How do you stall technological advance

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
September 24, 2014 - 6:26am
So I've been thinking a bit about this lately and wanted to get your ideas on it.  What factors, influences, and/or conditions would work to limit the rate of technological advance of a modern (already technological) society over long timescales (i.e. decades/centuries).  What could cause the technology to remain relatively stagnant for decades?  I have some ideas and want to hear yours.  Chime in below.
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Comments:

Jaxon's picture
Jaxon
September 24, 2014 - 6:44am
Usually society makes jumps forward during: 

1) times of war ex: WWII - tomahawk missile, jets ,etc; does society make a drastic change. 
2) Other times it is up to the inventors - like flight and the Wright brothers. 
3) Other times it is through competition i.e. the space race between USA & USSR. 

Without these factors (off the top of my head) - there would be no advancement.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
September 24, 2014 - 5:29pm
ITEM 1) This is an excellent question and I've muse on this in connection with the sathar. they decimated volturnus 900 years before the Volturnus series and return 900 years latter with pretty much the same tech. Clearly, they dont innovate.

What would make sense to me on that is that they inherited their tech from someone else that they possibly overthrew and have not ever needed to worry about innovation in a millenia until they encountered the core four and the Rim races. They have simply do things the way they have allways done things. Clans that innovate make the other clans nervous and could suffer a progrom.

This could also be the core to their "shiva response" where they wipe out a technological civilization. They fear the potential of a civilization that can innovate that they have this extreme response to it.

So for the sathar its a societal control mechanism.

ITEM 2) In a David Weber novel it was religious belief that technology was bad but the group of humans that fled earth without knowing what their destination held discovered a world rish in heavy metals and they needed technology to survive so that a leader had the revelation that technology was not bad but the wrong use of technology was bad. In this situation the church would weigh in on technological advances.

ITEM 3) Jaxon is right about war driving innovation- there is a good book titled Science Goes to War and documents how warfare drove scientific advances for 1000's of years. I recommend it as a good read that kept my interests ( the author presented it as the story of scientific advance and that kept me turning pages)


I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

iggy's picture
iggy
September 24, 2014 - 6:20pm
Economic collapse:  A society that collapses economically causes the people to go back to subsistance living and advancements are too risky to spend time on when feeding and clothing oneself are paramount.  The last days of the Solviet Union can be said to have started into this.  Rome was this for the people in the far off regions of Europe and their societies took a step back into the dark ages for a bit.

Stifiling Government:  A dictitorial government that focusses on control rather than freedom.  This government sticks to the tried and true to keep control of power and the people.  Anyone that inovates is a threat to that power and control.  North Kroea can be said to be a bit like this.  Without outside influence from neighbours they would be way behind.  Some religious governments have taken this stand such as the Taliban.  They will use outside inovations to keep control but they are not inovating themselves.  Put a control freak government into isolation and this stagnation is easy to do.

War:  The flip side of what has previously been mentioned sbout war.  Societies have been known to go to such extreems of war anilating each other that the survivors end up not being able to run the infrastructure left and so they go to maintaining or worse to falling back to lower levels.
-iggy

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
September 24, 2014 - 8:58pm
Marketing.

Harley Davidson has been quite successful at selling 1909 technology at tomorrow's prices. Okay, I'm being generous, but 1909 was the year they doubled the number of cylinders in their motors. Technically those motors are no more advanced than their first year 1903 counterparts.
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Ascent's picture
Ascent
September 25, 2014 - 6:30am
Good points here. These are all the things I would have said. So let's take each advance and speculate on what would stop it. I would stifle the subject through one of the means following it, below:

War. No political divisions/decentralized self-governance, Competition is offensive (Religious or honor system), or utopia.
Political Competition. Competition is offensive (Religious or honor system), no political divisions/decentralized self-governance, or utopia.
Market Competition/Economic Diversity. Competition is offensive (Religious or Honor system), worldwide central religious tenet, or utopia.
Atheism/Agnosticism. Competition is offensive (Religious or honor system), or utopia.
Inventive Drive.
Innovation as a Way of Life. Innovation is bad (Religious or political).

