Gameplay Proposals/Scientist Cap Per Research Project
One of the fun parts of the game is researching technologies that aren't immediately useful on the battlefield but still give an amazing immersion experience. Stuff like autopsy research, analyzing strange UFO components, or interrogating live aliens to uncover mission information is very entertaining, but often completely useless towards actually advancing in the game.
While this is partially fixable by having otherwise useless techs be required as prerequisites for more important things, there is still no avoiding the fact that it's simply more efficient to dump all scientists into a single project and do them one at a time.
Similarly, with the open research model the game can get somewhat difficult to balance in the mid and later sections. One player might buy all the scientists he can and put them on researching the most useful technologies; another might explore the research tree far less efficiently.
There's something fun about having multiple projects going on at once and not knowing what you'll finish, and unless we give an incentive we'll lose that.
I propose some sort of mechanic that encourages the player to expand their research into multiple, simultaneous projects. The simplest way to do this is just having a flat cap: if only 5 scientists at a time can research superguns, then we can accurately predict the earliest the player will have superguns based on when we give him one. Similarly, the player will be forced to research other things with his remaining scientists while waiting for supergun research.
Another, more interesting option would be to allow the player to break the cap, but to have some sort of diminishing returns based on how far above he goes. If after hitting the 9 scientist cap the 10th one will only work at 50%, we could then show an "efficiency" indicator dropping from 100 to 95% as the player raises the number of scientists from 9 to 10. There's plenty of room in the interface for this, and it's also pretty intuitive to a player what's happening as he raises his scientists too high.