Well, I would have believed you the same without a proof!
I should have used "demonstration of bug" - hopefully Elliot will understand.
They are supposed to have fixed it, and I did not see it since. And the original bug was more the fact that the higher techs did not appear when “only shows later techs” was checked. It had consequences on auto upgrade. Do you get this too?
No, the upgrade window shows the correct tech when the "show latest components" is ticked. I'm not sure why it puts phasers at the bottom of the list instead of with the rest of the weapons.
It used to replace them with pulse cannons - so it's an improvement. But it's still undeniably broken.
Maybe it is an occurrence of another, ancient bug, that same old that replaces SW7F robotic repairs by the basic damage control?
Two possibilities that come to mind -
First, the value he's assigned to each tech is a series of numbers to identify each weapon which is messed up - such that "phaser cannon" has the wrong number and it's looking for a replacement in the wrong branch - and gave you pulse cannons before, as a default fail-safe replacement.
Second possibility is that Elliot flags "best in class" whenever a tech level is passed, which would explain why if you discover Equinox drive and then Kaldos, with both at the same level (displacement from left), any upgrade done at that point will replace your existing Equinox drives with Kaldos. If this is the case, then he isn't flagging phaser cannon discovery as "best in class" when it's discovered. Which may be a result of it having the wrong value (above), or he's hard-coded tech level gain events, and he's simply forgotten to perform the flagging for some tech (phaser cannon here, or repair system as you noted. Inefficient if he did so, but not impossible that he might choose to hard-code every tech level gain event.
Either way, the fix should be pretty easy to suss out - if he has dug his way out of the ever-increasing mountain of bugs which seem to be piling up on a daily basis.
Well they don't remove equipment that is not necessary anymore either, like the heavy and costy solar collectors, generators, or even thrusters (who needs a ship with a 60 cruise speed?). Why, the default starting ships and base are not even balanced to begin with.
There's a configuration file for each race's ship type - for example, Securan destroyer template is:
C:\Matrix Games\Distant Worlds\designTemplates\securan\destroyer.txt
It has a number for each component type (shields, beam weapon, missile weapon, etc) - which it tries to use if it can. But if this is not kept in synch with the game balance stage (tinkering with the value of energy collectors, for example, might have raised the value), it'll retain the pre-balancing amount which leaves it with an energy collection surplus.
Or you're playing at a tech level that the templates weren't balanced for. Thus you have much higher energy collection values due to later tech level - and don't need as many.
Given the number of tech development possibilities in the game, I don't think there's an easy solution to making truly optimal designs. It would take time that I suspect he doesn't have...
“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” ― Christopher Hitchens