Research

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Research is the primary method through which players can enhance and expand the abilities of their colony. Certain buildings and gear require research in order to be built.

Mechanics

A research bench is required to conduct research; some projects require more tech. Once a project is selected, a researcher will work at the bench to generate research points. Research Speed is primarily determined by the Intellectual skill. Multiple benches can be used simultaneously with no penalties.

Research is presented as a tech tree, with later projects placed further right. Most research projects require a prerequisite. ​Only one research project can be studied at a time. However, you can freely switch between research projects, and all research progress is retained.

Your faction's tech level determines research point costs, and therefore time. New Arrivals start at an Industrial level, and have normal costs. New Tribes start at a Neolithic tech level, so certain research costs are increased. Researching Medieval-level tech, like Long Swords, takes 1.5x the research points to complete. Researching Industrial-level tech or above takes 2x the research. Tech levels also start with different research; Scenarios can add, but not remove, pre-researched topics.

Mods can add their own research projects; they can be manually placed, or automatically placed if not specified. Projects will be moved apart if they overlap. They can also add separate research tabs, independent of the main tree.

Skill

The number of research points gained is based on the researcher's research speed factor, which in turn is based on their intellectual skill. The number of research points gained per tick is calculated with the following equation:

0.00825 × Pawn Research Speed × Building Research Speed Factor × Difficulty Factor

Where:

  • 0.00825 is an arbitrary base factor.[Note]
  • Pawn Research Speed is the research speed stat from the researcher. This depends on other factors, like health capacities and global work speed.
  • Building Research Speed Factor is the multiplier from the research station. This depends on other factors, like whether the building is outdoors, the temperature, the cleanliness of the room, and if any facilities are connected.
  • Difficulty Factor is the multiplier from the chosen difficulty settings. The factors for the default difficulties are:
    • Peaceful and Community Builder (Easy) - x1.2
    • Adventure Story (Normal) and Strive to Survive (Rough) - x1
    • Blood and Dust (Hard) - x0.95
    • Losing is Fun (Extreme) - x0.9
Speed Factor Per Level Points Per 2,500 ticks (1 in-game hour) Per Difficulty
Skill Factor Peaceful/Easy (x1.2) Medium/Rough (x1) Hard (x0.95) Extreme (x0.9)
0 0.08 1.98 1.65 1.568 1.485
1 0.195 4.826 4.022 3.821 3.62
2 0.31 7.673 6.394 6.074 5.754
3 0.425 10.519 8.766 8.327 7.889
4 0.54 13.365 11.138 10.581 10.024
5 0.655 16.211 13.509 12.834 12.158
6 0.77 19.058 15.881 15.087 14.293
7 0.885 21.904 18.253 17.34 16.428
8 1 24.75 20.625 19.594 18.563
9 1.115 27.596 22.997 21.847 20.697
10 1.23 30.443 25.369 24.1 22.832
11 1.345 33.289 27.741 26.354 24.967
12 1.46 36.135 30.113 28.607 27.101
13 1.575 38.981 32.484 30.86 29.236
14 1.69 41.828 34.856 33.113 31.371
15 1.805 44.674 37.228 35.367 33.505
16 1.92 47.52 39.6 37.62 35.64
17 2.035 50.366 41.972 39.873 37.775
18 2.15 53.213 44.344 42.127 39.909
19 2.265 56.059 46.716 44.38 42.044
20 2.38 58.905 49.088 46.633 44.179

Research Projects

Neolithic Research Projects

Research projects of the neolithic tech level. Both tribes and colonies research these at the same rate.

