Tech Level Comparison Chart
Tech Level Comparison Charts were developed by all of the Imperiums have recognized the importance of technology and, in relationship to this, have developed a comprehensive system of classifying technology.
Please refer to the following AAB library articles for related information:
- 1 History & Background (Dossier)
- 2 Description (Specifications)
- 3 References & Contributors / Sources
History & Background (Dossier)
Technology Comparison Chart
Technology Comparison Tables: These Tech Level ratings are described in the three tables below. The TL's cover three different systems:
- TL or TTL: Traveller Technology Level = For Classic Traveller and most successors.
- G3TL: GURPS 3rd Edition Technology Level.
- G4TL: GURPS 4th Edition Technology Level.
- GTL: GURPS Technology Level common to both 3rd and 4th edition.
Quality of Life Technology
|0||1-3||0||Muscles||Fingers and sticks||Runners||Mystics/Herbology||Natural (Caves, Huts)|
|1||1-4||1-3||Water (GTL 2)||Abacus / Geometry (GTL 2), Trigonometry (GTL 2)||Long Distance Signaling||Diagnosis||Settlements, Towns (Irrigation) - GTL 1|
|2||4||4||Wind (GTL 2), Clockwork||Algebra - G4TL 3||Printing press||Internal Anatomy||Cities (Canals, Roads) - GTL 1-2|
|3||5||5||Coal / Steam||Calculus||Telegraph, Audio Recording||Surgery||Cement Structures|
|4||5||5||Electricity (DC GTL5; AC GTL6)||Mechanical Calculators||Telephone (GTL6)||Vaccination, Antiseptics, Anesthetics||Cities in Rugged/Desert Terrain, Crude Terraform|
|5||6||6||Petrochemicals, Internal combustion||Electric Calculators||Radio, Radar||Mass Vaccination, X-Ray||Sealed/Conditioned Cities|
|6||6-7||6-7||Nuclear Fission||Electronic Computers (Large Model/1 bis)||Television / Advanced Audio Recording||Virus, Crude Prosthetics||Skyscrapers, Weather Predict, Underground Cities|
|7||7||7||Solar energy, early Fuel Cells||Desktop Computers, Expert systems, Model/2||Early Satellite, Video recording||Organ Transplant, Slow Drugs||Cities in Jungle Terrain|
|8||7-8||7-8||Geothermal (GTL 6)||Massive Parallel / Low Data, Model/2bis||Fibre optics (GTL 7)||Artificial Organs, Metabolics||Orbital Settlements, Early Weather Control|
|9||8-9||8-9||Early Fusion, Improved Batteries||Non-Volatile / High Data, Vocal I/O, Model/3||Video Telephone (GTL 7), Flat Screen (GTL 7)||Limb Regeneration, Cryogenics, Fast Drugs||Arcologies, Orbital Cities|
|10||9||8-10||Fusion Plants||Early Synaptics, voice transcription (GTL 8), Model/4||Holovision, Text Transcription||Antiviral Vaccines (GTL 6), Cancer Cure, Growth Quickining||Under-Sea/Under Ice Cities|
|11||9||8-10||Fusion Plants||Synaptic Learning Processors, Hand Computers, Model/5||Personal Global Communications||Nerve Refusion, Artificial Eyes||Gravitic Structure Support (GTL ^)|
|12||10||8-10||Fusion Plants, Advanced Fuel Cells||Low Autonomous Robots, Model/6||Real-time Multilingual Translators||Broad Spectrum Anti-toxins, Enhanced Prosthetics||Major Terraforming, Advanced Weather Control|
|13||10||8-10||Fusion Plants, Miniature Super-Batteries||Holocrystal Storage, High Autonomous Robots, Model/7||Holovideo Recorders||Cloning of Replacement Parts, Reanimation||Non-mobile Gravitic Cities|
|14||11||8-10||Fusion Plants||Computer/Brain Implants, Model/8||Early Meson Communicators||Genetic Engineering, Memory Erasure||Mobile Gravitic Cities|
