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Cepheus General General discussion of Cepheus Engine products.

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Old February 12th, 2019, 09:22 PM
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Default Reworked Tech Levels

I have reworked the Cepheus Engine Tech Levels into something that is a bit less amorphous and comes closer to fitting the needs of my sector.

OUT RIM TECHNOLOGY LEVEL SURVEY

TL 0 Stone Age Up to roughly 3000 BC on Terra
Hunter-gatherer groups in early period, with agriculture appearing along with domesticated animals in the later period. Towns and villages appear, along with irrigation, and the beginning of fortification and the city state. Weapons include the bow and spear thrower. Barter is the principal means of exchange.

TL 1 Bronze/Iron Age Circa 3000 BC to 1400 AD on Terra Widespread and large-scale agriculture, with cash crops appearing. Oared warships appear, along with basic sailing ships. Local empires and large cities are present, while organized armies make warfare much more decisive. A wide range of government types exist. Muscle power predominates, but some use is made of water and wind power. On water worlds, long range sailing ships make their appearance. Metal smelting is common place, and coinage is also present.

TL 2 Renaissance Era Circa 1400 AD to 1750 AD on Terra
Gunpowder and the printing press revolutionize warfare, education, and learning. The use of water and wind power is widespread to supplement muscle power. Cannon become the heavy weapons for the army, and make it difficult for small city states to survive as independent. Oared warships, if present, give way to heavily armed sailing ships, and the ocean-going merchant ship is developed and widely used. Improved communications allow for more food imports, and improved agricultural techniques and crops improve crop yields. The art of fortification reaches its high point, along with the development of full-time professional armies. Monarchy tends to be the prevailing government type. Civil servants become numerous to administer the more complex taxes and spending of the government.

TL 3 Early Industrial Age Circa 1750 AD to 1860 AD on Terra
The beginning of industrialization appear, with the development of the early steam engine and mechanical looms appearing to produce textiles on a large scale. Replaceable parts begin to appear, and the early locomotive and steam ship improve communications still further, along with widespread canal building. Rifles become a larger factor in warfare and the percussion system greatly aids in reliability. The telegraph is developed along with the semaphore system of long-range message transmission. Agriculture begins to become mechanized, increasing the yield of crops per laborer, and domesticated animals are improved by selective breeding, resulting again in increased yields. Cities begin to grow much larger, drawing on the improved communications for food and material, while the nascent factories require large amounts of labor. Ocean travel becomes safer, although not totally safe, and much more frequent. Government types multiply, with a large range of experimental types tried. The sailing ship as at the peak of its development.

I am working on Tech Level 4 and following, probably up to Tech Level 9 or so, then they will get a bit less detailed. I am thinking of putting in a separate table for weapons.
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Last edited by timerover51; March 3rd, 2019 at 02:45 PM..
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Old March 3rd, 2019, 05:01 AM
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It's fine to have early TLs covering vast periods of history, as development was pathetically slow in general. Many futurist posit a technological singularity. Each major increment takes less time than the previous ones and at some point the delta becomes too short to measure in years.


Obviously, that's not the model for Traveller-like games. But there does need to be a much faster pace of development. Most TL increments should be of such fundamental change in the nature of industry and products that they are difficult to compare. How does one compare vacuum tube tech to sub-nm wafer tech? The latter couldn't even be imagined in the vacuum tube era except as a handwave, like Dick Tracy Two Way Wrist TV™ communicators.


TLs need "internal" progression, starting around TL 7. Early TL 7 stuff is bulky, late TL 7 stuff isn't. For example, going from CRTs to flat screens. TL 8 (we aren't really there yet) won't be able to miniaturize the flat aspect, but prices could continue to drop over time while maximum sizes continue to grow.


So, probably starting at TL 7, it should be a decimal representation instead of an integer. TL 7.0 is early adoption, TL 7.3 is widespread availability, TL 7.6 is ubiquity, TL 7.9 is peak refinement. At TL 8 and above, some TL 7 items won't have a major replacement tech.


Jump tech could represent a partial exception. Say J1 takes a particular breakthrough in both theory and engineering representing transition to TL 9. That tech is refined through a decade of subTLs. Not miniaturized, just made a little more compact, reliable, and less expensive. TL 10 represents a minor breakthrough, not sufficient for J2, but more significant improvement than all of TL 9. J2 requires TL 11, which is a major breakthrough in theory and engineering. It might have almost no effect on J1 technology, which has already peaked. Perhaps TL 11 could enable some cost savings, using a few tricks from J2 tech.