If I missed anything, feel free to add to it.

I would say "Innovation is bad (Religious or political)", "no political divisions/decentralized self-governance" and "Competition is offensive (Religious or honor system)" all together would pretty much stifle any creativity. Thus, I believe the dictatorship model, described by iggy, would be the best. Korea under Mau would be an example of just such a government in an agnostic/pantheistic setting. Denial of individuality through absolute conformity stifles creativity like nothing else. Like the Sathar, they could learn new state-approved technologies from other cultures, but never invent.
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Abub's picture
Abub
September 25, 2014 - 10:12am
Also... let me point out this one thing...


The Human spirit, Human Nature, a Drive for competion, all drive technology.

Another race, from far off worlds might just not have these qualities.  It was Humans who built Space Fleet, perhaps to conqure the other three races, but more likely just because thier cometitive nature made them want to be ready to defend against being conqured.

Vrusks extreemly orderly sociaty while having a business nature to it might not have the same drive humans bring to business (everything is bogged down in buricratic process).  Yatzerians while war like also have a deep bloodlust and enjoy on some primal level the savagry of killing up close and personal.  Dralasites well... they might be paralized a little by the achedemic ponderance of every facet of developments and thus proceed slower.

I don't know if you are dealing with a new adventure specific race, but simply put they might not have the biological or cultural drive to speed advancement.

So... in summary... how we experience advancement might not be a shared quality with other planet's indigeonous peoples, they are not humans.
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Ascent's picture
Ascent
September 25, 2014 - 11:49am
The need for tedious perfection and absolute safety before bringing something to market might also slow progress. Makes for better and safer technology, probably even earning them a reputation for quality, but also keeping them from advancing much. They could even be the oldest of the races, but because of their perfectionism, they advance very slowly.
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KRingway's picture
KRingway
September 26, 2014 - 1:32am
War doesn't necessarily make technology leap forward. There was plenty of war during the medieval period but it was not a driving force for technological advancement, mostly because the societies of the time had strict heirarchies and curtailed freedoms. At the same time, you might have high technology coming from warfare but still have it being subject to a wider problematic economic model (i.e. a command economy). Such things happened in Germany and the Soviet Union during WWII.

Aside from that, technological advances can also be stalled in freer and/or more economically liberalised societies simply because certain forces within their economies hold monopolies. Here in the UK, for example, the spread of high-speed broadband for everyone is being strangled by the fact that one company pretty much dominates the telephonic/internet infrastructure. So you might only be able to go so far down a technological path before whoever controls access to that path makes the trip too difficult or not worthwhile. The controller can pretty much dictate things, which slows things down.

Another factor is cost. Some technologies may have such an enormous price tag attached to them that they become more and more redundant as an option. So there might be all sorts of useful technologies being developed but no-one can afford them in any sustained way. The apparent price may be somewhat artificial and subject to the business & precurement model of the society in which its being developed. Recently, such factors have started to surface with private space companies in the US but in general it such factors have plagued various leading economies here on Earth.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
September 26, 2014 - 6:11am
Abub wrote:
The Human spirit, Human Nature, a Drive for competion, all drive technology.

That all depends on the human. Or more accurately, the human society.

Again, referencing Harley Davidson --- they sell more motorcycles per year than any other manufacturer and do so by offering a niche market: they sell only ONE type of bike whereas the other manufacturers offer multiple types (cruisers, sport bikes, standards, dual sports, motocross, etc). They are successful at selling their antiquated designs because they aren't selling motorcycles, they're selling a lifestyle. 

"Buy American" (they're just as foreign as their foreign competitors).
"Freedom" (it's a tag line they practically patented, apparently their bikes offer a sense of freedom no other bike can. Oh, wait...it's the next step of "Buy American"...as Americans we're "free" so buy our no longer American made product.)
"Lifestyle" (the bad boy outlaw bikers we at the Motor Company once detested so much.)

