Age of Ascent - Developer Blog

Backstory: Timeline to Ascent

April 4th, 2014 by James Niesewand

Generation 1

CIS completes its departure from communism and sees several regional wars. Canada splits into small french and english speaking parts, English speaking cleaves to US, French adopts isolationist policy
India, rising, uses its new power to achieve what Britain never did – a politically enabled commonwealth and becomes a leader of the sub-continent of Asia.
Limited, planning AI, is achieved. Quantum nature of organic brains deemed to make silicon consciousness too expensive to achieve
First humans born using patented genes, leading to an ‘upper class' of humanity that lives longer and is fitter. Enhancing intelligence still beyond reach
Cloning achieved for humans, capacity for storage improved so much that human consciousnesses start to be stored (imperfectly at first)
The lost decade – a gap between old antiobiotics being effective and the deployment of news ones leads to hundreds of millions of early deaths
Metamaterials used to build first space elevator in Dubai. First breakthrough in battery tech since the Italians invented them in 1778
Indians and Chinese land people on the moon. Techniques developed for finding habitable earth like planets
Mexico collapses in ongoing drugs war, CIS continues to re-absorb former soviet states
Japan re-arms. America reduces commitment to Nato. African states begin to demonstrate unity of purpose and, in the bloody diamond war, split the DRC into multiple smaller states that eventually get absorbed by nearby ethnically similar neighbours
The great Chineses credit bubble bursts leading to a collapse of currency and free trade agreements and a ten year depression. Violent riots lead to a redistribution of wealth away from individuals and a rebalancing of society except that large corporations don't particularly suffer.
Global warming begins to pressurise populations. Nanotechnology allows remote construction of simple components. Further rare earth element caches found in the Pacific and Antarctic that allow ongoing research into metamaterials and comunications
Optical storage and quantum cryptography reveal new math and make solving previously intractable mathematic problems easy. General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics find bridge theory

Generation 2

PTA finally formed with strong help from the USA which, at the same time, is looking to create a strong federal system with the broken up Canada and Mexico.
EFU achieves formal banking and fiscal union. Britain leaves EFU and starts the final stage of its fading into obscurity
Energy requirements for powerful computing brought under control, allows solar system exploration cheaply
New antibiotics perfected
Gene therapy allows altered humans to adapt to microbial attack very rapidly and obviates need for external antibiotics for those changed.
Population control implemented across most power blocs in name of stability and sustainability. Population skews towards baby boys.
Impulse engine created, first ships able to reach pluto in under a week are built.
Solar system mining begins
First inklings of great game as new power blocs begin to try to secure resource rich volumes of space and others try to keep the solar system as a commonwealth for all humanity
Cold war on Mars between the NAA and the SAC over access to the polar water systems
Access to organic produce is key wealth indicator as mining becomes ubiquitous throughout solar system. Rare Earth Elements are found in least abundance and retain their high price.
New science of post-quantum gravity, called meta-symmetry, is shown to be testable and joins gravity, relativity and quantum mechanic into single unified theory, shows fabric of universe is malleable from within. Makes jump engines possible. Also helps perfect ultra dense data storage (human storage)
Clones refused citizenship by most governments. Some (NAA, PTA, EFU) recognise individual clones as citizens but ban multiple clones operating at once.

Generation 3

PTA establishes first micro-terraformed colony on Europa.
CPE builds stations in orbit around each of the 8 planets in the system. First bloc to do so.
Computational success in modelling meta-symmetry. Allows ships to plot course through folded space and using Penrose's metametries, ‘jump' across the solar system. Hugely energetic and very dangerous but, ultimately, successful
Further research into AIs universally banned after several instances of them attempting to flee into information space or to interfere in human justice systems over perceived miscarriages of justice
Human wetware perfected, allowing mind control of computers and distant objects (such as mining robots)
Penrose engines built. Metamaterials created to withstand rigours of managing a localised singularity and shaping the gravity gradient.
Meta-symmetry allows first artifical gravity to be developed on very small ships and stations
Stations now proliferate throughout the system. Terraforming is given up within the solar system as an impossibly difficult task
Hot war btween UC and CPE over acess rights to Uranus' moons. In particular, access to Ariel
EFU and IDC establish mutual defence pact
Silicon and iron found in such abundance their price crashes leading, ironically, to a shortage in supply as it becomes uneconomic to mine them
Nanotech given specific and limited licenses to self-reproduce. First nanotech viruses used in warfare against civilian populations. Arms race means any outbreak can be halted almost immediately and interest fades in this tech as weaponry
In system, Penrose Engine, used for first solar system jumps, math shows, using Alcubierre's work, that extra-solar folding is possible.

