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How research really works

The previous pages presented research costs as if they were exact and always the same. It's more complicated than that.

  • Each research level has a set base cost, as shown previously and displayed in the game.
  • After the base cost has been paid, additional research points increase the chance of a "breakthrough", which causes the technology to actually be researched.
  • The game displays its estimate of the number of turns until a breakthrough in the research status box. This number can be high or low, as the exact timing is random. Once the base cost is paid (and the research window displays 0 RP required), the percentage chance of a breakthrough on the next turn is also displayed in the research status box. Note that this percentage includes the current turn's research, so may be altered by adjusting the amount of RP produced.
  • Once the base cost has been paid twice (e.g. Advanced Engineering after 160 RP), including the current turn's RP, the technology is guaranteed to be researched on the next turn. At this point, the Research Status box will display 100%. It's not clear whether this number can be rounded up to 100%, so there may be a small chance that the research doesn't complete when 100% is displayed, as the total RP may be just short of twice the base cost.
  • When you begin researching a technology, the game will always estimate at least two turns of research, even if you have enough RP to guarantee an immediate breakthrough.
  • When 100% is displayed, you can safely transfer scientists to other jobs, provided the probability does not drop below 100%. You may wish to leave one extra scientist, in case rounding has occurred.
  • A better method is to use more expensive technology to determine how many RP have been spent, and calculate the exact number necessary to guarantee a breakthrough. If you are researching Artificial Life, you need to spend 9000 RP total (4500 base cost, x2). If you also have access to Temporal Physics (15000 RP) and it displays a cost of 7520 RP, you know that you have spent 7480 RP (15000 - 7520), and that you need to spend another 1520 RP (9000 - 7480) this turn to guarantee research. Any excess RP is completely wasted.
  • If immediate research is not necessary, scientists may be transferred to other jobs as soon as the breakthrough chance reaches an acceptable value. If you have a 50% chance of breakthrough this turn and do not get it, you will still have at least a 50% chance of breakthrough next turn, even if you generate 0 RP. You therefore have an 87.5% chance of a breakthrough in the next three turns (and over 99.9% in the next ten turns) with no additional RP investment.

The value of scientists in other jobs depends on circumstances. If your race is Tolerant or the colony contains production buildings, you could make your ex-scientists produce Trade Goods - you'll need the money some time, possibly to finance an invasion campaign. Otherwise, it may not be useful to move all your scientists into industrial production as a lot of it will be wasted by pollution. Research colonies tend to have high populations, so Housing is not efficient there, but may still be useful if it produces an extra citizen. Farming may be the best general alternative, as the surplus food will increase your income, and may allow you to reassign farmers to production on other planets.

In any case, however, reclaimed >100% scientists represent free effort, provided you remember to put them back to work after the breakthrough.

Summary of techs and research costs[edit]

Eight pages of tech details is a lot to remember, so this page tries to summarise the most useful points for each level, excluding the starting and Hyper-advanced techs:

  • Name of each tech level (e.g. "Astro Biology").
  • Names of the techs in that level.
  • The most usual choice(s) for non-Creative empires.
  • Number of RPs needed to research each level.
  • Cumulative number of RPs needed to research each level from a Pre-Warp start. This will show how many RPs in total you need in order to get from your current position to some tech you really want - subtract the desired tech's cumulative RPs from your current level's cumulative RPs; then you compare the result with your current research output (bottom right of the Galaxy map and Colony List screens). You may then decide to research and build some more research buildings first.

Remember that the "Usual non-Creative choices" are only a guide:

  • Choices you make in other tech subjects may make other choices useful.
  • You must adapt to what your opponents are doing.


RPs Cumul RPs Level name Technologies Usual non-Creative choices
80 80 Advanced Engineering Anti-Missile Rockets
Fighter Bays
Reinforced Hull
Reinforced Hull
150 230 Advanced Construction Automated Factory
Missile Base
Heavy Armor
Automated Factory
250 480 Capsule Construction Battle Pods
Troop Pods
Survival Pods
Battle Pods
400 880 Astro Engineering Space Port
Armor Barracks
Fighter Garrison
Space Port
Fighter Garrison
650 1530 Robotics Robo-Miners
Powered Armor
900 2430 Servo Mechanics Fast Missile Racks
Advanced Damage Control
Assault Shuttles
Advanced Damage Control
Fast Missile Racks
1150 3580 Astro Construction Titan Construction
Ground Batteries
Titan Construction
Ground Batteries
1500 5080 Advanced Manufacturing Recyclotron
Automated Repair Unit
Artificial Planet Construction
Automated Repair Unit
Recyclotron (Cybernetic races)
2000 7080 Advanced Robotics Robotic Factory
Bomber Bays
Robotic Factory
3500 10580 Tectonic Engineering Deep Core Mine
Core Waste Dump
Deep Core Mine
6000 16580 Superscalar Construction Star Fortress
Advanced City Planning
Heavy Fighters
Advanced City Planning
7500 24080 Planetoid Construction Doom Star Construction
Artemis System Net
Doom Star Construction


