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Time, the Final Gaming Frontier: Can Blockchain Take Us There?

It’s difficult to start a philosophical discussion about time without bringing up overused quotes but it’s probably even more difficult to argue that there are more things in real life more precious than time.

Gamers may know this even more intimately than others too. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Played an hour too long, and lost sleep just to get through another level. Just one more try, gamers keep telling themselves.

But that concept of time has only mattered because of its impact on our real, physical lives. We spend time sleeping, studying or working. Time that won’t wait for us and time that we won’t get back.

Time in gaming is a mere infant

In gaming, implementation of time has probably only barely scratched the surface of what’s possible. Among the many longstanding trends that we want video games to resemble the real-life environment, time is what seems to get kicked out of the equation.

Sure, you have time limits, but those are durational effects to bind games and challenge people to do things quicker. You even have night and day effects, weather changes, but those are cosmetics and a way to progress the game.

But because time design isn’t the same as the one that governs our physical world, we don’t play games with the same urgency and determination and care we do with our actual, corporeal selves.

We skip cutscenes because the plot doesn’t matter (kill everything and win, right?). We head right into battle because we get a chance to reboot and try again. We grind for a special skin because well, our weapons last forever, our health doesn’t deteriorate permanently.

Maybe the fragility of time design is something that didn’t bother us before because video games constantly developed things that resembled real-life and extra cool features.

Skyrim’s a good case study to see how a new feature release can distract us. In the groundbreaking game, it was the case with open-world expanse, allowing us to enjoy breathtaking landscapes like we’re somewhere in the Swiss Alps, instead of sitting by our computers.

But in its quest for realism, other flaws became so obvious they amounted to a treasure trove of memes. No one is perfect, right? At some point during playing, Skyrim’s signature realism began to work against it, and the magic became encumbered by logic.

Time, the final frontier of gaming?

Research conducted in 2021 by Rapp demonstrated the fact that developers have been constantly seeking to invent new ways to create applications that would maximize the playing time and boost the willingness of gamers to play more. In relation to video games specifically, time is a significant component due to video game designers being able to design the game time to retain gamers in the digital environment.

Namely, Rapp conducted an ethnographic study in the video game World of Warcraft to comprehend how numerous temporalities are produced within the gaming environment and the effects they have on the engagement of gamers. The research suggested that the concept of time design in video games could lead to different outcomes, such as gamifications of online communities and crowdsourcing platforms.

The passing of time in video games has been handled in different ways, mostly in manners easy for players to understand. First, we have real-time games in which time progresses continuously in accordance with the game clock. For instance, there is a real-time game Terraria, where 24 hours in the digital environment amounts to 24 minutes in the real world.

The manner in which real-time games manage time is a really popular one. The afore-mentioned Skyrim consists of a day-night cycle where for every minute that passes in the real world, 20 minutes pass in the game. Additionally, you have the option to successfully manage time in line with your own preferences.

Then we also have turn-based games where a game consists of defined parts, also known as turns, plays or moves. The game flow allows players to have an analysis period before conducting an action, keeping the gameplay and the thinking components separated. Traditional ways are not bad, but are they enough?

Cradles’ Time Mechanism: daring to be blockchain’s finest

Here at Cradles, we understand time as the most significant element in the universe that cannot be changed whose rules and laws that govern our very existence cannot be changed. Time and physics are gospel. They destroy value without mercy, test value, create, and then ruthlessly bring it down in an inexorable manner that we know as entropy increases.

We know that time cannot be defied, replaced or recreated as with every beginning there is an end. We have been given a certain period of time to live until we meet our end. It is not the time to get poetic, but it is significant to remain realistic. If you want real-world experiences in alternative realities, you have to include time. With all its ruthlessness and inevitability. It is just the way it is.

So in Cradles, we wanted a game that resembled our lives, not merely to form a basic passage of time, but to remind its players that the world of Cradles is very much as real as ours in that it is also governed by the laws of being.

Perhaps the technology was always too complex, but just as blockchain proved that the Byzantine generals’ problem had an elegant solution, we believe block time and some ingenious token protocols make it possible to enhance time management by simulating the notion of time passing.

First of all, each world in the Cradles environment develops at divergent speeds. Similar to other games, players use platform coins to buy crystals and other stuff, yet during the gameplay in Cradles, the energy of the crystals slowly vanishes with the passing of time. And that effect is different in divergent worlds. If you are in a more dangerous environment, expect your crystals to cost more, but also to bear more quality because of the cost.

Then, we also have evolvable attributes attached to every single game element — items, characters, and all game assets. Buildings will crumble if not maintained. Swords will rust in their scabbards if uncared for. Every new block found adds to an element’s age, its status coded in smart contract lines that describe its attributes.

In the Cradles’ world, you can also experience different eras or time zones. The first time zone is called the Protoarchaean, referring to the geological era from approximately the formation of the earth to the beginning of the second time zone, namely the Archaean. But beware, this is an extremely dangerous world due to a lack of oxygen and food shortage. People have little data only on that period so exploring it really will be like stepping into the unknown.

Of course, you don’t have to be a hardcore adventurer the first time around. Cradles provides a medium-dangerous area, known as the Cambrian, ideal for exploring and getting a feel of the game. Again, another aspect of time to provide multiple experiences.

We wanted to do something different, something realistic, and something that hasn’t been done before. Despite its importance and real-world value, time has been denied a fair share of deserved popularity in video games that aim to become as realistic as possible.

We think it’s about time someone does something about that.

As always, feel free to reach out to us or join the conversation with Cradians on the following channels:

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