Erfworld time, how does it work?

Speculation, discoveries, complaints, accusations, praise, and all other Erfworld discussion.

Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Ryjak » Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:17 pm

Ok, a couple of things here...

Hex boundaries: this is a separate discussion from the time discussion here, and probably worthy of it's own thread, so I'll point out two things.

1) every world map we've seen shows a hex map, including the Jack/Misty display.
2) we've only seen two cities from afar: Gobwin Knob and Spacerock. The outer walls of Spacerock are hex shaped, Gobwin Knob was a circle, and is now a rectangle. I assume Spacerock's walls are at the hex boundary (perhaps not) while Gobwin Knob's walls are not.

High Elf Scouts entering hex: This is opposite to my example, where a Scout unit ended turn outside a city, and the City's natural turn order is before the Scout's; and very similar to my example of the Scout entering an enemy City. The difference is the High Elf Scouts had no idea they were entering a hex containing another side's units.

I think how things transpired, from the High Elves perspective, is their turn started at dawn, which would give no indication they would potentially encounter other units. Every time they enter a hex, the sun jumps back to dawn, including the hex Julian's force was camping (i.e. Ended Turn). As soon as they enter this hex, we switch to Real-time Battle Mode. Jillian decides to hide, the Scouts spend time crossing the hex. Maybe 15-30 minutes later, the Scouts discover Jillian's force, and are spotted as well.

Since this is a Forrest hex, no one can actually see the sun's position, so we are only given what Jillian's forces can actually see. If you've ever been camping, and woke up early, you may have experienced pre-dawn. When you have no electricity, clocks, or other cues, it seems like a very long time between when it's light enough to see and when the sun rises. I expect this is FAQ's position; they don't know when dawn exactly is, but they know their turn didn't start.

If FAQ had been observing the hex boundary where the High Elf Scouts entered, and could see the sun, the would see the Scouts enter the hex at dawn.

But all my assumptions, while logical to me, must be wrong... Otherwise, there would be no point to Jillian's comment about Natural Predictamancy, and that because their turn didn't start at dawn, another side's Units were fated to find her stack, or her stack was Fated to find another side's Units. Unless, of course, I pulled a Parson, and figured out the basic mechanics of Erfworld and Jillian is making false assumptions... This seems unlikely.

Ansom saves Julian: Good catch on units interrupting a battle. I can only assume my theory on the Ruler's time perception governing the side's general time perception applied... Ansom knew via Thinkagram Jillian found the stack of wounded dragons, and from the end of that message, their times were linked. Every minute Jillian perceived was a minute Ansom perceived. Ansom heroically flew to the lake hex immediately, and thus entered the battle hex just in time to save Jillian.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Magenta » Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:18 pm

Nnelg wrote:
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.


Right! But screw the player. Could a Titan know? Would an all-knowing -theoretical- entity be able to determine what would happen? :)

EDIT: And are we privy to any part of that ruleset?
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Ryjak » Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:20 pm

I believe yes, and no.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Nnelg » Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:21 pm

Magenta wrote:Right! But screw the player. Could a Titan know? Would an all-knowing -theoretical- entity be able to determine what would happen? :)

EDIT: And are we privy to any part of that ruleset?

We know only those rules which are clearly visible, like Leadership bonuses and hex borders. The exact mechanics behind more subtle things, like spot checks and fall damage, is unknown to us.

And likewise, we have no way of telling what the Titans would be able to know.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Housellama » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:41 pm

Magenta wrote:Right! But screw the player. Could a Titan know? Would an all-knowing -theoretical- entity be able to determine what would happen? :)

TL;DR: One possible technical explanation of why time moves at the Speed of Plot in Erfworld.

Spoiler: show
I think Magenta's hit on an important point about time here, and that is observation. However, another important factor is conservation of information. Information is the important thing, since it is information that allows for communication, and communication allows for decisions to be made and orders to be passed. Since those are the things that make Erfworld go around, it could be argued that it is one of the most important things in the world.

For these examples, 'involved' refers to individuals external to the target hex who are aware of and can affect what goes on within it within the same Turn.

Let's take an example of a simple scouting trip. Only the scout observes what happens in the other hex, therefore it seems to happen instantaneously. There's no need for time to pass because, assuming that the hex is clear, nothing happened. The scout goes out, searches the hex and finds it clear, then hops back seemingly instantaneously. Since no other interactions occurred, information is conserved across time because no one else is involved. Therefore, the time involved isn't a factor. We see an example of this in the Summer Updates with Jillian's trip back to TV with Caesar.

