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Achron — an RTS With Time Travel

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the flux-capacitor-not-required dept.

Real Time Strategy (Games) 141

An anonymous reader writes "As much as I'm looking forward to StarCraft 2, there's a new RTS gaming tech that has me even more enthused. The Escapist Magazine has posted interviews and footage of the upcoming 'meta-time strategy game' Achron, which was announced at GDC earlier this year. It's a multiplayer RTS where you can send things through time. The official site has some gameplay footage as well, and it looks like their tech is useful outside of gaming."

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I have this image... (1)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204481)

Of starcraft 2 with time travel. game starts, then "nuclear launch detected" with a blinking red light on your command center.

Re:I have this image... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29204539)

I have this image of black people being 13% of the population but appearing in 90% of all USA advertisements. It's just as racist as anything else since they were obviously chosen for their skin color, but it appears to help them so it gets ignored. Welcome to political correctness. Gee I wonder why these blatant attempts at social engineering haven't given us a colorblind society yet.

Re:I have this image... (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204605)

I just imagine it as playing Ground Hog Day....[smashing alarm clock.....]

Hand me a cigarette (1)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 4 years ago | (#29206987)

Because I just came.

(before someone mods me as troll, note that I'm just stating how awesome this game is and you should RTFA)

Re:I have this image... (3, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204643)

Of starcraft 2 with time travel. game starts, then "nuclear launch detected" with a blinking red light on your command center.

According to what I saw in the first video, this wouldn't be possible. Rather, you are able to fight in the past that has real influences on your present but you aren't able to truly fight your opponent when they are starting out. On top of that, you can see where your opponent is in your time stream. And on top of that, you can speed up how fast you flow through time. Since most RTS's are based on reaction time (hence the title of the genre), it becomes very obvious to me that the default strategy is to get into the game and crank your speed up as fast as it will go. Then beat your opponent to your resource rich future and send units back in time. Always fight as far back in the past as you can.

Of course, they limit how far back you can go and how much influence you have in the past but this is a new balance that would make for interesting game play. I have a feeling that my above observations are learned early on in the learning curve.

But in your scenario, you would both be in the future launching nuclear warheads on each other in the past. I doubt this game will include such far reaching weapons for the simple fact of confusing alternate realities.

They didn't address what happens if you constantly send the same unit back in time from multiple points in your stream to generate an army at one point. I guess the 'update waves' are a function to control that.

Re:I have this image... (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204805)

According to what I saw in the first video, this wouldn't be possible. Rather, you are able to fight in the past that has real influences on your present but you aren't able to truly fight your opponent when they are starting out. On top of that, you can see where your opponent is in your time stream. And on top of that, you can speed up how fast you flow through time. Since most RTS's are based on reaction time (hence the title of the genre), it becomes very obvious to me that the default strategy is to get into the game and crank your speed up as fast as it will go. Then beat your opponent to your resource rich future and send units back in time. Always fight as far back in the past as you can.

The correct strategy is to send one unit back in time to kill your opponent's mother before he was even born. If that fails, you have one more shot before the sequels get crappy.

Re:I have this image... (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204927)

No no, you have it all wrong. The correct strategy is to go back in time and become your opponent's father. It may not necessarily help you win the game, but it will give all of your future "your mother" taunts a devastating ring of truth, thereby increasing their impact. Plus, you'll get laid, which is always a bonus.

Re:I have this image... (1)

FourthAge (1377519) | more than 4 years ago | (#29205259)

That's all good, until you discover that your opponent was actually your brother all along. In that case... eww.

Re:I have this image... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29207705)

Or what if he decides to return the favor by going back in time to become your father as well?

Well, a custody lawyer would get rich, is what, but I mean aside from that!

Re:I have this image... (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 4 years ago | (#29208431)

The you both could sing "I'm my own grandpa"! A rarity even by appalachian standards.

Re:I have this image... (3, Informative)

Flea of Pain (1577213) | more than 4 years ago | (#29205083)

Technically, I belive the goal is to make sure your parents still do it...otherwise that picture of you just might fade away to nothing...

Re:I have this image... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29207993)

Technically, I belive the goal is to make sure your parents still do it...

Sweet Jeebus. I don't even want to think about whether my parents still do it, much less make sure!

But does the game have LAN support? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29205757)

Starcraft schmarcraft. No LAN no fan. Will this game succeed where Blizzard has failed?

Re:I have this image... (1)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 4 years ago | (#29205759)

They didn't address what happens if you constantly send the same unit back in time from multiple points in your stream to generate an army at one point.

They covered this in another video, essentially it's possible, but they've balanced the game so that that behaviour consumes an unreasonable amount of resources, and that damage to the "parent" would presently manifest in all the "children" so such echoes would be unstable anyway.

Re:I have this image... (1)

MaerD (954222) | more than 4 years ago | (#29206195)

It still falls victim to becoming a terminator franchise.


