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Old 05-15-2008, 07:16 AM   #1
EvilPanda
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Default Laws of Magic - #1

I'm currently calling my project 'The Laws of Magic', for lack of a better title. This will the the 1st in a series of posts, describing in detail the features of my game.

Most of what prompted me to work on this idea in the 1st place was things I felt were wrong in games. One of my major petpeeves was the way magic was portrayed. I asked myself, "What would a world with magic really be like?" The answer I slowly came up with was nothing like the magical realms we see. So I asked myself, "Why was this?"

Very simply, Warcraft, D&D, Everquest, Oblivion, Final Fantasy, and MTG, all employ what I call the 'smart' magic system. Spells like polymorph and teleport would involve control of so many forces as to be unmanageable for anyone to realistically cast. If you were able to actually controll the forces required to rip a hole in the fabric of space, I really cant imagine a dragon offering you much trouble. It is incongruous. What the mythology of the realms dictate, is that some god or higher power aids you in the casting of these specific spells. This is wholly limiting, and a great excuse for all the artificial boundaries that game developers put into games. In this way, the magic of the realms doesn't have to make sense. Whenever you feel like you SHOULD be able to do something but can't, it will be explained away the line "magic is 'mysterious'". The downside here is that every spell in these systemsl have to be meticulously handcrafted by the developer. Every spell animation, effect, manacost, and difficulty are all set by someone.

To be honest I'm sick of this. I'm ready for a change. Whats the option besides a 'smart' magic system. A 'dumb' magic system. A 'dumb' magic system is a system in which the magic of the realm does not have greater consciousness controlling it or aiding you. Despite its pejorative name, a 'dumb' magic system would be a breakthrough in game design.
This brings us to feature #1.

FEATURE(#1) = THE MAGIC SYSTEM

What is magic? (in my world)
Magic is a radiative energy created by all things, manipulatable by and able to manipulate the things in the world.

How do I classify magic?
Magic is classified elementally.

What are the BASIC elements?

Light Ice Shadow Life Fire Force
Death Air/Wind Earth/Stone Arcane
Nature Lightning/Electricity Water Metal.

Each of these basic elements have magical 'verbs' associated with them. Fire will 'burn'. Magic is done through the manipulation of these elements. Advanced elements are created through the combination of these elements.

What are examples of ADVANCED elements, and how are they made?
Acid: Death+Water
Poison: Nature+Acid
Magma: Earth+Fire
Plasma: Electricity+Fire+Force+Air
Magnetism: Electricity/Metal

Through a clever of system of algorithms, the combinations of elements will be processed procedurally (think Spore). Once the basic rules of interaction between elements are written, the player will be able to combine elements as he or she chooses to create effects never thought of by the programmer. This is meant to be an open ended magic system.


**** this was posted very prematurely accidentally as I was trying to preview a post, I'm currently working on finishing the post ****

Last edited by EvilPanda : 05-15-2008 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 05-15-2008, 08:57 AM   #2
yaustar
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I swear something similar to this has been done before but I can't think of the game at present. Essentially, it is a complicated rock, paper, scissors system with a procedural render.

The problem with the dumb system is that it can be unpredictable which hinders development (i.e when is the game complete and fully tested) and also difficult to balance the spells effects in game.
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Old 05-15-2008, 01:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yaustar View Post
I swear something similar to this has been done before but I can't think of the game at present. Essentially, it is a complicated rock, paper, scissors system with a procedural render.

The problem with the dumb system is that it can be unpredictable which hinders development (i.e when is the game complete and fully tested) and also difficult to balance the spells effects in game.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem had something similar (for making the spells), and I know there is another game, a rouge-like I think, which had an entire language (and by this I mean: similar to Star Trek) in it to make spells.
Rather obscure, though.

A text-based rouge-like wouldn't be a bad way to go, at the very least, for a prototype.
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Old 06-03-2008, 10:59 PM   #4
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Uhh I may have misread or something, but currently how does a player cast? I get the mixing element stuff and I think its a good idea as long as you set it up right.
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