Talk:Tech Level Comparison Chart

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Links (2017)[edit]

  1. External Link: GURPS TL's
  2. External Link: Ultimate Engineered Solar System
  3. External Link: Tech Level 4 space ships.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 14:41, 5 May 2017 (EDT)

Notes (2017)[edit]

Actually the chart is not entirely wrong...GURPS 4e explained TLs like this:

"The innovations of a given TL fade as those of higher TLs displace them, but they rarely vanish completely. A blacksmith in 1850s England uses TL3 techniques to shoe the horses that pull the carriage the gentleman rides to catch his TL5 train to London – and those techniques might still exist in TL8, albeit as a quaint hobby." B511
It also introduced the concept of split technologies: TLPrimary (fields, TLSecondary). Example: TL8 (Communications TL7, Medical TL9). For societies more or less advanced in some fields.
That said there are many things wrong with the chart. Video Telephone and Flat Screen fpr instance showed up at GTL7 not 9. There are many other wonky match ups. Make me wonder if the main source knew what it was doing in matching up Traveler and GURPS TLs.
- BruceGrubb (talk) 11:14, 4 July 2017 (EDT)

Tjoneslo worked on many GURPS Trav projects so he may have special insights to the mindset of the design and playtest team.
What is for sure is that the GURPS Trav team put design principles that advocated GURPS SPACE rule details over those of Classic Traveller. In numerous cases, GURPS SPACE principles appear to overrun or overwhelm Classic Traveller ideas while co-opting them.
Overall, I really like the GURPS SPACE and GURPS Trav products, but they often provide conflict with more conventional Traveller sci-fi.
By the way BruceGrubb, thank you so much for your edits. They are really appreciated. The wiki team is small and we can use all of the help that we can get.
BruceGrubb, please contact me at CotI so we can exchange e-mails and cell phone numbers. Do not so it here as otherwise bots might pick up your data and SPAM you. One of those situations where fiction and reality overlap. If you exchange data with me at CotI, I can keep you apprised of Traveller products in progress and invite you to participate in various community efforts.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 11:26, 4 July 2017 (EDT)

"The Traveller universe makes certain assumptions about future technology. In GURPS terms, the fundamental technologies listed in the Basic Set (see Tech Level by Field, p. B512) never advance any further than TL9 (or in some cases TL10)." (GURPS 4e Traveller Interstellar Wars pg 159) The final sentence in that paragraph ("Interstellar Wars uses TL11+ to represent advanced levels of these superscience fields, layered over the stable TL9-10 situation.") shows the GURPS Trav team didn't quite understand the meaning and use of the superscience (^) designation and instead cranked up the TL (The same problem is seen in GURPS Prime Directive)
"By definition, it is impossible to set a firm TL for superscience – we might discover faster-than-light travel tomorrow, a thousand years from now, or never. Equipment TLs are always debatable, but superscience TLs are arbitrary. To reflect this, the rules give the TL of superscience developments as “^” instead of a number. (sic; GURPS 4e Basic Set pg 513-514)
For example, Lules Verne's Nautilus is powered by sodium/mercury batteries NOT but nuclear power...but they are cinematic in how they function. Of the many possible way to describe Verne's Nautilus, TL(5+1)^ is the best option rather then the TL7 everyone tends to assign to the ship.
Interestingly, GURPS 4e Traveller Interstellar Wars does acknowledge different tech:
  • "Vilani computers, sensors, communicators, and other electronic devices are all considered to be at TL(6+4), roughly equivalent to Terran TL10 but based on completely different principles." (pg 161)
  • The Imperial Standard for Robotics is limited to TL(6+1) (pg 161)
The fact they assigned TL to Jump technology (pg 191) shows they effectively ignored what superscience in GURPS means. By the TL rules there is nothing preventing one from slapping a Jump-3 on an early TL9 ship and have it work.
--BruceGrubb (talk) 10:48, 13 October 2017 (EDT)

Thanks, Bruce!

