Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

IADaveMark

Getting rid of parallel timelines!

Recommended Posts

One of the things that annoys me about of lot of strategy and simulation games is the insistance on using what I refer to as parallel timelines... that is that the real world formula we are used to: 60s = 1m 60m = 1h 24h = 1d 30d = 1m 12m = 1y ... somehow gets derailed. An off the cuff example would be something like Roller Coaster Tycoon... (love the game btw!) There is no closing the park and people can be in the park for years before going home. Now, while my fiance'' - roller coaster addict that she is - would view this as a fantastic trip, spending 18 months in an amusement park is a bit extreme. Of course, the peeps LOOK like they are doing things at the right pace... eating, walking, riding, sitting, etc. A decent coaster takes 3-4 minutes of ride time... that''s realistic. Where then is the split in the chronological reality? It would seem to be in about line 3 above... since there is no day or night... no open or close, there is no need to track a "day" in game terms. The next highest thing you realize is the concept of the "month." (Actually, if you look at your expenditures for monthly things like advertising and payroll, you can sense a "weekly" period in there.) Another game doing a similar thing would be Railroad Tycoon II. (again, I love the game!) However, even in the early years, it didn''t take 2 months to get a train from Detroit to Chicago. People may as well walk. It would seem that the rationale for doing this sort of thing is to either: 1: be able to blend the strategic with the tactical. i.e. managing the whole high level business AND get involved in the moment to moment minutae. 2: use the small time periods as representative to a repeatable process you are doing over an over. e.g. one coaster ride represents many of them. My question is this... is there any good way to avoid this? Obviously, there would need to be adjustable time scaling... from real time (1:1) to some accelerated level (x:1) but that, as far as the game is concerned, 1 year = 31,536,000 seconds? What sorts of games would allow or even require this sort of accuracy and what sorts are best served by running parallel timelines? Dave Mark Intrinsic Algorithm Development

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A rule of games design:
Never, -ever- let realism get in the way of fun.

Granted, some games should be more consistent with real life, but you can understand a developer doesn''t suddenly stop designing and say "...waitasec, this isn''t realistic! Oh no!". ^_^

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it would be hard to do an accurate timing scheme, simply because of the fact that I don''t want to sit a year behind the computer just to see the first rollercoaster getting built.

Problem is, if you speed up the time so that, for example, an hour is a year, you would only see a big blur on your screen as 10.000 people pass the same pixel per second.

The designers of the original game idea probably have spent a while thinking how to avoid only showing statistics (as was the case with really old text-based sim games) but also displaying the action as it happens graphically. So I think your point 2 is a good description of the system.

In the end I guess people just find it fun to fiddle with the cost of the rides and watch the visitors having fun (or not )

But hey, if you find another way of creating a game that''s more realistical but still fun I''d love to hear about it!

---
Allow me to clear my head for once...
Stop polluting the air!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Actually, the game that I am working on is something that almost requires a reality based timeline to work with. The reason for this is that you are scheduling things in real time and 90% of the issue is getting things to work chronologically (it''s a real-time strategy simulation/God game). The good news is that, unlike RCT, there isn''t a lot of second-to-second activity (e.g. people walking around the park) that would require the user''s attention.

Harpoon II did something nice wherein the game would revert back to 1:1 upon the occurance of certain events that may require your attention. When a message box would come up, it would drop to 1:1 time until you closed the box. Each message box had a check box on it, though, that allowed you to tell the computer to stay at 1:1 while you dealt with something. I would do it a slightly different way than they did with 2 different "OK" buttons... 1 resuming and one slowing it down.

Dave Mark
Intrinsic Algorithm Development

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fox,

Regarding timelines somewhat peripherally... a fair number of the MMORPGs I have played exist in permanent daylight, and those that do not don't seem to have any sleep requirement for their characters. This is most likely because people log on at all hours and don't want to be told their character is sleeping, or that it's too dark to go out...

I have written a document describing an alternate way to run an MMORPG; nascent in it are ideas I hope to eventually use. One of the ideas is a consistent timescale of around 6:1. Thus six days in the game pass per day in reality. This time scale is of course fairly flexible, but characters will have periods of inactivity/sleep. This does not work as a stand-alone idea of course; certain other concepts such as automated scheduling of PC activities while out of direct control contribute to make what I consider a workable system.

Just wanted to throw in my 2 cents on timescale, and hopefully provoke some interest in my ideas.

The document itself:
www-personal.umich.edu/~izeilstr/project_engine.htm

Thanks for your time and patience.

---------------------------------------------------
-SpittingTrashcan

You can't have "civilization" without "civil".

Edited by - SpittingTrashcan on January 17, 2002 1:03:42 AM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites