As mentioned in previous post/comments, I've decided on a new technology system. Each technology will have an initial level, and a "fudge factor" that can affect which level the technology shows up.
For example, if a plasma cannon is level 40, and it have "fudge factor" of 15, then it could show up from level 25 to 55. Once the game starts from the game setup, all the technologies have their levels randomly assigned to different empires, and some may not even show up. So a humans empire may have plasma cannon at level 45, Zero People may have it at level 27, Space Hamsters don't have it in their list.
Unlocking new technologies for research requires you to research a technology that is in top 5 levels. When that's done, you unlock the next 5 levels, and if none is in that 5 levels, unlock the next 5 and so forth until there are some technologies to show.
Let's show how that works. If I mess up modding, and put a bunch of technologies at level range of 10-20, but none between 20 and 60, and the rest after 60, once I research something from level 15-20, it would check 20-25, and see that there's nothing, continue to 25-30, and so forth. When it reaches 60-65, it finds some technologies, and stops the search. Of course, this range would be very long to research, but it prevents locking out if you forgot to add technologies for every 5 level.
This is all now implemented. I had to overhaul some portions of my current system, but not as bad as I feared. I also plan on adding an option at game setup where if you pick one technology from list of available, you can only research that, and lose the other technologies (similar to MoO 2). Once you've researched it, it unlocks the next 5 levels, and repeat the selection process. Some people don't like that, including me, but I'm adding it as an option for those who do like that.
I also started re-doing the research screen. This screen will be for managing research output only. Once you select a technology, you can't change it until you've finished researching, so choose carefully! When a technology is researched, it will prompt you at start of your turn to pick next item to research (similar to MoO 1)
I've finished the research screen layout. Here's the screenshot:
The left 6 boxes are actually buttons, you can click on one area, and it will show a list of technologies that you've researched in that field in top right box. The sliders manage the percentage of total RP for each field. Lock button is self-explanatory. The bar next to the lock button is the progress (a percent will turn green). The empty box under list of researched items will be the technology description box. The box on bottom right is the RP output information. The left one is your planets' output. The middle is research from trade treaties with other empires. The right one is the sum of the other two.
Each box on left also will display how much RP required, and how much you've researched so far, and estimated turns before it's complete. Since I have nothing selected, it's hidden.
The interface for those aren't implemented yet (clicking, dragging, etc). I hope to have this and the prompt done this week! We'll see due to thanksgiving holiday.
Whew, this was a long post! But a lot of progress made!