Space Stage Tech Levels

There is an RPG system called GURPS, many of you probably know it. In this system, there are tech levels:

GURPS Tech Levels

TL0: Stone Age
TL1: Bronze Age (3500 BCE+)
TL2: Iron Age (1200 BCE+)
TL3: Medieval (600+)
TL4: Age of Sail (1450+)
TL5: Industrial Revolution (1730+)
TL6: Mechanized Age (1880+)
TL7: Nuclear Age (1940+)
TL8: Digital Age (1980+)
TL9: Microtech Age (2025+)
TL10: Robotic Age (2070+)
TL11: Age of Exotic Matter
TL12: Age of Miracles
TL^: Superscience Tech

Before you guys start throwing Atomic Rockets articles at me saying that tech levels are bad and tech trees are superior (Atomic Rockets is an excellent website, by the way, check it out:, listen what I have to say.

Firstly, it is important to note that, by the time Thrive is complete, humanity is probably going to be at TL9 (the Microtech Age). This means that TL13 will not longer be Superscience Tech, we will already have enough knowledge to visualize it. So, moving forward, most people say that, in Thrive, the Space Stage will start as hard science fiction, and then gradually become softer. This is okay, but when will it happen? The answer is: when we reach TL14. When we reach this milestone, Superscience Tech will be available, such as FTL travel. Many possibilities will start to appear after that.

Now, let’s talk about tech trees. There will obviously be tech trees, they are much more realistic than tech levels (see But will we need to throw away everything I just said? Not necessarily. What if we mixed both systems? Like, classifying different types of technology as belonging to a certain tech level, but still allowing, e.g., [mostly] TL9 civilizations to have some TL10 technologies. Here is some example of the tech levels of different technological paths:

Divergent Tech Levels

Steampunk: TL6+
Teslapunk: TL7+
Dieselpunk: TL7+
Atomicpunk: TL8+
Cyberpunk: TL8+
Biopunk: TL9+
Solarpunk: TL9+
Nanopunk: TL9+

A civilization’s TL would be determined by the average of its technologies’ TLs, where more advanced technologies have a greater weight. So, it’s basically that. Thoughts?

Note: there are some superscience technologies that would be available before TL^. They would be harder to be developed, though.


As i understand you want create some hybrid of Stellaris tech tree and Civilization tech time and time line?

Kind of. It would be much more consistent and realistic (at least until a certain point).

How did you arrive at this conclusion? This isn’t a conclusion I would make.

I mean it wouldn’t be super difficult to add like a label to all techs with the level they are, but would need each tech to be assigned a level.

I feel like that a overall tech level indicator would serve as a way for the player to quickly determine if they are stronger than their opponent, so using a weighted mechanism doesn’t exactly do the right thing as some higher level techs would be much more powerful than other ones.

Overall, I don’t see much point in having different tech levels assigned to the technologies, though it could be kinda cool to have as an indicator of progress, but it would take a lot / some of work to always require all techs to be categorized for the tech levels.

This is part of the GURPS System. Any individual will see four TLs above his own as TL^. For example, an intellectual from the Middle Ages (TL3) would see the current world (TL8, almost TL9) as something totally magical that would break all his beliefs of what is possible and what is not (this would happen with previous TLs too, but at a far smaller scale).

That’s true.

Yes, it would (that’s why this wouldn’t be our priority), but I think we have plenty of time to develop the Space Stage (if the Microbe Stage takes so many years to be complete, imagine how much time we would have to work over the Space Stage).

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