels is similar to what you would experience at the start of a game with 10% or 20% research speeds. In that sense, playing on a slower research speed simply moves up the timetable for your research rate to plateau.

From my experience, a big impact on how research "feels" can come from the settings you start the game with. On a 500m pop TN start you usually instant-research NPE engines and can beeline for ion drives in <5 years so it feels like you are just churning through the tech tree. On a 2000m pop TN start you can instant-research up to ion drives, level 3 in your preferred weapons systems and sensors, etc. and spend maybe 10 years working up to the next tech level. Research costs approximately double for each tier so then you're taking 20, 40, ... years to reach each tech level, probably less if you prioritize only certain techs and manage to keep building more labs once you exhaust Sol.

The other big impact is TN vs. Conventional start. The latter is going to feel pretty quick in the early game because the low-level techs are so cheap, whereas in a TN start you use the starting free RP to skip early tech levels so it will take longer to make a big advance.

I usually stick to the default research speed but I also prefer to play bigger starting pops with 1b or 2b instead of 500m, so I usually tech up to ion drives for the start of the game, maybe INPE if I need the extra RPs for a more diverse weapons set. As long as I don't immediately prioritize MP drive tech from the beginning I can usually get a good 8-10 years at my starting tech level with incremental upgrades for new ship classes before I reach the next tech level and have to start refitting everything. Roughly doubling the time between refit waves after that. With reduced research speeds I feel like I don't get to do enough designing of new ship classes as it takes so long to get a new toy, however other people love this and will play with 10% or 20% speed for 500 years. If I want a slower game I'm more likely to reduce survey speed to incentivize building a large survey fleet and exploring more slowly, which makes exploring fast enough to keep up with the need for expansion a challenge.

Side note: the global research rate setting will affect NPRs the same as a player, so it is not really a "hard mode" in any meaningful way unless you have certain Spoiler races activated. If you want to use it as a difficulty setting you should change the research speed modifier for your individual race.
 

Offline Stormtrooper

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Re: What research speed is recommended?
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2021, 04:44:14 PM »
I feel like it could be interesting to start at lower rate early on so that the early tech feels meaningful rather than "ok I'll just do one more tech and I'm building that ship" for a few tech levels in a row, but later on the research slows dramatically because your scientists can only use so many labs at once and the cost Grows (yes, Grows with big G).

The most interesting setting to nor neglect early game but also not lock yourself out of late game would be to start lower, but then gradually increase the pace, possibly going well beyond 100% near the end of tech tree.
 

Offline Kristover

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Re: What research speed is recommended?
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2021, 04:55:41 PM »
It really depends on what kind of game you are looking for I think.  I have played centuries long games at 100% and at 15% (my preferred setting).  When you have it at 100%, you go through tech very quickly and I personally find 'modernizing' your fleet becomes a recurring chore that I find annoying.  BUT, the flip side of it is that you are getting some sweet toys a lot quicker and for some people that's pretty cool.  Battle-wise, it doesn't really IMO change things that much - vessels get faster and range of engagements expand but you are still fighting battles in the roughly the same way as earlier techs with the exception that your battlegrounds in late tech encompass the entirety of the system while in lower tech it tends to cluster around the colonies.  If you're newer to the game, you probably should play at the default speed for the first game.

On the other hand, I have always approached Aurora as a story generator/sandbox.  I like the slower tech speeds because it stretches things out for quite awhile and lets you do things like modernize fleets and formations - my ships/units aren’t obsolete before they are even made. I find the operational/strategic making is WAY more interesting at the slower ship speeds and limited sensor ranges of the earlier/mid game.  Bottom line, my slowing things down I find my enjoyment increases.  Every new tech, modernization cycle, and system expansion feels much more earned.  There is really no right way to play this game and some people like the other way but for me, 15% is the way to go.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2021, 06:28:44 PM by Kristover »
 

