But this time, instead of just talking, I can show you.
If you're not a Civ 3 player, honestly, you can probably give up all hope of ever understanding this, but even to a Civ 3 player my method is a bit mad.
So I was making in paint a rough outline, prototype, of the tech three, to fine-tune it.
As per my previous research, by my estimates (with the note in the corner as a reminder), I can fit about six techs per column, and about six (at least that's the hope, because I'm screwed if it's less) columns per age.
Each tech can only hold four unlocks--buildings, units, wonders, small wonders, worker actions--before it goes to two lines, limiting me to four unlocks per tech.
Each tech can have an unlimited number of effects, though, which are invisible unlocks that don't show up on the display. Governments, resources, diplomacy unlocks, naval abilities, and a whole bunch of other stuff fit into this category.
The black lines between techs show requirements.
The red lines are lines between techs that are too far apart for me to show otherwise, but are still showing requirements. Blood Cult, in this case, requires Ceremonial Burial and Cuneiform; Bronze Working requires Craftsmanship and Warrior Code.
When there's a unit with a forward slash in it, that means that's a mutually exclusive unit of the same line of upgrade.
Foot Fighter's the generic upgrade to the starting Warrior-replacement (as Warrior is the upgrade to Foot Fighter), Clubman. Gallic Fighter is the Celtic equivalent; Hastatus is the Roman equivalent.
Archer's the generic starting unit to the archer line; Roman Archer is the Roman equivalent; Sun Blotter is the Persian equivalent; Gallic Archer is the Celtic equivalent.
When I can remember the upgrade line interactions, I can just use that. Roman units are outside the normal tech tree and don't interact at all; Gallic units are outside the normal tech tree, but whenever they don't have an upgrade in a line, they still get the generic version (whereas the Romans do not). The Persian units I mentioned are in the upgrade tree, though. (The exact mechanism there is a little complicated, but weaker generic units upgrade into their stronger generic and the stronger generic upgrades into an equivalent unique and that equivalent unique upgrades into another equivalent unique until all equivalent uniques are covered at which point it upgrades into the generic upgrade. Not a mechanism I invented, that's part of the game itself.)
The | I used was a special marker for the case of a special unit exception.
Persians make the Enkidu Warrior equivalent to the Warrior, Romans the Principe (outside the tech tree), Celts the Gallic Warrior (also outside the tech tree), and the Greeks...Sea People. Greeks can't build the Warrior, building Sea People instead...but Sea People upgrade into a different tech tree--and unlike Gallic/Roman examples, this is a generic upgrade. Sea People go into the line of "nationless land units built for punishment", which ends in the reimagining of the Warlord. (And for the Goths, goes further to the reimagining of the Berserk.)
Since they function as a mutually exclusive unit, but upgrade into a non-mutually-exclusive unit, I needed a special designation to mark that.
After I completed three levels of the tech tree, I decided to crossreference my notes to check my work.
Which resulted in the other half you see before you.
I neglected to add in some units which should've been in there; stone thrower and gatherer.
I also have a TON scheduled for the next levels.
Tildas represent an approximation of where that unit needs to be, with it not being exact.
For the future tech levels, I didn't note mutually exclusive units, just the generic versions, for the sake of simplicity for what amounts to a temporary note.
Green here represents a chronology error of techs with regards to an upgrade line--in this case, a sacrificial altar requires a temple, but I had temples as being available after the sacrificial alter. Though it flavor-wise doesn't make quite as much sense, switching the two would fix it, such that the sacrificial altar gets put on Mysticism (which was the tech that'd have given the temple).
Technically that in of itself creates a chronology error since the inner sanctum requires a sacrificial altar, but since it's a government-specific building anyway, I can live with that.
Circled units/buildings represent "these are definitely available to the civilized civilizations"--Romans, Carthaginians, Greeks, Persians, and Egyptians. With the blue lines representing a trail to "yeah this unit is available in its upgraded form".
From this, I've been able to approximate out that the civilized civilizations start approximately at the fifth level, give or take a little (some sixth level tech, lacking some fourth, maybe).
The question marks represent buildings I'm not sure where they'd be on the tech tree, and would need to heavily consult my notes for more definitive answers.
Tactics was originally a 5th-level tech, which featured the unlocks of Legionary II, War Elephant, and Bowman/Amazonian Archer/Hand Ballista. The timing of that needed to be pushed back, because the War Elephant should be after the Horseman tech-wise, which is why it's around level 7.
Military Training, as the follow-through to Tactics, needs to be after it.
The Republic requires Monarchy, and has units that should require Tactics at least (if not Military Training), which pushes it to a minimum of 7 if not further.
...The problem is, this does put me a bit behind the timeline necessary.
If I could fit in a seventh level, I'd be golden, because seven steps is what I originally had for the first age.
But if I can only get in six...then I suddenly have all the more steps to somehow fit in.
This jumbled mess might just look like chaotic scribbles to you...
...But this is remarkably groundbreaking for me. This trouble-shooting of the tech tree is getting me exactly in the zone I need to be, and while there's the hiccups to work out, kinks in the system to iron out, the basic outline is there, and it's working with me able to, potentially, fit in all my ideas coherently and smoothly. I just have to make it work.