  • I have now poured over your writing.
  • Please send me your cell, Bruce. Let's talk. I love your ideas and insights.
  • I should learn from you.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 11:31, 13 October 2017 (EDT)

Don't have a cell and my knowledge of the Traveler universe is minimal at best but the guts of what I do is as follows:

Discounting all superscience tech determine what is the minimal TL required to get things working and use superscience to address any TL hiccups.
If you are interested I suggest looking at Worlds of Infinite Worlds for a rough idea on how the superscience lable (^) works.
--BruceGrubb (talk) 18:47, 13 October 2017 (EDT)

Please send me an e-mail then. I tried several of your older ones from RPG boards and they all appear to be defunct.

  • Do you have a web site?
  • I already own GURPS and understand what is in the books. I am interested in YOUR take on it, please.
  • I have read your musing at that site for some time now. Was glad to see you come here.
  • The superscience carrot is already annoying the heck out of the old grognards.
  • External Link: [GURPS TL's]
  • Thanks.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 19:21, 13 October 2017 (EDT)

The problem with the superscience "carrot" is that not enough writers have used it. As for my website; it is on convert how to D&D3.5 to GURPS 4

I wrote up a brief page over at GURPS wiki regarding how superscience is under utilized in GURPS. Pay close attention to my comments on Britannica-5 as that is one of the prime example of just how messed up things are.
- BruceGrubb (talk) 07:32, 14 October 2017 (EDT)

Hi Bruce, interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing it.

  • You do not have contact data on your site.
  • Thanks again.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 08:27, 14 October 2017 (EDT)

There are older web pages around but their e-mail went defunct a long time ago.

  • I do on occasion hang out at sjgames under the name maximara and...
  • I have brought up the point regarding superscience TL several times with TL5 Low tech or..? being my latest take on the issue.
  • Superscience versus Higher Tech Levels is where I went into recent detail on the matter.
- BruceGrubb (talk) 12:38, 14 October 2017 (EDT)

If you make it easy to contact you, I will.

  • Otherwise I will thank you for sharing and move on.
  • I don't use the SJG forums much. Enjoy.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 17:43, 14 October 2017 (EDT)

Rutting around I found one of my pages has an e-mail I still use: Mac-FTP-list, HTML Version 4.4.4. Yes, it gets a lot of spam but heck it is one of my first e-mails outside of collage (besides I use it as a back up for my gmail account).

- BruceGrubb (talk) 18:37, 14 October 2017 (EDT)

A Tech Level Comparison Chart that doesn't compare anything (2018)[edit]

This page has become just a Tech Level chart with no comparison to anything in it. In its current form it should be part of the Technology Level page or a meta data of that page. Never mind that we now have two versions of the same charts; one set without the GURPS TLs and other with them. Why?--BruceGrubb (talk) 09:35, 21 July 2018 (EDT)


Thank you for your advice. Please contact me off the site if you would like to chat. Have made several overtures to you.

- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 10:33, 21 July 2018 (EDT)

Power plant output is decanonized (2017)[edit]

The technical references to power output in high-tech powerplants ("fusion" and "antimatter") are not supported in current versions of Traveller, and therefore are irrelevant values. At best they'll be ignored; at worst they will trip people up.

- Rje (talk) 18:40, 18 September 2017 (EDT)

I updated the quality of life table. It should look better.

- Tjoneslo (talk) 07:01, 19 September 2017 (EDT)

Thank you TJLo, that looks better to me.

- Rje (talk) 12:21, 19 September 2017 (EDT)

Was the removal of the MT data ever stated formally anywhere?

T5 doesn't include it, but the rest is basically the same, isn't it? Am I missing something subtle?
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 07:28, 19 September 2017 (EDT)

To your question: NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING IS BASICALLY THE SAME.

Seldom is data formally stated as removed, beyond the fact that new rules are in place:
  1. TNE trumps all of MT's data
  2. T4 then went ahead and changed TNE's data
  3. T5 then of course trumped T4
  4. Note that GURPS also went its own way, independent of the descendants of CT.
Just as we don't use MT chargen or ships in anything but MT, neither do we use MT technology rules in anything but MT.
- Rje (talk) 12:21, 19 September 2017 (EDT)

Allow me a minor thought about what has changed between MT and T5:

Ranges, damage, weapon types, tech levels, examples at various tech levels, maintenance and quality, power, volumes, costs, speed and fuel use, mass, and the list goes on.
I will say that SOME equipment were taken wholesale from MT and ported into T5. However, the scales used to measure things in T5 is coarser for faster approximation, and so the more precise numbers in MT are relegated to particular items rather than the entire class of item types.
- Rje (talk) 12:27, 19 September 2017 (EDT)

Thanks, Rob.