Player 1 (Who we shall call skynet) advances themselves far in to the future gaining the benefit of all the future tech and production to send units back in time to kill Player 2's (Who we shall call.. John) units.

John realizes that the best thing he can do is occasionally send units back in time, but for the most part fight "in the present" with the troops at his disposal. If he can destroy the structures required to produce the units sent back in time by skynet, he can prevent those units from ever being made and therefore having killed any of his troops in the past.
This enables John to have a larger, better equipped army in the future that can easily destroy skynet's limited defenses.

Re:I have this image... (1)

10Neon (932006) | more than 4 years ago | (#29206713)

A player that spends more of their time in the present will regenerate chrono energy faster than one that spends it in the past. Combine that with strong traditional-RTS skills, and you force your opponent to try to make up for it in extremely efficient time travel decisions

In the developer blog, it is mentioned that one of the developers (the guy who came up with the idea) is really good with time travel, and the other (the lead programmer) is a strong traditional RTS player. While their skill types are very different, and they spend their time at different points on the timeline, they more-or-less come out even.

So, while it is a valid strategy to play from as far back in time as possible, it is also just as valid to stay close to the present, and make it tough for your opponent to keep up- especially with the advantage of faster chronoenergy regeneration that can be spent in large bursts.

Re:I have this image... (1)

Delwin (599872) | more than 4 years ago | (#29207035)

They actually did describe how that works elsewhere (and of course now I can't find the video). Yes, you can send a single unit back in time to create an 'army of one' but the resources required to send a unit back are never less than the resources to just build another unit so it's not a cost effective strategy resource-wise though it can be valuable time-wise.

Re:I have this image... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29207645)

And, thanks to a misreading on my part, I had a mental image of Archon, where your Sorceress had the ability to go back in time to before your dragon got his ass kicked by a fucking unicorn.

Course you could pretty much already do that, so that didn't make much sense. So I had to read again, oh A-Chron, I get it. Aw, no new Archon game. :(

Re:I have this image... (1)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209101)

And, thanks to a misreading on my part, I had a mental image of Archon,

You rang?

where your Sorceress had the ability to go back in time to before your dragon got his ass kicked by a fucking unicorn.

Or, as in my worst loss ever, a damn goblin suddenly wires himself up like he's on crack, hits a couple lucky scenery changes that ALL bump him closer to his target and out of the way of my last shot, and is bloody impossible to hit until he's so close he's busy turning the wizard into a fine paste. A GOBLIN!

Most memorable game? Ended in a tie. Not a draw, but a tie. The sorceress and wizard (the last pieces for their respective sides) took each other out with their last shot. Empty board, tied game.

Aw, no new Archon game. :(

More's the pity, huh? I'd even take an Adept-based game now.

Time travel RTS is hard to imagine (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204567)

It's easy to imagine pushing things into the future, but pushing things back is a little harder. If it were single player, then okay... the computer remembers were everything was at the time somehow, but you would have to travel with it to make the simulation work or, perhaps, be required to work with multiple time segments simultaneously. But to do it multiplayer? Really boggles the mind.

Re:Time travel RTS is hard to imagine (4, Interesting)

MankyD (567984) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204681)

It is a little hard to picture, but think of it like this:

You're opponent goes in the past and kills your troops. In the present, suddenly, your troops start disappearing. You look down at the bottom of the screen and see your opponent screwing around in the past (it shows you where they currently are in time.) So you send some of your troops back to stop his attack. It is rather complex, but they make it work remarkably well.

You can even send a troop back in time to team up with itself.

Re:Time travel RTS is hard to imagine (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#29205295)

Sounds a bit [imdb.com] like parts of the plot [wikipedia.org] of Primer [amazon.com] (probably the best film about time-travel there is).

Re:Time travel RTS is hard to imagine (3, Informative)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 4 years ago | (#29205883)

That's not even close to how Achron is currently described as working. Instead you'd be playing in the present and you'd notice your opponent was in the past (it displays player's location in time) causing damage (it also displays when in time you take damage). Then you could decide whether to go back and fight him, send some extra units back to help, or just ignore it and push the offensive in the future (the units won't be damaged/destroyed until a 'time wave' arrives, which also show up on the past display).

Units don't disappear when they're killed in the past, the disappear a timewave passes through some time when they don't exist then reaches the present.

Re:Time travel RTS is hard to imagine (1)

MankyD (567984) | more than 4 years ago | (#29206549)

You're right in that I forgot to mention the time-waves. The opponent goes back to kill you in the past, which you see (like I mentioned) but his actions take time to catch up with you.

Re:Time travel RTS is hard to imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29208001)

Reminds me of Journeyman Project. Data discs were stored in the very distant past, so that when a time wave was detected, you could leap over it, get a recorded copy of history, return to the modified present and start trying to undo the damage done by the interloper.

