It used to be about the Magic, man!

Of the Tabletop, and other, lesser varieties.

Moderators: SecondTalon, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
InstinctSage
Posts: 1012
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 2:19 am UTC
Location: Australia

It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby InstinctSage » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:05 am UTC

I thought I'd make a new thread for discussion rather than clog up the DF Discussion thread.

Basically, I dislike magic in games now. It's been this way for a while. Thinking on it, I can't think of a real time game where I've liked magic, whereas all the games I enjoyed it in were turn based (AD&D, Wizardry, up to Final Fantasy).

I distinctly remembered disliking the Mage class in Diablo. Burning through mana and drinking potions just to attack was a pain in the ass. But how is that different from ammo and reloading? I played Amazon every time because I liked standing in doorways pincushioning guys, but it's not like I've never played a game where ammo management was a part of it.

I barely touched the plasmids in Bioshock too. Heck, once I had the napalm ammo for the launcher I melted all ice with that and only ever used electro bolt to stun turrets from then on. I have never played through System Shock 2 as a psi user. I tried it once and found the logistics of attacking using psi powers ridiculous. I just assumed that was not a class whatsoever and ditched psi amps.

And in Oblivion, I haven't bought a spell with 3 out of 4 characters I've made. Only one was actually a mage, so I could finally check out the Arcane University. I gave the whole magic thing a wide berth with all my other characters, only using heal because potions were too god damned expensive (until I'd alchemy'd up a ton of my own, better ones) and flare because ghosts don't respond to physical attacks.

As an idea I kinda like it. As a gameplay mechanic it seems no different from most projectile attacks.. The whole buffs/debuffs thing is a pain in the ass I'd rather avoid (but it's not always in games that include magic), but there have been creative uses aside from just your plain fireball/iceball/lightningball/rockball stuff. But magic is always relegated to the status of that special attack I'll never use, no matter how integrated it is into the game system.

And I don't get why.

Seriously, if I could find a way for me to enjoy being a magic user in a real time game, I'd be all for it. Normally I work out what isn't working for me in a game and think on how I'd implement it. But magic? NFI. Why does it suck so much? Are there any games that use magic differently?
nightlina wrote:We get stick insects here.. they're pretty cool and stick-like.

User avatar
Amnesiasoft
Posts: 2573
Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 4:28 am UTC
Location: Colorado
Contact:

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby Amnesiasoft » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:22 am UTC

Well, the problem with Oblivion's magic system is that it's basically worthless. Even if you manage to max out any skills related to magic and create a max power spell, it still tends to be weaker than if you go all out physical on your enemies. There's also the issue where the spells are slow, really slow. The arrows in Oblivion are kind of slow, and then magic goes even slower. Attempting to lead your enemy doesn't help any (unless they're running at you), because by the time it gets where they would be, they've probably moved elsewhere.

Joeldi
Posts: 1055
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 1:49 am UTC
Location: Central Queensland, Australia
Contact:

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby Joeldi » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:33 am UTC

You've got to try Eternal Darkness for Gamecube. The magic system is core to the puzzles, and often helps a lot in the combat. Plus, it /feels/ really cool to use some of the spells. I've never gotten in to games like Diablo or Oblivion, but I know what you're saying -it's especially evident in Ocarina of Time.

Tier Pargon Ullyoath Pargon Aretak
I already have a hate thread. Necromancy > redundancy here, so post there.

roc314 wrote:America is a police state that communicates in txt speak...

"i hav teh dissentors brb""¡This cheese is burning me! u pwnd them bff""thx ur cool 2"

User avatar
InstinctSage
Posts: 1012
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 2:19 am UTC
Location: Australia

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby InstinctSage » Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:01 pm UTC

Amnesiasoft wrote:Well, the problem with Oblivion's magic system is that it's basically worthless. Even if you manage to max out any skills related to magic and create a max power spell, it still tends to be weaker than if you go all out physical on your enemies. There's also the issue where the spells are slow, really slow. The arrows in Oblivion are kind of slow, and then magic goes even slower. Attempting to lead your enemy doesn't help any (unless they're running at you), because by the time it gets where they would be, they've probably moved elsewhere.

Yeah... I never really thought about it, but even dodging lightning bolts is possible at decent ranges... Those scamps and their fireballs don't stand a chance.
Oblivion really is kinda screwed up. I can't get over that bizarre level system. It revolves around avoiding unwanted leveling. I'm having the most fun I've had in the game now because I finally built a character I don't have to micromanage a thing about. I just play and he levels naturally to give me 5 point bonuses where I want them, though it'll only hold for about 10 levels or so. After that I'm not sure whether I'll get attribute bonuses in the skills I barely use just because it'll take so long to level, or if I'll get squat, but I have a bunch of major skills I never use and level naturally off athletics and acrobatics.

Yet it's still kinda fun. I think I like the first person melee combat. It's simple, but it works. There isn't enough of that.
nightlina wrote:We get stick insects here.. they're pretty cool and stick-like.

