Author Topic: Mapping the results of the tech tree: Has anyone managed to do it all?  (Read 134 times)

Offline MichelGuenette

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Back in 2016, I decided to start up a new game of Outpost, v1.1. I made it as easy as possible on myself, because I wanted to do some testing.

I have the original game from 1994, which I played on my 386/66 or 486/DX2 (I upgraded it at some point in the mid 90's to its current 486/DX2 status). [I still have that PC sitting a shelf, but not operational.] I managed to complete all the research during one of my games and even got to the stage of placing terraforming buildings. I was learning as I was playing. That PC was very slow to compute a turn. It was necessary to turn off all the animations because it could not handle the processing load.

Even back then, I was recording information. I have my original notes of all the star systems and the planets that orbit those stars. I even tried to track which "bold new discovery" resulted from all the technology that was researched. As some have pointed out, there are a lot of duplicates, like "Improved Morale", that are discovered but hidden from view, if it was already discovered before. My list was incomplete, but still sitting in a folder in my desk drawer.

Over the decades, I never quite had a proper gaming machine. And I was busy with university and work during the late 90's and early 00's. I tended to play newer games, like Civilization 2 & 4 and Master of Orion 2 & 3. Even the newer PCs and laptops that I owned would hit limitations just as I was getting into the late game.

A neighbour in my apartment building had an old IBM ThinkCentre that he was offloading. We had chatted in the past and I mentioned how my build from late 2003 had an unstable motherboard and I had not had an opportunity to correct it. So, he gave me the IBM ThinkCentre and we installed Windows 98 on it. At least this gave me a decent 32-bit PC for playing some of the oldest games in my collection.

Fast forward to the mid 2010's. I was feeling reminiscent and I decided to load Outpost. I found some of the newer versions online, but I ended up reverting to my tried and true CD version of the game (v1.1).

I wanted to have a full tech tree, similar to what would ship with Civilization 2 and 4. I would open it up and check to see the dependencies and the costs involved. Once I had most of the results memorized, then I did not need to use the tech tree map as often. This is what was missing from Outpost.

So, I proceeded to play the easiest game that I could and ended up with a morale victory over the Rebel Colony. I took the decision not to perform any research whatsoever. I did not construct any buildings that could affect research or education. Earlier, I figured out the perfect 30 squares-to-an-edge diamond that is centred on the Command Centre. I used that to my advantage while I was designing the layout of the base above ground and below ground.

Once victory was mine, I saved the game before constructing my first UG Laboratory. I started with an organization chart that I created and printed. (I cannot remember where I saved the original file, so I might need to recreate it.) Primarily, I wanted to map each technology to its graphic, so that when I could build a better version, I would be able to glance at the tech tree and know where were the dependencies, what the results would be, and how long it could take. As I got started, I was losing track of which images matched which technologies, so I probably used Word to put together a simple table with an image, multiple rows (the same height as the image), an image, and multiple rows. Again, I printed it out. I started this process back in 2016, but I stopped after a dozen or so technologies because of the long wait times between closing and loading the same file each time.

Fast forward to June 2019. I decided to revisit my technology research project again. Part of the inspiration came from watching streamers on Twitch play Surviving Mars. So many of the elements are the same.

I found my lists and print outs in the old Manila folder that I have kept for 25 years. I started with some of the simpler branches of the tech tree and started tracking the number of turns it would take to complete each technology. My morale was at 999, so if there are any bonuses to research speed based on morale, they were at their maximum.

If a branch opened up a new tech level, then I would research only one technology at a time. I would always close and reload the game, so that I did not have any research results, except those that would be obtained along the current branch that I was testing.

This took many hours, but I managed to complete most of it. Some technologies did not produce any results and I recorded that. Also, I know that there were some technologies that did not become visible, like all the probes and satellites under Physics > Aerospace > Satellites and Probes. There is probably a dotted line dependency that I need to track down. The same goes for the technologies after Replicator in Hot Physics tech tree branch.

I still have more research to do. According to the description, the UG Administration building adds a research bonus to an adjacent UG Laboratory or UG Factory. (I do not care about the UG Factory at the moment.) Now, that means there are a few things to verify.

  • UG Laboratory edge on to a UG Administration
  • UG Laboratory diagonal to a UG Administration
  • UG Laboratory 1, 2, 3, ... tiles away from a UG Administration
  • Maximum number of UG Administration that can influence a UG Laboratory
  • Improved UG Laboratory versus UG Laboratory
  • Improved UG Administration versus UG Administration
  • Setting multiple UG Laboratories to research the same technology

Because I have the full list of technology costs for my current game, I can create new saves after the requisite technologies are researched and the buildings constructed in my base. Since the costs vary (i.e., 25, 40, 50, and 100), there are certain experiments that can be done, so that the numbers come out right and I can try to avoid rounding errors.

I would be interested to know if the dotted relationships between different branches of science have been recorded. I read nearly every thread about nanotechnology, so I want to verify how that works. If I can verify that I have every result for every technology, then I might sit down with Visio and build a proper tech tree that I can distill with Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Sorry for the long explanation, but I figured that a bit of history about why I am so interested in this topic mattered.

Offline leeor_net

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Sorry for not replying sooner, it's been a busy couple of weeks and I'm dealing with slight burnout from work.

Anyway, to answer your question directly, there's been some effort on that part in the past. I can't for the life of me find the posts now but they do exist that detail some or most of the research.

I did start transcribing the research tree from the 'official strategy guide' on the Wiki but I got only part way through before things got too busy. It unfortunately doesn't specify exact changes caused by research, only generally what they do.

A project like what you suggested would be extremely valuable to the community. I'd be able to provide some assistance/pointers where possible, I'm sure others would be interested in it as well (including Sirbomber and other forum users that aren't as active as they ought to be, you know who you are).

All that said, a belated welcome to the forums!

Offline MichelGuenette

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I have not had an opportunity to continue my research into research, but I figured that I could provide a first draft of the tech tree that I managed to create using Visio and Excel.

The formatting of the text is quite rough because the original elements (i.e., shapes) are relatively small: 1 inch wide x 0.75 inches high.

If someone cares to zoom in and use the hand to pan around the wide page, they will be able to see what I managed to accomplish.

The first page is what I would like the final version to look like. I plan on adding the image beside each technology and if there happens to be a building that corresponds with a result, I will add those as well. For the other results, I might need to resort to making up mine own images, though I would probably limit them to simple text and colour.

When (and if) I get close to making the final version, I will try to make it searchable and I will break up the tech branches onto different pages to improve navigation.

Please let me know what you think.