Technology System Glossary of Terms
The following definitions of terms related to the technology system
are used in the game, ordered such that they make sense when read
from first to last:
Fundamental Research = "Theoretical Research." This basic
scientific research is entirely theoretical in nature. As it advances,
it opens up possible paths for Projects that will create Applied
Research results. School = one of the (currently six) major areas
of Fundamental Research designated in the Technology Wheel: Biological
Sciences, Mathematics and Computers, Macrosciences, Microsciences.
Field = one specific Fundamental Research subject within
a School. For example, "Astronomy" or "History." Note that not all
existing Fields are available to the player at the start of the
game. Some have Precursors. For example, Transwarp Physics might
require Level 7 in Quantum Mechanics and Level 9 in Number Theory
before it is revealed as a researchable Field.
Level = the current degree of progress in a given Field
of Fundamental Research. The Level is measured numerically, with
Level 1 being the starting point for each Field. Levels do not have
names. There is no specific upper limit defined for the level in
a given field, though of course eventually there will be no more
research gains from increasing the level further. It is generally
assumed that there will be 20 or more meaningful levels in each
Advance = the incrementing of a Level by one in a specific
Field of Fundamental Research. Note that achieving an Advance is
not guaranteed to produce any new Applications. In fact, the player
may need several consecutive Advances in a given field in order
to achieve a new Application. Example: "In the School of Education,
we have Advanced in the Field of Theology."
Research = the process of applying Research Points to a
particular Field of Fundamental Research, which will eventually
result in an Advance. The stages of Research are: unknown - even
the existence of knowledge at that Level is not known to the player
- foreseeable - the player can see that knowledge at that
Level could potentially be Researched, and has an idea of when
it may become researchable for the first time. The new Level is
grayed out or "ghosted" in any lists of potential research topics,
and cannot be selected, though the player can find out what Precursors
remain to be completed in order for it the become knowable
- knowable - knowledge at that Level can be Researched
at any time
- understood - the Research process is complete. Any Applications
which specify this Level as a minimum
Precursor will now become knowable if their all other Precursors
are also satisfied.
Project = the process of implementing a practical Application
of one or more Fields of research, or of developing a Refinement
to an existing Application or Institution. The stages of each Application
are the same as those for Research:
- unknown - even the existence of the Application is not
known to the player
- foreseeable - the player can see that an Application
could potentially become available, and is given a list of the
remaining prerequisites. The item is grayed out in any lists of
- knowable - a project to create this Application may
be initiated by the player at any time
- understood - the Project is complete, and the given
Application can now be used by the player
Example: If you steal an Optical Computer 12, but you
have only Researched up to Optical Computing 8:
- you now know how to build an Optical Computer 12, so you
can use it on your ships
- you don't understand Optical Computing 12, so you cannot
yet Research Level 13 in that field
- but now Optical Computing Levels 9-12 are knowable and less
time-consuming/costly than before (you get bonus RPs in Optical
Application = the concrete, quantifiable result of a development
Project. This can be a blueprint for a physical object, or the discovery
of a civilization-wide benefit (see also "Institution"). For example,
a building, a system on a ship, a class of ship, or equipment for
An Achievement (a special category of Application that does not
require any further objects to be built, but instead applies globally
throughout the civilization)
Institution = a social improvement that is created as the
result of a Project dealing with Social Fields. Such items are created
automatically for the player; the player need only Refine the Institution.
For example, the player is at Psychology Level 1, but has achieved
Advances to Psychology Level 5. Until these new Advances are "Institutionalized"
via a Project initiated by the player, they do not have any effect
on the civilization.
Primary Field = the most important theoretical precursor
to a specific Application. When an Application becomes knowable,
it will be listed under this category in the list of possible Projects.
Refinement = the process of improving an existing Application.
This is comparable to the "Miniaturization" feature of MOO II except
that it requires the player or the Leader AI to initiate and fund
a Project and is not available until the Project successfully completes.
The higher the Level in the Primary Field related to a specific
Application, the greater the benefits from Refinement. There is
a limit to the number of steps by which a technology can be refined.
Roadblock = a problem encountered during the course of Research
or a Project. The odds of hitting a Roadblock are reduced for every
Level beyond the minimum in each Precursor Field. See also "Precursor".
Note: A Roadblock which is overcome may confer special benefits
in Fundamental Research once the Project is completed. Bonus RPs
may be added to one Field, in recognition of the special Advances
achieved by the researchers in surmounting the Roadblock.
Precursor = a certain Level in a Field at which a given
other Field, Application, or Institution first becomes knowable.
At such a Level, though, there may be a significant risk of encountering
a Roadblock related to that specific Precursor. This risk is expressed
as a chance of such a problem arising. There is another per-Level
reduction in this number, such that increases in the Level of the
Precursor Field will eventually cause the risk to drop to zero.
For example, the Phaser Application just became available because
Optronics just Advanced to Level 9. But the risk of encountering
an Optronics-related Roadblock is 20%. In order to minimize risk,
the player first researches an additional two Levels of Optronics,
each of which reduce the risk by 7%, so that the risk of this Roadblock
is now 6%.
Designer's Note: the exact percentages used for the
Precursor risk will vary from game to game. It is assumed
that the variance will be approximately +/- 20%. For variety,
the number of Levels in a non-Primary Precursor Field required
for any Application or Institution will vary from game to
game and from player to player within a narrow range that
is pre-set in the technology tree data structures. This prevents
players from creating a "perfect" game schema.
Gene = a specific alteration to one named data element in
the game. For example, "raise shield facing strength by 20%" or
"increase weapon armor piercing strength by 10%." Modification or
Mod = a specific named package of Genes designed for a particular
purpose. For example, "Long Range" would include Genes that change
the Dissipation Start and End values for a weapon, and perhaps affect
its accuracy values as well.
One Mod may contain Genes for unrelated fields. A single Optical
Technology Mod, might improve weapon targeting and also improve
navigation. Some Mods may be race-specific.
Breakthrough = A reward for Research, which provides benefits
in one Field when an Advance is achieved in a related Field. The
game generates a small random chance of a Breakthrough each turn
for each Advance achieved that turn. If a Breakthrough occurs, a
number of Research Points equivalent to a specific fraction of one
Level of increase in the adjacent Field are added to its total Research
Points. This may or may not cause an immediate Advance in the adjacent
Field, but it will certainly grant a significant advantage.
Research Points (or "RPs") = the "currency" that a player
spends when performing research. Research Points are created by
Research DEAs and, to a limited extent, can also be purchased.