Technologies can be advanced over time. As the population continues to increase, education levels continue to rise, and research efforts continue to be better coordinated, such advancements can be made ever more quickly. So, shortly after people see that there is a need for war-equipped warpcraft, the technologies necessary will be quickly developed.
Research is done in two locations: on planets and in space (where else?). Regardless of location, however, certain constraints limit how quickly any organization can develop its technologies. Researchers and resources are needed for doing all the theory work, running tests, preparing prototypes, and final preparation work.
While improved communication and collaboration technologies have enabled greater numbers of people to work in harmony compared to the 21st century laboratories, a project can move through stages of development only so quickly. Generally, tens of thousands of scientists may work together on a single project. However, The more people are working on the same project, the greater the chances that individual labs will end up working on the same thing without knowing it (reinventing the wheel) or waiting for the results of a different lab's work to come in before being able to proceed. As a result, marginal productivity of researchers decreases as more are assigned to a project. Certain technological upgrades enhance the ability of researchers to collaborate on a project, thus improving research speed.
Crucial as some technologies may be, the vast majority of an organization's scientists are more useful working on entirely different projects. Medicine, still one of the final frontiers of science, acts as society's great research-capacity sink, with billions of worker-hours going into it daily just to extend average life expectancy by a few additional weeks a year. Though the military frown on such a "waste" of manpower, truly those researchers cannot contribute anything more to the military projects at hand.
The standard research equation is
- A, project size, is the amount of research output that must be done for the technology to be done
- t is the time the project takes in total
- n is the number of researchers dedicated to the project
- N, researcher saturation point, is the saturation point for a project; after this point additional researchers contribute nothing to the project
- C, collaboration coefficient, is 1 by default but rises with certain research-aiding technologies
In other words, the amount of research that must be done equals the sum of the rates of research across the entire time period, and the rate of research is given as the total productivities of all the scientists assigned to that task. The marginal productivity of each scientist decreases as more are added in a linear relationship.