January 14, 2010

Production revamp

Due to the rising number of questions about the new production system we decided to shed some light on the general plan of things to come. This overview will not go into specifics because the system - as we're talking about not yet completely implemented and tested ideas - might still be subject to change.

First off: patents and licenses will become obsolete. This doesn't mean that the NIC you invested in them will go down the drain, we'll set up some means to compensate the owners of such items. (probably in the form of npc buy orders)
In the new system we split production into two parts: mass production and prototype production.

Mass production will function in a similar manner as the current system, however instead of being based on patents it'll be based on reverse engineering existing items. You'll be able to take any item and combined with a research kit you'll be able to create a calibration program. (This process will destroy both the item and the research kit. Also, the research kits will have varying quality, and different items will have different minimal requirements from a research kit to be reverse engineered) Calibration programs will be used to configure factory assembly lines to mass produce the desired item. Factory calibration will however get out of alignment with each run (reducing the time/material effectiveness of production) so from time to time you'll need to recalibrate the assembly line with a new calibration program.

So mass production is based on reverse engineering. But reverse engineering of course requires an already existing item, so we'll also be introducing a new form of item creation system called prototyping. With this system you'll be able to create any item out of thin air with very high material costs. An item created this way will be just like any item except for the investment it takes to actually produce it. These prototypes will most likely be taken to mass production via the reverse engineering/factory system.

To ensure that not every item is available for prototyping for everyone right at the launch of the new production system we're introducing the knowledge base - a sort of encyclopedia where you'll be able to collect information about Nia, the technology there and possibly more (lore, mission info, we have many ideas). By researching a type of loot taken back from npcs you'll be able to expand this knowledge base. Once you have sufficient knowledge of an item you'll be able to create that item using the prototype system.

This way we can introduce new items into the game without the items actually dropping in the form of loot. As players expand their knowledge base some of them will be able to build the newly introduced item, build a single prototype and then take that item to mass production. Others will then be able to buy these items off the market, reverse engineer them and start mass production on their own.

This is the basic material and item flow of the new system, the specifics are still being worked out as we're implementing it. Any thoughts on the ideas here are welcome in the comments section.

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