Research Data is a kind of an additional type of currency in the game, although it cannot be spent on buying items or enhancements. Instead, it is used to design new technologies - unlocking blueprints for increasingly powerful weapons, armor, and other very valuable items. How to obtain them, though?
Acquiring it is very simple - you just have to scan various objects. To do so, you need to use the scanner built into the omni-tool that the protagonist has. You can get acquainted with the scanning process at the very beginning of the game when you use it to localize a technical malfunction's source. However, it's not enough to simply run around the map, look at and click on random items to get some Research Data points - you have to find specific things that can be scanned.
Those can be all kinds of things - new plants you haven't seen before, characteristic objects (such as portals, generators, or shields), enemies defeated for the first time, or corpses of colonists that you will come across constantly. Every such item can be scanned just once - if you do it again, you simply gain nothing. Objects available for scanning are colored red, while those already scanned have a yellow outline.
Scanning items gives you one of three kinds of Research Data:
- Milky Way - you gain it by scanning objects connected to colonists (or their corpses) and their equipment.
- Heleus- this kind of data is obtained by scanning objects connected to the races that inhabit only Andromeda Galaxy.
- Remnant - data connected to the abandoned "alien" technology. You can obtain it by scanning Remnant enemies (robots you bump into when solving Remnant puzzles) as well as objects you come across while exploring locations linked to the main storyline.
The amount of available Research Data points can be checked in two ways: by opening the Research screen (the value is visible at the top of the screen) or by activating the omni-tool scanner (the number is visible at the lower edge of the screen).