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In-game second

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An in-game second is the amount of time between two consecutive decrements of the timer—or, more generally, any other period of time equal in length.[note 1] This unit of time is intended to emulate 1 real second. In Lynx and Steam, 1 in-game second is in fact 1 real second; in MSCC, however, it depends on the machine. On most of the more modern 32-bit machines, MSCC consistently runs at about 1.17 real seconds per in-game second. Tile World's emulation of the MS ruleset attempts to emulate this lag at 1.1 real seconds per in-game second.

Common subdivisions[edit]


A move, as a unit of time, is the amount of time most (movable) objects take to move 1 square on the grid in normal circumstances (no sliding, spring steps, teleporting, etc.). In each of the main rulesets (MS, Lynx, and Steam), each in-game second is evenly split into 5 moves. There are, however, some versions of Chip's Challenge in which this is not the case: for example, in the Amiga and Atari ST ports, there are 6 moves in each in-game second.[1]

For the remainder of this article, discussion will be limited to the main rulesets.

Half move[edit]

A half move (sometimes hyphenated) is one half of a move, or 1/10 of an in-game second. When most objects slide, they take half a move to move between tiles.

In MS, the graphics update every half move; i.e., MS runs at 10 "fps". Because of this, in the context of MS, the term tick occasionally is used to mean 'half move'.

The first and second halves of a move also have different properties in MS: see move order.


A tick is 1/4 of a move, or 1/20 of an in-game second. Movement in Lynx and Steam is processed every tick. Step parities aside, in Lynx and Steam, all ticks are equivalent: there is no "first tick" versus "second tick" like there is in MS, and a move from one tile to the next can start on any tick and will always take 4 ticks to complete (2 if sliding).

In Lynx, the graphics update every tick; i.e., Lynx runs at 20 fps. As such, in the context of Lynx, the term frame is sometimes used interchangeably with 'tick'.

Ticks in this sense actually have meaning in MS as well.


A frame is 1/3 of a tick, or 1/60 of an in-game second. This use of the term only has meaning in Steam, which runs at 60 fps.

Every 3rd frame from the beginning of a level is a movement frame. Even though voluntary moves can only start on movement frames, i.e. once per tick, movement is actually processed every frame, not just their animations, as can be seen when objects slide.


  1. Similar to how "day" can mean "the time between midnight and 11:59pm" or "a period of 24 hours".


  1. Example video of Amiga gameplay:

See also[edit]