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Techs for a world without explosives

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by The Dopelganger, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. The Dopelganger

    The Dopelganger Chieftain

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    This is my first thread!! Anyway, I have This altimate fascination with alternate realities. The one I've been playing with for a while that my dad and I can't figure out is how would the world be without combustion? This means no gunpowder, no natural gas, no oil, absolutley nothing that can cause an explosion. Coal on the other hand,could be accessable.
    You can bring up technology to the medevilages, but once your there, where do you go. My favorite idea is to skip straight to steam power so that you get trains, factories, and fast ships, but no guns. That is, guns that you can carry around easily. I got this idea from an anime "Last Exile". Basicly, all bullets come out of air pressure guns ,where the air pressure is built up in a specialized tank/engine on the ship.
    What I'm hoping for is other people's ideas for this crazy Mod, and for someone to make it for me ( I suck at programming :( ).
     
  2. jimbob27

    jimbob27 Emperor

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    I don't really understand the concept.

    No combustion... yet you're saying coal and steam engines and everything are alright? Coal dust is extremely explosive.. people would just use alternative materials to get the same effect if the present materials arn't there.

    No combustion also means no iron, no copper, no electricity.. basically no to everything that isn't a pointy stick.
     
  3. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

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    Well if you mean no Rapid Combustion occurs (gunpowder, Internal Combustion Engines)... then basically all you would eliminate are

    Gunpowder units
    The Space Race.. and ICBMs (you could replace those with short range nukes if nuclear explosions still applicable)
    Air units... perhaps replace the Helicopter with a Zepplin that becomes available with Flight... no Airport though
    No Tanks
    No Cannons
    You Might be able to get Artillery on an Air pressure basis
    No Frigates, or modern Warships... they would really only just Ram each other.
     
  4. Sohan

    Sohan Warlord

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    It would be somewhat interesting to see a bunch of pikemen and longbowmen running around capturing factories and coal plants. Steam powered ironclads would still work I suppose, and even the best ships would be reduced to ramming each other in battle. If one were to remove all black and white gunpowder materials, then people probably wouldn't turn to guns 'cause it just wouldn't make sense. It would remain more cost-effective to keep on using pikes and longbows. Although, I wonder how advanced repeating crossbows might get in such an environment.
     
  5. jimbob27

    jimbob27 Emperor

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    They'd just be running around with lethal-powered paintball guns, firing lead balls!
     
  6. naterator

    naterator Bravely running away

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    the cops already do that here in boston!
     
  7. Tee Kay

    Tee Kay Silly furry

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    How about introducing Damascus Steel?

    I should elaborate, shouldn't I. Well, basically it's a type of steel made in the Middle East in the Middle Ages and used to make swords. It's so well forged it can bend under pressure without breaking. The secret to its manufacturing was lost as people switched from using hand-to-hand weapons to using firearms.
     
  8. DrewBledsoe

    DrewBledsoe Veteran QB

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    Something similar was used to make katanas (the samurai's fighting sword), if I remember right it involved meticulous folding and refolding of the steel many times to produce an incredibly strong, but ridiculously sharp and flexible blade...copying of the technique was attempted in Europe, but the original desired result was never matched.
     
  9. naterator

    naterator Bravely running away

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    i believe, mr. bledsoe, you speak of pattern welded steel, which is sold today as damascus steel, although i'm pretty sure it's not produced by the same means. i believe the real damascus steel technique was lost in the mid 18th century. the link is from a company selling the new "damascus steel", so their timeline leaves out this little bit of info.
     
  10. chef pablo

    chef pablo Warlord

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    this is a nifty bit of history,the damascus steel was during the middle ages ,the holy wars to be precise .it was much sought after by the european powers, mostly they wanted the secrete to how it was made.the funny part is ,is that the empires of the middle east didnt know either.it was being imported from india through damascas, hence the name.
     
  11. The Dopelganger

    The Dopelganger Chieftain

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    I'm sorry if this was a bit confusing, but what I meant was what if gunpowder and all of the rapid combustion stuff (thanks Krikkitone) never existed. The short way would be to say that it's fundemental resouces don't exist, but they could exist as long as no one figured out how to contain the explosion they cause and to manipulate that explosion.
    The damascus steel and advanced repeating crosbows stuff is what I was aiming for; the air pressurized guns were meant as an eventual replacement, not an imediate.
    Thanks for posting and keep the ideas coming!!
     
  12. Major Mayhem

    Major Mayhem Chieftain

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    This discussion reminds me of a science fiction story I once read. It was written in the early fifties. An alien race decides that humanity is on a self destructive course so it seeds the planet with a "high-energy suppressor substance". This substance prevents high-energy reactions such as gunpowder, explosives, internal combustion, and nuclear reactions from occurring. However, steam is still an option.

    This story could be a basis for this mod.
     
  13. WarFalcon

    WarFalcon Chieftain

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    Modern warfare would probably rely on things like biological and chemical weapons. Its also possible that eventually minature magnetic rail launcher type devices could act as propulsion in place of gunpowder. Unless electricity is not available, then spring\air systems would be all one could use.
     
  14. scottcstoness

    scottcstoness Chieftain

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    I tried to post this last night, but submit didn't work, so I copied it to an off-line text file. From posts on the thread today, looks like I got the premise right. Some thoughts on what might happen below.

    Would make a *very* interesting mod, with some quite strange tech trees (e.g. a poison gas branch, several electricity/battery advances, etc.)


    I think the idea was that things could burn, but not explode. Or perhaps more specifically, no gunpowder and no internal combustion engine.

    That is, anything human or tension powered is ok, as are steam engines. Nuclear power could fit in with this system or not, depending on what you were going for.

