Technology and how it shapes us and the world of Songs of the Eons

For discussion on the most 'core' concepts and ideas for the first version of the SOTE project. This is for absolutely necessary mechanics and ideas that form the backbone of the game.
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Spacemarine658
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Technology and how it shapes us and the world of Songs of the Eons

Post by Spacemarine658 » Thu Jun 29, 2017 9:17 pm

So this is my first post here but I thought it was an important enough question.

How will we handle tech?
The easy way out is EUIV's system where you build up points then pick tech. I'm not a fan of that for a simulation game, I propose some sort of bank of tech that would store tech your civilization could theoretically discover based on their current size and science spending. Depending on your education level and such you could focus researchers into certain fields but any tech would be available just the focuses would increase the likelyhood you discover or invent a tech in that field.

For example your just starting out so you already have farming, archery, the wheel and some other basics, but you tell your researchers you want to get more military tech so you can conquer your neighbors so they focus more on that and increase the chance you'll discover something military based such as leather armor or long bows and eventually armor and swords and etc. But while that happens they might also discover a new form of pottery or boats etc. And kinda like Vic 2 where when you discover a general technology there are smaller ones you might discover too ie you discover gunpowder which isn't the most useful thing on it's on but because of that discovery it's possible to now discover guns and even easier to discover ballistic based weapons like cannons.

Another question tech raises is what it does to culture and religion:
While trying to avoid any debating for the most part with the advancement of technology people have desired and pushed for more social freedoms and economically most people have become more prosperous slaves where freed and etc. This may not be true for all races in the game but it may have an effect especially on civilizations separated from technology for a long time before being thrusted back into it. Religions and culture may have a huge shock to them during this time as it would be such a drastic change in their society, weither it was for better or worse would depend on a lot of factors.

But those where some of my ideas

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kukumarro
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Re: Technology and how it shapes us and the world of Songs of the Eons

Post by kukumarro » Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:06 pm

This raises the question of what type of technology development SOTE should have. One option is a "directed" technological development, where you research what you select like in the CIV games, or as in your proposal to focus researchers in certain fields increasing the likelyhood of development. Second option is a "evolutive" technological development, where technology increases slowly in certain fields determined by the circumstances (like agriculture and husbandry developing where there are plants and animals suitable for domestication, seafaring in coasts of inner seas, metalworking where there are suitable metals, etc) and the advances being spread by trade.

The last option would be closer to the real case for the ancient world, because there was no real consciousness of technological development as there is today. For thousands of years, technology progresssed and spreaded so slow that it gave the impression to be static. As time progressed, power became increasingly centralized and war-waging states developed, these states started to get involved in technological development, typically in military technology, which could afterwards be adapted to civil use.

Strictly speaking all technological development would answer to the "evolutive" approach, if we consider the state as another agent involved in this evolution in the same way fishermen and traders are agents involved in the progress of naval technology or smiths are in metalwork. But given that the player would control the state, in my opinion the most sensitive approach would be a mix of a "direct" (for tech areas where the state had an historical role, for which it would make perfect sense to focus in sub-areas of tech) and a "evolutive" (for everything else) approaches.

Demiansky
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Re: Technology and how it shapes us and the world of Songs of the Eons

Post by Demiansky » Fri Jun 30, 2017 2:16 pm

This is something we got into in a relatively detailed fashion in an earlier Discord discussion. One thing I absolutely, positively want to avoid is the classic "tech tree" or "pick a tech to research" model that every strategy game since the beginning of time has used. Not only is it ahistorical, but its also unimaginative. In fact, I'm not sure I even want to call it "tech." I think Kukumarro made a lot of good points and is moving in the direction I was contemplating. So let's break things down.

So what circumstances should be important for "technological growth" in SOTE?

1. The state rarely directed growth in technology historically. What it did do was help to aim a society in a given direction, or set fertile soil within which certain innovations could flourish. In this regard, tech in most circumstances would arise from the nature and direction of efforts of your society. You as a state don't command the direction of tech, but what you do is influence the direction of your society, which then has an indirect effect on the technology that develops.

2. Technology never existed in a vacuum. It existed in the context of the industries that exist in a society and the culture of the society. Incans who live in the mountains don't farm like Mesopotamians who live on a flood plain. If you were to then plunk a bunch of otherwise highly advanced Incans onto a floodplain, whether or not the technology exists is irrelevant, because the technology is also tied up to a multitude of things related to culture and lifestyle. Encourage your people to settle along the coast and you have a lot of your society's technology oriented toward naval affairs. Live deep in the forest and most of your tech will be oriented toward woodsmenship, wood crafting, managing of forests, etc.

