Erfworld time, how does it work?

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Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Magenta » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:19 pm

Hello forum.

I really, really don't understand how Erfworld time is supposed to work. In the summer updates they discuss it but the phrasing they use just doesn't make me any wiser about it. What determines the differing "speed" of time in different hexes?

If you'd take the current situation in the comic... why is there any hurry for Parson to get to the battle? If every hex has its own time, couldn't Parson have nearly all the time in the world if the time in his current hex moves slower than the one in the battle (i.e meaning that one second there would correspond to five or ten in the other hex)? And if that cannot be the case, why cannot it be the case? It feels like I am missing a key rule and without it the time differences just seems arbitrary.

Does any of you know how it works?
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Koliup » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:00 am

Erfworld works on dramatic conventions for stuff like the portal.
As for scouts? Well, when they move, time passes for them in a really weird, but not unexpected way.
Think of it as being as tall as a mountain, and when you walk a certain amount of paces, the curvature of the Earth means the sun is in a different place.
All systems nominal.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Nnelg » Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:49 am

Magenta wrote:Hello forum.

I really, really don't understand how Erfworld time is supposed to work. In the summer updates they discuss it but the phrasing they use just doesn't make me any wiser about it. What determines the differing "speed" of time in different hexes?

If you'd take the current situation in the comic... why is there any hurry for Parson to get to the battle? If every hex has its own time, couldn't Parson have nearly all the time in the world if the time in his current hex moves slower than the one in the battle (i.e meaning that one second there would correspond to five or ten in the other hex)? And if that cannot be the case, why cannot it be the case? It feels like I am missing a key rule and without it the time differences just seems arbitrary.

Does any of you know how it works?

It's arbitrary.

Basically, I imagine it works as if there was one big "overhead view" that'd be like what you'd get as the player of a turn-based strategy game such as the ones Erfworld were based on. That, and of course dramatic convenience.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Ryjak » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:33 am

If I understand it correctly, each unit has their own relative time, and each hex has its own relative time. For example, let's say we have two units, a warlord and a scout, and they start turn in a city they just captured. Expecting to be counter-attacked, the warlord sends the scout out a couple of hexes down the road at dawn. Keep in mind there are no Thinkamancers, Lookamancers, Messaging Hats, or anything else for communication.

for the scout, I imagine the experience of time is like this... Scout leave the hex an hour after dawn, and travels four hexes. In each hex, the Scout spends thirty minutes looking around. Each time the scout enters the hex, the sun moves back to dawn, because he's the first unit from his side to enter the hex. After spending 30 minutes in each hex and not finding anything, he travels back to the city, which takes 10 minutes to cross each hex. The Scout arrives in the city after operating for 2 hours, 30 minutes.

For the Warlord, all she sees is that the scout left an hour after dawn, and came back immediately after leaving. The Scout reports no enemy units along the road for four hexes. The Warlord orders the Scout to look three hexes into the adjoining woods, and the Scout leaves 10 minutes after arriving in the city hex.

Upon entering the first hex, the sun jumps to 30 minutes after dawn. Apparently his side did something in this Hex after turn start... Maybe another Scout. Following orders, he looks around for thirty minutes and find nothing. It's now an hour after dawn in this hex when he leaves. Entering the second Hex, the sun jumps to dawn, so the Scout is now in a hex no unit from his Side has entered yet. After 30 minutes of searching, he enters the third forest hex... And is surprised to see the sun jump three hours after dawn. Confused, the scout looks around, and finds a bunch of enemy units croaked all over the hex. He spends an hour investigating, and finds a small enemy unit hiding in the trees, many of them wounded. The Scout goes back to the city, taking 15 minutes to cross two Forrest hexes. This expedition took the Scout 2 hours, 30 minutes... The scout has now been awake for 6 hours, and has used 13 move.

For the warlord, the Scout arrives immediately after leaving; 1 hour, 10 minutes after dawn. The Scout reports what he found, and the Warlord says, "Aha! There they are! Thank you, Scout; get some extra provisions from the larder." The warlord order all Forrest units to stack up, and they leave the hex 10 minutes later. They enter the first hex, and the sun moves to 1 hour, 15 minutes after dawn, because her side has already had units 2 scouts spend 30 minutes searching the hex, plus another 15 minutes for the second scout crossing it. They take 15 minutes to cross, enter the second hex, and the sun jumps to 45 minute after dawn. 15 minutes later, they enter the third Forrest hex, and the sun jumps to four hours after dawn. Since they know exactly where the enemy is, they head straight to the enemy and crush them with overwhelming force in 5 minutes with few losses. They return to the city; when they leave this hex, it's 4 hours, 15 minutes after dawn. The city is at 1 hour, 20 minutes after dawn. The Warlord want to talk to the Scout, and takes 10 minutes walking to the larder, and finds the Scout is halfway through eating a sandwich.

