time and RP

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Joined: 21 Feb 2006
Posts: 105
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 12:30 am    Post subject: time and RP Reply with quote

I'm trying to figure out a good way to handle time in a RP-focused mud (for the curious there is an older post Real Life Time <--> Mud Time).

I want time to be an important element of gameplay. However as anyone who has played a RP mud can attest, the time it takes to RP a scene can take far, far longer than you would have with even the most generous mud to real life time ratio.

The RPG mechanics that I'm using do a lot with time-based effects, though in a kind of loose and abstract way. For example, there is a scale of how long it takes to do something that looks a little like this:


A few moments
Half a minute
A few hours
An afternoon
A day
A few months
A season
Half a year

I don't have an issue so much with time-based effects for a group of players in a single RP scene (as they can adjudicate it however they want really) but I'd like player actions to have an effect on later scenes or even other groups of players RPing in a later scene. For example, Bob uses a skill to build a weapon which will take some game time. When it's finished he can use it or give it to someone else. When (in RL time) should the weapon be finished? In the 'meantime' Bob might be RPing scenes that take days of real life time, but only hours of 'game time'.

One solution is to just separate time-based skill effects and RP. So Bob uses the skill, there is some specifc number of minutes of RL time it takes, and when it's done it's done, even if Bob is RPing that a few seconds have gone by or a few weeks. While this is a very easy solution it's not totally satisfying.

Are there other approaches I'm missing?
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Joined: 19 Oct 2006
Posts: 21
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if you want an enforced time minimum, you could store a complete time and when world.time > than that, it's done. To allow for RPing to speed up, decrease the complete time by the amount RP'ed. For example:
Crafting a potion of virility takes a day and can be RP'ed down to a minimum of 5 minutes.
So, Ambrosius begins his construction. ETC 24 hours.
Ambrosius sits around for two hours as his player watches Family Guy reruns. ETC 22 hours.
Ambrosius roleplays a short mystery wherin he discovers Professor Plum did it in the study- Real time 3 hours, RP time an afternoon. ETC 10 hours.
Eventually ETC reaches 0 and he has a shiny new potion of virility. The missus will be so happy!

Next potion, Ambrosius begins crafting and then goes and short RPs a solid day's worth with his wife. Real Time 15 seconds RP Time a day. Since the minimum is still 5 minutes, he still has 4 minutes and some seconds to go Wink
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Joined: 21 Feb 2006
Posts: 105
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is just the thing jmurph, currently I can't really think of a way to sync RP time -- not that I even want to really, as I think in a RP mud players should have the freedom to expand or contract time as they see fit. Obviously this creates problems though when you're trying to sync item creation times between two different groups of RPers. I think enforced real-time minimums are the only option.
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Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depending on the size of the playerbase, perhaps it might be possible to have a variable time ratio?

At the simplest level this could just be a 'real-time' mode, which players can activate during roleplaying scenes; if any player in the mud has activated real-time mode, then time passes in real-time for everyone. Otherwise, time passes at the faster rate.

This would probably work fine for a very small and friendly playerbase, but when you've got people roleplaying around the clock (or a player who decides to leave real-time mode on all the time), it's not going to work.

One way around this would be to introduce a 'catch-up' phase every so often, where the mud time passes at a sufficiently sped-up rate to get back to whatever time it would have reached had nobody used the real-time mode.

For example, lets imagine that mud time normally passes at 4 times real time, so that 6 hours in real life represents 1 day in the mud. You could then say that every 6th hour is a catch-up hour. If nobody has used real-time mode, then the catch-up hour would stick with the usual 4:1 ratio, but if real-time mode had been active for the entire first 5 hours, the 6th hour would accelerate time to cover the remaining 19 hours of game time.

Depending on the theme of the game, you could probably find some excuse to justify why people should break off their roleplaying at a certain point. Perhaps the game takes place in a war zone, and the catch-up hour represents the period of time when the enemy are attacking.
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