• Announcements

    • khawk

      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Landfish

Magic Alternatives?

60 posts in this topic

Could it be that there are quite a few posts in the design section that have nothing to do with design? But I, too, post in them, so why complain? (End Goblin Genocide...=126 replies and counting! =P)

Anyway, in Shadowrun, you can use magic at a level greater than your own skill; but if you fail your drain roll, you take physical damage rather than mental. Then you die. I like this because it makes magic feel much less restrictive, and much more frightening. Sure, you can do whatever you want, reall... but will you be around to appreciate the results?
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi

I generally like the idea of magic being mystic and dangerous. Designed well it could be great.

But it could also make the learning curve steeper than a course in linear algebra and render magic completely unuseable . Just think how frustrating it would be for a new player experimenting with the magic system if he was constantly dying from horrible magical side effects and forced to start all over.

Every time he tried something new his character would either die, go mad or kill every other member of the team with a giant fireball. Not fun to play at all...

Regards

nicba


Edited by - nicba on May 31, 2000 9:50:51 PM
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That mage would just have to get a teacher, find some old tomes, or become enlightened in order to survive, huh? Oh, wait, that's what magicians should have to do! Problem solved.

Edited by - landfish on June 1, 2000 9:23:01 AM
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Besides, a new magician shouldn''t have enough strength to cast a spell that would kill himself or the rest of the group. He might cause a little damage, but not a lot if he''s just starting off.

E:cb woof!
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by Landfish

That mage would just have to get a teacher, find some old tomes, or become enlightened in order to survive, huh? Oh, wait, that''s what magicians should have to do! Problem solved.




No that won''t solve the fundamental problem.It would just bring us back to the good old click-and-cast fixed spells like Baldurs Gate, diablo and so on. The player would only be able to cast a very limited number of spells which he have learned from books, teachers and so on.

The new idea was to have some sort of rune system or the like, where the player could create his own spells. For this to be enjoyable I think you would have to allow the player to experiment at least a little with the magic system.

Just imagine a game where the story line is so rigid that if you just take a little step besides the intended path to explore the sourounding, the player will be killed imediatly. This would (usually) be bad design. The player would feel "trapped" and even though you had a vast and wonderfull game world the player would never have the oppertunity to explore it. Then the player would most likely feel frustrated and cheated.

The same thing goes with the magic system. If you take the effort to create a huge, mystic and wonderfull new magic system then you better let the player explore it a little. If he can only cast spells by copying what he have seen in books or learned by teachers and will be killed by the slightest creative tendencies whats the idea then?

Regards

nicba
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ah!
Why not use both ideas. A combination of both ''books'' and ''runes''. To start out with magic, you must go learn a spell, either from a book or another mage. Then, when you know a few spells, you can study them and try making a new spell, only able to use the symbols you have already learned.

That way you wouldn''t have a spell that would blow up in your face at the beginning of your would-be-short career. Also, it allows players to be able to learn modifiers from other types/elements of spells so they don''t need to build up strength in each as slowly as the first time. Just require the sequencing to be different for each type to prevent instant mastery of a new type of magic.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Runes of a long forgotten time
Ancient spells in endless rhymes
Soon the other world appears

Sail by the ghostly river Rhine
Leave the misty shades behind
I can see i''m getting near."
Demons&Wizards (c) 2000

Yes learning spells and contribute with your own ones.
But i believe there should be a special language(that was mentioned before but i think it is a major topic) for casting spells, a magic language coming from the depths of time.You can''t just speak english and cast!
Voodoo4
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That''s why I reffered to them as symbols. They''d be more pictographic/ideagraphic than phonic. Perhaps it would be required to posess the item the spell was written on. That way the item would be the conduit and the person an invoker.

I didn''t really think about how the spell would sound when it was chanted. Maybe it just be a series of utterances?

As for implementation, I was thinking of the symbols as a scripting language. There would be a ''grammer'' for each type of magic. Also, the spells could be written on medium other than paper; people, trees, rocks, buildings, etc. This could allow for avatars {people who lose control of their bodies while summoned gods inhabit them}, sacred areas, traps, and so on.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Somebody misinterpreted what I was saying. What I meant was, have a system where you can experiment with spells and deal with gross and powerful consequences, BUT Tomes of knowledge or teachers could help you to do this in ways that won''t kill you. That way you fear experimentation until you find an authority.