Name Description Base cost Industrial start cost Tribal start cost Required Research Required Research Bench & Addon
Psychoid brewing Prepare psychoid leaves into a mildly euphoria-inducing and addictive tea at the campfire or cooking stove. 500 500 500 [A] None Simple
Tree sowing Sow the local biome's natural trees in your fields. 1000 1000 1000 [A] None Simple
Beer brewing Allows you to build a brewery and fermenting vats to transform hops into tasty, tasty beer. 400 400 400 None Simple
Passive cooler Make passive coolers, to cool indoor spaces without using electricity. 400 400 400 [A] None Simple
Cocoa Sow cocoa trees to create your own delicious chocolate. Eating chocolate fulfills the need for recreation, and it's valuable on the market too. 1000 1000 1000 Tree sowing Simple
Devilstrand Plant devilstrand, a slow-growing mushroom that yields an exceptionally tough, tear resistant plant fiber. 800 800 800 None Simple
Pemmican Make pemmican, a preserved mixture of meat and plant matter that doesn't go bad for a long time. Great for traveling. 500 500 500 [A] None Simple
Recurve bow Build the recurve bow, an effective and inexpensive ranged weapon. 400 400 400 [A] None Simple
A Tribal starts begin with this research unlocked
B The Classic Start begin with this research unlocked
C This research requirement is not displayed in the branching tree diagram, and is only visible in the project description.

Medieval Research Projects

Research projects of the Medieval tech level. Tribes require 1.5x as much research time to research these. Colonies require only the base cost.

Name Description Base cost Industrial start cost Tribal start cost Required Research Required Research Bench & Addon
Complex clothing Tailor complicated garments like pants, dusters, and cowboy hats. 600 600 [B] 900 None Simple
Complex furniture Build complex furniture like beds, end tables, dining chairs, armchairs, dressers, tool cabinets, billiard tables[sic], and poker tables, vents, sarcophagi, and more. 300 300 [B] 450 None Simple
Carpet making Weave beautiful carpets from cloth. 800 800 1200 None Simple
Smithing Build smithies for crafting metal weapons and tools. Allows you to craft simple weapons like knives, gladii, and maces. Work metal into clean, beautiful floor tiles. 700 700 1050 None Simple
Stonecutting Cut rock chunks into stone blocks for use in construction. Build beautiful stone tile floors or ugly concrete walkways. 300 300 [B] 450 None Simple
Long blades Craft longswords and spears. 400 400 600 Smithing Simple
Plate armor Smith suits of plate armor from metal or wood. This heavy armor noticeably slows movement, but protects very effectively. 600 600 900 Smithing
Complex clothing
Simple
Greatbow Craft greatbows for killing enemies at great range. 600 600 900 Recurve bow Simple
Noble apparel Content added by the Royalty DLC Tailor noble-specific apparel like formal shirts and royal robes. 400 400 600 Complex clothing Simple
Royal apparel Content added by the Royalty DLC Tailor royal apparel of the highest tier, like royal robes and crowns. 400 400 600 Noble apparel
Smithing [C]
Simple
Harp Content added by the Royalty DLC Craft the harp, a simple stationary musical instrument popular among nobility in some cultures. 500 500 750 Complex furniture Simple
Harpsichord Content added by the Royalty DLC Craft the Harpsichord, a complex stationary musical instrument. 500 500 750 Harp
Smithing
Simple
A Tribal starts begin with this research unlocked
B The Classic Start begin with this research unlocked
C This research requirement is not displayed in the branching tree diagram, and is only visible in the project description.

Industrial Research Projects

Research projects of the Industrial tech level. Tribes require 2x as much research time to research these. Colonies require only the base cost.

