This is a re-image of the concepts of the STC found in Warhammer 40,000. The STC (Standard Template Construction) is the standard specification of technology used in the Imperium. All technology produced in the Imperium adheres to the STC specifications (similar to ISO standards) and all measures are maintained by the Adeptus Mechanicus (i.e. rods of measure). This means that components to an engine can be built on many different Forgeworlds and yet they will fit together flawlessly (with mark 1 persuader (hammer)).
The Adeptus Mechanicus are responsible for the vast amount of goods produced in the Imperium. Though they built and control all higher technology they also supply STC certified kits for local assembly (for more information of STC see: The Dark Age of Technology). The kits known by is side-mark acronym ‘Imperial Kit for Ecorium Assembly’ (I.K.E.A) can be put together by local ‘tech-cultists’ who are not acolytes of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The concept is similar to a kit car or flat pack. The idea of shipping kits is to maximise storage space on inter-stellar ships. The vast manufacturing muscle of the Adeptus Mechanicus and economies of scale mean that produce goods far cheaper that many local production facilities.
The I.K.E.A work units are pack in STC/p/IKEA packing crates, also known as ‘size 1’ (the biggest crate they do before containers (which hold multiple crates)).
Myths: The use of kits has given rise to the idea that the Adeptus Mechanicus do not make all technology, but putting together a an I.K.E.A work unit is very different to manufacturing the component parts. Virtually all local production of tech goods is based on STC kit assembly and the I.K.E.A work units.
This may see at odds with the Adeptus Mechanicus’ views on society and technology, but it is considered a basic skill of human society to be able to put together colony level STC, it also provides a fertile ‘outside’ recruitment ground for the Adeptus Mechanicus.
Blueprints of the Future
Everything in the STC is standardised, not just the artefacts made, but even the machines that make the artifacts are standardised. There is no innovation as such, as all technology to a very high level has already been invented, tested, used, improved, refined, integrated and standardised thousands of years ago.
What is interesting is that if we, on our world obtain an STC and could understand it, we do not have the machines to make the higher technologies, and we do not have the machines that could make the machine to make the higher technologies. Obviously building machines, to build other more advanced machines, to build even more advanced machines is expensive and not much in the way of capital return, so we would have to walk the path of the STC, going through each generation and working our way up. However, each step would be mapped out, progress would be accelerated, and it would all work perfectly and be the best that we could imagine, and any improvement we might make would reveal themselves to be false as we progressed along the path, even minor changes may have a huge further down the line (for example: PCs are prone to legacy issues due ‘realistic’ guess on future needs. With the STC this wouldn’t have been an issue).
Another aspect in the take of technology is software, and the STC has the software all ready to go on the new hardware, imagine if we had an STC now, the change over to 64bit would be very quick. it would be like a release of Linux, but with tones of commercial grade software that is bug free and smooth as silk. This results in an environment that as soon as the hardware can be built it is used. This greatly speeds up the adoption of technology.
With the loss of complete STC this creates huge gaps in the Adeptus Mechanicus’ knowledge and can slow down the adoption on technology. As all STC is interdependent and each step depends on the previous step it can be tricky to fill in blank and get it write, especially if you don;t have a working example of the high tech ‘next step’.
It is the STC that made the Iron Men so successful at colonising space. Each Iron Man had a full, up to date STC in their head and knew all technology from the basics up. If humans had an Iron Man and the world supported life the humans would be OK.