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The research menu at the start of a game. The highlighted tech area is being researched.

The Engineering techs appear in the top left part of the Research menu.

0 RP: starting techs[edit]

Colony Base (200 PP; no maintenance)

Enables a colony to colonize another planet in the same system. The new colony will have a population of 1. The colony making the Colony Base does not lose a population unit.

Star Base (400 PP; maintenance 2 BC)

A satellite of a colony, which:

  • helps to defend the colony (but ships and ground-based defenses are more effective).
  • provides improved scanners which can detect ships of other empires at longer range.
  • provides 1 Command Point (can be increased by some mid- to late-game techs).
  • enables the colony to build ships larger than Destroyers.
  • you can't design. The upside is that Star Bases (and their advanced versions later in this page) are upgraded immediately and at zero cost whenever you research a relevant tech. But the designs forced on you by the game software always use unmodified versions of your latest weapons except for HV and PD beams, even when useful modifications are available without miniaturization, and usually make poor choices of special systems - for example they always include Security Stations when available (improved defense against boarding parties) when you have good shields (which block boarding parties) and would rather have Structural Analyzer and/or High energy Focus (kill enemy ships faster, so boarding parties do not become a threat). As a result, the defensive effectiveness of Star Bases declines significantly during a game.
Marine Barracks (60 PP; maintenance 1 BC)

Building which:

  • makes Marines for ground defense.
  • improves the colony's morale by 20% for Dictatorships and Feudal governments if there are no other types of Barracks.
  • enables the colony to build Troop Transports in order to invade enemy colonies.
Capitol (200 PP; no maintenance)

Government center. Not required by Unification empires. Loss of the homeworld causes various empire-wide reductions of morale for all other governments until a new Capitol is built.

80 RP: Advanced Engineering[edit]

Anti-Missile Rockets

Ship defensive weapon which has an 60% chance to destroy enemy missiles, decreasing by 3% with each square from launched position. The best early-game anti-missile weapon, when PD weapons are weak and inaccurate; but useless against Fighters / Bombers and torpedoes.

  • Miniaturization: Decrease in space space and cost.
  • Modifications: none.
Fighter Bays

Ship component which launches four Interceptors (the lowest grade of Fighter), each of which has your best computer and carries one of your best PD weapon (although the weapon is considered 'normal' for purposes of damage calculation) and can fire four times, always at zero range and hitting the side of the target where the shields are weakest, before needing to go back to recharge. Their combat speed is 8 + (2 x the number of parsecs their empire's drive can travel per turn on the Galaxy map); that's 12 to 22 squares per combat turn. Each Fighter's structure strength is 2 * the strength factor of your best armor (Titanium = 1, Tritanium = 2, Zortrium = 4, Neutronium = 6, Adamantium = 8; Xentronium = 10); that's 2 to 20. Very dangerous in the early game, because Anti-Missile Rockets can't target Fighters and PD weapons are weak and inaccurate at that stage. But they can be wiped out by drive explosions.

  • Miniaturization: Decrease in space space and cost.
  • Modifications: weapon type, speed, armor and accuracy upgrade automatically according to owner's tech.

Fighters can target ships, missiles, bases, and even enemy's fighters.

Reinforced Hull

Ship component that triples its structural strength.

  • Miniaturization: decrease in cost.
  • Modifications: none.

Recommended choice for non-Creatives: most prefer Reinforced Hull, which is useful throughout the game, but blitzers may prefer Anti-Missile Rockets or Fighter Bays.

150 RP: Advanced Construction[edit]

Automated Factory (60 PP; 1 BC maintenance)

Colony building that increases production by a flat 5 PP (regardless of workers; not subject to pollution) + 1 per worker (subject to pollution).

Missile Base (120 PP; maintenance 2 BC)

Ground-based missile launcher (2 sets of missiles that can be given different targets) with almost unlimited ammunition. Perhaps the best early defense.

Heavy Armor

Ship and Starbase component that triples its armor strength and negates the AP effect of some weapons, but is expensive and bulky. Can be bypassed with the help of Achilles Targeting Unit.

Recommended choice for non-Creatives: Automated Factory is a must-have for most races; a few races with extreme production bonuses may prefer either of the others; Cybernetic races (which can repair ships during combat) sometimes choose Heavy Armor as this combination produces ships that are very hard to destroy.