Compare that to a scouting trip that turns into a confrontation. If Jillian's scouting trip in Book 1 had involved no interaction, then time wouldn't have mattered. Her report would have come instantly. It didn't. We see that Ansom is in his tent when the report of her engagement arrived. It appeared that when he sent Webinar out that very little time had passed. From that, I would suggest that Jillian's travel to the point of the engagement was, relative to Ansom, instant but the engagement itself was not. The engagement was fairly quick, but long enough for Ansom to walk back to his tent, pick up his quill and prepare to write. Because someone else (eg, the other CWL and Ruler) were involved in the engagement, the time involved in that mattered. Hence the delay.

Now, apply this to Parson's Portal Dash. There are a lot of entities involved here. At least four Rulers, (Stanley, Charlie, Slately, Don King), plus whoever else is involved in the Alliance who may be watching, probably quite a number of Eyemancers, natural or otherwise, etc. Therefore, information is moving back and forth at a very active rate from a great many sides. The situation can be changed in a number of different directions by a number of different parties at any given moment. Therefore, time matters in situations involving more than one party.

Essentially, while there is an explanation within the framework of the 'physics' of Erfworld as we know it, the short answer is that time in Erfworld moves at the Speed of Plot.

To directly address your question Magenta, I can tell you my opinion. Things that happen in hexes happen within 'realtime'. Assuming the two hexes shared the same Battlespace (and thus the same relative time), yes. You could map their positions using whatever laws of motion that Erfworld had for realtime objects. (We don't know these. The plain old fashioned kind of physics of Erfworld is much less important than the 'game-like' physics) However, we already know that Battlespaces are formed by Natural Predictamancy that knows before the Turn starts whether or not two Sides are going to interact. Some all knowing force does know what's going to happen. Erfworld calls it Fate.

So technically, the answer to your question is yes. There is a very much non-theoretical force that 'knows' what's going to happen. The debate isn't whether or not it exists. We know it exists. The questions are about what the existence of that force means, and how it interacts with the free will of the individuals within Erfworld. You can find quite a few multi-page threads about that particular topic.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby effataigus » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:36 pm

Ok, so counter question (don't let me derail this if Magenta still has follow up questions despite the sinking sensation that he/she isn't going to get any satisfactory answers from any of us)...

Assumptions:
There is some Titan checking his logbook of what will happen each day according to titanic dictation and setting the turn order accordingly (or an equivalent mechanism)...
Parson can break Titanic law... a la FU.

Could a more ruthless version of Parson find some way to violate the logbook's decrees, enter an enemy's battlespace in an unanticipated fashion, and massacre an enemy force essentially "between moments?"
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Housellama » Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:11 pm

effataigus wrote:Ok, so counter question (don't let me derail this if Magenta still has follow up questions despite the sinking sensation that he/she isn't going to get any satisfactory answers from any of us)...

Assumptions:
There is some Titan checking his logbook of what will happen each day according to titanic dictation and setting the turn order accordingly (or an equivalent mechanism)...
Parson can break Titanic law... a la FU.

Could a more ruthless version of Parson find some way to violate the logbook's decrees, enter an enemy's battlespace in an unanticipated fashion, and massacre an enemy force essentially "between moments?"

Personally, I don't agree with your assumptions. However, I'll answer your inquiry.

When you say "ruthless", I assume you're referring to the Sword of Ruthlessness. I'll come back to that. First, let's address the second part of your inquiry, violating the logbook's decree. By your assumptions, Parson can already violate Titanic mandate. Thus, logically the answer to your question is yes. I'll continue anyway. The third part of your inquiry, entering an enemy's battlespace in an unanticipated fashion... I would argue that Parson is attempting to do that right now. If the plan had actually worked, no-one would have expected Parson to cross through the MK and enter through the Portal. With Wanda, Jack and Parson at SR, things would be much different right now, with or without the SoR. I'm sure that's not what you meant, though.

