Rules Question: NPR R&D Spending (Y7.02.3)

Home of SOLAR STARFIRE, 6th edition, rules based on the upcoming history of the Terran Solar Union.

Moderators: SDS Owner, SDS Members

Forum rules
1. Nothing obscene.
2. No advertising or spamming.
3. No personal information. Mostly aimed at the posting of OTHER people's information.
4. No flame wars. We encourage debate, but it becomes a flame when insults fly and tempers flare.

Try to stick with the forum's topic. Threads that belong to another forum will be moved to that forum.

Rules Question: NPR R&D Spending (Y7.02.3)

Postby Graystonw on Tue 14 Jan 2020 10:28

First, let me apologize if this has been asked and answered. My search didn't turn up anything, so if I missed it, I'll be happy to read the original discussion if anyone could point me to it.

Way back in 2004 I purchased Ultra Starfire because I was looking for a robust 4X game. It was exactly the sort of thing that I hoped to find! Unfortunately, Real Life(tm) kept me from ever truly getting up and running with it. Now that I have a job with a LOT of down time, I decided to update to Solar and have another go. Naturally, the extra time has spawned extra questions, including this one from my first real NPR setup.

Y7.02.3 discusses spending, but still leaves me with a few questions.

“EL research is critical to every race and ‘RP rate’ RPs will be purchased every month except in extraordinary circumstances.”

This is pretty clear. No issues here.

Later in section...

“Each (RDS) and (SA) will be engaged in work each month unless all SLs of open trees/branches are equal to or greater than EL, in which case some of the money can be diverted to other investments in the economy.”

This is where the questions really arise, probably best utilizing an example.

I rolled up an NPR and ended up with the following R&D setup:

EL 1
SL 1 - Electronics, Tactical Engines, Life Support, Plasma Torpedo, Science Instruments, Shields, Small Craft
SL 2 - Tractors
SL 3 - Sensors, Energy Beam

Electronics, Tactical Engine, and Energy Beam all began with RPs. All tech items up to SL were completed except Tb.

With a Large starting population, the race has 3x(SA) and 6x(RDS) to start.

So my question is, what does the NPR research? EL is given. But what about all of the SL that are at or above their EL? Does the fact that some of the SL already have RP affect that? What about the Tb that is available to be researched, but is at an SL above EL? I would assume that NPRs will max out investment in a breakthrough, but I don’t see that written anywhere. Finally, how much is “some of the [R&D] money” that “can be diverted,” and do those diverted funds go to the generic pool that is then divvied up per fund percentages, or does it go to a specific “investment in the economy,” such as IU / FT / colonization?

My take, but not necessarily what I think is the best option:

EL research at max RP
SA1 - breakthrough research
RDS1 - Electronics SL
RDS2 - Tactical Engine SL
RDS3 - Energy Beam SL
SA2, SA3, RDS4-6 - idle

These would continue with no additional research started until the race reaches EL 2 at which point it will start to research the SL 2 projects, but won’t touch Tractors, Sensors, or Energy Beams until it reaches EL 3, 4, or 5 respectively. Any monies not specifically used for research are available to the general fund and subject to fund percentage usage.

Naturally, there is always the “do what is in the best interest of the NPR” concept to fall back on, but I’d love to see some guidance for “newbies” like me.


Shuttle Pilot
Shuttle Pilot
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon 13 Jan 2020 15:42

Re: Rules Question: NPR R&D Spending (Y7.02.3)

Postby Cralis on Tue 14 Jan 2020 13:58

If you haven’t seen it yet in the forums, I recommend you start with Lomn’s Earthling Ernie tutorial at

It is for starting a player race, but the concepts are the same and he does an excellent job explaining them. I am at work right now (so no rules), but I’ll come back and comment with specifics later.
User avatar
SDS Member
SDS Member
Posts: 11276
Joined: Tue 30 Jun 2009 19:27
Location: Oregon, USA

Re: Rules Question: NPR R&D Spending (Y7.02.3)

Postby Xveers on Wed 15 Jan 2020 02:55

Graystonw wrote:Naturally, there is always the “do what is in the best interest of the NPR” concept to fall back on, but I’d love to see some guidance for “newbies” like me.

My take on the "What does the NPR research?" question has more or less fallen along the same line of reasoning as you for the most part. Early on, an NPR will have too many needs and not quite enough cash, and especially at lower SLs you might not have enough science projects worth doing to fill up all your research labs. Don't worry, that problem will fix itself up soon enough! :)

First thing's first, NPRs will almost never cut back on EL research, unless their backs are against the wall and it's do or die time.

That all being said, there's a few things that, given the choice, make good general sense for an NPR to be researching. Often times it's worth pushing an SL or two ahead once you have the extra MC, especially if there is a knot or a new tech item. Getting SL's up against a knot is good because that means your NPR can get more checks against a knot (and pushing SL's above your EL isn't that expensive, comparatively speaking). Other priorities would be at least Xb (to start finding concealed warp points), Yc capital sensors, D point defense, and basic Drone technologies (for bouys and basic courier drones).

One other good place to look for inspiration on what the NPR would research is their ship design priorities. Do they favor armor over shields? LRW or SRW? and so on.

At the beginning, especially on low SL/EL, your NPR is going to be doing a lot of the other basic techs like every other empire, with the exception of their weapon choices. Give it a bit of time, you'll find that odd little quirks and concepts will slowly come into being for them!
User avatar
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral
Posts: 832
Joined: Wed 15 Jul 2009 02:26
Location: New Westminster, BC, Canada

Re: Rules Question: NPR R&D Spending (Y7.02.3)

Postby krenshala on Fri 17 Jan 2020 16:09

One thing nobody else has mentioned yet, is that the limitation on what stuff is "available to be researched" that you list is just to find out what the NPR was already working on (or has completed). Once you determine that list of Trees/Branches and Tech Items, then you fall back on the normal limitations on what can be researched, and for how much.

If you haven't already, go back over Section N and you should be able to pick out most of the answers there. To help ...

  • See N4 for the limits on what the SA/RDS facilities can do (at once). e.g., You need an SA to do the EL project, but the project doesn't use any SA space, so if you have a single SA you could work on two science level projects and the EL project at the same time (assuming you had enough cash).
  • See N5 for project startup and operations.
  • N5.02 The Rule of 3 is one I believe you overlooked (or forgot) when you read through N initially. Until you actually start trying to do research projects in the game, its an easy one to overlook. :)
  • See N6 for project costs. Remember that if you change EL, your research project costs and RP targets need to be updated. It is entirely possible to need more RP before you can get a roll than you can purchase in a single turn, then get to roll the following turn because you gained an Economic Level.
  • See N7 for the project target RP totals.
  • N9 is all about ways (and costs) to speed up your projects, either by throwing more money at it, or getting (through various means) additional "help/information" on it.
  • N11 is how to use your breakthroughs.
  • N12 is LEL NPR setup stuff, though the "current" version has a few quirks that will most likely prompt more questions. Feel free to exercise your SpaceMaster Muscles and house rule a few things there to fit what you think makes the most sense, as that section is mainly to determine what they start with/can research, with the previous rules covering what they do after they become an active race.

If you have other questions on this, or if we missed something, definitely ask though. :)
-- krenshala
None survive the harvest!

Yeah, I'm finally back (again)! Sometimes, life (and 13yo son's) don't leave you time to play SF and earn a paycheck. :/

No, really! Matt actually made me an admin here!
SDS Member
SDS Member
Posts: 2787
Joined: Thu 02 Jul 2009 17:13
Location: Austin TX, NorAm, Sol III

Return to Solar Starfire

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests