Historical discussion: realistic Civ4 tech tree

Simetrical

Chieftain
Joined
Nov 2, 2005
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96
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New York City
The topic is as it says . . . what should a realistic tech tree be? I believe this is most appropriate here, but of course the mods should move it if it's not.

Here's the very beginning of a tree. Obviously, the stats I give are basically all off-the-cuff and shouldn't be taken as final by any means. I plan to expand this myself sometimes, and probably code it in eventually, but any input would be greatly appreciated.

All civilizations are assumed to start out somewhere shortly before the earliest known Bronze Age, call it 3500 BCE. An earlier start than that is fairly nonsensical, IMO, since the extension of state control beyond a single tribe didn't really seriously exist before approximately that period, at least AFAIK. So, this will be the start of my layout here. All civilizations can be assumed to know how to hunt, forage, construct tools and simple dwellings out of wood and stone, use archery, make fire, etc.

Note: the "transferability" thing is basically a factor according to which a technology can be picked up by neighbors of people who have the tech, speeding up their research. Some ideas, like Writing, spread very readily, whereas others historically took longer to catch on.

For prior discussion on all this, see the Civ4 Realism Mod thread.

Farming
Prerequisites: None.
Bonuses: Allows use of the Agricultural Society civic. Allows construction of Farms. (Agricultural Society increases the cost of all units and dramatically increases the cost of Settlers, but allows cities to expand beyond a limit imposed by the Nomadic Society civic, which certain factions may begin with as their default instead of Agricultural Society. Civilizations using Agricultural Society can build Cottages and Roads.)
Cost: Moderate. Easy transferability.

Animal Husbandry
Prerequisites: None.
Bonuses: Allows use of the Agricultural Society civic. Allows construction of Pastures. With The Wheel, allows recruitment of Chariots.
Cost: Low. Easy transferability.

Astronomy
Prerequisites: None.
Bonuses: Centers World Map. +1 to sea movement.
Cost: Moderate. Moderate transferability.

Abstract Arithmetic
Prerequisites: None.
Bonuses: ?
Cost: Low. Easy transferability.

Writing
Prerequisites: None.
Bonuses: Allows construction of Library. +100% transferability of technologies with other Writing civilizations. +20% to all research rates.
Cost: High. Easy transferability.

Alphabet
Prerequisites: Writing.
Bonuses: -10% Library cost. Further +25% transferability of technologies with other Writing civilizations. Further +5% to all research rates.
Cost: Moderate. Easy transferability.

Geometry
Prerequisites: Writing, Abstract Arithmetic.
Bonuses: Grants 20% of research points required for Astronomy.
Cost: High. Moderate transferability.

Architectural Engineering
Prerequisites: Geometry.
Bonuses: All Walls, Forts, and Castles give +10% protection points. Building costs are reduced by 5%. Allows recruitement of Ballistae (basically the equivalent of Catapults in unmodded Civ IV).
Cost: High. Moderate transferability.

Mining
Prerequisites: None.
Bonuses: Allows construction of Mines. With Bronze Working, allows Copper and Tin to be viewed. With Iron Working, allows Iron to be viewed. With Aluminum Construction, allows Aluminum to be viewed. With Fission, allows Uranium to be viewed.
Cost: Low. Easy transferability.

Bronze Working
Prerequisites: None.
Bonuses: With Mining, allows Copper and Tin to be viewed. In cities with access to Copper and Tin, +1 strength to all Melee units (not cumulative with Iron Working bonus).
Cost: Moderate. Easy transferability.

Iron Working
Prerequisites: None.
Bonuses: With Mining, allows Iron to be viewed. In cities with access to Iron, +1 strength to all Melee units (not cumulative with Bronze Working bonus). Grants 10% of research points required for Compass.
Cost: Moderate. Easy transferability.

Metal Casting
Prerequisites: Bronze Working or Iron Working or Aluminum Construction.
Bonuses: Allows construction of Forges, The Colossus, and Workshops. With Iron Working, grants 20% of research points required for Compass.
Cost: Moderate. Easy transferability.

Masonry
Prerequisites: Agricultural Society civic.
Bonuses: Allows construction of Walls, The Pyramids, Quarries, and Paved Roads (improved Road improvement, takes longer to build).
Cost: Low. Easy transferability.

The Wheel
Prerequisites: None.
Bonuses: With Animal Husbandry, allows recruitment of Chariots. +1 movement for Workers and Settlers.
Cost: Low. Easy transferability.

Riding
Prerequisites: Animal Husbandry.
Bonuses: In cities with access to Horses or Camels, allows recruitment of Horse Archers or Camel Archers, as well as any other Cavalry units enabled by other technologies.
Cost: Low. Easy transferability.

Currency
Prerequisites: None.
Bonuses: +1 trade route per city. Allows construction of Wealth.
Cost: Moderate. Easy transferability.
 

bad_ronald

All Knowing
Joined
Dec 15, 2004
Messages
373
Location
Philadelphia, PA, USA
Please describe precisely what you mean by alphabet and writing, as there are many potential misconceptions. The correct definition of writing is a system of markings on a durable surface that represent literal utterances of a spoken language. The correct definition of alphabet is a writing system where each symbol represents a phoneme of a spoken language (both vowels and consonants).

That said, alphabet should not be a tech at all; it is just one type of writing and its merits are debatable. The notion that it's easier for people to pick up is a myth, and it does not facilitate greater literacy in the populace, nor does it make scientific achievement more likely. It is not more transmittable than any other form of writing.

