Colonial Development

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Colonial Development

Post by Zor »

Phases of Colonial Development

During the STL Era, nearly 5,000 systems were settled by Terragen Civilization. More have been claimed afterwards. Those that settled did so for a wide array of reasons; from government funded programs to civilian programs organized by fringe ideologies and newly emerged minorities. Colonial Histories also differed massively, from peaceful steady developments to cycles of bloodthirsty wars. That said, most historians have devised a system for rough tiers of development based around industrial and population. This shall have a rough summery of stages of development in accordance to the commonly held Nuwa Model of Terragen Colonization on Habitable/Terraformable worlds (some will object and state that the Brisbane University model (or some other system) is a more accurate, although the Nuwa Model is more popular).

Nominal Development
A general note: How long a colony stays in each developmental period (especially Stages I through III) depends massively the initial settlers. The first wave of STL Extrasolar Colony ships were publically funded projects. All prospective colonists were well trained men and women between 24 and 35 in good health, above average education and had been screened for mental stability. Specialists such as doctors were brought aboard in large numbers. Married couples were also sought out in large numbers. Their equipment, while less sophisticated than latter systems, was top of the line material for its day and redundancies were put in where-ever possible. The colonists were also given considerable opportunities to mingle with each other before launch. In short, these men and women were top of the line personnel well suited for setting up colonies. Latter privately funded extra solar colonization efforts typically had much lower standards despite some regulations.

Nominal Stage-I: Initial Settlement
General STL era length: 20-100 T-years
General Population-500 to 100,000 individuals
This is a colony immediately after arrival as it begins to set up itself. This stage is in which the beginnings of habitation and basics for survival are established. During this period, the first waves of settlement begin. This starts out with a single small community with a few farms and satellite outposts around it. Conditions are fairly Spartan as most of what is used is generally prefabricated for the first decade at least. While there are exceptions, industry is generally held in common for this early stage. There is no mass production and manufacturing equipment is to assemble what is needed on a piece by piece basis, though there is generally some specialist equipment such as nanoprocessor chip growth chambers exists. During this period there is typically intense population growth, most colonists go along fully expecting to have children and start up a new society. With few acceptations Families with more than five children are typical and generally the average is higher. On planets that require significant Terraforming, this stage lasts longer as settlers also have to dig in. The Length of Stage-I development is directly tied to the following factors…

• Initial Number of Colonists
• Colonial Development Supplies
• Planetary Habitability

At this stage, a colony is at its most vulnerable to collapse or complete destruction. The population is small and centralized with industrial resources being highly limited. The Death of a specialist such as a doctor, a malfunction at the wrong time, fire, unexpected flood or rockslide and so forth can have disastrous results long-term, causing significant delays which can have disastrous results. . A single natural disaster or social upheaval can bring this initial settlement to an end. This was especially true in the STL colonial era when the chances of another colony ship arriving were minute in the extreme, but the dangers remain even into the FTL colonial Era.

Should several ships arrive to settle a planet within fifty years, creating two independent settlements they will both be listed as developing independently regards to their index. This will remain the case until they are united or they reach Nominal Stage-IV.

Nominal Stage-II: Early Planetary Expansion
General STL era Length: 150-300 T-years
Population-50,000-50,000,000 individuals
Stage-II is when a colony begins active expansion across the surface. While there are some differences in settlement patterns and exceptions, but for the most part development at Stage-I is highly centralized, limited to an area 20 kilometers in radius or along maybe a hundred kilometers of river or coastline. At this stage, expansion begins outward. Ships and Convoys are sent out to set up new settlements. Generally this happens in waves, where settlers push out a distance (usually 30-100 Kilometers), set up a town at some promising local connected to the other settlements by roads and railways and a few decades later, expansion would continue if going overland, and setting up small enclaves on distant shores on planets with a lot of water (for example, the colonization of the Southern Polar region using a fleet of Solar Powered airships on Nova Australia). Population growth will remain high during this period, though it will still remain relatively and natalist initiatives will be kept in place to make sure this stays the case. The initial colony will generally grow and become the center of commerce and manufacturing, as well as an administrative center.

