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Remove the whole "research level" concept


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Here's my two cents: while I made up justifications IC for why we do it over and over, it makes no sense OOC for a game with character persistence to have to re-build research levels over and over.

I personally believe that the whole system is a vestigial remnant of a playstyle that was focused less on the RP and more on the action.

And so here's my pitch: remove the whole research level concept. The protolathe would be instantly capable of producing all items (with three exceptions: illegal items, bluespace items and weapons technology, each of which would have a datakey in the RD's locker to enable)

My reasoning is this: it serves no real purpose except to add a small amount of tedious things to do to get to the core of RP research, right now. And it's a big handwave as to why the research levels are reset.

What this would do? Of course, it means that the chucklefucks get easier access to things BUT.

-No more PDA problems

-No more scientists sacrificing their time to get the research done for Robotics

-More time spent on actual science - that is, building things, figuring out how they work and making things happen

-More time spent on RP in general

-Less frustration to players who toiled away at Research for very specific purposes and whose work get cut short by a transfer shuttle at the 2 hour mark

-Since everything is available, greater interaction with crew who might want to obtain more restricted or complex items (security would get more interaction out of obtaining special equipment, medical would get more interaction through obtaining the lifesupport table and the advanced medical tool, engineering would actually be able to do things when there's not a disaster by mass-upgrading the station's APCs, so on, so on)

-Makes Research a bigger target for antags, which gives other things to do and more RP options

Instead, what I suggest is this: a refinement process. Most items are limited by materials regardless, and most items also break down before their "level" is reached. And so instead of research levels, deconstructing a broken item makes it more reliable (and thus break less often, and thus give less opportunity for refinement) and improves upon it;

-Power cells would get slightly faster charge

-Energy weapons would get a slightly better shot-to-energy ratio

-Ballistic weapons would get a slightly faster firerate

-Components would get slightly better at what they do

-Some items would get a lower production cost

-Circuit boards would reduce the production cost of all boards

And so on, and so on.

That way, there is still an incentive to deconstruct items - but it is not an absolute need for Research to be able to do things. And it makes more sense - deconstructing items over and over to see if something new pops up is eh. Deconstructing items to provide valuable optimization data? That sounds more reasonable.

And to make sure that Research stays fair during antag rounds, the Bridge has a "Research Shutdown" button that forces all Research APCs to switch to "equipment off", or discharges the APC and disables charging.


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I would be pretty alright with this, but I think that if you're going to make everything in research available from the word go that the "lockbox" concept implemented on other stations should be put into effect there.

I also think that there need to be additional mechanics to make the game portion of research interesting. Slimes are pretty fun in this regard, but what I mean is... maybe more items like the protopistol which require assembly from a variety of different parts to function. Maybe Xenoarch has some new items/components added to its area that can be used as construction pieces.

That's kind of a secondary sub-suggestion though.

Like I said, I think this would be OK, but I think there'd need to be a limiter on equipment that would come cratelocked if you got it from, say, cargo. As-is, research can be completed very rapidly by people who know how to play the system anyway.

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Perhaps replace the protolathe with a protofab which works like the mech fabricators and takes time to produce items. This would make production time an additional cost, particularly with more sophisticated items.

Another idea for the deconstructive analyzer is to be able to add new schematics. For example, deconstructing an energy shield would let you fabricate energy shields.

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I think the idea presented in the first post has some merit, though I haven't played science enough to understand the time sinks involved with researching each round. That said, I think that entirely removing the need to research may make the scientist role feel potentially less useful - after all, what's left is Xenobio, Robotics, and Genetics, which are specialized fields, and Toxins, which effectively has one purpose. As a new player, I appreciated having R&D as a safe way to acclimate myself to the research division while feeling productive, and I would hate to lose that.

The proposed changes seem to indicate that mining materials and repetitive deconstruction may still be necessary. From a lore standpoint, I agree that redoing the research levels every round is ridiculous, but if the system is going to be redone I would like to see an equivalent system that feels useful to practice come into play (especially for the early round). The scenarios in which the need for a specific prototype is identified, communicated, and acted upon in the course of a round seem few and far between.

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As someone who's been playing in the research division for a few weeks now, I see R&D as mostly being that boring thing you have to re-do every round because if you don't robotics sucks and you can't make anything useful. Of course, it's also the key to having a medical HUD, med-u cart, nanopaste, and force gloves every round, so not all bad.

It's also something which, if delegated to new players, is generally done rather badly/inefficiently and the next thing you know you're ordering glass and metal from those boxheads in cargonia. *dramatic shudder*

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@Eliot Chef - that's where the datakey comes in. Not individual lockboxes, but a RD (or the Captain or someone else with access to the RD locker) to unlock individual research sections.

@Raven - I love this, it makes so much sense.

@Synnono - less useful? No. It switches the focus from "must steal items to get the items done" to "all items are there, and we can test whatever the fuck we want between item requests" AKA what real science is (though I can easily see it devolve into Mythbusters style - and it's a good thing).

Repetitive deconstruction is NOT needed. It can either be a focus or a happy byproduct of broken items. That's the main point of this suggestion. Mining materials stay in for mining and RP purposes (because right now Research is pretty much the only reason why Mining exists, really).

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R&D has always been my least favorite lab.

It requires very little skill or knowledge to use, but produces some of the most powerful chuckle-fuckery.

At least Telesci requires some skill. TRAVIS DAVIS EAT YOUR HEART OUT

It could use a revamp, eventually. I'd prefer we fix fire, and a couple other important bugs first before starting a project like this, but then again, not a dev.

Perhaps we might want to keep the Deconstructor for like, more unique stuff.

Perhaps it can scan xenoarch artifacts or whatnot.

Maybe antag stuff like wizard/cult artifacts.

I'm just coming up with random ideas.

I'll post more later.

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@Eliot Chef - that's where the datakey comes in. Not individual lockboxes, but a RD (or the Captain or someone else with access to the RD locker) to unlock individual research sections.


I did not even parse this on my first read-through. You've accounted for everything I'd want done to make this okay!

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