Technological Levels

Though civilizations progress technologically at different speeds with innovations coming at varying times relative to others, all civilizations demonstrate eventual achievement of certain technological inevitabilities (provided they survive enough Great Filter events to achieve said inevitabilities). Some inevitable innovations are unique to certain techtype phyla due to environmental constraints, but others are universal. The scale evaluates a civilization's technological capability based on these inevitabilities. Technological prowess with certain innovations is evaluated as "rudimentary" or "mastery" based on the socioeconomic and cultural effects of the technology as observed.

  • "Rudimentary" technology is new and experimental, based on very little knowledge of the subject. It is still developing and generally has little to no impact on society and economy.
  • "Mastery" over any level of a certain inevitable technology indicates that the civilization in question has a complete or almost complete understanding of the technology in its current level and principles behind it, and the social and economic effects of the technology are profound enough that removal of the technology would have a significant negative effect.

For some clades of technology, there are different levels of mastery due to the compounding complexity of the associated knowledge and the breadth of the technological applications of said knowledge based on the compounding. Basic constructive engineering, for example, is inevitably achieved much earlier in a civilization's lifespan than advanced constructive engineering because of the compounded knowledge that is required for advanced CE.

  1. Basic
  2. Intermediate
  3. Advanced

There are two major established "phyla" of technoloculture for which technological level scales have been developed: mechanistic and biomechanistic.

Mechanistic Technoculture Scale

Tech Level 0

  • No technology or rare tool use

Tech Level 2

  • Mastery of fire (or analogous heat and light sources)
  • Mastery of basic tool construction and use

Tech Level 4

  • Mastery of advanced tool use
  • Mastery of (relatively-)low-temperature metalworking
  • Mastery of medium-distance surface travel

Tech Level 6

  • Mastery of advanced chemical power and electrical distribution
  • Rudimentary short-distance air travel
  • Rudimentary electromagnetic transmission

Tech Level 8

  • Mastery of intermediate (metal/ceramic) constructive engineering
  • Mastery of non-chemical planetary power
  • Mastery of long-distance air travel
  • Mastery of basic CES
  • Rudimentary nuclear fission
  • Rudimentary high-altitude travel

Tech Level 10

  • Mastery of advanced CES
  • Rudimentary AI
  • Mastery of nuclear fusion
  • Mastery of intermediate orbital travel
  • Rudimentary molecular engineering

Tech Level 12

  • Mastery of advanced (plastoid) constructive engineering
  • Mastery of intermediate AI
  • Mastery of intermediate interplanetary travel
  • Rudimentary interstellar travel
  • Rudimentary FTL (usually warp or wormholes)
  • Rudimentary atomic engineering
  • Rudimentary antimatter energy
  • Rudimentary CQS (Complex Quantum Systems, aka quantum computation)
  • Rudimentary quantum engineering

Tech Level 14

  • Rudimentary megastructure engineering
  • Mastery of intermediate interstellar travel
  • Mastery of intermediate FTL travel
  • Mastery of advanced atomic engineering
  • Mastery of intermediate antimatter energy
  • Mastery of basic FTL transmission
  • Mastery of intermediate CQS
  • Mastery of intermediate quantum engineering

Tech Level 16

  • Mastery of intermediate megastructure engineering
  • Rudimentary intergalactic travel
  • Mastery of basic stellar engineering
  • Mastery of basic singularity engineering
  • Rudimentary CHLS (Complex Hard-Light Systems, aka hardlight computation)
  • Rudimentary spacetime engineering

Tech Level 18

  • Mastery of advanced intergalactic travel
  • Mastery of advanced stellar engineering
  • Mastery of advanced singularity engineering
  • Mastery of intermediate CHLS
  • Mastery of intermediate spacetime engineering

Tech Level 1

  • Rudimentary tool use

Tech Level 3

  • Mastery of basic (lumber/stone) constructive engineering (building large-scale objects e.g. dwellings)
  • Mastery of intermediate tool use

Tech Level 5

  • Mastery of medium-temperature metalworking
  • Mastery of long-distance surface travel
  • Mastery of basic chemical power

Tech Level 7

  • Mastery of high-temperature metalworking
  • Rudimentary non-chemical planetary power
  • Mastery of medium-distance air travel
  • Mastery of electromagnetic transmission
  • Rudimentary CES (Complex Electrical Systems, aka analog computation)

Tech Level 9

  • Mastery of intermediate CES
  • Mastery of nuclear fission
  • Mastery of intermediate high-altitude travel
  • Rudimentary orbital travel

Tech Level 11

  • Mastery of basic AI
  • Mastery of advanced orbital travel
  • Rudimentary interplanetary travel
  • Mastery of advanced molecular engineering

Tech Level 13

  • Mastery of advanced AI
  • Mastery of advanced interplanetary travel
  • Mastery of basic interstellar travel
  • Mastery of basic FTL travel
  • Mastery of intermediate atomic engineering
  • Mastery of basic antimatter energy
  • Rudimentary FTL transmission
  • Mastery of basic CQS
  • Mastery of basic quantum engineering

Tech Level 15

  • Mastery of basic megastructure engineering
  • Mastery of advanced interstellar travel
  • Mastery of advanced FTL
  • Mastery of advanced antimatter energy
  • Mastery of advanced FTL transmission
  • Mastery of advanced CQS
  • Mastery of advanced quantum engineering
  • Rudimentary stellar engineering
  • Rudimentary singularity engineering

Tech Level 17

  • Mastery of advanced megastructure engineering
  • Mastery of basic to intermediate intergalactic travel
  • Mastery of intermediate stellar engineering
  • Mastery of intermediate singularity engineering
  • Mastery of basic CHLS
  • Mastery of basic spacetime engineering

Tech Level 19

  • Mastery of advanced CHLS
  • Mastery of advanced spacetime engineering
  • Rudimentary inter-universal travel

Tech Level 20

  • Mastery of advanced inter-universal travel (essentially a Type 6 civilization)


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