The time window is the panel at the bottom of the game screen and can be considered to both encompass the UI element and things that it represents. The time window shows a view of the mutable area of time.
The player can control the rate at which they move through time, they are measured in how many seconds you move in game time for every second you move in real time. The options are pause(0s/s), slow-motion(0.5s/s), normal(1s/s) and fast forward(2s/s).
There are three different types of time waves in Achron. They are natural waves, player waves, and the present wave. Natural waves are, by default, set equal distances apart from each other and move forward at a set rate. When a natural wave reaches the end of the time window it is moved back to the beginning of the time window. Player waves exist at the exact point in time that a player is viewing. Each player has a player wave that follows them through time, moving at the same rate and skipping through time as they do. The present wave exists at the present where elapsed game time equals elapsed real time. The function of time waves is to propagate changes and orders through the timeline. As a time wave moves forward, it essentially collects changes in the timeline and updates the timeline with those changes. A time wave will only update the sections of the timeline that it traverses, and this is the same for all types of time waves. When a player views or skips to any point in time, they see what the last time wave to pass there has propagated.
Timewaves are a core element of what makes Achron's ontology special. A time wave is what makes the past affect the future. The timewave is the achronal entity that makes chronal elements propagate along the time window. A timewave has a finite speed. In a standard Achron game there are three varieties of time waves:
- Natural waves constantly sweep through the time window
- Each player's view functions as a time wave, these are known as player waves
- There is also a time wave at the present known as the present wave
There is an option to have each natural wave coloured with a unique colour. Player waves are automatically represented by their colours.
The present is a special Time Window position. In standard Achron here always resides one Time Wave. Speed of the present controls the flow of events in and out of the time window. The standard relative position to to edges can vary from map to map. Many Victory Conditions refer to present as somehow more significant. Orders given in the present do not cost any chronoenergy. Backspace is by default tied to making the player jump to the present.
Mutable time is the area of time that is still open to change. The entire view of the time window is mutable. As the game progresses, the area of time that is mutable changes.
Immutable time is time that is not on the time window. It is called immutable time because any event that falls off it is no longer able to directly affect the rest of the timeline and is considered unchangable.
The line that separates mutable and immutable. Any events that fall of it can no longer be altered. When a units future becomes locked its past might get altered resulting in Chronocloning. The line is usually accompanied by a belt of Unplayable past. Near the line there forms frequently an area of time that will not be swept by natural timewaves before the events fall off. the Total defeat win condition performs its final checks in this region. When the present has reached its relative location in the timeline the past edge moves at the same rate as the Present.
The unplayable past is considered to be the section of time where players are unnable to give orders. It is marked by a white area.
The time window provides information on the amount of damage dealt and received. This information is provided via red (for received) and blue (for inflicted) bars that are scaled to fit into the window. Seeing a big area of red appear on the timeline is the most common way to Future-sight that one has been attacked in the future.
Activity that has not been viewed will flash. As the bars changing is the primary channel of gaining information about what your opponent is doing without specifically altering your time position, manipulating this information is a significant part of Achron (see Intelligence warfare).
Green bars under the damage indicator signify when were build orders given. The bar indicates when the order was put into queue, not when making of the unit started or when it was ready.
Over the damage indicator is chronoport indicators. Yellow bars represent chronoport departures and orange bars represent chronoport arrivals. When a chronoport is canceled the marks do not disappear together, but take their own waves to get undone.
Bottom is a gray area that represents the amount of resources available to a player. It represents all resources and goes near the bottom when any resource is nearing depletion.
Chronoenergy is the Achronal resource of Achron that limits the exploitation of time travel. Every new command given in the Past consumes chronoenergy based on the distance relative to the Present and the future edge of the unplayable past such that commands further in the past cost more. If that cost cannot be paid then the command can not be given. Hierachies can be used to lower the chronoenergy cost assosicated in moving large groups.
u: time of unplayable past (in seconds)
p: present time (in seconds)
a: time of target action
n: number of units to apply the action to
m: maximum number of commands in immediate past
output: c: chronoenergy cost as a fraction of chronoenergy
formula: c = n * (p - u) / ( (a - u) * m )