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Durakken

4D Games...

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I'm curious on the thoughts people have on the concept a of games that allow more movement in 4D, ie Time, than the pseudo-time that occurs in games. What I mean is, games often exist in a state where they exist at x moment in time. Returning back to a place those places have not moved on in time, or if they have it is more like they were point A and then point D... and point B and C never existed.

 

It would obviously take a lot of scripting to give the illusion of having a game where you could appear to have time moving, or it would take some pretty sophisticated AI and World editing tools... Or it would have to be extremely limited.

 

I think there are a lot of cool concepts that could be done if we could work with a non-static time element and a world that reacts according to actual input... Like imagine having a game where you have to solve/prevent a crime and capture a criminal, but you have to prevent damaging the time line as much as possible. So you can jump to the past and do whatever you wanted, but if you do something it has consequences that might not be foreseen... so imagine that you place a trap somewhere and then travel back to the present only to find that it was triggered by some by stander and so that changes several actions that the criminal has changing the entire scenario... That, imo, would be an awesome game, but without these 4D mechanics it seems impossible, without being really scripted and boring.

 

So what do you think about this stuff and do you think we're close to being able to do it?

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It would obviously take a lot of scripting to give the illusion of having a game where you could appear to have time moving, or it would take some pretty sophisticated AI and World editing tools... Or it would have to be extremely limited.

 

I think there are a lot of cool concepts that could be done if we could work with a non-static time element and a world that reacts according to actual input... Like imagine having a game where you have to solve/prevent a crime and capture a criminal, but you have to prevent damaging the time line as much as possible.

 

I think that type of game would be awesome. I don't think it's impossible though, as there are a few examples I can point to. In The Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask, you play in a 72 hour time period. There are day-night cycles, and time is constantly ticking. I haven't played it lately, but I believe you can also turn back time in that game. I don't think it has the time element; but Watch Dogs allows you to prevent crimes, and the people appear to react to you based on what you do. It's definitely possible if enough work is put into it.

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Games are already 4D, they just don't allow you to control the first or fourth dimension (time). I first thought you were talking about being able to go through another extra dimension where everything changes. I guess this really, really, depends on how you work out the idea... Some of them, like the idea you're describing, sound fun to me.

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It would obviously take a lot of scripting to give the illusion of having a game where you could appear to have time moving, or it would take some pretty sophisticated AI and World editing tools... Or it would have to be extremely limited.

 

I think there are a lot of cool concepts that could be done if we could work with a non-static time element and a world that reacts according to actual input... Like imagine having a game where you have to solve/prevent a crime and capture a criminal, but you have to prevent damaging the time line as much as possible.

 

I think that type of game would be awesome. I don't think it's impossible though, as there are a few examples I can point to. In The Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask, you play in a 72 hour time period. There are day-night cycles, and time is constantly ticking. I haven't played it lately, but I believe you can also turn back time in that game. I don't think it has the time element; but Watch Dogs allows you to prevent crimes, and the people appear to react to you based on what you do. It's definitely possible if enough work is put into it.

 

 

I wasn't talking about just have a timer tick and being able to go back and forth in time... and I specifically didn't name Majora's Mask because I'm fairly certain it's more or less static, but a clock ticks down. Obviously things happen in games, but I mean more in the sense that there is a flow of events that have occurred and can be reversed or fast forwarded and isn't unalterable and act like as though time passes... for example a character what repeatedly introduce themselves, they'll know they already introduced themself and say something else... and not a cycle through a list of responses either.

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You might want to play Braid; it does a very good job of leveraging delta T in its game mechanics; it's also one of the best presented games I've ever played.

 

A much more straightforward use is Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, using the dagger to "rewind" the game state a few moments, primarily to undo missteps in platformer puzzles or in combat.

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It would have to be constrained somewhat, since the players will themselves be limited to a single timestream (here in the really real world) while playing the game. Changes would have to be scripted, or else limited in their scope.