Done in real-time multiplayer? To quote Keanu Reeves... "Whoa"

Re:Time travel RTS is hard to imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29208867)

That's not even close to how Achron is currently described as working. Instead you'd be playing in the present and you'd notice your opponent was in the past (it displays player's location in time) causing damage (it also displays when in time you take damage). Then you could decide whether to go back and fight him, send some extra units back to help, or just ignore it and push the offensive in the future (the units won't be damaged/destroyed until a 'time wave' arrives, which also show up on the past display).

Units don't disappear when they're killed in the past, the disappear a timewave passes through some time when they don't exist then reaches the present.

Not even close? All you managed to say was exactly what MankyD did with the exception of mentioning the timewave.

Negroids (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29204789)

What do the Negroids think about this? Any word from the 'Bama?

Confusing (2, Informative)

improfane (855034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204897)

They've limited the number of possible states (fractures) in space time with a graph that only has a limited number of states.

Eventually they fall off the edge and you can not longer go back there so it's not arbitrary.

I just hope things like AI are smart enough to change the future although it will be complex: you send a unit on a waypoint from A to B. Your opponent sends a unit to run past you in this past. Do your units attack this unit automatically and then are in a different position in the future?

Re:Time travel RTS is hard to imagine (2, Funny)

vertinox (846076) | more than 4 years ago | (#29205033)

It's easy to imagine pushing things into the future, but pushing things back is a little harder.

Nah. Its pretty easy! Haven't you seen Bill and Ted [wikipedia.org] where they just have to remember to go back in time to get a particular objects to show up.

Maybe if you start a build queue then you instantly get it but you have to keep the build queue running until then or you blow up the space time continuum by not having the unit to send back when its ready.

Here... this should help to illustrate that... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#29207437)

You will need a little more than 1.21 jigowatts [photobucket.com] to complete all the trips, though.

good to see it as a mechanic (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204573)

In novels, there are roughly two main ways time-travel might be used (with a lot of gray area and variations): as a simple plot device that changes the setting, or as a hard-sci-fi thought experiment about how the world might work, or what effects there might be, if time travel were possible, and particular laws governed it. There've been videogames using [wikipedia.org] the first strategy, of course. And some [wikipedia.org] have elements that start going towards the second, but still embedded in the game's plot rather than the actual game mechanics. Interesting to see time-travel and its effects as an actual playable element.

Re:good to see it as a mechanic (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 4 years ago | (#29207683)

... if time travel were possible ...

Let me save you and the world the struggle of finding the answer to this. Time Travel is NOT possible. Let me explain why.

I call this "The asshole theory". See, there is always an asshole in the bunch. Someone who makes things difficult and wrecks situations just because they can. Moving infinitely forward in time, there will be an infinite amount of these assholes somewhere throughout the cosmos.

With that, if time travel WERE possible, going infinitely into the future, one of these assholes will eventually go back to the beginning of time and screw it all up. So, ultimately, if time travel were possible, we wouldn't be here.

Re:good to see it as a mechanic (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 4 years ago | (#29208575)

Riiiight - becuase when you look around, you don't see the kind of world we'd get if some asshole went back in time and screwed everything up? Heck, I'd say you've solved the age-old Problem of Evil: an omnipotent and loving God did make an eternal utopia for his creations to live in ... then some asshole went back in time and screwed it all up, and here we are!

Moving infinitely forward in time, there will be an infinite amount of these assholes somewhere throughout the cosmos.

While many civilizations may have independently created time travel, only one would emerge victorious from the Time ars, and those Time Lords would then go back in time and remove the competition, so that the time war never happened. It's just that anyone else who gets close to inventing time travel dies mysteriously in an accident. That would mean we only have one civilization's worth of assholes to deal with, and therefor a finite number of assholes screweing things up. That seems about consistent with my observations.

Re:good to see it as a mechanic (1)

richardablitt (897338) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209207)

That's assuming that you'll be able to go back in time to whenever you want. It's also possible that you can't go back before whatever you're using for time travel existed.

"Tech" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29204581)

Who uses retarded terms like this? I mean, honestly.

Is it that big a deal? REALLY? (-1, Troll)

Loopy1492 (1308571) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204591)

How is it that there are already two posts about this game and not a single story posted about the new Pathfinder RPG that's pretty much shaking up the entire gaming community? I'm sensing a little pen-and-paper prejudice.

Re:Is it that big a deal? REALLY? (-1, Offtopic)

Loopy1492 (1308571) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204611)

Oooh that's right. It's been so long since I've had to view adverts on this site that I forgot that Hasbro/Wizards advertises here. Please, slashdot, don't make it seem like that's the case and allow one of these articles through.

Re:Is it that big a deal? REALLY? (0, Offtopic)

Loopy1492 (1308571) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204981)

Because its popularity exposes the travesty that is D&D 4.0.

Re:Is it that big a deal? REALLY? (0, Offtopic)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204869)

Pathfinder seems simply to be an extension to D&D 3.5- I am hard-pressed to see how it's 'pretty much shaking up the entire gaming community'.