This is one of the first 2 levels at which Creatives get really useful extra techs (Automated Factory and Missile Base; and Heavy Armor is quite useful for Starbases) - the other is at the corresponding level in Computers.

250 RP: Capsule Construction[edit]

Battle Pods

Ship Special System that increases available space in the ship by 50%.

Troop Pods

Ship Special System that doubles the number Marines it carries. Useful for performing or defending against boarding attacks, but becomes less important when moderately good shields appear, as shields block boarding raids.

Survival Pods

Achievement (no construction or ship component required) that saves any Ship Leader whose ship is destroyed, provided that at least one of your ships is present at the end of the battle (i.e. you must win for Survival Pods to work; if all your surviving ships retreat, the stranded Leaders die).

Recommended choice for non-Creatives: Battle Pods; the extra firepower on each warship is needed, especially since command points are limited (unless Warlord trait) in early games. The primary purpose of Battle Pods though is to make ship specials more worthwhile; if you do not have it then Battle Scanner most importantly is less worthwhile, and that means you will want to choose Tachyon Communications instead and will rarely use beam weapons.

400 RP: Astro Engineering[edit]

Space Port (80 PP; maintenance 1 BC)

Building that increases a colony's non-special income by 50% (i.e., does not affect income from gold or gem deposits).

Armor Barracks (150 PP; maintenance 2 BC)

Building that makes Tanks for ground defense and improves morale by 20% for Dictatorship and Feudal governments if no other Barracks is present. Marine Barracks, a starting tech, is a cheaper and quicker way to get the morale boost, and is essential if you want to make Troop Transports (you can only use Marines for invasions, not armored units). Armor Barracks' defensive effect is of limited value as enemy ships can bomb your colony if you lose the space battle.

Fighter Garrison (150 PP; maintenance 2 BC)

Building that launches 10 Interceptors or Heavy Fighters (if you research Heavy Fighters) to defend the colony. New fighters are made every 10 turns to replace ones destroyed. For detailed information about the capabilities of Interceptors and Heavy Fighters see "Fighter Bays" (above) and "Heavy Fighters" (below). They are slower than missiles but do significantly more damage when they arrive. Their greatest weakness is that, if a ship's drive explodes, they may all be destroyed and you have to wait for up to 10 combat turns for replacements. Since fighters can target missiles and fighters, Fighter Garrison can be an effective defense base, especially against enemy fighters, which often can slip past a Star Base.

Recommended choice for non-Creatives: Space Port. Some players like Fighter Garrison a lot, but Fighters can be wiped out by a drive explosion, and a clever opponent may self-destruct a heavily damaged ship to eliminate Fighters. Extra money helps you to "buy when half built" while developing your colonies, and to pay the high costs of an invasion campaign. In short, only research Fighter Garrison if you feel that an invasion is imminent or you are surrounded on all fronts, otherwise Space Port, which benefits colonies in most cases. Fighter Garrison is useful when you have low computer tech (low beam attack) because fighters attack at point blank, in always-hit manner. Ground Battery, however, depends heavily on targeting computer, in contrast to Fighter Garrison.

650 RP: Robotics[edit]

Robo-Miners (150 PP; maintenance 2 BC)

Colony building that increases production by a flat 10 PP (regardless of workers; not subject to pollution) + 2 per worker (subject to pollution). If pollution prevents you from getting the full increase in production, you can shift some workers into research and still have a reasonable increase in production. If the maintenance is a worry, make Trade Goods for a few turns - even with no workers the Robo-Miner will produce 10 PP, worth 5 BC as Trade Goods.

Battlestation (1000 PP for new build, 600 PP to upgrade existing Starbase; maintenance 3 BC)

Advanced Starbase that provides greater defensive power, 2 Command Points (can be increased by some mid- to late-game techs), and gives defending warships additional Ship Attack and Ship Defense bonuses.

Powered Armor

Achievement that gives your Marines a +10% ground combat bonus and increases their hit points from 1 to 2.

Recommended choice for non-Creatives:

A strong toss-up between all options; Powered armor is a massive multiplier for marines in both space and ground assaults, as the doubled survivability makes even marginal attacks far more viable, allowing much greater ease in the capture of needed technologies, worlds, and population and against lesser opponent, lets the player expend fewer transports, while the massive bump in manufacturing offered by Robo-miners is self-explanitory. Battlestations are a very useful buff to your command point supply, and can easily pay for itself, even before the increased survivability and fleet buffs.

