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Old 06-02-2016, 09:18 PM
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Programmable matter atom sizes by DS:
12 Coarse sand
13 Fine sand
14 Microbe
15 Large protein Molecule
16 Regular molecule
17 Atom
18 Proton
19 Quark
20 Continuum granule

FTL driver speed by DS:

11 40 c (two weeks: 1.4 ly ; one month: 3.3 ly ; six months: 20.0 ly ; one year: 40.0 ly)
12 250 c (two weeks: 8.8 ly ; one month: 20.8 ly ; six months: 125.0 ly ; one year: 250.0 ly)
13 30,000 c (two weeks: 1056,0 ly ; one month: 2,496 ly ; six months: 14,976.0 ly ; one year: 29,952.0 ly)
14 125,000 c (two weeks: 5,000 ly ; one month: 10,375 ly ; six months: 62,500 ly ; one year: 125,000 ly)
15 500,000 c (two weeks: 20,000 ly ; one month: 41,500 ly ; six months: 250,000 ly ; one year: 500,000 ly)
16 1,000,000 c (two weeks 40,000 ly ; one month: 83,000 ly ; six months: 500,000 ly ; one year: 1,000,000 ly)
17 3,000,000 c (two weeks 120,000 ly ; one month: 249,000 ly ; six months: 1,500,000 ly ; one year: 3,000,000 ly)
18 Infinite within a universe
19 Infinite
20 Infinite (with "tour" sensation)

Equipment size classes:
Nanoscale: Molecule-sized robot
Microscale: Miscroscopic robot
Miniscale: Very small (mouse-sized) robot
Tiny: Small robot
Very Small: Human (rifle, hand computer, etc)
Small: Flying bike
Medium: Flying car
Large: Small shuttle
Very Large: Small starship
Huge: Medium-sized starship
Immense: Large starship
Gargantuan: Space city (would be visible beside a moon)
Astronomic: Ringworld (moon sized)

Force canon behavior in target by size category:

Shields:
Up to two categories below: One shot takes down and damage passes to target.
One category below: One shot takes down.
Same category: One shot makes flickering ; two shots take down.
One category higher: One shot makes unstable ; two shots make flickering ; three shots take down.
Two categories larger: One shot makes pressed ; two shots make unstable ; three shots make flickering ; four shots take down.
Higher categories: Double number of shots for each category above.

Unshielded targets:
Up to one category larger: One shot takes down.
Higher categories: Double the number of shots to take down.

Last edited by ProfPaulBlemma; 07-23-2016 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:21 PM
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0: Pre-civilization

Characteristic of the first moments of pre-history, when a species awake to self-consciousness, this development stage is characterized by the use of what exists around, of what can be collected, so, it is even possible to say that technology does not exist in this stage. Lucky species with access to unusual resources (such as flying steeds or stones partially made of exotic matter with negative mass) can even perform interesting feats, but those will be more natural occurrences than true deeds of a civilization.

Trivial: Collect sticks and stones to use raw as tools
Usual: Keep fire burning
Unusual: Create fire
Great Endeavor: Chop down a tree

Production:
No actual production is performed, only collection of objects. At later stages, it is possible that stones may be sharpened, but that would still be far from true stone tools. Fire may be produced by means of attrition, but that would be considered an advanced technique. Usually, fire would be collected from natural occurrences, out of lightning or volcanic eruptions.

Perhaps the most advanced technological device of a group in this stage is a small portable chamber, usually made of animal hide or wet leaves, filled with dry fibers or other flammable materials and used to keep fire burning, protected from wind and rain. Production of such objects may be common knowledge to the people or may be the best kept secret of the ruling elite.

Power:
Very simple tools require no power but that of the user's muscles (or whatever he/she/it has).

Urbanism:
Small huts made with collected materials, such as vegetable fibers and sticks, which are usually placed together in clearings, are the most advanced form of urban organization., Usually, caves or abandoned large animal shells are used for shelter.

Communication:
Spoken language is a later development of the stage and people exchange messages via natural sounds they can produce (grunts, claps, screams and whatever their biology allows), conveying only the most basic meaning.

Transportation:
Transportation is restricted to natural means. If large animals are easy to domesticate, then riding will be an option, but no artificial means of transportation are used, not even primitive wagons.

Medicine:
Healing is restricted to the natural regeneration of the body and (unless the species is biologically sturdy) even the most usual activities of day-to-day life can lead to infected small injuries that can cause death.

War:
Weapons are not made, but collected. Stones, sticks and other available objects are used as weapons in times of conflict, but such weapons have to be cleverly used in order to hurt physically resilient or protected targets.

Last edited by ProfPaulBlemma; 06-13-2016 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:35 PM
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1: Tribal
This is the development stage found by European colonizers when meeting certain indigenous tribes of Brazil, in the sixteenth century. A tribe with a certain degree of social organization, huts made of primitively processed fibers and a primitive agriculture paint the picture of the stage, with more sophisticated tribes of North America (that have not yet, by the time, reached the state similar to the Great Empires of the Mediterranean) representing later developments.

Trivial: Create tools out of sticks, stones and other collected materials
Usual: Create fire
Unusual: Construct large huts out of collected and produced materials
Great Endeavor: Create a statue out of a large rock

Production:
Using simple tools, such as sharpened stones tied to wood sticks, it is possible to process collected materials, turning them into something else. As interesting examples, it is possible to enumerate the production of edible powders from seeds or bulbs, the production of rope from dry vegetable fibers and the production of pointed lances from wooden sticks.

Leatherworking is present, but metalworking is way beyond the capabilities of this stage.

In later developments of the stage, primitive agriculture can be present.

Power:
Flammable materials are used to produce heat and light, but no other uses of artificially generated power are present.

Urbanism:
A more structured urban system, usually made of one large hut surrounded by smaller ones, is the usual configuration for a community and is quite usually enough, for life expectancy tends to be small, except for very sturdy species.

Communication:
Spoken language is the greatest invention of the stage and allows for a level of personal interaction never before seen. Some other codes, such as smoke signs and drum beats, can take part in long-range communication.

Transportation:
Animals can be used for transportation and sticks holding a bed made of leather or other similar tissue are used as primitive wagons. In later developments in the stage, primitive wheels can appear.

Medicine:
Rest and normal regeneration are still the most important medicinal tools of the stage, but the use of medicinal herbs or other natural healing resources (all collected or, in later developments, cultivated) can be present.

War:
Melee weapons such as clubs are trivial and ranged weapons such as wooden javelins and primitive bows can be present.

Last edited by ProfPaulBlemma; 06-13-2016 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:03 PM
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2: Ancient city-states
This is the stage of early city-states of Greece and the pre-pharaonic communities of Egypt. Cities made of wood, relatively advanced agriculture and cattle breeding are found and food is processed by methods more sophisticated than just drying and cooking.

Metalworking is present, but very rare.

The organization of the cities and the use of fermenting and oils greatly enhance life expectancy in this stage, for most species.

Trivial: Crafting of bows, slings and other such ranged weapons.
Usual: Constructing houses made of naturally-occurring materials such as wood.
Unusual: Producing tools made of copper or gold.
Great Endeavor: Constructing a large building made of stone or bricks.

Production:
The use of naturally-occurring bacteria for fermenting biologic matter (such as food) is present and pots, statues and other objects made of cooked clay are trivial.

More sophisticated wooden, stone and copper tools allow the production of elaborate wooden and stone items.

Agriculture is organized and, in later developments, crop rotation may be present.

Power:
Animal power and manpower are the most used, fire and the light of the system's star are also important. Wind can be used to propel boats with primitive sails, but such boats will only be able to cross rivers and lakes, due to their primitive structure.

Urbanism:
The organization of a city in streets and squares appears and most of the houses are made of materials such as wood and other available, easily worked and resilient materials. Water has to be collected from nearby rivers or lakes, though, and no pumping is present.

Communication:
Written language and rudimentary mathematics are means of conveying messages and control, as well as keeping track of relevant events, but are dominated by only a very small part of the society.

Transportation:
For personal transportation, saddled animals are the most common (though usually expensive and exclusive to the upper classes, when they exist).

For the transportation of goods, wagons with wheels (but no shock absorbing system) are the standard, except for the poor (when they exist).

Medicine:
Medicinal herbs and tonics are well known and well used, but no complex techniques are available. The use of oils to prevent bleeding and primitive bactericides (usually produced by fermenting biologic matter) to prevent wound infection is well-known.

War:
Wagons with wheels, domesticated animals and complex bows are present in this stage, together with shields, usually of leather or wood (or similar materials).

Last edited by ProfPaulBlemma; 06-13-2016 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:58 PM
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3: Great Empires
The development stage of the Great Empires of the Mediterranean, from Egypt to Rome, this is the beginning of the construction of structures other civilizations would call "wonders", great buildings of stone that would hold testimony to the beginning of true civilization, of the expansion of a culture beyond a single settlement and towards the formation of nations.

Trivial: Crafting of bronze tools.
Usual: Buildings or houses made of bricks or finely cut stones.
Unusual: Building of large buildings made of stone or bricks.
Great Endeavor: Building of very large and elaborate structures, such as pyramids, ziggurats, great palaces and hanging gardens.