  • Do you have a comprehensive list of what was changed somewhere since it isn't in a published canon source? Is it in Don's errata?
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 08:18, 14 October 2017 (EDT)

The TTL to GTL3 conversion is wrong (2017)[edit]

From the GT Core rule book p.107 sidebar:

TTL    GTL3
0      1-3
1      4
2      5
3      5
4      5
5      6
6      6
7      7
8      8
9      9
10     9
11     9
12    10
13    10
14    11
15    12
16    13

We'll need to update all the tables both in this article and in Technology Level.


Thomas, the system was changed at least twice over the life of GT. I think that the GT core book was the older system. We could footnote that add add two GT columns. Are you sure?

- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 06:34, 15 February 2017 (EST)

This table is copied directly from the GT Core rule book First Edition and matches the same table in the Second Edition. GT:First In refers to the same table. Where did you ever see a second version of that table?
- Tjoneslo (talk) 09:06, 15 February 2017 (EST)

GURPS 4th edition.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 06:30, 15 April 2017 (EDT)

The GURPS 3rd edition and 4th edition rules use a different and incompatible tech scale. There is another discussion above about this issue. There used to be three columns to the table. One for Traveller Tl, one for G3rd, one for G4th.
- 174.199.4.36 06:27, 30 June 2017 (EDT)

For the most part the GURPS 3rd and 4th TLS are very similar until about TL7 so they are not "different and incompatible" until you get to TL8 and higher.
The problem, as my reference to the TL on their wiki shows (and I have the actual books and can confirm these are correct) GURPS put many things in the superscience (^) and divergence technology (x+y) categories in 4th edition but if you follow the link in the GURPS TL page you will see even the GURPS TL3 scale is messed up for the placement of technology.
For example, G3TL 1 has water wheels i e water as an energy source but it is listed as G3TL 4. The listing of Abacus / Geometry, Trigonometry as G3TL 4 is another mess up as Geometry and Trigonometry both appeared in the time of ancient Greece aka in the Bronze age which is stated as being TL1. Printing is expressly stated as a TL4 in both G3 and G4th for for some reason is listed as TL5. IMHO the TL comparison chart is completely messed up and needs major retooling.
Superscience is a real bugaboo as you can have space travel way before the "normal" TL. For instance, Azoth-7 is a TL(4+2) some TL4^ space and weapons reality. Jump Drive for example, is a FTL transportation and therefor a Superscience that could happen at any TL in GURPS 4e
- BruceGrubb (talk) 20:17, 1 July 2017 (EDT)

Thanks, Bruce!

  • Great insights.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 08:19, 14 October 2017 (EDT)

Notes (2016)[edit]

  1. External Link: Technology Level Chronology
  2. External Link: Tech Levels and Year

Sources (2015)[edit]

Though it may be obvious to long time players, it's not obvious to everyone. The TTL info seems to come mostly from the MT Ref Companion, but what other sources were used? Each edition of Traveller has made some adjustments to the tech charts. The G4T info can only come from GTISW, but what about the GT(3) info? Which book(s) explain it?

A simple list of sources at the end of the article would go a long way.

Electricity available before Coal and Steam? (2013)[edit]

Not sure that makes much sense...

