Duration is a fundamental concept in all games. It pertains to how long a game element, attribute, or modifier will exist or otherwise have a direct affect on a game. Examples of duration include the length of a game’s instance, the continuity of a magic spell, or how long an in-game object lasts before disappearing.

Game Duration

While the exact length of duration could theoretically contain any number or amount, there are four general types of duration used in games. These include:

  • Instantaneous: The game element exists for a single moment (or purpose) then immediately ceases to exist. This commonly exists as a “flash in a pan” effect.
  • Lifespan: The game element exists, but only for a finite amount of time (e.g. “gain +5 defense for five turns”). After the lifespan elapses, the game element ceases to exist.
  • Perpetuity: The game element, once set, exists permanently. Alternatively, if allowed, the game element may actually come to an end by being eliminated or destroyed.
  • Conditional: The element will exist permanently until a specific condition is met, a trigger is activated, or a unique event occurs.

Naturally these four duration types can be mixed and matched together to form hybrid forms. Note that the consequences (or effects) of a game element’s existence may prevail, even after the element itself disappears. For example, if a magic fireball immolated a structure before vanishing, the charred remains of the building would persist in its burnt form.

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