This period also sees the colonial society moving beyond simple survival and allowing themselves a greater degree of luxury than the first waves of settlers allowed themselves. The population moves to the point where gradually, assembly line manufacturing becomes possible and practical for every day needs and wants. Although there are exceptions driven by those who founded colonies on collectivist philosophies or came from collectivistic backgrounds in some way or another, industry is usually privatized. On planets undergoing extensive terraforming, this will be slowed as basic survival takes more resources, population growth is limited and Terraforming projects take up a significant percentage of these resources. That said, even they will see some increase in living standards, albeit in a more restrained degree. By the latter half of Stage-II some limited space development has begun (usually in terms of setting up satellites in low orbit and possibly the beginnings of some orbital infrastructure. In modern times this includes basic docking facilities and some minor orbital defense), although some extraordinary factors can push development along further.

The Vulnerability of collapse at this stage is less likely, but still present. While a much greater degree of redundancy is worked in, there are still risks. As mentioned before, the initial settlement remains a core of manufacturing as well as becoming a center of higher learning. A major disaster that affects the core, the repercussions to surrounding areas can be massive. Civil Conflict also remains high. At this point social stratification begins. While there are exceptions Stage I societies tend to only have three distinct social groups: General Colonists, Technicals (People with some level of advanced technical skill: Engineers, Doctors, Specialized Workers and so on) and Government Administrators, which tend to have only marginal stratification. As markets open up and private industry develops you see the rise of the rich and the poor. Poor planning on part of Colonial Governments can result in a highly stratified society, which can have disastrous results. This also opens to floodgates to economic recession and depression. Other social issues can crop up more unexpectedly in response to more specific scenarios and cultural conditions. Some civil conflicts can devolve into war, which is generally limited to infantry and mechanized warfare due to limitations in industrial resources.

Nominal Stage-III: Advanced Planetary Expansion
Population-25,000,000-600,000,000 Individuals
General STL era Length-200-300 Years
While in Stage-II the beginnings of urban society, this is still fairly limited in scale. Either slowly creeping over land from a singular core or stemming from a set of a handful of nodes. Urban culture begins to emerge, but is still limited in scale with cities rarely having more than a few hundred thousand people. Stage-III refers to the emergence of a society capable of meeting the needs of a modern world. At this point, a colony has reached a level of social and industrial maturity. Settlers lay claim and establish cities were-ever viable and mass transit systems are set up. Even on worlds still undergoing terraforming, standards of living are roughly comparable to those closer to the homelands that they left. Population growth also recedes.

This stage also marks extensive movement into space. Where-as at Stage-II space development was limited to orbital and possibly lunar development, at Stage-III a colony has the resources to begin more extensive development further out. In the FTL era this would include, with some assistance the ability to set up shipyards capable of building a hyperspace capable ship at about half way through it (this can be accelerated). Their planetary industries can also be adapted to provide spacecraft grade munitions and consumables, as well as equipping and training soldiers. Such colonies tend to make up the bulk of the more developed planets along the outer expansion sphere. In the Second Expansion Sphere, these worlds are generally targeted for conquest by various more developed worlds seeking power and prominence and rarely stand alone.

Nominal Stage-IV Developed World
Population-350,000,000 to 7,500,000,000
General Length-250 to 500 years if population control measures are not put into place
This stage represents a colony development to true maturity, with the planet united now united under one banner has emerged as a technological and industrial powerhouse. It has a distinct hold on the surrounding star system. Heavy Industry is transferred into orbital or Lagrange based facilities, as is a significant chunk of the population. Population growth typically stabilizes at some point at a fairly low rate of expansion.

While Stage-III colonies can (usually) assemble ships up to the size of cruisers, Stage-IV colonies have the resources to build Battleships and even Dreadnoughts. In the Second Expansion Sphere, these worlds can be at the core of advanced System States or the core of Multi System Empires. The conquest of one is often a respectable boom to interstellar states in the second expansion Sphere. To the core states, they are artifacts to be conquered and bartered in, chips of the Great Game

Nominal Stage-V Heavy Population Center
Stage-V is currently the highest development index. A world at Stage-V is heavily populated, with large Arcologies dominating the landscape of cities. Said planets have a high standard of living and are centers of commerce, culture and industry. While a few of them exist in the Second Expansion Sphere (for example, Nova Atlantis), most of them are located in the Inner expansion. Even among this densely populated area, these planets are in the minority and conquest of one of them is considered major prizes by the Core States.
Last edited by Zor on Sun Apr 10, 2011 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Magister Militum
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Re: Colonial Development

Post by Magister Militum »

Is a planet-wide government strictly necessary for a Type IV world to come into existence?
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Re: Colonial Development

Post by Zor »

Magister Militum wrote:Is a planet-wide government strictly necessary for a Type IV world to come into existence?
Technically No, although it does delay matters somewhat and normally a planet is united by this point.

