Tech Editor

Tbh i didn’t really want there to be too much automation either, i was really just trying to come up with a solution to the whole anti-tech tree problem. However i do think that there shouldn’t be too much micromanagement. I think there needs to be a balance between that and having freedom to do whatever you want. So far the simplest solution is that you can either slap on some parts and call it good or you could spend more time in the editor refining it to maximum effectiveness. I feel like there needs to be some sort of gradual change taking place, but maybe the change happening with each editor session is enough.

With that said i do agree with weapons not being classified by what they are but by their stats. Aliens would probably develop tools and weapons that are a lot different compared to what we humans use.

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So I’ve been thinking about the tech web for a bit and I think it can be done in a pretty nice way. But there would have to be some rules to it.

  • Almost every tech would have some sort of requirement. By that I don’t mean the previous tech (though that would be necessary as well), but rather an event or perhaps a sapience level. Example - For fire, you either need to observe fire somewhere (naturally occurring, another tribe…) or have skills with stone at least at level 3 (idk that’s just a random number), because your first fire-making process would be banging rocks together.
  • By unlocking the tech you do not gain mastery of it, but rather just the basics, which you master by actively using them. Higher skills unlock more and more aspects of the technology, along with the technology becoming more refined. Example - Unlocking metalurgy would unlock some parts in the tech editor (the one I’ve been talking about for several last posts - basically the melee and tools editor), however these parts would be far from perfect - basically just random pieces of the most basic metal and very few of them can be considered actually sharp or strong. However, the more skill you gain, you also gain better pieces and over time, as you master the process of forging the ores, you even unlock new metals, alloys and parts. Side note - Metalurgy would definitely require fire and perhaps finding an ore somewhere.
  • The web would not be linear, but rather go from one centre to all the other directions. (And perhaps following the @tjwhale’s idea, I think that system with 4 segments would work really well). This will prevent linear technological advancement that is same in every playthrough.

Okay, now to the actual structure of the web. In the very middle of the web there would be “Tools” - the ability to grab and use stuff. This “tech” would get unlocked automatically once the player reaches certain level of sapience. This might probably even occur still in the late aware stage, providing a nice and smooth transition. When this skill is unlocked, the player is basically at the same level as most primates, sucha as chimpanzees, who actually use some basic “tools” such as twigs and so on.
From this center point, there would be a fairly large amount of new technologies to choose from, some (most) of them still locked due to the requirements (my first bullet point). Some of them would be for example fire, domestication, agriculture, metalurgy, or language (some of those might need one more tech before them, but you get the point). Let’s take a look at some of them.

The very first tech. Gets unlocked automatically once a certain sapience threshold is reached. Allows your species to grab items and actively use them. These would be sticks, stones and (can break my) bones. Interacting with these object increases the player’s skill level with the particular item, allowing them to refine them into slightly better shapes, not too late after that even create tools for themselves from said materials. (Unlocks the tech editor). Gaining skills in separate fields (= materials) of Tools improves each field individually, granting you better assets to use.

Grants your species the ability to wield and create fire. Requires either observing fire or stone skill of level at least 3 (or so) as your first way to create fire would be banging rocks together. Fire can scare of predators, provides light and enables you to cook your food. Gaining skills in fire provides better and faster way to create it, along with things like torches, different fireplaces for different situations (there’s A LOT of different fireplaces all with different benefits) et cetera.

Language grants you the ability to communicate. Requires higher level of sapience. Language unlocks a very basic strategy mode, that gradually gets better, as you gain skills by organizing, giving orders and so on.

Grants you the ability to plant crops and kickstart your agriculture. Probably requires Tools and Language. Gaining skills in agriculture grants you better ways of farming, along with gradually better selective breeding (It is called breeding even if it’s a plant, right?).

Domestication gets unlocked by befriending an animal by feeding it, perhaps even providing a shelter to it. These animals will fight along your side.

Metalurgy provides you with new materials to work with. In this stage of the game, this is most notable in the Tools area, where you gain new assets to use. Metalurgy requires fire at least at level 5 (? might depend on the melting temperature?) and finding an ore of a metal you can process with your current technology. Gaining skills in this area is virtually the same as gaining skills in Tools, where you gain skill with each material separately, but on top of that you also gain skills in fire and also metalurgy itself, enabling you to create very basic forges et cetera.

I think this is enough to give you an idea about how this might work. It utilizes systems suggested by @tjwhale, @hhyyrylainen and myself, along with using the system for weapons and tools with stats proposed by me and @Solitarian. I think this proposal might have a chance to make everyone happy. Do we have a tech web? Yes. Is it linear? No. Is it simple “unlock this and you know it”? No. Is it easy to use? Yes.

What do y’all think? Any questions, ideas, improvements?


I like the idea of a “sapience level”. This would obviously be granted via biological evolution, but it would need to be further developed to access more advanced technologies. It initially would only allow basic tool use (i.e. octopuses using shells, chimpanzees using sticks, etc.). This would mean that biological and technological evolution would be happening simultaneously, with technology eventually taking precedence due to advancing far more quickly than biology. I think that would be an excellent way to transition from one stage to the next.