If by alphabet you mean what I described as writing, and by writing you mean something like the act of making any type of symbol on a durable surface, you should change the writing tech to proto-writing or abstract symbols and the alphabet tech to writing. I hope, however, that this is not what you meant since without writing meaning explicitly the transcription of literal utterances, you cannot have a library since there can be no books, scrolls, poems, etc. :).
 

oper

Chieftain
Joined
Nov 19, 2005
Messages
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Aalborg, Denmark
thats precicely the reason i dont get why they put both writing and alphabet in the tech tree as different techs. Just doesnt make sence, its like they needed an extra tech and said what the heck just put in alphabet.
 

SonicX

Emperor
Joined
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Republic of Flanders (Be)
Maybe they should let you choose between 3 kinds of alphabet right after you invented it, so people with the same alphabet are more willingly to transfer technologies than others (because you don't understand what they wrote)
 
Joined
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Messages
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Traditionally, the earliest techs were Hunting and Gathering. You could really go crazy and put "tool making" as preceding hunting, but as in the stone age, tool use was largely to make hunting weapons, that would be extreme. Hunting yields Animal Husbandry. Gathering yields Agriculture. Ancient religion revolved largely around the agricultural cycle (planting, harvesting, winter), so Agriculture yields Polytheism. Agriculture also forces a settled, rather than nomadic way of life, so it also yields Masonry. Building things requires mathematical precision, so masonry yields Mathematics.

From this, one could build and add techs appropriately, but I think it's a good start.
 

Mr. Blonde

Dr. techn.
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Messages
1,233
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Now in Tirol...
Simetrical said:
Metal Casting
Prerequisites: Bronze Working or Iron Working or Aluminum Construction.
Bonuses: Allows construction of Forges, The Colossus, and Workshops. With Iron Working, grants 20% of research points required for Compass.
Cost: Moderate. Easy transferability.

Ahem... as Aluminium needs to be produced electrochemically this makes no sense, as electricity which is a prequesite for Aluminium construction needs machinery (you have to construct those generators) which need metal casting firsthand...
 

Simetrical

Chieftain
Joined
Nov 2, 2005
Messages
96
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New York City
Tech of the day (which isn't to say I'll actually add a new tech every day, it's just catchy):

Mechanical Engineering
Prerequisites: Metal Casting?, Abstract Arithmetic?
Bonuses: Allows construction of Windmills, Watermills, and Ballistae (basically the equivalent of catapults in unmodded Civ IV).
Cost: Moderate, moderate transferability.
bad_ronald said:
Please describe precisely what you mean by alphabet and writing, as there are many potential misconceptions. The correct definition of writing is a system of markings on a durable surface that represent literal utterances of a spoken language. The correct definition of alphabet is a writing system where each symbol represents a phoneme of a spoken language (both vowels and consonants).
Those are what I was using.
bad_ronald said:
That said, alphabet should not be a tech at all; it is just one type of writing and its merits are debatable. The notion that it's easier for people to pick up is a myth, and it does not facilitate greater literacy in the populace, nor does it make scientific achievement more likely. It is not more transmittable than any other form of writing.
You're probably right. I already made it much less valuable than the Civ 4 tech, which was required to progress very far, but perhaps it should be no more valuable than any other form of writing.

It's certainly easier for people to pick up alphabets and syllabaries than ideographic character-sets (whatever those are called)—if I know a word in speech, I could automatically make an attempt at spelling it and could almost certainly read it, but the same isn't true for a Chinese peasant with a large vocabulary but only a rudimentary knowledge of his language's writing system. This is even more true of languages with essentially "phonetic" (more properly "phonemic") spelling, such as Finnish.

You're probably right that an alphabet/syllabary doesn't have sufficient advantages over ideographic writing to warrant its own technology, however. I agree, it should be scrapped as a tech.
Nanocyborgasm said:
Traditionally, the earliest techs were Hunting and Gathering.
Yeah, but those are after my selected starting date, which is 3500 BCE. In fact, they quite self-evidently have to predate civilization as we know it, since humans wouldn't have anything to eat without one or the other. All ancient societies were proficient in both hunting and gathering, AFAIK.
Nanocyborgasm said:
Ancient religion revolved largely around the agricultural cycle (planting, harvesting, winter), so Agriculture yields Polytheism.
Then why would ancient hunter-gatherers have any religion? Granted, the only ones we know of (e.g., many of the various steppe tribes and American Plains Indians) had contact with agricultural societies, and you could argue that they may have gotten religion from them, but I don't see why.
Nanocyborgasm said:
Agriculture also forces a settled, rather than nomadic way of life, so it also yields Masonry.
Yup, that's why I required Agricultural Society.
Nanocyborgasm said:
Building things requires mathematical precision, so masonry yields Mathematics.
Then isn't your cause-effect relationship backwards?
Mr. Blonde said:
Ahem... as Aluminium needs to be produced electrochemically this makes no sense, as electricity which is a prequesite for Aluminium construction needs machinery (you have to construct those generators) which need metal casting firsthand...
Touché. I suppose you could theoretically forge all the parts, but I somehow don't see that happening.
 

Simetrical

Chieftain
Joined
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Messages
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New York City
Industrial Steelmaking
Prerequisites: Iron Working (anything else? Maybe Metal Casting?).
Bonuses: In cities with access to Iron, +2 strength to all Melee units (not cumulative with Iron Working or Bronze Working bonuses). Allows construction of Ironworks.
Cost: High, moderate transferability.
Perfection said:
Farming seems rather silly. It's really mesolithic, civ should be neolthic on.
Certain civs would start with it, of course, but not all civilizations had learned how to farm by 4000 BCE or so. Some were still nomadic.
 
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