3. If you rebooted our own world and scrambled some of the circumstances, technology and innovations wouldn't develop the same way or take the same form, even if they fulfilled the same purpose. Therefore, I think its important to have a "tech system" that is procedurally generated so that each game, you see different iterations of "tech." Each game will be a mystery, even though the same themes emerge each game. This would also allow a "hybrid" culture to develop dynamic innovations which might fulfill multiple functions simultaneously (a half forestry, half plains agriculture society which develops dual purpose archer/swordsmen citizen soldiers that end up being specific to your society).

4. Technology is ultimately a function of knowledge, and knowledge is a function of what knowledge is actively in your people's minds and what is inactively in their books. "Technology" can also decay and be forgotten, especially if a society is removed from the circumstance that the technology is used in. The people who live in the plains will gradually forget the farming techniques and technology that they used if they move high in the mountains. Technology in many ways is a function of how many people are actively using it and how many minds are free of menial labor to actually invent new things. In order to promote tech growth and prevent decay, you need enough surplus in society for people to have enough free time to develop new ways of doing things. Having libraries and books and literacy in society helps to prevent decay.

So my general idea was for base tech growth to grow off of excess" effort" in your society (effort being the base unit of currency which drives all things in your society). That excess effort would then be divided up between the different "cultural aptitudes" in your culture. So if you are 75 percent seafaring and 25 percent plains agriculture culture types, 75 percent of the effort would go toward seafaring and 25 percent toward plains agriculture. Then, various innovations would emerge quasi-randomly as you accumulate new knowledge in these cultural categories. If you are a plains culture that for whatever reason ends up exclusively on the coast, you would still initially developing plains oriented technology (which is technically mal-adaptive). Only after your culture begins adapting to the seas does that excess effort start going toward naval oriented innovations.

Of course, this is all peripheral to how tech and culture spreads, which is something we'll have to discuss more later.

kingjerkera
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Re: Technology and how it shapes us and the world of Songs of the Eons

Post by kingjerkera » Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:46 pm

I really like what was said before this post it is great stuff. I think there are other influences on tech not just adaptation, and what has been said before is a great layout for what early game teching should look like, however other things are important and not just from a tech standpoint but from a decay standpoint. Those influences are trade, social permissiveness, and geopolitical considerations.

Trade is a case of a middle path is best approach as being a pure exporter has shown to be a case of brain drain, colonial disregard, and a overall economic drain to a society and while a pure importer disregards other opinions and sets it self as a paragon of perfection of one sort or the other. However, whenever a society is a middle ground needing to import important good while selling excess these countries seem to excel and create powerful civilizations.

Social permissiveness has roots in religious, cultural, and societal things but at the end of the day in some ways advancement is strictly prohibited due to some form of taboo. Either in word or as a byproduct these problem are usually a sign of decay or at best stagnation within a society.

Lastly is geopolitics here the example of Japan comes to the fore as it had not one but two major periods of adopting technology from superior geopolitical powers and using that technology to in turn influence and control.

I don't know how much would be considered but hopefully these things can be used to help consider decay in a state and the health of a state in general.

Demiansky
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Re: Technology and how it shapes us and the world of Songs of the Eons

Post by Demiansky » Sat Jul 01, 2017 11:37 am

Lol, yeah King, I was thinking of mentioning trade before I saw how long my post was getting to be. The simple exposure of other societies to innovations can result in transmission, or how close two societies happen to be. But yeah, suffice to say, we need to aim for a tech system that is organic rather than top down directed.

Jorlmund
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Re: Technology and how it shapes us and the world of Songs of the Eons

Post by Jorlmund » Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:09 am

I think war should boost innovative spirit, as it has been often the breaker of stagnation.

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David Buunk
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Re: Technology and how it shapes us and the world of Songs of the Eons

Post by David Buunk » Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:56 am

Demiansky wrote:
Fri Jun 30, 2017 2:16 pm
So my general idea was for base tech growth to grow off of excess" effort" in your society
And this is, I think, where you are wrong. Innovation is mostly driven by need, not by surplus. If you live in a place with a shortage of good blacksmiths, you'll see developments in blacksmithing to make more with the same effort. If you live in a place where blacksmiths have nothing to do because there isn't much demand nothing much will happen innovation-wise.