The player would actually read something like: "the water rune deos not mix well with the Air rune... be surte you are very practiced before undertaking such a transmutation." If the player ignores that advice he risks the consequences. Follow?
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by Landfish

Somebody misinterpreted what I was saying. What I meant was, have a system where you can experiment with spells and deal with gross and powerful consequences, BUT Tomes of knowledge or teachers could help you to do this in ways that won''t kill you. That way you fear experimentation until you find an authority.

The player would actually read something like: "the water rune deos not mix well with the Air rune... be surte you are very practiced before undertaking such a transmutation." If the player ignores that advice he risks the consequences. Follow?


Yes, I see what you mean. And I think it sounds good.

But all I''m saying is that maybe you shouldn''t let the player fear experimenting so much that you kill the players desire and motivation to explore the game.

I think it could be fun to be able to do something along the line of the following: "Hmmm, I know that the Air rune together with the Water rune produces heavy rain. Now, I combine the Air rune and the Fire rune, it will probaly rain meteors!"

The example is pretty far fetched (and far too simple), but I hope you get the point. It would be great to be able to combine existing knowlegde about how the magic system works into new effects. Of course there should be some combinations which are fatal to discourage random guessing but please don''t make it so fatal that the user do not dare to try out his new combination without first having read a book that say it''s OK to do so.

Regards

nicba
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
While it is wise to design all risks with a worthy reward, it is wise also to design all rewards with a worthy risk!

=)
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your idea is good Landfish,but i''m sorry to say this the word mixing and the word teacher remind me chemistry.
But i think experimenting with magic under the guidance of an experienced "teacher" is very good.
But i will insist that there must be a unique casting "language".
I really liked SonicSilcion''s idea about a symbol language.
Anyway,excuse the "chemistry" reference above but it''s these exams i''m having...
Voodoo4
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by Landfish

Somebody misinterpreted what I was saying. What I meant was, have a system where you can experiment with spells and deal with gross and powerful consequences, BUT Tomes of knowledge or teachers could help you to do this in ways that won''t kill you. That way you fear experimentation until you find an authority.

The player would actually read something like: "the water rune deos not mix well with the Air rune... be surte you are very practiced before undertaking such a transmutation." If the player ignores that advice he risks the consequences. Follow?


I think the success or failure of such a system depends largely on your target audience. I also said this for your summoning idea, so they go hand in hand.

Niche market: people who play your game will understand and appreciate what you are trying to do. Others may play and leave, but you don''t mind as you value the quality of your players rather than quantity.

Mass market: people play your game expecting to be entertained. Disclaimers on the box about ''frivolous gods'' or ''unpredictable magics'' mean nothing to the player who spent a lot of time (and money?) building up a character that nuked himself with his first home-grown fireball. Or when a lesser demon rushes onscreen from someone else''s summoning and chews him up. They may resent having to rely on other players to learn magic. They may even have problems with it: language barrier, for instance?

People pay to be in control Even if your game is free, most Europeans pay by the minute for their internet access, so if they are part of your target audience don''t underestimate the cost. Also, time spent on your game is time they can''t spend elsewhere, so it ''costs'' them something. They like to see that, when they do well,or try hard, they are rewarded. The only thing more frustrating than to do well and still be ''punished'' for it, is to have invested time and/or money into it as well
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That''s why mass market games use Point systems. Once you eliminate points playerside, you have to go with one of these "wierd" systems to balance power.

I hate mass media, mass advertising, mass marketing. Massive gaming could be good, so long as people think for themselves... (Gee, didn''t see that one coming out of my mouth, did you?)
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And isn''t it stupid to count things that are uncountable?
Health,defense,resistance,dexterity,power,intelligence,magic and much more.

We have just get used to it that''s why to most of us it seems totally natural.But if you consider this more clearly you can see for example how naive is a numeric health indicator.You count your health as you count your money.And the most weird of all the hero is acting the same at 1% as he would act in 100%!!.

I liked Diablo''s health indicator and all indicators like it, but the problem of acting normally at every health stage is really pissing me off!
I don''t disagree that there must be simplicity.
But we''re talking about games that implement realism!

And you can''t count my intelligence!

To Landfish:
Yeah,mass media and market are really a pain in the ass.
And i get really outraged when i hear about globalization.
I really hate it.
Voodoo4
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by Voodoo4

We have just get used to it that''s why to most of us it seems totally natural.But if you consider this more clearly you can see for example how naive is a numeric health indicator.You count your health as you count your money.And the most weird of all the hero is acting the same at 1% as he would act in 100%!!.




