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Research Revamped


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So. We're a research station, right?

I've come to a point where I don't play Sybil that much anymore simply because I can't think of any science to do.

So here's my attempt at fixing my boredom of science getting people more things to do expanding upon the Science aspects of the station - which involves major restructuring, admittedly.

Starting with the obvious sections: the Research department.

Research and Development: Expanded

Instead of just having a small laboratory with just the pre-coded stuff in, it would be a large laboratory that includes, as previously, the Protolathe, Destructive Analyzer and Research console (no circuit printer - more on that later) with the standard autolathe, plus several new features: the Materials lab, which features a special chemical dispenser - while it does not GENERATE chemicals, chemicals and materials (which includes everything we can make, useful or not: iron ingots, platinum ingots, hydrogen, plasma, uranium, steel, plasteel, plastic, gold, silver, so on) could be added to the machine and manipulated for recipes, which would come in two parts: the pre-established mixes (like mixing Plasma and Glass would result in Plasma Glass, and adding steel to that results in Reinforced Plasma Glass - to repair the fire-related things, or be FINALLY able to mix the accidental idiotic fuckup mistakes that mining do by being capable of mixing coal, iron and platinum back into plasteel) and the materials research which, like Genetics, would have a list of possible results that have a CHANCE of occurring this round (although, as opposed to Genetics, the recipes for such mixes would be known - it's not a matter of what goes with what, but a matter of 'how will the machine assemble it this shift' possibly with a function to re-shuffle the machine, which would take 20 minutes, and allow different new useful materials with unique properties that would require testing like stress-testing with weapons or toxins test (as a resistance material OR as a bomb material, depending), while disallowing some others that were available). Maybe have a few different functions with different power yields and time it takes (for instance, in order of least to most energy-intensive: alloy, react, polymerize, crystallize, nucleate - which would attempt, in order, to liquefy them and allow them to react as is, go through a range of variables to encourage chemical reaction, manually rearrange with a nanomanipulator to attempt and force a polymer, give extreme conditions to force crystallization of the components together, and cause nuclear modification). But very basically, it would behave similarly to a high-tech science microwave. And of course there should be a chemical disposals for this. And a book (that I am willing to write) detailing how to fabricate many awesome/fun/useful devices in Science to get people started.

Suggestions for the Materials Lab:

One ingot, or sheet of material is based on the grinding of Plasma. The number escapes me, right now - was it 20 or 30? For the sake of this, let's assume 20. And for the sake of lore standardization, 1 unit in Mat Lab is 150 units as understood by the autolathe and such (because IIRC, a sheet of material gives 3000 lathe units right?).

Always available

  • Steel: Alloy, 120 Iron, 120 Carbon = 20 Steel

    -yes I'm aware that means ~4 metal sheet per charges of chem dispenser. It feels balanced to me - and encourages Mining not to fuck up, because it means it costs 6 ingots of iron and chunks of coal to make one steel instead of one-one, but is still a decent back-up should there BE no mining and cargo
  • Glass: React, 60 Silicon, 120 Oxygen = 20 Glass
  • Plasteel: Alloy, 20 Steel, 20 Platinum = 20 Plasteel
  • Plasma Glass: Crystallize, 20 Glass, 20 Plasma = 20 Plasma Glass
  • Reinforced Plasma Glass: Crystallize, 20 Plasma Glass, 10 Plasteel = 20 Reinforced Plasma Glass
  • Deuterium: Nucleate, 20 Magnesium = 20 Deuterium

    -Used in intermediate reactions only. Causes mild radiation damage on metabolization when injected.
  • Metallic Hydrogen: Crystallize, 20 Deuterium 20 Hydrogen = 20 Metallic Hydrogen

    -This is the form that we see when Mining refines tritium ore
  • Heavy Water: React, 40 Deuterium, 20 Oxygen = 20 Heavy Water

    -Used in intermediate reactions. Causes dizziness when metabolized (under the reasoning that it interacts with the cochlea)
  • Tritium: Alloy, 120 Heavy Water, 40 Radium, 20 Lithium = 20 Tritium 100 Heavy Water

    -When extracted, appears as Tritium fuel - right now it's supposed to fuel RUSTS but we can find another kind of reactor, maybe
  • Tritium Coolant: React, 40 Tritium, 40 Oxygen = 20 Tritium Coolant