What I believe is the heart of your inquiry is "between moments". Given what we know about Erfworld at this point, I submit that the best thing that qualifies as "between moments" that would also qualify as unexpected would be an attack at night. Move goes down to 0 at night. We know this from Misty. Assuming Parson can find a way to get projectiles to pass between hex barriers, an ideal way would be to move a strike force of archers and specially designed siege next to an army by stealth, under a veil, etc and wait til they ended turn. Then, at night, use smoke and fire as well as arrows to attack, confuse and demoralize the enemy. Harass them from multiple angles, keep them up all night wondering what the hell is going on. Attack them through the impenetrable (to them) hex walls, then at the break of dawn, have troops ready to either charge in and mop up the defenders, or there to completely destroy the disorganized attackers. If Parson can overcome the Move problem, then he wouldn't even have to wait til morning to send in the attackers. At that point, Parson has an entire range of asymmetrical warfare tactics and dirty tricks available. That would be a complete game changer for him.

Addressing the Sword of Ruthlessness.
Spoiler: show
I don't know why everyone makes such a big deal out of this. Yeah, okay maybe it gives him some kind of bonus in battle, but from what we were told, Ruthless isn't some big thing. It's like being drunk. It doesn't make you do things you would never think to do. All those ugly things people do while drunk, like raping and beating, and the stupid things that are a bit less ugly but no less regrettable, those things are inside them sober too. They just have the judgement and control to not do them. It's still them, it's just them with the brakes off and the filters down. That's how I see Ruthlessness. It's not like Parson becomes Superman or something. It's just Parson with the edges a bit sharper. Parson had the Volcano thing in his head long before he ever got to Erfworld. Ruthlessness made it a little easier for him to use it. It didn't soothe his conscience afterwards. It just made it a bit easier to handle in the moment. I would argue that little nudge toward psychopathy is exactly why Parson tossed it into the lava. He could have taken the easy road. Used Ruthlessness to help him make decisions in battle, the same way one man uses alcohol as "liquid courage". Parson threw it away for the same reason another man doesn't. Because he wants to make his own decisions, and not let the inner urges make it without the part of him that controls them. Drinking is a choice to give up control. Embracing Ruthlessness is the same choice. Parson was telling Erfworld to boop off in actions as well as words.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Nnelg » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:46 am

Heh, Housellama has the gist of it.

Even of the Sword of Ruthlessness, which is a rather more abstract concept many people fail to grasp. (Especially the part about how it, just like the One Ring, can erode at the bearers willpower purely through subtle and indirect means. This process is actually very close to how real-life addictive substances work, which makes it strange to see how it's the hardest thing of all to understand... Maybe our culture deliberately shuns this knowledge, or something.)
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby effataigus » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:37 am

Housellama wrote:...

Nah, I wasn't referring to the Sword of Ruthlessness... just implying that Parson doesn't have it in him to single-handedly slaughter a helpless enemy force (which I view as a personality strength, not flaw, mind you). Why single-handedly?... because if he brought any other units with him then presumably they would be seen by the titanic future-watcher, and turn order would be set accordingly. Hence Spacerock isn't the best example of the situation I was thinking of. Though perhaps if he went in solo the night before and axed Slately in his sleep...

... ack! My branches are quivering... cosmic rays too strong...

This gave me an idea that answers a semi-long-standing question of mine: "what can Charlie hope to gain from closing the portal behind Parson in Spacerock that wouldn't be accomplished by GK winning the fight?" There are a couple of answers to this, but they are all pretty weak. However, perhaps if Charlie went into GK off-turn and axed Stanley (with the help of converted natural allies, presumably)... then Parson would probably want to retreat and Charlie would want to keep Parson from disappearing into TGMTTA's custody before night fell. This would require that Charlie be a Stupidworlder, clearly, but that seems likely anyhoo given the allusion to the Wizard of Oz. An interesting resolution for this problem would be when Wanda reveals that she's an heir, and can re-found Goodminton on Spacerock instead of just waiting as a neutral to be picked off by archons. This would mean Charlie would get the arkenhammer and just about all of my epilleptic twee theories would come true in a single momen..!

*puts tinfoil hat back on with shaking limbs*
*takes meds*

Whew... close one.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby 0beron » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:04 pm

I think there is an actually pretty simple way to explain it that is taken from what Maggie says.
In Erfworld, only the order matters, not the duration. To take Maggie's example, if she Thinkagrams someone, that is an event which (from each unit's perspective) happens after some events and before others.

