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Im currently working on a story where the character takes part in a few instances of time travel.. The main character actually goes back in time, finds his youngerself, sends his youngerself forward in time in an attempt to protect himself, completes some tasks, then shoots forward in time to recieve his youngerself whom he sent forward in time, and finishes out the story.. (what a mouthful)... As convoluted as that may seem, its really turning out to be an interesting tale. Im curious if anyone has some input on how to explain time travel.. Im very open to suggestions, but Im not really interested in a "time machine". I was hoping to explain the time travel ability as having achieved some sort of mental elightenment, but havent sorted out the details as of yet... anyone have a suggestion or any input at all? Thanks.

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I have a suggestion, maybe sorta dumb but here goes. Time, to me, is like a series of "frames" that, if manipulated turn out a total different "movie" now if a person were to go back to a descision and and change what happened here, the origional movie would dissapear, so if this person found a mental way to project himself into one of these "frames" then he could just skim from descision to descison untill he found the one where he wanted to send his yunger self back in...
Sorta dumb but u said u were oen to suggestions

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I dont think that its dumb at all, and I totally appreciate your willingness to offer an opinion..

I like that, the analogy of time and frames.. thats good, now I have got something to work with.. I guess I just dont want to some thrown together solution, like I said, such as a "time machine"

Time is much like frames as it is, with each passing second its almost like our minds have a refresh rate... But if we are able to tap into these frames, its solely within our own minds.. do you think that physical changes while the character is in this state are believable? How can I take this explanation of time travel where the character skims through the frames of time, and relate that process to making actual changes in time? For example, I can, in theory, think back about my past and "skim frames of time" and remember my past, but I cant interact and make changes in my past.. so I guess I still dont have an explanation, of why its possible for the main character to do it..

I know time travel is not possible, so a sound and perfect explanation in my story I guess is not fesible.. but if you have anything to add, please do!

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Time travel is not necessarily impossible; We don't really know yet. There are many theories that suggest time travel is possible.

Quite often time travel stories are based on existing theories. Star Trek is a good example. Event Horizon is another (the film). It may be worth your while doing some research on the arrow of time and general relativity and that sort of thing. Get some ideas from these theories to explain the time travel in your story.

[edited by - TheBigJ on January 14, 2004 10:16:18 PM]

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Okay, time travel is a pain in the butt, and you really have to nail down your metaphysics to make it work. You have to know before you write exactly what will happen when you change the past.

The best system I''ve come up with so far is all kinds of complex, but is nearly limitless. I go beyond the standard 4D time model and incorporate possibility as the fifth dimension. It''s really cool.

I''ve got to go to work, but I''ll come back and post a suggestion that will rock your world tonight. Or maybe tomorrow. I''m kinda lazy. Heck, I might wait until 2009 and then travel back in time to post this, but here''s the beauty of the system: You''ll never see what I post! But you will. Sorta. This is such a cool theory.

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time travel, eh?

There are plenty of ways to explain it, but among them the only one I truly hate is "magic." This is the lamest excuse for time travel ever. evar.

no matter how it is done, some simple, basic rules must apply:


1: A person in the past is not affected by what happens to him in the future. A person who kills his grandfather (a commonly misunderstood paradox) does not vanish out of existence. When a person leaves his time and enters another, he is isolated from the effects of what occurs as consequences of his actions unless it effects him while he is doing it.

2: Time travel is secret. If the word got out that time travel was possible, we would have suffered through futuristic wars and brutal dictators and stuff. Evil people would take over stuff in the past.

3: Time travel is not infinite. A person should not be able to transport endlessly or instantly to different times at the slightest whim. Just wouldn''t be cool.

Anyways thats about it.

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If you read any reputable science magazine, such as Science News, or speak to any reputable scientist or physicist, all of them will say that mathematically and physically, time travel is impossible, at least to go back in time. But time travel into the future isn''t necessarily impossible. You can slow time down if you travel near the speed of light, which we cannot do yet.