Re:Is it that big a deal? REALLY? (0, Offtopic)

Loopy1492 (1308571) | more than 4 years ago | (#29205099)

Because it exposes the travesty that is D&D 4.0. The market for an update of the older edition is huge.

Additionally, the game was developed in a collaborative manner with alpha and beta editions available to players at no cost. This type of thing is of interest to the community at large.

Time travel to the future or to the past (0, Redundant)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204607)

Sending stuff to the future ain't a problem, you just forget about it for 10 years. :)
Sending stuff to the past would unbalance the game.

Very Original (4, Interesting)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204609)

This is the most original thing I've seen to come out of the RTS genre in a long time.

And to think, there's no reason Blizzard couldn't have done something just as innovative and different for SC2...they just don't want to take risk.

Re:Very Original (2, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204741)

It remains to be seen if this wildly experimental game is actually fun though. Obviously there has to be some way to make something permanent (maybe unit death?) given that otherwise the game devolves into each player just pulling repeated time tricks on each other forever (see: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure).

Re:Very Original (5, Funny)

krou (1027572) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204891)

Or you get as confused as Dark Helmet in Spaceballs ...

Dark Helmet: What the hell am I playing? When does this happen in the game?
Colonel Sandurz: Now. You're looking at now, sir. Everything that happens now, is happening now.
Dark Helmet: What happened to then?
Colonel Sandurz: We passed it.
Dark Helmet: When?
Colonel Sandurz: Just now. We're at now now.
Dark Helmet: Go back to then.
Colonel Sandurz: When?
Dark Helmet: Now.
Colonel Sandurz: Now?
Dark Helmet: Now.
Colonel Sandurz: I can't.
Dark Helmet: Why?
Colonel Sandurz: We missed it.
Dark Helmet: When?
Colonel Sandurz: Just now.
Dark Helmet: When will then be now?
Colonel Sandurz: Soon.

Re:Very Original (1)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#29206807)

Even better movie scenario [mjyoung.net] for this:

But we are forced to look a step back and ask what would have happened had Evil Bill & Ted never arrived. Sadly, the movie fails on this point, because they would have had no show, no message, no glory, and no future of peace and brotherhood which De Nomolos would wish to destroy. However, this particular history--the one in which Bill and Ted appear at the Battle of the Bands but Evil Bill and Ted did not arrive to interfere--never happened. But the reason for that has not yet been revealed.

As time reaches 2691, De Nomolos realizes that he has failed, and somehow steals a time machine to go back and do it himself. Again, he faces the same hazards he created by sending back his robots, but he has not considered these. De Nomolos then in large part intensifies the history he wishes to avoid: He gives his enemies a world-wide audience they could not have had without him.

What happens in this timeline is highly speculative. Bill and Ted decide to set up the sandbag, but it is not there. In a bloody shoot-out, the police capture De Nomolos, but the boys escape. At this point it might not matter whether or not they perform, because they have a time machine on stage, and they know how to use it. Once De Nomolos is taken, they take the time machine, and quietly go back to set up the sandbag. Note that if De Nomolos is not captured or killed, they cannot make the trip in his time machine, so they have to win; but as we discussed in Terminator, if something bad hasn't happened they will have no reason to do so. Thus I suggest that De Nomolos hurt, possibly killed, some people other than the boys, leading them to decide to undo it.

This sets up another timeline, because on cue the sandbag falls, smashing the gun in De Nomolos' hand. But the villain is infuriated, and Bill and Ted suddenly realize they should have included a cage. He charges them, and is again taken prisoner. Again Bill and Ted use the time machine on schedule, this time installing the sandbag and the cage. De Nomolos is captured in the new timeline.

He suggests that he, too, can travel back and make changes. He produces a key for the cage. He then produces a second gun. But Ted tells him that he's mistaken: only the winner can go back and make changes. This point is critical to our understanding of time travel: in order to make the trip back to fix the past, you must have survived to make the trip. Bill and Ted take credit for the key and the gun. But this means two more trips. First they must plant the key. This strikes me as unlikely in the extreme. De Nomolos appears to draw it from his pocket, which would mean they would have to have found him before he appeared on stage and planted it in his pocket; but he just came from the future, a time and place unknown to them, so it would not be easy to do. But overlooking this logistical complication, they must have decided that it would make for a better show if they also provided him with a key. He pops out and announces that he has arranged for another gun, but it isn't there, so he is taken by the police. Again Bill and Ted go for the showmanship, and in this timeline add the gun, the fake gun which promotes them. Finally De Nomolos is taken into custody, no one is hurt, and the show is perfect.

In each of these timelines the next event is that Bill and Ted are faced with the fact that they are lousy musicians asked to perform to the world. The world has seen only the tail end of this show, but could still be impressed. And these concerts don't matter too much, because in each case the boys are about to go back and make changes to history, so they'll get another first try.