    -Intermediate reactions again. Causes more dizziness than Heavy Water when injected, along with a small dose of radiation.
  • Uranium: Nucleate, 60 Radium, 60 Magnesium, 120 Tritium Coolant = 20 Uranium, 160 Oxygen
  • Coolant: Polymerize, 60 Hydrogen, 20 Carbon, 20 Oxygen, 20 Silicon = 20 Coolant

    -Used for reactions OR as a supplement for Xenoarch (like they ever run out anyway...)
  • Diamond: Crystallize, 60 Carbon, 240 Coolant = 20 Diamond
  • Plastic: Polymerize, 20 Carbon 20 Oxygen 20 Hydrogen = 20 Plastic
  • Slag: Alloy anything that doesn't result in a recipe.
  • Chemical Slag: React anything that doesn't result in a recipe.
  • Amorphous Slag: Polymerize anything that doesn't result in a recipe
  • Crystalline Slag/Slag Powder: Crystallize anything that doesn't result in a recipe
  • Nuclear Slag: Slightly radioactive, nucleate anything that doesn't result in a recipe.

Randomly available:

  • Bluespace Crystal:Crystallize, 20 Steel, 20 tritium, 20 plasma = 20 Bluespace Crystal
  • Plasma: Nucleate, 20 Tritium, 20 Deuterium, 20 Hydrogen, 20 Carbon, 20 Plasma (Catalyst) = 40 Plasma
  • Plasteel, Alternate: Crystallize, 20 Carbon, 20 Plastic = 20 Plasteel
  • Capsaicin: React, 20 Carbon, 20 Silicon, 20 Oxygen, 20 Hydrogen, 20 Nitrogen: 50 Capsaicin
  • Trinitrotoluene (TNT): 20 Carbon, 20 Nitrogen, 20 Oxygen, 20 Hydrogen = 60 TNT

    -TNT would serve two purposes: explosives research in Toxins, and to be offered in bricks to Mining - they would explode when exposed to sparks (as such they could reuse the same remote signaller-igniter combo to ignite all TNT)
  • ...Ideas?


Toxins Research: Revamped

There isn't much to change about Toxins. It's a pretty basic thing. Though there are three major changes that I would make:

-Change the Toxins test room to a Toxin Holochamber that can be renewed, or changed configuration/properties, with a simple interface. It makes no sense to make something so easily destructible for that kind of testing - without Engineering involvement, most plasma researchers get three explosives out of it.

-Add either an autolathe or a components dispenser (like in Primary Tool Storage) so that they can actually have a sizeable amounts of components instead of being stuck with what, 5 igniters and then needing to mass-produce them at research?

-Add an actual pre-mixing chamber. Right now, Toxins' ignition chamber, to heat gas, has three ports going into a single tube (which is dangerous in itself but that's another problem). What I suggest is adding a pre-mixing chamber - could be as small as 1x3 without walls - where a plasma researcher can get accurate pressure and mix ratio information before sending it into the ignition pit.

Telescience: Unchanged

I'll be honest, I got nothing on this. Because it's already so fleshed out that it's awesome - too bad it's so dependent on bluespace crystals to function. But there's already a LOT to discover with it.

Robotics: Plastic Surgery

Robotic's a mess, right now, if you ask me. It's like - three departments in one. And so, I suggest splitting it into three:

The mechbay moves to 'engineering' (explained later why it's in quotations) where mechatronic engineers can be at home. The prosthetic, borging and all of that jazz is moved down to Medical (possibly connected to the surgery room by the freezer) because IMO, there's two distasteful things about it: the fact that operatees have to go through a dirty mechatronic area to get operated on often (or that a roboticist must take a long trek to Medical to give a prosthetic that they HOPE will make it), and IIRC it's almost possible to see a roboticist operate on someone with the way it is now. So let's move that to Medical and let proper biomechanical technicians be part of Medical. And finally, the title of Roboticist becomes... something else (Research Engineer? Electromechanical Researcher?) where, instead of doing all of that mundane stuff, they actually get to do some active research, with access to three important components: a protolathe, a circuit fabricator, and a 'quantum circuit printer' that prints 'quantum circuits' (which is codename for 'circuit that does random shit'. I was thinking, lore-wise, for them to be diminutive posibrains of some sort) Since this is still the Research Department part, this is the section I will tackle.

