Time Travel In My Game

Uknownxl

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Jan 25, 2015
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#1
Hello Everyone,

I am a game developer and currently have a fairly large project in development which includes some time travel. Ive been thinking about it a lot and have been going back and forth on how the event of changing the past should work in terms of the games story. Ive been doing a lot of research on the subject and have been an avid fan of anything time travel related since I was a small child. I figured if I could get some well informed opinions then this would be the place to start.

My game takes place in a fantasy/medieval style setting. I don't want to give away to much details but essentially towards the start of the game an unknown beast will appear and begin destroying towns and villages in the game. He soon after targets the hero and goes after him, but luckily the hero escapes before he himself is killed as well. The hero then goes on to face a new villain but towards the end of the game the villain mutates into the same beast from the beginning and travels back in time with the intent of killing the hero before he had the means to stop him. In this instance I would like for the hero to go back with the villain and prevent the towns/villages destruction.

So my dilemma is if I were to allow the player/hero to stop the monster before all the destruction. This would logically create a time paradox, because it would prevent the "past" version of the hero from escaping and eventually becoming a hero so he could go back in time in the first place.

I am curious on others opinions and suggestions. In my game I think its important for the hero to be able to alter history but I want it to make logical since without having a flood of plotholes that most other movies/games have when it comes to this topic.
 

Nicolas

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Jun 6, 2013
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Manaus-AM
#4
Hello Everyone,

I am a game developer and currently have a fairly large project in development which includes some time travel. Ive been thinking about it a lot and have been going back and forth on how the event of changing the past should work in terms of the games story. Ive been doing a lot of research on the subject and have been an avid fan of anything time travel related since I was a small child. I figured if I could get some well informed opinions then this would be the place to start.

My game takes place in a fantasy/medieval style setting. I don't want to give away to much details but essentially towards the start of the game an unknown beast will appear and begin destroying towns and villages in the game. He soon after targets the hero and goes after him, but luckily the hero escapes before he himself is killed as well. The hero then goes on to face a new villain but towards the end of the game the villain mutates into the same beast from the beginning and travels back in time with the intent of killing the hero before he had the means to stop him. In this instance I would like for the hero to go back with the villain and prevent the towns/villages destruction.

So my dilemma is if I were to allow the player/hero to stop the monster before all the destruction. This would logically create a time paradox, because it would prevent the "past" version of the hero from escaping and eventually becoming a hero so he could go back in time in the first place.

I am curious on others opinions and suggestions. In my game I think its important for the hero to be able to alter history but I want it to make logical since without having a flood of plotholes that most other movies/games have when it comes to this topic.
The way I see it, you have two options:

  • Send him back and no matter what they do, the beast will find a way to rise and tragedy will happen anyhow, creating an infinite loop.;
  • Send him back and he'll stop the beast, only to find out he's in another timeline out of an infinite amount. The beast doesn't destroy anything on his now timeline, but in his previous one it did. He then finds the love of his life;
 

Uknownxl

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Jan 25, 2015
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#5
The way I see it, you have two options:

  • Send him back and no matter what they do, the beast will find a way to rise and tragedy will happen anyhow, creating an infinite loop.;
  • Send him back and he'll stop the beast, only to find out he's in another timeline out of an infinite amount. The beast doesn't destroy anything on his now timeline, but in his previous one it did. He then finds the love of his life;
Yeah I was leaning towards the new timeline option. Would be disappointing to see you could not stop the monster in the end for the players. I just know that alot of people will be complaining to the fact that if he stops the monster and prevents himself from becoming a hero then how could he go back in time in the first place? This is of course handled when the timeline splits but I know many will complain and cry foul.
 

Nicolas

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Jun 6, 2013
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#6
Yeah I was leaning towards the new timeline option. Would be disappointing to see you could not stop the monster in the end for the players. I just know that alot of people will be complaining to the fact that if he stops the monster and prevents himself from becoming a hero then how could he go back in time in the first place? This is of course handled when the timeline splits but I know many will complain and cry foul.
You have a point. Not stopping it would make this a very frustating game indeed...

Anyway, we are talking about you creating a new universe, which doesn't have to follow the same rules as ours. For instance, he could go back, avoid it, and live in a universe where two versions of him existed. No paradox if you don't want it. Use your creativity to have some old shaman of whatever explaining how this would be possible. Maybe you can use this as a plotline for the second version of the game, where the first individual will grow angry of his version who came back and interveined in the natural course of his life, becoming then the villain in an epic battle. Lol.
 

titorite

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Jun 22, 2007
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Central Texas yall
#7
OK are you basing this game off the legendary Chrono Trigger or what?

