Scientists can perform research between events to discover more about the game world and the things that they have found in it. Mechanically, research is the expenditure of Research Points, which are gained by buying more ranks of science skills. For each rank of the Etheric, Corporeal & Life Science a character has, they gain 1 Research Point in that field. The scientist skill also grants 1 Generic Research Point, which can be used in any of the 3 specialisations. After each event, you can choose how to assign your Research Points in one of the following ways
These 5 uses of research all require Research Points of the relevant type, and are detailed below.
After each event, you should put objects you want to research into your hand-in pack. When you receive a downtime email after the event it will detail what things you have in your inventory that you could research, as well as how many Research Points you have to assign. The Downtime Form will have a Research section, and you can allocate your Research Points there.
Remember that each type of Research Point (Etheric, Corporeal & Life Science) can only be used to Research or Teach things that match their type.
Assigning Research Points to objects allows you to learn more about them, and in some cases gradually unlock their abilities. Objects that you can research are assigned to one of the three science specialities - Etheric, Corporeal & Life Science - and can only be researched using the right type of Research Points (or your Generic Research Point).
Artefacts and Samples (which are basically researchable manifestations of Conditions or other in-game phenomena) will have “tiers” that unlock for your character as you assign more Research Points to them, up to the maximum level (which will indicate that no further research is possible). Unlocking higher tiers will usually require more Research Points to be spent each time, as it becomes harder to uncover new information. In effect, each artefact and researchable Condition or Phenomena is its own ranked skill, and you “buy” those skills with research. A single research point will usually unlock the most basic powers or information about an item, and complex objects like mysterious alien artefacts might have many tiers of unlock-able abilities that require up to 50 research points to fully master.
When you have committed enough Research points to the item's next tier, you make a discovery about that item. Discovered tiers might grant the ability to use the object's special powers, or information about it and possibly its origin, or even the ability to synthesise more copies of the item. Samples are more likely to give information, artefacts are more likely to unlock special abilities. Special abilities that you research will appear on your character sheet at the next event, and they can be used with the relevant artefact. You will normally receive the results of your research in your character pack at the next event.
You can assign one or more research points to assist another character's research. Specify which research points you wish to assign to another character, what you wish to assist them with, and their character ID, and they will be added to their current research. These transferred points can only be used to research an object or help create an Invention prototype. They cannot be used to teach other characters, theorise new Inventions or produce exotic substances.
If the character you have assigned points to makes a discovery, you do not learn that discovery automatically by assisting - they will need to Teach you what they have discovered after subsequent events.
Your downtime return will contain a list of the researchable objects belonging to members of your Group. This makes it easier to decide what items to assist with.
You can use your Research Points to teach other characters about what you have already learned. Since you have already done the hard work of researching, it is much easier to bring others up to speed. Each research point that you assign to teaching another character unlocks 1 tier of something you have already researched, up to your current level. When teaching another character, you should indicate how many research points you are assigning, their character ID and the ID of the artefact, phenomenon or condition that you wish to teach them about.
Scientists can spend their time in between events searching for or synthesising Exotic Substances. Every Research Point used in this way gains the scientist a random exotic substance of the relevant type - exotic particles for etheric science, exotic reagents for corporeal science or exotic biotics for life science. If you use your Generic Research Point to this use, you will receive a random exotic substance from any of the three areas. If you don't specify how your Research Points are used, they will default to this option.
The final use of Research is for a scientist to try to invent something new. Scientists may be able to research a vast array of new things in the Orion Sphere universe - new devices, mods, weapons, psionic powers, or specialised technological solutions to in-game problems. Creating an Invention has two stages - theorising and development.
Theorising your invention is working out whether it is a viable concept for further development. When theorising your invention, you are essentially coming up with an idea for a new part of the game and pitching it to the Game Team - if it is a viable concept, then it can be developed further into a working part of the game. The Game Team may re-work your idea slightly (maybe getting in contact to do so), assign it to one of the three Specialisations, and work out how many of the relevant Research Points are required to complete it.
When you Theorise a new Invention, you need to write an IC description of what you are trying to create. Citing in-game examples of similar phenomena, and an IC underpinning for your Invention may help to make easier to develop, and more likely to be judged as a viable concept. You should also include an OOC description of how you think your Invention will function mechanically. If it looks like a viable concept, then the Game Team will decide how much research is required to develop the power, device, or other Invention. If it is not a viable concept, then the Invention cannot be developed further - this does not completely rule out categories of Inventions - it may be that you require additional in-game examples to properly develop a working theory. If your Invention theory is rejected, then your Research Point is wasted.
Your Invention will generally end up falling under one of the three Science Specialisations (although in edge cases might combine 2 or all 3 of them). The Game Team makes this decision when they are working out how viable your idea is, and will usually look closely at your submission for pointers as to which Specialisation it fall under. There are a few general trends though;
Once your theory for an Invention has been approved, it will be assigned a Development cost - this will be a number of Research points of the relevant type, as well as costs in other resources, such as Energy Chits, exotic substances and possibly other, rare resources. Once you have a working theory you can assign Research Points to it after an event, as if it was a sample. When you have fully paid the cost, you will receive a Prototype of the invention - this is a once-off version of the Invention that may still have some quirks. You can then try to spread knowledge of your Invention to others, and try to get it put into wider production and sale. If your invention is a skill, Mod, psionic power or similar, then your Prototype will take an appropriate form, like an instruction manual or psi crystal datastore - characters with this item can use it in between events to learn the skill or power you have Invented.