The task of this new role (for simplicity's sake I'll default to Research Engineer) is, in simple terms: get the Quantum Machine to figure out shit. The Quantum Circuit would be made of all the standard thing a circuit is made of, plus a small amount of polytrinic acid and radium. To assemble a Quantum Machine, you create, as usual, a machine frame. You wire it, add a Quantum Circuit, two micro-manipulators and a console screen - and once that is done, two things can happen: either there's a message that says "Data Insufficient" where the machine is void, which is fixed by crowbarring out the Quantum Circuit and using it. This resets the circuit. The other option is that it will give a list of components needed for a predetermined machine with wondrous effects (and a wondrous power draw that is sure to make struggling engineers angry unless irrelevant)

Ideas for Quantum Machine:

  • Reality Extractor: 2 Bluespace Crystals, 2 Bluespace Ansibles, 1 Bluespace Filter, 2 Protolathe circuits, 2 micromanipulators. Is, essentially, a materials-less autolathe. Prints simple items without materials.
  • Zero Point Potential Extractor (or ZP2E for short): 4 plasma sheets, 6 power cells, 1 capacitor, 5 cable, 1 power control circuit (the one that goes in APCs). Free-energy generator that outputs some level of energy.
  • Quantum Potential Transfer: 6 steel, 4 plasteel, 5 cable, 2 power control circuit. Takes large amounts of energy to either heat or cool down (depending on the setting) the surrounding air to 0 Kelving or 5800 Kelvin (as to not melt reinforced walls, for balance). Without speaking of antag actions, I can think of four valid things do to with it: make the Toxins heating chamber more regulated, portable machine (by unwrenching it) to make a whole room cryogenics-worthy, limiting the impacts of a griefer/holofire, killing ALL the slimes in Xenobiology.
  • Electropsionic emitter: 2 standard laser emitters, 6 capacitors, 2 bluespace trackers, one Subspace Transmitter control circuit. Is just like an emitter, but instead of shooting lasers that cause burn damages, launches bursts of energy (that still go through transparent things like a laser) which carry kinetic energy (it pushes), with three settings: the first one would just knock down people and move small objects, the second would push people but not really cause damage, and the third one fucks everything up - breaks bones, pushes shit, causes damage to unpushable shit it hits (standard walls, mechs, machines for instance). Again, ignoring the nefarious uses, Security could definitely use it to make an interdiction barrier, Engineering could use it to safely excite a Supermatter to start it, for instance.
  • ...Ideas?


Xenobiology: Augmented

Xenobiology's already pretty advanced, but I would add a touch of botany-like work: have it be possible to analyze either grey core slimes or living adult slimes to get properties so that the xenobiologist can breed slimes that he needs - grey slimes that need less food, metal/purple slimes that produce more yield, so on.


Now, to the rest of the station:


In addition to Virology and Genetics (technically), Medical gains the Biomedical Researcher, that mans the biomedical laboratory - where people are tasked to find drug combinations to cater to certain situations, try out certain nefarious combinations either on living humans or protohumans to see how to better treat it, or even create chemical weapons.


Now, don't get me wrong. I have NO idea if this would work. BUT instead of Research doing weapons tests (after making sure the weapons are safe for handling), they could hand it over to Security, who would have, instead of a standard firing range with targets, a holorange (if we use the lore that holodecks create holomatter). It could be configured to feature the standard range with targets, OR could have a simulated protohuman on which the damage could be observed. Either from new weapons, or alternate tactics, or so on.

Cargo... and Engineering: The Merge

In this plan, Cargo and Engineering would... somewhat merge, or at least become directly accessible to one another, in a dual-leadership department - as regular, the HoP would handle the equipment side of things while the CE would handle the repairs and construction. This new department, called Operations, would have two/three out of the three/four circuit printers (the only other one being in Electromechanical Research/the Robotics research) as they are the ones who actually build the consoles, they would have two of the three fabricators (the only other one being in the Medical part of Robotics). It would also have the autolathe (which I've always lamented - why does Engineering NOT have an autolathe at game start?), if not in general access in the shared-access part of the department. And since it would operate, technically, under the same 'administrative roof', it would mean that actual roboticists would be able to stop worrying about what does and does not need paperwork - mechs? 2 of the 3 most common mech types would be intra-departmental (aside from the occasional odysseus and durand/gygax). Engineering would get materials more readily since Mining would be right by them. Oh, someone wants to be borged? The paperwork falls on Medical, because they are the ones with the surgery theater for that - and with that paperwork you get to deliver the whole body of the borg. Oh, Science got an active posi-brain? Guess what? They're the ones who need to write the paperwork for the delivery of a posibrain and to make a new borg or IPC. It would delight 90% of the roboticists I know. Plus it just makes sense to put everything that relates to the creation, construction, reparation and supply of a space station relatively close together. And their part of science? There WAS that other thread about IPC modification, now that Skull made a push request for his IPC balance work...