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quote:
Original post by Chokki
1: A person in the past is not affected by what happens to him in the future. A person who kills his grandfather (a commonly misunderstood paradox) does not vanish out of existence. When a person leaves his time and enters another, he is isolated from the effects of what occurs as consequences of his actions unless it effects him while he is doing it.


I prefer an alternative theory where it''s impossible to change events that have happened. You can''t kill your grandfather before he makes your grandmother pregnant, for example, because by proxy you wouldn''t exist to kill him. But if your grandfather was killed some time after your parent was born, you could in theory be the person to kill him by travelling back in time and doing the deed. In the same way, you can go back in time and meet yourself - but you would have already had to have met your future self. If you went back in time and didn''t meet your past self, then you wouldn''t have met your future self in the first place. It brings up all sorts of philosophical questions like determinism, predestination and such, quite effectively summed up in the Matrix films: "You''ve already chosen the path..."

As far as gameplay is concerned, this means that if your character goes back in time, certain plot-critical events must have occurred, and certain plot-critical events must not. For example, if someone is assassinated in the past, you can''t prevent it by going back in time, but you can witness it. If you''re the one who assassinates them, you can''t baulk out of it... which includes dying in the process, unfortunately (you really have to sort that problem out ). If you saw yourself in the past you''ll see yourself again. If you never met yourself you can still go back in time and *observe* your past self without being spotted. Or maybe you saw some mysterious person take out all the guards around you then run away - you later realise that this was your future self hiding in the bushes, when you visit this scene later on in the game. Another nice touch might be that in the "future" time zones you might be able to read about certain events (in newspapers, libraries or archives) that seem irrelevant at the time. You later go back in time and visit the places that the article was about. When you return and read the articles again, you realise that you actually had things to do with the little irrelevant things.

Note that this all requires that the game constrains what you can and what you can''t do. This isn''t really a problem, considering that it''s no more constrained than 99% of the games out there already. It just means that you''re forced to do certain things and preveted from doing other things.

Also, remember that just by being made out of matter we''re bending time around us. It''s not a linear thing, it''s just our perception of it that it.

Right. I''m off down the pub.

[teamonkey]

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quote:
Original post by Nahoopii
Im curious if anyone has some input on how to explain time travel..


The concept is simplier than people make it. The faster you move the slower in time you move until ultimately you move backward in time. The slower you move, the faster in time you move until ultimately you move forward in time.

The breaking point is the speed of light and zero velocity. That''s why if electrons travel faster than the speed of light, they arrive sooner than they left.

It kind of explains how electrons seem to teleport in an electron cloud.

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Well, if you like my idea then...to time travel using "holes" in reality, where something had happened so terrible, that a person''s thoughts were "stopped" These points could be used as like a time machine, only not because you dont like that idea :D.
The person you want to travel back in time could have descovered one of these holes where his younger self''s thoughts were stoped and using this hole he can go back to that frame and alter it...

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I hate and despise time travel in every way, shape, and form. It''s far too fickle. I can''t stand it. Although, some shows, games, and such have been able to have other interesting features that made me over-look the time traveling, but still.

I''ll give you an example. Say Tom was a mad scientist. He was thirty years old. He was also a mad scientist. Tom decides he''s going to build a time machine and a bomb, so he does so. He sets the time machine to go back to a week before his high school prom, during which Suzy, a big-breasted gorgeous blonde, rejected him. By eliminating Suzy and everyone else, he doesn''t have to deal with too much heartache. Then, boom. Everyone twelve years in the past is dead. But if Tom died when he was 18, how could he''ve sent the bomb from twelve years in the future? Thus, I hate time travel.

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Time travel can be fun, if done well.
there are a number of mechanisims you could use to handle it.

1)You can only travel to points where you don''t exist, ie before you where born or after you died.
2)You can only time travel within your own life time.
3)You can''t travel back to the same moment in time more then once.
4)For every action this is an equal and opposite reaction. So if you go back in time and kill someone that means someone who was suppose to die now lives. Conversly if you save someones life another person has to die.
5)Temperal divergance. If you travel back in time and change any event then the future which you came from no longer exists.
6)In flexable future. No matter what you do in the past the present can''t be changed.