Yes, you''re right about this one. It isn''t very realistic that one can go on as if nothing had happened with a health on 1%.

A somewhat old gam called Biofoge (Alone in The Dark style game) actually made your character limb when he was hurt. And when the Health was really low he almost crawled along. As far as I recall there where no health meter either. You could only try to gauge the health from how the main characters looked.

Although this worked well in Bioforge, there are some problems with this approach. For example, once you''re character has been hurt it would be very hard to restore his health again. Because he would perform much worse in the next battle the first damage could easily just lead to a evil circle where the character just kept getting worse and worse.

This would might be more realistic, but probaly not as fun. It might even cause the player to just reload the game every time he got hurt and thus destroying the whole idea of the system.

Regards

nicba
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Resident Evil (to it''s credit, of which there is little) always visually represented damage.

I''m opening *another* post for the health level thing, because I have some thoughts of my own, but this post is for magic. Heh, everyone probably has thoughts on that one, actually. =)
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My $.02

Two old games with original and interesting magic-use:

- Darklands: historical RPG: you pray to saints & practice alchemy, which involves study, yes "magic poitns", and for alchemy, reagent-gathering

- Loom: music = magic! brilliantly simple

Get both at www.theunderdogs.org



Ben Schneider
Freelance Metaphysician
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by bumagovitch

Get both at www.theunderdogs.org




Isn''t that Illegal?

Regards

nicba
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No,it''s abandonware(their companies don''t support them any more) so if none benefits from them anymore why shouldn''t we just keep these games alive!
And The underdogs is really the best abandonware site on the net.
Voodoo4
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A lot of the concerns people have with these ideas should be taken seriously as warnings and serve as a reminder of the necessity of good game balance: the more complex a system is, the harder it is to achieve the proper balance. One of the things that a component magic system would help change is the power imbalance that most magic users enjoy over the other classes (or playing styles for those of you who don''t like to be limited by stereotyped characters). In general it seems that magic users grow to more powerful beings than fighters can even dream of becoming (unless the game starts giving them "Sword of Planet Cleaving + 2,000"). If we want to maintain a balance (which might be useful for a massive multi-player game so there are not a disproportionate number of mages running amuck), then there are several techniques that I have considered reduce the devastation that a mage causes.

One method is to make it take more time for a magic user to cast a spell that may not have the desired effect. It would require the player to depend upon other players for support. Playing with a mage would be possibly dangerous (due to the unpredictability of a mage) as well as beneficial (because of a mage''s power). In either case it would definetely be interesting.

Another idea I thought of is to make magic more strategic than hitting the monster with the most powerful spell currently available. Make monsters have more weaknesses. Learn from fighting games and make characters have recovery times so that there are magic “combos” that players can discover. Combos are what make fighting games, but they have not yet (as far as I know) been implemented in RPGs. What do you think?

I think this has been a good discussion of how we might be able to free magic from the bonds of modernity and quantification and free it into the unlimited lands of imagination. Thank you LandFish for the good discussions.

One last thought: Just because it is realistic or sounds like a good idea, it must pass the ultimate test for a game: is it fun? I’ve played some games that have been very realistic, but they were not fun because they got too bogged down in realism. Remember KISS (keep it simple stupid).
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was reading over ad CDMag (www.ogr.com) about a new game ''Two Worlds'' that is using psi abilities as opposed to magic.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I really hope they aren''t using psionics in a fantasy setting. Personal pet peeve of mine. Back then, all supernatural activity was called "magic". "Psychics" are a product of the last few centuries, in which we have had an inability to justify anything without science. Mainly because oppressive puritanical beleifs in the States cause "magicl" to be a dirty word. Sheesh.

Now, if it''s in a Scifi or (gasp) a Modern Fiction setting, I''m all cool with it. Otherwise it sounds like another freakin gimmick the same old "points for power" system.

Rant over. =)
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Now now Landfish,
I''m not a big fan of the psi thing.
But i have to give kudos to the way the
guys over at (the now defunct)TSR put
psionics into the Dark Sun world.
It made SENSE to be there.

But generally, seeing psionics in a world
with wizards and clerics and etc. running
around is just stupid and annoying.


-Run_The_Shadows
-Run_The_Shadows@excite.com
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites