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Le_Danse_Macabre

Magic Creation System

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Daggerfall and Morrowind (both apart of The Elder Scrolls series) have magic creations systems, and i'm guessing Oblivion will to. If you mean a more indepth magic creation system like scripting, well, i can't help you there. ;D

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I would assume it is because magic creation is harder to balance and test. The user might create a spell so powerful made of cheap components and this might ruin the game. Also the user might create useless spells and spells that will crash the game and frustrate the player.

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There's also the issue of procedural blandness. I loved creating magic items in Morrowind (constant-effect Golden Saint goodness![smile]), but if you compare it to some of the AD&D spells, it measures up as pretty plain. When spells are more customized, they can (in theory) be wildly creative, yet balanced for playtesting.

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In my opinion, a magic creation or customization system in a game is generally not very good. Magic is a mysical force, not science, and if you allow the player to disect magic into it's raw elements and customize it, then you lose a lot of that mystique.

However if you make another approach to magic, calling it metaphysics for example and presenting it to the player as science, not as a mysical force, then you're in a entirely different position to do this kind of thing.

You need to keep the system simple enough for the average RPG player to get a hang of it quickly. You wouldn't want it to be so complex that you have to be a programmer to enjoy it.

In a way you could say the materia system in Final Fantasy VII was customizable. You had different types of materia which could be combined when equipped to get different effects. For example combining the Fire materia with the All materia allowed you to cast the fire spell on all enemies at once, and combining the Life materia with the Final Attack materia caused you to revive yourself when you died as long as you had enough MP left. The latter combination was as far as I know the only way to beat the Ocean Weapon superboss.

This is a good example of a magic customization system that actually worked well without killing off the mystique of it.

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I think what the OP is getting at, and actually is a very good point, is that Magic in a game is too straight forward. Especially when you look at classic fantasy. Wizards don't normally have a small selection of spells, they have access to mold and shape the mystical powers that they may not completely understand.

Quote:
Magic is a mysical force, not science, and if you allow the player to disect magic into it's raw elements and customize it, then you lose a lot of that mystique.
This post is right and wrong. Magic is NOT a science...its more of an ART. Customization should be allowed..but I don't think that it should be allowed to the point of creating your own spells. Let me toss out an idea here...let me know what you think.

First off I'll address spells. Most spells come in the flavor of DD, Buff, Debuff, DOT, Heal and so on and so forth. As a character levels up, they get access to new spells, which is usually a variation of one of the above categories of spells. In most games you don't get a Direct Damage spell of raw magical energy, you get a fireball, or an Ice spike, lightning bolt etc. But in basic terms its still a Direct damage spell. So here's my solution.

As players level up they gain spell parts instead of full spells.
They gain forms (DD, Dot, Buff, Debuff, Root etc)
They gain different elements (earth, fire, water, lightning)
They gain Targets (PBAOE, Ground AOE, Group, single Target, multi-target etc)

When a player decides to cast a spell instead of it being a one-touch spell (of course this can be set up) its a small series of button pushes to customize it. Or basically the player creates the spell as they cast just like wizards and such in books and movies. It goes like this.

Cast DD spell/Element Fire/AOE In three button presses (or one macro'd) the player has a spell that they customized, and should still be fairly easy to balance.

Players put points into each form, element, and target.
Each element has strengths and weaknesses against different monsters, each target type has different modifiers for the damage/effect of the spell.

Give players an option to allocate a certain percentage of thier MP towards things like spell defence. This gives them a bonus to resisting spells, but lowers thier "Max" Mp. This gives magicians another way of customizing and using Magic without being given cookie cutter spells.

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What the last poster described was along the lines of what I was thinking. Alchemy would be used to create the magic from objects found/won throughout the world. The penalties for creating higher level spells would obviously be a higher mana cost, lowering HP, longer casting time etc. Also, the stronger the spell, the higher level you have to be to use it.

For instance a spell could go like so:

Fire + Cure + Poison
---- ---- ------
+4Mp +4Mp +6Mp

Which would deal fire damage to a target, cure the caster and inflict poison on the target.

Of course the magic system would start out simple like that and then get steadily more complex.

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If you want to create your own magical spells but keep it still mystical, then you should make the creation of spells an in-game thing, not an interface thing. I mean, instead of giving the player a nifty interface from which to pick the desired effects and create the spell with a simple click of a button (as in, say, Morrowind), make the player perform in-game rituals in which the spells are created.

In order to create a spell, you'll need materials (e.g. parts of plants, minerals, blood of a virgin, you know the like), a ritual (e.g. hopping around, chanting, sacrificing stuff at an altar), and some preparation (drawing a pentagram on the temple floor with a chalk, lighting candles about, etc.).

The result of the ritual is a spell that you can then use. The materials, the ritual, and the environment are the components that determine the actual spell. These components could have their distinct meaning in the ritual, such as having a component to include a fire effect in the spells etc. The strength of each spell effect could depend on the quality and type of the corresponding component.

The result spell could be cast by itself without any additional resources. The spell could even have "potential" of its own that will run out as you cast the spell again and again. Once the potential of the spell is depleted, the spell is used up and you have to create it again. Or, you could have a ritual for recharging old spells.

The result of the ritual doesn't need to be a direct sum of its components, e.g. by combining the fire component with the projectile component you get a fireball, and by including an earth component to this you get a meteor strike. You could make it so that in most cases it works like this, but sometimes, depending on several circumstances, you get something completely different. For instance, some components could change their meaning depending of the time of day (which would be an "environment component"), some components could cancel each other out or change meaning when combined together etc. Also, as the quality of components can affect the end result, having components of especially high or low quality can also change the meaning of the component. Yet another "environment component" could be luck (randomness) so that some rituals might not give the same result at different times.

By adding these irregularities in the ritual system, you could still retain the chaotic nature of magic while still giving room for the possibility to create your own spells and allowing research of magic.

A related older thread: Is the study of magic a lost art?

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I'm not sure If I like the idea of chaining spells like that together. Your not really asking for customization, your asking to be able to cast more spells at once. This can definately be a very unbalancing factor. Since in alot of games, MP is not so much a factor of winning fights, as it is getting spells out faster. MP just slows the overall progress down...so if you run out of MP you have to stop and rest after several fights....

Im going to create a new thread on the system I posted and expand on it a little bit.

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