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26519
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:36 pm UTC

InstinctSage wrote:Seriously, if I could find a way for me to enjoy being a magic user in a real time game, I'd be all for it. Normally I work out what isn't working for me in a game and think on how I'd implement it. But magic? NFI. Why does it suck so much? Are there any games that use magic differently?
When you're fighting in a turn-based game, you don't see the horde closing in around you, you don't panic at their numbers or at the one large thing that whacks you once and sends you flying twenty feet and is readying a second blow when you start to stand up... you see your line o' crew and the enemy's line o' crew. Or it's a Balder's Gate kinda game, where sure, you do see the horde.. but you've got plenty of time to plan out what you want done and where you want it.

Want to shoot off a heavy explosive that fries the people in front of your meatshield yet only lights her cigar? You can pause the game, carefully measure out where the explosion needs to happen, set your magicman to light it up, unpause the game and 1-6 seconds later *FWOOSH* - roasty critters and a meatshield chomping a celebratory cigar.

In the real-time games - you don't have time for that bullshit. Every second you spend plotting out where to drop the explosive is a second of the enemy trying to tear your face off. Every moment you're not pounding the "Punch In Face" key is a moment you're taking damage without dealing it out.

And then, of course, there's targeting. In your BG game, you pause, tell your wizard to send a lightning blast at a quick target, unpause the game and the quick target is dancing around the room like a madman.. the wizard tracks where it is, where it will be, and unleashes hell on the area where the target will be - insuring that when the target gets there, they're going to get a face full of lightning pain. No aiming required. Outside of something like a teleportation spell, it always hits - or at least makes the attempt to hit.

But in our real-time game? Not only do you have to lead the target, you also have to somehow goad the target into continuing on the way they were going.

And lastly - magic points. Spellslots. Whatever. In your turn based game, you usually have some kind of easy out - some sort of safe way of zapping back to town, a portable house, a frigskering space-ship transport.. whatever. You also usually have enough to insure that you can try your spells out a few times before you need to recharge or whatever.. and again, with no worries about aiming, you know your spells will always physically hit, even if they're resisted or whatever.

In your real-time game, your magic is usually represented in points and by a bar or vial or whatever.. a big ol' line with 100% at one end, and 0% at the other. Every time you try to use a spell, that bar gets a bit shorter. Seeing as you may have to fling ten blasts at something a distance away before you even hit them once, you're watching your bar shoot to 0 and have jack shit to show for it. Maybe you hit a guy. Maybe not.

So.. get rid of it. Give me a selection of attack spells - a couple ranged, a couple area effect, maybe a blast one.. and don't worry about the magic power. Just lemme fling spells like a god of death.

If my attack spell at level 10 is just as effective as an archer at level 10.. what's the deal?

Also, after playing Fallout - I wouldn't mind some kind of VATS-ish system for throwing magic around. Lemme pause the real-time game for a second, say I want the lightningbolt coming down on this guy and this guy, hit the "Proceed" button and shoot me back to real-time for me to do whatever else I can do while I'm calling down lighting. Then call it down on the two cats I designated. It's goddamn magic, why am I aiming this shit?
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
mosc
Doesn't care what you think.
Posts: 5403
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 3:03 pm UTC

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby mosc » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:44 pm UTC

I suggest Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast. Force powers are like magic but are more seamlessly integrated into the game. They also are very balanced against lightsabers and standard weapons. I know it's 7 years old but it's worth a look.

Anyway, it comes bundled with these other fine games:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars:_The_Best_of_PC
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product. ... id=5272735
Title: It was given by the XKCD moderators to me because they didn't care what I thought (I made some rantings, etc). I care what YOU think, the joke is forums.xkcd doesn't care what I think.

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26519
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:20 pm UTC

Oo.. that reminds me.. Clive Barker's Undying. Guns in your left hand, spellslinging from your right. Third person shooter. Also, Ghosts.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
SummerGlauFan
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:27 pm UTC
Location: KS

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby SummerGlauFan » Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:03 pm UTC

I tend to not play any magic-using character in games.

In Oblivion, I do not use it. Nor do I in Runescape. In Diablo II, the only time I use magic is when I'm playing as a druid, and that's just so I can get pets. Pets rock.

I just don't like magic in my games. Or books/movies for that matter. It's too cliched, and to me it's as if the author/game designer got lazy and just uses magic to hand-wave whatever he was trying to integrate.
glasnt wrote:"As she raised her rifle against the creature, her hair fluttered beneath the red florescent lighting of the locked down building.

I knew from that moment that she was something special"


Outbreak, a tale of love and zombies.

In stores now.

User avatar
TaintedDeity
Posts: 4003
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:22 pm UTC
Location: England;

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby TaintedDeity » Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:22 pm UTC

I think the major problem with magic in real time games is that developers try so hard to ensure it's not overpowered, when really, magic should be.
It's arcane death. A high level wizard should totally be able to rend space and time.
In games, if magic concentrated more on personalisation of spells, I think it would be much better.
Make it so spells are made from components/runes/seeds or whatever and different combinations provide different spells/powers possibly with a bit of chance involved so spells are always different for each character.
Don;t make it too hard or people will get bored, but for a little bit of work you can make your own spells, maybe include a power scaling mechanic so low level wizards aren't flinging about nukes and then, like SecondTalon said, let them fling the bastards about as much as you want, or at least more than usually allowed.
It might also be worth making the combinations different for each copy of the game so people can't cheat online do get uber spells straight away.
Ⓞⓞ◯

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18686
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:38 pm UTC

I always hated just about every mechanic games have implemented for limiting magic use (not the use itself, just the limitation), unless MP regenerates. Diablo seemed pretty good, but I disliked that barbarians also had 'magic' in the form of melee spells.
D&D, even setting the standard, mucked it up I think with the memorization requirements.

