With the size and depth of the Technology Trees in Outscape, it can be difficult to decide what to research next, particularly for new players. This guide is intended to break down the task of research into natural stages, and give advice on which technologies are worth pushing towards and why.
For Absolute Beginners
Upon starting a new game, a total of seven technologies are available to research, at the roots of the five sections of the tech tree. These are:
- Science Practice
- Deep Space Mining
- Life Support Modules
- Light Energy Projection I
- Blast Projectiles I
- Olzine Extraction
In addition, Syntis players will have access to an eighth starting Technology:
- Syntis Production Level I
Each of these technologies are rated at 0.1 Difficulty and can be unlocked in six minutes, even with just the one starting Science Power available to a new player. Hence, new players should start with these; in particular, Science Practice unlocks Laboratory structures, which can be built to help players progress up the tech tree by increasing their Science Power.
Okay, so I got those starting techs. Now what? (0.5 – 50 Difficulty)
Beyond this, players should focus their research depending on the particular needs of their empire at that time. Some technologies are more valuable than others; in particular, there are some that are crucial for the early game, which are listed below. 5 Science Power is sufficient to unlock these technologies in a reasonable time frame.
- Space Colonization (0.5 Difficulty) – a new player will start with three colonizer ships already built. To build subsequent ships in order to colonize more planets and expand their empire, this technology is required, which provides both the Colonizer hull and basic Colonization Module.
- Freight Transport (0.5 Difficulty) – this technology can be unlocked in 30 minutes by a starting player, and provides the entry-level Freighter hull for the player’s chosen civilization. Building one or two of these ships early on will help in ferrying resources between planets, mining asteroids or scavenging surface resources from other planets or defeated Pirates.
- Entertainment Practice (5 Difficulty) – unlocks Tier 1 Entertainment structures. New players will quickly find themselves needing these to offset the Happiness penalties incurred from taxation and the building of undesirable structures such as mines. Syntis players will not have to worry about this, as their populations are unaffected by happiness.
- Ziryl-90 Fusion and Industrial Use of Limbalt (both 5 Difficulty) – a new player does not automatically start with the ability to mine the resources Limbalt and Ziryl; this must be unlocked through researching these two technologies. Fortunately, at only 5 Difficulty, these are relatively easy to complete, only requiring a few hours each. Limbalt and ziryl are essential in the construction of combat ships and laboratories, so it is worthwhile to secure at least a small early production of these minerals.
- Planet Modification (25 Difficulty) – a player’s home world is always ideally suited to their civilization, but many planets in the galaxy are not. Such worlds can still harbour valuable mineral wealth and/or expansion space. Unlocking Climate and Hydro Adjustment Stations allows the player to terraform these otherwise hostile planets to make them habitable.
- Military Space Program or Specialized Space Forces (25 Difficulty and above) – to form fleets bigger than four ships, larger vessels, namely destroyers and frigates must be researched and constructed. Destroyers tend to have more raw combat power in terms of armour and DPS, while frigates are typically slightly cheaper and faster to build. Players will probably find uses for both of these hull types early on.
- A Medium Weapon of choice (50 Difficulty) – as these larger ships become available, the player will need larger weapons to properly equip them. Just as for Small weapons, Medium weapons come in two basic varieties, Energy and Kinetic weapons. Both kinds have their advantages and drawbacks, detailed at the linked weapon overview pages.
- Sub-Particle Fission (50 Difficulty) – a more expensive technology for a new player, but crucial for a budding fleet commander. Unlocking Generator modules for ships allows the player to support a greater number of power-intensive components in their ship builds, such as Shields and Medium-sized Energy weapons.
- Wave Energy Neutralization (50 Difficulty) – another more expensive technology, but very useful to pick up. Pirate ships that the player will face exclusively use Energy Weapons, so equipping anti-piracy ships with a Shield module to absorb their fire will greatly improve the player’s chances in battle against them.
Next Steps (50 – 450 Difficulty)
By this point, the player should be well-established in their home system and starting to expand beyond their own with their first proper fleets. Depending on their pace of gameplay, they may be starting to encounter other hostile players, or dealing with trouble at home in the form of Corruption. 20 Science Power is recommended to keep these researches moving quickly.