The order is determined by units interacting. When units in different hexes interact somehow, they create a "fixed point" that is common to them and they sort of place each other on the time-line. So to continue the example, Maggie and Wanda share a Thinkagram while in different hexes. In Wanda's hex, she just lost a stack of dwagons, and in Maggie's hex Stanley just ate a sandwich. By speaking about these events, Wanda and Maggie come into "sync" with each other. Then Wanda resumes fighting for another hour (from her perspective) before 'Graming with Maggie again for further orders. On Maggie's end, she has spent about 5 minutes explaining the situation to Stanley when the 2nd message comes, again putting the 2 timelines "in sync".

Now in the context of Parson, he is rushing to get through the portal for 2, maybe even 3 reasons.
  1. He is trying to make the "sync" moment happen as soon as possible. The faster he gets through the portal on his end, the earlier he can hope to arrive in order of events of Jetstone's hex timeline. This may be futile, because as others have said, the time is from an observers perspective, not an in-universe perspective. But there is some logic to his attempt.
  2. There is no "erf-logic" to it, he is just used to Earth time so he is acting out of habit to hurry.
  3. Because the MK is a strange exception to movement rules and the like, it's possible the relative time works differently there. It may be constantly "syncing" with every single hex they connect to by portal.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby effataigus » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:15 pm

0beron wrote:
  1. He is trying to make the "sync" moment happen as soon as possible. The faster he gets through the portal on his end, the earlier he can hope to arrive in order of events of Jetstone's hex timeline. This may be futile, because as others have said, the time is from an observers perspective, not an in-universe perspective. But there is some logic to his attempt.

If this is correct, then any of the following would force time to flow in a way that is close to indistinguishable from how we typically understand it:
1. An eyemancer (assuming the table refreshes often and not just when queried)
2. Someone spying on a lot of different places at once
3. An overlord's natural thinkamancy telling them about the state of all of his/her units in a lot of different squares (though this would only force a sync when a unit's status changed, presumably).

Also, what about Parson' behavior makes you think that he's trying to rush? :lol:
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby 0beron » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:28 pm

Well like I said it's possibly a futile attempt...however what's to say those examples aren't the case either? What little we saw of the table in operation actually suggests it does cause very frequent syncs.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Magenta » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:04 pm

effataigus wrote:(don't let me derail this if Magenta still has follow up questions despite the sinking sensation that he/she isn't going to get any satisfactory answers from any of us)...


Hah, well be that as it may... it's not like I could stop you, is it? ;P

I guess we haven't been given any clear, definate answer. Even though I can't understand Parson's rush to get to the battle, I still find the story interesting. I'll just keep reading and see if anyone posts something that makes sense to me.

Do go on!
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby effataigus » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:27 pm

0beron wrote:Well like I said it's possibly a futile attempt...however what's to say those examples aren't the case either? What little we saw of the table in operation actually suggests it does cause very frequent syncs.

Yep, didn't mean to imply that I thought you were wrong. Just an observation.

Well, cept the tongue in cheek bit at the end.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Housellama » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:28 pm

0beron wrote:I think there is an actually pretty simple way to explain it that is taken from what Maggie says.
In Erfworld, only the order matters, not the duration. To take Maggie's example, if she Thinkagrams someone, that is an event which (from each unit's perspective) happens after some events and before others.

The order is determined by units interacting. When units in different hexes interact somehow, they create a "fixed point" that is common to them and they sort of place each other on the time-line. So to continue the example, Maggie and Wanda share a Thinkagram while in different hexes. In Wanda's hex, she just lost a stack of dwagons, and in Maggie's hex Stanley just ate a sandwich. By speaking about these events, Wanda and Maggie come into "sync" with each other. Then Wanda resumes fighting for another hour (from her perspective) before 'Graming with Maggie again for further orders. On Maggie's end, she has spent about 5 minutes explaining the situation to Stanley when the 2nd message comes, again putting the 2 timelines "in sync".

Now in the context of Parson, he is rushing to get through the portal for 2, maybe even 3 reasons.
  1. He is trying to make the "sync" moment happen as soon as possible. The faster he gets through the portal on his end, the earlier he can hope to arrive in order of events of Jetstone's hex timeline. This may be futile, because as others have said, the time is from an observers perspective, not an in-universe perspective. But there is some logic to his attempt.
  2. There is no "erf-logic" to it, he is just used to Earth time so he is acting out of habit to hurry.
  3. Because the MK is a strange exception to movement rules and the like, it's possible the relative time works differently there. It may be constantly "syncing" with every single hex they connect to by portal.