Does anyone remember the X-Men arcade game, where each mutant had limited and non-regenerating 'mutant power' bars? Fuck. That. Shit. Using a mutant power/magic should tire someone out (you can't rapid fire Word Of Deaths at Dragons and not get hungry enough to eat it/harvest it's soul when you're done), but comon, it's an innate power, something I can *do*. By that same logic, I'd have to drink a potion every time I multiplied 3-digit numbers in my head.

I just started playing Warhammer Online, and really like that it did away with Mana pts, and just stuck a cooldown timer on skills.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26519
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:12 pm UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:I just don't like magic in my games. Or books/movies for that matter. It's too cliched, and to me it's as if the author/game designer got lazy and just uses magic to hand-wave whatever he was trying to integrate.

I like it when it's done one of two ways...

Either it's rare, uncontrolled, unpredictable, and the master practitioners are half-terrified that whatever it is they're about to do is going to backfire in their face because it's that uncontrolled and unpredictable...

Or it's so regimented and studied that it's technology. Why develop microchips when you can summon a couple of Djinn, lock them in a small cube and ask them questions from time to time and let them calculate the answer. Or use it to power your horseless carriage. And so on.

I mean, if it could be industrialized, someone will have done it. This crap about a thousand years of study or whatever, and how the ancients were better or whatever just speaks of a civilization that's in decline due to lead poisoning or something.

Anyway, back to gaming..

Gimme a actiony game wherein I need.. I don't know.. some type of fruit in which to power my infernal spells. Basically - ammo. I don't understand some sort of mental energy that's depleted with use, yet restored with a drink. Indefinitely. I mean, if it's representing some sort of mental concentration, then I'm basically chugging expresso shots to get it back - but there's going to be a point where it doesn't help anymore and I need to go sleep.

.. of course, the same could be said for healing potions, but now we're just breaking down the whole structure of the Magic handwave.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
Jebobek
Posts: 2219
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2008 7:19 pm UTC
Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Geohash graticule

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby Jebobek » Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:16 pm UTC

I agree with others when it comes to energy bar over mana bar. Bioshock's was frustrating because the mana bar was glorified "ammunition" and your spells were glorified guns that used the same ammo. Reloading was shooting up with more blue stuff (which was fantastic for a somewhat needle-phobic fellow such as myself.)

I also agree on physical damage-dealers having mana bars instead of energy bars. DII Barbarian, as mentioned, is a good example. WoW's got the enhancement shaman (for the most part) and the hunter. "Oh I'm sorry, I can't shoot extra arrows because my mana's gone." What? Well, I think that they're starting to realize how dumb this is. They have given hunters a move that lowers their damage output in order to replenish their mana bars. I'd call them "blue energy bars" but they still have to sit there and attack to replenish it.

Self-Replenishing Energy bars should replaice mana bars like save points have replaced lives. Potions that replenish this faster should be very sparce so that one does not have to rely on them.
Image

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18686
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:20 pm UTC

If Bioshocks plasmids had been slightly weaker, but the blue energy bar had filled up over time, I would have been much happier with it.

Anyone remember Advent Rising? I loved the 'magic' in that game, because by the end of it, you were effectively this insanely powerful, godlike being that just stomped the shit through everything with your tkt powers. Guns were totally superfluous about 3/4ths of the way through.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
RetSpline
Posts: 607
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 5:38 pm UTC
Location: Íæû

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby RetSpline » Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:33 pm UTC

I agree in general with disliking magic in real-time games, but Fable (and probably Fable 2) did a good job, in my opinion. You didn't have to worry much about aiming, you just selected an enemy and let loose with magical fury. I believe it had some sort of mana system, but I don't really remember how it turned out. The story was pretty 'meh' but the side quests and gameplay were lots of fun. I'd re-install and re-play it, but I lost my key :?

User avatar
SummerGlauFan
Posts: 1746
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:27 pm UTC
Location: KS

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby SummerGlauFan » Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:55 pm UTC

The only time I have ever seen magic implemented in a way that I actually liked was in Discworld. Partly this is because Discworld is *meant* to be rediculous, but also it was implemented in a way that made it almost useless. For example, when Rincewind is trying to describe it, he says something along the lines of "When you finally memorize the spell to make a naked virgin appear in your room, you are so numb from endless memorization and half-blind from so much quicksilver fumes that you can't remember what happened next," or something to that effect. I'm too lazy to go looking for that quote ;)
glasnt wrote:"As she raised her rifle against the creature, her hair fluttered beneath the red florescent lighting of the locked down building.

