Um2k9 has recently inspired me to create a blog about what constitutes to each tier and sub tier, to make it easier to understand tiers, and to find your empires place and hopefully stop all this competitive over-powerment in some newer fictions. Since I'm editing from a laptop, I'll have to complete this blog another day, but I'll start now.
Important facts and how to use it
- Getting lucky: Sometimes an empire may have traits from a mix of tiers. If for example, an empire has more tier 4 traits than tier 3, then they are more likely to be tier 4. That empire might have those special abilities for a number of lucky reasons.
- Hopping tiers: Transitioning tiers is enormously difficult (political, technological, economical etc.). Many Tier 6's don't survive past their discovery of nuclear weapons. It can can take centuries, even tens of thusands of years, taking longer the further up the scale. Its not easy. On another note, its not fair on other fictions in that tier, so don't make it too easy. Spread your empire's advancement overtime, or think up good reasons why in order to avoid the normal thousands of years it takes.
- Tier unknown: Some civilizations are too alien to fit on this scale, or have technologies, goals or intelligence completely different. Like intelligent spaceborn life, or civilizations who are advanced, yet not space faring (aquatic). This scale is very wide but can't incorporate every sapient species.
- May not have all these powers - Empires advance differently. Just because lets say an empire is in Tier 2, doesn't mean it has every tier 2 power.
- Industry, government, military readiness, power sources and technology are all factors to be considered.
- Notice that I am only adding notable sci-fi empires. I may not add much more.
How to advance, and length scales
As mentioned above, every empire advances differently and uniquely, some so much they only make it to Tier U. Also, hopping tiers is unfair and not very believeble, and has led to wrecking this scale before. The length of time between each scale varies. Even very advanced technology is ultimatly refined to the universe and its vastness. The population, time of setting colonies, how much competition and empire has by neighbors, natural barriers, technologies and abilities and all sorts of things. Example, if a Tier 4 empire is surrrounded by Tier 5's, it will advance far more quickly into tier 3, than if it would with strong competition. If you want to cross tiers or subtiers quickly, it must be realistic (and higher tiers aren't going to give lower ones their technology easily). Based on factors from real world Kardashev and information scales, as well as popular Hard Science Fiction (more scientific ones), Tier 6 to 5 (+120 to 200 years), Tier 5 to 4 (+300 to 1000+ years), Tier 4 to 3 (+several thousand years), Tier 3 to 2 (+10,000 years or older), Tier 1 (100,000 to millions, perhaps billions) and finally Tier 0 (this universe may not be old enough or suitable enough for native 0's to exist, except for AI gods and pre-baryonic matter species, like "Truly Alien" life). Still, this is flexible, empires evolve differently in a wide variety of conditions. Just don't be silly or competitive with it.
Note: ST^ means in transition to the next subtier.
Also, did you notice a pattern I've made? Some tiers have technology preceeding more advanced versions. Tier 3's can use already made wormholes, Tier 2's have limited wormholes and Tier 1's have extensive wormholes.
Tier 0 - Omnipotents
These omnipotent civilizations (if you can even call them that) are indistinguishable from gods. They are perhaps beyond even what normal civilizations can percieve. Tier 0 civilizations are hard to categorise into subtiers, since even I couldn't comprehend much difference in power, these subtiers are classified by types instead. Divine races were created by gods, Baryonic Lords were always the way they have been since their evolution allowed it to be so and Transapients were once more like us.
There is even some examples of where the laws of physics are broken (because Tier 0's can change it to suit them). For instance, technology which has more output energy than indput energy.
The Divine Races are SporeWiki's most powerful civizations. Created by the gods themselves. Based on the Omnipotent Four but customized for this scale. They predate the universe, and often have transinfinite numbers. Their technology is often supernatural and can break the laws of physics. I'm not just going to put every divine species on, this is for MAJOR races only, like the Xhodocto.
- Spacecraft Propulsion: Unknown, likely Essence-based
- System Count: Universal and dimensional
- Typical technology: Largest solid megastructures, ability to break the laws of physics, essence-based, inter-realm exploration.
- Power Sources: Essence-based.
"The Baryonic Lords"
Have total control over matter and energy, mastery over the structure of the universe and interuniversal travel* Note that I got "The Baryonic Lords" from the Xeelee Sequence. The main difference between "Baryonic Lords" and "Transapients" is because this subtier may have always been Tier 0, thats why they are not transapient.
- Spacecraft propulsion: Unknown
- System count: Universal
- Typical technology: Universal construction, interuniversal travel, quantum manipulation, spacetime enginnering, technology beyond perception and comprehension
- Power sources: Dark energy, entire extra-galactic structures, defects in the fabric of spacetime, naked singularities, pure information other unknown powers.
"Transapients" and AI gods
Transapients have a sentience quotient of at least +30. Modern day humans (and most natural intelligences in fact don't get much higher) have a sentience quotient of +13 to put the scale in relative, meaning that their knowledge, abilities and technology are far outside the scope of understanding of lesser tiers. They are transapient because they artificially modiefied their brains over millions of years, or process information on the scale of galactic clusters or even universes. However, the powerful minds may actually be very slow thinkers. The most powerful Transapients exist in higher dimensions, where energy and matter is encoded as "bits" of information. They can compute, download, upload and play around with this information like a CD program. This means they are gods basically.
