Research is used to unlock new technologies, structures, other opportunities that provide additional options for the colony. There are 100 regular technologies and 55 breakthroughs in the game.
Research points are awarded at the beginning of each new Sol. The total amount of points is a combination of the following:
- Most sponsors provide a set amount of research per Sol. This amount varies by sponsor from Church of the New Ark's 0 up to a maximum of 400/Sol with Europe. Most sponsors provide 200/Sol. The Earth-Mars Initiative tech will increase this by 100.
- For a nominal fee, additional scientific research can be outsourced to laboratories back on Earth. Outsourcing lasts 5 Sols. There are two possible research plans: 1,000 research points for 200M (200 research points/Sol) and 5,000 research points for 1,000 M (1,000 research points/Sol)
- Exploration Rover
- RC Explorers can visit certain anomalies on the surface of Mars to obtain a boost to research output. RC Explorers also contribute 100 research points to the research generation directly once the Explorer AI (Robotics) technology has been researched. Multiple vehicles result in collaboration losses. Adding another vehicle results in diminishing returns for each additional vehicle. (i.e. a 2nd vehicle adds only 80 research points [20% reduction], a 3rd adds 60 research points [40% reduction], etc. ...)
- Research Labs
- Colonists on Mars can directly contribute to the ongoing research in specific science buildings such as the Research Lab, which can each be constructed inside domes. The base production of the Research lab is 500 research points/Sol at normal (100) building performance. Adding another building results in diminishing returns for each additional building of the exact same type. (i.e. a 2nd Research Lab makes both function at 90% production, a 3rd, 80%, etc. to a max reduction of 50%)
- Science Institutes
- Colonists on Mars can also contribute more to the ongoing research in the Science Institute building, after [-] is researched, which can each also be constructed inside of domes. The base production of the Science Institute is 1000 research points/Sol at normal (100) building performance. Adding another building results in diminishing returns for each additional building of the exact same type. (i.e. a 2nd Science Institute makes both function at 90% production, a 3rd at 80%, etc. ... 50% is the max reduction)
- Genius Colonists
- Colonists with the Genius perk will also generate 50 research per Sol simply by being a part of your colony. (Note that this bonus only applies when the colonists are at 70 or higher Sanity.)
- Excess Power
- A breakthrough called Superconducting Computing allows you to directly funnel extra power not being banked by your collectors into excess science at the rate of about 1 power per hour per day granting 2.3 research per sol.
- Alien Artifacts
- Another breakthrough called by this name generates a number of anomalies that grant a flat research amount. Once it has been researched itself, and a explorer rover investigates each anomaly.
There are six categories into which research can be applied.
Breakthrough researches are obtained through anomalies and specific in-game events. There are many different ones and they have varying degrees of impact.
The cost of researching a technology depends on how far to the right it is on its technology branch. Each technology has a small range of positions where it can appear. The range is increased by the Tech Variety Game Rule and Chaos Theory makes every tech tree position valid for all technologies
On the final position of every tech chain is that field's Wonder technology.
The research costs may be lowered by the following:
- The Futurist commander profile reduces breakthrough costs by 30%.
- Various anomalies may provide discounts to one or more branches. Typically, an anomaly gives a 10% discount to a specific branch.