Main Ridiculously Fast Construction Discussion

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09:57:33 PM Oct 20th 2011
edited by troacctid
Some confusion came up in the Image Pickin' thread, so I thought I'd clarify. This trope is the Acceptable Break from Reality and subtrope of Video Game Time that occurs when a game has to represent a construction project that in Real Life would take a long time to complete. In practice, it's just not possible to have a Starcraft game that lasts for two years, so buildings can be constructed and units can be trained in a span of minutes rather than days or weeks. It's the "time" equivalent of Units Not to Scale.

It is, for the most part, specific to video games, as other mediums have different tricks for dealing with this issue. Namely, non-interactive mediums don't have to provide a continuous gameplay experience for the player, so they can just cut forward in time to when it's finished—see Traveling at the Speed of Plot, Hard-Work Montage—and this trope isn't needed. There may be a few rare exceptions like Erfworld, which is inspired by video games, but I believe all of the other non-videogame examples currently on the page are Square Peg, Round Trope.

Building things super-fast is not this trope. Super Carpentry is something different that we currently do not have a trope for (to my knowledge); lumping it with this trope would be akin to lumping Our Giants Are Different with Units Not to Scale. Remember also that, even though the title uses "Construction", this isn't just for construction but also for training new military units in under 30 seconds, having your Worker Unit gather 50 lbs of timber in 5 seconds, discovering nuclear power in 3 minutes of research, and so on.
07:50:21 AM Oct 21st 2011
Agree with your definition of the trope. What's our plan of action here? Just remove the non-video game examples, or create the new trope and move the examples there?
04:36:06 PM Oct 21st 2011
The plan is to clean them off the page and drop them here for archiving in case someone decides to make that trope in the future and wants to look at them. Here:

  • The Tournament Arc in Mahou Sensei Negima! manga had an arena that rarely made it through a battle without being half-demolished, and yet the school's construction club was able to fully repair it over the course of a short intermission. The manga does comment on this, explaining that the crew really is just that good (a little before the arc started, they had a wooden replica of the Arc De Triomphe mostly built in only a few days).
  • Franky from One Piece plays this for laughs several times during the Thriller Bark arc, when, among other things, he built a bridge with flower motifs and frills in the time it took the others to blink, and built a staircase leading up to super-giant Oars as fast as another Nakama was able to run. Best shipwright/carpenter/engineer ever.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, this is played straight whenever an Angel has been destroyed. The characters often point out that they will have to update the map, but nobody ever does it, as the Tokyo-3 is in perfect condition when the next Angel attacks.
    • Justified in the sense that they, after the first Angel attacks, start taking the buildings down to the Geofront whenever an Angel attacks. However, most of the time, the buildings are still standing, and being destroyed, because they did get taken down to the Geofront. Why they didn't just build residences within the Geofront, however, is one of the many questions that are never answered.
  • The Hidden Leaf village in Naruto actually has a special jutsu branch that justifies a bit of this by allowing ninjas to create complex wooden structures instantly and out of nowhere (it's a combination of manipulating Earth and Water elements, IIRC). Very handy ability for rebuilding if/when most of your village gets destroyed.

  • This is a trademark of Damage Control, a Marvel Universe Cleanup Crew specializing in rebuilding areas devastated by superhero-supervillain battles. See this advertisement. Justified in that Damage Control often uses the super-powered gadgets, battle robots, and Applied Phlebotinum they scavenge during their cleanups to expedite repairs.
    The City of New York tried to fix the George Washington bridge for 7 months. Then they called us. We fixed it in a day. Before lunch.
  • A newspaper clipping from the Astro City TPB "Local Heroes" mentions that Honor Guard often uses alien technology to quickly repair damages after super-powered fights.

  • In Alice, Girl from the Future, the scientists have found a fast breeding bacterium with a life cycle similar to coral. They use it to grow houses on plastic skeleton within a few days... or hours.

  • In Phineas and Ferb they build things from roller coasters, to submarines and time machines in less than a day!
    • "It usually takes us at least a montage."
  • Meet the Robinsons has Insta-Buildings in the future, which go from ground level to skyscraper in literally a few seconds.
  • Lampshaded on The Simpsons. When Skinner realises the school needs a wheel chair access ramp, Fat Tony appears from behind a tree and offers to build. Skinner is unable to refuse as trucks have already pulled up and work is well underway before he can say anything.

  • Full repairs on the American carrier Yorktown were estimated to take ninety days. A duct-taped jury-rigged patch-up job was completed in three, just in time for her to participate in the Battle of Midway, where she was sunk.
    • What they did was basically duct tape together what they could (steerage, propulsion, and operations) to get her back in the fight, knowing that the attack on Midway was imminent (based on broken codes).
  • The 15-story Ark Hotel in Changsha, PRC was erected in 6 days using prefabricated construction modules, complete with sound-proofing, thermal insulation and cabling. It was also reportedly built to withstand a magnitude 9 earthquake.
  • Welsh one-night houses.
  • Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (now of course Istanbul) took a mere decade to build. Compare that with Notre Dame in Paris, which took about 200 years to complete.
  • The Cathedral of Church the Savior in Moscow was originally built in 44 years, from 1839 to 1883. About half of that time was spent on the exterior and half of the interior. It was destroyed by the Soviet government in 1931, and after the fall of the USSR it was decided to rebuild the cathedral. Restoration took only six years, from 1994 to 2000, with most of the work completed by 1997.
  • WW-II "Liberty Ships." Cargo ships designed to be built quickly, in large numbers. The first ships took about 230 days to build, but they got it down to an average of 42 days per ship. As a publicity stunt, one of them, the Robert E Peary, was built in 4 days, 15 1/2 hous.

05:57:51 PM Jan 25th 2013
One more example for Super Carpentry once someone gets around to taking it to YKTTW: Real Life
  • The 2012 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses describes how 80 Kingdom Halls were built in Norway in just a few days each in the 1980s. (p. 145-147).
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