900 RP: Servo Mechanics[edit]

Fast Missile Racks

Ship Special System that allows a ship to fire missiles twice in 1 combat turn, but it must then wait for 1 combat turn without firing any missiles. The idea is to overload enemy anti-missile defenses.

Advanced Damage Control

Achievement that repairs all ship damage after combat; otherwise ships have to wait without moving for 1 combat turn in order to repair (unless they have Automated Repair Units). Most useful either if you are under continuous attack or if you are running an all-out campaign of invasion.

Assault Shuttles

Ship "weapon": shuttles carry troops that automatically board enemy ships or Starbases when in range, trying to either raid (damage) or capture them. Their combat speed is 2 + (2 x the number of parsecs their empire's drive can travel per turn on the Galaxy map); that's 8 to 16 squares per combat turn. Each Shuttle's structure strength is 3 + the strength factor of your best armor (Titanium = 1, Tritanium = 2, Zortrium = 4, Neutronium = 6, Adamantium = 8; Xentronium = 10); that's 4 to 13. They can be destroyed by a drive explosion. Useful for capturing Antaran ships as their damper field has a 50% chance of killing marines using transporters and the ships will self-destruct should you immobilize them with a tractor beam. Assault shuttles are incredible in combination with the Trans-Dimensional racial trait since both the ship and the shuttles receive the tactical movement bonus; enemy ships and starbases can fire their beams but have no chance to retreat or use missiles before being captured. Another tactic is to launch the shuttles only once the enemy target is directly adjacent to the launching ship (to the side, not to the front), so as to immediately resolve the attack rather than wait till the enemy moves and gets a chance to defend itself. Note that the assault shuttle's marine contingent is in addition to (but not part of) the normal crew complement, and they are not affected by crew-killing weapons (Death Ray, Neutron Beam) prior to launch.

Recommended choice for non-Creatives: Advanced Damage Control or Fast Missile Racks, depending on your military situation and research strategy (e.g. if you're going for beams or torpedo weapons, Fast Missile Racks are not useful). Assault Shuttles work best if you have good ground combat stats and you use them in hardened "troop carrier" ships so their sheer numbers can overwhelm enemy defenders.

1150 RP: Astro Construction[edit]

Titan Construction

Allows you to build Titan class ships (before this the largest you can build are Battleships). Titans have 25% better shields than Battleships, provide over twice the internal space, are about 2.5 times as expensive to build as Battleships, but require only 25% more Command Points. To put it more simply: in a typical case 6000 PP worth of Titans (2) will have slightly less firepower than 6000 PP worth of Battleships (5); will take slightly less damage in total but it will take the enemy longer to make the first kill, so your fleet is dealing out full damage for longer; and requires only 8 Command points rather than 20. Titans also have tactical advantages when assaulting heavily defended enemy colonies, especially if your main weapons are beams - 2 or 3 Titans can direct their full firepower against the target sooner than 5 to 8 Battleships, because the ships at the end of a wide line usually take an extra combat turn to get into range.

Ground Batteries (200 PP; maintenance 2 BC)

Planetary Defense Building of your best HV and PD beam weapons. Probably the most powerful defensive installation (with the possible exception of the insanely expensive Star Fortress); in particular the only ground-based defense that can defend itself against missiles and fighters. Ground Batteries protected by a planetary shield can offer tough opposition to attackers. The one reservation about Ground Batteries is that you need good targeting computers in order to make them fully effective. By this stage in the game 200 PP is not a huge amount of production to stockpile, so threatened colonies can usually build Ground Batteries instantly (provided you can see the enemy coming, i.e. provided their ships are not cloaked).


Achievement that enables Armor Barracks to build defensive ground combat robots that have a +10% ground combat bonus and take three hits to destroy (not cumulative with Powered Armor). Of limited use if you lost the space battle, as the enemy can bomb your colony.

Recommended choice for non-Creatives: usually Titan Construction, as Titans can be used for both attack and defense, and they provide a significant increase in combat capability without a huge increase in Command Points required, but Ground Batteries are often a reasonable alternative, especially with good computers and "beam" weapons that naturally have no dissipation at long ranges (Mass Driver, Gauss Cannon, Disrupter; Plasma Cannon are also good if enemy ships do not have good shields, because their natural enveloping effect more than compensates for their twice-normal dissipation).

