# News You Can Bruise for 2005March26 (entry 1)

Out, Damned Irony
Crøss Purposes

(6) Time Meddler: This is the game that makes our fortune, Leonard me boy. Time travel game! In other such games you experience time travel from the perspective of a human: you turn back the clock to a specific point and relive events from there. In this game, you are a four-dimensional being! To you, the timeline looks like the pages of a flip book spread out before you. Like a Trafalmadorian you can visit any segment of the timeline that strike your fancy. Unlike a Trafalmadorian you can also change the timeline. Your changes have ripple effects into the future.

The game board looks like a 2D grid. The squares contain people and objects in different states over time. That is, the x axis is stepwise "time" and the y axis is stepwise "state of person/object #y". Your job on each level of the game is to meddle with the timeline to achieve a certain result (eg. to make two people fall in love). You can insert items into the timeline, move objects around, etc. Every time you do something at time x, the timeline is redrawn from x+1 onwards. With the right modelling the possible actions and resulting events could be very flexible.

It is a turn-based puzzle game because of course it makes no sense to have any time-related operations since the whole point is you exist outside of time.

How do I know this game will make my fortune? TIME TRAVEL, DUH!

Next time on NYCB Game Design Brainstorming: Captain Compliance! The game where the object is to get permission to play the game! Inspired by my review of oki. I'm still not sure exactly how it will go, though.

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Posted by Josh Myer at Sat Mar 26 2005 22:51

Or you could make it an RPG: Forget Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, the new big thing is Hyper-parallel Dungeons and Dragons!

Oh, and it'd make for one hell of a roundabout game of Connect Four, forcing the traversal of certain paths to get your four. Come to think of it, that idea would make a lot of reality more sensical.

Posted by Zack at Sun Mar 27 2005 02:50

At the risk of spoiling your plans for fame and fortune, I must point out that this sounds very much like Chrononauts.

Posted by Leonard at Sun Mar 27 2005 10:14

Chrononauts seemed very much in the "turn back the clock" vein, albeit with iterative changing of history one you meddled. It was the closest thing I could find to my idea, though.

Posted by Pthag at Sun Mar 27 2005 14:45

There is also an old game called Millenia: Altered Destinities, which was actually quite funky. Basically, you are an Astronaut rudely interrupted from some boring mundane Jupiter->Earth shipment by a Mysterious Alien Overlord From Another Galaxy.
The Other galaxy is under threat by the Microids, an evil monocellular (I think) race who takes over the galaxy. You have to seed the galaxy with four sentient races and have them achieve "equilibrium" as they rule the galaxy. You also have to develop them to the point that they are technologically advanced enough to build four McGuffins (one per race) that get you back home.

Unfortunately, in making the races powerful and fertile enough to spread all over the galaxy, you make them unable to become smart enough (I don't know why, I never got that far), so lots of editing in Deep Time is required.

To actually influence the planets, you have agents on the worlds, who can affect the ruling royal fmaily and spread memes and suchlike. You can guess how it works out.

Unfortunately, I could never get this game to work on Windows and now that I've discovered DOSBox, I can't find the game. Such is life.

Posted by Leonard at Sun Mar 27 2005 14:54

These guys claim to sell it, if you don't mind buying it again.

Posted by Mark at Mon Mar 28 2005 15:44

This makes me think of Lock & Key, in a sense. Lock & Key's map is equivalent to a 1-D timeline, since each room has a single entrance and exit and the enemy progresses at a steady pace. You have a more-or-less defined goal for the end of the timeline, and you accomplish it by moving around chunks of timeline (rooms) and watching the influence on later chunks.

It's not (by design) as fluid as your post describes, but the basic idea of moving objects around in time to achieve a pre-defined goal is there.

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