RE: Reverse Engineering: Discussed elsewhere, sort of. (Developing Uglies - R&D for recycling factions
) It's a neat idea for an alternate path to DC-ownership, though it would devalue R&D along the way. Players would only have to steal so many ships of a given type before they got the DC for it, and could just start producing the damn things all on their own (in addition to stealing more). Also, via Reverse Engineering, you could theoretically end up with no restrictions whatsoever for who owns what type of DC. It'd eliminate real and continued diplomacy in favour of stealing existing produced assets that various Factions have spent YEARS producing and will be sitting around until Ship combat gets introduced (**ETA-STOPBUGGINGMEFORSHIPCOMBAT!!!TM
). IE: It introduces similar problems as R&D from rented DCs does.
Nicholas: R&D is intrinsically tied to DCs. It's the identifier that we've created to encompass the general idea of a blueprint for an entity. DCs will not be done away with, though additions such as ad-hoc "Modding" (see Weapon Customisation without R&D
for an example of such a discussion) may allow additional options for upgrading ships independent of R&D in the sort of "Upgrade" sense you were mentioning.
@ Endaro Kassan & Nicholas:
The question is really whether or not the game will ever allow DC's (researched or otherwise) to be independently transferrable or copyable. IE: If my Shipbuilding faction researches Leaf "X", can we then sell that Leaf X to another shipbuilding faction (or another faction entirely)? If so, would we lose access to that DC, or would it be as if we unlocked the DC on both factions' tech trees? I believe the answer was emphatically 'No' last time I heard, which makes Faction merging the only way to "transfer" DCs. (IE: Faction A sends all its assets to a new Faction X, then Faction A merges with Faction B, where the DCs then get merged into Faction B (subject to the Rules), Faction A is dissolved, and Faction X continues on its merry way, for all intents and purposes equal to Faction A - the DCs.
I imagine that the DC-amalgamation rules for when factions merge will remain the same once R&D comes out. Therefore if two Shipbuilding factions merge and they have different researched "leaves" on the Shipbuilding Tech Tree, then the new amalgamated Faction will have all the "leaves" that either of the two shipbuilding factions previously owned (A U B). That's extrapolatable from previous admissions that the intention is to have all TYPES of factions have identical Tech Trees to research from.
From the Merging Rules:
“5/ Faction Mergers
Factions of a similiar type can be merged together. The ability to merge a faction relies on the following requirements.
The owners of the factions wishing to merge must own atleast 95% of the faction's stock.
Both Factions must be of the same type.
Both Factions must accept the merger request.
The faction being dissolved must have enough credits to pay the merger cost. (The Faction Registration Cost)
Once a merger has been accepted by both parties, the faction(AKA Faction A) sending the original request will merge into the receiving faction(AKA Faction B), dissolving Faction A.
Every asset owned by Faction A shall then be merged into Faction B, including unique datacards and members. However, when merging datacards, datacards only get merged if they match the production type of the group they are merging to.
If two governments merge together, Faction B will only receive datacards from Faction A depending on Faction A's previous faction type.
Emphasis added. And for that matter, I'm pretty sure the last line is a typo, and means to indicate that Faction B will only receive DC from Faction A that correspond to Faction B's previous faction type. For Governments merging with other Governments, it's all about what the original faction type was for the Governments.
Therefore, by analogy to the existing Rules, I would surmise that Governments would get access to the tech tree of whatever their previous incarnation was. HOWEVER, I do not know whether there are any Governments out there that were NEVER another type of faction. I'd guess if there are any, they would be the main Canon ones (GE and NR). As such, I rely on the rest of you to speculate or educate me on how a merger of:
A) a Gov't with an original faction type into a Government WITHOUT an original faction type; or
B) a gov't without an original faction type into a Government without an original faction type;
would be handled (and therefore by analogy what Tech Trees those 'Always-were-Governments' factions would have access to).