Production:
Metalworking is usual and tools, weapons, ornaments and statues are made of bronze; agriculture uses crop rotation and may even use crop complementarity, when present in the ecosystem; the production of inks, oils, perfumes, poisons and other synthetic substances, made out of natural resources subject to simple processes, are common, even if expensive.

A little greater complexity in mathematics and written language allow for the creation of bureaucracies that make it possible to produce in one place and consume in another, which forma a revolution in both urbanism, transportation and warfare, as the need to maintain large (and sometimes disjoint) portions of land leads to advancements in military technology and tactics.

Power:
Animal power, the light of the star(s) of the system and wind keep being most significant sources of power, but are used more efficiently and with greater diversity.

Urbanism:
Complex cities can have distinct government, commercial and residential buildings, due to the improved customization given by the more skilled use of stones and bricks, have recognizable streets may be defended by walls and can even have aqueducts sending water to fountains by means of subterranean networks of cooked clay tubes.

Communication:
Written language and a bit more advanced mathematics are more spread across the society, but are still a tool of the elite. Migrating animals may be used to deliver messages back to their home places, if domesticated and trained to do so.

Transportation:
Saddled animals are less expensive, wagons are more common in the roads (and roads do exist) and boats can now cross seas (but not oceans).

Medicine:
Tonics and natural medicines are the most useful, but the understanding of simple medicinal practices, such as the immobilization of limbs with broken bones, is present.

War:
Elaborate bronze weapons are the most advanced personal offensive items and multi-layer wooden shields are the most advanced personal defense. Armor is present and essential in combat, but is heavy, expensive and breaks agility, so not all forces choose to use it.

For ranged weapons, bows and their siege versions dominate the battlefields.

Siege weapons appear, out of a better understanding of simple mechanics.

Last edited by ProfPaulBlemma; 06-13-2016 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 06-10-2016, 10:31 PM
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4: More advanced great empires (such as feudal China)
Representing a more elaborate stage of development, this stage comports more sophisticated versions of everything there is on the last stage.

Trivial: Creating maps and other geographic charts
Usual: Building houses made of bricks or finally cut stones
Unusual: Building large buildings made of stone or bricks
Great Endeavor: Great navigations that cross oceans

Production:
More refined techniques in all aspects allow for better, more sophisticated versions of the tools in the last stage.

The introduction of steel allows for stronger tools and more flexible crafting.

Knowledge of nature allows for ingenious devices such as primitive seismographs (holster that release balls of iron in the direction a tremor is coming from.

Power
Wind power and water wheels begin to see use in this stage, but are difficult to create and the means to transmit its power are yet too primitive.

Urbanism:
Large organized cities, with defined neighborhoods, palaces and monuments, together with simpler, yet well-designed small towns are the rule in this stage.

Communication:
The discovery of the number zero allows for a greater complexity in mathematics, which permit a better modelling of relevant events and their communication. Written language is usually spread through the society and basic mathematics is also at the reach of the lower classes.

Transportation:
Saddled animals are even less expensive, wagons now have primitive shock absorbing systems and boats can be created that will cross oceans (but with a high death rate).

Medicine:
The use of herbs and other natural elements is increased and perfected in this stage, together with more sophisticated practices, such as very primitive forms of surgery.

War:
Steel weapons and organized combat techniques are the rule. Steel armor is present but, for being very expensive, is usually present only in the equipment of the elite (if there is an elite).

Last edited by ProfPaulBlemma; 06-13-2016 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 06-11-2016, 10:31 AM
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5: Renaissance
More complex mechanical devices made of wood or similar materials, wider understanding of mathematics, a rudimentary chemistry and faster and larger ships make it possible for a society in this development stage to see a never before perceived abundance and variety of goods and services.

Also, the easier production of bricks, a greater abundance of wood or similar materials, a new generation of water pumps and the production of printed books allow for a revolution in the way people live and work.

Trivial: Creating tools of steel
Usual: Create complex mechanical devices made of wood or similar materials
Unusual: Building very large, tall and intricate buildings made of bricks
Great Endeavor: The extension of living space into ocean-filled areas by means of great dikes

Production:
More complex mechanical machines bring the potential to a new age of prosperity. Gears, sheaves and other instruments, still usually made of wood, will transmit mechanical power from a source to a destination, not more than a few meters away, but still not directly connected to the source, allowing for a greater flexibility of setup and the arrangement of elements that would be otherwise impossible.

Gear trains allow for a finer control of a mechanical system and create the possibility of a wide variety of machines that press, cut, transport, sand and beat prime matter in order to produce a never before seen variety of goods.

Greater experience in the use of naturally-occurring chemicals and even a primitive chemistry will allow for treatment of tissues such as leather and natural fibers, producing new materials that were not available before.

A new understanding of mathematics allow for the planning, construction and setup of all those machines and a new profession may be created: the technician.

Power:
Bercause of the new ways to transfer mechanical power and their importance to production, windmills and water wheels are far more common in this development stage than ever before, but life goes on with manpower and animal power as the most used sources of motion for whatever needs to move.

Urbanism:
Better pumps create the possibility of sending water to distant places and even up hills, making it possible for cities to be built in the most unusual places.

Floating buildings, with bases made over wooden (or similar) structures that are lighter than water, also become a possibility and may be usual in heavily flooded areas. Entire cities can be made in such ways, floating over lakes or slow rivers.

Communication:
Great advancements in mathematics allow for complex models to be run and reproduced, written language and relatively complex mathematics are usually widespread in the society.

The greatest invention of the stage is the press, which allows knowledge to be stored in books that are reproduced in scale and, because of their numbers, are far more difficult to be completely lost.

Transportation:
Saddled animals are still the main means of transportation of people and wagons pulled by animals that of goods, but faster sea ships make very long trips possible.

Medicine:
The advancements in mathematics and its clear impact over society may produce a research boom that will increase the understanding of the functioning of the body, allowing for treatments that, yet being primitive, are far more efficient than those existent before.

War:
A rudimentary chemistry may produce explosive substances such as gunpowder, revolutionizing the way people fight.

Muskets fire only one shot before needing reload and deliver heavy pellets of matter (usually leather) to a not so great distance. Indeed, muskets can have a range less than that of a bow, but are much faster to fire and easier to aim, making them fantastic weapons.

Usually, after the first fire of a musket, the soldier will engage in melee combat with a steel blade.

Despite the fact that steel blades are still in use, heavy armor looses its place as one of the most important pieces of equipment in battle, since it is much safer to be agile and dodge incoming musket fire than to be slow and clumsy, "protected" by sheets of metal that will be eventually pierced by enemy fire.

Canons appear even before muskets and make walled cities a thing of the past, since they can easily devastate even the most solid stone walls with a few shots and are much faster to reload than catapults and similar siege engines of earlier ages.

Canons can also be present in ships and can prove especially deadly in ship-to-ship combat, also creating the first notion of "bombardment" (in this case, a heavy barrage of canon fire from a ship to a location on dry land).

Last edited by ProfPaulBlemma; 06-13-2016 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 06-11-2016, 02:36 PM
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6: Industrial Age
This development stage marks the beginning of the self-moving machines, usually powered by steam. Steam engines move production machines, vehicles and all sort of devices, which are usually bulky and very hot to the touch, but that make the work of one person be as productive as that of ten people in the previous development stage.

During this stage, the understanding of chemistry slowly moves from simple experience to intentional testing and, for the first time in most societies, some sort of scientific methodology is key to the welfare of the people.

If the last development stage brought the potential for never before seen abundance, this stage surpasses it by far.

Trivial: Creating complex clothes and tools
Usual: Creating complex and tiny clockwork devices
Unusual: Creating self-propelled sea ships
Great Endeavor: Creating a large network of railroad tracks

Production:
Steam power moves machines that can be operated by people, giving a few workers the capacity to produce the output of hundreds of people working by hand. Because of that, good flow to the market at a speed never before seen, but those goods are also standardized, for the machines are still primitive and difficult to reconfigure for the production of different versions of a same product.

Power:
Steam power is the key to this development stage and coal is, usually, the very fuel of progress for societies that reached it.

Electric power may appear in later developments of this stage, but its production is still steam based and its use is, normally, restricted to powering light bulbs.

Urbanism:
As steam vehicles become more and more usual, streets are leveled for the passing of trolley cars, either by tracks or using some sort of tire for passing in the normal roads.

Tracks usual occupy the central position in roads, that become larger for such vehicles to pass and still allow the normal flow of people, wagons and saddled animals.

Communication:
As with everything else, this stage is about mass production, so the mass production of books also occur.

Knowledge of mathematics is a necessity to design and, perhaps, even to deal with the new machines, also being one of the foundations of the growing field of production planning and administration, so its knowledge tends to see spreading like never before.

Later advancements may see the first truly online long-range communication systems, with complex messages encoded in electric pulses, sent through primitively insulated copper cables over very long distances, as the telegraph becomes possible.

Transportation:
Steam powered vehicles rule the lands and the seas, but, for the majority of the people, wagons and saddled animals are still the transportation for short distances.

Medicine:
Later in this stage, medicine begins to flourish, taking advantage of the new importance of science. Surgery begins to appear as a less dangerous means of treating some sorts of disease and injuries and new drugs, usually still collected form nature or, at least, derived from natural substances by means of basic chemical processes, start to appear, increasing the survivability an, thus, the life expectancy of the population.

