Research Web/Technology Tree

I’ve recently been working on revamping the technology tree (or research web as it’s referred to in the concept), and since it’s connected to so many aspects of the Awakening, Society, Industrial, and Space stages, I’ve been revamping some of those systems as well to match. Here we’ll discuss just the tech tree though (keep in mind it’s a work in progress).

Here is the download link for the tech tree:

If you want to view and edit the tech tree directly, you need yED, the program I’m making it on.

Otherwise, here are screenshots of the tree if you’re lazy.

Full View (Techs not visible)





Here we can discuss whether to add, edit, or remove techs, and how to connect them. I have a document where I list what each tech specifically does. I’ll clean it up so it’s readable and then update this post to include a download link for it.

Here it is:


I’ll post some suggestions

  1. interaction could appear before sapience, like with pack animals.
  2. permanent structures (if you mean those as sedentary life) shouldn’t unlock carpentry, since nomads can use wood too.
  3. why does warfare require fishing?
  4. why does counting require games?
  5. fertilizer should probably require animal interaction (unless your species is hervivore)
  1. Actually I should point out that Sapience is not an actual tech and the first tech you auto-start with is Interaction. It’s immediately unlocked upon gaining sapience and marks the beginning of the tech tree (aka when the Aware Stage ends and the Awakening Stage begins and the Research Web is unlocked). It represents your species learning to intelligently interact with their environment with their newfound sapience.
  2. Carpentry is not necessary for building structures from wood, that’s fortifications. Carpentry is just a re-researchable tech that improves the quality of wood used in constructing buildings and vehicles.
  3. My thoughts were that just as a terrestrial species would learn war through hunting practices, so would aquatic species learn war through fishing/their hunting. It’s sort of a temporary thing for now, until we go back and update the tech tree to not be Earth/terrestrial centric.
  4. The whole left side of the tech tree is very WIP at the moment, I’ve sort of just thrown those techs into that order for now. That particular connection comes from the Caveman2Cosmos mod for Civ 4, though I think you could argue you don’t need games for counting.
  5. Fertilizer could also be ash/potash though, but manure as fertilizer would require animal interaction or one of the associated techs.

We need to address how your civilization will record keep without writing or at least pictographs. If a civilization cant record keep, how will it keep its knowledge over long periods of time?

I feel writing, or at least language should be higher on the list, maybe under language.

Celts didn’t have writing and they had a bunch of stuff (bronzeworking, soap, religion, etc), using only oral tradition

Oral Tradition is what allows your species to pass along knowledge before the development of writing. Like crodnu said the celts are a good example.

I was just thinking, would you be able to loose a technology, if for instence you dont use it for anything. Atleast before writing?
Or what if, when you have writing, a technology exists in a “physical form” in a library (Or something similar). If said library were to burn down, would you then have to re-research the lost technology or steal/trade it from a different culture?

that mechanic could also be used to represent the loss of technology due to nuclear apocalypsis (#totallyNotFallout4)

I was actually thinking something along those lines. How cool would it be, to enter a post-post-apocalyptic stoneage :stuck_out_tongue:

Losing technology passively by not using it I’m not sure is a good idea, but things like your empire collapsing or certain buildings getting destroyed causing tech loss is definitely planned. For example a big research lab getting destroyed could set you back in Physics technology, or having a big drought that forces you to go nomadic and then resettle in a new region could cause the loss of some technology as well.

I think being able to lose technology gives that extra motivation to not screw up, and is realistic.
Like Greek Fire. 500 years after the collapse of the Byzantine Empire, we still haven’t been able to recreate it, because they took that secret to their grave.
I think writing should decrease the possibility of losing technologies, but lack of usage should make them unusable for the general population (how many people can make and shoot a bow and arrow nowadays?).
As for the oral tradition, I think that there should be a “oral records” as a prerequisite for Writing, and a society/species that has oral records but not writing can loose a lot of their knowledge from mass die-offs such as war disease or famine.

Yeah definitely, I’d agree with all that and I’ll make sure to add them to the notes.

Also, for anyone interested, I finally uploaded the word document that goes with the tech tree (in the OP). This document basically explains each tech in more detail such as what it enables, what triggers lead to it, etc. Of course it is a heavy work in progress because I’m rewriting it from the old one, but feel free to comment or critique it.


Edit: nvm i see it’s on the original post

Has this been updated or worked on since?

I have a LOT of additional notes but this is the finished concept thus far.

I have some ideas for pre-tech development that could flow into the later aware stage as the player species evolves to use tools. So far I’ve been relying too much on discord to show the concept work that has come about from these odd ideas, including the disaster concepts. As far as tech goes what about tool development being a part of the tech tree but a beginning part to start as a transition for the player into the full tech tree instead of a straight move into a civ rts feel?