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Re: Colonial Development

Post by Zor »

Collapse Indexes
Colonial Collapse refers to when unusual development is disrupted and set back. Many colonies have had to deal with collapse in some way or another at some point in their history. This a rough catalouge in regards to said setbacks

Collapse Index-I: Failure to Thrive

Index-I is the most common category of collapse. This refers to a major setback to development, but one which can ultimately be overcome. A disaster may not even be directly involved, but rather a setback at the right time. Deaths of settlers are a factor, but drop in standard of living is generally more prevalent. Long-term economic depressions are among the more common terms for Index-I collapse. Population growth beyond a certain level can often be a cause of Index-1 Collapse. The defining aspect of this is that a colony does not progress beyond a certain point despite its population and scale. This can be overcome at some later date, or it might not be. A colony with a twelve million people with the vast majority living at bare subsistence levels which has been as such since it was colonize 500 years ago that retains some level of advanced manufacturing is listed as such.

Collapse Index-II: Severe Setback.
Collapse Index-II is a much more active setback for the colony. While some loss of life may be present in Collapse Index-I, the defining trait of said index is that a colony is held back in terms of development. Index-II is much more active. Some Phenomenon results in a significant die-off of colonists (Generally more than half the existing population), as well as considerable losses of resources, not only delaying further expansion and development but undoing considerable progress. Cities are left in Ruins or left largely as ghost-towns; factories are left in ruins and so forth. For something to be listed as Index-II, the population must drop by 30% to 90%. This can be gradual or quick. Afterwards there is typically a massive fall in living standards. That said, eventual recovery by the colony on its own means remains possible.

Collapse Index-III: The Brink
Collapse Index-III refers to a more intense version of Index-II. This refers to Index-III cases where a society is brought to the Brink of Extinction; more than 90% percent of the Population dies off in the process. Those that survive retain their capacities and can rebuild, but such a recovery will take some time. Index IV is fairly rare and generally happens as the result of a slow decline over decades, rather than a sudden massive wave of deaths.

Collapse Index-IV: Minor Technological Regression
Collapse Index-IV can have the qualities of either Indexes-I, II or III but differs in that they have a considerable loss of technological capacity. Minor losses, like losing the ability to mass produce a type of kitchen appliance or a low cost civilian automobile which are eventually replaced with comparable analogues does not count as Index-IV. Index-IV refers to a major loss in technological capacity bringing a society down to a lower technological level. This is either due to the loss of machinery required to make said equipment, the loss of personnel indispensible for manufacturing or the loss of Data. While they retain the ability to maintain some machinery and may regain capacities latter on, they could not develop a new space faring civilization with the resources they had immediately after collapse.

This is most common in the early stages when there is little redundancy. The most common of which the loss of Processor growth systems, which are sensitive and if destroyed rob a colony of its ability to make all but the most basic of computers, setting it back to Pre-Tranquility levels. Carbon Nanofibre, lens and Superconductor manufacturing is also fairly easily lost. Generalized machine tools can be used to make stopgaps or work around a scenario and many colony ships provide emergency blueprints for low tech stopgaps in case more sophisticated gear is lost (for example steam engines, windmills and so forth). This generally triggers a chain reaction in collapse as other systems cannot be maintained and more capacities are lost subsequently, most notably in the areas of fusion power and spaceflight.

On planets that are not yet habitable, Index-IV collapses are generally a death sentence for the colony, although some in less extreme circumstances have managed to adapt and develop to survive, albeit at massively reduced capacities. In these cases, what emerges is generally a small number of cramped shelter cities with very low living standards until either a self sustaining terraforming process renders the planet habitable or another ship comes by. On planets which can sustain human life, the general result is a regression to basic industrial levels comparable to that of 150 BT to 20 AT, although on terraformed planets the scale of industrial development is often set back due to a lack of fossil fuels, although petroleum producing bacteria cultures can offset this. A severe example of Index-IV collapse would be Volksland. There are a few Index-IV civilizations on the frontier, but due to interstellar trade it rarely lasts for more than a few decades.

