Time in Naev is all standardized according to the Universal Synchronized Time (UST). This is a uniform way to express time across the entire galaxy.
- STU (Standard Time Unit)
- Smallest named time unit. Equal to the Earth second.
- hSTU: Also known as the hectoSTU, equal to 100 STU. Its usage in-game is broadly equivalent to a minute. Ship chronometers commonly use this as the smallest displayed unit.
- STP (Standard Time Period)
- Most commonly used time unit. STPs are the new hours. 1 STP = 10,000 STU (about 2.8 Earth hours).
- daSTP: 10 STP, or a decaSTP, is very close to one Earth day (27.8 hours). This unit is not (presently) used in-game or in the lore, but serves as a useful point of reference for writers and could conceivably be adopted.
- SCU (Standard Cycle Unit)
- Used for long-term time periods. 1 SCU = 5000 STP (about 579 Earth days, or a year and seven months). In informal situations this is generally called a "cycle".
Currently, time is written as SCU:STP.hSTU; a real example might be UST 603:3728.91.
Partial notation (for durations of less than one cycle) is typically written as follows: 461.27 STP. Note that "UST" is absent, it is only present when dealing with absolute times.
In turn, when talking about even shorter time spans, hSTU or STU may be used instead of STP.
Time is updated in three ways.
- When landing
- Landing and taking off takes time. The time could be fixed, or depend on ship size. Generally, landing/taking off should cost around 1 STP. While landed, time does not advance.
- When jumping
- Jumping takes no time for the player, but it may still advance the date. 1 STP per jump is about right. Jump time is influenced by mass and life support. Ships with life support jump slower and same with more mass. However the difference between a very large ship and a small one is not that large.
- When flying through space
- Each real-time second, the time is advanced by 30 STU.
Naev sports a sort of "metric time", tweaked to suit our purposes. As one STU is equivalent to a second, an hSTU, one hundred seconds, roughly corresponds to a minute. In turn, a STP is equivalent to 100 hSTU, and 10 STP is approximately 28 hours, somewhat more than a day.
While prefixes allow three units to easily cover a range from milliseconds to millennia, each base unit does have its own purpose. To keep the numbers simple, landing and jumping take 1 STP, while the SCU is used in place of years.
Due to Naev's rapid time progression, the hSTU is the smallest unit commonly displayed during normal gameplay. In order for the time spent during in-system flight to be significant, 30 STU pass per real second. This means that 1 STP, while equivalent to 10000 seconds in-game, passes in 5.5 minutes of real time, which is close to the time it takes the average ship to cross a mid-sized system. As such, the clock on the GUI will increment itself by 0.01 STP every 3⅓ seconds.
- SCU should be suitable for long-term stuff.
- Jumping/landing should be 1 STP.
- STU should be balanced so that the time spent in a system actually matters.