Offline misanthropope

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Re: What research speed is recommended?
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2021, 07:58:41 PM »
a big plus of lower research rates is you don't get the "one more new toy" death spiral.  it's *hard* to make yourself fire up a new class when you know your ships will be behind the bleeding edge before they even get built.  "turtle til antimatter" is no way to live :)
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: What research speed is recommended?
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2021, 08:04:31 PM »
a big plus of lower research rates is you don't get the "one more new toy" death spiral.  it's *hard* to make yourself fire up a new class when you know your ships will be behind the bleeding edge before they even get built.  "turtle til antimatter" is no way to live :)

Speak for yourself. I personally love the "real-world navy" feel of having multiple generations of ships with varying capabilities, with the fleet-leading battlewagons of last decade becoming the rear-area guard patrols and Precursor clean-up crews of the next.
 

Offline idefelipe

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Re: What research speed is recommended?
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2021, 05:19:53 AM »
Can it be changed in the middle of the game? I mean.. start at 100% and later change at 50%, for example. I have started a new game at 100% and I am considering to reduce it to 15-20% (we have spent just 11 years, so it is soon enough for not making a huge break on it)
 

Offline serger

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Re: What research speed is recommended?
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2021, 06:08:18 AM »
I have changed it in the middle of campaing (with in-game window) several times in diffenets versions (from VB 7.1 to C# 1.11), nothing dire happened at all.
 
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Offline Floyth (OP)

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Re: What research speed is recommended?
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2021, 09:25:52 AM »
Interesting. . .  thanks all.  Maybe I should have a go at 100%, get the obvious mistakes out of the way, then slow it down for improved detail management in subsequent games.
 

Offline Nori

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Re: What research speed is recommended?
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2021, 09:51:25 PM »
Unless you limit your research labs the default 100% is way to fast IMO. You research a new tech, design the system, research that and then retool shipyards and by the time you finish refitting all your ships you are nearly ready to upgrade again. At least that's how I frequently feel. I think 50% or less even is good.
 
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Offline Polestar

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Re: What research speed is recommended?
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2021, 10:28:21 PM »
I like the conversation here and elsewhere on research speeds. In my games, my choice of research speeds has tended to yield the following results, which are quite similar to those nuclearslurpee reviewed above.

100% research speed:
* rapid research growth until early to mid-fusion level drive; getting antimatter drives is quite time-consuming. Precursors aren't too much trouble, the Swarm can be a bit of a nuisance, and Invaders are deadly but at least sometimes survivable.

10-20% research speed:
* similar research slowdown, except "ion drives are the new fusion drives, and mid-level fusion is the new antimatter". Like nuclearslurpee said, tech advances still (depending on start tech) usually starts off relatively fast and slow down, just more quickly, and bog down at a lower level. Therefore, space is vaster, the Precursors get vastly harder to beat, the Swarm is extremely dangerous, and Invaders are death once they find you.


I have never much liked either the rapid rate of tech advance in the early game, nor the near-stasis in tech advance later on. When attempting to solve this issue, one runs into another: several of the AI factions in Aurora - Precursors, the Swarm, Rakhas, and the Invaders - each seem to have fixed tech levels, and therefore are either impossibly murderous or boring if player tech is very much different.

Each of them, in fact, are most interesting to play against in a game in which player tech plateaus at a consistent point, and therefore Research Speed (RS) is (at least approximately) a given value, one presumably playtested by Steve.

The Precursors start off with a higher tech than most player empires do, then lose this advantage over time at a rate dependent on the RS setting. Set this to 100%, and it's quite easy for your first serious fleet built after game start to be able to outfight many Precursor flotillas. Set RS to 20% or less, and the Precursors will only slowly be a thing you can actually do something other than run away from. Same thing with the Rakhas.

In a game played mostly against the Precursors (which is a pretty good option for those of us without beefy CPUs), I'd set Research Speed to between 10 and 40%, with the lower value for highly experienced players (especially if starting on Sol) and the higher value for newbies, or those desiring a quicker game (and with a little bump if your empire does not start on Sol).