You want to make a time travel based story line. Awesome. MAKE MULTIPLE ENDINGS! If you're gonna go there go ahead with the full monty and give the players what they love when it comes to single player play, Multiple endings, story arcs that can only be achieved by doing this or that with each choice being a one way thing, REPLAY VALUE!!!!

And if you are that concerned about plot and paradox then yeah, go with the divergence theory. That infinite time lines exists and once you begin time traveling you can never go home to time line zero...but time line 0.002 will be so close to the orginal that their will be no noticable difference. Just keep in mind that in that theory nobody can change their own past only other outcome of other timelines.

Another twist that is possible which , you may of already thought of , is to incorperate the paradox.

The villain gets replaced, then mutates into the old villan, and the hero tries to destroy him before the original destruction. ..... If he succeds does it turn it that the villan was the Hero him/herself the whole time?
 

Uknownxl

New member
Jan 25, 2015
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#8
OK are you basing this game off the legendary Chrono Trigger or what?

You want to make a time travel based story line. Awesome. MAKE MULTIPLE ENDINGS! If you're gonna go there go ahead with the full monty and give the players what they love when it comes to single player play, Multiple endings, story arcs that can only be achieved by doing this or that with each choice being a one way thing, REPLAY VALUE!!!!

And if you are that concerned about plot and paradox then yeah, go with the divergence theory. That infinite time lines exists and once you begin time traveling you can never go home to time line zero...but time line 0.002 will be so close to the orginal that their will be no noticable difference. Just keep in mind that in that theory nobody can change their own past only other outcome of other timelines.

Another twist that is possible which , you may of already thought of , is to incorperate the paradox.

The villain gets replaced, then mutates into the old villan, and the hero tries to destroy him before the original destruction. ..... If he succeds does it turn it that the villan was the Hero him/herself the whole time?
Surprisingly ive never played Chrono Trigger, but my colleagues have suggested it to me.

Ive thought about incorporating the paradox but it just seems messy to me. The multiple timeline method seems like the easiest way to avoid paradoxes and players screaming about plot holes.

Ive thought about the hero being the villain but its completely against his character. I do have plot twists in store though related to that.
 

Gpa

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Jul 2, 2010
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#9
Unknownxl;

A small change to the beginning of the story.

Opening cut scene of the Hero... appearing battle weary yet powerful and determined...dialog explains he has gone to this timeline to destroy a beast that attacked his village... that he had chased through multiple timelines...that he swore to destroy...

The beast appears and begins attacking the village and the villagers turn out to drive it back but they stand no chance against such a powerful beast and are retreating when... the Hero... far more powerful than the villagers... advances to take on the beast...

An epic battle ensues and the Hero... may loose when... from the village one villager comes forward and joins the hero in the battle... though of slight assistance to the Hero... it is just enough to turn the tide of the battle... and the beast... as he has done many times before... escapes his own destruction by... escaping into another timeline...

The Hero... near death... looks at the villager that came to his aid... and it is himself... the "level 1" version of himself... he then realizes that he has come full circle... he is back where he started... he then explains to his other self that now "HE" must chase the beast and swear to destroy it. He shows him how to travel to the other timelines and how to track the beast through time...

And the adventure begins...

If you want the player to have the satisfaction of destroying the beast, simply do it in a timeline other than the original and the hero can live out his "new life" in a new timeline or return to his own. Remember, he left to follow the beast so he doesn't know how things went after he left so returning to a point after the battle offers no paradox.

Note: If this is like some other game or a movie, I'm not intentionally copying it. This is, I hope, an original thought.
 

titorite

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Jun 22, 2007
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Central Texas yall
#10
GPA has good suggestions too!

Also , Take some time, download and play chrono trigger. If you're any good at all it should take you just a few days to beat the first time. The joy of the game was it's multiple outcomes. Multiple story arcs, Heck the main charicter dies and you have the choice to revive him or contnue with out him. One of the main villains can be killed or turned to good. One of the cursed chariters can be freed of his curse but at the expense of another charicter. When dealing with time travel Chrono Trigger beats Dreamfall every day of the weak. Prince of persia? It's got nothing. Chrono Trigger is so popular people make home brew out of it and release it for free. Get to know the grand daddy of it all so you can make an EPIC game.

