8.20.2011

A magic system for a video game

I really recommend reading Wikipedia's articel on paranormal Magic if you like amusing yourself with stupid assumptions of other peoples. I laughed quite a few times and got some inspiration for magic systems in video games (though this article provides a better general idea source). However, it's still more interesting to take other fictional magic thingies as inspiration. I'm fascinated with Eternal Darkness' rune circle use as well as with Arx Fatalis gesture-based input. Both don't provide quick casting system but require significant delay. between casting and affecting. I simply had to use them as inspiration and build a quite complex and "growable" system of combinable rune circle requiring difficult to gather and time-consuming to cast spells the use can systematically create without any spell-specific knowledge. Just google for Eternal Darkness' spell system, you'll see that it bases on primitive sentence construction like "Chattur'gha absorb self" to transfer life energy from the goddess Chattur'gha to yourself. So it's seperated into the goddess to get power from, the action to do and the action target. Three runes and an additional one to power up the effect. The bigger rune circle you can get, the power up runes you can put in and the runes you get the more different spells you can cast - simple! Using this as a base for ALL magic done in the entire game universe, I designed several circle types of fixed size which can be used improve certain spell parts (action effect, spell power and target count etc) and chain them to provide parallel effects like absorbing health from an enemy and giving it to you. To cast the spells you'll need a lot more space than a single simple circle and (depending on how big and complex the spell is) also more room. This makes it impossible to cast massive spells in small areas and forces you to prepare yourself when focussing on magic (as opposed to simply bashing them to ground with a club or so). I like the picture of mage characters waiting for their spells to charge their hands for a set amount of fireballs they'll have to watch out for. This puts magic on the same preperation level as guns/bows (ammunition and arrows) or melee weapons (durability and sharpness) and won't break up the balance for dungeons and longer adventures in dangerous areas. So, my gameplay concept finally found another important component. Yep, I think this is a good balance to base on. Only thing I worry about is how to exactly cast them. I could use premade symbols of all the runes you have you can then click-combine in a special interface while be able move around. You can access premade spell combinations which automatically run along their runes components and circle lines until it's done (providing there's enough room to cast it, breaking the spell if even a single map tile blocks the auto-drawn spell casting area. I also love the idea that larger circles have a larger you can move in and are able use the circle's inside and outside as target elements. Imagine you casting a heal circle while the end boss comes to close, making you run away and he getting heal inside the circle cause you left it out of fear. Awesome possibility! This should creep out players in certain situations I guess...

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