 

4D time-jumping works well in books and movies because you can give audiences that "A-ha!" moment where they discover the true cause of something.  You can present the result of an event, then show the event itself later on in a flashback and it will always fit together correctly.  It's not so easy in a non-linear videogame where the player's decisions and actions cause variations in the world and narrative.  You can't collect evidence from a crime scene and then flash back and play through the crime unless the whole thing is on rails.

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It would obviously take a lot of scripting to give the illusion of having a game where you could appear to have time moving, or it would take some pretty sophisticated AI and World editing tools... Or it would have to be extremely limited.

 

I think there are a lot of cool concepts that could be done if we could work with a non-static time element and a world that reacts according to actual input... Like imagine having a game where you have to solve/prevent a crime and capture a criminal, but you have to prevent damaging the time line as much as possible.

 

I think that type of game would be awesome. I don't think it's impossible though, as there are a few examples I can point to. In The Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask, you play in a 72 hour time period. There are day-night cycles, and time is constantly ticking. I haven't played it lately, but I believe you can also turn back time in that game. I don't think it has the time element; but Watch Dogs allows you to prevent crimes, and the people appear to react to you based on what you do. It's definitely possible if enough work is put into it.

 

 

I wasn't talking about just have a timer tick and being able to go back and forth in time... and I specifically didn't name Majora's Mask because I'm fairly certain it's more or less static, but a clock ticks down. Obviously things happen in games, but I mean more in the sense that there is a flow of events that have occurred and can be reversed or fast forwarded and isn't unalterable and act like as though time passes... for example a character what repeatedly introduce themselves, they'll know they already introduced themself and say something else... and not a cycle through a list of responses either.

 

 

In order for that to happen though (not cycle through a list of responses), you'd have to develop natural language processing and implement it in your game. To date, everything in most video games must be prescripted unless you're playing with other humans.

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In order for that to happen though (not cycle through a list of responses), you'd have to develop natural language processing and implement it in your game. To date, everything in most video games must be prescripted unless you're playing with other humans.

 

 

As weird as it sounds I think there is a way to pre-script without the language processing. It would require a lot of work as you'd have to create characters with an immense number of personality variables and have dialogue triggered based on context and those variables. So it can be "pre-scripted' but more hidden. At that point though it becomes impractical with todays technology.

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To do it in an adventure game, yeah, it would pretty much require really hefty AI, or more likely, a ton of scripting for a few set events.  (Chrono Trigger style, where yes, you can go back, but most of time your actions don't change things unless scripted to do so, like leaving your robot friend behind to populate a forest and then jumping to the future to pick him up and see how they did.)

 

You can do it in an RTS, like Achron, but it's mostly just going to make people's heads hurt.

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First, just a note on time travel in general. There are several theories to this, but it seems to me that you are subscribing to the idea that you can change the past. Based on that every time you jump to the past, you essentially create another time-stream that runs parallel to the previous time stream, and then jumping back to the present time would only allow you to move along the current and newly created time-stream. So essentially jumping back and forth could change everything as you are essentially in a new timeline.

 

Another theory is that you can not change the past, and that any actions taken upon jumping back in time will have in fact already occurred (almost like fate). With this there would not be any scripting or logic change required, but the story would essentially be predetermined, which I think you do not want. This method however, would be much easier to achieve in a game.

 

With the scenario you are imagining, every jump from the past to the present would require a massive amount of calculation and processing in order to determine what actions the player took and what their final consequence would be. Like you said, this would probably be best achieved with some sort of advanced AI. But no matter what, there will be limits, because AI is not in fact intelligence, but merely the illusion of such. Each scenario must be understood by the AI in order for him to take the appropriate action.

 

So in short, it is possible, but it is massively complicated and the user may be confused when some of his actions cause changes and others do not. It may be important to allow the player to understand what types of actions in the past will affect the present, and set obvious parameters within which the player can operate.

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