Time, Days, Seasons, and Years in Outer Colony

Time and time related natural phenomena play an extremely important role in OC. From the aging of living things to the changing of seasons, worlds change and grow with the passage of time. The following video, sped up immensely for demonstration purposes, shows some of the changes in weather and flora over the course of a year in a temperate, deciduous forest.

Summary of Time

  • There are several metrics used to express time in OC, but the most visible is world time. World time is shown in the world clock, on the right side of the screen, directly under the minimap. It’s expressed in hours, days (24 hours to one day), and years (12 days to one year).
  • Each world experiences a day / night cycle, featuring dawn, daytime, dusk, and nighttime. The day / night cycle affects weather in a variety of ways, most prominently as a drop in temperature during the night and a rise in temperature during the day. Various creature, plant, and human behaviors are affected, as is solar-powered machinery.
  • Worlds of OC experience regular seasons, somewhat like the ones experienced on earth. Each season consists of three days. Spring occurs from days 0 through 2, summer from 3 through 5, fall from 6 through 8, and winter from 9 through 11.
  • All locations are affected to some extent by the seasons. The video above focuses on a patch of temperate, deciduous forest, as changes here are particularly pronounced.

Four Seasons in a Deciduous Forest – Brief Video Analysis

It would take a great deal of text to enumerate all the effects of the passage of time on a OC world, but my aim here is to just give a quick idea of some of the effects of the passage of time. Let’s look at a few specific phenomena that are visible in the video!

One important point is that creature and human spawns are disabled in this video, and I don’t actually embark with an expedition. I sped the passage of time up in-game by two orders of magnitude in order to make video capture quicker, and the presence of complex entities would swamp the processor under these conditions. The purpose of the video is to highlight variations in weather pattern and slowly changing entities, like plants.

  • The video starts out on day zero of world year zero. You can tell this by looking at the world clock on the right side of the interface.
  • As day zero, the video starts in springtime. You can see that trees are bearing leaves and that grass is green and healthy, like temperate forests in the springtime on earth.
  • The day and night cycles should be made obvious by the shading gradient.
  • You can see daybreak, nightfall, and season change events popping up in the world’s event view.
  • At around the 10 second mark,the season changes from spring to summer. You’ll note that some of the ground cover changes, as some patches of grass change due to the higher summer temperatures.
  • Around midsummer, you can see several new plants sprout out of the ground. If you watch them carefully, you can watch them mature and change over the course of a season. Plants only sprout and grow during spring and summer in a temperate forest. The fall and winter are too cold.
  • Fall begins around the 20 second mark. Leaves change colors, fall off trees, and cover the ground.. This affects a great many things and is an important feature of the deciduous forests. Just as a single example, large entities (like humans) make noise when crunching through fallen leaves. You can imagine the combat implications that result.
  • Several rain storms pass through during the autumn.
  • At around the 30 second mark, winter arrives. Leafy ground cover dissipates, and tree branches are left bare.
  • The first snow event of the season is minor and results in no significant accumulation.
  • The second snow storm is major and covers the ground in a layer of snow. Just like the leafy ground cover of autumn, snowpack is accompanied by a variety of far reaching effects (no pun intended).
  • Finally, spring of the next year arrives. The snow melts, leaves are replaced on trees, and the cycle starts anew.

Again, this is just one brief example of the effects of the passage of time on a particular environment, and this entry is far from a comprehensive detailing of time related features. Hopefully, though, it illustrates the greater point that worlds and entities in OC are dynamic and always changing with time. As a former coworker of mine frequently said, “The only constant is change,” and this axiom is absolutely true in OC.

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