And best of luck to you... and I liked GPAs suggestions more than my own.
 

Uknownxl

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Jan 25, 2015
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#11
Unknownxl;

A small change to the beginning of the story.

Opening cut scene of the Hero... appearing battle weary yet powerful and determined...dialog explains he has gone to this timeline to destroy a beast that attacked his village... that he had chased through multiple timelines...that he swore to destroy...

The beast appears and begins attacking the village and the villagers turn out to drive it back but they stand no chance against such a powerful beast and are retreating when... the Hero... far more powerful than the villagers... advances to take on the beast...

An epic battle ensues and the Hero... may loose when... from the village one villager comes forward and joins the hero in the battle... though of slight assistance to the Hero... it is just enough to turn the tide of the battle... and the beast... as he has done many times before... escapes his own destruction by... escaping into another timeline...

The Hero... near death... looks at the villager that came to his aid... and it is himself... the "level 1" version of himself... he then realizes that he has come full circle... he is back where he started... he then explains to his other self that now "HE" must chase the beast and swear to destroy it. He shows him how to travel to the other timelines and how to track the beast through time...

And the adventure begins...

If you want the player to have the satisfaction of destroying the beast, simply do it in a timeline other than the original and the hero can live out his "new life" in a new timeline or return to his own. Remember, he left to follow the beast so he doesn't know how things went after he left so returning to a point after the battle offers no paradox.

Note: If this is like some other game or a movie, I'm not intentionally copying it. This is, I hope, an original thought.
I like the suggestion and my mind has wondered down that path before, but it may mess with some of the other details of the game. (ive been writing this story for over a year and its gone through a lot of iterations) Story and character development is really the key aspect of the game. The player does not start as a hero. He is actually quite the opposite and is very cowardly yet willing to face his fears. Similarly to Luigis Mansion, but over his journey he comes into his own and that is in the past.

But after really thinking it over I think there is a way I can make it happen, but like i said I will have to rewrite some details for sure. Nothing really to drastic I will just have to replace a character with the "completed hero". The whole time travel thing is a mystery until the end of the game. So it will be very cool when players have the "aha!" moment when they are on the hero end of things.
 

Gpa

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Jul 2, 2010
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#12
Story and character development is really the key aspect of the game.
Exactly why I make the character the level 1 version. He has some guts, but not much ability. I didn't want to go into to much detail if my suggestion was of no help. The details of just how much the Hero tells to the L1 hero can be just how to move to the first new timeline and that he "must" do it. Each timeline the new hero visits he gains experience, abilities, better equipment, and new details on moving through timelines and how to catch the beast. Perhaps in each of his moves he is behind the beast but finds new enemies left behind by the beast that he must defeat. As he progresses he gets closer and closer until... Have as many quests as you wish, as well as side quests for perhaps special items, armor, weapons. The fantasy universe is wide open.
There's nothing wrong with the "ah ha" moment being at the beginning, if the goal is really to defeat the evil. That "surprise" will only be good "once", regardless if it is at the beginning or end.
 

Uknownxl

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Jan 25, 2015
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#13
Exactly why I make the character the level 1 version. He has some guts, but not much ability. I didn't want to go into to much detail if my suggestion was of no help. The details of just how much the Hero tells to the L1 hero can be just how to move to the first new timeline and that he "must" do it. Each timeline the new hero visits he gains experience, abilities, better equipment, and new details on moving through timelines and how to catch the beast. Perhaps in each of his moves he is behind the beast but finds new enemies left behind by the beast that he must defeat. As he progresses he gets closer and closer until... Have as many quests as you wish, as well as side quests for perhaps special items, armor, weapons. The fantasy universe is wide open.
There's nothing wrong with the "ah ha" moment being at the beginning, if the goal is really to defeat the evil. That "surprise" will only be good "once", regardless if it is at the beginning or end.
Hello,

I wasnt saying your suggestions were not helpful. I actually found them interesting and its making me take another approach to the game. Early in the game the player is saved by a strange warrior because he lacks the skill to defeat a certain enemy/boss. (remember the player is not a hero at the start) Ive decided to make that warrior his future self instead of the character he was previously. But the player will not know the strange mans identity until he follows the path and has come full circle.

The game is also an action adventure rpg that is open world. The player will go to an alternate reality where the villain has went and there you will go through a series of dungeons/quests before finally facing the boss and being warped back in time. There I plan for the hero to repeat the actions of the strange warrior from the start of the game but he will ultimately stop the beast.