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* In Creator/PoulAnderson's story "The Three-Cornered Wheel", a fairly advanced (though well short of spacefaring) civilization lacks the wheel because the dominant religion considers the circular shape too sacred to be put to mundane use.


* ''Dawn of Man'' is a strategy-survival-management game set during Prehistory and early Ancient History. The game features six technology levels based on subdivisions of those eras: [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic Paleolithic]] (actually based on [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper_Paleolithic its latter stage]]), [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesolithic Mesolithic]], [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neolithic Neolithic]] , [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalcolithic Copper Age]], [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronze_Age Bronze Age]], and [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Age Iron Age]].

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* ''Dawn of Man'' is a strategy-survival-management game set during Prehistory and early Ancient History. The game features six technology levels based on subdivisions of those eras: [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic Paleolithic]] (actually based on [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper_Paleolithic its latter stage]]), [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesolithic Mesolithic]], [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neolithic Neolithic]] , [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalcolithic Copper Age]], [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronze_Age Bronze Age]], and [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Age Iron Age]].
Age]]. At the start of the game, you control a tribe of hunter-gatherers living in hide tents, dressed in animal pelts, and using wooden sticks as tools. At the end of the Iron Age stage, the villagers wear wool clothes, wield steel weapons and tools, inhabit stone-walled thatch-roofed roundhouses, transport raw materials and goods inside wheeled carts pulled by domesticated horses or donkeys, and subsist from large crop fields and cattle breeding.



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* ''Dawn of Man'' is a strategy-survival-management game set during Prehistory and early Ancient History. The game features six technology levels based on subdivisions of those eras: [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic Paleolithic]] (actually based on [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper_Paleolithic its latter stage]]), [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesolithic Mesolithic]], [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neolithic Neolithic]] , [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalcolithic Copper Age]], [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronze_Age Bronze Age]], and [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Age Iron Age]].


* ''VideoGame/{{Rimworld}}'' groups the items on its TechTree into four rather broad levels: Neolithic[[note]]Primitive bows and spears, clothing stitched together from animal skins, stoneworking[[/note]], Medieval[[note]]Metalworking, a more sophisticated textile industry, proper furniture[[note]] Industrial[[note]]Widest category, encompassing most major technological developments between the early 20th century and the present day with a few TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture bits[[/note]] and Spacer[[note]]Energy weapons, PoweredArmour, the endgame technologies to let you [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin build a spaceship]].[[/note]]. A settlement at one of these levels suffers a research-time debuff for researching one that lies outside its current level, whether it's higher ''or'' lower, and unless you download a particular GameMod the tech level your settlement is at depends solely on which starting scenario you choose.

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* ''VideoGame/{{Rimworld}}'' groups the items on its TechTree into four rather broad levels: Neolithic[[note]]Primitive bows and spears, clothing stitched together from animal skins, stoneworking[[/note]], Medieval[[note]]Metalworking, a more sophisticated textile industry, proper furniture[[note]] furniture[[/note]], Industrial[[note]]Widest category, encompassing most major technological developments between the early 20th century and the present day with a few TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture bits[[/note]] bits[[/note]], and Spacer[[note]]Energy weapons, PoweredArmour, the endgame technologies to let you [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin build a spaceship]].[[/note]]. A settlement at one of these levels suffers a research-time debuff for researching one that lies outside its current level, whether it's higher ''or'' lower, and unless you download a particular GameMod the tech level your settlement is at depends solely on which starting scenario you choose.



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* ''VideoGame/{{Rimworld}}'' groups the items on its TechTree into four rather broad levels: Neolithic[[note]]Primitive bows and spears, clothing stitched together from animal skins, stoneworking[[/note]], Medieval[[note]]Metalworking, a more sophisticated textile industry, proper furniture[[note]] Industrial[[note]]Widest category, encompassing most major technological developments between the early 20th century and the present day with a few TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture bits[[/note]] and Spacer[[note]]Energy weapons, PoweredArmour, the endgame technologies to let you [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin build a spaceship]].[[/note]]. A settlement at one of these levels suffers a research-time debuff for researching one that lies outside its current level, whether it's higher ''or'' lower, and unless you download a particular GameMod the tech level your settlement is at depends solely on which starting scenario you choose.

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* ''Literature/TheCulture'': The scale of Recognized Civilizationary Levels classifies cultures according to the technological benchmarks they've achieved. Higher-level civilizations sometimes mentor lower-level ones, helping them progress without being overwhelmed, but galactic treaties against "over-runging" prohibit technology exchange between civilizations more than one level apart.


