This is the first post to focus on an aspect of the mod, this one outlines research.
There is a brand new forest of 22 tree families, ACM players will feel at home here but I think stock or new players will have help from the Ghost Tree. The Ghost Tree is a concept to provide reference and introduction for the mod by providing the location and icon for every single tech in the whole tech forest along side the current selection. These are deliberately greyscale, small and kindof hard to make out to avoid spoilers.
Another feature to help players decide tech choices and explain what techs do is an extensive tooltip system;
Every weapon tech shows stats, mount type and weapon class. Special weapons show special damage type. This links into descriptions of "counter" technologies. Eg Light Ion Emitters (type: Ion Emitter), Hardened Electronics (Reduces Ion Emitter damage by 50%)
All ship section unlock techs show an icon of the ship section type and class, as well as the special mount type if applicable.
All strategic upgrade techs show a tooltip of the effect and the %.
Generally the tech costs have been increased (around 3 - 4 times stock) and there are a large number of techs (about 550 or so, stock has 244), which all leads to focus on longer games. On the other hand the whole tech forest has been greatly stratified into "tech tiers" by making most techs rely on fusion/antimatter and/or cruiser/dread. These upgrades take a long time to research and you generally need a good economy to be able to commit to them. Fusion/Antimatter is more of the economic path and takes longer but brings more long term benefit to your mid game. Cruiser/Dread will allow some more immidiate and useful firepower but not as much strategic benifit. The typical research path for these "tech tier" techs is Fission -> Cruisers -> Fusion -> Dreads -> Antimatter.
Weapons and other tactical techs generally have an upgrade version for each of these tiers with better stats and/or special properties.
Each tree is fairly vertical and linear in the placement of branches. Gone are the stock SOTS branches that reach all the way round the research screen. This makes it easy to see visually how high your tech level is and how the tech chances are treating you. Also this makes it simpler for the AI.
Salvaging has become more important, especially for some races, as almost every tech is salvagable in some way. Also, every tree has a "root" tech which is available from start to each race, which means that you won't miss out on a whole tree since you failed a roll on the starting tech.
Regarding races and weapons, each race generally has its own unique family of weapons as well as a ballistic option and blaster option. Also they have some combination of warhead and torpedo weapons as well as mines and other speciality weapons. Each races has a unique tech profile and research chances but there are a number of core techs shared by all.
Here is a detailed look at the tech forest:Astro-Engineering Technology
Contains techs relating to ship construction, hull size, weapon mounts and planetary defence. Generally chances are similar for all the races.Ballistic Weapons
Includes 2 seperate trees Cannons and Mass drivers:
- Cannons have various versions for the mount classes and are a core tech but the races have various chances to roll for some of the many special variants, such as gattling cannon and battle cannon. There are 3 levels of upgrades also which unlock for all avaiable variants. The upgrades depend on hull size for prerequisite.
- Mass drivers are a high tech series of weapons and upgrades which include variants for each weapon mount as well as special type variants.Biological Technology
Contains all the bio techs as well as the biobomb series of weapons. Biobombs come in both small in large sizes.Information Technology
AI techs, command techs, CnC ship sections and other strategic and tactical techs.Cybernetic Technology
A large tree containing strategic techs, drone techs and a large selection of COL weapons.Drive Technology
Contains all the race specific drive techs. Each race has had a number of new additions to there series of engines as well as some special techs.Energy Weapons
Contains 3 distinct branches of techs:
- Blasters, a core series of techs for all races with various chances for each race for the extra, special variants. These depend on hull size. These are generally bread-and-butter weapons but also have some unique properties.
- Lancers/Lasers/Phasers, a 3 tier series of mostly beam weapons for all mounts. The higher level weapons have some special uses, like the Phased Scorcher (think short range laser spotlight/flamethrower).
- Emitters, a "fusion" tier series of weapons for all mounts.Communication Technology
Trade and communication techs.Metallurgical Technology
Hull armour upgrades.Forcefield Technology
Contains techs like Deflectors as well as a series of Gravitation Weapons for all mounts.Mine Technology
Contains a series of mine weapons.Power Technology
Contains all the Fission -> Fusion - > Antimatter techs generally involving engine upgrades. Of note here are the enhancements for each tier, Pulsed Fission, Cold Fusion and Refined Antimatter.Particle Weapons
Contains a number of exotic weapon families for each of the 3 engine era tiers; Particle, Proton, Neutron, Electron and Quark weapons. These generally have specialized applications and unique abilities like the AntiNeutron Desintegrator.Plasma Weapons
Contains a single, large series of weapons spanning 2 engine eras. On reaching Antimatter a special tech becomes available (Shielded Plasmatics), which in one tech research provides weapon upgrades for ALL available plasma weapons resulting in some of the highest damage profile weapons.Reactor Weapons
A series of weapons directly relating to the 3 engine eras. Each era of weapons opens up some new options. These weapons have high damage and some special properties but are expensive to research and mount.Sensor Technology
Contains the techs used for strategic and tactical information gathering, such as Advanced Sensors and Jamming.Shield Technology
All the shielding techs.Torpedo Weapons
Contains a number of diferent type of large, tracking ordinance all using a Torpedo mount.
- Ballistic torpedoes are perhaps more familiar in the conventional sense, which are similar to large missiles with heavy warheads.
- Energy torpedoes come in 3 types:
- Special: A series of torpedoes, both tracking and not, with special effects.
- Ball: High tech torpedos for each era with heavy damage.
- Direct fire: Long range, unguided torpedoes for each era with good damage.Mysterious Technology
? Warhead Weapons
All ballistc missile weaponry for a number of mount types. This is a large tree with a number of families:
- Missiles: Many variations on the old classic. Generally they have a "lock on" period (with cool sound effect).
- Large missiles: Heavier damage or special purpose versions for a large mount.
- Bombs: Specialized for planetary destruction.Xeno Technology
All the racial relations/diplomancy techs.A shot of the techtree weapon tooltipA shot of the techtree tech tooltipA shot of the techtree ship tooltip