- A Small Weapon of choice (75 Difficulty and above) – upgrading a ship’s weapons will make it more effective in combat. A player might choose to focus on solely Energy or Kinetic weapons initially, or unlock both if they are willing to devote the time to do so.
- Olzine Charged Engine (100 Difficulty) – fleet compositions and load-outs will often revolve around the choice of Engines used. This technology unlocks Improved Warp Engines as a second option available to the player. By providing more Ship Power, use of these engines may avoid the need to use a Generator, saving valuable hull space. However, the primary draw of this tech is the faster boosted warp speed and greater fuel efficiency that these engines provide, both crucial factors in interstellar travel. Having this technology unlocked and ready to use as the player is expanding beyond their starting system will make this task easier.
- Social Psychology (150 Difficulty) – a common struggle in the early game is a lack of Credits with which to build new structures and ships. Higher taxes can solve this, but building many Tier 1 Entertainment structures causes a considerable drain on a planet’s labour pool and power grid. To maintain growth and counter Corruption as it sets in, Tier 2 Entertainment structures should be considered, provided by this tech.
- Construction Platforms (150 Difficulty) – in order to construct the (typically) larger and more effective Tier 2 hulls, the player’s Shipyards must first be upgraded to support them. This technology provides that upgrade, paving the way for larger and more effective fleets to be fielded.
- Damage Dispersion (150 Difficulty) – although useful, players should not rely solely on Shields for protection, as ordnance-based attacks will bypass them entirely. This technology unlocks Armour modules for ships in order to resist all types of incoming damage. Keep in mind that these modules will draw on a ship’s power supply, so extra Generators may also be needed.
- Assault Drop Capsules (150 Difficulty) – unlocks Assault Troop Carriers, allowing trained troops to be moved in Frigates (and later Corvettes and Cruisers) for attack and defence. With this, the player can prepare for war by reinforcing threatened colonies – or wage it on someone else’s territory.
- Warship Operations or Tactical Space Forces (250 Difficulty and above) – Tier 2 warships (destroyers and frigates) are a step-up from their Tier 1 counterparts, being larger, better equipped and more capable in battle. As with Tier 1, both of these technologies are useful; destroyers focus on raw fleet combat performance, while frigates offer balance, as well as the ability to transport troops and/or sow minefields.
- Guidance Systems I (250 Difficulty) – as combat formations grow in size, they will reach the point where not all ships can actually fight; up to this point, their weapons all need direct line of sight to their target. Guidance Systems I is the first technology to offer an indirect-fire weapon, namely the Medium Missile Launcher ML-1. By setting up ships in the rear as support missile boats, a fleet will be able to bring significantly more firepower to bear on an opponent.
- Orbital Defence System (450 Difficulty) – it is important to keep colonies defended as a player’s empire grows, not just with fleets, but with ground defences as well. This technology unlocks the first tier of Orbit Defense System, a structure capable of surface-to-orbit fire against both enemy fleets and invasion attempts. Combined with Military Bases, these structures are a hard counter against raiding attempts, and will generally help to keep your resources – and planets – under your control.
Entering the Mid-Game (450 – 1,250 Difficulty)
At this stage, the player will likely have several systems under their control, with a basic but solid infrastructure of both ships and fleets in place. With Tier 2 hulls now available, the focus will now likely start to switch to upgrading and improving existing fleets, logistics and economic output, although further expansion may still be possible. For the highest difficulty Technologies in this section, a minimum of 50 Science Power is recommended – Laboratory upgrades may be necessary to achieve this.
- A Medium Weapon of choice (450 Difficulty and above) – just as for Small weapons, upgrading a ship’s Medium weapons will make it more effective in combat. A player might choose to focus on one Energy or Kinetic weapon initially, or unlock several if they are willing to devote the time to do so. Medium weapons have more potential research options to choose from, including fixed and turret-mounted versions of both basic cannons, as well as burst damage weaponry in the forms of Missile Launchers and Power Beam Turrets.