The list goes on. That bar & shield logo of theirs is on everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING, up to and including feminine hygiene products (I wish I was kidding). It's a household name and you can't avoid it no matter how hard you try. If you know nothing of motorcycles you know of Harley Davidson. If you know nothing of motorcycles and just mention that you're interested in buying one, the first words out of any of your similar non-motorcycle knowledge based buddys' mouths are "Gotta get a Harley, dude!"

And the sad fact is every time the Motor Company tries to embrace technology, it flops. No matter the age demographic of interested buyers, the ones who buy into the lifestyle reject any technological advances. Upside down forks, monoshock rear suspension, 6 piston brakes...forget it. Liquid cooling, more than one intake or exhaust valve, separate con rods for the pistons (they share a common crankpin...it's one bearing with two rods on it), anything that can and will improve performance...forget it. Make it big, make it heavy, make it a slug, that's what they want. It's a miracle that they got away with fuel injection and anti-lock brakes in recent years, and an equally large feat that they discontinued their century old spirnger fork in recent years as well.

But that's what their buyers want, and they're the majority. And you'll never convince them that those overweight underpowered behemoths are inferior to anything modern, because they have bought into that lifestyle hook, line, & sinker. And that majority spirit/nature/competitive drive is NOT driving for anything resembling an advance in technology.

All due to a marketing campaign that EVERY business that actually offers something beneficial envies with a passion. Think about it: if TSR had just 1% of that kind of marketing success, even Lorraine Williams could not have ruined them...and we would be buying readily available copies of Chainmail or any other TSR product in its umpteenth printing today.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

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Jaxon's picture
Jaxon
September 26, 2014 - 7:05am
True!

Abub's picture
Abub
September 26, 2014 - 9:28am
I dispute your claim that the middle ages didn't improve technology.  All sorts of tech changes happened during the middle ages.

And while come human cultures foster the human spirit with freedom and competition and others retard it with oppression and collectivism... still the people always strive for what is possible.  They always wish for more or something better even if they fail to achieve it.  I stick by my statement that it is a HUMAN quality of our spirit which just might not be there in another planet's people.
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Ascent's picture
Ascent
September 26, 2014 - 10:49am
KRingway wrote:
War doesn't necessarily make technology leap forward. There was plenty of war during the medieval period but it was not a driving force for technological advancement, mostly because the societies of the time had strict heirarchies and curtailed freedoms. At the same time, you might have high technology coming from warfare but still have it being subject to a wider problematic economic model (i.e. a command economy). Such things happened in Germany and the Soviet Union during WWII.
Actually, I've done a study on this subject and there is indeed technological advancement with every war. It's just that it is not so opaque to modern observers. You look at history and think: spears, shields, chainmail, and think that hardly anything changed for 4,000 years, but the reality is, though subtle to our jaded eyes, that technological advancement of the time was quite pronounced to warriors in those days.

Not to go into too much detail, but the tools and their materials improved and were fine tuned and branched off into many categories. Swords did not develop into 4' steal blades for many years, true, but did you know that both the two-edged longsword and great sword originated in Rome? Or that full body platemail originated in Rome? But back then, they used iron, steal was only just discovered and very expensive. But steal underwent substantial changes and strengthening and lightening over the years until they were finally able to produce the epee. Shields underwent great advancement through the Persian and Greek eras. African tribes improved upon their shields during the tribal wars of the 1700-1800's, as well as invented several combat styles and weapons that are still in use today even by American troops.

The rule of producing a product to overcome another has always been in place. The problem is that invention did not start gaining strength until the Persians. From then on, siege engines, battering rams, armor and catapults saw regular improvement, as well as inventing new ways to cause mass destruction. All of it saw regular improvement.

When people fear the strength of an approaching army, they will always seek out new ways to advance. Sometimes it is not always physical advancement, but strategic advancement. In one way or another advancement always takes place in war. Trust me, it is law. You either advance or perish.

