The concept of Game Time is rather fluid, depending on whether one is refering to the gameplay or roleplay aspects. It also has to incorporate a bit of real world relevance, as players all over the world somehow have to sandwich some much-needed NationStates game time into their schedules.
The most obvious manifestation of game time is in the population growth of a nation. Population iniexorably inches upward at a rate of several millions per day, regardless of roleplay activities, regional maneuvering, or issues management. In that sense, time is a Juggernaut that moves onward regardless of mitigating factors. The only thing that can stop this progression is the death of a nation through illegality or inactivity ... and the latter can be overcome through the process of resurrection. While in the "stasis of DEATdom", time stops for a nation; but it resumes anew once the nation is reactivated.
UN time is perhaps the only aspect that is somewhat realistically based. Each proposal has a fixed number of days and nights under which to be approved, and each resolution has a four day window for the vote. Arguments in the forums are necessarily tied to that schedule.
The timing of the server update plays a critical role in the invader / defender game as well. Knowing how to predict when any given region would update has made and broken more than a few alliances on both sides.
Since population growth of several millions per day is a bit unrealistic by RL standards, NS roleplayers have assigned arbitrary values to the rate of game time. This is not a fixed number, despite declarations to the contrary, as different players will approach time in different way.
Time and Different Roleplays
- Character roleplays may take several RL days, weeks, or even months to roleplay through a single evening. By the same token, they could just as easily develop generational politics in the space of a day. Time is exclusively by mutual agreement in such sorts of roleplay.
- Some War roleplays tend to assume a compression of time, ranging from "one RL day = one NS year" to "one RL month = one NS year". Both extremes may be modified further by the variant tech levels of the participants, as interstellar war by combatants without FTL drives would take years by such standards. A timestream must be agreed (implicitly or explicitly) upon by the players in each RP, lest those who fail to follow the guidelines be accused of wanking or godmoddery. Other war RPs tend to be run along the same lines as character RP, although this often causes time to progress very slowly.
- Sports roleplays, particularly centered around the Football (Soccer) World Cup compresses time in two different ways. In-between World Cups, it is assumed that one, two or usually four years (as in RL) have passed, depending on the nation. During World Cup Qualifiers , Matchdays are usually posted every 24 or 48 hours and would represent weeks or even months of time between games. In the World Cup Finals, matches are assumed to be 3-7 days apart.
Relativity for the Whole Family
Because every nation operates on its own schedule, essentially, quite often national calendars become unsynchronized due to the relative passage of time. This often happens when one nation uses one set time compression (one day equals one year) and another nation uses a different time compression (one day equals one month). While this can lead to some interesting roleplaying concerning fractal reality or the nature of the multiverse, generally it is just something else to consider when two players work with each other.