And they still have the time machine, and they still know that this is a critically important moment in their lives. So having bombed at the concert, they now abscond with the time machine, make that trip back to alter the past, and then begin their intensive training in how to play the guitar. Oops--they create another anomaly, a complex N-jump in which most of the events of the film (those occurring in the twentieth century) are repeated precisely, when they take a time trip for a two-week honeymoon back in the fifteenth century. Sixteen months in the future, they change history by going back to the stage and taking over the concert. Note that this will be a self-sustaining loop. Bill and Ted will now go into their intensive guitar training and come back in sixteen months, and since they will have made this change before the time machine was sent back from the future it will be part of the history remembered in the overarching anomaly.

I tried to find a youtube clip, but could only find the section right after this exchange.

Re:Very Original (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 4 years ago | (#29205165)

The big problem I see is that you're going to spend the majority of your time playing against a computer-controlled opponent when it comes to micromanagement and unit control. That takes away a lot of the draw of multiplayer RTS games for me.

Re:Very Original (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29205391)

It takes all kinds. I've always found micromanagement to be off-putting in RTS games. Seems less of a 'strategy' thing and more of an 'arcade' thing. I've always preferred games like Shogun: Total War that limit your ability to micromanage troops. This 'chrono-energy' idea seems like a brilliant solution; from the player's perspective, it limits the ability to micromanage in the past, making you think more about your strategy than your tactics, and from the game engine's perspective, it reduces the occurrence of updates to the timeline, meaning fewer re-simulations of the altered history. Of course, I've always been better at micro than macro anyway. I'm the guy that will repeatedly crush an enemy in the field, only to reach their base with a sorely depleted army and get completely pwned by his renewed supply of higher-tech troops funded by expansions. But, the micromanagement is not what I find fun about the games; I wish RTS designers would save the reflex tests for Geometry Wars. Achron sounds like each attack by the opponent is a puzzle that you need to solve, causing you to spend more time fighting your opponent's mind and less time fighting their fingers.

Re:Very Original (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 4 years ago | (#29205903)

Unit Death, limited time travel energy, limited player time (eventually the event's going to pass off the left side of the timeline, no more undoing when that happens).

You can only mess around with a few minutes, past and future of the present.

Re:Very Original (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29206279)

The bigger issue I see is whether it'll end up overwhelming the player.

Re:Very Original (1)

smartr (1035324) | more than 4 years ago | (#29205313)

Has Blizzard ever really been innovative like you speak? I find that when you think about it what they pull off best is depth, quality, detail, fun, and consistency in these matters. The engines they use aren't anything cutting edge. They don't really put anything out that hasn't been done somewhere before. They just take all the pieces and put them together in perfect execution.

Blizzard and Starcraft 2 (1)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 4 years ago | (#29205403)

Blizzard revising Starcraft 2 is not really like most traditional sequels. The original has become so popular that it is like a sport in many ways, and sports fans and players don't generally want to see a wholesale revision of the game, at most they want small gradual improvements. Basketball might be really awesome with trampolines scattered around the floor, but that's not basketball anymore.

If Blizzard were to do something extreme like this, it would best to make it its own series, perhaps as a spinoff.

Re:Blizzard and Starcraft 2 (1)

nasch (598556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209083)

Basketball might be really awesome with trampolines scattered around the floor, but that's not basketball anymore.

Nope, that's SlamBall [google.com] .

Re:Very Original (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#29206759)

That's such a strange criticism. Blizzard also could have added a portal gun, made you make moral choices, and give you a dog that followed you around and dug up treasure. Maybe their lore didn't want to add in time travel. Maybe none of the developers thought of it.

This whole "games have to be innovative" crap needs to go away. Innovation doesn't make a good game. I'll be more than happy if SCII is as fun as the first SC with better graphics and more story. You don't need Blizzard to have time travel, because this game has it.

And even more than that, Blizzard is a legendary company because it doesn't innovate. It takes a genre and polishes it better than any other company to make some of the most popular games of all time. And you, random guy posting to Slashdot, think you know better. Give me a break.

Re:Very Original (1)

nasch (598556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209111)

That's such a strange criticism. Blizzard also could have added a portal gun, made you make moral choices, and give you a dog that followed you around and dug up treasure. Maybe their lore didn't want to add in time travel. Maybe none of the developers thought of it.

I agree with you that they didn't need to add time travel. However, if you repeatedly click on an Arbiter, you can see that they did in fact think of it, way back in 199-whatever. :-)

Actually, it's been done before (in 1980!) (1)

alispguru (72689) | more than 4 years ago | (#29207441)

There was (and still is [flyingbuffalo.com] ) a company called Flying Buffalo that ran play-by-mail, computer-mediated games. Their all-time favorite was called StarWeb, but they also had a game called Time Trap. In it, you placed units on a playing field, and they attempted to destroy each other. Units could move, shoot, or store energy; with enough stored energy, a unit could move backwards in game time. Moving N turns back took N^2 energy units, and the computer re-resolved the position from the earliest intervention.

