Tech Web (tech tree)

I know that there will be more fleshed-out tech trees, so I think we should make a thread based on what we think the contents will be.


I am afraid that tech trees are too far away in development to properly implement them in yet, however we can indeed discuss this.

I’ve heard that atleast some devs want to implement some sort of advanced “physics exploring” tech tree alternative which would allow you to explore innovations freely without having to rely on the strict branches of the TT.

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Yeah, I’m hoping they go for an emergent approach to creating technologies instead of a tech tree. Though it would be good discussing what things, if any, would need a tech tree, like culture, safety standards, protocols, ect. This thread
Tech editor

Talks about tech editors and this thread

Technology variability

Talks about alien progression trees


I didn’t merge this with previous discussions as they were slightly different in topic. I renamed this to “tech web” as that’s the planned way to represent the tech “tree” in Thrive.


Do we even have examples of such an “emergent approach” to tech development in other games or may we be the first ones to create this alternative to tech webs/trees?


People have wondered what is invention and what is discovery. For example, is math invented, or were we always destined to discover it? Or is it more similar to a language that we use to describe some knowledge in a certain way?

Thrive will have a tech editor and a tech web. Are they two different systems for representing the same thing? I think there isn’t a large overlap. Tech editor is used to build vehicles, tools, and perhaps also clothes and buildings. These are inventions. Whereas tech web describes the discoveries. Discoveries unlock new things and increase the performance of technologies or give perks. For example, you can have an engine in a vehicle. You can chose to place it in a vehicle in the tech editor. More engines means a higher top speed, but it also increases the weight which means that it would now accelerate slower and it wouldn’t be able to do very sharp turns anymore. And also the speed increase would have diminishing returns. But if you research engines in the tech web (there can be infinite upgrades with increasing costs and slight increases) you can make a better engine and place that into the vehicle to get the speed increase and reduced fuel requirement without increasing weight.

And there can also be factors effecting tech editor that are not related to the tech web. For example, you may first settle near a copper mine and after inventing furnaces that can reach higher temperatures, decide to expand into a territory where iron is discovered, and use that material to make better chariots.

But what about the technologies that don’t fall into the domain of tech editor or tech web in a clear cut way? For example, do we get a upgrades for engines or do we design them as well? Or what about microchips? Do we design the logic gates? I’ve seen people suggesting we should design the behavior of our cells using logic gates and an extreme example of using tech editor for everything instead of the tech web would be giving player the ability or necessity to design exactly how every type of unit behaves when not controlled by the player after the robotisation starts. Or maybe before that as well, with a “brainwashing editor”.

The game can start with a “tech web for everything” and over time replace them with tech editor in the later updates when someone comes up with how to do that. For example, the da vinci tank can initially be unlocked in the tech web alongside all the other vehicles, and when the vehicle editor is added to the game (which can be a subset of the tech editor) and we start to design vehicles with metaballs, the players would now need to design those vehicles, and all the instances of the da vinci tank in the game files would be replaced with a png file in the thrivepedia that describes the same thing.

And lastly, lets talk about why the tech web isn’t a tech tree. This is obvious in the tank example. You can make fast and agile tanks, or make bulky tanks with a lot of armour and hp. Before the tech editor is added, we can have “fast tank level 1”, “fast tank level 2”, “strong tank level 1” etc in the tech editor. Neither is necessarily better than the other. Both of them can be used in the same army in different rules. Such examples would decrease after the tech editor is added. A civ that has “fast tank level 10” must have very high technologies that can be repurposed for the other type so if it starts building strong tanks from scratch, it shouldn’t start from strong tank level 1, it should develop faster, so, technologies in the tech web don’t have to strictly come from a previous technology.

And some technologies can be skipped. That is the fun part.

Think about space travel. Do you need to research chemical rockets to do that? No. There is an alternative aproach where you accelerate your cargo to high speeds on the ground by spinning it in a vacuum chamber and then releasing it and momentarily opening a door on the chamber. A civilisation may skip chemical rockets and go directly from spinlaunch to alcubierre drive. Would it be hard? Yes. But you can travel the solar system by using nothing but spinners and parachutes. A civ can advance in orbital mathematics and high precision n body simulations and high acceleration resistance technologies to launch spaceships into space at the right time and right direction and have them landed at the exact spot they intended. The spaceships can then build a spinlaunch on the spot they landed in order to come back. This would mean that you couldn’t return astronauts or samples from places you didn’t intended to build bases on, but there may be civs that are not interested in making “land and get back” type of missions.

So there can’t be a linear progression of technologies, there has to be multiple paths to advanced technologies. Sid meiers civilisation is very weird in that respect. You can’t have plastics without researching some fundamental technologies such as animal husbandry, archery and currency, but those things aren’t related to each other in the slightest.

There can be achievements for designing a tech in the tech editor that is very good in some respects without unlocking some very basic technologies in the tech web or without using some materials. For example, there can be an achievement for getting to space in a planet with 5g gravity without using spinners or rocket engines, and the solution may require something creative such as combining slingshots with geysers or something like that, I don’t know how it can work out this was just an example.

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Well, Cubyz is planning on using a procidural crafting system where the player can craft anything, they seem to be going for a prociduraly generated approach for anything that could possibly be prociduraly generated.

This other video talks about a bunch of emergant gameplay, but has a specific section on time stamp 4:05 about a game/physic engine called OE-cake where the players have run off entirely with the original intention and are messing around with theoretical quantum mechanics!

Noita’s wand system is also talked about in this video, which can result in some really complex spells.

minecraft Redstone also falls into this category because of it’s ability to be used to create pretty much any human invention.


Redstone is not designed well. People don’t build computers in survival mode.

I don’t think Redstone was designed for computers or any of the other complex insanity Redstoners have used it for, I was just adding it to the list because it falls into the category of emergant technology.

Technically anything that has players putting things together is a game that uses emergant technology like synthetic selection, trailmaker, scrap mechanic even house flipper. so I’ll just defined it as something that allows the player to create machines using simple components.

I now watched the videos and they were very good. Every game developer should try to ensure that unintended features can be used by the community to play in a unique way.

My point with with redstone was that yes, redstone nerds can have a lot of fun with it, but for 99% of the players, they don’t have to use it at all. Survival mode is the main part of the game. A diamond doesn’t feel precious in creative mode. You wouldn’t need or be able to use redstone in survival mode. Its not plentiful. A button can open a door that is next to it. You can build a flying machine to move over a ravine, but who does that? Its not necessary. You just build a dirt road. Its not like it would fall down. Is it a nice thing that redstone allows you to build planes? There are mods that add planes and they feel a lot more plane-y.

Its not hard to make a game turing complete. What makes emergence stand out in a game is how much it makes sense in its lore, how smooth all the systems are integrated, how easy to understand and natural yet hard to accomplish the tricks are, and how much the game pushes you towards creativity.