War:
More complex mechanical weapons appear that can fire multiple times before needing reload - and are usually reloaded in far less time than before. Thus, warfare is based on the use of those weapons. Indeed, melee combat still occurs, but is far less common and, usually, the situation is already defined by the use of firearms long before the troops get close enough to engage with blades, that, not unusually, are located at the tip of the firearms.

Last edited by ProfPaulBlemma; 06-13-2016 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 06-11-2016, 04:18 PM
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7: Electronic Age
When a society reaches this development stage, it usually already gives relevance to science and that is precisely the most prominent characteristic of the stage.

Electricity powers the society, possibly together with fossil fuels, both born of the scientific revolution that started in the last development stage.

Electricity powers machines of all sorts, substituting steam in the industries and forcing research on the more proper and flexible control of electric currents, giving birth to electronics, which eventually opens space to controllers and, with them, the rise of the first, primitive autonomous machines, tools that work for themselves, with little human supervision and served by technicians to guarantee that problems will be addressed and downtime will be minimal.

Advanced chemistry allows for the creation of plastics, revolutionizing the science of materials and the market as well.

Trivial: Communicating at a distance, without wire connection
Usual: Constructing buildings that are dozens of stories high
Unusual: Creating machines that perform calculations and process sensory input
Great Endeavor: Creating and operating permanent space stations

Production:
Advanced chemistry, advanced engineering and automated processes allow for, again, a never before seen abundance and variety of goods and services.

Electronics allow for adaptive controlling systems that can gauge many different variables in a production process, giving birth to a level of quality in the goods that was impossible in the earlier stages.

Biology gives birth to high-yield seeds, allowing for much larger food production with a much smaller land consumption.

Power:
Electric power is generated from a variety of ways, from highly efficient steam engines to nuclear reactors, passing by waterfalls, wind and the light of the nearby star.

Fossil materials are processed and turned into a variety of substances, including fuels, that are used to propel vehicles and power plants, making it much easier to produce electricity where waterfalls, wind and light are not so abundant... or where efficiency matters more than pollution.

Urbanism:
Skyscrapers are the place for living and working and cities grow not only horizontally, but vertically.

Power cables are an integral and indispensable part of any city's infrastructure, together with phone and, later, the first dedicated data transmission structures.

Roads are paved for land vehicles and, in later developments of the stage, saddled animals and animal-powered wagons are no longer seen in all but the smallest towns or themed resorts.

Communication:
Long, intertwined communication cables cross the planet in all directions, sending sound encoded in electric signals that will be produced and consumed by telephone units in every house.

The air itself is crowded with messages sent by radio and microwaves, from one station to another and even to space, where satellites await to relay them to distant lands that would not be otherwise reached due to the curvature of the planet.

In later developments, computers can be connected in large, perhaps worldwide networks that will convey text, image and sound, giving rise to a whole new dimension in personal communication.

Transportation:
Wagons are no longer powered by animals, but by electricity or fossil fuels. Indeed, the transportation of goods and people over short distances is mainly achieved by automobile vehicles (cars, trucks, etc).

Trains are propelled by electricity and, at later developments in the stage, may even float over magnetic tracks by means of superconductive pellets.

Airplanes are increasingly important in the transportation of people and cargo over long distances.

Rockets propel astronauts and cargo to space and the first space stations are built.

Space travel is slower than light, allowing for the formation of research bases in the natural satellites of a society's homeworld and even in other planets of the system, but no true space colonization is yet feasible and only highly qualified astronauts are allowed outside of the homeworld.

The three greatest impediments to space travel are: the extreme costs of space operations, the high consumption of fuel and pollution caused by space launches and the impossibility to achieve significant fractions of the speed of light.

Medicine:
Science propels medicine to higher and higher levels, dramatically increasing life expectancy with antibiotics, safe and painless surgery, preventive medicine and non-invasive screening of the workings of the body.

War:
For the first time, the society has the real capacity to exterminate all life in a planet with nuclear weapons (fission and even uncontrolled fusion).

Projectile weapons still dominate the battlefield, but hand rifles can shoot dozens of times in a second and its projectiles can pass through non-reinforced walls and kill people on the other side.

Rockets, sensors and control devices allow for the creation of missiles, armed with explosive warheads and capable of performing simple maneuvers in order to hit their targets.

Bombardment is possible, even from orbit, though the latest is highly expensive.

Armor is almost irrelevant in war, since it is much easier to make a gun that pierces a piece of armor than to make a piece of armor that stands a shot.

Chemical and biological weapons are also possible, being of equal level of destruction to nuclear weapons.

Last edited by ProfPaulBlemma; 06-13-2016 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 06-13-2016, 04:44 PM
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8: Information Age
Science and technology begin to shape the lives of people like never before and there is not a single activity that has not been touched by it.

In societies in this stage, railroads cross seas, enormous luxury dirigible balloons hover in the skies, cars drive orderly by themselves and people talk through small handheld computers.

Trivial: Within minutes, aggregate five years worth of operations data from one planet-wide organization and place them in a report
Usual: Create microscopic electronic circuits
Unusual: Lift resources to a space station
Great Endeavor: Create one computer system capable of learning and reasoning approximately like a person

Production:
Highly automated industrial plants make it possible to have a factory with almost no workers.

Nanotechnology is in its infancy ad many products make use of nanoscale granules or surface features.

Biotechnology and synthetic biology begins to give birth to substances synthesized by genetically modified bacteria.

New material science delivers nanotubes and resilient transparent surfaces to the day-to-day lives of people, revolutionizing design and allowing for very light and durable goods.

Power:
Nuclear fusion is in its infancy, but begins to deliver power as never before from large plants that, alone, can power entire nations.

Fuel cells bring clean and cheap power to electric vehicles.

Wireless electricity allow the existence of vehicles with a virtually limitless autonomy, for as long as they remain in the grid.

Urbanism:
The first super scrapers are built, structures that encompass the entire population and facilities of a small town within a single building, some even having their own political autonomy, just as a small town would in the same society.

Self-driven vehicles pacify traffic and manual driving may even be rendered illegal.

Data transmission structures are as important to a city as sanitary and power structures.

Communication:
Virtually all communication is made through computers, with fixed, old-fashion phones being connected to data lines and wireless, handheld devices being virtually the entirety of communication points of a network that spans the entire planet and its orbit.

Communication is, when wired, transmitted by optic fibers instead of by copper cables, allowing for far more content to reach its destination, wherever it is.

When contacting organizations, people are greeted and tended by talking computer systems, which are a few steps from semi-sentient entities.

Transportation:
Self-driven cars dominate the streets, orderly negotiating every maneuver. People go fro one place to the other with free hands and attention to do whatever they please during the journey.

Small aircraft are cheaper, allowing for more people to use them, so farms, small towns and other sites distant from large urban areas can be easily reached by aircraft.

Supersonic aircraft is the standard in long-distance flight and is done by airplanes that have features such as transparent roofs, which revolutionize the experience for the passenger.

Dirigible balloons with high-tech engines and controls are the standard for luxury flight and flying hotels are not unusual.

Spacecraft that can reach other planets are unusual, yet existent, and manned interplanetary research missions are performed, but only by highly trained personnel.

In later developments in the stage, asteroid mining becomes possible and the availability of rare materials come from space begins to revolutionize industry and research.

Medicine:
Non-invasive screening of the organism reaches higher levels and many systems can peer through the skin by means that pose no danger to health, such as ultrasound and infrared.

Tissue reconstruction is possible and lost limbs and internal organs can be rebuilt and replaced.

Greater knowledge of the workings of the brain make it possible to reconstruct damaged functions and even to create the first brain implants.

War:
Information is as relevant to war as firepower and a network of computers span the entire battlefield and go beyond the atmosphere with satellites, gathering situational tactical data and delivering situational awareness to commanders and even soldiers in the battlefield. Battles can be replayed and studied for improvement and enemy power assessment.

Projectile weapons still dominate conflicts, but are far more reliable, fast-shooting and powerful than before.

Lasers are used for point-defense against missiles.

The greatest invention in warfare are the drones that slowly replace soldiers in the battlefield or, at least, assist them, carrying equipment, heavy weapons and sensors for infantry soldiers.

Last edited by ProfPaulBlemma; 06-16-2016 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 06-16-2016, 07:13 PM
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9: Cyberpunk/Cybertopia (Planet-wide civilization)
This development stage is characterized by great advancements in biotechnology, computers and material science, producing civilizations that fully use entire planets, without restriction.

Trivial: Haul cargo to and from space stations
Usual: Recover a person's lost limbs or organs
Unusual: Create a city in the middle of (or under) an ocean
Great Endeavor: Create a small orbital city

Production:
Biotechnology and nanotechnology hit the market and are everywhere. Products can be entirely created out of nanofabricators, something that will take time and be expensive, but will produce perfect units to the atomic level. Most usually, only defect-critical or nanotech-intensive parts are made in such way and the product at large is usually made by a normal robotic factory.