I knew from that moment that she was something special"


Outbreak, a tale of love and zombies.

In stores now.

Natael
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:58 pm UTC

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby Natael » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:45 pm UTC

The X-Men: Legends/Ultimate Alliance series does it well, though it is powers not "magic" (well, except for Dr. Strange I suppose :p ).

You have a hefty suppy of energy that regenerates quickly enough to be effective each battle, but slowly enough that some times you'll want to be conservative depending on what you're doing. Plus it being a pretty good team based action series, I'm all for it.

Baldur's Gate does it well too, though you do have that old AD&D limit to only a few memorized spells.

Guiro
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:18 am UTC

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby Guiro » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:04 pm UTC

In RPGs, I rarely saw the use, since I could attack infinitely with the fight button or it's equivalent versus a limited number of times with magic. I typically only used magic for healing and the occasional buff in a boss battle, while spamming the attack button the rest of the time. Oblivion, same thing, magic was for healing, I pulled out my bow for long range attacks. In Bioshock, I did use attack plasmids somewhat in the beginning of the game, but eventually my wrench of death and other weapons took priority.

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26519
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:15 pm UTC

I'm still trying to think of what the solution is.

Straight out, non-regenerating mana's got to go. After that.. I'm not sure. Ditch the mana bar completely like games often do for arrows, and just have it mechanically be the same as Archery? Keep the mana bar and make it stronger than archery, but the tradeoff is you only have 10-20 shots per fight before you're out and need to switch to something else? But that puts us right back at the "Why do something that you can only do 10-20 times when you can do something else indefinitely?" problem...

So.. yeah, maybe ditching the mana bar completely is the way to go. Spell Levels are simple enough - you must have Pyromancy This High to cast this spell, or you must have Six Character Levels of Fireblaster Mage, or you must be Level 20 or what the fuck ever mechanic you're using to signify advancement...
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
TaintedDeity
Posts: 4003
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:22 pm UTC
Location: England;

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby TaintedDeity » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:17 pm UTC

I think the reason magic seems so awesome in imaginations is because it interacts with the environment.
Until awesome physics engines are built into games the level of imagination used in some spells will be lacking, I feel.
Ⓞⓞ◯

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26519
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:19 pm UTC

Magic Carpet.

Real-Time terrain deformations (sorta), slinging spells from the top of your magic carpet, harvesting magic which unlocked larger spells, and increasing the size of your castle.

In 1994.

I say sorta since what destruction really did was lower the landscape to a flat plane.. You could, given time, blast an entire continent of hills and valleys down to a flat plane at/below the water level (I can't remember exactly) so I don't know if that counts as a deformation or not, as you couldn't blow a hole in something, just flatten it out.

Like the land-editing in The Sims, if you will.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
TaintedDeity
Posts: 4003
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:22 pm UTC
Location: England;

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby TaintedDeity » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:24 pm UTC

That looks rather cool.
Now I think about it, the Populus games had a pretty awesome magic mechanic, land deformation, volcanoes, firerain etc
Ⓞⓞ◯

User avatar
Jebobek
Posts: 2219
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2008 7:19 pm UTC
Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Geohash graticule

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby Jebobek » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:34 pm UTC

In my own magic carpet ride through Wikipedia, it says that EA rushed MagiCarp 2 for the holiday season and it turned out buggy. Thats a shame; this lack of momentum might have even stopped future Magic Carpets from coming out.

Now there has been a shooter that came out with land-deformations recently, correct? I recall it did not do so hot?

My beef is that there are too many projectile (magic missle) spells in games that are the bread+butter attack for the most part. Sure there are the other spells, that buff you or shield you, but your main move acts just like a gun or bow would. The character must be in your line-of-sight, and you often have to take travel time into account.
Image

User avatar
Goldstein
Posts: 985
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2008 9:38 pm UTC
Location: Newcastle, UK

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby Goldstein » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:54 pm UTC

I seem to be in the minority here - I don't like playing magic users in games that give me a 'mana bar' or a 'reuse timer' or anything of the sort. I don't like mages as artillery, either. I think of the direct damage spells to be a last chance, to get you by in a pinch.

My love of mages springs from the D&D Wizard. It's been diluted heavily in 4th edition, but it's been great in the two before. I don't find Sorcerors (I have a small arsenal of spells that I can cast again and again until everything's dead) to be much fun, I think it's all about careful planning, limited spells that you have to release at the right moments, and spells that control rather than destroy (Sleep, Grease, Timestop, Invisibility, Haste).

I played a Wizard in a roleplaying persistent world within the NWN 1 engine for eight months. I started at level 2, and eventually made it to level 4. I'd go out with the rest of the group with my crossbow in hands, and for the most part I'd be providing a little covering fire and keeping out of the way. Occasionally, though, a well-placed Sleep spell could turn the tide of the battle; Ghostly Visage would make me nigh invincible to the critters we'd encounter; though I could only offer it once throughout the journey, that Invisibility spell would take some of the pressure off our scout when we were so eager to have her sneak ahead and check out what was leaving those trails of blood; a well placed Acid Arrow could offer timely relief to a friend of more martial inclinations.