Name Description Base cost Industrial start cost Tribal start cost Required Research Required Research Bench & Addon
Drug production Build a drug lab for basic drug synthesis. Further research is required to make specific drugs. 500 500 1000 None Simple
Psychite refining Refine psychoid leaves into flake and yayo, different forms of the euphoric drug psychite. 400 400 800 Drug production Simple
Wake-up production Synthesize wake-up, a work performance-enhancing drug which replaces the need for sleep. 600 600 1200 Drug production Simple
Go-juice production Produce go-juice, a synthetic combat-performance-enhancing drug which improves shooting, melee, and movement ability, and dulls pain. 1000 1000 2000 Drug production Simple
Penoxycyline production Produce Penoxycyline a disease prevention drug which blocks plague, malaria, and more before they start. 500 500 1000 Drug production Simple
Electricity Harness the power of electricity for a hundred different tasks. 1600 1600 [B] 3200 None Simple
Battery Build batteries for storing electricity. 400 400 800 Electricity Simple
Biofuel refining Build Biofuel refineries to make chemfuel from biological matter like wood or foodstuffs. 700 700 1400 Electricity Simple
Watermill generator Build watermill generators on rivers to generate a steady supply of power. 700 700 1400 Electricity Simple
Nutrient paste Build nutrient paste dispensers which efficiently produce edible meals from raw nutritive feedstocks, while requiring no labor at all. 400 400 [B] 800 Electricity Simple
Solar panel Build solar panels for electrical generation. 600 600 1200 Electricity Simple
Air conditioning Build coolers to make people comfortable in hot weather or to construct freezers for storing perishable goods. 500 500 [B] 1000 Electricity Simple
Autodoor Build autodoors which automatically open when someone approaches without slowing anyone down. 600 600 1200 Electricity Simple
Hydroponics Build hydroponics basins to rapidly grow crops indoors regardless of the terrain or weather outside. 700 700 1400 Electricity Simple
Tube television Produce tube televisions for recreational watching. 1000 1000 2000 Electricity
Complex furniture[C]
Simple
Packaged survival meal Produce packaged survival meals, which never go bad. Great for traveling. 500 500 1000 Nutrient paste Simple
Firefoam Construct firefoam poppers, automatic fire-safety devices which spread fire-retardant foam in response to encroaching flames. 600 600 1200 Electricity Simple
IEDs Build improvised traps from any kind of mortar shell. 500 500 1000 Electricity Simple
Geothermal power Build geothermal power plants on top of steam geysers, for uninterrupted power. 3200 3200 6400 Electricity Simple
Sterile materials Construct sterile tiles to make cleanrooms for safer and more effective medical treatment, research, and cooking. 600 600 1200 Electricity Simple
Advanced lights Change the color of standard electric lights, and reduce their power consumption by half. This does not affect sun lamps. 300 300 600 Electricity Simple
Machining Build machining tables to craft guns, grenades, flak armor, and to shred dead mechanoids for resources. 1000 1000 2000 Electricity
Smithing
Simple
Smokepop packs Build smokepop packs which allow the wearer to deploy a defensive smokescreen. 300 300 600 Machining
Complex clothing[C]
Simple
Prosthetics Build inexpensive prosthetic body parts to replace lost limbs. Requires a skilled doctor to attach. 600 600 1200 Machining Simple
Gunsmithing Craft simple manually operated guns like revolvers, pump shotguns, bolt-action rifles, and incendiary launchers. 500 500 1000 Machining Simple
Flak armor Craft clothing with metal armor sewn in to resist bullets and explosions. This weighty armor slows movement slightly. 1200 1200 2400 Machining
Plate armor [C]
Simple
Mortars Build mortars which can lob mortar shells long distances - even over walls. 2000 2000 4000 Gunsmithing Simple
Blowback operation Craft low-power blowback-operated guns like autopistols and machine pistols. 500 500 1000 Gunsmithing Simple
Gas operation Craft high-power guns like chain shotguns, LMGs, and heavy SMGs. 1000 1000 2000 Blowback operation Simple
Gun turrets Produce simple automated gun turrets. 500 500 1000 Blowback operation Simple