Despite being considered "just the standard way of building things", robotic factories are the pivot of an economic revolution, since, for the first time since DS 6 the masses can consume economically-created unique, personalized goods. The process of creation of a product can now pass by a phase where the customer makes changes in the design or hires an expert to do so. After that, the product is made in accordance to the final design and leaves the factory just as the consumer desires it, with very little standardization due to the limitations of a production line.

Atomic layers and nanotubes are now easy to produce and they revolutionize everything, from fashion to vehicle design, from urbanism to space exploration. When a stick less than a centimeter wide can safely sustain the weight of a house, designers and architects are finally free to make their wildest dreams come true.

Space tethers are also viable because of cheap nanotubes and are the standard way to haul cargo to and from space, starting an era where space mining is a reality. That endeavor is left to the later advancements, though, since the engineering involved in the process of designing and (most of all) assembling a space tether is far from trivial.

Power:
Fuel cells power almost everything that is not to be carried around, power efficiency allow for large cities to run almost exclusively on solar/wind power and, on top of that, mighty fusion plants fuel the industry and the mighty science institutes that are needed to advance to the next development stage.

Mobile devices usually run on supercapacitors that would need to be recharged once every year, if they were not continually being recharged via wireless power grid. Devices made to be used outside of the wireless grid (such as survival equipment) may have supercapacitors that would last for several years without needing to be recharged.

Urbanism:
Houses that seem to float in mid-air (but are actually sustained by thin nanotube sticks), buildings that are several kilometers high, yet are no wider than a few hundreds of meters, flying cars and hanging neighborhoods are all possible and may easily be found in a society that reached this development stage. All due to new materials and computers that allow for complex engineering challenges to be easily overcome (that, of course, has its limitations and space tethers, as already mentioned, are not to be taken lightly, even with those new computational wonders at hand).

Wireless electricity and wireless data transmission make cities cable-free, while flying cars remove the empire of roads, opening space for gardens and huge squares where only asphalt existed.

People usually live in city-buildings, more-than-kilometer-high super scrapers that have all the infrastructure and living space of an entire city, with shopping centers, forested parks, stadiums and anything else a community may require for living a comfortable life. Magnetic levitation elevators make a quick and comfortable trip from the first to the last floor, but, since cars fly and there are garages every 100 floors or so, such long elevator trips are bound to be rarely necessary.

For the first time, space cities may be constructed and they are bound to be toroidal or cylindrical, since artificial gravity is still only possible via spin. Such cities (small in this DS) may either reproduce the natural environment (as an example, they may sport rivers, hills and even small woods) or be more coldly designed, just as "buildings in space", but they will surely have their own food production, air and water recycling and industrial structure. Because of them, a few thousand people may actually live in space in this DS.

Communication:
Despite all wonders in many other areas, radio communication and fiber-optic cables are the standard way to send and receive information, yet radio is now precise enough for information to travel in parallel, instead of serial way, in both fiber-optic cables and radio signals.

Intelligent computers are still answering in corporate lines, but are more responsive and less annoying...

Transportation:
Flying cars com from the advent of hydroelectrodynamic (HED) compressors and electric thermojets. Air is soaked and compressed by HED compressors and violently decompressed by a strong electric discharge, cleverly designed to encompass the entirety of the air flow. Low noise and high safety are a possibility, but high noise and high performance may be more in touch with the spirit of some societies.

Cargo and people are taken to and from orbit by behemoth structures called space tethers, essentially, elevators that go from the ground to geostationary space stations. Because of that, the amazing sight of rockets being launched or landing in pads is very rare and used only in the exceptional situations where a space tether would not be useful (though it would be a challenge to find such situations). Tethers are cheap to operate (because power is cheap), safe and easy to maintain (because nanotube cables several meters wide can even survive large nuclear explosions), so their introduction can be considered the beginning of a true space age and it is that very technology that allows the first small orbital cities to be created and maintained.

Because of asteroid mining, a new generation of spacecraft is created, one that is not made for landing or taking off, but is built for spending its entire existence in space. Such new generation of craft is propelled by metallic hydrogen, the long-sought holy grail of the space industry, a fuel far more efficient than any other so far and that allows the existence of SSTO (Single Stage To Orbit) vehicles. Spacecraft in this DS are still far slower than light (actually, far slower than relativistic speeds, in practice) and a trip to the nearest planet may take a few months, but such trip becomes commercially feasible, if there are sufficient resources in a nearby asteroid field.

Because of this new generation of spacecraft, research stations outside of the homeworld are bound to be more abundant and more permanent, seeding the ground for future colonies, that are not yet truly feasible

Because of metallic hydrogen, the standard of intercontinental flight is to go to space, enter orbit and wait for the destination to be reached, then come back from orbit and land. Such type of flight is far faster than conventional supersonic flight and gives an amazing view of the planet, usually rendering any "flat planet" ideologies outdated.

Medicine:
Limbs and organs can be regrown from stem cells of the own person, artificial immune systems can be placed that will resist even the weirdest pathogens and anti-agathic treatments may extend the lifespan of the population by a factor of 10.

Cloning is possible (even easy to achieve) and will most certainly span large philosophical discussions except in the most daring or savage-tending or hand-weaving societies.

War:
Projectile weapons still dominate the battlefield, but begin to have possible competitors.

Cheaper and safer plastic explosives make it possible for caseless rounds to reach the weapon market and, with them, a far larger rate of fire, making projectile weapons even more deadly.

Powered by the new supercapacitors, railguns are finally real and, indeed, are preferred by most to explosive-based projectile weapons, since they are less noisy and more efficient in terms of projectile storage, even though caseless rounds have only a thin sheet of plastic explosive behind them, instead of the bulky cases of old gunpowder rounds.

Lasers also reach the soldier's arsenal, but are uncomfortable weapons, both for their size and because special protection is necessary fr the bearer and for all nearby allies, as a laser shot will create a heavy flare of scattered light when it hits something and that may blind (in case of visible-light lasers) or burn (in case of non-visible light lasers) anyone caught in the vicinity of the target.

Of course, lasers are widely used for orbital sniping, bu no longer for point defense, as missiles are very easily laser-proofed. Usually, the top of combat vehicles and bunkers is also laser-proofed, so this type of weapon is bound not to be long-lived.

Last edited by ProfPaulBlemma; 06-16-2016 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 06-18-2016, 10:43 PM
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10: True space age (System-wide civilization)
This development stage brings the first true colonies outside the homeworld and marks the turning point of a truly spacefaring civilization.

Trivial: Producing highly complex and customized goods in minutes and in nanoscale perfection
Usual: Moving a ship to and from space more than once per day
Unusual: Building colonies in other planets and moons
Great Endeavor: Sending unmanned probes to other star systems at relativistic speeds

Production:
Nanotechnology is perfected to the point where robotic factories are completely obsolete and the standard way to produce goods is to launch a cloud of assembly nanites, held in mid-air by an engineered magnetic field, and stream atoms to them, letting them place those atoms one after another in an astoundingly fast process and gradually "grow" the desired output. Chemical substances (already bottled), furniture, computers, flying cars and even entire space stations are produced in precisely the same way, with precisely the same machines and processes, which gives the society a freedom that was not dreamed before.

As a powerful side-effect of nanoassembly, there is virtually no substance (of which the constituent atoms are available) that cannot be synthesized.

Power:
Antimatter! Safely stored in neutral proton-antiproton pairs with a spin that keeps them from colliding, while also not allowing them to break free of each other, large amounts of antimatter are produced and used to create power. Tiny lumps of antimatter can power entire cities for days, keep a factory active for centuries or power one shot of the most exotic high-energy physics experiments.

In order to produce power, the pairs are thrown in a chamber, receive a very strong magnetic pulse to destabilize their "ballet", which makes them collide, releasing energy approximately equivalent to their whole mass. The photons generated by the annihilation process are collected and used to heat thermoelectric plating that converts it directly into electricity.

Safety in antimatter storage is still a great concern and, usually, antimatter containment is bulky, heavy and the most well-protected component of anything that has one, but the stability of the "dancing couples" is surprisingly resilient and has proved itself a truly safe way to store what is, rater probably, the most dangerous thing of the Universe.

Supercapacitors are still in use and are more powerful than ever, ruling supreme and undisputed wherever there is no space, budget, safety or weight capacity for an antimatter reactor.

Urbanism:
Environmentally sealed buildings are a reality even in the last DS, but now entire cities can (and need to) be environmentally sealed, as many cities are built in other planets.

Either built within transparent domes or structurally composed only like sealed buildings, space colonies are spread through the home system and house a significant part of the civilization's population. Their streets may be gardens or simply cold, metallic corridors, but they are large enough to be home to thousands of people and self-standing enough not to depend on the homeworld for their existence.

Space cities are more common than before, also larger and more comfortable and independent. The shape of the cities is now most usually an empty cylinder spinning in orbit of a planet and carrying inside a small biosphere, protected from the outside by thick layers of graphene or similar material. Usually, such cylinders have a few hundred meters in diameter and some may even have close to a kilometer in length.

Inside, what could be a perfect homeworld town is to be found, with houses, gardens, squares and other parts of the homeworld's landscape that would fit such a small space all held on the floor by the centrifugal force caused by the structure's spin, usually gauged to produce exactly one homeworld gravity. Light is usually given by strong light-emitting devices in a large axis that coincides with the rotation axis of the structure, with the day-night cycle being simulated by dimming the intensity of such lights.