"Techno" means 'art and knowledge'. "Teche", or art, is the skill used. "Gnosis", or knowledge, is the understanding. Both improve in war because every available brain is applied to it in order to win. The reason it is so fast today is because there are other types of wars taking place than those causing death. Corporate marketing wars and political cold wars cause advancement. These are things we did not have before America became an independent nation. Now they drive technology like physical war never did. And once the circuit was invented, a whole new realm of possibilities opened up. If Archimedes had succeeded in promoting his computer, the technological advancement of today would have taken place in ancient Greece or even Sicily.
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Ascent's picture
Ascent
September 26, 2014 - 10:56am
That reminds me, it is the corporate marketing wars that, if they did not exist, there would be very little advancement. It is thanks to corporations that computer technology has advanced as far as it has in the last 30 years. Without saying to a business that they have to make financial advancement or be shut down, and promoting competition and nixing monopolies, there would be no corporate marketing wars and the resulting technological advancement would never be.

Take away corporations and you take away high speed advancement.
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KRingway's picture
KRingway
September 27, 2014 - 2:14am
Ascent - I understand what you mean, but my point was about technology across the wider society. So yes, the technology of weapons, defences and warfare advanced in reaction to various pressures, but the rest of the society producing such things did not evolve in any great way because of it. It's true enough that in more modern times there was a trickle-down effect from military technology into the non-military world, but this has not been the case across history all of the time. The societal structures, values and pressures produced different outcomes in earlier periods.

As for corporations, it's not a given that they are the sole driving force of advancement. The State might also be the driver of such forces, but it depends on the state and how much control it has over the economy.

KRingway's picture
KRingway
September 27, 2014 - 2:17am
Abub wrote:
I dispute your claim that the middle ages didn't improve technology.  All sorts of tech changes happened during the middle ages.


That wasn't my point ;) Sure, there was a whole variety of advancements but they didn't necessarily stem from warfare.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
September 27, 2014 - 2:19am
The mega corps, as presented in Zebs, all have a monopoly all their own. So what happens when someone has a monopoly and faces no competition?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Ascent's picture
Ascent
September 27, 2014 - 7:42am
KRingway wrote:
Ascent - I understand what you mean, but my point was about technology across the wider society. So yes, the technology of weapons, defences and warfare advanced in reaction to various pressures, but the rest of the society producing such things did not evolve in any great way because of it. It's true enough that in more modern times there was a trickle-down effect from military technology into the non-military world, but this has not been the case across history all of the time. The societal structures, values and pressures produced different outcomes in earlier periods.

As for corporations, it's not a given that they are the sole driving force of advancement. The State might also be the driver of such forces, but it depends on the state and how much control it has over the economy.
What I pointed out about the changes being more subtle also applies in the surrounding social structures. Materials and processes improved. With the introduction of siege engines came moble scaffolding. With the introduction of steel came sharper and more effective farming, butchery and smithing equipment. With padded leather came quilting. Arts and humanities improved as a result as well. Don't forget, the peasantry were the armies. So whatever they learned from the military they applied in their personal ventures.

It is simply the lack of inventive spirit that we do not see too many new devices over the ages. And with monarchies and feudal powers, the peasants saw very little of the benefits over that time. Even into the 19th century, the peasantry were still predominantly working with raw materials rather than processed ones, for instance raw iron instead of steel. But look at the nobility and those serving them and you will see the advances more readily. But you have to look at the little things, not the big picture. Looking at the big picture, yes, things remained the same for thousands of years. The widespread spirit of invention came only after the introduction of corporations and democracies. (Democracies because they promote the individual and self-determination and reduced the caste mentality.)
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Ascent's picture
Ascent
September 27, 2014 - 7:58am
jedion357 wrote:
The mega corps, as presented in Zebs, all have a monopoly all their own. So what happens when someone has a monopoly and faces no competition?
Actually, only Zeb's mentions a monopoly by PGC, but neither Alpha Dawn nor Knight Hawks mention such a monopoly. On the contrary, small corporations were able to rise up in PGC's presence. PGC did not have a monopoly on anything. In fact, Alpha Dawn points out that they were quite diversified. Zeb's itself says that there were half a dozen of such companies, therefore contradicting itself. The smaller corporations were simply not able to reach PGC's level of interstellar commerce. Usually, the first on the scene remains the biggest and it takes a massive internal schism to change that. So the breaking the back of PGC was not a matter of breaking a monopoly as Zeb's clams, but a breaking of marketing dominance. Alpha Dawn appears to imply that the introduction of the Sathar in the first Sathar war changed things in that matter.