RPs Cumul RPs Level name Technologies Usual non-Creative choices
50 50 Nuclear Fission Freighters
Nuclear Drive
Nuclear Bomb
This is a "general" tech level - even Uncreatives get all the techs.
80 130 Cold Fusion Colony Ship
Outpost Ship
This is a "general" tech level - even Uncreatives get all the techs.
250 380 Advanced Fusion Fusion Drive
Fusion Bomb
Augmented Engines
Depends on your strategy.
900 1280 Ion Fission Ion Drive
Ion Pulse Cannon
Shield Capacitor
Ion Drive
Shield Capacitor
2000 3280 Anti-Matter Fission Anti-Matter Drive
Anti-Matter Torpedoes
Anti-Matter Bomb
Anti-Matter Torpedoes
Anti-Matter Drive
2750 6030 Matter-Energy Conversion Transporters
Food Replicators
3500 9530 High Energy Distribution High Energy Focus
Energy Absorber
High Energy Focus (beam weapons)
4500 14030 Hyper-Dimensional Fission Proton Torpedo
Hyper Drive
Hyper-X Capacitors
Depends on your strategy.
10000 24030 Interphased Fission Interphased Drive
Plasma Torpedo
Neutronium Bomb
Interphased Drive (beam weapons)
Plasma Torpedo


RPs Cumul RPs Level name Technologies Usual non-Creative choices
50 50 Chemistry Nuclear Missile
Standard Fuel Cells
Extended Fuel Tanks
Titanium Armor
This is a "general" tech level - even Uncreatives get all the techs.
250 300 Advanced Metallurgy Deuterium Fuel Cells
Tritanium Armor
Depends on the map.
650 950 Advanced Chemistry Merculite Missile
Pollution Processor
Depends on your strategy.
1150 2100 Molecular Compression Pulson Missile
Atmospheric Renewer
Iridium Fuel Cells
Iridium Fuel Cells (Tolerant races)
Atmospheric Renewer (all else)
2000 4100 Nano Technology Nano Disassemblers
Microlite Construction
Zortrium Armor
Zortrium Armor
4500 8600 Molecular Manipulation Zeon Missile
Neutronium Armor
Uridium Fuel Cells
Depends on your strategy.
10000 18600 Molecular Control Thorium Fuel Cells
Adamantium Armor
Adamantium Armor


RPs Cumul RPs Level name Technologies Usual non-Creative choices
150 150 Military Tactics Space Academy Space Academy
650 800 Xeno Relations Xeno Psychology
Alien Management Center
Alien Management Center
1150 1950 Macro Economics Stock Exchange Stock Exchange
2000 3950 Teaching Methods Astro University Astro University
4500 8450 Advanced Government Confederation
Galactic Unification
Galactic Unification
6000 14450 Galactic Economics Galactic Currency Exchange Galactic Currency Exchange


RPs Cumul RPs Level name Technologies Usual non-Creative choices
50 50 Electronics Electronic Computer Electronic Computer
150 200 Optronics Research Laboratory
Optronic Computer
Dauntless Guidance System
Research Laboratory
400 600 Artificial Intelligence Neural Scanner
Scout Lab
Security Stations
Neural Scanner
900 1500 Positronics Positronic Computer
Holo Simulator
1500 3000 Artificial Consciousness Emissions Guidance System
Rangemaster Targeting Unit
Cyber Security Link
Emissions Guidance System
Cyber Security Link (Democracies)
2750 5750 Cybertronics Cybertronic Computer
Structural Analyzer
3500 9250 Cybertechnics Android Farmers
Android Workers
Android Scientists
Android Scientists (production races)
Android Workers (research races)
4500 13750 Galactic Networking Virtual Reality Network
Galactic Cybernet
Virtual Reality Network (non-Unification races)
Galactic Cybernet (Unification races)
6000 19750 Moleculartronics Pleasure Dome
Moleculartronic Computer
Achilles Targeting Unit
Achilles Targeting Unit