Transportation in such cities is usually dominated by magnetic levitation trams, since flying cars would have trouble following the high spin necessary to generate gravity in such a small structure, and all wiring usually runs in the underground, through systems of maintenance tunnels closer to the external walls.

Instead of starry nights and sunlit days, the population of these cities see other neighborhoods when they look up. Many may consider that a disadvantage.

Communication:
Radio communication is still the standard, but it takes time to send and receive signals across the distance between planets, so heavy research is placed on alternative means of communication. Because of that, quantum entanglement starts as an option. Entangled q-bits can be used to instantly send and receive messages across infinite distance, but, in order to remain coherent, q-bits require near-absolute zero freezing and very low energy levels. Despite all caution and safety measures, q-bits suffer decoherence very often, so a constant flow of entangled q-bits must exist for communication among colonies not to be interrupted. Even worse, it takes highly precise machinery to detect the small disturbances in particles used to convey information, so a quantum entanglement communicator is a device that will fill a small room.

Transportation:
Flying cars now fly on changing magnetic fields. The car's underside engine create an almost solid plasma surface on a sheet of air. Then, it applies a normal, changing magnetic field aimed towards it. The first cycle of the magnetic field actuates on the ionized gas, creating an electric current, then, the next cycle (with a magnetic field of the opposite polarity) interacts with the sheet of plasma, which generates its own opposing magnetic field and is repelled from the car, generating thrust by reaction. Without a turbine, far more silent and with much greater safety for bystanders, the car floats in a pocket of fast moving air. The same principle is used to generate thrust to steer and control the flight. Such type of car usually runs on modern supercapacitors that have to be recharged about once every week.

Antimatter is the new rocket fuel, together with old metallic hydrogen. In rocket engines of this DS, metallic hydrogen is released in protected chambers and a tiny amount of proton-antiproton pairs is released as well. A strong magnetic pulse decouples antimatter and the resulting matter-antimatter annihilation then heats hydrogen to fusion temperature and the resulting explosion generates highly pressurized helium. Radiation is contained inside the chamber and absorbed by gamma-ray sensitive photoelectric cells (to help power the system) and the engine's exhaust is pure, non-radioactive helium gas... with far more thrust than any previously created rocket engine.

With the help of the combination of metallic hydrogen and antimatter, incredibly small amounts of fuel produce very large amounts of thrust, allowing SSTO vehicles to actually take off from a planet, travel to another and land there without the need for refueling during the trip. Also, the small amount of fuel used allows a ship to hold enough fuel mass to accelerate half the way to its destination and decelerate the other half, making interplanetary travel much faster than it was ever dreamed before, while also providing artificial gravity through acceleration (usually, the engines are fit for producing one homeworld gravity all the way to the destination).

Going to another nearby planet can be done in one or two weeks, instead of approximately one year, which was the record achieved with the previous generation of rocket engines.

Old space tethers may still be in use, but are considered outdated, as the new rocket engines make it much faster to get to space and require no bulky structures for it.

Medicine:
As nanotechnology evolves, nanites can be designed to act as viruses, "infecting" an organism and reprogramming its genetic material according to a predefined pattern. This allows organisms to be safely recreated at the genetic level and generates the first generation of people immune to disease, unaging and possibly even physically or intellectually enhanced. Of course, such advancements can also be used for ill and killer nanites will be far more dangerous than genetically engineered biological viruses, but there is always the chance of creating nanites that fight nanites, creating a race that may determine, by technology, the future and even the survival of the species.

War:
Railguns are still the most used weapons (and are more deadly than ever), but plasma weapons begin to appear.

The first plasma weapons are bulky, relatively slow and rely on complex plasmas (also called "dust plasmas") that can be created, solidified, strongly ionized, heated and shot by the same railgun system that throws metallic projectiles. Upon impact, the plasma transfers its heat to the target, causing a surface explosion, easily melting most metal alloys and even some atomic-layer materials such as graphene (but, in the last case, causing much less damage than to metals), also throwing a human-sized target a few meters back.

Last edited by ProfPaulBlemma; 06-24-2016 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 06-24-2016, 09:32 PM
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11: Crawling to the stars (Primitive FTL interstellar civilization)
Finally, the society leaves its cradle, reaching other star systems, but yet not quickly enough to truly maintain a civilian presence there. In this DS, interstellar travel is still reserved for research, mining and - for those few who are lucky or unlucky enough to discover close spacefaring neighbors - trade, diplomacy and warfare.

Outside of interstellar travel, most devices now run on non-visible light instead of electricity, with new optic fibers now safe enough not to let their carried photons into the environment if broken or cut. New materials store light in their electrospheres as sponges and release it when stimulated, forming a new generation of supercapacitors.

New computers make it possible to have semi-sentient machines living side-by-side with humans as faithful servants, but also can spread terror if gone rogue or used in warfare. The hum of small electric engines may be omnipresent in societies that opt for using small flying robots as personal assistants for each person, just as cell phones were in the long past, but much more flexible and useful.

In space, larger and larger cities are founded and primitive terraforming begins to potentially recover the ecosystem of the homeworld, if it was damaged by excessive resource-gathering or industrial pollution.

Trivial: Create semi-sentient machines.
Usual: Crossing a star system from side to side in a matter of minutes.
Unusual: Creating a mid-sized city in space.
Great Endeavor: Creating a colony outside the home system.

Production:
Production of the unit is now the rule and most people do not even know what it is to buy something that has not been at least slightly customized to their taste.

The normal production process is as follows: a chamber is filled with a liquid, such liquid being actually a swarm of nanoscale robots, and substances carrying the necessary atoms for the production of the goods are mixed with the production nanites. In minutes, the nanites break the molecules of the prime-matter and reassemble them in the shape of the desired product, whatever it may be. Between assembling a shoe and a super-large interplanetary deluxe liner, what varies is only the size of the chamber and the substances fed into the nanite pseudo-liquid.

Power:
Devices are powered by ultra-high frequency light, being such frequency so high above the usual gamma radiation that the photons harmlessly pass by regular matter, allowing power to be beamed from one place to the other through walls and even people. Captured by subatomic electromagnetic bubbles and converted into useful work, light is the new carrier of power, just like electricity was in the past, and a new age of wireless power begins, with power being collected around a star and beamed directly at, as an example, a space city that will consume it.

Power in a system is, in this DS, mainly collected directly form the star, by a network of photonic collector satellite rings (actual Dyson rings) that take the light of the star, convert its frequency and beam it to wherever it may be required in the system.

Most devices store power in their light-soaking power cells, being able to go without recharging for months, but devices that need to produce their own power still use antimatter, now far more compact, safe and efficient, as the gamma-ray photons produced by electron-positron annihilation are directly harvested, converted and sent to the power grid, instead of turned into electricity.

Urbanism:
Since population tends to grow too much with anti-agathics and planetary ecosystems tend not to cope very well with overpopulation, it is now almost as usual to live in space as it is to live in a planet.

The engineering needed for producing starships and bases of operation outside the home system were the base and inspiration for a new generation of space cylinders that are now several kilometers wide and tens of kilometers long, bearing mid-sized cities within them and allowing for far more resemblance with a planet. Starry nights and sunny days can be simulated by holography and it can even rain in the relatively large environments, though that is to be a rare event, due to the fact that clouds "high up" are actually near the center of rotation and are affected by very little or no gravity at all.

At the planets, hyper scrapers that almost reach orbit can be constructed, but the migration to space relieves planets from their overcrowding, making such fantastic structures more a curiosity than an urban solution and the new standard of living may return to revisited old-fashion houses with gardens and backyards.

Power lines are substituted by wireless photonic power transmitters and receivers, urban data communication following the exact same pattern.

Communication:
Now less bulky and less noisy, but still prone to decoherence, quantum entanglement is the new standard long-range communication system and is what holds together a culture that is now scattered across space, with envoys staying as far as the nearest star systems. The flow of entangled particles can be a key public service, a highly profitable business or the monopoly of one of the most powerful factions in the society and a lasting disruption in such flow can bring a dark age for the species, forcing it into near-feudal state.

A quantum entanglement communicator can fit a large bag and almost all spacecraft carry one, together with ultra-high frequency light communicators for short-range contact and distress beacons, as entanglement communicators are not dependable enough for such task and cannot be tracked to the location of the distress call.

Starship crews carry a surplus of entangled particles and store them in different places within the ship, in highly protected safes, as interstellar travel is long and no other practical means of communication exist (light will usually take from one to ten years to reach the home system, rendering light-based beacons almost useless for star travelers in distress - but they are still used for helping rescue missions pinpoint the exact location of a stranded crew, once they get nearby).

Transportation:
Flying cars still use engineered magnetic fields and plasma sheets for propulsion, but now with much greater speed and maneuverability, also being safer because of improved autonomous driving.

Antimatter rockets - where antimatter particles react with metallic hydrogen, taking it to fusion temperatures and releasing the heated exhaust for thrust - are still used as impulse engines, but now, with the new generation of engineered magnetic fields, the matter-antimatter annihilation reaction occurs in a much smaller space and with much greater safety, which increases the generated thrust and allows for smaller propulsors. More than that, the same advancements in magnetic field engineering allow for much safer antimatter storage, now made less bulky and needing much less protection. Because of all that, heavy space suits can have antimatter rockets for propulsion in this DS.