1500 RP: Advanced Manufacturing[edit]

Recyclotron (200 PP; maintenance 3 BC)

Building that enables each colonist (and Native!), regardless of job, to generate 1 PP in addition to whatever they're already producing, and with zero pollution. Due to its high cost it's only useful for colonies with population of 15 or more, where you want the colonists to concentrate on research and/or farming; it's less useful on your all-out ship-building planets, where you'd spend 200 PP to build something that only adds a small amount per turn.

Automated Repair Unit

Ship Special System that repairs up to 20% of a ship's armor or structure or repairs 10% of its systems per combat turn, and after combat completely repairs the ship (in both cases provided that the Automated Repair Unit is not destroyed). Quite bulky, and the space may be better spent on weapons. Advanced Damage Control also repairs fully after combat, takes no space on ships, and cannot be damaged in combat as it's an "achievement".

Artificial Planet Construction (800 PP; no maintenance)

Enables a colony to create new colonizable planets in the same system by converting Gas Giants into Huge Barren Abundant planets and Asteroid Belts into Large Barren Abundant planets. To colonize the new planets you also have to build a Colony Base (200 PP), so the total cost is 1000 PP per new colony - you can't afford this against good human players, as 1000 PP will produce a good Cruiser plus quite a large addition to your stockpile (or a very good Battleship if you add 300 PP).

Recommended choice for non-Creatives: usually Recyclotron, so that your less industrial colonies can produce the more advanced buildings more easily and/or move workers into research. Some Cybernetic players use Automated Repair Unit along with their natural repair ability to produce extremely durable warships. Artificial Planet Construction takes time to make it pay off, but if you have over a dozen asteroids and/or gas giants in your empire this can be a great way to expand your production in a close but deadlocked game.

2000 RP: Advanced Robotics[edit]

Robotic Factory (200 PP; maintenance 3 BC)

Building that needs no workers but increases production by 5 to 20 PP, depending on mineral type of planet (5 PP for Ultra Poor; 8 PP for Poor; 10 PP for Abundant; 15 PP for Rich; 20 PP for Ultra Rich). Useless on all except Rich and Ultra Rich planets. It takes at least 10 turns just to recover the PP used to build the Robotic Factory and you're paying 3 BC maintenance during that time, so the actual break-even point is even further in the future. Additionally, unlike all other flat bonuses from buildings, this one increases pollution.

Bomber Bays

Ship Special Weapon that launches 4 small ships, each of which carries your best bombs, and can drop one bomb before returning to reload. They attack at zero range and always hit the side of the target where the shields are weakest. Their combat speed is 4 + (4 x the number of parsecs their empire's drive can travel per turn on the Galaxy map); that's 16 to 32 squares per combat turn. Each Bomber's structure strength is 4 * the strength factor of your best armor (Titanium = 1, Tritanium = 2, Zortrium = 4, Neutronium = 6, Adamantium = 8, Xentronium = 10). Bombers can be used to attack ships, Star Bases etc. and planets—but, like all types of Fighter, can be destroyed by drive explosions as well as by PD and other weapons (anti-Fighter weapons will be effective by this stage).

Recommended choice for non-Creatives: neither is particularly impressive.

3500 RP: Tectonic Engineering[edit]

Deep Core Mine (250 PP; maintenance 3 BC)

Colony building that increases production by a flat 15 PP (regardless of workers; not subject to pollution) + 3 per worker (subject to pollution). Most useful at your shipyard colonies; it's also better than Recyclotron at non-industrial colonies with populations of less than 15.

Core Waste Dump (200 PP; maintenance 8 BC!)

Building that completely eliminates pollution penalties; if the colony already had a Pollution Processor and/or Atmosphere Renewer, these are scrapped and the proceeds paid into your treasury. Core Waste Dump's very high maintenance means it should only be built where there's a significant amount of pollution, usually in Rich/Ultra Rich shipyard colonies.