The Swarm spreads - that's a big difference. The lower you set RS, the more dangerous and even potentially civilization-starving the Swarm can be. I've actually lost a low-RS empire to the Swarm once.

For games played mostly against the Swarm, I'd try RS values of between 20 and 40%.

The Invaders are very different again. They don't just have a much higher tech level, they expand even more vigorously than the Swarm. Include Invaders in your game, set RS too low, get unlikely with the placement of activated wormholes ...
and you have a game that no player can win ...
and it'll take you tens of hours of gameplay to find out you were doomed from the start!

Games played mostly against the Invaders are very chancy. It's all about how quickly they discover you, and how effectively they can bring firepower to blow up your civilian craft, block your trade routes, and kill your warfleets. While you can design games where you expect to fight sooner, or later, wormhole placement is very random.

For games played mostly against the Invaders, I'd try a Research Speed of 100% or more, unless I parked my empire homeworld well out of the expected line of fire.


Regular NPR empires are more flexible, as they do gain tech over time. However, the AI tends not to prioritize or optimize research, or optimize planet facilities, or ship design, as much as an experienced player does. Therefore, the higher the RS value, the more quickly you are likely to outpace AI players, unless you've given them sufficient research (and resource, and perhaps other) bonuses.

For games played mostly against other empires, Research Speeds of anything between (at least) 10% and 100% can be got to work well.

However, if one desires the rate of tech progression to remain more constant than is usually the case in Aurora, and instead experience an epic game against AI empires where one stays at fairly low tech for some time, and yet eventually can field - and fight against - some *truly* advanced ships, one might consider starting the game at a Research Speed (RS) of 20%, and proceed to multiply the current RS by 115% every decade (rounded to the nearest integer %), with no upper limit.

Code: [Select]
RS    years since game start
20 0
23 10
26 20
30 30
35 40
40 50
46 60
53 70
61 80
70 90
81 100
93 110
107 120
123 130
142 140
163 150
187 160
215 170
248 180
285 190
327 200
376 210
433 220
498 230
573 240
658 250
757 260
871 270
1001 280
1152 290
1324 300
1523 310
1751 320
2014 330
2316 340
2664 350
3063 360
3522 370
4051 380
4658 390
5357 400
« Last Edit: March 26, 2021, 11:33:18 PM by Polestar »
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: What research speed is recommended?
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2021, 01:18:20 AM »
Polestar, please be aware that posting details about Spoiler races in non Spoiler subforums is frowned upon. It would be best to edit your post with spoiler tags to hide the information from people who do not want to have the Spoilers...spoiled for them.

I have never much liked either the rapid rate of tech advance in the early game, nor the near-stasis in tech advance later on. When attempting to solve this issue, one runs into another: several of the AI factions in Aurora - Precursors, the Swarm, Rakhas, and the Invaders - each seem to have fixed tech levels, and therefore are either impossibly murderous or boring if player tech is very much different.

Not to get too much into Spoiler mechanics outside of the Spoilers forum, but some of the spoiler races have fixed techs while others do not, and those which are not fixed do not scale with the research speed setting. I won't say which are which due to this being a non-Spoilers subforum.

Quote
Each of them, in fact, are most interesting to play against in a game in which player tech plateaus at a consistent point, and therefore Research Speed (RS) is (at least approximately) a given value, one presumably playtested by Steve.

It is possible to simulate something like this by activating a particular spoiler in the game settings once you feel comfortable with your racial tech level, if you play on a lower research speed.

Quote
Regular NPR empires are more flexible, as they do gain tech over time. However, the AI tends not to prioritize or optimize research, or optimize planet facilities, or ship design, as much as an experienced player does. Therefore, the higher the RS value, the more quickly you are likely to outpace AI players, unless you've given them sufficient research (and resource, and perhaps other) bonuses.

