Alternative Date/Time Systems

Alternative Date/Time Systems

We split a year into 12 months. A month into a variable number of days. Days into 24 hours. Hours into 60 minutes. Minutes into 60 seconds. It feels arbitrary, although it likely isn't. Nonetheless, there are alternatives! A little bit of a silly detour from the stuff I normally write about.

Please do note that times are rendered server-size, and will likely be wrong, owing to server-side caching.

Swatch Internet Time

Swatch internet time was the future, and was also pretty simple to explain. You take the length of the mean solar day, around 24 hours, and then divide it into 1000 beats. Beat one-thousand (@1000, or @0) midnight in Switzerland, and is the same everywhere on earth. So no time-zones.

Of course, time-zones are useful despite making it difficult to schedule meetings across borders. 2AM GMT is early morning. 2AM PST is early morning. You just need to know the offset to work things out. Internet time doesn't help much with that, despite Swatch's marketing - @1000 is pre-sunrise in California, but post-sunrise in Australia. You still need to know the offset to know whether someone will be awake or available.

Nonetheless - it's currently @113 in cyberspace.

Vana'Diel Time

Final Fantasy XI is an old game I've wrote about before. It has it's own date and time system that allows for multiple day and night cycles throughout the day. Useful for players that can only play at certain times, given NPC's (non-player-characters) follow schedules (such as closing-shop at 6PM).

To summarise:

Putting aside dates and focusing only on time. You can have an easier time thinking about this system by starting with the fact a day in Vana'Diel is 1/25 of a day on Earth. I'll talk more about this system (and how it's used as an element of the game) in another post.

With that said, it's currently 1451-06-12 04:22 in Vana'Diel.