I read about streamlining the tech tree in DA, but after seing it, I'm not impressed. The "compressed" techs are nice (better "view at a glance"), but one still has to research all of them to get to the next tech level. Couldn't we have a tech tree, that has the main line, where the break-through technologies are researched, and "sub branches", where those technologies are improved. Like:
beam ---> lasers --------------> plasma weapons -----------> disruptors ------------> ...
weapons \ \ \
smaller smaller smaller
\ \ \
cheaper and smaller ... ...
cheaper and smaller
cheaper and smaller
The research costs for a whole sub-branch should be smaller than the cost for the next level. So researching (numbers are arbitrary):
- Basic Lasers should cost 300 SP, giving bLaser
size 11, costs 30;
. Smaller Laser sLaser2
should cost 100 SP, giving -1 size to basic Laser;
. Cheaper and smaller Laser csLaser2
should cost 100 SP, giving -4 costs and -2 size;
. Smaller Laser sLaser3
should cost 150 SP, giving -3 size;
. Cheaper and smaller Laser csLaser4
should cost 150 SP, giving -8 costs and -4 size;
. Cheaper and smaller Laser csLaser5
should cost 200 SP, giving -12 costs and -5 size;
- Basic Plasma weapons should cost 900 SP, giving bPlasma
size 14, costs 40.
. Smaller Plasma sPlasma2
should cost 300 SP, giving -2 size to basic Plasma;
After researching Basic Lasers one could go straight after Plasma weapons, or research some or all of the laser sub-branch. He could pursue either goal, but if he'd go straight for Plasma weapons, he wouldn't be able to build in that time as good warships as his opponent, who'd get to the third level (-4 costs, -2 size) and would start building with that tech ships for an attack.
At the end of each research path he could put on a medium hull with 44 spaces either:
- 2 basic Plasma for 28 space and 80 BC, one engine or (maybe) two defenses, or
- 5 csLasers5 for 30 space and 90 BC, one engine or one defense.
Both paths would give similar results. The "improved weapons" path would give results earlier, allowing faster attack or better defense, but would be a dead end for further improvements. The "new weapons" path would be slower, thus more vulnerable, but would give more benefits later, when it's improved versions would come into play.
My 2 cents. Comments welcome!