Eh. I see some problems with that. One of them is that we have strong evidence that Battlespaces (BS) don't have to be contiguous. Example: I seriously doubt that Translyvito (TV) the City is directly connected to Spacerock (SR). I'd be willing to bet that somewhere there's a place where there's non-Alliance territory that cuts off one or more Alliance Sides. Yet we know that Don King is sharing the same BS as SR and GK. Likewise, I'm betting that the GK strike force marched across non GK territory to get to SR. BSs all share the same time. The only example we have been given thus far of time differentials is scouting. There hasn't been any scouting in the action we've seen. While it's true that we have seen things in different areas, from the way that Rob has presented it, it is likely that everything is happening in real time across all locations, since they are all sharing the same BS. This isn't a scout giving a report. That involves someone going to look and coming back and giving a report. The parties here are watching a a real time feed, like a live video report on tv. Thus, any time modulation wouldn't make any sense. In addition, Wanda and Jack's transition to the MK happened in the appropriate time frame for everything to be happening in real time across all locations, as did Maggie's departure.

In other words, everyone everywhere in this Battlespace is seeing things live. The story is moving in real-Erftime.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Housellama » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:44 pm

effataigus wrote:Also, what about Parson' behavior makes you think that he's trying to rush? :lol:

And I quote
Parson wrote:I'm going. Through. The Portal. Isaac.

I'm just sayin... Maybe he's late for an appointment or something... Tea with Tramennis perhaps?
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby 0beron » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:14 pm

Housellama wrote:stuff about Battlespaces.

Not sure where exactly you were going with that because it didn't make much sense to me. Firstly, there's no such thing as "territory" in Erfworld. There may be general conventions, especially among Royal Sides, that go to the effect of "coming within x hexes of our city uninvited is perceived as aggression", but there isn't an actual mechanic giving them control over those hexes.

Battlespace isn't something we can fully understand or replicate because it is natural Predictamancy. But a simplified way to look at it is this:
Units that are fated to meet during the current turn share a Battlespace, thus linking them together in their own respective order of events timeline. This connection is shared by the entire side, and units on a given side also automatically share an order of events timeline. And this timeline will extend to every hex said units enter.

Thus, all units who are linked in the ways mentioned above will experience some degree of timeline "syncing".

This doesn't mean they all witness things in "real time", it simply means they are aware of whatever events are communicated to them, and they know the order they happened, if not the same duration.
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Magenta » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:15 pm

Housellama wrote:So technically, the answer to your question is yes. There is a very much non-theoretical force that 'knows' what's going to happen. The debate isn't whether or not it exists. We know it exists. The questions are about what the existence of that force means, and how it interacts with the free will of the individuals within Erfworld. You can find quite a few multi-page threads about that particular topic.


Well, my question is a bit more hypothetical than that ;)

If there was an objective observer to Stupidworld that knew everything it would be capable of calculating the exact movement and ultimate destination of any object in motion by using our laws of nature.

So, if we were such an objective observer in Erfworld would we be able to calculate the following:

If we have a continuous motion within a hex and a unit moving into the hex, at what exact state of that continuous motion (be it running in a circle, juggling 3 balls...) would the unit enter the hex?
If yes, what rules would be used to determine that?

I'm trying to make the question a bit more abstract as we began discussing the specifics (whether the walls of a city is inside a single hex) instead of the heart of the issue :P
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby Housellama » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:53 pm

Magenta wrote:Well, my question is a bit more hypothetical than that ;)

If there was an objective observer to Stupidworld that knew everything it would be capable of calculating the exact movement and ultimate destination of any object in motion by using our laws of nature.

So, if we were such an objective observer in Erfworld would we be able to calculate the following:

If we have a continuous motion within a hex and a unit moving into the hex, at what exact state of that continuous motion (be it running in a circle, juggling 3 balls...) would the unit enter the hex?
If yes, what rules would be used to determine that?

I'm trying to make the question a bit more abstract as we began discussing the specifics (whether the walls of a city is inside a single hex) instead of the heart of the issue :P

Short answer? We don't know.

We've paid a lot less attention to the micro-level physics of Erfworld (eg, the laws of thermodynamics, motion, magnetism, etc) than to the macro-level physics (eg how Turns and Move work, how magic works, the game-like rules).
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Re: Erfworld time, how does it work?

Postby WaterMonkey314 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:04 pm

Maybe the reason Parson seems to be rushing is that he's afraid he'll get blasted or something in the MK? After all, last time he came around, he got KOd by Spock...
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