However, such a scheme might be too inflexible. No two fields are strictly dependent on or limited by each other. Computers can develop independent of drive tech. Maneuver drive tech can be independent of jump drive tech. The J2 breakthrough could happen while still in less than optimal J1 development. That civilization might be at TL 9.5 for J1, and TL 11.0 for J2. Meanwhile, computers might be at TL 12.4 but gravity tech maneuver drive is tied to J1 theory, still down at TL 9.5
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Old March 3rd, 2019, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Straybow View Post
It's fine to have early TLs covering vast periods of history, as development was pathetically slow in general. Many futurist posit a technological singularity. Each major increment takes less time than the previous ones and at some point the delta becomes too short to measure in years.
Those futurists do not take into account societal inertia and to a degree a built-in resistance to change. Apple is having problems selling its latest iPhone because the market is saturated, and the improvements are not enough to justify scraping existing phones. I am still using an iPhone 5, and do nto see any reason to upgrade. A society can absorb only so much change at once before reaction sets in.

Quote:
Obviously, that's not the model for Traveller-like games. But there does need to be a much faster pace of development. Most TL increments should be of such fundamental change in the nature of industry and products that they are difficult to compare. How does one compare vacuum tube tech to sub-nm wafer tech? The latter couldn't even be imagined in the vacuum tube era except as a handwave, like Dick Tracy Two Way Wrist TV™ communicators.
As a kid, I used to take our TV vacuum tubes down to the electronics store to check to see if they were working right. The nice thing was if they were not, we could buy a replacement for a few dollars, and not have to replace the entire TV. Try doing that now. I have see computers go from room-size to hand-size, with the programs getting more and more complex, without becoming any better, at least for the consumer. I have seen the changes and keep asking, have they really improved the lifestyle, or just made it more complicated. Thirty years ago, identify theft was not heard of, now a hacker can pretty much destroy your life without really trying hard. Is that better? I flatly refuse to do online banking, for which some think I am odd, until suddenly, they cannot get credit because they have been hacked. DriveThru was hacked a couple of years ago, and as a result, I had to change one of my credit cards, which I had stored on it. Now, no credit card stored. Technology comes with a price.

Quote:
TLs need "internal" progression, starting around TL 7. Early TL 7 stuff is bulky, late TL 7 stuff isn't. For example, going from CRTs to flat screens. TL 8 (we aren't really there yet) won't be able to miniaturize the flat aspect, but prices could continue to drop over time while maximum sizes continue to grow.

So, probably starting at TL 7, it should be a decimal representation instead of an integer. TL 7.0 is early adoption, TL 7.3 is widespread availability, TL 7.6 is ubiquity, TL 7.9 is peak refinement. At TL 8 and above, some TL 7 items won't have a major replacement tech.

Jump tech could represent a partial exception. Say J1 takes a particular breakthrough in both theory and engineering representing transition to TL 9. That tech is refined through a decade of subTLs. Not miniaturized, just made a little more compact, reliable, and less expensive. TL 10 represents a minor breakthrough, not sufficient for J2, but more significant improvement than all of TL 9. J2 requires TL 11, which is a major breakthrough in theory and engineering. It might have almost no effect on J1 technology, which has already peaked. Perhaps TL 11 could enable some cost savings, using a few tricks from J2 tech.

However, such a scheme might be too inflexible. No two fields are strictly dependent on or limited by each other. Computers can develop independent of drive tech. Maneuver drive tech can be independent of jump drive tech. The J2 breakthrough could happen while still in less than optimal J1 development. That civilization might be at TL 9.5 for J1, and TL 11.0 for J2. Meanwhile, computers might be at TL 12.4 but gravity tech maneuver drive is tied to J1 theory, still down at TL 9.5
I gave thought to splitting Tech Levels into an early and late one, and decided that simply complicated matters. You have areas of this planet where you have essentially a Tech Level 1 society using slash and burn agriculture, with metal tools, but still a borderline Stone Age lifestyle. I am looking to flesh the Tech Levels out a bit, not fragment them into smaller and smaller pieces. If I wanted to do that, I would simply increase the number of Tech Levels, which I am not sure would make players that happy.
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Do you have a security clearance? 1 Dec. Blog Post. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElI451TxsTg, 3:24 in.
I march to my own set of bagpipes. Caution: This individual thinks that studying logistics is FUN.

They that go down to the sea in ships,
that do business in great waters;
These see the works of the LORD,
and his wonders in the deep.
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Old March 4th, 2019, 05:02 PM
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Spacemaster has a 0-30 TL system, which if you divide in half gives a pretty good TL9 TL9.5 TL10 if you simply divide each TL in half.


The real problem is how incremental the TLs are in Traveller, particularly TL10-15.
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