Modding SC2 (1)

neo (4625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29207639)

With the very wide open API that's being created for SC2, it is very likely that someone could create this variant in SC2 in very short order.

I give it a month after release. I mean before the release. I mean after the before release... you get the idea.

Re:Very Original (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29208203)

I'm pretty sure that this game will have LAN play too, another one-up against Blizzard.

Re:Very Original (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209355)

Oh! I finally came up with an analogy! Criticizing Blizzard for making non-innovative games is like criticizing Britney Spears because she doesn't sing about how to solve differential equations. They are doing what works for them and lots of people still love them anyways. (Not a perfect analogy though, because Blizzard doesn't suck)

GPL is for queers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29204651)

Richard 'Glory hole' Stallman and Linus Tornballs jack each other off while reading the emacs sourcee code.

Chronobelt in RA3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29204671)

This isn't revolutionary. Tanya's chronobelt in Red Alert 3 already had the feature of moving the character back to her previous location and state. Once you have that mechanic, sending something forward in the is trivial -- it's just an event that's triggered by a timer.

Re:Chronobelt in RA3 (4, Insightful)

improfane (855034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204821)

The chrono belt probably just logs the character's X,Y every 5 seconds. This does not actually imitate time travel or solve time paradoxes. That chronobelt does not undo what you just did 5 seconds before!

When you go back in time and change something or forward, you have to solve a paradox of something happening.

Achron does this by running both possibilities simultaneously. It's definitely novel and fresh.

Preview (5, Funny)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204747)

Having already played this game in the future, I can only say that things get really strange if you try to go back in time before the game was launched and try to prevent it from being installed on your opponents computers.

Also, if you see a player on the network named John Titor, don't play against him. He seems to know what's going to happen already. Fscking cheater!

Re:Preview (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209867)

This is where we're stuck having to simulate time travel with sequential physics. But when Google buys the LHC...

Wow, very original (1, Flamebait)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204753)

And the reason I still don't own a console. PC games are just more fun if you like things like this.

Re:Wow, very original (4, Funny)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204877)

Console players play this the whole time. PC games 5 years in the past. :)

Re:Wow, very original (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 4 years ago | (#29206409)

If you mean I can play games like Fallout and Baldurs Gate and Crysis at full settings on the same PC, guess you are correct. Good luck even getting an xbox360 to work in 5 years.

Re:Wow, very original (1)

Supurcell (834022) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209263)

Fallout and Baldur's Gate barely work on computers now. I'm going to wish you good luck running them on a modern computer from 5 years in the future.

An real time strategy... (2, Interesting)

BlueKitties (1541613) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204755)

I'm normally not a grammar nazi, but it looks like it's time to apply the grammarFunc. grammarFunc("An real time strategy...") --> "A real time strategy..." grammarFunc, for all your recursive grammar policing needs.

Re:An real time strategy... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29205101)

When using a/an with an acronym, it is acceptable to base your word choice on how the acronym is pronounced. Since most people will read RTS as "Are Tee Ess" you would use an because of the A in Are. It's certainly debatable, and I would say that a and an are both correct, but I wouldn't be pedantic and "correct" someone for not using the word I would prefer...

And no one will see this because I'm an AC...

Re:An real time strategy... (1)

ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) | more than 4 years ago | (#29206283)

When using a/an with an acronym, it is acceptable to base your word choice on how the acronym is pronounced. Since most people will read RTS as "Are Tee Ess" you would use an because of the A in Are. It's certainly debatable, and I would say that a and an are both correct, but I wouldn't be pedantic and "correct" someone for not using the word I would prefer...

And no one will see this because I'm an AC...

QA, in most cases, wants us to assume the letters will be read individually. In the acronym heavy subject matter it just tends to flow better since people tend to speak the acronym when discussing it anyway.

Personally, reading "To save resources, we are using a LCS," causes my brain to make that "click" sound a bad hard drive makes.

Re:An real time strategy... (3, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29207901)

It's certainly debatable, and I would say that a and an are both correct, but I wouldn't be pedantic and "correct" someone for not using the word I would prefer...

How is it debatable?

The whole "a vs an" thing comes from the spoken language. You use "an" before words that start with a vowel sound, because the consonant breaks up the vowels and thus the words so it's easier for people listening to distinguish them.

Say "an RTS" out loud, pronouncing each letter. Notice how it rolls off the tongue easily. Now say "a RTS", and you either have to insert an awkward pause between 'a' and 'R', or you risk losing the 'a' while sounding like a pirate. Which is fine on Talk Like a Pirate Day, but even a pirate would say "an aaaaaaarrrr-tee-es." Try it with "a/an artichoke" if the acronym is still messing you up. It's the same principle, though -- it's the sound that matters.