-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project
Chaos Factor Design Document

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quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
1)You can only travel to points where you don''t exist, ie before you where born or after you died.
2)You can only time travel within your own life time.
3)You can''t travel back to the same moment in time more then once.
4)For every action this is an equal and opposite reaction. So if you go back in time and kill someone that means someone who was suppose to die now lives. Conversly if you save someones life another person has to die.
5)Temperal divergance. If you travel back in time and change any event then the future which you came from no longer exists.
6)In flexable future. No matter what you do in the past the present can''t be changed.



1 and 2 negate each other. 4 and 6 negate each other, as does 5 and 6.

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umm. I never said to use them all in the same game. There just diffrent idea that can be used to handle the time travel aspect of a game.



-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project
Chaos Factor Design Document

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Gotcha.

Even if you still don''t kill your past self, you can make yourself non-existant by killing your ancestor(s). Then if you were never born, how could you kill your ancestor?

Then, with the inflexable future, that''s even more impossible than time travel itself. If you kill your past self, you''re not going to be alive in the future, unless they had you before their death.

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quote:
Original post by orionx103
Gotcha.

Even if you still don''t kill your past self, you can make yourself non-existant by killing your ancestor(s). Then if you were never born, how could you kill your ancestor?

Then, with the inflexable future, that''s even more impossible than time travel itself. If you kill your past self, you''re not going to be alive in the future, unless they had you before their death.


Will it would depend on the game. But if its an inflexable future the you couldn''t kill your self. If you placed a bomb in an attempt to kill yourself then you would simply survive the explosion there maybe some minor changes to the timeline such instead of playing football in grade 12 you spent it in a hospital recovering. Or if you went back intime and killed your parnets then you would still be born but your parents would be diffrent.

Time travel of course can be problematic but in terms of games its just tool. Besides why do you seem bent on killing yourself in the past? There are alot simpler means to commit suicide then time travel.

-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project
Chaos Factor Design Document

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quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
Will it would depend on the game. But if its an inflexable future the you couldn''t kill your self. If you placed a bomb in an attempt to kill yourself then you would simply survive the explosion there maybe some minor changes to the timeline such instead of playing football in grade 12 you spent it in a hospital recovering. Or if you went back intime and killed your parnets then you would still be born but your parents would be diffrent.



If you had different parents, you wouldn''t be the same person. You''re parents are the majority of the reason you are you. For that reason, that''s invalid.

And if you were to shoot yourself in the head, or decapitate yourself, or so on so forth, you would not live.

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quote:
Original post by orionx103
quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
Will it would depend on the game. But if its an inflexable future the you couldn''t kill your self. If you placed a bomb in an attempt to kill yourself then you would simply survive the explosion there maybe some minor changes to the timeline such instead of playing football in grade 12 you spent it in a hospital recovering. Or if you went back intime and killed your parnets then you would still be born but your parents would be diffrent.



If you had different parents, you wouldn''t be the same person. You''re parents are the majority of the reason you are you. For that reason, that''s invalid.

And if you were to shoot yourself in the head, or decapitate yourself, or so on so forth, you would not live.


ahh. but now we get into metaphysics. What is a person? Is the body merly a container for a person spiritual self? If so then you would be the same person no matter what body you where born into. And if your life experince are more less the same as they where in your previous incaranation arn''t you the same person?