|15||12||8-10||Pseudo-Reality Computers, Pseudo Robots, Model/9||Meson Communicators, Pseudo Reality Communications||Anagathics, Advanced Pseudobio Prosthetics||Complex Terraforming Possible|
|16||13||10||Low Artificial Intelligence, Robots in all Facets||Personal Meson Communicators, Personal Holovideo||Brain Transplants, Crude Memory Transfer||Global Terraforming, Hostile Worlds|
|17||10-13||10^||Early Antimatter Plants||High Artificial Intelligence, Self-Aware Robots||Pocket Meson Communications||Selective Memory Erasure, Intelligent Anitbodies||Total Terraforming to 800Km worlds|
|17||10-13||10^||Robots become Society's Basic Workforce||Permanent Memory Transfer||Total Terraforming to 4000Km worlds|
|19||10-13||10^||Elemental/Limited Matter Transport||Total Terraforming|
|20||10-13||10^||Global Matter Transport (G4TL^)||Total Memory Transfer||Mobile Worlds (Sublight)|
|21||13-14||11^||System-wide Matter Transport||Early Total Rejuvenation||Mobile Worlds (Jump Space) & Rosettes|
|25||14||11^||"Capsule" Dyson Spheres|
|27||14||12^||Ability to create Ringworlds, access pocket universe (G4TL6^)|
|29||14||12^||Rigid Dyson Spheres|
|31||15-16||12^||Create Pocket Universe|
|0||1-3||0||Foot - Animals||Raft / Canoe||-||-|
|1||1-3||1-3||Wheel - Carts/Chariots (GTL 1)||Rowed Galleys, Crude Sailing Vessels||-||-|
|2||2-4||2-4||Advanced Wheel - Moveable Axle, Replaceable Rims||Early Multi-Mast Sailing (GTL 2), Oceangoing sailing ships (GTL 3), Crude Navigation (GTL 2), Stagecoachs||-||-|
|3||2-5||2-5||Extensive Road (GTL 2) - High-Speed Coach||Multi-Mast Sailing (GTL 4), Navigation (GTL 4)||Manned Hot Air Balloons||-|
|4||5||5||Trains||Ironclads, Steamships||Dirigibles (GTL 6), Early Gliders||-|
|5||6||6||Ground Cars, Tracked Vehicles||Personal Self-Propelled Boats, Steel hulls, Early Submersibles||Airplanes, Seaplanes||Early Rockets (unmanned)|
|6||6||6||Amphibian Vehicles, ATVs, AFVs||Submersibles, Scuba, Amphibian Vehicles||Early Jet, Helicopters||Early Manned Rockets (GTL 7), Unmanned Rockets|
|7||7||7||Hovercraft, High-Speed Trains||Hydrofoils, Hovercraft||Supersonic Jet, Hang Gliders||Deep Space Probes (Unmanned), Maneuver-1/2 (non-gravitic)|
|8||8||8||Triphibian Vehicles||Triphibian Vehicles, Early Artificial Gills||Triphibian Vehicles, Hypersonic Jet||Space Shuttles, Space Stations, Maneuver-3-5 (non-grav)|
|9||9||9^||Early Grav Vehicles, Ultra High-Speed Trains||Early Grav Vehicles, Artificial Gills||Early Grav Vehicles, Rocket Assist Suborbital||Jump-1 possible (GT4 ^), Sublight Stellar|
|10||9||9^||Grav Vehicles||UH Grav Modules||Gravitic Maneuver|
|11||9||9-10^||Personal G-Tubes, HV Grav Modules||Jump-2 (GT4 ^), Thruster Technology|
|12||10||^||Personal Grav Belts (GT4 ^), LT Grav Modules (GT4 ^)||Jump-3 (GT4 ^)|
|13||10||^||Grav Vehicles Merge with Orbital Spacecraft (GT4 ^), Jump-4 (GT4 ^)|
|14||11||^||Jump-5 (GT4 ^)|
|15||12||^||Jump-6 (GT4 ^)|
|16||13||^||Raw Material Only Short Range Matter Transport (GT4 ^)|
|17||13||^||Inanimate Only Short Range Matter Transport (GT4 ^)|
|18||-||^||Self-Aware Starships, living being portal based Matter Transport (GT4 ^)|
|21||-||^||Multi Parsec Range Starship-Sized Matter Transport Portals (GT4 ^)|
GURPS Traveller Notes
With the GURPS 3rd Edition book Steampunk, the concept of divergent technology was added.
Example: TL(5+1) is a TL6, with historical Earth-like TL5, but somewhat different TL6 (same effects, different form). Characters not used to divergent technology suffer a -2 penalty.
