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An entire game focused on magic?

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#1 MRECKS   Members   


Posted 09 April 2013 - 03:02 PM

I've been brainstorming a lot for a game idea focused around an arcane university. You essentially start off as a new student and get to decide what your "major"(or focus of study) is going to be as you play the game.

My question is what sort of changes could i make to make the game deeper than just "read book, learn spell"?

 One idea i had was to make each school of magic fit into a different rpg archetype for example(maybe a player would like to focus his/her studies on healing spells for example, while another focuses on elemental magic).

Should i worry about the idea of stats as well? I'm thinking that making the game too number heavy will really break immersion, and i would like to have that constant sense of discovery. If anyone has any ideas as to where i can find new inspirations for magics and some of the possibilities, I'd love to hear those as well.


#2 moneal2001   Members   


Posted 09 April 2013 - 03:27 PM

i would definitely look deeply into the Harry Potter universe(from the books to the movies all the way to the lego games) if i was going to make a game like this.  It is basically a blueprint for the game world you are wanting to create.


going from there spells could be broken up into spoken and gesture parts where the player has to get learn both(through either mini games(button presses/gestures) or quests(finding the right book with the correct words).


using stats or not would be based on where you are wanting the game to go.  if its just the school elements, stats wouldnt be needed.


really you should expand on your vision for the game is and where you want it to go.

#3 Lailokken   Members   


Posted 09 April 2013 - 03:35 PM

My question is what sort of changes could i make to make the game deeper than just "read book, learn spell"?

Perhaps you could implement a Guild Leader for each type of magic, with each Guild Leader having their own requirements to learn new spells. The requirements could range from quests for items/information, to enlisting the aid of other magic users to help perform rituals.


Should i worry about the idea of stats as well?

Is this a skill based game where players must reach a certain level with each skill before they can advance? If so, stats (and I assume you mean things such as strength, wisdom, etc) might play a huge role in raising individual skills. Also, if PvP is an aspect of your game, stats could be a big asset in determining winner/loser.

Edited by Lailokken, 09 April 2013 - 03:37 PM.

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#4 sunandshadow   Members   


Posted 09 April 2013 - 03:43 PM

It could work as an adventure game where you use the spells as tools to manipulate puzzle elements.  Have you ever played Jewels of the Oracle?  The concept of that game is that you find an ancient building which was like a magically-automated final test center for a phonecian/egyptian style educational program.  You could do something like that but for a non-extinct magic academy.

I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.

#5 AllEightUp   Moderators   


Posted 09 April 2013 - 04:27 PM

I had thought of doing something somewhat similar, though not magic based, more you are in a VR realm and have to put together algorithms in a very simplified manner.  It has a lot of cross over with your idea though since you would have schools of routines such as code breaking, anti-virus, stealthing etc which are like your schools of magic.  The game perspective though would be to not simply learn things but to find bits and pieces you need within the world and combine them in unique ways.  So, you might be trying to get into some building but to get there you have to break the lock.  It is defended so if you try simple code breaking, the anti-virus will zap your simple attempt.  Combine code breaking with a bit of stealth and you might gain access.  Different combinations of different things could provide endless variation.  With magic it would be something like archaic magic to break a targets defense then fireball to damage them.  Throw in some skill levels, side effects or specialized effects and you have an endless amount of variation possible.


NOTE: I was thinking of this almost like the old text based Hitchhikers to the Galaxy game, though starting out slower in throwing you into the deep end of puzzles.  I.e. to get the babblefish you had to cover the grate with a towel and about 10 other things before it would pop out and end in your ear.  I was thinking more along the lines of "building" to those types of complicated puzzles.  :)


At this point I started thinking about possible mini-games you have to play in order to craft new equations/routines.  Say to do anti-virus you have to play a whack a mole game (just an example) and depending on speed and score, that gives you a new routine to use.  Code breaker games could be simple simon like.  Etc.


Other thoughts were of course RPG like in hunting down specific people and learning from them, defeating them to steal their gear, etc.


