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Balanced Progression for multiple play throughs

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I think the research tech progression is great for a first play through where you are just exploring things and figuring out how the various items and mechanics work.

On a second play it seems far too easy to race to the end of the tech tree and certain mid tier items seem pointless (medium rover/shuttle/shredder/drill 2)  Other items are far too powerful for how easy they are to get (e.g. packager for only 1000 bytes plus 1 graphite).  Small batteries are just far too powerful in general to the point that medium batteries might as well not exist.

I've been playing with custom self-restricted rules and these simple rules seem to balance the progression

When a planet core is activated, unlock one of the following

Large Shuttle

Large Rover

Large Shredder



Research Chamber


These items can only be salvaged, cannot be researched/crafted

Small Batteries

Small Wind Turbines


What does this do?  

1) You have incentive to use the medium items until you finish few planets and unlock the large versions

2) Finishing planet cores gives a reward on multiple play throughs and is more satisfying

3)Small batteries and small wind are far too powerful when built en masse and attached to medium storage.  This limits you from stacking small batteries to open all gates.  Finding batteries and small wind becomes a very satisfying moment and dying with a battery on you gains a higher risk/reward.  You now have a reason to use medium batteries and can still use those and medium wind to easily power your base or vehicles.

4) This slows down research so that you take longer to progress through the middle of the tech tree.  By the time you finish 2-3 planets you should have a few large items unlocked and/or the research chamber and RTG if you want.  and by 5 planets finished you should be right back at the end of the tech tree.

So my suggestion is that a mode like this be added to the game.  Some kind of hard mode. Or maybe a challenge mode where the player could choose which rules they want to play with. 

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