In Praxis… Traveling in time
In this installment of In Praxis I’m going to give a more in-depth technical overview of the main gameplay mechanic in Reset: time travel.
As shown in our gameplay tutorial video, using the mechanic is fairly simple: First you decide that you want to return to a particular point in space and time from the future. Then you do whatever you want to do and finally return to the marked point and moment. From that moment onward the previous version of you will be doing the same things you just did yourself, and you are free to do something else.
The way we have implemented this is to record the input from the player between the marking of the re-entry point and the reset. After jumping back we use the recorded inputs to drive a clone of the player character. From the point of view of the game engine it’s exactly as though there were a second player in the game.
As anyone familiar with time travel in science fiction knows, messing with history can have unforeseen consequences. The slightest disturbance of the previous timeline could set off a chain reaction of changes that result in a future unlike what you were expecting. This is a fundamental principle in chaos theory and is known as the butterfly effect.
One example of this can be seen in the gameplay tutorial video: the second time the hovertruck is moved across to the other platform, it ends up at a slightly different position. This is because that time the truck is heavier since there’s now a mech standing on it. We are still working on ways to artificially reduce the effects of small disturbances such as these, but ultimately you’ll have to be aware of how the appearance of a future you can change what you’ve done in the past.