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quantumpotato
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« on: September 15, 2016, 10:15:21 AM »

Background for this thread:

Vision Soft Resethttps://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=55472.0

Primer



Save the Date https://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=33753.0

I want to discuss time travel game design and the butterfly effect. I've played a few platformers where you cooperate with yourself & I built Quantum Pilot which has you fighting clones of yourself but these are very straightforward implementations of time travel lacking the complexity of Primer.

SPOILERS IF YOU HAVENT SEEN PRIMER

[spoilers][spoiler]
I'm excited by the concept of playing out a day and seeing what stock did well.. entering your timetravel box and re-emerging. Injecting your "double"s milk with tranquilizer to KO him and pretend to be him while buying stock from the Milk Company which did so well on the stock market...

and then forgetting to sell your stock because you were exploring a conversation and your wife finds your KO'd self and the Milk Company's stock tanks and you're broke and have to go back in time again, lol.

This is very contrived but I think a good game could be built with lots of interactions like this.

The idea of teaming up with yourself in the past is interesting (see aforementioned games), but not as interesting, IMO, as using some new information that you have and no one else in the world has.

[/spoiler][/spoilers]

Just throwing out the topic for discussion - what you think would work well, the tension between a dwarf fortress style AI simulation and designed narrative interactions, etc.

Specifically I'd like to explore "non puzzlely" things in as much as just being a focus on the puzzle. In the example Vision Soft Reset's developer gave, I'm hoping to discuss less of "the door has a passcode but your time travelled self knows it" and more of "when you went through the door earlier than usual, you saw characters do something which causes chaos elsewhere... now if only you could figure out where they came from to time travel back and prevent their actions".

 Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Epileptic "Why can't we write like normal people!"
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th3shark
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2016, 02:22:51 PM »

Sadly I have not seen Primer, but the way you describe it seems really interesting, as well as how butterfly effect kind of storytelling can be used in video games. 

This kind of time travel already does happen in games, sort of!  Like if you're playing an RPG where the story branches off into two paths based on a choice the player makes.  Well "the game" wants you to pick one, but it's not hard to just save the game before the choice, see how one option plays out, then reload and try the second option.  In a way, the player is travelling back in time to see how else events can turn out.

Games in the Zero Escape series, especially Virtue's Last Reward and Zero Time Dilemma, weave this concept into their narratives brilliantly.  And it wouldn't be right to not mention that Undertale does this a little bit as well, this post being made on its first anniversary and all.

But it'd be more interesting to talk about what time travel mechanics can bring to games that save scumming can't, right?  One thing I think would be cool is if a game started at the end of all this, and they need to back in time farther and farther making changes that prevent something bad from happening.  Stories that use this butterfly effect kind of thing like to surprise the reader by having changes result in unintended consequences.  But wouldn't it feel super satisfying to a player if changes they made actually did what they expected?  I can see that being a fun path to explore.
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quantumpotato
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2016, 05:40:46 AM »

But it'd be more interesting to talk about what time travel mechanics can bring to games that save scumming can't, right?  One thing I think would be cool is if a game started at the end of all this, and they need to back in time farther and farther making changes that prevent something bad from happening.  Stories that use this butterfly effect kind of thing like to surprise the reader by having changes result in unintended consequences.  But wouldn't it feel super satisfying to a player if changes they made actually did what they expected?  I can see that being a fun path to explore.

Yes, great point! Intentionally editing the narrative for better control over the story would be very cool. Dark Souls has a "bad thing" happen that you get a little foreshadowing on but, friends have told me they missed it. Next time through the game they stopped the bad thing prematurely, which is cool!

Toki Tori 2 actually does this quite well



Where on a second playthrough of the game you can take alternate paths because you understand the mechanics better & play more patiently (no new upgrades or gameplay modified).

I could see a similar thing happening with a rube goldberg style machine hm... think the tower minigame in World of Goo, where you continuously get more goo from the Story mode. You could build a little rube-goldberg machine that propels you in certain ways to access some area. From there you get a new equipment, time travel back and rebuild the machine so when the timed trigger comes you're launched in a different direction.

Ofc I should mention Majoras Mask does a few things like this.
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