Technology Tree: An In-Depth Look


May 7, 2006
Technology Tree: An In-Depth Look

Things are never as simple as they look . . .

2.)Advancing Eras
4.)Tech Jumping
7.)Concluding Remarks
8.)Version History

1 – Introduction
As we all know, technology plays a vital roll in Civilization. Revolution is no exception. Technology unlocks new units, new buildings, wonders, and eras. With such profound importance its only obvious that the mechanisms be explored more in-depth.

While on the surface the tech tree seems very simple. Tech A goes to Tech B which goes to Tech C. Even, when you consider that some technologies have multiple prerequisites it’s still not very complex - Tech D requires Tech B AND Tech C. Such details can be explained by common sense and the Civilopedia. As such, basic concepts will not be covered in this guide. Also, not everything may be correct. Things that have not been proven fully will be noted with an asterisk.

2 – Advancing Eras
While simple in concept, advancing eras isn't ever fully explained anywhere (actually the manual has it). The Civilopedia states, "After researching a certain number of technologies, you may advance to a new era." However, it doesn't state exactly how many techs you need to do so. Here are the numbers:
  • Ancient Era - 0 Techs
  • Midevial Era - 5 Techs
  • Industrial Era - 14 Techs
  • Modern Era - 24 Techs
Why does this matter? Well era effects many things, including the following:
  • Appearance of advisers
  • Visual look of buildings, roads, and cities
  • Civilization-specific bonuses
  • Cost to rush units/buildings
  • Cost of roads
  • Numerical amount of various rewards (ie. Great Explorer gold)
The big one being civilization-specific bonuses. Depending on who you are playing as, it may be worthwhile to research quick technologies so you can get to the next era even faster. It does not matter how advance the tech is, they are all the same. Pottery and Combustion are both worth 1 tech towards the total tech count. Keep this in mind.

3 – Overflow
On your last turn of researching a technology you notice that your current rate of research is higher than the remaining beakers left to research. You may be asking yourself, "Whats happening to those beakers?" The answer is that they are being directly converted to gold. If you have a research rate of +20 beakers and you are 40/50 on irrigation, the next turn you will complete the research AND receive 10 gold from overflow. Depending on how your cities are structured this can be helpful or harmful. If you have a lot of +%Science modifiers then the overflow is quite handy for acquiring some change, but if you have lots of +%Gold/Production then your workers would be more useful working other tiles so that there is no overflow. The latter requires significantly more micromanagement. As such, I tend to avoid the latter and stick with prior, also because I usually have libraries and such.

Manipulating your research rate correctly can allow you to obtain large sums of money from overflow. For example, if you have +500 beakers a turn and you arrange it so that you'll be 1000/1050 on combustion, then the following turn you'll have 450 bonus gold, which I would personally use to start gold rushing tanks.

4 – Tech Jumping
Now for the fun stuff. I'm sure while playing you may have noticed that some technologies become available even though you have not completed all the prerequisite technologies. This is not a glitch. Its an interesting design feature that adds a little bit of strategy to planning your tech route. Tech jumping refers to researching a technology without having researched all of its prereqs. It may seem random, but it is not. Like every other feature in this game there is a mechanism to it. There are two (maybe more) rules governing whether a technology is available to be jumped to or not:
  1. You must have completed all but one of the prereqs. So for techs that have 3 prereqs, you must have completed any 2 of them
  2. Your tech rate must be enough to allow you to complete the research in 10 turns or less*
If you have satisfied those two conditions then the technology should be available to research. Here's a lengthy example:
You are looking to research University. You notice that you have two of the prereqs (Literacy and Mathematics) but you do not have the third (Democracy). Instead of research Democracy first, you decide you want to jump straight to University. However, when you go to your menu it is not listed. Reviewing your tech rate you notice its only +30 beakers a turn. University costs 350 beakers when skipping Democracy. As such, you'd be unable to research it in 10 turns or less and remains locked. You do some micromanaging and obtain +36 beakers a turn, but University is still unavailable. This is because it takes a turn for your new research rate to lock in. Upon going to your next turn you finally see University available to research.​
Its important to note from this example that changing you research rate does not take effect immediately, but upon the next turn. Also, your tech rate must be able to finish the technology at its inflated cost in 10 turns or less not its normal cost. Refer to either the tech tree or tech table that I have posted below for values. The inflated tech cost can be calculated using the following equation:
{Inflated Cost} = {Normal Cost} + {Skipped Prereq Cost} - 10
For the previous example:
Univerity - 240 beakers
Democracy - 120
{Inflated Cost} = 240 + 120 - 10 = 350 beakers
As you can see, there is a hefty price to pay for skipping a prereq, but it can be worth it. You can use this tactic to get to technologies first in order to gain useful 'First To Research' bonuses and to skip prereqs of prereqs. Although its not the best example, I personally use this tactic to get to irrigation without researching masonry.