-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project
Chaos Factor Design Document

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if time travel were possible, i kinda like the idea that the time line is unchangable. so say some guy went back in time to try to kill his past self (for some reason) then if the past self actually saw the future self the he would have already have memories of it as the future self (if i''m making sense here), because they are the same person. then whatever happens the future self can not kill the past self, otherwise he/she wouldn''t exist in the future. so if he tries to shoot his past self, he can''t, his gun jams, he misses completely or something causes him to fail. it''ll be impossible to kill his past self, or perform any other actions to cause himself not to exist. basically in this idea of the universe/time travel everything has already happened (you could say predecided) and nothing can be done to change it.

i actually like the idea of mental time travel though. so most people agree that the transportation of physical matter through time isn''t possible, but what about consciousness? if you took the idea that consciousness weren''t a physical thing (don''t ask me what else it could be) then you could possibly transfer it through time to your own body at that time, possibly using some deep meditation i guess. i''m kinda thinking out loud here really but i think it could work. it wouldn''t really work with the story you had laid out, but that''s how i think travel might work, on a mental level rather than physical. but that throws into question what consciousness actually is and whether it is entirely based on a physical/biology process in your brain or something else. i don''t know, i''m no philosopher or religious person, at least it''s a different take on the whole time travel idea.

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If the story Nahoopi is writing is scifi, then the whole "what makes a person a person" thing isn''t going to fly. It would be completely out of place. And what would cause a gun to jam if a person tried to shoot their past self? Science? No, it couldn''t be science. Then what could it be? Again, that wouldn''t fly.

So, I say, if you want to write a good story, avoid time travel. It''s too damn fickle.

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You can''t meet yourself in the past or future. The cells on your body can only be in one time period.

The only thing you can meet of yourself in the past and future, is your shed skin, fingernails, or excrement. You can only meet things that were once connected to you. And I doubt they would be very talkative.

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With the details I have thus far, the story in chronological order is absolutley possible.. What I mean is, all interaction from the main character while traveling in/out of different time periods wont have any impacts that change the future.. He doesnt kill his parents/grandparents... He doesnt make any drastic changes that werent done before...And he will definetly interact with himself, I will not justify the rules that matter cannot be in 2 different places at the same time.. The character does interact with a younger version of himself, but when he was younger he interacted with an older version of himself as well.. The future will not be changed by anything he does in the past. Just wanted to clear that up if this disscussion is going to continue, but what I notice is that usually when a post hits 2 pages, people stop posting.. But thanks to EVERYONE, this discussion has gone just how I hoped and I appreciate everyones input!

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Just have to add a little...

tgraupman, your entire body is regenerated about once every seven years. If you go farther back or forward than that, you'd be able to meet a constellation of molecules that is just as much "you" as you are, but shares no common matter. Of course, you're using a postulate that somehow prevents matter from existing in different places at the same time. If matter can exist in the same place at different times, why is this impossible?

====================================

Okay, here's my kickass theory on time travel: Anything is possible in time travel, like killing yourself, or whatever, but the only world you, the time traveler, see is the one you're in right then, and there are infinite other possible worlds out there that you are not in. That didn't make any sense. Hang on.

Ever hear of Schrodinger's cat? It's a thought experiment. You get a cat (in your thoughts, it's probably illegal to do this without some kind of credentials) and stick it in a box, then you hook the box up to a system that has a 50% chance of killing the cat over the course of an hour. You set an egg timer for one hour, activate the device, then go get some beers. Exactly one hour later, there is a 50% chance that the cat is dead. basically, until you look at the inside of the box, you are living in two different worlds, one with a live cat, one with a dead cat, and everything else is exactly the same, because the cat's living or dying hasn't influenced anything yet. When you look in the box, and see that live cat (or dead cat) one of the possible worlds is destroyed, and your life continues in the remaining universe. That's a quick and easy description of the thought exeriment, but you get the idea.

Okay, so here's my theory: Just as there are infinite "instants" in time (don't give me any of that Max Planck crap), as there are points on a line, so too are there infinite possible worlds, in an infinitely complex "game tree" of possibilities. Likewise, there are infinitely many incarnations of each thing in the world. So there are infinite versions of me, in infinite parallel universes. The "present" is not a point on a line, but rather a point on a plane, or even in a cube, depending on how fancy you want this to get.

