The Research Screen displays your empires overall research status. This is also the place where you can set which technology your empire should research next. You can also choose to research a technology further down the tree. In that case all prerequisite technologies will be researched automatically along the way, in the order of least cost technology first. If you don’t select any technology to research, but still have scientists producing research points, these points are not wasted, nor is any time lost; they simply accumulate until you choose a technology.
Along the very top are several important pieces of information. Using this example, these are:
Quantum Fields: This is the technology currently being researched.
Complete in 9 turns: How long before this technology is completed at the current rate of research per turn.
(14,429/22,400): The first number is the amount of research “points” your empire has accumulated. The second is the total amount needed to complete this technology.
Empire-Wide Science Output: 980: That’s all research points collected by all your planets combined.
Science Surplus: +977: The net amount of research “points” your empire is accumulating each turn, after science wastage is subtracted.
Science-Wastage: -3: The amount of research points wasted each turn. See Science Wastage for more details.
Right below this top line is a graphical representation of your empire’s progress on the current technology. This is represented by filled and unfilled beakers.
The main body of the research window is taken up by the research tree. This is a list of all the technologies that have been researched, are available for research, or will ever be available for research by your empire. Each box in the research tree is color-coded to indicate its status.
Dark Blue: represents technologies that you have already researched.
Light Blue: represents technologies that you can start researching immediately, as you do have all prerequisites.
Gray: represents technologies that you cannot yet research.
Orange: represents the technology that is currently being researched.
Brown: represents technologies that will be researched in order to reach (and including) the targeted technology.
Most items in the research tree will display a tool-tip. When hovering the mouse over the technology name a detailed description of the technology is displayed. In addition, technologies that can be immediately researched (your empire has researched all prerequisites) will display the difficulty factor and estimated time to complete that technology.
When hovering the mouse over items within a technology, the tool-tip will give a brief description of what they are and what they do.
You are free to change the technology that you are researching at any time with no penalty. All of the research that your empire has accumulated will be reapplied to your new technology. Accumulated research is never lost.
As you progress through the research tree you will notice it becomes more and more difficult to research future technologies. You may also find that a technology that you did not research earlier has increased in difficulty while you have been researching other technologies. There is a formula used to calculate how much research is required for each technology, this is:
The difficulty-factor is a unique number assigned to each technology. If we were to assume that your empire has already researched 14 technologies and was trying to research a technology that has a difficulty factor of 3.6 the formula would work as follows:
3.6 * 14 * 800 = 40,320
Technologies lower in the tree have a higher difficulty factor and require many more prerequisite technologies to reach, this makes the total amount of research required per technology exponentially higher as you progress through the tree.
Science wastage grows with the amount of science points created by your scientists. The more scientists you got working on one technology the less effective they will become. You can compare this to the “too many cooks in the kitchen” effect...
While your empire is relatively small and the amount of science points produced is very low, your empire will not experience any science-wastage. Science wastage slowly becomes visible at around 1,000 science points produced per turn and then gradually rises.
At around 10,000 science points produced per turn your empire experiences a science wastage of 15%. At 30,000 science points per turn science wastage is at 27%. However, science-wastage can never exceed 30%.
Science wastage was introduced to slow down the research capabilities of huge empires, and giving smaller empires a chance to keep up with the research pace.
A common question asked is... “Which comes first? Corruption or Science-Wastage?” Answer: Corruption is applied at the planet level, then science-wastage is applied after that. Whatever science points are left is counted towards your research.
For completeness sake, here’s the formula how science wastage is calculated (Empire-Wide-Science-Output is the combined research output of all your planets, with corruption/loyalty modifiers for each planet applied):