Recommended choice for non-Creatives: Tolerant races prefer Deep Core Mine, unless they want to build ships at Rich or Ulra Rich captured colonies whose populations are non-Tolerant and only if they lack an Atmospheric Renewer; non-Tolerant races should choose Deep Core Mine, because coupled with Atmosphere Renewer it provides a far greater increase in production than the Core Waste Dump in all situations (Core Waste Dump increases production by less than 15% compared to an Atmosphere Renewer, while the Deep Core Mine provides over 20% increase in production even in the worst-case scenario).

If the game gets this far, Creatives can become industrial monsters by using both, e.g. they can build ships extremely fast (a good Battleship in 2 to 4 turns) and then, if they are short of Command Points, make their best industrial colonies build Battlestations, bigger and less CP-intensive ships, and/or produce Trade Goods.

6000 RP: Superscalar Construction[edit]

Star Fortress (2500 PP for new build, 2100 to upgrade from Starbase, 1500 to upgrade from Battlestation!; maintenance 4 BC)

Better than a Battlestation in terms of toughness and bonuses, much better then a Star Base. But by this time you can build 2 very good Battleships for 2800 PP; with good tactics these will usually beat a Star Fortress, often without losing one.

Advanced City Planning

Achievement that increases the maximum population of every colony by 5. The effect is most dramatic for small planets.

Heavy Fighters

Ship Special Weapon that launches 4 fighters, each of which carries two of your best PD weapons, your best computer and two of your best bombs, and can fire them 4 times at ships, Star Bases etc. and planets before returning to reload. They attack at zero range and always hit the side of the target where the shields are weakest. Their combat speed is 4 + (4 x the number of parsecs their empire's drive can travel per turn on the Galaxy map); that's 16 to 32 squares per combat turn. Each Heavy Fighter's structure strength is 5 + the strength factor of your best armor (Titanium = 1, Tritanium = 2, Zortrium = 4, Neutronium = 6, Adamantium = 8, Xentronium = 10); that's 6 to 15. Heavy Fighters can be used to attack ships, Star Bases etc. and planets; they can be launched from Heavy Fighter Bays, a ship component which this tech provides, or from colonies' Fighter Garrisons. Like all types of Fighter, Heavy Fighters can be destroyed by drive explosions as well as by PD and other weapons (anti-Fighter weapons will be effective by this stage).
Miniaturization: Reduces space and cost of Heavy Fighter Bays on ships.

Recommended choice for non-Creatives: Advanced City Planning (population is power). Star Fortresses are far too expensive to stockpile for and Heavy Fighters can be mowed down by precise point-defense weaponry.

7500 RP: Planetoid Construction[edit]

Doom Star Construction

Ability to make Doom Star ships. Unfortunately a well-equipped Doom Star costs over 9000 PP, so even the best possible industrial colony takes 8 or 9 turns to make one (a Large or Huge Terran Ultra Rich planet that is populated by a production race and has all the industrial buildings and, if the colonists are not Tolerant, Core Waste Dump). For about the same PP you can build 3 well-equipped Titans; the Titans will require 15 Command Points to the Doom Star's 6, but will beat the Doom Star (without loss if the Titans fire first).

Artemis System Net (1000 PP; maintenance 5 BC)

System defense, a network of space mines that damages ships attacking any colony in the system. The damage is 100 to 150 points less whatever is blocked by the ships' shields. The chances of a ship's being hit depend on its size: Frigate 20%, Destroyer 30%, Cruiser 40%, Battleship 50%, Titan 80%, Doom Star 100%. High-tech shields make it quite unlikely that the Artemis System Net will kill a Battleship or larger; the ship will go into the following battle with its armor damaged (possibly down to 50%) but its shields fully recharged. If the attackers capture the colony that built the Artemis System Net, it starts working for them, even if there are other uncaptured colonies in the system. And 1000 PP is about 75% of the cost of a Battleship that is good enough to pass through the Net in good enough shape for combat.

Recommended choice for non-Creatives: Doom Star, if the game hasn't finished before anyone researches this level.

25000 RP: Hyper-advanced Engineering[edit]

The only miniaturizable ship components in this part of the tech tree are Automatic Repair Unit and the various Fighter / Bomber Bays, and all except Heavy Fighters will have had their full 5 levels of miniaturization before you research any Hyper-advanced Engineering techs. Hyper-advanced research in Physics, Force Fields or Computers produces greater increases in your ships' effectiveness.