matthew30903

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I have made an action point based time system using events. The day is split into time periods; morning, day, evening, and nigh t(Or whatever your game uses). The player is given a certain amount of action points for each period and once they reach zero the next period begins or the next day starts and periods start over again. If an action takes more than the action points available then they are subtracted from the next day period.


For example, each day period has 100 points. The player does a quest that takes 11. Then the player does another that takes 90. They will start the next day period with 99 instead of 100. The player must sleep for at least one day period a day and sleep resets action points to 100.


My question first is if this sounds like a good idea to you, would it deter you from playing? Would you use it in your own games?


What actions should take points(Time) and what should not?
 
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Rayhaku808

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I wouldn't necessarily play it for the system, but if the actions had value to the amount of points they're worth to give me that sense of progression then I guess I'd say it's a good idea.


I don't think I'd mind using it in my own game but I'd simplify it down to have less points for sure. I wouldn't want any more numbers to balance outside of combat that'd give me a headache lol.
 

AMGLime

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I remember a game I played called  Ephemeral Fanasia using a Time-based system to do things. You had like 3 days, and the first 3 days were forced but after that you started over with previous knowledge and could change how certain things happened. Save people you saw die, and they'd join your party, have a better first impression and gain peoples trust. You couldn't do everything in a cycle, but as you did it, got stronger etc, etc on follow up cycles it took less actions so you could do more and more. Anyways, what I'm getting at is the system of having your days limited by Actions was cool in the game, and it made sense. As a player though, I didn't like the Action Based time system, especially in a situation where there was so much stuff to do it felt like I myself was limited and forced replaying the same situation over and over. So getting it to work well and not limiting would be the hardest part in my eyes.
 

matthew30903

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Thank you @Rayhaku808 and @AMGLime.


So the main issue is balancing. The idea is for this system to be an alternative to real time for open world games. One problem with real time is the lack of control on the developers side. Most actions will slowly lower the action point variable and change the time of day once the variable reaches zero. All moves in the background to move seamlessly. The developer would be able to set how much time an action will take and estimate where that would leave the player during that time. So the real question would be: What way can this system be made more fun and engaging for the player wist increasing control for the developer? We are talking in general and not game specific per se.


From your example of Ephemeral Fanasia it seems that the limiting factor was an issue when you had to repeat things over and over despite the fact that there was more things to do?
 

Basileus

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It sounds rather like some of the old-school dating sims. Morning action, Day action, Afternoon action, Night action. Choosing to talk to one person or do one objective means not being able to do any others in that time slice. Possibly using basic stats to decide which actions the player can perform so some actions have to be used on activities that increase core stats to ensure ability to do things later (i.e. having the proper Strength stat for a scripted fight event, having high enough Charisma to successfully ask the popular girl out or enough Intelligence to attract the honor student girl, etc.).


Persona 4 actually uses a system a lot like this - you can take talk to people and do stuff in each time slice but doing something major will advance time to the next slice. You can use your afternoons to go into the TV world and grind in the dungeons, but that means giving up the entire After School time slot where you can interact with party members and NPCs to create and advance Social Links. So you might get levels and some stats, but at the cost of new Personas, abilities for your party members' Personas, and lots of side-stories and backstory. Spend all your time goofing off with your friends though, and you may be too weak to beat the dungeon bosses and save the latest victim in time which leads to Game Over.


I can't say I'd go out of my way to play a game just because of a Time System like this, but it wouldn't deter me. As long as the Action Point costs make sense and everything else is coherent I think it ought to be fine. I also developed a simple Event-based Morning/Day/Afternoon/Night system (with matching screen tints of course) but I only really planned to have time advance outside of towns and have NPCs be in different places and trigger different events based on time of day (which would be frozen once you enter town so you can do all of the events in that time slice then exit town to advance time). It's a bit old school but I hadn't considered expanding it.


Changing the time advancement to player actions could be interesting for forcing choices. Maybe add in a day of the week system so the player has to meet NPCs at specific times and can feel free to do other quests in between or if they miss their window. Worth considering but I'm not sure what I'd even do with it yet myself.
 

matthew30903

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Persona 4 actually uses a system a lot like this - you can take talk to people and do stuff in each time slice but doing something major will advance time to the next slice. You can use your afternoons to go into the TV world and grind in the dungeons, but that means giving up the entire After School time slot where you can interact with party members and NPCs to create and advance Social Links. So you might get levels and some stats, but at the cost of new Personas, abilities for your party members' Personas, and lots of side-stories and backstory. Spend all your time goofing off with your friends though, and you may be too weak to beat the dungeon bosses and save the latest victim in time which leads to Game Over.


I can't say I'd go out of my way to play a game just because of a Time System like this, but it wouldn't deter me. As long as the Action Point costs make sense and everything else is coherent I think it ought to be fine...


...Changing the time advancement to player actions could be interesting for forcing choices. Maybe add in a day of the week system so the player has to meet NPCs at specific times and can feel free to do other quests in between or if they miss their window. Worth considering but I'm not sure what I'd even do with it yet myself.

Persona was one inspiration for this system. Day of the week, month, and even years are taken into account, though I see very few games that go past a year. Thank you. If you ever consider expanding your system or have more to say about this concept please share your thoughts.
 
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Atelier Totori covers 3/4 years worth of game-time. However time progression is a lot faster than you've described. Alchemy and traveling the world map consume days at a time. It slows down in 'field maps' where time-points are consumed with battles (1+ based on turn count) and gathering (5), after 10 the day automatically rolls over with you still on the 'field'. Quests even work on a schedule where you have usually a month or 2 to complete.


Generally a well designed time-system should mostly go unnoticed (not make the player feel constrained for 'time' or bogged down with tiny chores) or at least roll over smoothly. Its for this fact that a time system is rarely a major selling point to a game, whereas a badly implemented time-system will ruin the game experience as a whole.


Personally I prefer less actions a day but where each action has significant impact. For example, would you rather consume 5 out of 100 points at a time to harvest 10 crop-patches (50 total) or 2 out of 4 points to harvest the entire farm at once?
 

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