Posted by: Xalthorn | September 11, 2007

Game clock and map

One of my intentions for the game is that the in game clock will pass in realtime.  For many games that adopt this approach, it means that depending on where they live, players will never see the game in darkness/light unless they change their sleeping habits.

To support this idea and keep it practical, the game map will be large enough to allow for areas in different time zones.  This will mean that players can find an area that they enjoy playing in, meet other players who happen to be in their time zone (at least during the day) and players who want to play night missions could do so either by staying up late or travelling to another part of the game world which is in a different time zone.

The mapping implications for this approach are huge, but definitely possible.

Having a land mass that spans several time zones would need to be very large unless the scale is so large that details are not seen.  Certainly in a tactical world warfare game it would be easy to map a globe, but in that game you would expect to see the tactical world powers and their overall positions on a map.  In this game I want to be able to walk around the landscape, into villages, into buildings, interacting with individual NPCs or monsters.

Mapping a whole globe at that detail would be a tad excessive so naturally I have to decide on a compromise.

Most games with a global play area tend to break the map down into manageable chunks, each chunk fully defined but separate to the others.  Travel between the sections is done via teleports, transportation devices (ships, airships, etc), or some other reason why the player shouldn’t walk between them.

Before I resign myself to this approach, I am testing some theories to see if I can’t have a more contiguous world map whilst still keeping myself to a relatively small database as I don’t have the luxury of a dedicated server with its own mass storage.



  1. Interesting ideas. Although a large playing area isn’t necessarily needed for time zones, at least in theory. Time zones on Earth are around 15 degrees longitude each, so all you have to do is create a globe small enough that the average player in a reasonable amount of time can walk 15 degrees.

    Then again, at around three miles per hour, walking 15 degrees on any logically sized planet is nowhere near reasonable.

    I’m with you on your opinion of games that break the wold into chunks separated from the others. IT doesn’t feel right and doesn’t give the player the power or choices they deserve.

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