**WARNING: This document contains information gleaned from various forum posts, personal experience and websites. It also contains interpretation and conjecture about unknowns, which you may or may not agree with. If you have something to say, please send me a PM on the official Neocron forum. There is a “To Do” section at the bottom; if you have anything to add, reply to this post and I’ll add it in. Also, if I haven’t given you credit appropriately, please let me know. **
Neocron 2.1 Construction Guide
By Bishop Yutani
Construction is the skill in building items from blueprints and spare parts. Constructors can also build rares, modify weapons to change their characteristics and place turrets at outposts. A runner’s construction skill is considered an Intelligence sub-skill, labeled CST on the in-game stat sheets. It is also the most complicated trade-skill, if not one of the most complicated facets of Neocron itself.
Class and Profession
The best class for a constructor is a spy, as they level their Intelligence the fastest and also start of with the most intelligence sub-skill points to distribute at character creation. They also have a max Intelligence of 100.
Picking the Engineer profession starts you out with a TL-30 construction device, which will save you some money starting out. Also, the reward for completing Mr. Jones’ missions is a TL-90 Construction tool, so you can save a lot of money in the beginning by starting as an Engineer. Picking the correct profession for your character helps in the beginning of the game, but don’t worry if you didn’t pick Engineer and now you want to construct; it makes no difference as long as you put enough points in CST.
Another option is to be a Psi-Monk. Monks cap their intelligence at 100 like spies, but do not have a profession that helps with the early stages. They also cap Dexterity at 35, which puts them at a slight disadvantage. They do, however, have psi “buffs” that add points to the Construction skill, which can help a lot. More on that later.
You can technically be any of the 4 classes and still be a constructor; it’s just that unless you’re a Spy or a Monk, your Intelligence or Dexterity will cap before you earn enough skill points to be able to construct the higher TL items in the game. You can, of course, construct anything within your skills.
A quick note about TL
TL is short for “Tech Level”. A TL is a number assigned to every item in the game and is used as a base-line to determine if you are experienced enough to use it. In most cases, when you interact with an object, the TL of that object will be compared to one of your stats. (which stat it is depends on the item) If your stat is higher than the TL, you’re allowed to use the item, but investing more skill points in that stat may make you more effective.
To construct, you need a blueprint of an item, some parts and a construction tool. To create items over TL24, you will also need construction grease. The amount of construction grease is reliant on the TL of the item; the higher the TL, the more grease required.
Acquiring blueprints requires either some cooperation with other runners or skill in Research (RES). A researcher takes an item and a blank data cube and makes a blueprint of the item. A constructor uses the blueprint and the items listed in the blueprint to make the item.
See the Items section for information on getting the necessary items.
To construct, open your Processor window and put the blueprint in the first slot. Put the construction tool in the second slot and the parts in the subsequent slots. Make sure you have enough construction grease to do the job. It will be deducted from your inventory when you click [Start].
If you have enough skill points, the process will begin and you will see a status bar counting up to 100% at the bottom of the processor window.
When you are done, you are left with a new item and a blank blueprint. (This means that if you want to make the item again, you’ll have to get or make another blueprint).
You can also fail the operation, leaving you with the parts and no new item. See the Stats section for information on how and why that happens. I believe there is also a Critical Fail, which destroys the blueprint, although I cannot confirm it.
Construction relies on blueprints; without them, the constructor cannot build the item. That’s why in some configurations, investing in both Research and Construction is beneficial. That way, you can buy a crappy version of a weapon from a store, research it to make the blueprint and then construct it to make a better quality version of it. Some say that its impossible to be an effective CST+RES, but it really all depends on what you want to do with your skill.
The basic concept to remember is that the more points you have in your CST skill, the more effective you will be as a constructor. Beyond that, be aware that being successful requires more than a simple check against your construction skill. There are several formulas used when constructing, depending on what you’re building.
1. The first check is to see if your construction tool has a TL greater than or equal to the TL of the item you’re building. The blueprint will tell you the TL of the item. So, the following formula must be true: Tool TL >= Item TL.
2. The second is a check to see if your construction skill is greater than or equal to the TL of the item you’re building. So, the following formula must be true: Item TL <= CST
3. The next check is to see if you fail or are successful at creating the item. The math of this check is worked in 2 parts.
(0.1*DEX) + (0.2*INT) + (0.7*CST) = Real construction skill
So the check is to see if the following formula is true:
Real construction skill >= Item TL
That means if you have a really high CST skill, your actual success rate could be significantly lower if your Intelligence and Dexterity are low.
To illustrate the point, a runner has a Dexterity of 60, an Intelligence of 62 and a CST of 80. If he tries to construct an item with TL80, he will be allowed to do so, but will fail every time.
His formula for success would be (10% of 60) + (20% of 62) + (70% of 80) or (6+12.4+56) or 74.4, which is less than 80.
The only way around this is to boost any or all of the three stats involved. Keep reading to find out how.