This is all brainstorming, though - in my idea of an ideal map. I'll probably make, approximately to scale, a mockup plan of what the map could look like.

But what I need most is feedback. Unless pretty much everyone universally agrees that this is a great idea, I'll probably followup with the ideas that most people agree with (for further refinement and tracking of development) in separate threads. But so far, I really like this whole idea. Thoughts?

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I recently had the thought that there could be Deus Ex style augmentations (thermal vision, enhanced strength for workers, built in tools, ect) that could be made available by high enough research levels and installed via Robotics.


The transhumanist in my just exploded with joy at this.

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The changes to Security was to accomodate for a larger holorange (and admittedly shoddy memory of how Security is made - I'll be entirely honest, I've been playing since way before the new map was implemented, and right now Security might very well be a 4D quantum structure to me).

The changes to the civilian cube was to accomodate the move of Medical (the way I see it, the exits were north and east to accomodate for Medical being east and... I don't know why up. It was convenient? But yeah - I'm 90% certain Medical had a big part in the bar's east entrance, hell the EMT entrance to Medical is not even ten blocks away from the bar's entrance) and so the changes are to accomodate for a more direct access to Medical being south of the station.

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I like the civilian changes. The current civilian design is cool, but it places so much emphasis on the holodeck, and the costume storage area is a big unused lump in the middle. The port wing is still really unused in your design, and we've lost the changing room and the cultist training area (bathrooms).

Your ideas are interesting ones, but how do you solve the problem of science not involving the players learning new and interesting things? That's always been the core issue with the science department: all the things you can do with it are known from round-start. There's no discovery, no refinement, no progress.

Can you solve that?

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Keep in mind, it's only APPROXIMATELY to scale. I'll probably be fucking around in Dream Maker to make a more accurate mock-up. Holodeck and costume storage don't change sizes (okay maybe the costume storage will shrink because it could go under holodeck).

The port wing is unused, yes - but to that, I find there's two problems: one, Cargo being south of it yet interfacing with the hub, two, what WOULD you put there?

In this design, at least (unless I split back Engineering and Cargo and just give them an interface point - say, the mech bay), Operations' front desk could not be there simply because it would cut off Engineering, pretty much.

The changing room being gone is a slight oversight because I forgot it existed - but if you look closely, the bathrooms ARE present (the water facilities in front of dorms).

And the whole point of the map change is to involve players. In my eyes, Research does not involve players because it's isolated and very specific. By giving Research a proper, full front desk, possible extra services like the machines and chemical labs (which we could add features that would assist civilian sectors too) and possibly putting a massive glass window in front of both Robotics and Research and Development and by including at least one Research sector to most departments, the goal is to increase as much as possible the visual exposure of players - to make them curious about the station. Plus, as I said - the new features (that would need to be coded in, admittedly) give completely new ways to progress, as you say, in methods that aren't listed on any codebase wiki BECAUSE they're unique to the Aurora (and that's a big point on which I blame Research being so unused - 99% of how to get to places is put in a very neat guide). And finally, the glass panes that show Science in all of it's glory could (with a little encouragement to the actual scientists) show the truly endless potential of Science as the scientists build smaller devices (protopistols, special chemical grenades, so on), in theory it would excite people about doing Science (and so they give the Lab Assistant job a try, and see the less... publically exposable parts of Science like testing the effects of 'what if I implanted a chemical grenade with 600 units of arithrazine/peridaxon/hyperzine/lipozine/welder in the chest cavity of a protohuman and detonate it for massive overdose, ).

Really, I will fully admit it - this map rework only fixes half the problem. The scientists actually doing science by figuring out the little peculiarity and extreme cases of how the game works is the other part of the fix.

Because to be honest, even on the map currently deployed to the server, there's a LOT of possible things to do.

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