I never did get around to prototyping this but it has been bouncing around for a while as something which could be fun to play with, and your idea of magic could be just as complex in possibilities, just replace program with spell and same things. :)

#6 AltarofScience   Members   


Posted 09 April 2013 - 04:56 PM

Academagia has a system for this. Most you take classes and get events and choose to go to various locations. Its basically a Hogwarts simulator.


Personally I thought Earthsea or the Name of the Wind or other similar magic systems are much better. Because its not just shitty massacring of Latin.


There are rules to the system and you can manipulate them. Honestly even The Darkness series by Turtledove had a better magic system and it was actually an alt universe WW2 that didn't even focus on a magic academy.

#7 klefebz   Members   


Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:28 AM

As i see it you can go the simple path, wich is a regular RPG in which you replace "sword" with "spell", so you kill a cyclops, your teacher rewards you giving you a better lightning bolt. This could work, the mechanics are already stablished.


Another way could be to make a "sciency magic" system. AltarofScience already mentioned The Name of the Wind, which has quite sciency magic.

You could think of spells not as complete weapons or tools, but as small parts to build them. Think of the redstone stuff from Minecraft, most of the parts do nothing on their own, but combining them on a clever way to make a machine can produce deathtraps and many useful contraptions.

Now instead of having a "fireball" spell, you could have several small simple spells that do parts of the job.

For example a spell produces heat, another concentrates energy (focusing the heat into a small ball), then you put a weak shield around it, finally cast a spell that pushes things, shooting the fireball and upon impact the shield breaks unleashing all the energy contained.

I don't play MMOs because I would become addicted

#8 Orymus3   Members   


Posted 10 April 2013 - 05:54 AM

Before the whole Harry Potter thing (yes, I'm that old) I was working on implementing a game system quite similar.


My implementation was as follows:


The early part of the game, you would be in the college, where you'd have to attend classes. That would span 1 year during which you'd choose your classes for the day.

You had to physically reach the class. Since the game was a time-management system, you'd have to also consider when to rest (sleep) in order for your concentration to be up to full and get the most out of your teachings.

I had a large array of experience points in various fields of study which resulted in learning spells, increasing stats, etc.

Technically, it was possible to finish the program with no spells and a very warrior-esque build (high HP, etc).

I had also introduced various "fun" elements to mess around with. For example, stealth-based skills were never learned from spending time in class. You'd actually have to "skip" classes and speak with other people skipping their classes and get into trouble (thus learning stealth-based skills).


Also, actual classes would be displayed upfront at the start of any day with the hours at which they'd air, so you'd have to carefully plan your day accordingly. Also, it meant you'd have to choose between getting A or B or C.


Once you'd have completed the college part of the game (which was the pinnacle of the design I believed at the time) you'd be left in a fairly straightforward 2d retro snes-like RPG up against an evil lord you'd need to defeat (an ancient student of the college). Then, Harry Potter came out and I felt like someone had stolen my ideas and was so frustrated I stopped working on the system for years until it faded out in oblivion.

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#9 TechnoGoth   Members   


Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:24 AM

I've always wanted to play a good magic school style game.  There are a couple of okay ones out there.  One of play is Magical Diary available on steam.  Its Japanese style adventure game with some rpg mechanics.  


The game centers around a girls first year at magic school.  You choose what she does each week and the are various story events where your choose how to respond or react in a given situation.  Those events all tie into the various romance and friendships that can develop as you play.  Although the main romance line involves you forgiving and falling in love with an abuser, which I think is a terrible message to have in a game.  But the game also has number exams where you are placed in a dungeon and have to find your way out using the spells you've hopefully learned in class.  Each dungeon has obstacles that must be overcome and there are multiple solutions to each obstacle. For instance in one dungeon you come across a pit.  You can use strength magic to become strong enough to jump over, stone crafting to turn a pile of rocks into a bridge,  teleport, or find and use a push spell to move a bridge over the pit.


