Tiles now have a price attached to them, which will raise or fall according to different parameters. It is possible to buy land without constructing a building on it. (There is a ‘buy land’ button in the regular construction window). Of course the cost for constructing a building on a tile that is not already owned goes up by the price for the tile. Therefore a new tool tip shows the total cost and its breakdown while placing a building.
Constructed buildings can also be removed from a tile (like the new Research Center shown above), leaving you with an empty tile owned by you. Keep in mind that the deconstruction of facilities takes time and also costs money.
While land valuation currently is static, it will become dynamic in the future, so this opens the door to property speculation.
With the newly added research center you can research new technologies, consumer products or specializations for facilities.
Researchers can be hired on the ‘Staff’ tab. The total number of researchers in the facility and their field of expertise determines how fast a research project can be finished. Currently no new technology or product can be researched since everything is unlocked from the start. However specializations for facilities can be unlocked.
Selecting the projects to research takes its cues from Master of Orion 2: it will not be possible to directly select which project the researchers should work on. Right now it is only decided by selecting a ‘field’ to do research in and a random tech is selected. I will add more direct means to select it down the road: whether it will be a MOO2-like system where a set of 3 possible outcomes is visible or something different I am not sure yet. Maybe a preview is made available after 1 month and one can abandon the project and start anew, instead of wasting years on a tech that is of no use. Or at certain points during the research a choice has to be made to select a certain subset of possible outcomes to narrow down what the researchers should work on.
For staff management I would like to introduce ‘head researchers’: A limited number of researchers who have certain areas of expertise, certain expectations on team-size, working conditions (facility specializations) &c. This would replace the current system of selecting which area of expertise newly hired staff-members have.
In essence, however, research is completely optional. Technologies might be researched by competitors who put them into the public domain, free to use for everyone. Or they might patent them and license them to other companies. And if all fails, patents run out eventually.
Alternatively you might play a think-tank only. Do research and license your tech to other companies.
Facilities can be further specialized. They have different ‘slots’ where modifications can be installed (taking time and costing money). Each of those has certain advantages but also negative aspects. One specialization might improve productivity but increase pollution, others might allow bigger storage for certain kind of products, while reducing storage for other products, &c.
Currently only the seaport supports specialization (if researched).
So it does what it says on the label: specialize a facility for a certain task. However removing or changing specializations costs money and time. It might be worth it or not, it is up to you to decide.