That isn't to say that the Zeb's material is useless. Actually, it is very useful for historical purposes of how PGC lost some of its power, but just disregard any mention of PGC having a monopoly. Clearly they did not.
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KRingway's picture
KRingway
September 27, 2014 - 8:59am
Ascent wrote:
It is simply the lack of inventive spirit that we do not see too many new devices over the ages. And with monarchies and feudal powers, the peasants saw very little of the benefits over that time. Even into the 19th century, the peasantry were still predominantly working with raw materials rather than processed ones, for instance raw iron instead of steel. But look at the nobility and those serving them and you will see the advances more readily. But you have to look at the little things, not the big picture. Looking at the big picture, yes, things remained the same for thousands of years. The widespread spirit of invention came only after the introduction of corporations and democracies. (Democracies because they promote the individual and self-determination and reduced the caste mentality.)


Which is why I noted in my initial post that 'the societies of the time had strict heirarchies and curtailed freedoms.' Wink Those that control a society also control the technology, to some extent.

Ascent's picture
Ascent
September 27, 2014 - 9:17am
In that case, well-said. (Even though it was I who expressed how. Tongue out )
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Jaxon's picture
Jaxon
September 27, 2014 - 10:01am
Ascent wrote:
KRingway wrote:
War doesn't necessarily make technology leap forward. There was plenty of war during the medieval period but it was not a driving force for technological advancement, mostly because the societies of the time had strict heirarchies and curtailed freedoms. At the same time, you might have high technology coming from warfare but still have it being subject to a wider problematic economic model (i.e. a command economy). Such things happened in Germany and the Soviet Union during WWII.

 
Actually, I've done a study on this subject and there is indeed technological advancement with every war. 

Ascent you are right! How did we get the longbow, crossbow, gunpowder - leaps forward in the medieval time period.

After WW 2 there was a great debate between the Allies as to what to do with the information the Nazis garnered from their experiments; ex: submitting hundreds of Jews to freezing water to develop clothing to resist the temperatures in the North Sea for their pilots. After much debate, the information was shared as spoils of war. We do you think we got the modern US Army helmet, the Tomahawk, the survival suit for oil rig crews, fishermen, etc. All this technology was started back then that we use now.

The question is - how long does it take take idea - invention - production - mass issue AND civilian adaptation! Many things created for war are then adapted for civilian use, ex: blood clotting field dressing, etc.

Now, if it take decades to go from invention to mass issue, there is not really a stagnation and stifling. BUT, if you are talking about....100 years, 300 years - well that may be such a slow process as to be viewed by others as stagnation and stifling.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
September 30, 2014 - 6:28am
Ascent wrote:
jedion357 wrote:
The mega corps, as presented in Zebs, all have a monopoly all their own. So what happens when someone has a monopoly and faces no competition?
Actually, only Zeb's mentions a monopoly by PGC, but neither Alpha Dawn nor Knight Hawks mention such a monopoly. On the contrary, small corporations were able to rise up in PGC's presence. PGC did not have a monopoly on anything. In fact, Alpha Dawn points out that they were quite diversified. Zeb's itself says that there were half a dozen of such companies, therefore contradicting itself. The smaller corporations were simply not able to reach PGC's level of interstellar commerce. Usually, the first on the scene remains the biggest and it takes a massive internal schism to change that. So the breaking the back of PGC was not a matter of breaking a monopoly as Zeb's clams, but a breaking of marketing dominance. Alpha Dawn appears to imply that the introduction of the Sathar in the first Sathar war changed things in that matter.