You could go the Princess Maker 2 route and have the option to go off questing old school rpg style fighting monsters and seeking treasures and rare artifacts.


So if i was going to make a magic school game:

  • Tests and challenges where you have to use magic to solve problems.
  • Relationships and rivalries 
  • Secrets to discover.  (Why is the old school house sealed? Who is cloaked figure seen on the last Friday of every month?)
  • Different magic classes with chance to learn extra spells elsewhere.
  • Ways to earn money
  • Collecting and crafting
  • Magical Mishief with the right skill you can use magic of your own gain or in non magical situations.  

#10 mippy   Members   


Posted 10 April 2013 - 12:01 PM

I personally loved the magic system in Elder Scrolls: Morrowind. It gave me as a player a lot of freedom.



You bought basic spells which were based on fire damage, levitation, health improvement and such. Once you own them you could combine them in any way you wanted. You could apply them to yourself, by touch or by fiering a blob at some target. It was also possible to embed them into items. Making more powerful spells and items was more expensive and could result in out of level spells (which you could not use). In Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and Skyrim they kept some of the customization tools, but they were not as free as the Morrowind system. This was because of balance issues. In Morrowind, I made a ring that would practically kill everything by touch. The end-of-game creatures and final boss took perhaps 2-3 hits, but still: OP!


How it looked:

Edited by mipmap, 10 April 2013 - 12:03 PM.

#11 herbertsworld   Members   


Posted 10 April 2013 - 12:44 PM

I recommend you taking a long look at Magicka.


These guys did wonders on this game. It's all about using different combinations of magic. For starters you can throw a rock at enemies, then you can set it on fire, or freeze it, or add some lightning to it. It was all about trial and error to find the best spell(s) for the situation. I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Edited by herbertsworld, 10 April 2013 - 12:44 PM.

#12 moneal2001   Members   


Posted 10 April 2013 - 12:51 PM

another game that used the school theme well was Bully.  Classes upgraded you skill in different areas.  english made you able to get stuff from people easier through talking.  gym made you stronger and faster.  shop allowed for creating better items.

#13 Jcis   Members   


Posted 15 April 2013 - 04:27 PM

Did you see the movie The Last Airbender (2010) or the series? In this case there are 4 nations Earth/Fire/Water/Air and in order for the Avatar to learn each ability he needs to travel to each nation and learn it from the corresponding master/s.


The same way dragonborn was unique among others in TES Skyrim, the same happen with the Avatar, there is no other like him, at least at that time in history, I think this is something that makes the player be more interested, more fascinated, just an idea to have in mind when creating a story.


I think there is something missing in role/magic games like TES/The Witcher/Age of Dragons, in this games the player needs to work hard to gain new skills but applying/using them is as simple as pressing a button, so what do you think (leaving for a moment the magic skill learning process behind) about the player  making series of things (different key combinations for example) to unleash a given Spell, like the key combos in Indygo Prophecy/Farenheit, or else: the typical moving bar metter usually found in tennis games or golf games, if you fail to click your mouse when the bar gets to a certain point then the spell will fail, like this you could control spell power also if you want. It could be real time fighting or turn based attacks, something like in Pokemon. All these are very nice topics for brainstorming, fascinating stuff.

Edited by Jcis, 16 April 2013 - 03:04 AM.

#14 Prinz Eugn   Members   


Posted 15 April 2013 - 08:57 PM

I think it would also be interesting, though kind of platform-dependent, on having some physical interaction with the game in order to properly cast spells. For example, you'd have to memorize actual movements with your hand or a wand for something like a kinect, plus an incantation. I mean, I guess you could also have some sort of complicated mouse movement for a vanilla PC game, but that's not nearly as fun-sounding.


You could also have stats under the guise of "grades," so instead of leveling up and getting +4 Fire Magic, you would take a Fire Test and get an A- and be "qualified" at "Fire Adeptness: Junior Level" on your "academic magical transcript", and move onto the next more advanced class somewhat like real life school. Think of OWLs or NEWTS in Harry Potter.

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