At this point (assuming I havent gotten confused), by the Warlord's perception, it has been 1 hour 20 minutes since she last saw the scout. For the Scout, it has been 20 minutes. The Scout has been operating for 6 hours, 10 minutes and used 13 move. The Warlord has been operating for 2 hours 30 minutes and used 6 move. The City hex is only 90 minutes after dawn; the Forrest hex with all the fighting has had a little over 4 hours of activity.

That's confusing to us, but normal for Erfworld denizens, so the Warlord and Scout have a snack and congratulate themselves on finding and croaking another enemy force.

If you start adding magic communication and manipulation, it gets even more complicated... And that's all assuming I understand how it should work. The thing that really complicates things is that combat happens in real time, and we have no examples of units arriving in a hex during a combat resolution. In theory, there should be no way for Parson to enter Spacerock on an enemy turn during combat, but he's very "Special", and for the story's sake, can probably perform an interrupt move.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby effataigus » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:49 am

Nnelg wrote:Basically, I imagine it works as if there was one big "overhead view" that'd be like what you'd get as the player of a turn-based strategy game such as the ones Erfworld were based on. That, and of course dramatic convenience.

This is my understanding as well, though I don't have supreme confidence either. In practical terms, I'm assuming that time is essentially unimportant... the "game" just resolves every interaction in the order that the comic shows them to us. Parson's dilly-dallying has caused a lot of engagements to be resolved in Wanda's absence, but, by my understanding of time, it is also possible that he'd walk out of the Portal at the same time whether he'd wasted so much apparent time or not... just matters when Xin draws him coming out.

"Time" in erfworld is just a unit's subjective experience of the flow of events that he/she is aware of on that turn. As for the position of the sun..? I dunno... maybe it is dependent upon that hex's subjective experience.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Magenta » Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:45 am

Ryjak wrote:-Ryjak's explanation-


Thanks for taking the time and trying to help me wrap my head around this.

Where I start to get confused is in scenario's like this:

It's the enemy's turn. We have a city with a (single) unit constantly patrolling the walls in a circular pattern. The enemy sends a scout to check, let's say the east side of our city's wall. What would determine whether our patrol would be in the right spot at the right time to see the enemy scout?
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby effataigus » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:00 pm

Magenta wrote:It's the enemy's turn. We have a city with a (single) unit constantly patrolling the walls in a circular pattern. The enemy sends a scout to check, let's say the east side of our city's wall. What would determine whether our patrol would be in the right spot at the right time to see the enemy scout?

There are several answers to this question depending on who you ask:
Deterministic erfworlder: Fate
Other erfworlder: Luck
Reader: Rob
Reader who believes in the game-like mechanics system: The patrol's perception check.
Reader who took the "Erfworld is not a game" thing to heart: One or more of the first three.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Magenta » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:09 pm

effataigus wrote:There are several answers to this question depending on who you ask:
Deterministic erfworlder: Fate
Other erfworlder: Luck
Reader: Rob
Reader who believes in the game-like mechanics system: The patrol's perception check.
Reader who took the "Erfworld is not a game" thing to heart: One or more of the first three.


Ah, no. What I mean is that if an objective observer who are privy to all information would look at the scene unfolding, could they conclude what would happen?

In stupidworld we could determine the outcome if we knew when and where the two units started, how far they are to move and how fast they move. But those rules can't apply to erfworld because of how time works there? So what rules would we use? The order in which the move commands had been issued, whether or not there have been any units in the hexes before the scout, or something else entirely?
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby effataigus » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:47 pm

Magenta wrote:
effataigus wrote:There are several answers to this question depending on who you ask:
Deterministic erfworlder: Fate
Other erfworlder: Luck
Reader: Rob
Reader who believes in the game-like mechanics system: The patrol's perception check.
Reader who took the "Erfworld is not a game" thing to heart: One or more of the first three.


Ah, no. What I mean is that if an objective observer who are privy to all information would look at the scene unfolding, could they conclude what would happen?

In stupidworld we could determine the outcome if we knew when and where the two units started, how far they are to move and how fast they move. But those rules can't apply to erfworld because of how time works there? So what rules would we use? The order in which the move commands had been issued, whether or not there have been any units in the hexes before the scout, or something else entirely?

