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Look up "Thaumcraft 4 research" and "Thaumonomicon" for reference. Tech tree examples ^ In Thaumcraft you have a 'tech tree' and in this you can unlock various recipes for items (eg. schematics in DU). In this tech tree it gives a relatively defined path, however, sometimes the triggers to research steps are not clear. The user must unlock precursor items and precursor research point types, or trigger certain events to progress to the next step on the tree. However, the best part about this tree is when you click on an element on the tree there is usually a detailed description of the item (not just the item's tool tip description). There is also a research table where you can scan various blocks (elements, voxels, honeycomb, and terrain decor in DU's case) for these research points of various types (ex. Terra, Lux, Aqua, etc.), which you can use in the research table to make patterns in a puzzle to unlock the recipe of an item. In DU's case this would translate to getting a schematic in return. Now, this could replace the need to sell schematics by bots, because the required stuff to make these researches could be engineered to only found after exploration (and prospecting). Left: List of various research point variants that the user can use for the research puzzle. Right: The research puzzle itself, the pre-existing "nodes" must all be connected to each other in some way complete the puzzle. These research points in Thaumcraft can be combined, and all but the most elemental are a form of 'recipe tree', where they are made by, or make other research point types. These research points connect in the puzzle to other research points that they either are made of 1 tier down, or make 1 tier up. To scan there'd probably be talents related to it, as well as a tool to scan the various objects. Items could be further investigated by actually putting them into the table. All items/objects should be scannable (to return some research points). How to replicate a schematic once you "unlock" it at this table? The best way to enrich the replication of schematics is to add a new layer of depth to item scanning. Once you unlock certain parts of the tech tree, it should be possible to re-scan various elements (without telling the player what changed, after all, it's research). The player could then re-play the puzzle mini-game to attain more schematics. This should naturally create a limit on the amount of schematics possible by an individual, due to this budgeting. Lastly, the research table "puzzle", unlike Thaumcraft, is fundamentally random to some extent. The player will always be presented with the same "research stems" in the puzzle, however, their positions are entirely random, unlike the original, making the replay-ability much higher.