- Spacecraft Propulsion: Beyond the need.
- System Count: Entire galactic computers, or spacetime itself.
- Typical technology: Matrioska brains, transdimensional travel, creation/simulation of universes, mastery of information.
- Power Sources: Quantum mechanical sources, unknown
- SporeWiki: Big Collective Consciousnous, Steve, Technoospheric Lords (like Fahler), Da'lan, Thirteenth Tribe, Non-Turing
- Science Fiction: Archailects (Orion's Arm), Star trek's Q/Nagilum, Downsteamers (Manifold series, by Stephen Baxter), The Sublimed (The Culture), Anti-Spirals (Gurren-Lagann), Omega Point AI's
Tier 1 - Hyperadvanced empires
By now, these civilizations give off very little output energy, making them almost undetectable by Tier 6, 5 and even 4 empires. Their size and scope means that very few can challenge them, although they are still orders of magnitude below the Tier 0 races. To lower tiers, Tier 1 technology can appear to be extremely complex and very powerful over the nature, however, much must still obey the laws of physics.
Elder races and borderline 0 (below 1.4)
Elder races include the First Ones, who are billions of years old. They are pretty godlike, and lower tiers will have trouble understanding and using their technologies, and their knowledge of the universe and beyond is thousands, even millions of years beyond 21st century humans.
- Spacecraft propulsion:
- System count:
- Typical technology: Push matter and energy to the limits of temperature and density, unify the fundamental forces, control laws of physics such as entropy, have technologies that lower tiers can barely understand or use, time travel. Elder races may have shed their physical bodies and become purely virtual (information), machine or even in rarer cases, non-corporeal.
- Power sources: Largely unknown, draw energy from subspace, virtual particles and the gravitational constant, crowd around cosmic strings and quasars. Discovered dark energy.
- SporeWiki: Dacean Ecumene (1.2) The Junction (1.2), The Catharsis (1.4), Screeble (1.?)
- Science Fiction:
- Bordeline 0: Time Lords (1.1, Doctor Who), Star Trek's Elder/Non-corporeal races (1.2), SubXeelee Humanity (1.3 - prior to AD 1000,000, X.Sequence), Dalek Empire (1.3, Doctor Who), First Ones (1.3, Babylon 5), The Culture (1.3, Culture series), Ancients and Ori (1.4, Stargate), Celestials (1.4, Star Wars), Silver Ghosts (Tier 1.4)
Solid Tier 1 (superexpansive) (1.6 to 1.4)
There isn't much difference in technology between borderline and solid Tier 1 civilizations, although solid Tier 1 civilizations have existed for longer and are on a massive scale.
- Spacecraft propulsion: Like below, but a bit more efficient and used more widely.
- System count: 10's of millions (although this could be down to multiple members)
- Typical technology: Like below, but a bit more efficient and used more widely.
- Power sources: Dyson nets, black holes
Borderline Tier 1 (1.9 to 1.7)
- Spacecraft propulsion: Wormholes, engineered spacetime (like Krasnikov tubes), ultrafast hyperspace drives, shift drives, bias and pitch sublight drives
- System count: Up to or over 10 million
- Typical technology: Advanced Quantumtech, nanotechnology to the femto scale, perfected matter-energy conversion, phasing mass, primitive time travel, astronenginnering, wormhole construction and limited spacetime engineering, gravitic tech, stellar lifting, system-sized data storage, matrioshka brains and postsapience.
- Power sources/resources: Graze entire stars, dismantle planets, neutronium mining, Interstellar Grids (DCP), exotic matter, even black holes.
- SporeWiki: Delpha Coalition of Planets (1.7), The Core Federation (1.7), House of the Krassio (1.7), Lost Ones (1.8), United Republic of Cyrannus (1.9), Sporemaster Alliance (1.9), Confederacy of Allied Systems (1.9), The Apalos (Tier 1.9)
- Science Fiction: Terragen Civilization (1.8, Orions Arm), Xel'Naga (Starcraft), Species 8472 (Star Trek, Tier 1.7), Borg Collective (Star Trek, 1.9)
Tier 2 - Superadvanced empires
In this tier technology leaks less output energy, but still more than input energy (or that would break the laws of physics). Technology is more stable as well.
World Builders are in the blur between Tier's 2 and 1. They are beginning to learn how to engineer spacetime and have already been building worlds in space, such as small ringworlds and worldlets (usually smaller than a planet still). They have colonized or visted several galaxies.
- Spacecraft propulsion: Some limited wormholes, Hyperspace/quantum slipsteam/transwarp,
- System count: Million or more
- Typical technology: medium scale megastructures (like Dyson Ring swarms), extreme planetary enginnering and world building.
