Almost everything in Brunelleschi happens on one of the 12 Timers. These range from energy Regeneration to building Processing to the return of trading Ships. Each cycle has a primary function, a set of events it finalizes, but other random events can be attached to any one of the cycles. For example, actions that effect Harvest buildings often stay in effect until the completion of the next Harvest cycle.
Cycles are not 100% predictable. They are purposefully kept slightly irregular and can be distributed in order to prevent crashes with too many events triggering at once. While these timers are always running in the background, they are not predictable like normal clock-based events. Make any plans based on cycles with some margin for error.
Many high end actions and game events will have bonuses that last for a daily cycle. While this can sometimes mean that the effects take place for a full 24 hours, usually the 'daily' effect lasts until the completion of the next daily cycle. When the daily cycle completes will be slightly offset but reliably occur about every 24 hours.
Some game effects are even more lasting. There are several aspects of the game that activate/complete on the weekly cycle. This often has to do with the various forms of Upkeep in the game. Things that need weekly upkeep include buildings, diplomacy, groups and coalitions, extra character slots, gear, units and research.
Game Cycles by Length
Crafting Buildings Output
Crafting buildings must be constructed and well-run in order for players to ever have a steady source of Gear in the game. These valuable buildings can produce a certain amount of Gear per Crafting cycle, so the relative brevity of this cycle is very useful to crafting building owners. Other events may be connected to the Crafting cycle, but mainly this determines the frequency of gear production.
Processing Buildings Output
Buildings are required to church your mass of raw resources into useful civilized goods. Who wants to chew raw produce when they can shop for groceries? Likewise buildings made of Bricks are both sturdier and more weather-resistant than those of simple stacked stones. Processing buildings complete their batches of production with the Processing cycle. Speeding a building's native production speed will cause it to temporarily disconnect from the Processing cycle.
Characters are living, breathing, healing creatures. Every one of them slowly heals their natural energies over time. The amount they regenerate depends on their class, level, and current local effects but how often they regenerate is controlled by the Regen cycle. This is both a frequent and regular cycle, occurring many times during the day.
People can only move into your city so quickly. Even if it's the best place on earth everyone just heard of, the roads are only so big and people have a basic walking speed. If you have room for them (and sometimes even if you don't) there will always be rural-living NPCs looking for a new life in the growing city. The rate at which NPCs move into or leave your settlement is the Immigration cycle. Many NPC based effects will run with or near the Immigration cycle.
Harvesting Buildings Output
Perhaps one of the most important cycles in the game, the Harvesting Cycle rules the lives of early Sovereigns and their subjects. This controls the rate at which your settlement can harvest raw resources that will eventually become the wealth and physical foundations of your settlement. This cycle also runs many times a day, allowing well managed settlements to get ahead on material resources at the very least.
It takes a certain amount of time to locate recruits, train them, and turn them out as functioning Units. This task usually falls to your Recruitment/Training buildings and the speed at which they produce units is controlled by the Recruitment cycle. This cycle runs several times a day so a settlement with no standing army can respond relatively quickly if suddenly threatened with a declaration of war. There are many ways to speed recruitment and training cycles for a building, district or entire settlement. This will temporarily separate the training from this cycle, but they will realign when the bonus is complete.
Income Buildings Output
Income buildings sell an item or two to the Population all day long. When the Income cycle completes, they count their daily profits and report to their building owners what was sold and how much was made. This occurs once a day, making the Income cycle a functional daily cycle. Players who own Income buildings will not know the full extend of each day's business until the completion of the Income cycle.
Upkeep is Paid
Upkeep comes in many forms. Buildings require upkeep in the form of resources and goods. Research levels require collected research points to maintain. Extra Character slots and Diplomacy between settlements both cost PH from the leading character's inventory while Groups and Coalitions cost both Platinum and Importance in upkeep. Each of these costs will be checked for and paid with or related to the completion of the Upkeep cycle.