To me, that's what magic is about. I don't want a gun, I'm not playing an archer. This is the sort of character that is a challenge to use but, used well, his unpredictable box of tricks can be invaluable. I prefer to be this sort of character rather than one with pure firepower because firepower doesn't need thinking about - For it to be ever present and ever threatening it would not, to my mind, be magic.
Chuff wrote:I write most of my letters from the bottom

User avatar
TaintedDeity
Posts: 4003
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:22 pm UTC
Location: England;

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby TaintedDeity » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:59 pm UTC

That's exactly what I was trying to say, badly it seems.
It's very rare that AI or games can handle such things, I want to be able to collapse bridges, command enemies, summon fire walls, and do all sorts of plans.
Ⓞⓞ◯

User avatar
RetSpline
Posts: 607
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 5:38 pm UTC
Location: Íæû

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby RetSpline » Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:08 pm UTC

Jebobek wrote:Now there has been a shooter that came out with land-deformations recently, correct? I recall it did not do so hot?
Red Faction 1 and 2 had the "Geomod Engine" where you could blow holes in walls and destroy the landscape. It was fairly limited but lots of fun. Unfotunately, the rest of the game wasn't really all that great. It was an awesome party FPS (I have memories of being hit with a railgun right when I spawned...) until the XBOX and Halo came out.

User avatar
Amnesiasoft
Posts: 2573
Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 4:28 am UTC
Location: Colorado
Contact:

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby Amnesiasoft » Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:48 pm UTC

Actually, I think he was talking about Fracture...

User avatar
Hobgoblin
Posts: 245
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:21 am UTC
Location: Dallas, TX
Contact:

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby Hobgoblin » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:55 pm UTC

I'm not sure why you don't like magic, but I agree with some of what you've said.

The magic in games always just feels like a lot of pew-pew, and it's because there aren't any situations in games for your magic to be put to use like in Dungeons and Dragons. The magic-users in DnD play a part that isn't as beneficial to combat as it is to the general adventure. In video games, a magic-user of that type would have spells to do handy stuff, but since the plot is linear and pre-set, each handy little spell is going to come up about once.

The rest of that game will be you using your fireball/magic missile or whatever upgraded version of that you have until the big bad evil guy dies and yaaay, it's over.
Life is the best toy anyone could ever give you, and I'm going to play with it until it breaks.

User avatar
InstinctSage
Posts: 1012
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 2:19 am UTC
Location: Australia

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby InstinctSage » Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:41 am UTC

Goldstein wrote:Wicked sounding stuff about mages.


Yes, yes yes! That's it. A mage isn't some dude who goes out on his own kicking ass. He's a support character. That's why they're so cool. I love them in the old school party based RPGs because that's exactly the shit they do. Your fighter is up there mixing it up with orc warlords, and things are getting dire, then bang, wizard saves the day.

When we move away from party based to single character, suddenly you've got this character that gets wiped out in 2 hits by a lot of creatures and can't equip any of the decent armor in the game, and even when he levels up he's always going to have this severely limited use range of attacks. Even if you learn to cast level 6 fireball it'll chew up 3/4s of your mana, so if it doesn't kill what you're after, game over.

Balancing a fighter is easy, you just need healing items. We've been doing that for years. Balancing archers is fine, too. Up the dodge and damage, ditch the ammo. Done.

Balancing mages? It just doesn't work. You can't get rid of mana altogether, but you can't leave it as is. And no amount of health or armor is going to protect someone who can't attack anymore.

Now we're moving into team based multiplayer, it'd be interesting to see a fantasy based TFII or similar.
nightlina wrote:We get stick insects here.. they're pretty cool and stick-like.

User avatar
Babam
the Nearly Deleted
Posts: 1170
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2008 2:05 am UTC
Location: A multiverse, wandering the couch
Contact:

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby Babam » Tue Feb 10, 2009 4:42 am UTC

So after watching the D3 Wizard trailer and the spell videos. Wizards look awesome, time stops, teleports, freeze rays, big exploding rays of death and the whole nine yards. Looks cool. Yes they still use mana, but hey I can freaking stop time.
Spoiler:
crucialityfactor wrote:I KNEW he could club bitches!

SecondTalon wrote:Reality - More fucked up than Photoshop.

s/notwittysig/wittysig

User avatar
Hobgoblin
Posts: 245
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:21 am UTC
Location: Dallas, TX
Contact:

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby Hobgoblin » Tue Feb 10, 2009 5:30 am UTC

InstinctSage wrote:
Goldstein wrote:Wicked sounding stuff about mages.


Now we're moving into team based multiplayer, it'd be interesting to see a fantasy based TFII or similar.


I like this idea. Small group-based fantasy action gaming. It seems great, but it'll probably feel too much like World of Warcraft arenas, considering the support role of a mage usually does most of its good outside battle.
Life is the best toy anyone could ever give you, and I'm going to play with it until it breaks.