I don’t like the idea of a tech tree or web (If Dwarf Fortress is great without one, Thrive can be too!), but if there must be something like that, Zahyyy’s idea seems theoretically acceptable. The pragmatics of programming, however, are unknown to me. Are we certain that further speculation will help? I have written all my ideas. Again, Thrive is only about microbiology at the moment, so we should focus on changes that can be implemented now or very soon.


Someone here mentioned the “stats” system being applicable to certain membranes and tissues, which might not be so far off, plus it will make the entire game more consistent, which (I assume) would simplify the programming process a bit. As once we’d have the stats for tissues and membranes implemented, we could just use the same thing for the tools, with just a very few stats added.

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I like the idea of using stuff more giving you level ups or access to special techs. For example a sea faring nation that builds a lot of boats should be able to build better boats than a large landlocked nation with many universities, to a point.

I think metalurgy was invented (~3000BC) quite a long time after people settled in cities (~7,500BC) and so I’m not sure how much small scale tool crafting you’d do by that point.

Sounds like an interesting idea though. I like the sound of slowly moving from pure animal to village dweller, sounds fun.


Thank you! I think that this small scale tech editor would be applicable even for these early cities. You simply create a weapon and assign it to guards let’s say. As I said, the “editor sessions” can (but definitely don’t have to) take up just a few seconds and you want to use them only if 1) you discover a new technology such as a new metal and you want to implement it, or 2) you yourself want to make changes to what you’ve already made 3) you don’t need, but rather want another weapon to be added to your units. I have no idea how long will the awakening stage be, but I think that at worst, you would have to pop into the editor for 10 seconds every 15 minutes or so. I hope that this stage won’t be super short such as in Spore, where you could finish the stage in thirty minutes. If the stage is going to be fairly long, these editor sessions might even be once every 30 minutes or so. Which is in my opinion absolutely okay and does not feel like you have to do so much micromanagement.
And your example with boats is on spot.


I think tech should need to present some sort of advantage, with it needing a concrete advantage early on, but can have more abstract advantages later on. This would depend on the creature, so a turtle-like thing would not use armour, for example.


How could we inplement prototypes and experiments? I had a idea that the reaserch would be that there would be experiments which would give you upgrades or units or equipment that would be specific for your nations enviroment like if your nations is in a swampy enviroment you would have
Amphibious equipment like : amphibious car , tanks…

Or there would be would be a Tech tree that would just passive upgrade like +15% damage for infantry ET ectrea (i domy know how to write it).
You would order a vehicles which would have specifided time to design then there would be test with prototypes which your as a head of a state if the prototype is good or not if the design should be remade or it should be made to production, of course ypu need to know in what state is your nation(war, peace …).
I dunno what else should i say . Be free to expand onto my theory .

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I still think turtles need to use armor, otherwise the game would get boring real quick when guns are invented.

I love the idea of enviroment specific tech. For example, I think that an amphibious specie should have the abillity to go onto land for the sole purpose of inventing metalworking (if it’s really that necessary in the first place) only to go back into the depths of the sea afterwards…

Just imagen what advantages it would bring to already be able to both naturally breath under liquids and on land when reaching the space stage. You wouldn’t have to invent dive equipment to further research the aquatic life on a planet.

Insects and reptiles could even have the big advantage to breath certain gases, for example being immune to toxin when they start destroying their homeworld during industrial.

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One of the things I’m worried about for the later stages of Thrive is that species would lose their identity.
To use the turtles as an example: In the earlier stages of the game the Turtles’ natural armour would be a defining characteristic of them. They’re ‘the armoured ones’. But as technology improves, their natural armour would be less and less relevant compared to their tech. Turtles shields don’t do much against firearms, after all.

I like your suggestion about species from different environments being better at tech that works well in their environment. Not only does it make sense (of course the species would know more about their native enviroment), but it also solves the issue I mentioned in the previous paragraph very well.


Not all species for instance stegosaurus would still use their spikes at the back of their tails as a weapon even in the future .
Tuttles could dtill use their natural armor by upgrading it? Possibly?

A stegosaurus’ thagomizers would not be very useful compared to technologically advanced weapons, nor would they be able to penetrate technologically advanced armour,

I just don’t see any reason for some sapient stegosaurus to try to whack someone with its tail when it’s got a perfectly fine gun to shoot him with.

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I defeated all the undead as an elephant man and claimed the book containing the secrets of life and death, so now I am a necromancer. As such, I resurrect this thread with some interesting videos from a Youtube channel called How to Make Everything. The videomaker has been recreating tools of the stone and copper ages while using them for various historically accurate tasks. I find the video series interesting, and it has given me a good idea of these tools’ effectiveness. The videos reminded me of the discussion in this thread.

Here is a link to the first video, which is about stone tools.


