VRT Clock now closer to reality
Written by Mark Randall
The VRT clock, or Virtual Reality Time, now is more closely tied to reality after suffering months of clock drift... but for how long?
Update: 1 week after posting this article, the VRT clock is re-approaching 10 minutes out of sync.

All MMOs use some kind of local time, for the majority of them it's UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), the time from which all others are based, as this is easiest to reference.

Activeworlds, however, based on a decision made 21 years ago and never updated, uses "UTC-2", or two hours behind UTC, the so-called "Virtual Reality Time" which would fall somewhere between Europe and the US which is used by literally no-one but a few scattered islands in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, as can be seen on this map:


Because the Activeworld servers are hosted on virtual machines, they have a tendency to experience clock drift, caused by the guest operating system thinking time is passing faster or slower than it actually is in reality, the results of which are usually easily remedied by using the network time protocol to make small adjustments to keep it in line with an accurate time source.

What would that time source typically be? Well typically it's one or more servers synchronized to the United States Naval Observatory which operates the atomic clocks responsible for GPS and calculating the length of a day.

The universe server software does not account for these changes, and, over a period of weeks or months can become detached from real time by minutes or eventually even hours, and the only solution to this is to restart the universe server, which was done this past week.

Time is now restored to something more akin to what you would expect for the next few weeks.


The question is, in a day and age where the platform already struggles with use retention, does it make sense to include a completely silly choice of timezone as a further barrier to getting people involved with things?

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