User avatar
InstinctSage
Posts: 1012
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 2:19 am UTC
Location: Australia

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby InstinctSage » Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:44 am UTC

I always wanted to see objective based team deathmatch with fantasy or medieval classes, like archer, barbarian, samurai, ninja, etc.
Maybe I just have a thing for 1st person melee combat.

But anyway, throwing mages in there wouldn't be too hard.
nightlina wrote:We get stick insects here.. they're pretty cool and stick-like.

Joeldi
Posts: 1055
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 1:49 am UTC
Location: Central Queensland, Australia
Contact:

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby Joeldi » Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:13 am UTC

First off, I second Dark Forces II as having a good bar-less "magic" system, although it felt a little cheap at times. I recall just going around stealing everyone's guns with my maxed-out force pull. This technique left me pretty screwed in the final battle, as I didn't have much practice actually dodging, defending etc.

I do think it works best with a regenerating bar. One that will fill a lot faster when you are not moving - Maybe with a command that you can use whenever you are in a safe place to instantly restore it. In party or strategy games, maybe you could have a team mate guard you in the midst of battle, which enables the meditate command or summat.
I already have a hate thread. Necromancy > redundancy here, so post there.

roc314 wrote:America is a police state that communicates in txt speak...

"i hav teh dissentors brb""¡This cheese is burning me! u pwnd them bff""thx ur cool 2"

User avatar
Goldstein
Posts: 985
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2008 9:38 pm UTC
Location: Newcastle, UK

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby Goldstein » Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:13 am UTC

InstinctSage wrote:Balancing mages? It just doesn't work. You can't get rid of mana altogether, but you can't leave it as is. And no amount of health or armor is going to protect someone who can't attack anymore.

You're right, I see the problem now. In single-player games, it's tricky to balance interesting mages against more reliable types like swordsmen. I think that my ideal view of a mage would require them to take up arms (A crossbow, for example, or a sword if they're more daring) if they want to get into combat, just like everybody else. It feels gratuitous to me for a mage to have a 'standard' magic-based attack that they can use in place of a weapon, and it unnecessarily dilutes the wonder of magic.

I think it's lazy to simply offer a spell that mimics the effect of armour that mages tend not to wear (Mage Armour in D&D, for example) as this is just replacing one thing with another, and again it's diluting magic. An unattentive mage should have every reason to be afraid of physical attacks, but they should instead blind or restrain their foes, throw up walls of force or blink out of existence.

I don't think this sort of thing will ever be popular in huge Hack'n'Slash style games, because these games are about ripping through thousands of monsters as quickly as possible and this extra level of detail just slows the player down and makes it feel even more repetitive. It could be workable in games like Oblivion which, while still combat-heavy, aren't nearly as demanding as Diablo.

What I want to say is: It isn't that mages work well as support, but that magic works well as support. Give the solo mage some limited ability to fight without his magic, just like everyone else does, and his magic then returns to the support role that it occupies in party-based games. The typical mage should be the scholar in the tower, safe within the confines of the city. This guy isn't a fighter; he's content to be able to evade the thugs he runs into one evening after taking a wrong turn on the way home. The role of the player, by contrast, is that of an adventuring mage - He's seen combat and he's not afraid to get involved. He might be handy with a staff or know how to hit his mark with a shuriken. Sure, he's not the hardened warrior you might have chosen instead, but his magic should give him greater versatility, it should support his plans and - most importantly - it should make the player feel like a mage.
Chuff wrote:I write most of my letters from the bottom

User avatar
Xanthir
My HERO!!!
Posts: 5413
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:49 am UTC
Location: The Googleplex
Contact:

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby Xanthir » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:13 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Anyone remember Advent Rising? I loved the 'magic' in that game, because by the end of it, you were effectively this insanely powerful, godlike being that just stomped the shit through everything with your tkt powers. Guns were totally superfluous about 3/4ths of the way through.

YES. That was the best, most enjoyable magic in a game I've ever played. You were more Jedi than Jedi. I did eventually take off my basic TK throw (in favor of time slow and the homing ice crystals, I think), but still, IT WAS AWESOME.

If only the damned game weren't like 5 hours long.

RetSpline wrote:I agree in general with disliking magic in real-time games, but Fable (and probably Fable 2) did a good job, in my opinion. You didn't have to worry much about aiming, you just selected an enemy and let loose with magical fury. I believe it had some sort of mana system, but I don't really remember how it turned out.

Fable 1 had a mana bar that regenerated if you didn't touch any magic for a few moments. I think Fable 2 ditched the bar completely (I don't know, as I haven't played it yet).

However, it was pretty awesome. I liked the challenge of picking *one* thing in Fable and using it exclusively. I did a lightning mage that way, and an archer. Lightning was just awesome, because it arced to multiple enemies and stun-locked them while it was working.
(defun fibs (n &optional (a 1) (b 1)) (take n (unfold '+ a b)))

User avatar
Jebobek
Posts: 2219
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2008 7:19 pm UTC
Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Geohash graticule

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby Jebobek » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:26 pm UTC

Another example of using mana scarcity to balance spells would be the FF tactics series. I'll focus on A2 here: You start off with ZERO MANA. Yes thats right, none. Everyone has full HP, but your casters enter the battle in a completely weak state? You get 10 mana every turn. As an illusionist (hits all enemies with one spell) you would have to wait till your third turn to get the spell off. If you use MP turbo (doubles mana usage to double damage) you wait 6 turns. Naturally, characters with a higher speed gain their mana back faster as well. The system is already a little shaky at this point.