Sounds like an interesting idea, could you PM me so I can ask more about it?

I decided to try my hand at devising a concept for a technology development system for Thrive. The results are as follows.

In many games that involve technological advancement, research is often represented in relatively simple systems such as “cards” (Where a small number of technologies are randomly selected to be placed in a pool for the player to choose from) “Tech trees” (Where technologies are listed in branching paths." and sometimes something in between. The technologies in these systems are often represented as buttons or nodes that once selected are either researched for a time and unlocked, or unlocked immediately with sufficient funds. While these methods certainly work fine, I would personally like to try something moderately new and gradual that better represents the process of research and development, while still being engaging and rewarding.
To put things simply, my proposed system will will be presented as meters that are slowly filled, rather than nodes that are “unlocked”. These meters represent your species’ understanding and knowledge of a subject, with more research leading to a stronger and more refined understanding of the tech.
As these meters are filled, technologies unlocked by the meter will be granted incremental boosts in effect, such as increased health for buildings, increased productivity, decreased costs, etc. Alongside these constant increases in effectiveness, there can also be “breakthroughs” within the meter, which represent new gameplay elements instead of mere stat increases unlocked by having such a strong understanding of the subject. (For example, researching a generator would give you a moderate sized generator. But later you hit a breakthrough that unlocks a much smaller generator that could allow for more compact engineering.)

This is only part of the concept of course, as the next important part of research, is the process of research itself. Many games have either a time based unlocking that scales depending on research points, or immediate unlocking that costs some form of currency. And many times you can only focus on one or a few technologies at once. Once again, I wish to try something bold and new in an effort to make research engaging and hopefully a bigger part of strategy. Rather than have a fixed amount of technologies you can focus on. What if the player was instead given a fixed amount of points that they can then invest into any tech with no limits other than the amount of points they have? The amount of points available would depend on the player’s investment into the sciences, as well as available scientists and cultural climate. Investing these points into a tech would as you might guess begin advancing the progress gradually while scaling with the points invested. This would allow the player to research as many technologies as they so desire as long as they respect their available resources, as spreading investment too far between technologies would slow down progress immensely which can be dangerous in the face of rival civilizations.

As in many other games, technologies in Thrive may potentially be gated behind others within the tech tree. However as suggested by Icedjuro, a system where technologies are simply much more slower to research when the requirements haven’t been met instead of a hard cap, may be a preferable way to go about it with Thrive.

This is a concept of two potential ways we could present the technology nodes. The left one would probably fit better in a list orientation, while the round one might look nicer in a full blown tech tree like what has been discussed here.
The green bars represent when breakthrough milestones will be reached, and new features unlocked. The red bars represent the point where further progress will be slowed down by a lack of per-requisite technologies. The red bar’s existence is questionable of course, depending on if we want techs to be fully locked behind others, or only partly.

I would like to see what everyone thinks of this idea, so don’t hesitate to let me know!
Tld;r: Tech could be gradually unlocked with increasing benefits rather than immediate reward, alongside dynamic costs.


I like the idea of incorporating gradual improvements to existing technologies.
I like the way you propose progress towards technologies is given. I’d like to throw in that using the tech or related techs in practice should also give some kind of benefit.

Here’s a summary of my opinion on the research web:

  • Technologies should be organized as a web, where each technology has hard requirements, which you must have, and soft requirements that speed up that tech research.
  • Techs should have upgrades that increase their efficiency when you use them more / put more research in
  • Only technologies with some amount of the hard requirements satisfied should be shown to the player
  • Just doing things should generate some research. This would be the way the player unlocks the first techs, like fire, before creating research centers.
  • With research centers the player gets progress towards techs they want to research based on how many scientists etc. are employed. I think there should be a some kind of limit on how many techs the player can research at once, no matter how may science centers they have, as I’d like to have the same logic apply to the space stage.

Interesting ideas.

From a strategic perspective presumably it is preferable to get 1 tech per turn for 10 turns than it is to get nothing for 9 turns and then get all 10 on the 10th. Because in the former case you could use them sooner. The player is therefore incentivised to concentrate their efforts.

So I think if you want to encourage the player to spread their research effort out you’d need to offer an incentive to do that. For example you could have tech progress = (tech points spent that time period)^0.8 (or to any power less than one which would need balancing). Then the most efficient thing in terms of points is to work on a lot of techs, however strategically if you can make a key breakthrough before a rival that gives you an advantage, and then hopefully those forces would balance.

1 Like