Together with all those linear advancements in propulsion, a true revolution in transportation occurs in this DS: warp technology allows travel faster than the speed of light, opening the way to the stars.

It is not that space warping was not known in earlier stages, but exotic matter with negative mass was never successfully produced and, even if it was, there would be no way to deactivate a warp bubble once it was created, for that demanded the elimination of the negative mass payload and mass cannot be simply disintegrated (in this DS). What made it possible to use space warp technology in practice were the new advancements in nanotechnology, with machines the size of relatively small molecules. By creating macroscopic objects made of movable nanosheets of graphene, which, when correctly positioned, can created over the space around it the same effects exotic mass would, by means of the Casimir effect, with the advantage that such effect can be easily turned off simply by repositioning the nanosheets, solving the two problems of warp technology with a single invention.

Warp drives in this DS can reach speeds of about 40 times the speed of light, which is still very slow in galactic terms (it would take about six weeks to go from Earth to the Alpha Centauri System) and allows only for the practical exploration of the nearest star systems, but they completely change the way a society gathers their resources, since they are no longer bound to one single star system for asteroid mining. Interstellar travel is still very lengthy and crews are usually placed in suspended animation for the duration of the travel, being awoken by the ship's computer when arriving at their destination or when an emergency occurs.

Starships (especially those fit for mining), are usually very large, no less than half a kilometer in length, since large spaces mean large payloads and that means less trips to haul the same cargo. Anyway, despite their size, they are usually manned by a small crew, if manned at all, since the systems are highly automated.

Medicine:
Practical anti-agathics erradicate aging, defensive nanites erradicate infection (allowing people to be exposed to non-toxic alien atmospheres) and new intelligent drugs made of "configurable atoms" (actually nanites constituted of a variety of different chemicals that can be exposed or hidden in order to produce many different effects) make the dream of an "universal panacea" a reality and combat their own side effects by changing their structure accordingly.

Entire organs can be reconstructed or genetically re-engineered and, in less conservative societies, people can tweak with their genetic codes to achieve almost any result, from automatically reconfigurable hair color to a complete restructuring of their appearance, no longer looking like a member of their own species. Shape-changers are not yet a possibility, though, and it takes years (as a rule of thumb, about three years, but it depends on the biology of the species) for a complete genetic change to take effect and the intermediary states of radical changes in appearance can be unpleasant, but people may take them, anyway, for what are a few years of public silence when you live for millennia?

Despite the obvious aesthetic consequences of genetic re-engineering, the possibility to give people specially-designed organs can be very useful in space exploration, since people may have water-breathing capacity, can resist extreme cold and heat and can even repair their own genetic codes in order to survive in highly radioactive environments, as some organisms do (a famous example being Earth's tardigrade).

Depending only on philosophical matters to be socially accepted, those modifications can make people in this DS almost free of disease and with very little of the mortal frailty of before.

War:
Plasma weapons are now the standard armament. Their plasma is made of reconfigurable nanoparticles that tie strongly together after receiving high amounts of energy, causing the plasma projectile to be highly resilient (nearly as much as the metallic projectiles of the past), while extremely hot. Not only the pellets penetrate their target, but the heat they deliver cause it to locally explode, being that why plasma weapons are usually called "blasters" or other names that imply explosion.

If a heavy blaster shot hits an unprotected organism, there is usually very little chance of survival.

Another variant of the plasma blaster is the plasma stunner. The reconfigurable particles are the same, but now they receive positive electric charge in one side and negative electric charge in another, creating a PN junction in the middle. The projectile flies a long distance with their charges isolated and, when they hit the target, the junction is broken delivering a heavy electric shock to the target, usually stunning it, if it is a living organism or an electricity-powered machine.

A tactical version of the blaster is the antimatter blaster, which acts in the exact same way of the plasma stunner, but, inside the projectiles, carries proton-antiproton spinning couples that lose stability when the electric charge is freed and cause very large and radioactive explosions wherever they hit. Such weapons are usually only allowed for the military and may even be object of disarmament treatises.

On the defense side, magnetic bubbles placed around vehicles or buildings (for strong magnetic bubble projectors are usually large) may offer some protection against the heavily ionized plasma projectiles, bringing back to the battlefield the long-forgotten idea of wearing protective armor.

Because of that fragility in the presence of heavy magnetic fields, plasma weapons are usually accompanied by chemically-propelled projectile-shooting guns, designed with new explosives to take care of shielded targets. Some forces may even forgo the use of plasma weapons at all, since new explosives are much more powerful then those before and bullets become very destructive, even for small guns. To fight those forces, it is usual for plasma-powered soldiers to use attrition tactics, extending each battle for long enough to threaten the other force with the possibility of running out of ammunition.

Last edited by ProfPaulBlemma; 06-27-2016 at 09:21 PM.
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12: One Foot in the Skies (Early FTL civilization)
In this DS a society sets itself as truly starfaring, as the first full-sized colonies are founded outside the home system and, since alien planets rarely offer true opportunities for living outdoors, the colonization of other star systems is often achieved by means of space cities, which are now far larger and more comfortable.

Travelling through space is now far less painful and the first attempts at warp-based artificial gravity are made, generating ships without spinning parts, but that allow their crews to walk, rather than float.

Even more precise magnetic fields form walls and can create moving sheets of nanites and prime matter, making production even faster and more accurate.

Trivial: Travelling from planet to planet in a same star system.
Usual: Building sentient machines.
Unusual: Covering 5% of a star in a Dyson ring.
Great Endeavor: Building asteroid-sized ships or stations.

Production:
Programmable matter! Nanomachinery reaches a scale where individual robots are the size of coarse grains of sand, allowing many different objects to be made of active nanites. For now, only decorative surfaces, some pieces of furniture and a large number of toys and games can be made of programmable matter, as its atoms are still too coarse, but practical applications reach the market and revolutionize the interior of vehicles that are designed for practicality, not for sophistication. A room in a starship will look like made of glitter, but chairs, tables, shelves and any other pieces of furniture will form within minutes after a command is issued to a computer, allowing them to be used for many different purposes and reconfigured at will (Wish that wall was somewhere else? Just order it.). Only interior walls can be made of programmable matter, though, as the coarseness of the tiny robots it is made of prevents it from keeping atmosphere in or out.

The standard way of producing things is to create a sheet-like magnetic field, fill it with both production nanites and prime matter and see the desired object appearing as the thin "wall" passes by. Production units will no longer look like factories, but will look like tanks with garden hoses, from which a stream of liquid goes out and forms a "wall" in the air, producing whatever is to be produced.

Buildings are now produced the same way as all other products and usually only one type of construction vehicle (the one with the tanks of nanites and prime matter and carrying the hoses with engineered magnetic field generators) is used. A skyscraper can be made in less than a week and will appear completely decorated and fully prepared for use.

Of course, high-tech devices and materials, such as the "atoms" (the grains) of programmable matter, need finer processes to be created, so there are still traditional factories, but they are rare and destined to produce only the most advanced items in the society's technology.

Power:
Finer control over magnetic fields and finer nanomachinery allows the creation of structures with nanoscale pores that allow antimatter in and encapsulate it in permanent magnetic bubbles while inside, turning antimatter into a safe substance to carry, for as long as the (very resilient) containers are not damaged. Such containers, which can survive severe flying car accidents, maintain considerable amounts of antimatter inside them, only allowing them to interact with matter (usually hydrogen nuclei also stored in the container) when needed. The container will be fitted with several annihilation chambers, where protons and antiprotons will be allowed to collide and, because of the small scales and the controlled magnetic fields involved, the generated electron-positron pairs will all be guided to further annihilation, which will produce a significant amount of gamma radiation to be collected, changed in frequency and conduced to the optical fibers of the power grid, powering all sorts of devices.

Of course, stars are still harvested for power and the Dyson rings of this DS (still an array of satellites with huge "sails" of photo-absorbent material) can capture as much as 10E-16% (0.000000000000001%) of the light of a star, which, for most main sequence G2V stars, means about 30 Terawatts of power per second, a significant figure for free energy (as a term of comparison, an extremely large fission plant at DS 7 - it means Earth at the late 80s - will yield about the same power per hour).

Urbanism:
The very rare planets that are similar enough to the specie's home planet to be terraformed (and are accessible) are slowly transformed into imperfect copies of the original ecosystem in which the species have evolved, creating interesting landscapes that are not perfectly familiar, nor completely alien. The terraforming process (still fully tailored for each specific planet) is usually guided by genetically designed plants that help alter the composition of the atmosphere and of the soil, but may include some heavier modifications and may even incorporate antimatter explosions for leveling entire mountains.

Despite the fact that terraforming is possible, its use is rare, for very few planets are eligible for it, most being so radically different from homeworld that no terraforming at the range of this DS can turn into nonlethal environment. Because of that, the colonization of new star systems is, essentially, accomplished by the construction of cities in space.

Space cities are no longer cylinders in this DS, but large rings, hundreds of kilometers in diameter and with a central hub, connected to the ring by heavy struts that carry vehicles that resemble a mix of train and elevator.