That isn't to say that the Zeb's material is useless. Actually, it is very useful for historical purposes of how PGC lost some of its power, but just disregard any mention of PGC having a monopoly. Clearly they did not.


Zebulon's Guide wrote:

Prominent Mega-Corps

...The first five mega-corps (PGC, Streel, CDC, GTF, and MercCo) share control over their respective areas and are in constant conflict with each other.

The remaining mega-corps have significant control of their respective areas (60% to 70% control of their industry). Although they are involved in armed conflict with smaller companies and pirates, they seldom battle each other for possession of land, mineral resources, conflict of interest, etc. They have no set allies or enemies.


I misremembered but still many of the newer mega corps are monopolies that have edged out PGC out of their focus industry if PGC was involved in it to start with. For instance WarTech and TransTravel undoubtably took major market share away from PGC.

Whats interesting is that PGC has gone from being the mega Wal-mart or Mega-Sear&Roebuck of the Frontier to just another players where other players have clearly made big dents in its industries and markets. No doubt at some point PGC decided to divest of certain areas/industries/ markets like space ship travel- expense and liabilities were hammering the bottom line and smaller/younger operations were also making a dent such that PGC simply decided to get out of the carrying trade and TT expanded to fill the vacuum left by PGCs retreat.

Also the paragraph on each mega corp details what that mega-corp's industry/market or focus is and there is no real overlap though we are told there is overlap for the first 5 listed. to be fair GTF and MercCo overlap is more about providing the mercenary muscle for PGC and Streel. CDC, it would seem has an inhouse mercenary department. I suppose you could say that GTF and MercCo overlap in that their businesses provide warm bodies for fulfill positions for the other megacorps but I cant see them shooting each other up over it- its that they are simply closely allied with the two biggest competitors.

EDIT: its almost as if the story of PGC is that of decline in the modern Frontier.
Sure it fought and won Laco's War for control of the tetrach pyramids but at what costs?
Its lost significant market share in numerous areas to upstart megacorps and is a shell of its former self.
Still powerful and dangerous to have as an enemy but a shell of the PGC of the past

Even its PGC towers, built as a statement of its prestige have a problem with swaying in high winds.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Ascent's picture
Ascent
September 30, 2014 - 8:22am
I'm afraid you fail to understand what a "monopoly" is, just as Kim Eastland did. (Please look up the definition. It means to have exclusive control, without any competition.) They may have had monopolies on this world or that, but they at no time had a monopoly on the Frontier as a whole. They had control of the market, but not a monopoly. A company can have monopolistic pracitices, but not have a monopoly.

Alpha Dawn and Knight Hawks both mention smaller competitors up against PGC. PGC was simply the first to establish Frontier-wide interstellar trade. There were other interstellar traders, just not Frontier-wide. Neither Alpha Dawn nor Knight Hawks provides a list of goods and services for PGC, and they do not indicate a clear demarcation of products. Since Kim Eastland has the misunderstanding of a monopoly, or at least failed to see that there was no monopoly, his descriptions of the megacorps is flawed as well. Streel was a direct competitor to PGC. ("This is the #2 business in the Frontier, and it aggressively seeks to outdo the PGC. The Streel Corporation does not have as many offices as the PGC, but where it does have offices, SC actively tries to eliminate competition. Its tactics are often brutal, but effective." --Knight Hawks Campaign Book)
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jedion357's picture
jedion357
September 30, 2014 - 10:49am
As I said, "I misrenembered Zebs," I know what the monopoly means. However, with that kind of market control they effectively become monopolies in may places where smaller competitors have not penetrated the market. What is interesting to me and highly unlikely that there would not be conflict and competion between PGC and WarTech or the robotics mega corp- these newer mega corps are allowed to dominate a whole market and their giant predicessors abdicate the field? OK maybe just PGC abdicated.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Ascent's picture
Ascent
September 30, 2014 - 12:40pm
Again, it's best to avoid Zeb's presupposition. For each of those megacorps, we can take the same viewpoint as with PGC. They may have strong market control for their products, and may have monopolies on some worlds, but not likely on every world. Just because the competition is not mentioned does not mean that there is none. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

