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Technology comes in the form of tech levels, each building, commodity, and spacecraft has a tech level. Tech level is abbreviated to TL in most cases. If something is tech level 1, it is commonly not displayed at all.

The tech level can be between 1 and 32. Many things get a 5% bonus to its function for each tech level above 1.

Other examples of technology are advanced resources that can only be used once a specific tech level is reached.

Tech Disk

Building Technology
Nominal Cost
Pack Size
  • 1

Tech disks are a way of storing and moving technology from one place to another. A tech disk is of a specific building type, for example a "University Technology" disk.

They are produced at either a university, or specific buildings. A university can create all tech disk types, but the processing time is 25% longer than when conducted at the specific building. The only thing needed is cronodollars from its city's treasury, equal to 1000¢ times the TL of the disk being produced, and its production time is equal to that many seconds, cut by half if the city has computers.

At every city report cycle, every 13 minutes, buildings in a city that has tech disks of a higher TL than that of the building will try to consume tech disks. This causes the building's TL to upgrade to that of the tech disk. A building can indeed jump several tech levels in a single step this way. Tech disks can be distributed to any other cities in the same solar system with a broker using the normal city trading.

All TL1 tech disks are automatically discarded, because they have no use.

Tech disks produced by another empire will only advance a building one TL when consumed. This means that 31 TL32 tech disks are needed to upgrade a TL1 building to TL32 using foreign empire tech.

Produced by

Building Produces Required TL Consumed Required Optional
Building 1 Building Technology Building TL

* Multipled by Building TL

University 1 Building Technology Building TL

* Multipled by Building TL


University conducting research.

When a tech disk process is completed, the TL of that object is equal to the building which produced the tech disk, or if researching at a university, the lowest of either the university or the building TL, as mentioned above. TL1 tech disks are automatically discarded, as they don't have a use.

However, every time a tech disk process has been completed, there is a 1% chance that a "breakthrough" will happen, and instead produce a tech disk of one TL higher. For this reason production of tech disks is commonly referred to as "research".

Local Research

For example, say that you are researching "Mine Technology" at one of your mines. The mine you are researching at is TL3, and is thus producing TL3 tech disks every time the research task is run. However, there is a 1% chance that the mine will produce a TL4 tech disk instead, instantly upgrading said mine to TL4. It will then start researching TL4 tech disks instead, with the same 1% chance to produce a TL5 tech disk. However, this is not always the case, as other mines in the city can just as well consume this tech disk, which forces you to track it down and make that building research instead.

University Research

For example, say that you were researching your "Mine Technology" at a university. The TL of the university is 4, and that of the mine is 3. Suddenly, you have a breakthrough! A mine consumes the tech disk and advances to TL4. Now your university produces TL4 mine technology, which soon upgrades all of the mines in your city to TL4. Another breakthrough happens, and one of the mines is upgraded to TL5. However, the university still produces TL4 tech disks, as its own TL is lower than that of the mine.

University vs Local Research

Researching at a university is almost always preferred. Granted, there are disadvantages with researching at a university:

  • Researching at a university takes 25% more time.
  • The tech level of the research is limited to the tech level of the university and it is further limited to the highest tech level of the relevant industry in the city, as if the research were being performed at that industry.
  • Can lead to wasted research if accidentally attempting to research a building type that isn't present in the city.

However, researching at a university has a lot more advantages:

  • All your research is focused in one spot. This means you don't have to run around all over the city to research several things at once.
  • Universities check the TL of the highest TL industry in the city, not the TL of itself (unless it is lower). This means that it doesn't matter which particular building consumes the breakthrough technology, as it can keep producing technology of that TL and make breakthroughs of the TL above that. This is very handy if you leave research on overnight, as it can grow several tech levels.

Research Calculation Formula

Since the chance of getting research is 1%, and the chance of not getting any research is 99% it's possible to calculate the chance of getting at least one breakthrough of the wanted type every cycle. The formula is one, minus the chance of getting no research at all:

1 - 0.99^n

Where n is the number of production lines. The following table will have the chance of discovery per cycle.

Research Lines Chance/Cycle
1 1%
4 3.9%
8 7.7%
16 14.9%
24 21.4%
32 27.5%

If having 4 level 8 universities all researching the same technology, the chance of a breakthrough in 10 cycles is about 96%.

Technology Benefits

The general rule is that things are 5% more efficient per tech level beyond the first. For example; a TL6 warehouses have 25% more storage than TL 1 warehouses. A TL11 spacecraft is 50% faster than the same spacecraft at TL1; its weapons and shields are 50% more effective; its sensors have 50% more range, etc. A TL21 pistol with TL21 pistol ammunition will deal 100% more damage than a TL1 pistol with TL1 ammunition.

An industry building which produces commodities will produce materials of that TL, unless the TL of the materials used in the process are of a lower TL, in which case that TL is used instead. "Harvesting" buildings (Mines, wells etc.) instantly produce resources of their own TL if the quality of the resource is high enough, if not it is capped at the quality level's TL. (For example, a TL6 mine harvesting Q40 ore will produce TL5 ore and a TL 4 smelter will produce TL4 metal from any metal TL4 or higher.)

Spacecraft Production Technology

Technology also plays a special role when it comes to spacecraft. All spacecraft designs also have a certain TL, as mentioned above. To construct a spacecraft of a higher TL, the spacecraft factory and every material that is used in the spacecraft's construction must be of the corresponding TL or higher.

For more information about spacecraft technology, see the Spacecraft Technology page.

Advanced Technology Unlocks

Technological advancement is a linear progression of tech levels, which automatically open up possibilities to harvest advanced resources, and to manufacture advanced equipment and spacecraft.

General list of notable tech levels are:

TL Resource Equipment
2 Sensors, Weapon Bays, Grav Packs
3 Sickbays
4 Cryozine Energy Weapon Bays, Shields, Metal Power Armor
5 Phlogiston Laser Rifle
6 Laser Pistol
7 Ioplasma Transporters, hull openings
10 Magmex Magmium: Tall buildings, Magmium Power Armor
13 Myrathane
16 Polytaride
19 Vulcanite Vulcium: Super-tall buildings, Vulcium Power Armor
24 Antiflux Particles, Bolite Particle Collector Bays, Warp Drives: The beginning of warp travel, with Warp 1 at TL24 through Warp 9 at TL32
30 Borexino Precipitate
31 Genesis Device

For building and spacecraft specific tech level lists, see:

Quality Level

To utilize a resource at each TL, the quality of the material should follow this formula:

MinimumTL = (Q / 8) + 1

Reversing it yields:

MinimumQ = 8 * (TL - 1)

Therefore, Q7 = TL 1 and Q15 = TL 2, and up from there.

This means that advanced resources have a minimum quality that they have to have before being usable.
They are:

For more information see the Quality page.