The ring provides a living space tens of kilometers from one wall to the other, about three to five kilometers high and with a radius of about a hundred kilometers, rotating in order to produce artificial gravity, but, due to its size, its rotation being much slower than that of the cities of the earlier stages. Due to its still quick rotation, rings do not possess transparent roofs - since the perception of its rapid rotation would make its citizens dizzy - so the vision of starry nights and bright days is simulated by holography. The simulated ecosystem is usually complete, with winds, rain, snow and flowing rivers (usually flowing all around the ring, so that the very spin is enough to produce a flow of water).

Inside the living space of the rings, many towns may form, with rural areas, mountains and other homeworld features being present. Since spin is smaller and technology better, flying cars can now be used in the space city, so the old trams are no longer the only option (one could even use a sea ship to navigate a river).

The most external part of the rings (their "underground") is where lie the industrial and scientific areas, shopping centers, theaters, more urban buildings, government structures and main public and private services, concentrating all elements of the society that require more tightly packed urban environments or would be, in any way, detrimental to the ecosystem if exposed to surface.

On its turn, the central hub, usually a non-rotating (so "weightless") cylinder the size of an old space city, is where the arriving space ships dock and it provides transportation to and from the ring by means of the elevators, usually magnetic levitation trains that slowly acquire spin as they climb from the hub to the ring or slowly losing spin as they go the other way. Some designs may leave out the hub, though, placing dock ports on the external walls of the ring, forcing ships to follow the spin of the station, which is a trivial feat for this DS's on-board computers.

Communication:
Now more bulky and power hungry then before, but far more stable, quantum communicators form the backbone of the society's computer network, with all devices locally connected by non-FTL links to a communication fulcrum that sports entangled channels capable of transferring packets of information to and from other star systems without delay. One quantum communicator (reliable and steady in its coherence, unless its isolation chamber is breached) will occupy the equivalent of a three story building and draw enough power to feed a mid-sized starship.

Usually, small communities will have a backbone quantum connection with one or two channels linked to a relay that forms the data highway for the entire society, through it being connected to the rest of the species. Large communities may have dozens or even hundreds of channels in order to accommodate the necessary bandwidth required by a cosmopolitan society.

On the other hand, most starships (except for the largest ones) still rely on the old-fashioned (and much smaller) easily disrupted communicators, with all the spare links it depends on to remain active.

In order to link devices to the hub and among themselves, a new non-FTL communication technology appears. As a development of Casimir-effect wafers, new gravity wave emitters and detectors are born, creating the possibility for people to use gravity waves as a means of communication. Gravity wave communicators are not hindered by barriers at all - except for the tidal force walls that encompass a warp bubble - are not jammed by lightning storms or atmospheric ionization and do not affect living organisms in any way at all, no matter how strong a gravity-wave communicator is or how close the organism is to it. Adding to it, gravity waves travel at the speed of light, which gives them no disadvantage at all over electromagnetic waves. Fast, reliable, penetrating, clean and safe, gravity wave communicators quickly fill the society and its potentially thousands of intelligent items of the day-by-day life.

...and talking about the day-by-day life, ubiquitous computing is mature at this DS, absolutely everything being a computer screen with a processor and a local link to the network. If you want to be in touch with someone, all you have to do is to ask the walls, the oven, the curtains, the floor or even the kitchen sink to establish a video call and start talking. people's clothes are not detached from the all-encompassing network and, depending on the relevance of privacy to a society, everyone and anyone in any world can know exactly where any other person is simply by asking something (anything) to find him/her.

Holography also plays a significant role in communication. By making use of virtual particles that always take curved paths and, when colliding, create virtual photons that are long-lived enough for striking nearby eyes, a projector the size of a shoe box (from Earth) can create glowing images in thin air, allowing any kind of three-dimensional image to be seen. Sensors detect people's gestures and eye movement in order to make the images respond to user input, making holograms a very interesting media for computer interfaces. Because of all that, telepresence by holography can be a very popular technology in this DS and attendance to a congress, a family meeting or even a ritual can be made from as far as one wishes, even from distant star systems.

Transportation:
Warp drives are now less bulky and far better stabilized, which allows for speeds the order of 250 times the speed of light (one week from Earth to Alpha Centauri, two weeks from Earth to Sirius), which gives a civilization far more places to exploit and a little larger chance to find alien neighbors, but still, the Galaxy is a large place and there are not so many active starfaring civilizations, so it is probable that this DS will still be crossed without alien contact.

Medicine:
Artificial glands (actually colonies of nanites) can be implanted on people, together with chemical sensors and computers. Such glands can detect unusual chemicals, analyse their components and create nullifying substances out of the normal substances in the bloodstream, turning poisons and drugs into harmless - and, if possible, even nourishing - molecules. The same type of nanomachinery can go the other way and produce unusual substances instead of neutralizing them, so one can have a painkiller automatically released in the bloodstream every time strong injury is detected, or have a shot of stimulant every time sleep deprivation is necessary or exhaustion has to be fought. Such artificial glands can be connected to the central nervous system in order to be consciously activated or blocked.

Together with that, the biochemistry of cellular reproduction is now so well known that new drugs can simply set into motion the organism's own systems in order to regrow lost limbs or organs at astonishing speed. One takes a pill and, a few days later, a new kidney appears where there was none...

War:
New plasma weapons rely on solidified plasma sheets to produce a light Casimir effect and thus to propel the projectile using a raw positive-negative mass interaction where positive mass is propelled forward and negative mass follows it, propelling it forward again. The electrically neutral complex plasma projectile is heated to very high temperatures and propels itself in a straight line, irrespective of the presence o magnetic fields. This and the fact that its now much more resilient, near-crystalline solidified plasma casing can, by being self-propelled and spinning at high angular speeds, penetrate targets as much as a metallic projectile can has buried chemically-propelled guns in the basements of History. War is now fought with plasma weapons.

The exceptions are the intelligent and ballistic ones. If a weapon needs to be intelligent and follow its target, it needs far more than a plasma wafer to do so and, if a weapon needs to follow gravity to shoot through walls or mountains back into the floor, it needs more mass and no self-propelling, ever straight positive-negative mass interaction. Missiles and howitzers are, then, the only chemically-propelled weapons of war that survived the "plasma revolution".

Last edited by ProfPaulBlemma; 07-09-2016 at 11:48 AM.
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13: Boldly going... (Local starfaring civilization with few colonies)
This stage represents the last step in warp drive technology, giving a civilization enough reach to almost certainly find sentient neighbors. In this stage colonies outside of the home system begin to be more usual and space exploration becomes a business and not only an adventure.

Artificial gravity brings comfort and size reduction to starships. In this DS, artificial gravity is no longer produced by spinning sections, but by internal warped space. Of course, this has implications in many other areas but purely starship comfort: new production processes appear that take advantage of the manipulation of gravity, rooms can have a different gravity from that of the location they are in and the last word in entertainment is "weightless".

Trivial: Creating objects that can change shape and function.
Usual: Creating non-spinning structures that have their own gravity.
Unusual: Constructing a very large building in less than two days.
Great Endeavor: Creating in a colonized star system all the necessary infrastructure to make it become just like home.

Production:
Programmable matter atoms are now the size of fine grains of sand and change a little faster than before, which allows other applications than just decoration and toys. Any object which surface does not have to be smooth and that does not have to be airtight can be made of programmable matter, but such object will lack some functionality, such as touchscreens. The changing system still depends on an external computer.

Construction units work more or less the same way as before, but no longer require the "garden hose", projecting the nanites and the prime matter through a tube made of engineered magnetic fields, and work much faster than before. In large-scale production , a special scaffold may be placed around the volume of the construction, removing all gravity from it and allowing much simpler, precise and fast construction.

In this state, automation can be such that no human intervention whatsoever has to occur in a factory, which can create an age of incredible wealth, an age of incredible poverty or, perhaps, both, the former for some and the later for others. Progression in artificial intelligence now allows a society to create a host of robots to perform all sorts of physical task without human supervision, which may bring utopia or dystopia, according to how the society treats the now irrelevant biological hand workers.

Power:
Safe antimatter is still dominant wherever one needs portable power and antimatter is cheapest and easiest to produce than ever.

For stationary positions (usually orbiting a star in a star system), solar power is still the main source of power, now being able to harvest 10E-13% of the power of a star (1,000 times what was feasible in the last DS), giving the society tremendous power at its disposal and allowing extremely high-power experiments to be performed without any type of power rationing.

Urbanism:
Due to material resilience, ringworlds have not improved much in terms of size, since it is very hard to conceive a structure that would spin and retain cohesion with so much mass. Even carbon nanotubes and graphene are not up to the task of creating gigantic ringworlds.

The solution usually found is to create more ringworlds in close proximity to one another, most often in different Lagrange points (L4 and L5 are the cheapest to build, since they are stable and, because of that, no periodic corrections are necessary).

Other possible solution is to live in large spacecraft that now can be exactly like a ringworld. Such mobile ringworlds only lack the almost free power of Dyson rings placed around the local star, but arrays of antimatter plants can easily cope with the power needs of a society of this DS and, because of that, itinerant space cities are not unheard of.

