The 'Empires of Today' is set in an alternative world, where the Empires of the 1800's and early 1900's never ended, and carried on to become more powerful. The timeline diverges in 1834.
Post timeline divergence the history of the world is focused into three eras, the Steam, Diesel and Cyber Eras. Gaining their namesake from particular industrial technologies of the times, and the advanced technological era from 1967 to the current date (2012).
Steam Era 1834 - 1921
The Steam Era gained its namesake from the great use of steam power for industrial and everyday usage. The Steam Era began in 1834, where industrial revolutions continued across the globe, the rush for coal and energy sources began to get tighter, with the British Empire and the Russian Empire battling out for the sources of coal and natural gases that Russia controlled, particularly in Alaska. The Russians denied the British and European Empires coal, and focused on supplying China's growing industrial revolution. The tensions between Europe and Russia caused some enemy empires in Europe to form alliances to fuel each others growing economies, in 1909 this became known as the European Empirical Alliance (Empires of Today). The newly formed alliance threatened Russia and China military action over fuel supplies, which the Russians ignored, forcing the invasion of Russia in 1913 and beginning World War I (In the Alternate Timeline). The War involved most of Europe's biggest empires against the eastern empires. World War I ended in 1916, with both sides agreeing to the Treaty of Westminster, which ended the war and aggression between the powers, in turn each would be supplied with trade and energy sources.
Diesel Era 1921 - 1967
The diesel era saw the continuation of industrial revolutions into building advanced cities. The Diesel Era saw the race to drill oil, which Russia and the British Empire gained monopoly on, as well as the newly formed Arab League. During the diesel era China underwent its industrial revolution fueled by trade between Europe and the Far East with new technologies in transport and following the treaty of Westminster after World War I. By the end of the Diesel Era the world was entirely different, with new technologies developing, such as Space exploration, with the launch of satellites by the British and Russians, the space race began, beginning a new rivalry between the west and east.
Cyber Era 1967 - Current
The Cyberpunk Era saw the development of advanced technologies, and the space race, particularly post-2010, with the advancement of micro-technologies, including biotechnology.