How long is an hour?
TLDR: Time may pass 17x as fast on Cythera as on Earth.
It's been a few years since I've done any boring Cythera experiments, in fact I thought there was nothing left that I was interested in doing. But there is something I've never been able to figure out: How/when does time pass? This question bugged me back when I attempted to make a Cythera moon chart, and realized that simply charting the hours wasn't enough. Even charting quarter-hours didn't seem to be precise enough. How does this game keep track of time?
Since Cythera is turn-based (at least by default), I've always assumed that the smallest increment of time would be one 'step'. Today, I attempted to measure how long an hour is by steps. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be that simple - the exact number of steps I can take in an hour seems to vary a bit. This annoys me because I do not understand it. Possibly the variation is meant to reflect the impreciseness of using Awareness to estimate the time? (Though Awareness did seem to be really accurate when I made schedules of the NPCs' daily routines.) Am I just really bad at counting? Does a single movement sometimes take more time than others?
I can tell you that my character seems to take around 340 steps/hour. I did a Google search, and it appears that on Earth, people take more like 6000 steps/hour. I am beginning to think that the time compression in Cythera compared to our world may be much more drastic than we realized.
Pallas Athene last edited by Pallas Athene
Is it the same on all maps? I seem to recall having the impression that time passed faster walking on the overworld than in the cities. I think there’s a 32:1 scale between the overworld and city maps.
If it is different by map, then there must be something controlling it, which means it might be possible to pull the exact details out with delvmod.
Oh yeah, and I would assume it’s an “action” that counts as a time tick, so checking the time with Awareness probably causes the clock to advance.
Thanks for the ideas! All of the step-counts I did yesterday were on the ground level on Pnyx, so something else is causing the slight variation - probably my Awareness checks? I'm will try to find out if Awareness counts as an action! I assumed it didn't. I also might experiment with how time passes in different zones ^_^ Sounds fun!
When I was playing Avernum somewhat recently, I had figure out how fast time passed in order to Pandora's Box it and cheat on time limits. I remember in that game (3, and one of the Blades scenarios), time passed 10x as fast in the overworld as in cities. I kind of doubt Cythera is like that though, I feel like I would have noticed time passing faster in the overworld? Then again, noticing things isn't exactly a skill of mine.
Buzzzzy last edited by Buzzzzy
After some experimentation, it seems to take exactly 1,360 instances of "estimate time" to pass an hour (for the record, I did not manually press "e" 1,360 times but had that automated). 1,360 happens to be exactly 340 * 4, which suggests that one step passes 4 times as much time as estimating time (and also that @453's estimate was spot on).
Also: I'm not sure about this, but NPCs seem to possibly move slightly variable amounts of steps for each player action. I tried estimating time repeatedly in the presence of a patrolling guard. The guard would usually move half a tile for every time I pressed "e" (0 tiles –> 0.5 tiles –> 0 tiles –> 0.5 tiles, etc.). But every once in a while, he would move half a tile twice in a row, or not move twice in a row. I couldn't find any pattern to this and I didn't try it enough times to rule out some error on my part.
Pallas Athene last edited by
340 seems like such a weird number to count to, but it happens to be exactly 4/3 of 255, which seems much more normal.
Here’s my theory:
- There is actually an even smaller unit of time
- Estimating the time takes 3 ticks
- Each step takes 12 ticks
- An hour is 4020 ticks, which just fits in one of those 12-bit integers (0…4095) that Cythera is so fond of
The current time must be stored somewhere, in memory and save files. Do we have a Pandora’s Box address, or save files that differ by a single time estimation?
Thank you, Buzzy and Fiery! This is useful, but I still haven't found any kind of time measurement with Pandora's Box. I did test out using a keyboard with a numpad, and it does in fact work in Cythera, including diagonal movement I never knew!