How time is measured?

Seeing “Summer Day 1” after surviving for a few weeks confused me initially, until I remembered seeing the equally confusing option ‘Season length’ seemingly arbitrarily set to 14. From what I can understand, a large number of days had already passed upon spawning my character – given that this is not a new world – represented as “Days survived” on the death screen, “Adventured” being how long you had been playing as that character.

Assuming I’m understanding this right, I have two questions: Do new spawns always start on the first day of a new season? Because I can’t remember ever spawning and seeing anything but “x, Day 1”. And my second question is how can I see my current days adventured, if it’s possible?

  1. Each tick (turn) is 6 seconds long. Each day is 24 hours long. The game is separated into seasons - Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter - in that order. The season length in days is the one defined in the options menu, the setting you saw set to 14 by default. Using the default setting, you will spawn on Day 1 of Spring - the earliest you can spawn, and the only “correct” day-counter - or otherwise you will spawn on Day 1 of any other season you set in the settings. You cannot spawn in the middle of a season.

Winter is the furthest you can spawn in the year, and in doing so the days of the Cataclysm will be counted from Spring day 1 to the day of your “arrival”. That means if your seasons are set to be 14 days long and you spawned in Winter, you “automatically survive” 14+14+14=42 days (new counter is “Adventured”, in which the days you actually survived are counted properly). As mentioned earlier, if you want the game-over screen to show the correct amount of days (as “Survived”, not “Adventured”), start in Spring.

  1. I don’t believe you can see the actual number after a season ends, but counting them shouldn’t be too hard.
    season_length * (season_number - 1) + (current_day - 1) = days_survived

Say your season is 28 days long and you’re on Winter, Day 14;
28 * 3 + 13 = 97 days survived excluding current day.

So… say a character dies on day two, and I create a new one… when exactly am I? I’m not spawning the next year, but I’m again on day one, and could find the corpse of my last character who… died in the future?

Each world has its own “time setting”, as the one in the settings menu only applies to new world generation. That means if you set one character to spawn at Winter, all of them will; one won’t be able to spawn earlier in the year unless the setting is changed before a new world is generated. With that in mind, that’s still a very valid point; if a character dies at day 3 of Winter and a new one spawns at day 1, how is the second character able to find a corpse and items that should not technically exist yet?

I’m partial to your confusion. I never thought about it this way. Maybe you are spawning next year, but because “years” are not part of the engine’s logic or something they don’t advance the days properly. Perhaps this is done so that item durability/freshness doesn’t degrade way more than it should, giving characters who spawn in later years a bigger disadvantage than of those who came before them. But I digress, dying and spawning with a new character should have some consequences. This might have been an oversight.

Maybe the items/corpse can be marked on char death, hidden, then appear again right after the date of death passes so new characters can collect the loot. But then, what prevents newer characters from camping death spots until objects simply start popping into existence? Someone else might give us a proper explanation.

I think of it as “your character’s time”. So one day is well, one day that your pal has survived, since you started controlling it. It did exist before, and it did survive until you took control of it. However, the time of the world is always advancing.

If you die on day 2 and spawn a new character, they will spawn on day 1, and they will also be able to find your body and any changes you made to the world before that time has elapsed. The reason this is the case is that it would be bloody difficult to keep things synchronized between multiple games. There is one easy-ish way to make sure things stay consistent between successive games (where one character dies before the next spawns), which is to spawn successive characters far enough away from each other that they cannot see the effects of the previous character’s interactions until the time of the previous character’s death has passed. This makes the game less interesting though, since you’re less likely to see the effects of a previous playthrough.

Am I a time-traveller, or are all of them time-travellers?