View Full Version : Key advancements throughout history

03-11-2011, 12:06 PM
It seems I've been absent from the guild for far too long, but now I must return and beg of your combined wisdom...

I've been working on a game for the better part of a decade and am now approaching it with renewed vigor. (And now I see the guild has undertaken a worldbuilding project of its own, if only I could find this many dedicated souls to help bring my world to life, but I digress...) The premise of my game is somewhat involved but in many ways centers around Humans living on another planet and having to start over with limited resources. There are a number of incidents/situations in this setting that present additional obstables as well.

Anyway, I'm feeling ambitious regarding the detail and realism of the game world and am trying to determine a rough analog from Earth history to where Human civilization would be in my world. So I ask this question:

What key resources/advancements/technologies were critical to various time periods in Earth history from the 14th through the 19th centuries?
I'm thinking more in terms of 25-50 year periods. It may help to think about what, if taken away, would result in a society slipping backward in terms of progress.

By the way if you're interested, the name of my game is Proteus. It takes place on the world of Ortellum and details are available at base113.com.

03-11-2011, 12:23 PM
For a start you could take a look here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_historic_inventions).

03-11-2011, 12:38 PM
I like how Alcoholic beverages was included as a historic invention...lol

03-11-2011, 01:11 PM
Why not, the ale (and bread) standard is one of the more effective means of comparing prices from different time periods.

I'm thinking largely in terms of agriculture and industry, and how they impact daily life. Okay, I'm actually looking at a much broader range of areas:
refinement and use of metals and other materials
fuels (coal, charcoal, kerosene, etc.)
building construction and materials
food preservation/refrigeration
mass production
health care
environmental controls

That's actually a small portion of my list. What key advancements or resources would impact these areas?

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03-11-2011, 03:19 PM
Advancements in the ability to move water around would be very important for agriculture and sanitation. An understanding of pressure and the associated invention of pumps would therefore have a major impact.
Obviously, steam engines would revolutionize a society, although it took Western civilization centuries to realize that.
The discovery of lighter-than-air gases enables flight and improves communication.
The ability to produce electricity, which almost certainly also requires knowledge of magnetism, and the ability to store electrical potential.
Mathematical notation is very important, and it came later than you might think. The equal sign was invented in 1557.

Hmmm… try to find a copy of Deathworld 2 by Harry Harrison. It might serve up some inspiration for you.