Time travel gameplay mechanic

Jul 10, 2010 at 10:08 PM
Edited Jul 10, 2010 at 10:10 PM
I'm experimenting with a time travel gameplay mechanic wherein the player can shift between multiple time periods. The world changes and he stays the same. No slowmo or reverse time business, just a jump between eras. Specifically, being able to jump backward, to the present and forward. The amount that the worlds change depend on the situation... going back 100 years in a city results in drastic changes. Going back 100 years in an open field may not change much. But I'll need potentially three very different scenes that can be switched in real time. What's the best way to implement this? My first thought was to add a subcomponent that would alter the presence of its component depending on what era the player is currently in (change the model/collision mesh, remove it entirely, change the script etc). However, I'm concerned as to how this affects the scene system. If I'm using visibility detection like quad/octrees, how can I get Ox to not care about components that don't exist in the current era? I'm not really familiar with hidden surface removal so I don't know the possible complications. For that matter, do I need it at all? I'm under the impression that newer games just use the z-buffer to remove the worst overdraw then just let the video card chew on the rest. I think this is what Oblivion does (at least for dungeons).