It is different for theoretical knowledge, because that would be created by educated upper classes with too much free time on their hands.
Programming SotE.

Demiansky
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Re: Technology and how it shapes us and the world of Songs of the Eons

Post by Demiansky » Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:21 am

David Buunk wrote:
Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:56 am
Demiansky wrote:
Fri Jun 30, 2017 2:16 pm
So my general idea was for base tech growth to grow off of excess" effort" in your society
And this is, I think, where you are wrong. Innovation is mostly driven by need, not by surplus. If you live in a place with a shortage of good blacksmiths, you'll see developments in blacksmithing to make more with the same effort. If you live in a place where blacksmiths have nothing to do because there isn't much demand nothing much will happen innovation-wise.

It is different for theoretical knowledge, because that would be created by educated upper classes with too much free time on their hands.
What you are describing I think is the direction of tech, not the rate of innovation. People need to have the space in their lives to try new things. I see this in my own project, SOTE. If I feel like I'm pushed against the wall financially, I get stuck working the job that pays the bill, rather than exploring and inventing new things.

Now, what happens to get invented I think depends on the pressure that society feels. A land locked country doesn't innovate new ships, because there is no need to, where as any person with free effort living on the coast is much more likely to be spending that free time on the water.

JonnyH13
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Re: Technology and how it shapes us and the world of Songs of the Eons

Post by JonnyH13 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:27 pm

Am I right to say that the direction of tech development is highly random in the eras before a defined logical tech paths are theorized and developed.

Take the weapon tech for example. In early history men will fight with their fists. From here there are many paths technology can advance. Will they rely on skill and develop martial arts? Will they pick up a stone, and hit their enemy with it, leading to the opponent to develop armor, which then leads to the creation of strong blunt impact weapons, and so on? Or will they throw the stone instead and possibly stagnate on that tech path. Will they pick up a spear and throw it, leading to the AtlAtl or will they use it as a normal spear and stab their opponent. Either way the opponent can develop skill or they can develop a longer spear, leading to pikes, or make spear formations, use a shield, and so on.

In such an early time before logical theories of weaponry, there will be some tech dead ends. Skill development can also technically be a sort of tech dead end/ tech stagnation, especially if the people using skill are arrogant. But skill can also lead to doctrines, which leads to a logical theory conclusion such as reach is critical, teamwork is rewarding but requires drill, and so on. Whoever develops these theories the fastest will clearly define the dominant power early game.

Another question is the chance of accelerated tech development. New Tech (ie tech that relies on complex theories as prerequisites such as delving into chemistry requires understanding of substances and materials and experimentation theory) relies on chance to develop, or at least is a tangent of another path of research (like gunpowder was an offshoot of immortality research). From there there is a possibility of creating guns early. Had the Chinese discovered the efficient use of gunpowder earlier, history would have been much different. Will that be an acceptable outcome of the game where tech has the chance of skipping stagnation such as the Dark Ages and advance at a much faster rate?

Speaking of outcomes, how will the game be balanced, if balance even is going to exist (I hope not). Balance in my opinion is an arbitrary limitation on logically sound advantages and makes the game fair for all players. However, as history has shown us, balance does not exist in the real world and some players have much more advantages over others. As such, how will the advancement of technology be countered, if it can even be countered that is. If a nation is lucky to find itself in an environment that forces advancement, is internally united and progressive, and is able to survive the environment, will their accelerated tech advancement be acceptable, even though they have surpassed every nation on the planet and will continue to do so.

Also, if there are going to be fantasy races, how will they influence society of other races, and therefore the technology. Racism, divides between differences, and all things so terrible yet are so unifying, will create stable societies of a homogeneous race. With an external race that is different that theirs, races will unite and therefore have a common cause/ unifying force that will prevent the destabilization that plagued many Ancient societies such as the Roman Republic/Empire, the Persians, the Babylons, China, and so many more nations. Also there will be new possibilities in interracial interactions, some, like slavery, will be like RL but other could be different. Think of all the possibilities tech will go and not go with such a fantasy universe.

This is not even including the effects of magic on the physics of the universe! Also there is the possibility that physics itself can be different than in RL (if you decide to program this). How will tech advancement advance now? So many options and so many paths. As you increase the abilities man (or any race) can do naturally, the amount and prioritization of tech paths increase.

Anyways, sorry for the massive wall of text (too many ideas in my mind). I look forward to the future of this game. There will be much work ahead of you.

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