Microelectronics Work with complex microelectronics. This unlocks the Hi-tech research bench and comms console. 3000 3000 6000 Electricity Simple
Flatscreen television Produce high-resolution flatscreen televisions for greater enjoyment. 2000 2000 4000 Microelectronics
Tube television
Hi-tech
Moisture pump Construct moisture pumps, which very slowly normalize the moisture in the ground around them. They can turn wet ground dry and convert soft sand into normal sand. 1200 1200 2400 Microelectronics
Machining [C]
Hi-tech
Hospital bed Construct hospital beds which improve medical outcomes. 1200 1200 2400 Microelectronics
Sterile materials[C]
Complex furniture[C]
Hi-tech
Deep drilling Build deep drills for extracting resources from deep underground. You'll need a ground-penetrating scanner to find the resources. 4000 4000 8000 Microelectronics Hi-tech
Ground-penetrating scanner Build ground-penetrating scanners that can detect drillable resources deep under the surface. Requires an advanced component to construct. 1000 1000 2000 Deep drilling Hi-tech
Transport pod Construct launchable transport pods that you can use to send people and supplies long distances across the planet's surface. Can be used for raiding, traveling, sending gifts, and more. 1000 1000 2000 Microelectronics
Biofuel refining [C]
Machining [C]
Hi-tech
Medicine production Produce standard industrial-tech medicine by combining herbal medicine, neutroamine, and cloth. 1500 1500 3000 Drug production
Microelectronics
Hi-tech
Long-range mineral scanner Construct long-range mineral scanners your researchers can use to detect precious minerals across the planet. Can be turned to find a specific mineral. Requires advanced components to construct. 2000 2000 4000 Microelectronics
Machining [C]
Hi-tech
Shields Build wearable shield gear. Shields use momentum-repulsion technology to prevent projectiles from traversing the field boundary. 1000 1000 2000 Microelectronics
Complex clothing [C]
Hi-tech
Precision rifling Craft precisely-machined guns like assault rifles and sniper rifles. 1400 1400 2800 Microelectronics
Gas operation
Hi-tech
Autocannon turret Produce the heavy, long-ranged autocannon turret. 1600 1600 3200 Microelectronics
Gun turrets
Gas operation
Hi-tech
Multibarrel weapons Assemble miniguns. 2600 2600 5200 Microelectronics
Gas operation
Hi-tech
Multi-analyzer Build multi-analyzers which increase research speed, and allow higher level research projects. 4000 4000 8000 Microelectronics
Machining [C]
Hi-tech
Vitals monitor Builds vitals monitors which improve medical outcomes when placed next to hospital beds. 2500 2500 5000 Multi-analyzer
Hospital bed
Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
Fabrication Build fabrication benches, capable of high-tech projects ranging from component assembly to power armor construction. 4000 4000 8000 Multi-analyzer Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
Advanced fabrication Fabricate advanced components from standard components and other materials. 4000 4000 8000 Multi-analyzer Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
Uranium slug turret Produce the armor-penetrating uranium slug turret. It fires uranium slugs which tear though plasteel like paper, but it's less effective at close range. 3000 3000 6000 Multi-analyzer
Autocannon turret [C]
Precision rifling [C]
Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
Piano Content added by the Royalty DLC Craft the piano, an advanced stationary musical instrument. 2000 2000 4000 Harpsichord Simple
Jump packs Content added by the Royalty DLC Build jump packs to perform aerial assaults during combat 2000 2000 4000 Microelectronics
Machining [C]
Hi-tech
1x Jump packs Techprint
BiosculptingContent added by the Ideology DLC Construct Biosculpter pods which can perform various biological alterations to colonists. These are especially important to believers in transhumanism. 1500 1500 3000 Microelectronics Hi-tech
BioregenerationContent added by the Ideology DLC Unlock the biosculpter pod's bioregeneration cycle. This cycle heals old scars, regenerates small lost body parts like fingers and toes, and cures many of the physical maladies that come with old age. 4000 4000 8000 Multi-analyzer
Biosculpting
Hi-tech
Neural superchargerContent added by the Ideology DLC Construct Neural supercharger devices. Neural superchargers improve consciousness and learning rate, but they also increase hunger and the effect must be refreshed daily. Transhumanists often hold neural supercharging as an important practice. 1500 1500 3000 Microelectronics Hi-tech
Toxifier generatorContent added by the Biotech DLC Create toxifier generators which generate electricity, but also spread pollution around themselves. 500 500 1000 Electricity Simple
XenogeneticsContent added by the Biotech DLC Create xenogerms which can be implanted in a person to genetically modify them. Extract genepacks from living people using a gene extractor so you can reimplant their genes into someone else. 1000 1000 2000 Electricity Simple
Gene processorContent added by the Biotech DLC Build gene processors, which allow a gene assembler to create xenogerms of higher genetic complexity. 1500 1500 3000 Xenogenetics
Microelectronics
Hi-tech
ArchogeneticsContent added by the Biotech DLC Allows a gene assembler to use archite capsules to create seemingly-impossible genes. Archite genes and archite capsules can be obtained from traders. 2500 2500 5000 Fabrication
Gene Processor
Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
DeathrestContent added by the Biotech DLC Those with the deathrest gene must periodically undergo a special deathrest coma that lasts several days. This research project allows you to construct buildings which accelerate the deathrest coma and confer specific bonuses on the deathrester. Over time, you can build a grand deathrest temple. 1000 1000 2000 Electricity Simple
Fertility proceduresContent added by the Biotech DLC Perform the surgeries necessary to create a test tube embryo from a fertile man and woman, then implant the embryo in a surrogate mother or growth vat. Also, perform sterilization surgeries on men and women. 1000 1000 2000 Electricity Simple
Tox gasContent added by the Biotech DLC Produce weapons that utilize caustic tox gas. 600 600 1200 Electricity Simple
Basic mechtechContent added by the Biotech DLC The technology needed for your mechanitor to create and control basic-tier mechanoids. 200 200 400 Electricity Simple (Mechanitor)


