Metric Time in Tau Station

If you've been following our progress with Tau Station, you know we're creating a science fiction universe in Perl for people to enjoy. As of this writing, the time in Tau Station is 194.10/51:647 GCT.

"GCT" stands for "Galactic Coordinated Time" and that's a variant of metric time. As a software developer, I wish we had that in the real world, but alas, we don't.

The GCT time listed above is roughly 194 years and 10 days after the "Catastrophe" (an apocalyptic event that effectively serves as our "epoch"). There are 100 days in a year, 100 "segments" in a day (14.4 minutes each) and 1000 units in a segment (.864 seconds each).

I love the fact that figuring out the display time for GCT is this simple:

my $days = sprintf "%9.5f" => $seconds_since_catastrophe / $second_in_a_day;
$days =~ m{^(?<year>\d+)(?<day>\d\d)\.(?<segment>\d\d)(?<unit>\d\d\d)}a;
my $gct = "$+{year}.$+{day}/$+{segment}:$+{unit} GCT";

Due to imprecision in normal dates, we don't get an exact round-trip conversion between regular DateTime objects and GCT, but so far we've not found them more than a second off.

Figuring out durations (D0.00/12.500) is similarly simple:

my $days = sprintf "%9.5f" => $duration_in_seconds / 86400;
$days =~ m{^(?<years>\d+)(?<days>\d\d)\.(?<segments>\d\d)(?<units>\d\d\d)}a;
my $duration => "D$+{years}.$+{days}/$+{segments}:$+{units}";

Of course, since that means we often need to know the total number of seconds, we have this nasty bit of code to figure that out:

sub period (%args) {
    my $seconds = delete $args{seconds} // 0;
    $seconds += ( delete $args{minutes}  // 0 ) * 60;
    $seconds += ( delete $args{hours}    // 0 ) * 3600;
    $seconds += ( delete $args{days}     // 0 ) * 86400;

    # solar year
    $seconds += ( delete $args{years}    // 0 ) * 31_556_925.97474;
    $seconds += ( delete $args{units}    // 0 ) * .864;
    $seconds += ( delete $args{segments} // 0 ) * 864;
    if ( keys %args ) {
        my $unknown = join ', ' => sort keys %args;
        croak("Unknown keys to Veure::Util::Time::period: $unknown");
    return round($seconds);

Metric time is lovely and easy. Regular time sucks.

I really wanted to write a DBIx::Class inflator to use GCT objects instead of DateTime objects, but found too many assumptions about the use of DateTime in the DBIx::Class code, so we scrapped that bit. Darn shame.

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About Ovid

user-pic Freelance Perl/Testing/Agile consultant and trainer. See for our services. If you have a problem with Perl, we will solve it for you. And don't forget to buy my book!