The thing about it all was that its so gamebreakingly powerful that many arrange the fight AROUND casting illusionist spells. Instead of melee classes you have jugglers and time mages speeding up their turns. Instead of archers you have cannoneers hitting them with "ether shell" which gives them 60mp without blowing the ever-rare ethers in your inventory. The clan bonus you apply at the start of the fight is always MP charge (20 mp/turn) or MP Efficiency (Mana demand cut in half, counterracts MP turbo).
Image

User avatar
headprogrammingczar
Posts: 3072
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:28 pm UTC
Location: Beaming you up

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby headprogrammingczar » Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:54 pm UTC

I am going to take a stab at defining this system in terms of gameplay elements. Forgive the wall of text.

I think a decent solution would be to take the Oblivion magic system as a base. Make the spell effect velocity infinite (ie make it a hitscan projectile), and modify the way mana regenerates. Right now, mana functions exactly like stamina. Stamina regenerates constantly and decreases as a result of extreme physical effort, but regenerates much slower if you are exerting moderate effort and very fast if you are walking or standing still. Mana should regenerate on a similar basis to more accurately represent mental exertion, tracking your APM (actions per minute), mouse-look rate, damage, stamina, and other aspects of your current state.
To put this in concrete terms, start with a base regeneration rate.
Subtract from that rate in accordance with your APM and mouse-look rate (playtesting will find the average APM values for combat, distance travel, and local travel). If you are in combat and actively dodging, most of your concentration will be on dodging that huge-ass sword instead of making his head explode. Efficient dodging will result in lower APM values and higher mana regeneration. Traveling long distances is fairly mindless, so the occasional rock or turn should not immediately disrupt your regeneration. If you are in a city or similar tough-to-navigate place and rapidly mouselooking as you find your way around, that takes mental effort and should slightly disrupt regeneration.
Damage should be a HUGE contributor to regeneration. At 2/3 health, you should have your regen rate cut by half, simply because it hurts. At 1/3 health, regen should completely stop until you are healed, because all of your concentration goes into the enormous pain of your structurally superfluous new behind.
Stamina should be a consideration for mana regeneration. Your rate of regeneration should be proportional to the amount of your stamina meter that is full (try doing vector calculus on a bike).
Other aspects of your player's state include debuffs, time without sleep, sitting, standing, inside, outside, the weather, etc. These can all be safely simplified down to "comfort". Not all of these have to be accounted for (a game like Oblivion would be a pain in the ass if only mages had to sleep 6-8 hours a day while everyone else could go insomniac), but enough of them should matter that the combination of several is debilitating.
At this point, we start the tried-and-true Valve method of create-playtest-modify-iterate. With this as a base for the magic system though, it is much easier to throw in numbers and get a believable system.
<quintopia> You're not crazy. you're the goddamn headprogrammingspock!
<Weeks> You're the goddamn headprogrammingspock!
<Cheese> I love you

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26519
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Feb 10, 2009 4:15 pm UTC

1. Ditch the Mana Bar. Damage, duration, range.. all should be functions of skill/level. Reduce the attack spells to (essentially) range single, range area, close single, close area. Give me a cycle for damage types (fire, cold, electricity, etc)
2. Increase the physics. If I hit the ground with a range area cold spell, I want the ground covered in slippery ice. I want enemies to slip and fall, or at least have to move very slowly. If I'm on ice, I want to hit the ground with a fireblast and create a pool of water. If I throw a web between two trees, I want the orcs to get caught up and stopped. I want the giant to tear through it. If my web's strong enough, I want the giant to tear the trees out of the ground instead of breaking through.
3. Stealth-based gameplay with illusions and memory erasing. Let me create a diversion over there, run past, and throw down a memory charm so's the enemy forgets the last 5 minutes. More amusing than an invisibility spell.

Damage should be a HUGE contributor to regeneration. At 2/3 health, you should have your regen rate cut by half, simply because it hurts. At 1/3 health, regen should completely stop until you are healed, because all of your concentration goes into the enormous pain of your structurally superfluous new behind.
So long as your melee enemies are on a similar process - at 2/3 health they deal half damage, and at 1/3 they deal no damage.. I like it. Otherwise, you're getting neutered with every hit while that orc with 1 hit point left is still just as dangerous as he was at 100 hit points.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
headprogrammingczar
Posts: 3072
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:28 pm UTC
Location: Beaming you up

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby headprogrammingczar » Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:31 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
Damage should be a HUGE contributor to regeneration. At 2/3 health, you should have your regen rate cut by half, simply because it hurts. At 1/3 health, regen should completely stop until you are healed, because all of your concentration goes into the enormous pain of your structurally superfluous new behind.
So long as your melee enemies are on a similar process - at 2/3 health they deal half damage, and at 1/3 they deal no damage.. I like it. Otherwise, you're getting neutered with every hit while that orc with 1 hit point left is still just as dangerous as he was at 100 hit points.

