"Marvel Time" and other non-standard game clocks


#1

Something I’ve recently been wondering is why did game companies ever decide to use non-standard increments of time for the in-game clock. For example, 1 in-game second in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (and perhaps other entries in the Versus series as well; I’m not sure) takes about 2 real world seconds to pass, or 1 second in Super Street Fighter II Turbo takes maybe half or a third as long as a real world second.

I can understand why older CPS II games use faster in-game clocks. Back then, to get the “turbo” speeds for their games, they accelerated the clock speed of the board itself which caused the in-game clocks to run fast as well. But why would Capcom for instance use weird increments of time in modern games such as Marvel 3? Why not set the clock to 180 seconds or whatever 99 seconds in Marvel time equates to? I’m curious if there’s an actual design reason or if they decided to do that simply because of tradition’s sake. I’m sure there are other developers out there too who do this, so if there’s anyone who can share any insight, that would be great info to have.


#2

It seems to be a holdover from the early days in the arcade when SFII and all its clones had a 99 second clock (itself borrowed from other games/genres). For some reason, that just stuck


#3

The heads up display lies.
Also d3v even in sf2 it’s not actual seconds.


#4

Depends i mean how do you take care of hitstop? Should that take up clock time or should you pause the clock until it’s over?

Is your animation assuming constant frame time? Does 99 seconds give you enough time to finish the match typically? My guess in modern games like the versus series was the incessant complaining of people thinking the game was “too low damage!” originally during beta when no one knew combo’s. That’s why they increased the damage a bit overall upon release. Same way they probably increased the clock time because in public beta a lot of people complained about time outs.


#5

Hitstop also leave things moving. If a projectile touch a character, the other can still move. If a character is hit but a projectile is on the screen, it also keeps moving.


#6

But the point is that games are simply following Street Fighter’s 99 count (for lack of a better term) lead.


#7

Counting down from 99 is cooler than counting down from 180.


#8

Well SF wasn’t the first game to do a timer in an arcade game it isn’t new. If you had your arcade game allowed people to play for a 10 mins it was a failure and arcade operators wouldn’t want to buy your game since the longer you can play the less people rotate on the cab and in turn less money to the operators.


#9

That’s true, but the 99 count thing for fighting games is basically due to how everyone was borrowing tropes from SF in the 90’s.


#10

kof starts at 60 and hnk was at 77 lol.


#11

well if the timer starts at 99 you can gauge easily how much of the round has passed, whatever that amount of time may be. kof used to be 60 real seconds, kof13 is way slower though, not sure when it got slowed down, maybe kof11. i think sc, tekken and vf use real seconds. tekken has changed the timer, i think its 80 now and it used to be 60? maybe got that backwards. vf is 45 sec.


#12

Seeing 99 on the timer makes players feel like the game is giving them as much time as it possibly can! Both digits are maxed out, man!!

This show of generosity is generally well-received when you’ve just given up half of your weekly allowance to start that timer in the first place.