Here's an example:

Jim and Bill are standing together in Bill's house. Bill decides that he wants to get rid of an ugly chair that his dog just peed on. Jim, a skilled time traveler, offers to go back and throw out the chair BEFORE the dog peed on it, thus eliminating the ugly chair, the stink of dog urine, and the very event that linked those two phenonema together (forgive my referring to a chair as a phenomenon, it's a Kantian thing).

Jim puts on his time-hat and says, "Three hours ago". ZAP! He's in the past. However, just by introducing his presence, he's created a new world, a world in which he appears out of thin air at that moment. That world didn't exist until that event occurred. Now, he grabs the chair, hauls it to the curb, puts a note on it reading, "Dear Bill, you hate this chair, leave it on the curb," and puts his time hat back on. He says, "Two hours and fifty-five minutes from now." ZAP! He's standing in front of Bill in the living room, and the chair is gone. The dog peed outside that morning.

That's a big win, but here's the catch: Jim has travelled through two different dimensions, and this second one is not the one from which he departed. So, here's a run-down of the two dimensions Jim visited, and had a hand in creating:

Dimension 1: Bill watched Jim put on the hat and say "Three hours ago." Then Jim disappeared, and never, ever returned. The chair stayed right where it was. Bill felt bad about his friend disappearing into time, but got over it.

Dimension 2: The chair went to the curb mysteriously (had anyone been there, they would have seen Jim do it). Our Jim shows up in Bill's house, says, "Ta-daa!" and Bill looks at him funny. That world's Jim comes up out of the basement, and the two stare at each other.

Dimension 1 lost its Jim and Dimension two gained a Jim. Two Jims for two dimensions, but they've moved around.

So, Jim could go and kill his parents, but they wouldn't really be his parents, since he was really born. So he can't change HIS past, he can just change a SIMILAR past.

There it is. My champion time travel theory... of DOOOOM!

Questions?

Q: During the brief time that Jim was actually moving the chair, weren't there three Jims in two dimensions?

A: Yes, there were. Jim1 went backward a little bit and overlapped temporally with himself, so he'd have actually been three hours older than Jim2 if he hadn't zapped forward. As it stands, he stayed for six minutes moving the chair and zapped five minutes less into the future, so he's one minute YOUNGER than his alternate self. Wild.

Q: So, can't he just use his time hat to zap sideways through possibility, and wind up in a world where the chair was taken out, instead of going back in time and doing it?

A: No. The hat makes him travel through time, but his decisions and actions move him through possibility. In that way, we're all able to traverse this fifth dimension.

Q: But what about mechanistic materialism? Hard determinism?

A: Suck my balls. Hard determinism is a philosophical dead-end, and if it's wrong, I'll be damned if I'm going to live pretending that it is.

[edited by - Iron Chef Carnage on January 16, 2004 4:42:40 PM]

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" regenerated about once every seven years." thats not exactly right, probably because of your choice of words you make it sound like some kind of spontanious regeneration every seven years. What happens is that it takes roughly seven years for ever cell in your body to be replaced, its an on going process.

but I do like the idea of being able to only travel in time in seven year intervals.

as for your "theory" on time travel. So basicly according to this theory:
D1 begins with one bill and a dirty chair.
D1 Loses Bill.
D2 Gains a bill and has chair moved to a curb.
D2 loses its extra bill
D3 is created.
D3 Gains an extra bill.
D3 Now has two bills and no chair.

Of course by this theory it never possible to return to your orginal dimension and that dimension will never have another bill.

I personlly don''t like this theory because I don''t like the idea of having multiple versions of the same person wandering around permantly.


What would be interesting at least from a gaming and literay stand point would be a best fit scenario. Imagine if you will instead of traveling back to the future and having two Bills. You arrive in a future that has no bill and no chair. There would also probably be numerous other changes for instance your friend may have a cat instead of a dog. But you would arrive in a "present?" that is closet to your previous dimension, but without a chair.

-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project
Chaos Factor Design Document

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