RPs Cumul RPs Level name Technologies Usual non-Creative choices
80 80 Astro Biology Hydroponic Farm
Depends on the map.
400 480 Advanced Biology Cloning Center
Soil Enrichment
Death Spores
Cloning Center (Lithovores)
Soil Enrichment (poor farming)
Cloning Center (all else)
900 1380 Genetic Engineering Telepathic Training
Telepathic Training (if you have population growth bonus)
Telepathic Training (Democracies)
Microbiotics (if you have counter-intelligence bonus)
Microbiotics (if you have population capacity bonus)
1150 2530 Genetic Mutations Terraforming Terraforming
1500 4030 Macro Genetics Subterranean Farms
Weather Controller
Depends on the map.
2750 6780 Evolutionary Genetics Psionics
Heightened Intelligence
Psionics (Democracies, Dictatorships)
Heightened Intelligence (Unification)
Depends on the mix of population (Feudal).
4500 11280 Artificial Life Bio Terminator
Universal Antidote
Universal Antidote
7500 18780 Trans Genetics Biomorphic Fungi
Gaia Transformation
Evolutionary Mutation
Evolutionary Mutation


RPs Cumul RPs Level name Technologies Usual non-Creative choices
50 50 Physics Laser Cannon
Laser Rifle
Space Scanner
This is a "general" tech level - even Uncreatives get all the techs.
150 200 Fusion Physics Fusion Beam
Fusion Rifle
Depends on your strategy.
250 450 Tachyon Physics Tachyon Communications
Tachyon Scanner
Battle Scanner
Battle Scanner (beam weapons)
Tachyon Communications
900 1350 Neutrino Physics Neutron Blaster
Neutron Scanner
Neutron Blaster (beam weapons)
Neutron Scanner
1150 2500 Artificial Gravity Tractor Beam
Graviton Beam
Gravity Generator
Depends on your strategy.
1500 4000 Subspace Physics Subspace Communications
Jump Gate
Subspace Communications
2000 6000 Multi-Phased Physics Phasors
Phasor Rifle
Multi-Phased Shields
Depends on your strategy.
3500 9500 Plasma Physics Plasma Cannon
Plasma Rifle
Plasma Web
Depends on your strategy.
4500 14000 Multi-Dimensional Physics Disruptor Cannon
Dimensional Portal
(attack Antarans:)Dimensional Portal
(otherwise:)Disruptor Cannon
6000 20000 Hyper-Dimensional Physics Hyperspace Communications
Mauler Device
Depends on your strategy.
15000 35000 Temporal Physics Time Warp Facilitator
Stellar Converter
Star Gate
Time Warp Facilitator

Force Fields[edit]

RPs Cumul RPs Level name Technologies Usual non-Creative choices
250 250 Advanced Magnetism Class I Shield
Mass Driver
ECM Jammer
Depends on your strategy.
ECM Jammer
650 900 Gravitic Fields Anti-Grav Harness
Inertial Stabilizer
Gyro Destabilizer
Inertial Stabilizer
900 1800 Magneto Gravitics Class III Shield
Radiation Shield
Warp Dissipater
Class III Shield
1500 3300 Electromagnetic Refraction Stealth Field
Personal Shield
Stealth Suit
Personal Shield (Ground fighters)
Stealth Suit (all else)
2000 5300 Warp Fields Pulsar
Warp Interdictor
Lightning Field
Lightning Field
2750 8050 Subspace Fields Class V Shields
Multi-Wave ECM Jammer
Gauss Cannon
Gauss Cannon
Class V Shields
3500 11550 Distortion Fields Cloaking Device
Stasis Field
Hard Shields
Stasis Field
Hard Shields
4500 16050 Quantum Fields Class VII Shield
Planetary Flux Shield
Wide Area Jammer
Class VII Shield, otherwise Planetary Flux Shield
7500 23550 Transwarp Fields Displacement Device
Subspace Teleporter
Inertial Nullifier
Inertial Nullifier
Subspace Teleporter
15000 38550 Temporal Fields Class X Shield
Planetary Barrier Shield
Phasing Cloak
Phasing Cloak