Time Systems

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Time systems are controllers built into a roguelike engine which handle the order of interaction of the actors inside the world. There are many ways to handle the interactions and they are usually unique to each project; However, certain similarities allow to propose a categorization on the following:


   Have the main game loop handle UI and call move_monsters() (or
   generally any other function that advances the whole world a turn)
   in the code for some of the player actions (the ones that consume
   a turn). Generally inflexible approach, altrough might seem appealing
   for animation-heavy and "modern" game. ;)

Simple turns:

   You've got your main loop that iterates over all the "actors" (things
   that can act, be it the player character, the monster or self-closing
   door), asks them what they want to do and performs it if it's
   possible. The actors might still be able to do some things by
   themselves, without consuming a turn.
   This approach is better, but it's a bit awkward to write the actor's
   code, because every turn the function is called anew -- you've got
   to record all state information in the actor's data, and probably do
   a switch statement at the beginning of the actor's code...
   Note that "slow" monster may wait once per several turns, and "fast"
   monsters can perform some actions without returning, but it's a little
   If you want an action like eating to take several turns, you just
   mark in the actor's data that it's eating, check for interrupts,
   update teh counters and return.

Queued turns:

   In this approach you've got a kind of priority queue, or other similar
   thing, that holds the actors. You remove actors from the queue, call
   their functios, perform their actions and then put them back into
   the a sorted position into the queue. The position depends on how much
   time the action took -- you must keep track of it.
   Interrupts can be handled in two ways -- you can use small steps for
   long actions, exactly like in the previous approach, or you can use
   more accurate system:
   Have the action separated into the preparation adn the effect parts.
   When you add do queue an actor that decided to do a preparation
   action, add it with proper delay, but add it also to a special
   "watchers" lists. Every time any actor does something, all the
   actors in the "watchers" list are informed about it and have to
   decide whether continue the preparation (then nothing happends) or
   interrupt it (then they are moved to the beginning of the queue), then
   the "preparation" is cancelled and they are free to decide upon their
   own action. When you reach in the queue an actor that was "preparing"
   and didn't cancel it, it can do the "effect" part of it's action,
   actually performing it.

Energy systems:

   They are various and usually complicated. Basically, the game time
   is separated into "ticks" -- they are like turns in the "simple turns"
   approach. A main loop iterates over all the actors every tick,
   increasing their "energy" counters. Every action has an energy cost.
   When an actor declares an action, it's first checked whether it has
   enough energy for it -- if yes, the energy is deducted and teh action
   is performed instantly. If no, the actor waits until it accumulates
   enough. If he decides to interrupt the wait, he can use up the
   accumulated energy right away. You usually can't accumulate more
   energy than a certain limit.
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