Tag Archives: video games

The Architecture of Time Travel in a Role-Playing Video Game

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about following along with the progress of Richard Garriott’s Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues is the peek I’ve gotten into the process behind the scenes of video game development. The Ultima games were my absolute favorites as a kid, and as a software developer (by profession), I’ve always been curious about how they are made. It’s not so much the three-dimensional environment that interests me, but the game on the macro scale. The interweaving stories, and the various games states, and how it is all managed.

My thoughts had drifted to this while eating dinner this evening, and I began to wonder if time travel had ever been an integral element to the architecture of a game universe. I wondered if it was possible to architect the game model to support time travel as an action in the universe. For instance, a player could cast a spell to go back in time to a certain point. Once at that point, they would see the events of the game unfold, as they actually occurred. But now, there would be two instances of the player in the world. The “past” instance would now be an NPC, with a predefined course of action based on what has already happened. The “current” instance would be played from the player’s perspective.

Beyond the plot aspects, I wonder what the architecture of such a game model would look like. It would grow more complex the longer the game is played. And how would you account for changes in the past. Would a new “game universe” be spawned. Could a player cross universes at that point?

I’m not really going anywhere with these thoughts. But I was mostly curious if anything like this had been implemented in a large-scale RPG before.

Old School College-Era Video Games

I’m not much of a gamer. Yes, I have a Wii at home, and on rare occasion (mostly when we have friends over) I’ll break it out in order to play Rock Band 3. But that is about it. For one thing, I don’t have time and for another, I don’t have the interest. This isn’t a knock against video games today, many of which appear to be absolutely stunning. But despite the life-like 3D of these games, despite the new ways of interacting with the game, and the multi-player aspect that the Internet brings, some of my favorite video games are still those games that I played in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Continue reading Old School College-Era Video Games

PS3 watching

When I got to work this morning, security wasn’t letting people into the mall. I had my badge on and they let me through so I could get into the office building, but I couldn’t figure out why they weren’t letting anyone else in.

Looking out my window now, I understand. My window looking into the mall and I can see a line formed outside the Sony Style store. People must be in line for their new PS3s. The line is not very long and the police (yes, Arlington police!) are turning away newcomers–so the stock must be pretty low. The mall is crawling with police and security right now. I think they expect a riot to break out as soon as the Sony store runs out of PS3’s.

When I was growing up, we worked summer jobs to do things like buy used cars and pay for college. Times change. Today, people are saving up for PS3’s and xboxes.

And I am suspect that people have actually saved for this. I wonder how many people are just charging the unit to an already over-extended credit card.

Interestingly, I see no girls in line.