I'm not sure we have a definitive answer to your question, but my money would be on this being an under-determined math problem in Erfworld (which is to say, no, there is no way for an independent observer to make forecasts that aren't probability distributions). However, we do know that Erfworld changes the "present" based upon the events that will happen in the "future." Consider instances where units either get their turn at dawn or don't based upon whether they *will* interact with a side that has an earlier turn order than them. This suggests to me that the game-like/deterministic/story-driven interpretations have some teeth to them... i.e. the length of time it takes to cross those zones/zone boundaries is variable and unknown, and somehow related to whether the patrol's "perception checks" will ultimately succeed or fail.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Nnelg » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:59 pm

Magenta wrote:
effataigus wrote:There are several answers to this question depending on who you ask:
Deterministic erfworlder: Fate
Other erfworlder: Luck
Reader: Rob
Reader who believes in the game-like mechanics system: The patrol's perception check.
Reader who took the "Erfworld is not a game" thing to heart: One or more of the first three.

Ah, no. What I mean is that if an objective observer who are privy to all information would look at the scene unfolding, could they conclude what would happen?

In stupidworld we could determine the outcome if we knew when and where the two units started, how far they are to move and how fast they move. But those rules can't apply to erfworld because of how time works there? So what rules would we use? The order in which the move commands had been issued, whether or not there have been any units in the hexes before the scout, or something else entirely?

Define "Objective Observer". :lol:

Someone reading the comic is an observer. Someone playing the game (in which they can't see what's going on in-hex unless a battle occurs) is objective. Both views apply to this situation.

The problem is that, given the subjective nature of time in Erfworld, even terms like "Beforehand" become subjective. From the reader's viewpoint, time seems linear, but only because the order of comics was determined to be so by Rob. We can see what events will have occurred in Spacerock before he gets there, although the exact "order of events" is still unknown to us. From a player's viewpoint, the order of events is quite clear, determined by in what order he commands his units. However, whether or not that patrol will be in the right place at the right time is unknowable, determined by the RNG.

And from an Erfworlder's perspective, the information determining the position of the sun in each hex as it passes through comes from the end of the turn, so determining what will have determined it is nigh impossible.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Nnelg » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:03 pm

effataigus wrote:However, we do know that Erfworld changes the "present" based upon the events that will happen in the "future."

I wouldn't use the word "change" like that. It implies things were differently before, where "before" is a meaningless and misleading concept when it comes to out-of-time determination.

A better word might be "sets", although this isn't perfect either... (I guess our language just wasn't intended to describe such abstract concepts.) :lol:
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Magenta » Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:05 am

Nnelg wrote:The problem is that, given the subjective nature of time in Erfworld, even terms like "Beforehand" become subjective. From the reader's viewpoint, time seems linear, but only because the order of comics was determined to be so by Rob. We can see what events will have occurred in Spacerock before he gets there, although the exact "order of events" is still unknown to us. From a player's viewpoint, the order of events is quite clear, determined by in what order he commands his units.


Okey, so far I follow...

Nnelg wrote:However, whether or not that patrol will be in the right place at the right time is unknowable, determined by the RNG.


Oy... I'm sorry but:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EBsLOJv-yI

Perhaps it's the programmer in me; but it MUST FOLLOW LOGICAL RULES! ^^

Nnelg wrote:And from an Erfworlder's perspective, the information determining the position of the sun in each hex as it passes through comes from the end of the turn, so determining what will have determined it is nigh impossible.


Are you suggesting the sun "runs" on predictamancy?
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Ryjak » Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:55 am

The fundamental problem for me is what happens if you don't have turn at dawn. We know this means it is another side's turn, and there's probably at least one enemy unit with the move to enter the hex you're in. But at this point, what governs the passage of time in your hex? It seems like you just wait around until Erfworld decides it's your turn.

My theory is time will pass at the same rate as how the side's Ruler perceives time, as the Ruler is the equivalent of the human playing a turn-based strategy game. Thus, as a Ruler, if turn starts and it's not your turn, probably the first thing you perceive is at least one hex containing your units is interacting with enemy units. In order for Ruler perception to work, his time syncs with the events of the "active" hex. And since it isn't the side's turn, the side's time perception syncs with the ruler.