Standard mechtechContent added by the Biotech DLC The technology needed for your mechanitor to create and control standard-tier mechanoids. You can get signal chips by using a mechanitor to summon a diabolus threat. 1000 1000 2000 Basic mechtech Simple (Mechanitor)
1x Signal chip
High mechtechContent added by the Biotech DLC The technology needed for your mechanitor to create and control high-tier mechanoids. You can get powerfocus chips by using a mechanitor to summon a war queen threat. 3000 3000 6000 Standard mechtech]
Multi-analyzer
Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
1x Powerfocus chip
Wastepack atomizerContent added by the Biotech DLC Build wastepack atomizers which can safely dispose of toxic wastepacks by decomposing them at the molecular level. 5000 5000 10000 Advanced fabrication Simple
1x Nano structuring chip
A Tribal starts begin with this research unlocked
B The Classic Start begin with this research unlocked
C This research requirement is not displayed in the branching tree diagram, and is only visible in the project description.

Spacer Research Projects

Name Description Base cost Industrial start cost Tribal start cost Required Research Required Research Bench & Addon
Cryptosleep caskets Construct cryptosleep caskets, which can put living beings in a state of indefinite suspended animation. 2000 2000 4000 Multi-analyzer Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
Recon armor Craft recon armor, a light powered armor suit used by scout troops who need protection on the move. Note that these also require advanced components. 6000 6000 12000 Fabrication
Complex clothing [C]
Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
Marine armor Build marine armor. A general-use powered armor suit used by high-tech shock troops. Note that these also require advanced components. 6000 6000 12000 Recon armor
Complex clothing [C]
Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
Pulse charged munitions Build weapons which fire pulse-charged munitions for extra damage. Note that these also require advanced components. 3000 3000 6000 Fabrication
Precision rifling [C]
Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
Bionic replacements Build high-tech bionic body parts to replace lost limbs and eyes. Requires a skilled doctor to attach. 2000 2000 4000? Fabrication
Prosthetics[C]
Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
Starflight basics Construct the structural and supportive elements of a starship. This is the first step in building a ship to leave this star system. 4000 4000 8000 Advanced fabrication Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
Starflight sensors Construct long-range sensors for a starship. These sensors are essential for navigation, communication, and threat avoidance. 4000 4000 8000 Starflight basics
Long-range mineral scanner
Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
Vacuum cryptosleep casket Construct hardened ship cryptosleep caskets tough enough to be exposed to vacuum, for transporting people on the years-long journey between the stars. 2800 2800 5600 Starflight basics
Cryptosleep casket
Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
Starship reactor Build a long-duration nuclear reactor to power a starship. Note that reactors have a long startup process that will attract raiders. 6000 6000 12000 Starflight basics Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
Johnson-Tanaka drive Construct a Johnson-Tanaka drive for a ship. The JT drive can push you to other stars by leveraging quantum scale effects to beam momentum to distant stars. Of course, as with all starships, it still takes many years to get anywhere. 6000 6000 12000 Starflight basics Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
Machine persuasion Build a reward-signal system to persuade an existing AI persona into serving as a ship's machine captain. Since people sleep during interstellar travel, a persona core is necessary to handle the complex decisions of a years-long starflight. 3000 3000 6000 Starflight basics Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
Cataphract armor Content added by the Royalty DLC Craft cataphract armor, heavy powered armor that slows the user but which can absorb extreme punishment. Note that these also require advanced components. 6000 6000 12000 Marine armor Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