Generation 4

Human population imbalanced but also still growing. Population constraints are more draconian as global food shortages force off-world colonies to be created exclusively for food production. Seas are co-opted for algal growth to try to provide enough nutrients for all
PAC comes into being, lead by Kenya, SA and Egypt. Starts establishing its own megacorporations and chucking our the proxies of the CPE, the NAA and the EFU.
Computer science focuses away from increased power and storage to energy efficiency and processing non-local information
Group mind perfected, allowing non-local biological communication to occur. Not psychic as thoughts have to be sent and memories ‘stored. But new forms of human community arise almost immediately. Security services make great use of group think.
Longevity banned except for those who already have it, and their families under population rules. Uploading encouraged amongst middle classes, all forms of life extension too expensive for the poor.
Ark ships leave solar system using penrose engines heading for thousands of individual stars. They carry between 500 and 2,000 people each and have enough tech on board to create colonies wherever they end up. Crews are in stasis for trip
Criminals and ‘colonists', in other words ‘the poor', sign up for Ark ships. No matter how many are sent it's barely a dent in the population issues facing the great powers.
Cold and warm wars between the PAC and its former colonial masters. It suffers but survives. Colonial powers leave PAC region to a greater or lesser degree.
Hot war between the PTA and the CPE over tax rights on shipping lanes established by both sides.
Shipping lanes created that provide fuel and more efficient use of Penrose engines between managed points
Non-local instantaneous communications developed
Elemental island of super-stability found in periodic table, allowing super exotic elements with decade long stability to be created
Alcubierre jump engine tested for first time. Ship Lost but experiment deemed a success

Generation 5

Overpopulation reaches critical point and millions are shifted forcefully off world into habitats. Terrorism and urban unrest are ubiquitous and the NAA, the SAC and the CPE begin the ascension program to find a solution to the problems facing all humanity
PAC and the IDC compete agressively for influence among former colonial territories based in Africa
Cyber warfare stretches across solar system and key victors are those who can control the nodes that permit non-local communication
Genetic matching now required for upper classes to be allowed to breed
Large vessels can now be frabricated in space, Alcubierre drives tech can be built across a number of sites in solar system
First small explorer ships leave solar system using Alcubierre folding engine.
Entire construction cycle now completed in space, allowing production to become independent of planets
Corporations begin to build own armies and research own tech, only some of them working with the great powers, to ensure their own safety in space and their ability to enforce their tech and mineral rights
NAA and EFU enter cold war with the PTA and CPE, carving large volumes of the asteroid belt up and claiming sovereignty over them. First battleship class vessels see production. Expensive and not used except to launch distant weapons such as mass drivers.
Political Power Blocs are almost entirely ineffectual at controlling corporations who are spread out across entire solar system and who trade with unpoliced habitats, Dollar, Euro and Renminbi stabilise as hard currencies among corporations
Smaller currencies, including GBP become useable only within their own sphere of influence. All powers peg themselves to these non-sovereign currencies. CPE, EFU and NAA maintain exchanges that track activities and trades but they relinquish control (in face of increasing inability to control fiscal policy)
Accidental discovery that singularities can be used to create energy from nothing. All power sources rapidly switched to singularity foundations
Gravity engines allow for limited acceleration and research into conventional engines reduced. Humans found to be unable to react properly beyond about 5,000m/s in emergenicies, stellar dust to dangerous beyond that speed and gravity engines begin to apply negative drag above that speed