However, Steampunk expressly states that it list of inventions and equipment is from two sources: "the real possibilities of 19th century technology and the possibilities that the 19th century imagined, but are now known to violate the law of nature." So divergent tech was also used to denote superscience. This resulted in totally realistic drugs like Aspirin and superscience drugs like Atavismine (a devolution drug; effectively what happens in Monster on the Campus (1956). Likely inspired by the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde novel.) both being listed as TL(5+1)
The closet real world example under the GURPS 4e TL scale is Edison's 1896 Kinetophone (called a Speaking Mutoscope in SteamTech pg 52) at TL(5+1) when contrasted to Lauste's 1907 sound on film method at TL6. (The first uses mechanical means so common to TL5 to sync picture and sound while the second uses electrical means that would be common in TL6.)
GURPS 4th Edition tried to fix the confusion and expand the TL scale with the addition of the superscience (^) category and the concepts of: borderline, split, and familiar technologies. It also eliminated the end date that TLs originally had allowing for a G4TL8 computer to be connected to a G4TL7 power grid that has a handful of still operational G4TL6 power plants.
Superscience involves technologies that violate our current understanding of physical laws (relativity, conservation of energy, etc.). For this reason any TL assigned to them is arbitrary. So FTL travel can be TL6^, TL(6+4)^, TL10^ or something else entirely depending on the setting. This is why broadcast power has two totally different TLs in G4: TL6^ (Infinite Worlds, Gernsback) and TL10^ (Ultra-Tech). For example, Azoth-7 is a G4TL(4+2) reality that has G4TL4^ interstellar space travel which is normally an 11 on the GURPS 4e TL scale. Similarly many D&D worlds are G4TL(3+3)^ - effectively TL6 that thanks to magic diverged at TL3; in the Spelljammer setting the "^" denotes manned interplanetary space flight which is normally an 9 on the GURPS 4e TL scale.
Since Jump drive is a form of FTL technology it gets a "^" and gives no indication on what the G4TL is, so while Jump drive tends to appear at G4TL9 that doesn't prevent an otherwize TL7 culture from developing Jump drive. For example, Homeline, a G4TL8-9^ reality of GURPS Infinite Worlds has access to pocket and parallel universes which is Traveler TL 25. Then there is Engstrom, a G4TL6^ reality that has created permanent access to eight other parallel universes (which are collectively known as the Nine Worlds).
It should be noted not all GURPS 4e (or Powered by GURPS) books use the TL scale correctly so they are not always a good benchmark for where a technology is on the scale. For example, GURPS Prime Directive (a classic Star Trek setting ie TOS) highballed the TLs for G3 and continued using that scale for the G4 edition totally messing up the TLs as a result.
Using the GURPS 3e books themselves TOS was all over the TL9-11 range for Weapons & Armor, a firm TL9 for Transportation (the transporter is a TL14 oddball), Antimatter was in the 10-12 range and Medicine was TL8. In GURPS 4e TOS is a mixture of TL6^ with some (6+3)^ and Power TL(6+4)^ thrown in.
EU Star Wars is G4TL8^ and nearly all pre 1940s science fiction is G4TL6^ with the occasional higher TL appearing.
Using science fiction novels as TL inspiration has its own pitfalls. Even "hard" science fiction stories may be hampered by assumption of the time that turned out to be wrong. For example, Weinbaum's 1930s "Planetary series" is G4TL(6+3)^ as it was based on then current theories of the solar system which have since been shown to be wrong (hence the "^").
- Rows of Technologies that are a mixture of "real" science and superscience will have the lowest G4TL for the nonsuperscience items combined with "^".
- When technologies don't exactly match the stated GURPS TLs and the two GURPS TL are effectively identical a GTLx note will be provided.
References & Contributors / Sources
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- GURPS 3rd Edition Lite - External Link: http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/lite/3e/gurpslite.pdf
- GURPS 3rd Edition TL - External Link: http://web.archive.org/web/20070214002238/http://www.omnology.com/gurps-levels.html
- GURPS 4th Edition TL - External Link: http://gurps.wikia.com/wiki/Tech_Level
- Author & Contributor: Lord (Marquis) and Master of Sophontology Maksim-Smelchak of the Ministry of Science
- In GURPS Traveller: Interstellar Wars, this module appears in TL8.
- GURPS Steampunk pg 95