In fact, the core worlds are likely to have stronger monopoly laws and seek to have varieties of products. It is not likely that they would tolerate just one brand that they have to pay through the nose for. Remember, too, that the corporate wars of Knight Hawks took place for a reason.
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Jaxon's picture
Jaxon
September 30, 2014 - 2:07pm
True concerning "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"

"In fact, the core worlds are likely to have stronger monopoly laws and seek to have varieties of products."

Not true as each planet is different. I could see the Family of One endorsing high priced products from different monpolies ESPECIALLY if those companies endorsed or provided support to the FoO.
On other planets like, Pan-Gal and Devco, those are company planets and most likely - you will only get company approved supplies and equipment! PGC is not going to provide the people in Pan-Gal with supplies made from Streel, CDC, etc!!!!!!

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
September 30, 2014 - 3:08pm
Now that we've discussed generalities, let's focus on the Frontier.  Assuming you subscribe to the Zeb's Guide timeline (which I don't completely but that's not important), the first star system in the Frontier, Terldrom, was discovered (and I take that to mean colonized) in 302 pf.  The last one, White Light, was discovered in 60 pf.  So even if you base it just off of that last date, it's 60 years from colonization of Clarion to the formation of the UPF and another 80 to the Second Sathar War.  That's 140 years of potential technological advance.  During which FTL travel and subspace radios presumably existed.  How do you take a space-faring culture  (even assuming 1950's tech for most stuff) and keep the tech level barely to 1980's level (yes there are a few exceptions) over 140 years?  140 years ago on earth was just after the US Civil War, we've come a long way since then.

My personal opinion is that the game designers just didn't think about it.  They had tech they wanted in the game and a history and didn't think about implications.  Or maybe didn't realize the growth potential as we've come a very long way just since the game was written.  But that doesn't make good backstory.  The the question now is, how do you keep the Frontier more or less stagnant technology-wise or at least on a very slow growth curve?  And what did it look like at the First Sathar War and at the colonization of Clarion?
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Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
September 30, 2014 - 6:08pm
TerlObar wrote:
How do you take a space-faring culture  (even assuming 1950's tech for most stuff) and keep the tech level barely to 1980's level (yes there are a few exceptions) over 140 years?  140 years ago on earth was just after the US Civil War, we've come a long way since then.

As the first established and leading mega-corp, the Pan Galacticson marketing campaign is one that every business in the Frontier has envied for two centuries. Yesterday's technology at tomorrow's prices...it's more powerful than you can imagine. Wink
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

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TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
September 30, 2014 - 6:28pm
I definitely agree that that is part of it.
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Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

jedion357's picture
jedion357
September 30, 2014 - 6:47pm
Technological advances can be incrimental over time for example you could say we had grenade launchers in the 60's as well as today and for the most part they do the same thing but... there have been some changes- better sights rottary deluxe models.

sure you can still find models that are essentially the 1960's model and it does essentally the same thing as a more modern model- explosive ordinance goes down range and goes bang. you can model this in game by changing the melee modifier on a melee weapon over time.

To some extent you could say the knife/ vibro-knife / sonic knife represent technological improvements but clearly regular knives will remain around despite the presence of sonic knives. at some point the referee can introduce mono filament knives as the latest improvement on knife technology. Perhaps sonic knives are not around during SW1 and represent cutting edge during the "age of adventure"

I've said it before that we need 3 equipment lists: circa SW1, Circa SW2 and circa 90 FY
Part of simulating technological change would be changing equipment's stats or capabilitys: for example a Model 1 laser rifle (circa SW1) might be limited to 1-5 SEU for damage setting, a Model 2 would be 1-10 SEU and a Model 3 would have the 1-20 SEU setting per shot. You might also tinker with range on the different models to show greater capability over time as well.



I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!