- Reinforced Energy Shields (450 Difficulty) – as Pirate fleets grow more powerful, players will have to construct and upgrade to stronger warships in order to stay one step ahead of them. This technology is an important part of this, as it provides Reinforced Shields with 50% more protection than standard Shield modules, allowing Pirate energy fire to be blocked for longer.
- Well-Established/Advanced Logistics (450 or 1,250 Difficulty) – depending on the player’s chosen Major Faction, they will have access to different Technologies at this stage. Mankind and The People’s Realm players can research Well-Established Logistics at 450 Difficulty, while Syntis and Ripchee players will have access to Advanced Logistics at a Difficulty rating of 1,250. Either version unlocks a new Freighter hull (Tier 2 for Mankind and PR, Tier 3 for Ripchee and Syntis), which will greatly assist in moving supplies and colonists through the player’s empire.
- Explosive Warheads (720 Difficulty) – this Technology provides the Medium Missile Launcher SML-A, which trades raw damage per second (DPS) for a wide area-of-effect (AoE) burst. This is a devastating weapon against Pirate fleets, which are always in tight formation. With ships using these as support weaponry, Pirates will now be a handy source of shipbuilding materials rather than a threat.
- Mine Warfare (1,250 Difficulty) – as another layer of protection around systems the player controls, minefields can be sown in order to damage (and potentially destroy) any hostile ships passing through them, including intruders using cloaking technology. This Technology unlocks the basic Minelayer module, compatible with all Tier 2 Frigates. With an 8 hour deployment time, this will likely remain a defensive weapon until further upgrades are unlocked.
- Orbital Security (1,250 Difficulty) – unlocks the Tier 2 upgrade to the basic Orbital Defence System, increasing its direct firepower by 50% and doubling its anti-invasion protection. Although not as powerful as the defence system on the player’s home world, this remains a valuable (albeit expensive) upgrade, and two of these structures can effectively counter orbital bombardment attempts.
- Multilayer Construction Platforms (1,250 Difficulty) – in order to eventually construct Tier 3 hulls such as Battleships and Cruisers, the player’s Shipyards must once again be upgraded, with this technology unlocking said upgrade. The Tier 3 hull researches are located higher up the Spaceship Engineering tech tree, so the player might reasonably choose to hold off on this particular tech until they are ready to tackle these as well.
- Zero Gravity Technology (1,250 Difficulty) – at this point in the Engines tech tree, the player will face a choice of how to progress. The left branch offers this Technology, which provides Zero Gravity Engines. These offer an increased Power output of 175MW and a faster Free Warp speed of 2, making them suited to warships, which often forgo fuel capacity for increased shielding, armour and firepower. However, player should also keep in mind their lower Boosted Warp speed of 4 and high cost to install.
- Dark Energy Charged Engines (1,250 Difficulty) – the right-hand branch of the Engines tech tree offers this Technology, which unlocks Dark Energy Engines. These are an upgrade to the Improved Warp Engine, with increased fuel efficiency and a Boosted Warp speed of 7, making them a good choice for scout ships, supply convoys and fast attack formations.
Mid to Late-Game (1,250 to 3,750 Difficulty)
The final shape of the player’s empire is probably emerging by this stage, with a solid network of planets and combat fleets online and established. A renewed focus is likely to be on building upwards instead of outwards as planet and fleet caps begin to close in. This stage of the game has many particularly valuable technologies in this regard, so this section is larger than the previous ones to reflect this. In order to complete these researches in a reasonable time frame, a minimum of 100 Science Power is recommended.
- Full Farm Automation (1,250 Difficulty) – players will have built many Farms to support their colony Populations, but each of these structures needs 5,000 Population to function. By automating their Farms with the Tier 3 upgrade provided by this Technology, fewer farms are needed, freeing up a significant chunk of Population to support other structures.
- Global Science Program (1,250 Difficulty) – as already stated, as the Difficulty of the available Technologies increases, the player will need more Science Power in order to keep research moving at a reasonable pace. This technology unlocks the Tier 3 upgrade to Laboratory structures, allowing them to provide three Science Power each. Although expensive and time-consuming, the player will eventually need to make use of them as their science worlds hit their population caps and building more labs becomes impossible.