What if the tech editor will be only used on spesific ocasions for instance the tech tree will be used for basic technology . And the more diverse will be a pop up and you will be throwen into to “tech editor” . So there might be no chance that there will a tank or something like that. Or there will be multiple designers that will be in the industrial stage. So the industrial stage will be a bit diffrent than the sociaty stage. And it would add sone realism to the game.

The way Stellaris handles tech progression is through a set of “tech cards” - there are direct paths through the tree, but many techs are basically one-offs. There are tiers, so you’d need to research lower-tier technologies to get higher-tier cards circulating. You can progress upon three cards at once: one for each of the branches of theoretical physics, biology/sociology, and engineering.
Most of the boosts to research come from reverse-engineering debris, research agreements (not true tech-sharing, you still need to research what your ally already has), or just various specialization traits.

This non-linear approach to tech makes for the possibility of not even inventing some things, and that works well for both Stellaris and Thrive - there are no pre-defined histories, the universe is random.
And what you make out of more complex pieces of technology is up to you - a tank could be explained for what it is: an armored vehicle with treads and artillery.
Technology cards in Thrive should be linked to development philosophies: Militaries want to increase combat stats such as defense, stealth, and power with maybe some other guiding constraint like efficiency or agility. This would inspire vehicles with sturdier construction, or the strength to carry a big gun, but it’s really a timeless idea. Civilians care less for defense (unless there’s a national security risk), and more for reliability and aesthetics.
It’s difficult to separate technological ideas and application - if one civilization knows armored plating and mounted flak cannons, why wouldn’t they just put it on their military hardware? As long as they know it, it’s likely that they’ll use it if it’s more effective. Stellaris auto-designs ships with your latest components, and that’s a huge time-saver for a non-minmaxer.

To be somewhat fair, once your species stops having to fight wild animals, you lose some identity - it’s only turtles vs turtles from then. Your weapons might be heavier bludgeon-type things to compensate for natural armor, but literally everyone will use that design philosophy. Adapting to all environments as your species spreads worldwide loses some species identity, too. Like all things Thrive, certain elements gradually phase out as you progress.
In the space age, you will encounter multiple species and then identity comes into play - primarily cultural/economic, as each species has evolved from scratch with different needs. A hairless, warm-blooded species may trade textiles, and a pheromone-heavy species might export scented candles. Direct effects from biological diversity may arise, too - dexterous and intelligent species make better specialists and leaders, whereas naturally-dangerous species arouse suspicion from their enhanced guerilla abilities. Depending on how pronounced these differences are, brutish species should be encouraged to assimilate more erudite ones to reap their benefits. Be wary of pushing your hardy main species into physical labor while aliens write the checks - that’s sure to cause unrest.
Some empires also employ an additional strategy - using so many species with so many battle philosophies that the enemy cannot fully adapt. Acting in unity may be hard, but overwhelming the enemy with new tactics is a strategy.


Here is my idea:
Basically each part of a tool will be tested for its efficiency. For example, when an object is created, it is simulated to see what it does. And then it will do that when it is put in another thing. For example, in a rocket engine, the tanks will be tested, to show that they supply fuel, and the combustion chamber will be tested, to show that it produces thrust. And when you put a rocket engine in a vehice, it produces thrust.


Why not just implement basic physics there? Electromagnetism, depending on the field strength and frequencies can be shot out and caught as a receiver and transmitter. Gravitation can prevent rockets from going up, but using newton’s third law you can counter it, maybe even using it to your advantage. The nuclear forces can be used to your knowledge for things like nuclear bombs by adding force on an unstable compound. What I’m trying to say is that the tech builder would be where the player actually “learns by accident”, being made up of physics and chemistry. The 4 main forces are a must (The nuclear forces will be hard but maybe you could do smoke and mirrors?). The Newtonian laws should be included. A mesh collider won’t cut it. It would have to have a strength and other properties. Orbital mechanics should be a major thing for the space stage (duh). Chemistry would be a huge thing near the gaining of manipulative digits. Not all planets are made of the same elements and so maybe a randomized element system can be added? I honestly don’t know how this can be done easily without an exploding computer, but the team can at least try.

After some consideration, I figured that the tech web might be the best option. However, some tech there would unlock different modes and editors. As an example, the “Tools” tech would unlock “The tool editor”, basically what I’ve been talking about in this thread, where you can create/customize your tools/weapons (don’t imagine every single tool being made by you, mostly just melee weapons). Another example would be “Language” unlocking some kind of a strategy mode. At first, these modes and editors would be really simple, but the more techs you unlock and the more skill you gain in each related tech respectively, the more would they expand with different functions/assets. Also, as suggested by hhyyrylainen and tjwhale, for example, the tech web would not be linear and one thing could be achieved by different paths (This might even lead to some interesting achievements such as “Discover X without ever discovering Y”, that would take you on a ride around this web just to avoid one technology). I’m currently working on designing a simple version of the web right now, along with the skill system, editors and such. So far only theoretical design, but we’ll get there. I’m looking forward to your feedback! I’ll keep you posted, thanks!


yes I agree I think there should be no tech trees

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