For games played mostly against other empires, Research Speeds of anything between (at least) 10% and 100% can be got to work well.

"Normal" NPR is done by strict tech levels - once an NPR gains X amount of RPs, they are given a set of techs, components, and designs to replace the previous tech level. However since their RP gain uses the global setting, any research speed is viable although I think slower research speeds have an "interesting" interaction with NPRs generated by exploration rather than at game start which might make the difficulty higher than expected.
 

Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: What research speed is recommended?
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2021, 07:08:41 AM »
I now tend to play my games around 20-10% technology progression... I actually tend to lower it as the campaign move forward as population increase tech income also tend to grow much faster than technology cost increase. This is probably more pronounced when you start at lower tech growth as the economy have more time to grow.

In terms of upgrading ships and replacing them I actually experience very little difference between 100% or 20% tech progression. At 100% you usually just skipped technologies more before you upgraded something so you still sit with old ships with old technology at 20% tech cost as well. It probably depend on how your ship industry look like and where you spend your resources, military ships or growing your economy in general. At lower tech levels you probably also upgrade at lower increments in tech disparity as well in comparison with higher tech growth, a smaller increase in efficiency is more important at lower tech growth as you will keep them around for longer, thus you should upgrade as often as you otherwise would.

Lower tech progression also make NPR a bit more competitive for technology growth as they usually start with a bigger gap that will take longer to bridge if this is important to you.
 

Offline Kylemmie

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Re: What research speed is recommended?
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2021, 10:50:45 AM »
This is kind of on topic...

One of the things so many of us love about Aurora is the customization of how you play your game. The Variations you can create put any XXX title to shame, gameplay options wise. For instance, I agree with many that Box Launcher's on anything larger than an FAC is 'broken', in that it effectively eliminates the idea of teching up launcher speed and putting faster volleys out. And I'm not flying on a Cruiser that has missiles poking out of it's armor by the hundreds... (Role playing)

Instead of a fleet battles, you just get one massive launch, retreat to Maint Base, reload , repeat.  So I roleplay that Box Launchers are just for 'disposable' type craft.

Survey Speed is another fun one to tinker with. Normally I drop it to about double what I choose for my Research (15 Research % and 30 Survey Rate % for example).  This slows the game down a bit if you are having troubles with NPR"s rushing you too often. And fit's my style of running a long term Empire. Want a fast game to just practice fighting? Up survey t0 300%+.....Those NPR's will find you in no time.
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: What research speed is recommended?
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2021, 11:24:19 AM »
This is kind of on topic...

One of the things so many of us love about Aurora is the customization of how you play your game. The Variations you can create put any XXX title to shame, gameplay options wise. For instance, I agree with many that Box Launcher's on anything larger than an FAC is 'broken', in that it effectively eliminates the idea of teching up launcher speed and putting faster volleys out. And I'm not flying on a Cruiser that has missiles poking out of it's armor by the hundreds... (Role playing)

Instead of a fleet battles, you just get one massive launch, retreat to Maint Base, reload , repeat.  So I roleplay that Box Launchers are just for 'disposable' type craft.

Survey Speed is another fun one to tinker with. Normally I drop it to about double what I choose for my Research (15 Research % and 30 Survey Rate % for example).  This slows the game down a bit if you are having troubles with NPR"s rushing you too often. And fit's my style of running a long term Empire. Want a fast game to just practice fighting? Up survey t0 300%+.....Those NPR's will find you in no time.

I actually like messing with survey speed more than research speed as it actually encourages divergent types of gameplay instead of just slowing down progression. 300% survey speed? Build NPR-style fast survey ships because travel time between survey sites is the dominant factor. 10% survey speed? Every system survey is a full-blown Operation With A Name On It™ calling for a dozen survey craft, plus you can crank up the ruins %chance and kill a lot of precursors. Even the normal 100% speed feels a bit distinct as that's an optimal speed to maintain a large fleet of independent long-range survey craft.
 

 

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