If this premise is true, then Gobwin Knob's time perception is currently synced to Stanley's time perception, which is currently synced to the passage of time in the Spacerock hex. Thus, the passage of time for Parson is identical to the real-time battle unfolding at Spacerock, so every second he delays in the Magic Kingdom is a second he isn't in Spacerock. So, the time Parson wastes not going through the portal matters.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Ryjak » Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:10 am

It's the enemy's turn. We have a city with a (single) unit constantly patrolling the walls in a circular pattern. The enemy sends a scout to check, let's say the east side of our city's wall. What would determine whether our patrol would be in the right spot at the right time to see the enemy scout?


I think you're looking at it wrong... Recall Erfworld operates primarily as a turn-based game. In order for the above scenario to happen, the enemy Scout would have to end turn in one of the patrolled hexes. The patrol walks in on their turn, and the Scout will be there no matter the time in the hex. Discovery of the Scout then hinges on the comparison of Scout's Hide vs Spot Checks. A simple dice-roll can simulate it.

So really your question is: what time if day is it when the patrol enters the hex? Assuming the patrol is the first unit from their side to enter the hex, the answer is whatever time of day their turn started. If turn started at dawn, the sun jumps to dawn when they enter. If turn started at noon, it's noon. The Scout's place in the turn/day sequence doesn't matter.

However, if we're talking about a Scout sneaking into Gobwin Knob the city and ending turn there... Then your scenario could happen. Events in that hex then play out in "real time", and the Scout would play a mini-game trying to hide from units in the city as they do whatever they do, unaware there is an enemy unit nearby. It similar to the fugative movement and interactions at that point.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Magenta » Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:16 am

Ryjak wrote:
It's the enemy's turn. We have a city with a (single) unit constantly patrolling the walls in a circular pattern. The enemy sends a scout to check, let's say the east side of our city's wall. What would determine whether our patrol would be in the right spot at the right time to see the enemy scout?


I think you're looking at it wrong... Recall Erfworld operates primarily as a turn-based game. In order for the above scenario to happen, the enemy Scout would have to end turn in one of the patrolled hexes. The patrol walks in on their turn, and the Scout will be there no matter the time in the hex. Discovery of the Scout then hinges on the comparison of Scout's Hide vs Spot Checks. A simple dice-roll can simulate it.


Isn't the walls of a city a single hex?
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Ryjak » Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:19 am

See edit above

Also, the city walls don't necessarily extend to the hex boundary. Look at old Gobwin Knob; it's a circle. We know the main gate is at the hex boundary (because Parson smacked into it there) but rest of the walls may be nowhere near the boundary.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Shai_hulud » Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:40 am

He didn't smack into it until they rebuild the city in a rectangle shape. It wasn't round anymore at that point. But we did see the RCC forces around the old city.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby mortissimus » Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:00 am

Ryjak wrote:The thing that really complicates things is that combat happens in real time, and we have no examples of units arriving in a hex during a combat resolution.


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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby effataigus » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:22 am

Ryjak wrote:So really your question is: what time if day is it when the patrol enters the hex? Assuming the patrol is the first unit from their side to enter the hex, the answer is whatever time of day their turn started. If turn started at dawn, the sun jumps to dawn when they enter. If turn started at noon, it's noon. The Scout's place in the turn/day sequence doesn't matter.

I think this is incorrect. Here's an instance where this happens if I'm reading your example right, but there is still an apparent time-lapse between the turn starting/dawn and the scouts coming into the hex.

http://www.erfworld.com/2012/03/inner-p ... isode-027/
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Nnelg » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:51 am

Magenta wrote:
Nnelg wrote:The problem is that, given the subjective nature of time in Erfworld, even terms like "Beforehand" become subjective. From the reader's viewpoint, time seems linear, but only because the order of comics was determined to be so by Rob. We can see what events will have occurred in Spacerock before he gets there, although the exact "order of events" is still unknown to us. From a player's viewpoint, the order of events is quite clear, determined by in what order he commands his units.
Perhaps it's the programmer in me; but it MUST FOLLOW LOGICAL RULES! ^^

It does. But the numbers of the RNG are hidden from the player, so the player has no way of determining what the result will be ahead of time.


Magenta wrote:Are you suggesting the sun "runs" on predictamancy?

From a certain point of view, yes.


Ryjak wrote:Also, the city walls don't necessarily extend to the hex boundary. Look at old Gobwin Knob; it's a circle. We know the main gate is at the hex boundary (because Parson smacked into it there) but rest of the walls may be nowhere near the boundary.

Whoever said Erfworld geometry was euclidean? :lol:

Or that hexes don't deform where needed? (Not to say that your point isn't a valid one.)
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