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Chris_J

Different time rates in network games

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Hi! With some friends, we are trying to brainstorm a persistant internet-based war game, to be played "continously". We are experimenting at the moment with different ways of dealing with the time-related problems.. they mainly fall into two categories 1) Have to allow for people to log on at different times.. don''t want people to get "wiped out" while they aren''t logged on. At the same time people and their castles / army can''t just disappear while they aren''t there 2) Actual battles could do with running in "faster time".. what is the best way to do this... I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts, or good examples of other games? Chris

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hello Chris_j

I had a thought about your first problem. when a person logs out of your game, their units become invunerable and go back to base. when invunerable the units can''t attack and can''t be killed, the castles would still be visible, so people can see them and plan for future attacks.

Corny806

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you could also implement a turn-based system, allowing each player to spend the same amount of action points per cycle and then play out all the engagements at a set time (i.e. every day at noon).
that way all the players have the same technical chances, provided they log on once per day. you also reduce the amount of time a player spends with the game (not having to wait for an attack to finish, etc.), thereby limiting the server load.

here are a few you might wanna look at (afaik these all calculate attacks immediately, but use some sort of turn-based system):

www.nukezone.nu
games.swirve.com (two rather similar strategy games, very big)
www.gangwars.de

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For your second problem - having actual conflicts take place with a smaller timestep than the rest of the game, this is only a problem if you allow players to interact with battles once they''ve started, so one solution is just to wall off any battles as soon as they start - and rule that nothing gets in or out of the area until some time after the battle finishes.

If you allow things to move freely in and out of the battlezone, the effect is that communication is disrupted and an increasing lag builds up - if the time rates are too large, then this gets pretty ridiculous - if by the (real) time the battle finishes, two game-hours later, a game-month has passed on the top level, then a) the situation in the area may be such that another battle should have been fought in the mean-time (which could lead to queued battles increasing the lag, or battles fought ignoring the effects of a battle a game week earlier...) b) it''s going to be hard to come up wiht a game-world justification and c) it''s going to confuse the hell out of everyone...

If you''re prepared to restrict interaction, then turning the top level turn-based and only allowing the passing of orders (which can be interpreted) rather than direct control from the top level could work. Of course, you''re then no longer playing "continuously"

Or just say that, for whatever reason, the presence of a battle causes local time distortion in the game world, so despite seeming to take game-hours, to the outside game-world, the battle actually takes game-days or however long the real-time the battle takes works out as. This doesn''t really solve the problem - just moves it from the game mechanics to the plot/setting.

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