5 – Backfilling
Another aberration you may have noticed is that sometimes you'll randomly gain a free tech, cool! Such backfilling of the tech tree does happen, but once again, there are some guidelines:
  • Atleast one other civilization must have that technology
  • You must be able to research that technology in under 1 turn*
This interesting feature has both positive and negative repercussions. On the positive side, it gives you free techs, can't get much better than that. However, these are usually pretty cheap techs that you ignored earlier like Ceremonial Burial. On a negative note, its these cheap techs that can be very useful for gaining large sums of money using the overflow tactic.

Keep this in mind when playing against certain civs. If you are playing against Greece, remember that they have Democracy. So if you don't need Democracy immediately, you could wait until it backfills.

6 – Tools
I've spent some time compiling information from in-game. I put together a tech tree which shows the cost of a technology and its prereqs.

I also compiled a spreadsheet of every tech, its costs, its inflated costs(so you dont have to do the math), its prereqs, what it allows you to build, and the first to research bonus.

Take note, Beaker-1 is the cost to research the technology if you are skipping prereq 1. I have not verified all the Beaker-# values yet. I'm assuming they are correct till told otherwise.

7 – Concluding Remarks
Please provide feedback and discussion below on the tactics outlined here. If you have any suggestions or criticism regarding grammar and layout please PM them to me. I'm an Engineering major, not an English major so I'll admit my writing skills are fairly subpar.

If possible, try to download the images to your computer, instead of constantly viewing it. I don't know what the limits of photobucket are . . .
Also, please don't paste this guide else where (besides 2K forums and CivFanatics), but feel free to post a link to here.

I hope you all can use the information posted here to better your games. That is the ultimate goal of this guide.

8 – Version History
v1.00 - Original Guide
v1.50 - Put in updated tech tree and spreadsheet. Made few changes


Oct 25, 2000
Very nice, sigmakan! :thumbsup: Thanks for sharing it with the community!


May 7, 2006
No problem, I posted this guide over in the 2K forums when I was playing the demo. But now with the full game I figured more people should be enlightened to the joys of the tech tree :goodjob:


Apr 3, 2004
No, Ceremonial Burial and all of the First Column techs (Alphabet, Bronze Working, Horseback Riding, Pottery) don't give any "First to" bonuses (Civilopedia is wrong... not just incomplete)


May 7, 2006
I'm still convinced that there is a certain condition where CB gives you a temple but I cant figure it out. The message come sup saying you are first to discover it, but you just dont get anything.
Jul 28, 2008
Whoa, civ rev is supposed to be more 'casual' but thats real in-depth. I now realise researching those older techs can jump my era's forward, creating big oppuruntinities for inustria lera at 300 A.D.!


Jan 17, 2006
I'm still convinced that there is a certain condition where CB gives you a temple but I cant figure it out. The message come sup saying you are first to discover it, but you just dont get anything.

I second that. It happened to me at least two times to get a Temple after being the first to research Ceremonial Burial. It might be related to the difficulty level and/or single/multiplayer mode 'cause lately I haven't got anything for being first (I now play mostly mp and single on deity).

There is also the fact that you get an announcement that you were the FIRST to research CB whereas for the techs that have no bonus you don't get one.
Top Bottom