- Power sources/resources: Entire planets and star systems, small black hole singularities
- SporeWiki: Sphagarzi (Tier 2.1), Cognatus Alliance (Tier 2.1), Tokzhalan Empire (Tier 2.1), Vartekian Empire (Tier 2.1), Salsetthe Republic (Tier 2.3), Human Intergalactic Republic (Tier 2.4), Magellanic Sovereignty of Planets (Tier 2.4), UNO (Tier 2.4)
- Science Fiction: Forerunners (Halo), Confederacy of Independant Systems (Tier 2.9, Star Wars), Foundation Empire (Foundation series)
These civilizations use very powerful, but energy-hungry machines.
- Spacecraft propulsion: Hyperspace/quantum slipsteam/transwarp, using already constructed wormholes
- System count: Tens of thousands
- Typical technology: Energy efficient tech, bigger superweapons, some smaller megatructures, huge industrial capacity (like quantum replicators).
- Power sources/resources: Dense states of matter, quantum fields, neutronium, tiny singularities
Tier 3 - Galactic to intergalactic
Near galactic empires/beginning intergalactic travel
- Spacecraft propulsion: Able to generate far greater energies. Transwarp, quantum slipstream
- System count: A few thousand to 10,000 systems
- Power sources: Stars, energetic astronomical phenomena, galactic core (if lucky)! I imagine wars might be fought over possession of the core.
- SporeWiki: Girdo Empire, BNSC, TIAF, Ottzel Empire, Rapture Empire, Defensive System's, Gjigantrox Star Empire, Doriaca Kingdom, Taxton Republic, KGGC, Zazane, **Science Fiction: Goa'uld System Lords (Stargate), Imperium of Man (Warhammer 40K), New Cylons (Battlestar Galactica), Dominion (Star Trek), Covenant Empire (Halo)
Tier 4 - Interstellar nations
Most civilizations in the universe are tier 4.
This is how they harness stars (Cut to 7:48).
- Spacecraft propulsion: As below
- System count: At least 1000
- Typical technology: Like below, but larger and more powerful, large space settlements that need sunlight (like O'Niell cylinders)
- Power sources: Star energy (using dyson swarms of mirrors and satellites).
Most average interstellar empires
- Spacecraft propulsion: Warp, alderson drives, maybe others
- System count: A few hundred
- Typical technology: More advanced tech now, large scale terraforming, nanotechnology, replicators and teleporters (some), organic technology, virtual worlds
- Power sources/resources: Negative energy, use of advanced "meta"-materials
- SporeWiki: Kraw Empire, Xandrio, Telzoc, Kazalori, Terdiatlan empire, Greevils, Most in-game empires, Iteok, Pondsisosa Federation, Terridor Federation, Komorian Comitatus,
- Science Fiction: United Federation of Planets (Star Trek), Breen Confederacy (Star Trek), Klingon Empire (Star Trek), Romulan Star Empire (Star Trek), Minbari Federation (Babylon 5), Tau, Most Star Trek, Stargate and Doctor Who empires.
Tier 5 - Fledgling space-based civilizations
- Either time dilation or primitive FTL technology (usually a relic technology).
- System count:A dozen or more systems.
- Typical technology:Really powerful computers, primitive plasma shielding, maybe antigravity
- Power sources/resources:Planetary energy.
Probably a century or two above the standards of 21st century Earth.
- Slower Than Light Propulsion, so an STL communication.
- Generational ships.
- Cloning ships, sleeper ships etc.
- If lucky, time dilative travel.
- System count:Either exploring or have colonised a few nearby systems.
- Typical technology:No antigravity, use centrifugal forces, maybe low power directed energy weapons.
- Power sources/resources:Nuclear fusion, antimatter, planetary materials
- Interstellar probes - Maybe in the next 30 years, the journey could take as long as 50.
This is for completely alien intelligences. They have evolved and advanced very differently from the baseline intelligences, and exist completely outsidethe human "bubble". Some are very Lovecraftian, and there is nothing remotly human about them, good examples of this are in the Xeelee Sequence epics, Lovecraft's fiction, the Orion's Arm universe and in my fiction, First Contact.
- SporeWiki: Ayrai'Shikua (as well as Tier 0), Eola'Nar, Nano/Quantumhorde, Omega, Murbelt, Gaurdians of Times Gate, Firtst Contact aliens (GUTlife, Wd'cian stellar life etc.), Astrolights, Eubranchids
- Science Fiction: Tholian Assembaly (Star Trek), Waru (Star Wars), Xeelee Sequence lifeforms (Qax, Squeem, Silver Ghosts, Spline, more), various Xenosophonts (Orions Arm)
These civilizations are far less alien than the examples included above, however, they have still advanced quite differently and are hard to compre on the Tier scale.
- SporeWiki: Cephalodian Life Guardians, Fordanta, Shillites, Hogomoth Refuge (advanced yet nomadic), Da Prop Big Loron Empire, Mantisorac Swarm, Jarquvix Federation, Forgetful Races of Forma and Sana, Gynash Dragon
- Science Fiction: Duinuogwuin (Star Wars), Flood (Halo), Replicators (Stargate), Eldar, Ork, Necron and Tyranid (Warhammer 40K)