2x Cataphract Armor Techprint
Brain wiring Content added by the Royalty DLC Craft brain implants that induce or prevent blunt sensations like joy or pain. 2000 2000 4000 Microelectronics
Prosthetics[C]
Hi-tech
1x Brain Wiring Techprint
Specialized limbs Content added by the Royalty DLC Craft specialized bionic limbs built for specific purposes - both combat and labor. 2000 2000 4000 Microelectronics
Prosthetics
Hi-tech
1x Specialized Limbs Techprint
Compact weaponry Content added by the Royalty DLC Craft compact, concealable bionic weapons which can be embedded in various body parts. 2000 2000 4000 Microelectronics
Prosthetics
Hi-tech
1x Compact Weaponry Techprint
Poison synthesis Content added by the Royalty DLC Craft bionics that synthesize venom from internal chemical reactors for use in toxifying attacks. 2000 2000 4000 Compact weaponry Hi-tech
1x Poison Synthesis Techprint
Toxin filtration Content added by the Biotech DLC Craft and install bionic organs that can filter out toxins from the environment and from enemy attacks. 2000 2000 4000 Fabrication
Prosthetics[C]
Simple
Growth vats Content added by the Biotech DLC Construct growth vats which can gestate an embryo or accelerate a child's growth. 500 500 1000 Microelectronics Hi-tech
A Tribal starts begin with this research unlocked
B The Classic Start begin with this research unlocked
C This research requirement is not displayed in the branching tree diagram, and is only visible in the project description.

Ultra Research Projects

Name Description Base cost Industrial start cost Tribal start cost Required Research Required Research Bench & Addon
Artificial metabolism Content added by the Royalty DLC Craft bionics that process food more safely or efficiently than a biological stomach. 2000 2000 4000 Fabrication
Prosthetics [C]
Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
1x Artificial Metabolism Techprint
Neural computation Content added by the Royalty DLC Craft brain implants that assist thought and learning by use of a direct, shallow brain-computer interface. 2000 2000 4000 Fabrication
Prosthetics[C]
Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
1x Neural Computation Techprint
Skin hardening Content added by the Royalty DLC Craft bionic implants which induce the toughening of natural skin, producing an armor-like effect. 2000 2000 4000 Fabrication
Prosthetics[C]
Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
1x Skin Hardening Techprint
Healing factors Content added by the Royalty DLC Craft bionics that enhance natural healing processes. 2000 2000 4000 Fabrication
Prosthetics[C]
Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
1x Healing Factors [[Techprint]
Flesh shaping Content added by the Royalty DLC Craft bionics which induce the reshaping of natural flesh, usually for the purposes of aesthetic enhancement or personal pleasure. 2000 2000 4000 Fabrication
Prosthetics[C]
Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
1x Flesh Shaping Techprint
Molecular analysis Content added by the Royalty DLC Craft bionics with molecular analyzers for assisting the immune system or analyzing food. 2000 2000 4000 Fabrication
Prosthetics[C]
Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
1x Molecular Analysis Techprint
Circadian influence Content added by the Royalty DLC Craft brain implants that chemically manipulate the circadian rhythm, reducing or altering the need to sleep. 2000 2000 4000 Fabrication
Prosthetics[C]
Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
1x Circadian Influence Techprint
Ultra mechtechContent added by the Biotech DLC The advanced technology needed for your mechanitor to create and control ultra-tier mechanoids, including large mechs and ultra-tier mechanitor gear. You can get nano structuring chips by using a mechanitor to summon an apocriton threat. 5000 5000 10000 High mechtech
Fabrication
Hi-tech (Multi-analyzer)
1x Nano structuring chip
A Tribal starts begin with this research unlocked
B The Classic Start begin with this research unlocked
C This research requirement is not displayed in the branching tree diagram, and is only visible in the project description.

