Miniaturization technologies increase the space available on your hulls by a certain percentage, allowing more components to be mounted on a given hull.
Miniaturization works by increasing the available hull size rather than decreasing the size of components that you add to your ship. For example, a Huge hull normally has a volume of 80. A Huge hull with miniaturization of 50% will have a volume of 120, (80 * 150%). More advanced miniaturization of 100% will result in a volume of 160, (80 * 200%).
Although implementing miniaturization in this way may seem a bit counterintuitive, it is functionally the same as decreasing component size. Also, it avoids problems with rounding when miniaturizing small components (a 10% decrease in size of a size 6 component may not be useful, but a 10% increase in size of a size 16 hull always will be).
Also, your minituarization level is calculated as the sum of all technologies that grant "Miniaturization: +X". To figure it out, add up all the Xs from the researched minituarization techs, then add 15 if you have built the Hyperion Shrinker (and an additional 15 for each Hyperion Shrinker you've captured). That's the total increase to the size of all your hulls. The maximum this can go up to is 115%.
Ongoing Discussion: Refer to the discussion page for a possible bug that requires further evaluation.
The miniaturization bug has been fixed as of version 1.3 beta 2.
The bug resulted from the way the “size mod” portion of ship components worked. Basically, all ship components: weapons, engines, modules, etc., have a fixed size and a variable size. The variable size is a percentage of the total size of the ship they are being put on. Take a Graviton Driver, for example. Its base size is 8 and its variable size is 4%. That means that on a 16 point tiny hull, its total size will be 8 + (16 x 0.04) = 8.64, rounded off to 9. On a 80 point huge hull, its total size will be 8 + (80 x 0.04) = 11.2, rounded up to 12. Because of this, increased miniaturization actually increased the size of the ship components.
A tiny hull with 100% miniaturization has a size value of 32. A Graviton Driver on that ship would take up 8 + (32 x 0.04) = 9.28, which would round up to 10, one point larger than the same component on the same ship with no miniaturization. A Graviton Driver on the huge ship with 100% miniaturization would take up 8 + (160 x 0.04) = 14.4, rounded up to 15.
That's a pretty big increase. For the tiny ship, the miniaturization pays off, although not as much as you might think. With no miniaturization you can fit one Graviton Driver with 7 extra points, with 100% you can fit 2 of the same weapon with 12 extra points, not the 14 you might expect. The "smaller than expected growth" is worse for the huge hull. You could put 6 Graviton Drivers on the huge ship with no miniaturization and have 6 spaces left over, and 10 - not quite double the number - on the 100% miniaturization huge hull and have 10 spaces left over.
So miniaturization did not increase the effective capacity of the ships as much as the "percentage" increase would have lead one to believe. This was not the worst of the problem, however. The true "bug" came from the fact that, due to rounding, in certain situations the variable portion of the component size would increase in size faster than the ship capacity.
Engines provide a good example of this. A Hyperwarp drive has a size of 3+5% of hull size. On a huge ship with no miniaturization it would be 3 + (80 x 0.05) = 7. On a huge ship with 100% miniaturization it would be 3 + (160 x 0.05) = 11. Fair enough. But what happens when you max things out at 115% miniaturization? The size of the ship goes to 184, an increase of 15%. The size of the engine, however, goes to 3 + (184 x 0.05) = 12.2, rounded up to 13, an increase of 118%! You can fit 14 Hyperwarp drives on a huge ship with 100% miniaturization with 6 spaces left over (14 x 11 = 154). On a huge ship with 115% miniaturization you can fit the same 14 Hyperwarp drives but you will only have 4 spaces left over! (14 x 13 = 182).
The bug was resolved by tying the variable portion of component size to the base size of the hull without any miniaturization. This means that a Graviton Driver is always size 9 on a tiny hull and 12 on a huge hull, regardless of miniaturization. You can fit 2 Graviton Drivers on a tiny hull with 100% miniaturization with 14 spaces left over, just as you would expect. A potential problem with this solution is the absolutely immense capacity this gives larger ships. The same huge hull with 115% miniaturization that could only fit 14 Hyperwarp drives in earlier versions of the game can now fit an astounding 26 with 2 spaces left over. Whereas before you heard players say they never researched the last miniaturization tech, now it's definitely a case of the more, the merrier!
- Note that the a given component in a large hull will occupy more space than that same component in a smaller hull.