It might be debatable that "a RTS" is a correct alternative in writing. It is not debatable that "an RTS" is correct, because it absolutely is correct.

Re:An real time strategy... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Cowar (1608865) | more than 4 years ago | (#29205139)

hyper correction above: Use of 'a' or 'an' before an acronym [antimoon.com]

If the acronym is pronounced as individual letters, such as NSA (National Security Agency), then use the article that would be appropriate when pronouncing the first letter: "an NSA representative."

So 'an RTS' is correct unless you pronounce 'RTS' as a word (arrrt-ssss?). Unless you've pulled "An Real Time Strategy" from somewhere else that isn't in the summary or summary title, if so, carry on.

Re:An real time strategy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29205481)

The "rule" is completely wrong. Try "an PBS representative."

Re:An real time strategy... (1)

Anonymous Cowar (1608865) | more than 4 years ago | (#29205731)

The "rule" is completely wrong. Try "an PBS representative."

Let me quote something from the post you just responded to:

then use the article that would be appropriate when pronouncing the first letter

Break PBS into its component letter sounds, 'Pee-Bee-Ess', because it starts with a 'Pee sound, you use the appropriate 'a' article.

Next up, I'll go over sentence fragments.

Re:An real time strategy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29207091)

I think the idea here is that if the first letter of an acronym has a vowel sound (regardless of whether it is or is not actually a vowel) such as those in NSA (en-es-ay) and RTS (ar-tee-es), then it's appropriate to use 'an'. Other wise, you use 'a'. The same principle (although more often debated) applies to words with silent letters, like 'hour.' Typically, people say 'an hour' which should be correct, but some people get uppity on a few of those silent letter ones.

Re:An real time strategy... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29207963)

So 'an RTS' is correct unless you pronounce 'RTS' as a word (arrrt-ssss?).

Even then 'an' would be correct, because it's the presence or absence of a vowel sound that matters.

For 'a RTS' to be the correct version would be if you pronounced it "Rits". Which I guess has a certain ring to it. "What were you doing last night?" "Oh, puttin on the ritz."

Good timing for a SC alternative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29204813)

With Blizzard treating sc players as bad as it has been (delaying again and again the launch of SCII, monthly fee for battle.net, no LAN playing, hunting down PvPGN servers) this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for someone else to take the lead. It's now or never - do or die kind of decisive moment. It may be that this back to future approach is the little extra that was needed to gather attention and, who knows, maybe Blizzard will suddenly start to listen to their SC players...
 

Re:Good timing for a SC alternative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29205855)

While there is merit to some of your points, where do you get a monthly fee for battle.net from? I can find, at best, speculative articles from third parties, however everything stated by Blizzard is completely to the contrary.

Either provide a source or stop spreading FUD.

Re:Good timing for a SC alternative? (1)

space_jake (687452) | more than 4 years ago | (#29207085)

Supreme Commander 2

Terminator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29204947)

Isn't this "kill in the past so you are better in the future" what Terminator and The Sarah Connor Chronicles was all about?

Haven't I seen this before? (4, Funny)

vertinox (846076) | more than 4 years ago | (#29204959)

"Spear men sapping my tanks!"

Old-Skool Archon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29205051)

This new game doesn't interest me.. but I'm gonna hook up my old 5.25" disk drive and look for that copy of ArchonII I used to play on my XT.

Hands on the barberpole (1)

Drawsalot (733094) | more than 4 years ago | (#29205141)

Sure sounds like it would eventually become a series of one-ups, like grips up the bat or the barberpole. "My unit takes yours."; "No, my unit goes back 5 minutes and takes you". Rinse and repeat.

Gameplay looks sensibly nth dimensional ... ! (5, Informative)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 4 years ago | (#29205545)

I looked at some demo footage of the game and it seemed like time travel really is just like literally adding another dimension to an RTS game. Where in a normal RTS you can be attacked in the West, East, North, South (and potentially on different levels, if the game has land and air units, in Achron you can also be being attacked at a physical location that's also "in the past" and "in the future". You can go to the past and future like you'd go to different places on a map.

To make it sane, the player exists in "meta time", a kind of overall time that ties together all the different positions in game time. The difference from a spacial dimension is:

a) the further away from the current moment you want to operate, the more time energy you use up. I think you can observe any time period for free, it's just if you want to send information or objects through time that it gets expensive.
b) effects take a while to propagate - stuff causally resulting from a battle in the past takes a certain amount of meta time (player time) to propagate to the present game time. Sounds weird but think of it like this: if your opponent goes back in time and blows up *all your stuff* you will not see anything change in the present have until the "time wave" propagates the results of these events forward to the present. At that point all your units are going to disappear. But in the meantime you have a (limited) window in which to go back with some units and "fix" the past.

This *sounds* complicated but it really is just like an extra dimension of movement with some odd properties added. It makes a lot more sense if you watch the videos, once it clicks, it clicks.