4. Build-Quality Cap – The quality of an item is average of the Damage, Frequency, Handling and Range of the weapon. This formula figures out how much CST you need to build a non-rare weapon with the highest quality allowed for that item.
Our terms are important. Let’s call this number the “Build-Quality” because it’s the highest quality you can build the item. Items with a low TL will cap their build-quality before 100%. Standard weapons cap at 94% for example, so if you follow the formula and construct an item with 94% quality, then you’ve made it as good as it’s going to get. (The item’s Build-Quality Cap) You’ll find out why I made the distinction of build-quality in the next step.
Winnoc’s formula to find the CST level you need to have to cap quality on a non-rare weapon is stated thus:
((103-(INT*.25) – (DEX*.15)) / .6
This formula has a flaw, in that if you have very high Intelligence and Dexterity, your required construction skill can end up being lower than the TL of the item you’re trying to construct, thus violating formula 2. The logical way around this is to assume you then need the minimum TL to construct the weapon instead of the minimum stated in formula In other words, as soon as you have enough construction skill to build the item, you are already going to cap its quality.
Example, if your Dexterity is 120 and your Intelligence is 120, the formula says to cap quality you need a 92 in construction, which is lower than the TL to build some items. Again, at this point, you would revert to formula #2 to determine what construction skill you need to build-quality cap the weapon.
5. The next formula is the chance you have to get a slot on a weapon. A slot is used to add modifications to the weapon and as a result, a much sought-after ability.
Here’s what Thanatos has to say about Slots:
Quite a bit; let’s focus on some key points.Originally Posted by Thanatos
In the second paragraph, he introduces the fact that there is a “theoretical quality” that is different from the “build quality”. It is higher than the build-quality cap discussed in formula #4. So you need a higher construction skill than you derived via the formula in #4 to make something at its theoretical quality cap. How to figure out that number is a mystery, but Thanatos says that it “is based on the TL of the constructed item DEX, INT and your CST skill.” So it looks like the difference in the equation is only factoring in the TL. Of course, we’ll never know since we can’t actually see this number anywhere.
In the 3rd paragraph, he starts off with, I believe, a typo. He means to refer to the theoretical quality, instead of the build quality: “So having a high theoretical quality opens up the possibilities to get up to 5 slots.”
Moving on, he introduces the concept of breakpoints. (Without actually saying it until the 4th paragraph). This theoretical quality and some “fixed factors” create a new number, let’s call it the item’s slot-potential (its potential to get a slot). If the slot-potential is high, it has more breakpoints. I would assume that breakpoints are distributed evenly over the range of numbers; my guess would be every 33. A lottery is taken, comparing these breakpoints to 5 random numbers. Depending on what the random numbers are, you get a certain amount of slots.
Note: I guessed the breakpoints, but it was an educated guess; Thanatos said the game picked random numbers between 0 and 199. I figured that the breakpoints would be evenly distributed across the range, so I divided 199 into 6. (one for each slot and one for zero slots) The breakpoints would be in 33 point increments counting down, so 166, 133, 100, 67, and 34. (yes the last one is 34; its not perfect!)
To get a slot, a random number is drawn. If the random number is above 166, you get no slots and the lottery is over. If the random number is below 166, you get a slot. Then another random number is drawn. If that number is above 133, the lottery stops and you’re left with a 1 slot item. If it’s below 133, you get another slot. (for a total of 2) Then, another random number is drawn. If that number is below 100, you get another slot. (3 total). And so on.
This scheme of distribution of breakpoints means that if your CST is low, that means your theoretical quality will be less than max, which will mean your slot-potential will be lower than max. THAT MEANS that the distribution of breakpoints will start at a lower number, but still be in the same 33 point increments, so, as Thanatos says, That's why builds with low quality can never get 5 slots, the required number would have to be negative.” In other words, if your theoretical quality was 100, your breakpoints would be 67, 34 and 1. It wouldn’t even be possible to get 4 slots and you’d have a REALLY small chance of getting a 0 or 1 for that 3rd slot.
This implies that a slot-potential that is high will have a better chance of getting slots because it can accommodate the 6 breakpoints, but it also means that even if you have a high slot-potential, the random number that is picked could be just above 166 and you won’t get a single slot. That means, even the most stat-pumped constructor out there can make a weapon with no slots. SO DON’T BLAME THEM WHEN THEY MAKE A WEAPON FOR YOU AND IT DOESN’T HAVE SLOTS.
Like I said, this is pretty much all an educated guess, but that would mean your percent chance for getting slots in non-rares, having a max theoretical quality would be something like the following.
6. The next check is to see if you get your name printed on the weapon. The equation is unknown, but it seems that you will definitely get your name on the item if you build it with 5 slots. It’s probably safe to say that the less slots, the less of a chance you have to get your name on it. With rares, any Perfect quality items that have at least one slot will get your name printed on it, while Artifact quality requires at least 2 slots.