agree there needs to be a more complex tech tree. My 2 cents is that it never made sense that you were stuck in some linear developmental path. You could have 50 labs on 10 planets, but for some reason they were all working on the same tech? I would like to be able to allocate my tech spending to multiple different technologies for research at once.
Why can't I develop shield technology at the same time that I research new farming techniques? Are the physicists and horticultural scientists job sharing or something?
This is going back a long long time, to a very crude but enjoyable game that was Star Trek birth of the federation. You only had six tech areas to research and you split your research points between them. Now I know stardock can do something a hell of a lot better than that with a 64bit game!
obviously you will have to make a call on what you research and how you allocate your resources. The more fields you work on at once, the longer it will take to research each tech, and in times of war you have the option of prioritising your military techs by shifting all resource allocations to weapons or defences etc
Why would I want to do that? If I can get X, Y, and Z in 15 turns, it makes more sense to get X at turn 5, Y at 10, and Z at 15 than it does to split my research three ways and get all of them on turn 15. The optimal way to do it is so obvious that doing anything else is simply playing wrong, and thus why bother implementing it? Trying to fix it such that it's not lopsided just makes something else optimal, and thus people in the know will still do that.
Honestly, this thread is a great example of the problem plaguing so many ideas: people throw out what sounds cool with no regard to the complexity of implementation or if it's going to accomplish anything. People of all skill levels have to be able to understand whatever is implemented. Someone at Stardock has to build it. The AI has to be able to cope with it, since this is meant to be a single player game.
There's a reason why the Civilization style more or less linear tech tree is in so many games: it works.
As for private industry discoveries, a lot of games have some other event to discover a tech randomly (it's exploration in Civ). What you call it doesn't really matter a whole lot, but it should probably be a racial trait or something because if everybody has it happening throughout the entire game, what's the point?