The whole point of the orc with the sword is that he is better than everyone else at close range. If you let him get close to you, he should have a significant advantage. Every system of magic requires concentration, which is downright impossible with someone beating on you like that. If you want, we can start a thread on making physical combat more believable, and put our conclusions in the "Good Game Ideas" thread.

Removing the mana meter seems like the same sort of simplification as the health system in Portal or Halo. It will definitely work for some games, but for others it is just yet another mechanic to exploit. I completely agree with you here though:
SecondTalon wrote:2. Increase the physics. If I hit the ground with a range area cold spell, I want the ground covered in slippery ice. I want enemies to slip and fall, or at least have to move very slowly. If I'm on ice, I want to hit the ground with a fireblast and create a pool of water. If I throw a web between two trees, I want the orcs to get caught up and stopped. I want the giant to tear through it. If my web's strong enough, I want the giant to tear the trees out of the ground instead of breaking through.
3. Stealth-based gameplay with illusions and memory erasing. Let me create a diversion over there, run past, and throw down a memory charm so's the enemy forgets the last 5 minutes. More amusing than an invisibility spell.

The problem I was trying to solve was keeping magic powerful without being abusable or used as a substitute for other generic ranged attacks.
InstinctSage wrote:As an idea I kinda like it. As a gameplay mechanic it seems no different from most projectile attacks..

It seems like both of us are trying to make magic more different from other ranged attack mechanics. It definitely needs more magic-y effects, because "I can do 6 damage with FIRE!" is exactly the same as "I can do 6 damage with my bow and arrow". However, it still needs a limitation to enforce believable behavior.

Edit: Spell power/duration/range can still be functions of skill, but you still need a limitation on rate of use, and mana makes a good abstraction of that limitation without complicating the process of using multiple different spells in quick succession,while also being much easier to modify and control on a general basis than cooldowns (a la WoW).
<quintopia> You're not crazy. you're the goddamn headprogrammingspock!
<Weeks> You're the goddamn headprogrammingspock!
<Cheese> I love you

User avatar
Amnesiasoft
Posts: 2573
Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 4:28 am UTC
Location: Colorado
Contact:

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby Amnesiasoft » Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:41 pm UTC

Perhaps you could remove the need for mana to cast spells, but make them significantly weaker when you don't have the mana to cast them properly?

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26519
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: It used to be about the Magic, man!

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:00 pm UTC

headprogrammingczar wrote:
SecondTalon wrote:2. Increase the physics. If I hit the ground with a range area cold spell, I want the ground covered in slippery ice. I want enemies to slip and fall, or at least have to move very slowly. If I'm on ice, I want to hit the ground with a fireblast and create a pool of water. If I throw a web between two trees, I want the orcs to get caught up and stopped. I want the giant to tear through it. If my web's strong enough, I want the giant to tear the trees out of the ground instead of breaking through.3. Stealth-based gameplay with illusions and memory erasing. Let me create a diversion over there, run past, and throw down a memory charm so's the enemy forgets the last 5 minutes. More amusing than an invisibility spell.
The problem I was trying to solve was keeping magic powerful without being abusable or used as a substitute for other generic ranged attacks.
Hence my need for more physics, I guess... I probably didn't explain it well enough, I don't know... also, forgot to mention more robust AI

Charm effects are easy, in that you just make the target join your player faction for a bit and fight your enemies - no real problem. Throwing in something like a memory charm is more programming AI to recognize that a substantial amount of time has passed from their last memory and, living in a magic world and aware of such memory erasing spells, would immediately raise an alert, causing the rest of the town/fort/cave critters on their side to become more alert and on the lookout for a magic wielder - and also more immune to the more fantastic illusions - seeing a dragon walk out from around a corner when none of the forward scouts have sent back word of a dragon (but did say they got mindwiped and that there's a wizard around) would cause them to react as though it were an illusion - some paying attention to the dragon just in case, others looking for YOU, the caster. Things like an ice spell on the ground or a grease spell or whatever to cause the ground to become slippery would give you plenty of time to run the hell away from whatever it is that's after you.

Then again, if the Orc Fort is made from cut logs and the structures inside the temporary fort are all wood as well - you should be able to drop some sort of fireblast in the middle and burn the thing to the ground. Maybe the blast kills them - maybe not. Point is, their stronghold is gone.

With some sort of web/grease/frost on the ground outside, you could pretty much seal off their escapes and by finding a place to sit and meditate, maintain the slippery areas until the fire's done, thus insuring that creatures inside all slipped and fell on their escape and likely perished in the inferno.

If there's a wooden wall, you should be able to blast it down. Or cause it to start growing again. Maybe just quickly animate the thing as a makeshift Golem or something.

If you have a disintegrate spell, you should be able to blast the ground out from under something, or zap a natural bridge so as to cause it to collapse on the enemy army and seal the pass, or to knock down the stalactites onto the horrible cave creature or whatever - basically, what Red Faction's engine allowed.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.


Return to “Gaming”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests