Research is the process of improving an Original Blueprint (BPO). Two types of research are performed: Material Efficiency research and Time Efficiency research, also known as ME and TE. Material Efficiency research decrease the amount of materials required for the production of the blueprint, whilst Time Efficiency research decrease the production time of the item produced.
Research may also involve blueprint copying, which produces Blueprint Copies (BPC). As the blueprint is researched and copied, the ME and TE levels of the original blueprint will be transferred onto the blueprint copy.
None of these skills are actually required for any research. However, they will all make your BPO operations far easier and quicker, and are very worthwhile training if you intend to do a lot of research.
- Science (1x) - reduces time required to copy a BPO by 5% per level
- Science is the basic skill in the Science section of the character skills. You don't need this skill to perform blueprint copying. This skill will reduce the time required for blueprint copying by 25% at maximum level. This skill is also the prerequisite for almost all the other skills in the science section.
- Advanced Industry (3x) - reduces all manufacturing and research times by 3% per level
- You don't need this skill to perform manufacturing or research. This skill will reduce the time required for manufacturing and research by 15% at maximum level. Requires Industry III.
- Research (1x) - reduces time required for Time Efficiency research, by 5% per level
- You don't need this skill to perform time efficiency research. This skill will reduce the time required for TE research by 25% at maximum level. Requires Science III.
- Metallurgy (3x) - reduces time required for Material Efficiency research, by 5% per level
- You don't need this skill to perform material efficiency research. This skill will reduce the time required for ME research by 25% at maximum level. Requires Science IV.
- Laboratory Operation (1x) - allows you to perform one additional research or copying job per level
- Every character starts off with the ability to run a single research or copying job without needing to train this skill. Laboratory Operation gives you an extra research/copying slot for each level trained: if you train it to V, you can run 6 research or copying jobs at once. Requires Science III.
- Advanced Laboratory Operation (8x) - allows you to perform a further additional research or copying job per level
- Once you have trained Laboratory Operation to V, you can then train this skill to increase still further the number of concurrent research or copying jobs you can perform to a maximum of 11 jobs.
- Scientific Networking (3x) - allows you to start research jobs at range, without needing to be in the same system of the BPO/facility.
- Requires Laboratory Operation IV. Without training this skill, you can start jobs anywhere in the current system. Each level in this skill gives you the ability to start research jobs an extra 5 jumps away to the maximum of 25 jumps at level V (this may include other regions).
Other Helpful Skills
- Cybernetics (3x) - allows the use of implants.
- Certain skill hardwirings - the Zainou 'Beancounter' range of implants - that boost research & copying speeds are available, for which Cybernetics is required. A dedicated researching character would benefit greatly from one or more of these implants.
- If your researching character also builds items from the BPOs (or BPCs) then do not neglect the manufacturing skills.
Material Efficiency Research
Material Efficiency (henceforth known as ME) research reduces the amount of materials required to manufacture the item from the BPO. It can clearly be seen that the fewer materials you require to build an item, the more profitable selling your item is likely to be. New BPOs bought from the market will have an ME of 0%, but you can often find BPO sellers in contracts or on the Sell Orders forum, that will sell you pre-researched BPOs (or BPCs) for your manufacturing business.
The current ME level of a blueprint can be seen by looking at the info on a blueprint, or by opening the Industry window and browsing your blueprints. Each time you perform ME research on a BPO, it will reduces the materials required by -1%. You can do ME research 10 times in total, for a total reduction of -10% on the materials required.
It is important to note that material rounding happens after you have multiplied by the number of runs. Here's an example, the Scourge Rocket BPO. You can see that at 0% ME, the Scourge rocket requires 31 Tritanium and 26 Pyerite to build. If you researched it to 2% ME, it would require 30.38 Tritanium and 25.48 Pyerite. Because minerals round up, if you only did a single run to build a single batch of rockets, the amount of materials required would not actually change.
However, if you did 100 runs to build 100 batches of rockets, because material rounding occurs after you multiply by the number of runs, you would need 3038 Tritanium and 2548 Pyerite to build 100 rocket batches. In this way, even researching to -1% or -2% ME can be worthwhile if you intend to mass produce items.
However, no required materials can be reduced to less than one. If your 0% ME blueprint requires 1 unit of a material to build, even ME -10% will not reduce that amount of material at all.
