After offering to remove technology costs from shipdesigns, I thought to myself about the way its handled in Galactic Civilizations, where our combat system is shamelessly stolen from.
Right now we just have a linear progressive setup, where MK2 is twice as good as MK1, MK3 is 3x MK1, ect. And they cost 2x what the previous version does. Its been tried, and tested, and works well enough for anyone. It creates an upper barrier to weapon development that can only be passed by the rich and powerful (Like IRL). However, there is no other real difference between them, they cost roughly the same (5,000 instead of 4,500 is a marginal difference) and only perform marginally better than lower grade (MK8 is barely an improvement over MK7)
There is, another option, the one used by the 'official' game where our combat comes from. It gives you a basic technology, like a laser cannon. When you research more into the laser line, the weapon remains the same power, but becomes cheaper to put on your ship. This continues till you reach the end of that tech line, and then start on the more powerful tech line. (For instance, you get MK5 Lasers, then move onto MK1 Plasma cannons which are more powerful and much more expensive)
We could emulate this a bit, by doing something like the following.
Type A Energy Weapons - 50,000 ; 10,000 ; 20,000 ;30,000 ; 40,000
Type A weapons deal 1 damage, and cost 1,000 to install. Each level of Type A reduces the cost to install by 100. (At MK1 it costs 1,000; at MK5 it'll cost 600)
Type B Energy Weapons - 100,000 ; 20,000 ; 40,000 ; 60,000 ; 80,000
Type B weapons require MK5 Type A Weapons, Type B weapons deal 2 damage, and cost 2,000 to install. Each level of Type B reduces the cost to install by 250. (At MK1 it costs 2,000; at MK5 it'll cost 1,000)
Type C Energy Weapons - 200,000 ; 40,000 ; 80,000 ; 120,000 ; 160,000
Type C weapons require MK5 Type B Weapons, Type C weapons deal 3 damage, and cost 4,000 to install. Each level of Type C reduces the cost to install by 500. (At MK1 it costs 4,000; at MK5 it'll cost 2,000)
Type D Energy Weapons - 400,000 ; 80,000 ; 160,000 ; 240,000 ; 320,000
Type D weapons require MK5 Type C Weapons, Type D weapons deal 4 damage, and cost 8,000 to install. Each level of Type D reduces the cost to install by 1,000. (At MK1 it costs 8,000; at MK5 it'll cost 4,000)
Type E Energy Weapons - 800,000 ; 160,000 ; 320,000 ; 480,000 ; 640,000
Type E weapons require MK5 Type D Weapons, Type E weapons deal 5 damage, and cost 16,000 to install. Each level of Type E reduces the cost to install by 2,000. (At MK1 it costs 16,000; at MK5 it'll cost 8,000)
With this, it would be quite expensive to develop the higher powered weapons systems, (such as F, and G) allowing HP to be cut drastically. It would also allow people to choose to mount 10x Type E-5 weapons for 80,000 credits, or 10x Type D-5 Weapons for 40,000 credits, with a difference of 10 damage and 40,000 credits. (Economical empires would choose the cheaper, less powerful ships; while powerhungry empires would seek the most expensive and powerful vessels)
This is just an idea, I'm fine with keeping the linear setup, tho.