Collapse Index-V: Major Technological Regression
Collapse Index-V is similar to that of Index-IV but to a greater degree. This refers to a collapse in which technology is brought down to pre-industrial levels. This has happened a fair number of times historically, with over 185 Reported cases (excluding cases in which colonies were founded by some category of revivalist). Technological society is a very complex thing and is dependent on the presence of manufacturing equipment, steady sources of raw materials, skilled individuals and other such things. The loss of these can send a colony in a downward spiral in which it loses all technological capacity and regresses to pre-industrial levels. This can be the result of a single massive disaster or a gradual failure over time as knowledge and capacities is steadily lost.

Needless to say, this only happens on planets that have breathable atmospheres. The most marginal case where a society faced an Index-V collapse event was on the world of Novo-Pichincha in the 15th Century, when a series of problems befell the early colony eventually causing it’s infrastructure to break down. The end result was a set of Iron Age villages and city states in valleys in the equatorial regions that were dependant on highly developed if low tech irrigation systems and did most of their work during the night due to radiation concerns.

The usual condition that emerges is generally called “Gunpowder Feudalism”, a state generally in the Iron Age where some advanced knowledge is retained and there are major lags when compared to historical societies on pre-industrial Terra. They might know something about Germ Theory (even if it can be summed up as “disease is caused by small animals that live in dirt, excrement and rotten stuff getting into you and can be killed with soap and heat”) and can make saddles but lack potter’s wheels or the ability to make barrels. The term stems from the fact that knowledge of the formula for black powder tends to survive as it is fairly basic and tends to result in the biggest Iron Age and tends to be the most visible example of it. Even if its applications are limited by basic metallurgy this generally changes the nature of warfare, even basic bronze cannons, simple petards and crude rockets, the effects of gunpowder are very noticeable. In terms of government structure, things tend to regress backwards as well. While Democracy sometimes survives in some form (in colonies that were democratic to begin with), warlords normally rise to prominence sooner or later and proceed to found dynasties which latter become feudal states. In more religious colonies with a hierarchical priesthood, the emergence of theocracy is also common. A few examples of regression to Neolithic agricultural/pastoral or hunter/gather levels have been recorded but these where in the minority. Most planets do not have wildlife which is eatable, which means that agriculture is required for survival and is very well ingrained into the mind of colonists. A transition to pre-mechanized agriculture is generally easier than one to herding and hunter/gather subsistence. Pastoral peoples fairly often emerge on the frontiers of human expansion, but these are constantly being displaced by agrarian peoples who have the capacity of fielding larger armies and gunpowder weapons. With one exception, no world that has faced a Index-V collapse managed to regain an industrial economy without external influence.

Index V collapse was a product of the STL era and does not happen in the FTL era. In the STL era it would take years for word of such a collapse to reach the galaxy at large, and it would take decades at least until another ship could be dispatched. In conditions where failure meant centuries of isolation such conditions could be made. On the same note, a sufficiently advanced Gunpowder Feudal society can pose a threat to a few thousand lightly armored colonists, as settlers who decided to lay claim to Atlas found out. Now it is possible for a spacecraft to go from one side of the Terran Sphere to the other in 4 years time. A society which collapses to this point in the FTL era would either receive enough aid to rebuild to some marginal capacities or be swiftly conquered by some local with Imperial Ambitions. Those worlds that had faced Index V collapses which had not been conquered in the STL era were rather swiftly conquered during the 21st and 22nd centuries. That Said, Index V worlds have featured promiantly in fiction.

Collapse Index:-VI: Total Collapse.
Collapse Index VI refers to utter collapse of a colony, ending in the deaths of all colonists involved. This is only applied to scenarios after the Colonists have arrived and had laid claim to their planet, if a colony ship is destroyed en route a planet is merely considered unclaimed. Some legacy may endure: ruins of cities, Atmospheric processors, a habitable ecosystem with Terran Lifeforms, a handful of Robots performing some task because no one was left to tell them do stop, but this never-the-less all sapient life on the planet is extinct. Typically this happens fairly early in development. Total Collapse still happens in the FTL era, but is far less often as colonies have some means to ask for aid.
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