Time Efficiency Research
Time Efficiency (henceforth known as TE) research reduces the amount of time required to manufacture the item from the BPO. It can be seen that the faster you can build an item, and thus re-use your production slots for more items, the more profitable your business is likely to be. New BPOs bought from the market will have a TE of 0%, but you can often find BPO sellers in contracts or on the Sell Orders forum, that will sell you pre-researched BPOs (or BPCs) for your manufacturing business.
The current TE level of a blueprint can be seen by looking at the info on a blueprint, or by opening the Industry window and browsing your blueprints. Each time you perform TE research on a BPO, it will reduces the time required by 2%. You can do TE research 10 times in total, for a total reduction of -20% on manufacturing time required.
How long does research take?
ME and TE research both take the same time to perform. The base time for the first level of research can be seen in the information of a BPO.
This is the time required to go from either ME or TE 0%, to -1% ME or -2% TE, which is one level of research. In this case, of the Archon capital ship, the first research level takes 5 hours 50 minutes (which would be reduced by your skills and/or POS facility bonus). Each further level of ME or TE takes exponentially longer to perform than the previous level.
All BPOs have a Rank (not visible in-game) which determines how long they take to research. T1 ammunition is Rank 1, and the duration for each level of research is shown here (before bonuses from skills or facilities):
|Research Level||Seconds||Approximate Time|
Carriers and Dreadnought BPOs are rank 200, giving them a time to research to ME or TE -1% of: 105 seconds x rank 200 = 21,000 seconds, or 5hr 50m. In general, the bigger or more expensive a thing is, the higher rank its BPO is, and the longer it takes to research. The example below is of a carrier, modified by skills and the bonus from a POS-based research laboratory.
Copying a blueprint original produces a number of a blueprint copies with a specific number of runs. For example, in the image below we have chosen a Blackbird BPO, requested 5 runs, and each resulting copy would have 10 runs. The final output would produce 5 BPCs with 10 runs each, from which you could build 50 total Blackbirds.
Once you have used up all the runs on a BPC, it is destroyed (you simply won't get it back after the last manufacturing run). You cannot research BPCs, so make sure your BPO is researched to the ME and TE levels you require before you copy it.
Different BPCs have a different maximum number of runs you can set. Ship BPCs for example can only be given 10 runs, whereas most modules and ammunition can have up to 600 runs. You can see the maximum runs per copy in the information of a BPO
How long does copying take?
As well as the maximum runs per copy, you can also see the base copy time - a.k.a. time per run - in the information of a BPO.
Copying of a BPO always takes 80% of the build time, on a per run basis. Note that this is before applying bonuses for skills and POS facilities - because manufacturing and copying have different skills & facilities (and teams) affecting their duration, your personal copy time may not be exactly 80% of your personal build time. Copy time is also NOT affected by the level of TE on the BPO. For example, small ammunition and drones, and basic modules, typically take 5 minutes to build, and thus will take 4 minutes to copy.
This base copy time is then multiplied by the number of runs and the runs per copy value. Or, in other words, the total duration of your copy job is the base copy time, times the number of items you could build with the output copies. For example, whether you want five 10-run copies or ten 5-run copies, the total copy time would be 50 times the base copy time.
Why should I copy my BPOs?
- Well-researched BPOs take a lot of time to produce, especially for the bigger ships such as capitals. Putting your BPO in a POS - for a facility reduction in materials and time - makes it vulnerable to attack. For this reason you can first copy the BPO, and then take only the BPC out to the POS for manufacturing, leaving your BPOs safely in station.
- In-corp security can also be increased using BPCs. If you don't trust your corp mates with your BPOs, you can instead keep a personal copy line running and release frequent BPCs for corp usage.
- Creating a Tech 2 BPC can only be done using a Tech 1 BPC - not a BPO. This process is called invention, and requires a T1 BPC of the item you wish to invent (for example, if you want to invent a 425mm Autocannon II, you need a BPC for a 425 Autocannon I).
- Multiple manufacturing jobs
- You can only run a single manufacturing job at a time from a BPO. Using the BPO to create multiple BPCs, and then manufacturing from those BPCs instead, can increase your productivity.
- Copying as a business
- Selling well-researched BPCs, for other manufacturers to build from, can be a lucrative business in itself.