Sure it does. Use either the water power (from two TL earlier) or wind (from the previous TL) to generate the electrical power. Mostly I think this is thinking of using a galvanic battery to run small system. The real advantage of coal+steam is you can mount the engine on a mobile platform.
- Tjoneslo (talk) 10:49, 18 November 2013 (EST)

Self-aware starships (2010)[edit]

These should be available at the same TL as "Low artificial intelligence" or "High artificial intelligence", depending on what the difference between these is. Deliberate AI normally appears at GURPS 3rd edition TL 10, BTW, with "neural-net" computers (capable of learning) appearing at TL 8. Allens 23:15, June 23, 2010 (UTC)


The GURPS standard technology scale never interacted well with the Traveller one. If you read some of the sidebars in the GURPS Traveller book, they try and reconcile the differences some. But altering the GURPS TL scale was never clearly defined in GURPS 3rd. GURPS 4th does a better job of defining their TL scale to be flexible. Tjoneslo 04:39, June 26, 2010 (UTC)

I understand about the GURPS TL scale; thanks! I'm still confused on why "self-aware starships" and "artificial intelligence" would appear at different tech levels. Allens 14:02, June 30, 2010 (UTC)

It has to do with the order in which the the Traveller (not GURPS) TL evolved. The low/high AI comes from Book 8 (Robots), where the the self-aware starships comes from (I think) one of the early adventures (i.e. long before Book 8). The discrepancy was never cleaned up. The entirety of the computer rules in Traveller don't align with our reality, so it may be true that a robotic AI is possible, but a full AI that also runs a starship is another whole level of difficulty. I could argue the point, but only within the Traveller computer rules, as weird as they are. Tjoneslo 02:47, July 1, 2010 (UTC)

Ah. Another explanation would be that it requires a higher TL for people to _trust_ an AI with running a starship (a potentially very large weapon, even if it isn't technically armed). Allens 17:50, July 5, 2010 (UTC)

Query (2009)[edit]

The left hand side of theses charts contain the columns TTL, G3TL, G4TL with no explanation as to their meaning.

- Matt Stevens 20:05, December 22, 2009 (UTC)

I believe they are referring to "Traveller Tech Level", "Gurps 3 Tech Level" and "Gurps 4 Tech Level"... but I could be wrong :)

- Lotherius 01:07, December 23, 2009 (UTC)

GT 4th edition techology progression (2009)[edit]

If you are adding the GURPS 4th edition Technology levels, make sure to add the "^" for the TL8+ items because of the super science aspects (grav technology in particular). If you read the introduction to GURPS Ultra-Tech (4th edition), Traveller has many TL9 items, many but not all TL10 items, and one or two TL11 items. Plus the 4th edition TL's only go to 12, not 13 or beyond.

So following the Tech Level by Field chart in GURPS Campaigns (p. 512): Transportation: TL12^, Weapons and Armor: TL9^ (with some TL10^), Power: TL9, Biotechnolgy: TL8 with some TL9. And that at the TTL15/16 line, Interstellar wars goes into a longer discussion of this on p. 159 Tjoneslo 20:18, 13 September 2008 (UTC)


In addition this article contains significant errors. For one example Meson Gun appear TL11 in the GURPS TIW, and is not included in standard GURPS TL chart.
- -MC바리반디 10:33, December 23, 2009 (UTC)

Military Tech (2008)[edit]

Development contract for "Revolution In Fibre Lasers" (RIFL)... from http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/20/northrop_laser_rifl_contract/ Maybe we will see laser rifles someday soon. Boris1558 20:29, 20 October 2008 (UTC)


Are Meson Guns TTL11? Seems to cut across canon, which indicates that Terran Confederation advancement to TTL12 and acquisition of Meson Guns(combined with enhanced jump drives) allowed Terrans to defeat the Vilani Imperium in the Nth Interstellar War.

Amphibian vehicles (2007)[edit]

These are vehicles able to move on dry surface but also be fully submersible. These so not currently exist in early 21st century, so the TL needs to be adjusted.

- 61.69.175.62 02:49, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

The entire chart is wrong, as it also says we are supposed to have working fusion power, and flying grav cars. The chart reflects the Traveller technology progression, not the Real World one, unfortunately.

- Tjoneslo 05:22, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Notes (2007)[edit]

2007 NOTE: The entire chart is wrong, as it also says we are supposed to have working fusion power, and flying grav cars. The chart reflects the Traveller technology progression, not the Real World one, unfortunately.

- Tjoneslo 05:22, 30 January 2007 (UTC)