Despite the existence of artificial gravity, ringworlds tend to remain spinning, simply because spinning also allows them to have a day-night cycle that helps keeping a steady temperature inside them with minimal use of power to either heat or cool the environment within.

Communication:
Gravity wave transceivers are now much smaller and small devices the size of rings can communicate via gravity waves.

Other than that, the isolation chambers of quantum entanglement links are powered by force fields, rather than magnetic fields, which makes them much, much smaller and lighter, one link fitting the wall of a mid-size room, so even mid-sized ships can now have their own quantum entanglement link, usually connected to the civilization's (or hometown's) hub. Because of that there is no longer the need for continuous production and delivery of entangled pairs and that may have serious societal impacts, if power structures were based on such activities in the past.

Transportation:
This is the final stage for pure warp drives, reaching a level of control of the warp field where it is possible to reach speeds around 30,000 times the speed of light. With an average star density of 0.00352 stars per cubic light year (that of the Milky Way galaxy), it is possible to say that, with this level of FTL technology, a civilization can reach about (knowing that a sphere inside a cube will have, roughly, 78% its volume) 30,000 * 0.00352 * 0.78 = approx. 82 stars for exploration (one year travel limit), 41 stars for commerce (six months travel limit) and 7 stars for colonization (one month travel limit), which is fantastic in terms of reach, but still insignificant in terms of percentage of the Galaxy. Of course, the closer the homeworld is to the center of a galaxy, the greater the star density, the opposite also holding true.

At this DS, sensors are capable of scanning the walls of the warp bubble, giving a complete view of all massive objects near it to a distance of a few dozen light years, so the crew of a starship is no longer blind while in warp flight and can now remain in the bubble for the entirety of the journey, no longer needing to go back to flat space from time to time in order to probe for rogue planets and check for calculation errors in the estimated positions of stars and known planets.

Ships of this DS can have artificial gravity made not of spinning sections, but of warped space, that means: this DS brings true artificial gravity to a civilization.

Impulse engines no longer use antimatter, but a weaker, yet far more versatile form of propulsion: the quantum vacuum plasma thruster, which derives from new technologies that force the quantum vacuum to behave like a plasma. The sheer strength of the thrusters is smaller than that of antimatter thrusters, but still comparable to old chemical rocket thrusters, its true advantage coming from the fact that it is completely powered by light, so a ship needs to take absolutely no fuel in order to feed its impulse engines.

The types of virtual particles propelled by the quantum vacuum plasma thrusters of this DS have enough half-life to actually create an exhaust that resembles that of a rocket and, thus, still need an exhaust tube, exactly like a rocket, but their exhaust gases simply disappear a few meters away from the engine (though its shock wave in an atmosphere remains after that and its will sound exactly like a rocket, yet just a little less loud).

Medicine:
Genetic engineering comes to the point where it is possible to create metamorphs. A person engineered to be a metamorph will be able to change its appearance in order to add, remove or change features, slightly increase or decrease in size (but not mass, unless food intake or mass expelling is performed accordingly) and even to assume a different gender, but, so far, transformations are not yet fine enough for someone to impersonate another individual or for those who were born males to become pregnant.

Additionally, glands that were nanite colonies in the last DS can now be placed in one's genetic code and can even produce the necessary chemicals for regrowing organs or limbs.

Zero-G surgery rooms help machines (all surgery tends to be automated in this DS) reach anywhere in the body of the patient without complication.

War:
Force fields! The walls of a warp bubble are the places where space is bent the most, producing very high compressing forces (called "tidal forces") that can suck matter that lies next to it (or that ht it), crush it with its grinding force and disperse it through the whole extension of the walls. Because of that, ships within warp fields are, to some extent, protected against collision with outside matter, making warp travel not only fast, but also safe from damaging micrometeorites and space debris in general.

By applying to the realm of warp bubbles the same concepts that brought engineered magnetic fields, new machines can be created which generate warp bubbles that are static (they do not move, unless their generator is moved) and can prevent matter from crossing its boundaries... essentially, force shields became a reality.

A force shield will prevent any sort of matter that has mass from crossing its boundaries, so micrometeorites, metallic projectiles and even plasma shots will be absorbed and grinded by the compressing forces that comprise the walls of the warp bubble they are made of. Light will pass through the shield, though, and, if the shield is properly created, only a very subtle oscillation in the light that crosses it will be noticed (objects behind a force shield will be slightly wavy, as if seen through a wall of nearly still water). Because of that, lasers can easily pass through force fields, but lasers are such impractical weapons, since it is extremely easy to make a surface to be "laser-proof" simply by applying a reflective coating to it (in fact, most military and even civilian craft come with such coating under the paint, for safety), that this is not even considered a downside of the technology.

Force shields can be made of all sizes and shapes, being bubbles the most usual and easy to create, but domes and even more complex shapes (following the shape of a vehicle, as an example) are also possible and even common. Openings can be made in the shield and that is the most usual way of shooting through it, since no matter can pass through the walls of the shield, no matter if it comes from the inside or from the outside. That, unfortunately, leaves the weapon itself unprotected. Also, domes usually have a force shield as a "roof", since a shield touching the ground would dig though it, burying the dome and whatever lied inside.

Force shields are far fro indestructible, though, and are directly connected to the nanoscale plates of their generator. Every time a force shield is hit, part of the energy of the disturbance created by the impact reaches the generator, forcing its plates into disarray. If the disturbance is high enough, the plates begin to lose coherence and may even be entirely removed from their parallel arrangement, effectively turning off the force shield. A shield may be in the following states, concerning the level of disturbance it suffers, usually due to attack:

Stable: The shield is in perfect state and can be trivially seen through, only a small "waving" will be notice from the inside and from the outside.

Pressed: The walls of the shield are compressed due to heavy impact, making the shield tremble just a little.

Disturbed: The walls of the shield wave like water and image is distorted accordingly. This is due to the movement of the plates in the generator, hit by the backlash of the impact suffered by the walls.

Flickering: The waving pattern is that of troubled water, the image of what is behind the shield can no longer be seen without computer correction and the shield itself quickly appears and disappears. The plates in the generator vibrate wildly and many lost coherence.

Down: The plates of the generator completely lost coherence and the shield is down, no longer existing and, for that, no longer offering protection. Cheap shield generators are destroyed in this case, but normal ones have their plates made over adaptive nanoscale machines that will return them to a parallel position once their vibration is reduced to sustainable levels, slowly regenerating the shield to the flickering state, then, if no longer suffering heavy impact, to the disturbed state, then to pressed state and finally back to the stable state. Expensive shield generators can have engineered magnetic fields that press slightly against the nanoscale plates when the shield is down, reducing their vibration and helping the nanoscale machines to lead the plates back to the parallel position, such types of shield passing from down to disturbed and then to stable, instead of crossing all levels in their way back to full health.

On what comes to weapons, plasma projectiles now have nanoscale plates formed inside them (from solidified plasma), creating a warp field that propels them forward at slower than light speeds (actually only a bit faster than regular projectiles, since the bubbles are designed to be strong, not to go fast). Such projectiles take the advantage of having tidal force walls and, because of that, being able to penetrate a little in their targets, one thing that previous plasma weapons could not properly do.

When a projectile hits a target, the first thing that happens is that the target is hit by the walls of the warp bubble, being forced into quick compression and, usually, crumbling locally, generating a weak spot that becomes a small hole, through which the plasma projectile inside the bubble passes. As the bubble penetrates the target, its walls suffer disturbance and, at some point, the warp bubble crumbles. When this happens, the superheated plasma projectile touches the inside of the target, causing an explosion, just like it happened to regular plasma projectiles of the past.

Unprotected living beings hit by such weapons will suffer much more than they would if hit by a plasma weapon of the past, as burning and explosion will usually happen from the inside.

When hitting a shielded target, what really matters is not the plasma projectile (that is very easily grinded by the walls, dispersing its heat through a large surface - and heat is irrelevant to walls of gravity, anyway), but the warp bubble to carries it. Plasma weapons of this DS (with warp bubbles) will be able to put shields down with a large number of shots, being a rifle able to put the shields of a flying car down after sixteen good shots. Plasma weapons of previous DSs will have a really hard time taking down shielded targets, as they will only hit through the holes in the shield, made for letting weapons fire from within it.

In this case, chemically or magnetically projected metallic projectiles have again an advantage, railgun rifles being able to take down the shield of a flying car if a long barrage of fire hits it.

Because of the necessity to create an intricate pattern in the plasma projectile as it coalesces, plasma weapons of this DS will have a smaller rate of fire than they would if no warp bubble was to be formed and some weapons have special sensors and the weapon's computer automatically switches between regular and warp plasma shots, using the former to shoot at unshielded targets with very high rate of fire, and the later to take down shields. Such weapons are a bit larger than regular plasma weapons, since they will have railgun structures to propel "naked" plasma projectiles. Civilian weapons are usually only regular plasma weapons, as civilians are usually not entitled to fight shielded targets.

At war, robots are the most used canon-fodder - as they are easily and cheaply replaced - but artificial intelligence, despite having stronger firepower and absolute, fearless resolve, still lack the insight and wits of a sentient mind, so, despite having robots shooting, armies still have people issuing orders.

Last edited by ProfPaulBlemma; 07-09-2016 at 10:02 PM.
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