And yes, you can do grandfather paradoxes and travel to the future. Have fun!

Re:Gameplay looks sensibly nth dimensional ... ! (3, Informative)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 4 years ago | (#29205949)

a) Observing the past doesn't cost any energy but they're repeatedly said that you regenerate energy faster the closer you are to the present.

Re:Gameplay looks sensibly nth dimensional ... ! (1)

ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) | more than 4 years ago | (#29206481)

At work, can't see for myself. Were the following situations explained:
What happens when a factory is taken out in the past, do all units propagated from it vanish?
What of resource collectors, does all income generated vanish, do units purchased with said resources vanish?

remember the 3DS rts ? (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 4 years ago | (#29206495)

In the end the 3rd dimension did not add too much to the mechanic of the gameplay. I want to see the finished game and try it before it really add a dimension and it is also a dimension of fun.

Paradox (3, Funny)

BoChen456 (1099463) | more than 4 years ago | (#29206019)

So what happens when you send a unit back in time to kill itself?

Re:Paradox (1)

Itigya (776348) | more than 4 years ago | (#29206677)

They actually covered this, the unit would alternate between existing and not-existing (presumably the alternation would be on the time wave pulses).

Re:Paradox (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 4 years ago | (#29206693)

The same thing that happens when you go back in time and RTFA before posting that comment.

Re:Paradox (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#29206975)

My guess is that you were joking, but i'll bite. The game does not allow duplicating units via time travel. At any given point on the timeline, a unit can be at one and only one place. You can build a unit on Wednesday and send it back to Tuesday, but the present is still moving. The further back the units are, the more it costs you to command them.

This game allows 4th dimensional travel (pretending the units themselves are 3D), but the real movement of the game is in a sort of metatime. That might be the 5th dimension or something (it's been a while since i watched that video). The time line bar goes left to right, but the time in the *game* goes UP! Time is just another spatial dimension in Achron.

Too bad i dislike RTSs (i can't think that fast, i need turn based). This has such potential.

The Manual for this (2, Insightful)

bmcnally (1333283) | more than 4 years ago | (#29206045)

Better be written by Stephen Hawking. I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around how exactly things will play out. If I destroy a unit production structure in the past - will that in turn destroy all of the units produced by said structure? Will it refund the credits used to create those units to the other player? It seems like they will have to limit consequences to only one or two steps - if I were to destroy a building in the past, removing its created units from the playing field, which in turn restores the units/buildings that they had destroyed, things would get way too complicated too quickly. Looking forward to this - hope they release a simplified version pre-Alpha so that people can play around with it and help tune many of these sorts of decisions.

Re:The Manual for this (0, Offtopic)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29208449)

All you have to do is blow them all up. Deal with it.

I watched the gameplay videos... (1)

Krokus (88121) | more than 4 years ago | (#29206463)

My head asplode.

It's OK... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#29207217)

You can still go back in time and warn yourself not to watch the videos - the time wave has not yet rea...

What is it really going to do? (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#29207865)

Is it going to do to Time what Portal did with Space?

And can we expect a cool song at the end by Johnathon Coulton?

Possibilities (1)

Ender77 (551980) | more than 4 years ago | (#29208101)

I have thought about creating a game using time travel mechanics but my solution was not as elegant as the one Achron is using. Kudos to the developers and I really hope they can sell the technology to other game companies so we can have more time travel RTS.

Whoa. Somebody MADE this? (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 4 years ago | (#29208725)

Every now and then I return to the on-going board meeting being held in one of my Day Dream arenas where I'm planning out how to make a game like this one work. It's quite the mental exercise.

The fact that this game exists means that either the makers have overcome some rather huge programming barriers, or they have dodged around them by cheating. Either way, if it feels right, then they've been quite clever.

The version I've been planning in my head, (with no intention of ever actually making since I'm not a programmer or game designer), was more like one of those city-building sims with a war and/or adventure element with lots of specific missions. From what I've been able to work out, essentially, the key to such a game is having a very fast and powerful computer which is capable of generating and keeping track a complete time-line of events before the game even starts. Like mapping out a whole chess game in advance. The computer would map it out from start to finish and maintain the whole thing memory. Whenever the player would take an action, the computer would re-map all the changes forward right to the end of the game so that the player could jump ahead to see what had happened. This would require the AI to guess at what the player would do for future actions, and that would be one hurdle. (There are several ways to get around the clumsiness of this mechanic and make it fit the game). And it would allow for massive changes in the city scape, which is appropriate given the enormous power time travel implies.

On the whole, it seemed rather un-doable, but the more I consider it, the more viable it seems.

A semi-related watershed moment came when that new game, "Scribblenauts" was announced. --It seems that the impossible is becoming possible, and people are being asked to think in ways we never have done before. I think that's probably healthy.

--And the part of me which watches real reality (from another Day Dream board room), is thinking that perhaps these advances are significant for less obvious reasons. . .

-FL

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