    You can do amazing things with steam if you have to; the airplane catapults on modern carriers are actually steam catapults, driven off the waste heat from the nuclear reactor, I believe.

    Navy:

    Everything up to oil-powered ships would be on, and then modern navies OK if you allow nuclear power. It would be nice to simulate the reduced endurance of steam powered navies by bringing back the damage/turn thing from civ3 helicopters.

    Air:
    Obviously, zepplins would play a much larger role. Observation baloons, barrage balloons (tethered balloons with some sort of ranged troops would be a good defence against zepplin bombers, perhaps)? Then true zepplins. Not sure how flight would work without the internal combustion engine. Is it possible in theory to have a steam-driven plane? Too heavy? Obviously, no rockets of any sort, although you could still have a spaceship with alternate propulsion, using controlled nuclear explosions to launch. (Assuming nuclear explosions are possible, not just nuclear power). Perhaps electric engines get developed, allowing a tactical fighter (low endurance). Steam helicopters?

    Artillery:
    Interesting to speculate on how advanced weight-driven or torsion siege engines could get. Probably just catapults and trebuchets, though. Maybe one further generation.

    Steam catapults and/or steam cannon seem like a possibility, though. Not sure what kind of maximum pressure you can get, but remember, the ammunition would have to be purely physical (e.g. no explosive shells).

    With electricity, you could build electro-magnetic rail guns which can pack a serious punch (continuous acceleration along the entire length of a football field anyone?); would work as railway guns for heavy artillery. Eventually, you could have rail guns lauching tactical nukes if you allow nukes.

    Poison gas would also be a significant artillery ammunition, as would Greek fire/napalm. Imagine a whole poison gas research tree, with better gas and gas-countermeasures coming into play.

    Cavalry/Armor:
    Mounted units would stay about the same until the invention of the carbine, which would make modern cavalry weaker. No reason you couldn't have clumbsy steam-driven tanks, but I can't see them getting much better than WWI tanks. You could eventually have armoured electric cars in a traditional cavalry recon/mop-up role, but questionable whether you could really have electric tanks. Of course, they might not have to haul around all that much armor, since there wouldn't be PIATs and Bazookas.

    Infantry:
    I expect that you'd see the longbow as more dominant; it was arguably more effective in the hands of a trained wielder than the gun until repeating rifles in about 1850 (more accurate, longer range, and/or higher rate of fire). The problem was that it required a *lot* of training, and guns were comparable and required less training. You'd get expensive, elite longbow troops that would be about as effective as Napoleonic infantry (e.g. about like grenadiers), and presumably cross-bows could be improved about to the level of musketmen (and be much cheaper).

    Can't see personal steam weapons, really. Flamethrowers would be big, as would close-combat ranged weapons (tomahawk, shuriken, etc.); you'd have those instead of pistols, Xbows/longbows instead of distance, and of course everyone would still carry a sword or axe.

    Not sure if electric personal weapons make sense, but you might get something reasonably effective out of compressed air (e.g. range and accuracy of a xbow, a little bit more dangerous, perhaps)? Eventually lasers, I suppose.

    Sorry this is so long; it's late, I got a bit carried away.
     
  15. Zombie69

    Zombie69 Emperor

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    I would assume ballistas would become much more powerful than any kind of catapult or trebuchet. The same way crossbows would be the standard replacement for guns.
     
  16. 3 EMS

    3 EMS King

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    Gas is burned inside a combustion engine. Not exploded. The gas is atomized within the cylinder then ignited. Once lit, it burns. The heated air expands and pushes the piston downwaord. If the gas explodes, something will break. Either the piston, rod, or cylinder. Even diesels work like this but the heat for ignition is from compression.
     
  17. NP300

    NP300 Prince

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    Not only is it possible but it has actually been done:

    http://www.airbornegrafix.com/HistoricAircraft/ThingsWings/Besler.htm

    Cars also:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Steamer

    There are also nuclear rockets that don't rely on nuclear explosions. They are superior to chemical rockets.
     
  18. scottcstoness

    scottcstoness Chieftain

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    I know, but the original scenario was:

    So, internal combustion is out; it still requires combustion. Even if you want to go so far as to ban everything that can burn, there are still chemical reactions that can boil water, so steam is still OK. Similarly, hydro-electricity is presumably possible.

    The interesting thing to think about is (a) whether this is even theoretically a possible situation and (b) what the tech tree would look like.

    As an example of (b), when does iron-working show up? Working iron requires a significant heat source; can you achieve that without combustion? When might people discover a method of getting enough heat to work with iron?

    Do we even get out of the stone ages without fire? Does civilization really start with the discovery of an alternative heat source?
     
  19. scottcstoness

    scottcstoness Chieftain

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    Great links! This is the kind of thing I wanted to learn when I started reading this thread!

    Apparently attitude jets on NASA spacecraft are essentially combustion-less rockets:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A593048

    Any reason you couldn't have an electric jet plane? Assume battery technology an order of magnitude (or two) more efficient than we have to keep the weight down, couldn't jet engines be powered electrically?
     
  20. binhthuy71

    binhthuy71 Emperor

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    A few man-carrying electrically powered aircraft have been built but batteries, even with a couple of orders of magnitude more efficiency, wouldn't be able to heat enough air fast enough to provide anywhere near the thrust necessary to fly as a jet. As far as energy density goes, combustion is still king.

    This is an interesting premise and IMHO well worth pursuing. A blanket proscription of combustion would not work but the use of combustion for motive power, or as the energy source for weapons, might be the ticket. People were quite adept at killing each other in large numbers before either gunpowder or steam. Not to mention, grinding grain, weaving cloth, making paper, etc.
     

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