Analysis

This is a rough suggestion of what technologies to research. Variations exist, and should depending on current map, colonist skill, personal playstyle/goals, and difficulty.

Industrial start

The suggested research path for Industrials (i.e. a "Crashlanded" start) is:

  1. One of:1
  1. Microelectronics2
  2. Multi-analyzer3
  3. Fabrication3
  4. Advanced fabrication3.

At any point, modern weapons4 (Smithing, Machining, etc.) should be researched, up to a certain level. The rest is up to you.

Notes:
1. Watermill generators can only be used if a river (not ocean) is nearby. It is a more reliable source of power, for the same research cost as batteries + solar. In theory, geothermal generators provide much more power than either option, but its 3200 research cost makes it more difficult for newer players. Rushing to geothermal is still possible, especially if you rely on wind turbines or wood-fired generators.
2. Microelectronics gives access to hi-tech research bench, which makes research 33% faster. It also gives access to the comms console, an easy source for tradable items, and EMP grenades, which are very powerful against mechanoids.
3. A multi-analyzer boosts research by a further 10%, though you may not have the materials to create one. This gives you the opportunity to chase some other tribal/industrial research projects. The ultimate goal is to reach Fabrication as soon as possible, so you can make your own components.
4. On a dangerous map, a quick detour to Gunsmithing (for basic rifles/shotguns/revolvers) may be desirable as soon as possible, immediately after your power needs are met.

Tribal start

For tribals (i.e. a "Lost Tribe" start), the research path should be something* like:

  1. Complex Clothing1
  2. Complex Furniture2
  3. Both of:

Then the same as Industrial (above), but with Electricity prior to researching the rest. In addition, air conditioning is often a priority.

Notes:
* The exact order will vary depending on your priorities. This is a cautious, conservative approach. Some players will rush to Electricity. Many players fall in the middle, grabbing one or three key techs and then going straight to central air cooling.
1. Unless you landed in a very forgiving climate, you'll need protective clothing against the Summer/Winter weather while you march toward Electricity.
2. Increases comfort of your colonists. Beds (more comfortable than bedrolls, the latter may not be readily craftable), dining chairs, poker tables are very useful.
3. Stone is a common and nonflammable material. On some maps, it's quite possible to live underground (if you can mine that much) and/or make every building from wood (unless/until it burns down).
4. Superior melee weapons, which can also be traded. Visiting Weapons Traders are not interested in trading their toys for your fur clothing, wood sculptures or Ur boards. Smithing is also a prerequisite for Machining.

Extreme starts

  • For hardcore 500% Randy runs, after finishing the battery and solar panel research, rush down Machining and weapons before Microelectronics. Firepower can be a life-/game-saver.

Gallery

All research projects in the base game


Version history

  • 0.3.410 - Stonecutter's table now requires research
  • Beta 19/1.0 - Split hospital beds into "Sterile materials" and "Hospital beds" research projects
  • 1.3.3101 - Bioregeneration research project added.
  • 1.3.3200 - Brain wiring, compact weaponry, neural supercharge, biosculpting, specialized limbs, poison synthesis projects now require hi-tech research bench.
  • 1.4.3523 - The Colored lights research reworked and renamed to Advanced Lighting.