** The system also introduces the concept of divergent tech levels, with the notation "TL('x'+'y')". TL (5+1) is {{steampunk}} tech, for example, while the BambooTechnology of [[WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones a certain modern Stone Age family]] would be TL(0+7).

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** The system also introduces the concept of divergent tech levels, with the notation "TL('x'+'y')". "TL('x'+'y')"[[note]]where x+y is the effective technology level, x is the technology shared with that of our history, and y is how far along the technological development is along some alternate path[[/note]]. TL (5+1) is (usually) {{steampunk}} tech, for example, while the BambooTechnology of [[WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones a certain modern Stone Age family]] would be TL(0+7).

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* ''VideoGame/{{Warframe}}'': Played with. The Orokin tried to use their highly advanced weapons against the Sentients, but the Sentients easily subverted their technology and used it against them. The Orokin were forced to resort to "zero-tech," ancient weapons without any real technology in them. But the Orokin were so ridiculously advanced that they didn't see much of a technological difference between a gun and a sword.

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*** This may be a case of UnreliableNarrator due to translation problems.


** It can get worse. In CivRev, the British can get knights before most nations have Alphabet. Knights are pretty much superior to anything that isn't a industrial or modern unit. One wonder might let you learn Advanced Flight ahead of flight. This can lead to you learning Space Flight before your nation has steel, electricity, combustion, or flight. How did we launch a spaceship without that?

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** It can get worse. In CivRev, ''Civilization Revolution'', the British can get knights before most nations have Alphabet. Knights are pretty much superior to anything that isn't a industrial or modern unit. One wonder might let you learn Advanced Flight ahead of flight. This can lead to you learning Space Flight before your nation has steel, electricity, combustion, or flight. How did we launch a spaceship without that?

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**And we would be here all day if we tried to list every example of a catastrophic movie event sending us "back to the stone age."


* The ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}}'' series is a mishmash of historical accuracy and ridiculous(ly well-working) deviations for game play. Its {{Tech Tree}}s rigidly follow Earth (Western) development on maps that are likely to look nothing like Earth. ''Civ III'' was particularly {{egregious}}.

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* The ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}}'' series is a mishmash of historical accuracy and ridiculous(ly well-working) deviations for game play. Its {{Tech Tree}}s rigidly follow Earth (Western) development on maps that are likely to look nothing like Earth. ''Civ III'' was particularly {{egregious}}.JustForFun/{{egregious}}.


* Averted, at least on the primitive end of the scale, in ''The Ringworld Throne''. Discussing whether or not a troublesome species of {{Ringworld}} hominid is sentient or non-sentient, it's mentioned that different borderline species have developed different skills: an aquatic variety can't use fire in its native habitat, but has developed flaked stone tools; a raw-meat-eating species doesn't ''need'' fire, but raises livestock; and so on.

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* Averted, at least on the primitive end of the scale, in ''The Ringworld Throne''. Discussing whether or not a troublesome species of {{Ringworld}} Literature/{{Ringworld}} hominid is sentient or non-sentient, it's mentioned that different borderline species have developed different skills: an aquatic variety can't use fire in its native habitat, but has developed flaked stone tools; a raw-meat-eating species doesn't ''need'' fire, but raises livestock; and so on.


* ''WebOriginal/OrionsArm'' carefully lays out post-{{Singularity}} tech levels based around the relative intelligence levels of ever more complex transhuman and AI minds. Pre-Singularity humans can at best make basic nanotech and antimatter drives. At S1 BrainUploading and matter-to-energy conversion drives become possible. S3 minds can create Wormholes, and S4 or higher can produce {{Reactionless Drive}}s.

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* ''WebOriginal/OrionsArm'' carefully lays out post-{{Singularity}} post-[[TheSingularity Singularity]] tech levels based around the relative intelligence levels of ever more complex transhuman and AI minds. Pre-Singularity humans can at best make basic nanotech and antimatter drives. At S1 BrainUploading and matter-to-energy conversion drives become possible. S3 minds can create Wormholes, and S4 or higher can produce {{Reactionless Drive}}s.


* The movie version of ''HarrisonBergeron'' created an elaborate setting where, while technology's capability was late-21st century, everything appeared to be set in the mid-'50s of the US, as people seemed to be "happiest" then, according to the SpaceClothes wearing people who managed the conspiracy of the average.

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* The movie version of ''HarrisonBergeron'' ''Film/HarrisonBergeron'' created an elaborate setting where, while technology's capability was late-21st century, everything appeared to be set in the mid-'50s of the US, as people seemed to be "happiest" then, according to the SpaceClothes wearing people who managed the conspiracy of the average.

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