Generation 6

Independent hard currencies struggle to find faith now their sovereign backers step away from them. They are eventually returned some measure of control to their originators and economies are comfortable these power blocs will not disappear. Supports tax taking and is effectively controlled via licenses on major economic activity and research
NAA, CPE and SAC finish their first waves of ships for ‘the Ascension'. These ships are heralded as the saviours of mankind and millions sign up the colony ships built to leave the system in search of earth like planets.
Computers are able to implement non-local communication without the ‘relay nodes' relied upon before. Freeing information from surveillance and allowing true encryption by virtue of being properly hidden.
HFT and other financial tools reappear in the wake of non-local exchanges. Accurate telemetry and signal integrity now differentiating performance rather than proximity to the trading exchange
Humans are designed to withstand calorie deprivation over extended periods and to survive oxygen loss as well to improve the chances of survival in moments of catastrophic depressurisation and loss of power in space
Upper classes start exploring information space for clues to the location of other civilisations.
First jumpgates built linking the first three systems colonised in the first ascension
Tens of thousands of small ships are literally thrown into the dark of space to see what's there.
LIC as expansions fight over borders and jump routes. Legrange points become focus of a large number of small conflicts among NAA, CPE and SAC
Hot war between NAA and SAC over first earthlike planet. Planet rendered uninhabitable during war.
Rush to secure new resources and to claim first earthlike planets for terraforming
SETI is funded more in a decade than in the previous century, using non-local surveys to try to find locations of older civilisations within the galaxy
Energy requirements for Alcubierre engines understood completely and jumpgates designed to allow efficient travel for larger ships in future

Generation 7

The remaining 6 Great Powers ascend. It is now the age of ascension. All the powers fight MIC to establish their borders. More than five hundred systems are colonised in this period. Communications with ark ships forgotten
New religion rises across all the Powers based on the idea that man is the steward of the galaxy and that Group Mind is the universe trying to understand itself. It advocates the end of all government and the spreading of mankind (without consumption) across the whole galaxy to produce a galactic brain.
First interstellar information networks created. Most powers use proprietary comms relays to avoid hacking and surveillance
Wetware used to enhance performance in pilots. Wetware regulated by most powers as it can produce undesirable side effects in its users (such as psychosis)
A generation of people are born who can handle space, low gravity and sedentary life styles without detriment to their physical health
First stealth systems developed for ships, hacking and gravitational weapons deployed for first time
Jumpgates begin to be built by corporations beyond the reach of the powers
Folding Engines are improved, both in time to travel as well as in size and energy efficiency. Many older ships arrive only to find new ones have beaten them there.
Information wars begin in an effort to find other powers' comms relays and keep tabs on them
Exotic weapons used in several wars, most subsequently banned or only allowed on small scales, such as graviton mines, mass drivers, viruses
Trade lanes, stations and new systems bring a time of unparalleled wealth, the new rock stars are explorers
The search for alien life is deemed fruitless. Religion makes a resurgence as it appears mankind is only sentient species in galaxy
Exploration of information space also draws a blank. Humanity concludes it is the only people in the galaxy

Generation 8

Huge numbers of those sent off world and those who chose to go off world set up their own societies and companies independent of the Great Powers and seeking to be independent, to some degree, from their influence
These societies form among the stars, some working with the Great Powers, other religious in nature and not a few anti everything they've escaped from. Many are isolationist the lack of a need for jumpgates means they can go anywhere and be undisturbed, sometimes for years
Hacking, Stealth, engines and other components are incrementally imrpoved by research on their operating systems
Pilots and crews use non-local storage or clones or group mind to preserve their lives when exploring or fighting.
Population controls relaxed as surplus humans simply volunteer to leave home worlds (of which the great powers designate more than thirt earth like planets) and explore
Non-power groups begin to research their own ship blueprints
Non-power groups expand far beyond the reach of the powers and their proxies
Hot war between the UC and CPE as well as Hot war between SAC and the PAC over strategic systems
Hot wars settle into proxy wars and cold wars that can flare up in large engagements that are over quickly and are rarely decisive
Non-power groups work between each other to trade
Powers dominate new science but start seeking out non-affiliated groups to secure their talent

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