- Deep Mines for Natural Resources (300 or 1,250 Difficulty) – this point actually covers five techs, which players will need at different times depending on their individual situations and resource availability. Building Deep mines on a planet the player controls allows them to extract resources indefinitely, even after the surface deposit is fully depleted. Although expensive, the player will likely need to transition to them as their resource reserves become mined out, in order to keep their empire and fleets growing.
- Freight Standards (1,250 Difficulty) – unlocks Extended Cargo modules, which offer 50% more cargo capacity for Small and Medium modules and 25% more for Large modules. A useful upgrade to improve the player’s logistics fleets.
- Cluster Torpedoes (1,250 Difficulty) – as the player gains access to ships capable of mounting Large weapons, this Technology will become important to unlock. It provides the Large Torpedo Launcher SML-B, the only effective Large weapon currently available. Alternatives such as the TL family of torpedo launchers and Fighter Carriers take a long time to reach their target, so their firepower is often wasted. This alternative is both easier to unlock and has a large AoE burst, capable of damaging many ships at once.
- Hellfire (1,250 Difficulty) – researching this Technology unlocks a special variant of the fixed Medium Kinetic cannon, the Hellfire. More powerful than even the Tier 5 Kinetic cannon, each Hellfire deals 20 DPS, allowing ships with several Medium weapon slots such as the T37 and Solaris to cut apart their targets in a storm of shells. Such firepower does come at a price – the Hellfire consumes four times as much ammunition as an MKC, warranting a large onboard Ordnance supply.
- Energy Conversion (1,250 Difficulty) – this tech unlocks Overcharged Ship Generators, which supply double the Power of a standard generator. With these, ship designs can either use fewer Generators, thus freeing up space for other modules, or more easily support power-intensive weaponry such as Power Beam Turrets or Carrier Modules.
- Battle Groups or Theory of Domination (2,000 or 3,750 Difficulty) – Tier 3 warships become more specialised in the roles they fulfil. Battleships are typically heavily-armoured vessels serving in a main battle line capacity, while Cruisers can be configured as heavy planetary assault craft with either troop transport or orbital bombardment capabilities. Players will likely find use for both of these hull types. It is strongly recommended to also research Pure Energy Manipulation (see bullet #10) to provide Engines for these large ship classes.
- Minesweeping Systems (3,750 Difficulty) – as Minefields become widely used in the player’s neighbourhood, their detection and removal will become an important capability. This Technology provides the Minesweeper Module for Corvettes, allowing them to both detect and remove enemy minefields. This capability is crucial in keeping your own shipping lanes clear – or opening up an enemy-held system for an assault.
- Pure Energy Manipulation (3,750 Difficulty) – widely recognised as a critical Technology to research, this unlocks Hyperspace Energy engines for use on all ships. With a Free Warp speed of 3, they are three times as fast as their predecessor and supply a base ship power of 250MW, while still offering reasonable fuel efficiency. Despite being expensive to install, they are the go-to choice for large warships in order to power systems and negate the need for Fuel Tanks in their designs, and are also useful for long-range logistics fleets.
- Small Gravity Camera (3,750 Difficulty) – unlocks Scout Engines, which may only be fitted to Scout and Corvette hulls. Once unlocked, the use of these engines is a no-brainer, with Free Warp 4, Boosted Warp 9 and a base power supply of 350MW, wholly negating the need for extra Generators. This Technology is particularly valuable for Syntis and Ripchee players, which have access to powerful Corvettes configurable as long-range light attack craft.
- Organic Synthesis (3,750 Difficulty) – this Technology unlocks a variation on the standard Farm structure, namely the Bio-Farm. This specialised farm is capable of supporting any organic faction on a planet, including secondary populations and Minor Factions, allowing large “dual-pop” worlds to be created. Growing two populations means a larger Credit income, more potential infrastructure and stronger defences, and should be undertaken wherever possible.
Final Remarks (3,750 Difficulty and Beyond)
Beyond this, the player can perform any further weapon or structure upgrades that they might want, with the potential to unlock and build Tier 4 (Dreadnought) Hulls. For the very highest Difficulty techs such as Energy Storm V (101,250 Difficulty), having 300 Science Power will bring the research time required down to two weeks, so keep building and upgrading those Labs!