I Hate Magic

Izanagi009_v1legacy

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If i might comment, could game companies turn to anime for ideas how to use magic better?

Toaru Majutsu no Index, for example, uses a collection of different Christian, Shinto, Norse and even Hindu mythology for the use of symbolistic magic. They use the theory that an item that copies an original magic item gains some of its power; this can be weapons, idols, even people.

Just something I wanted to comment on

(P.S. this is my first post so if the format does not work, tell me why)
 

Kopikatsu

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May 27, 2010
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Izanagi009 said:
If i might comment, could game companies turn to anime for ideas how to use magic better?

Toaru Majutsu no Index, for example, uses a collection of different Christian, Shinto, Norse and even Hindu mythology for the use of symbolistic magic. They use the theory that an item that copies an original magic item gains some of its power; this can be weapons, idols, even people.

Just something I wanted to comment on

(P.S. this is my first post so if the format does not work, tell me why)
To Aru Majutsu no Index handles it very strangely. The Espers are powered by 'technology' while the Mages work with magic. If an Esper attempts to use a spell, it kills them (Unless you're Accelerator). The main character is granted a power that seems fairly useless at first, but can be used to kill God himself. The main character also loses his memory due to a spell early in the series, but it's permanent and he never regains them (nor shows any interest in regaining them). Among other things.

But even so, I don't think the author would like Index. It has exactly what he said, people shooting fireballs and summoning golems.
 

Falterfire

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I understand the drive to make Magic deep and meaningful, but it's not always worth the trouble. In a wide, expansive game like Skyrim you have room to hide all that depth, but that isn't always the case. In a game with a smaller focus on narrative such as Torchlight it would hurt the game to pull too much focus towards why the magic works. It's a gameplay feature, not a story focus, so it's not treated like one. There are definitely times where putting all this effort in is worth it, but it's far from every game.
 

Jinjer

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Hm... when he talked about hand gestures what came to mind was Arx Fatalis - you have to draw different magic symbols with your mouse and combine them to create spells. And if you mess up you can accidentally summon hostile monsters and similar things. The symbols have to be unlocked too by finding the matching rune stones, some of which are stupidly difficult to acquire.
 

Ilikemilkshake

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Well said!
I'd play the crap out of any game with that level of depth to it's magic. Dragon Age: Origins is the closest I can think of. It had some really fantastic lore surrounding magic and mages but it's gameplay implementation wasn't terribly great, still better than most games though, Especially when it came to how you dealt with demons and blood magic.
 

Robert Rath

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OBJECTION! Have you even bothered to play both the DA games? They give us a broader definition of magic,and the way they restore their mana is either regeneritive,spells to a lesser degree, or a coold liquid version of a mineral mined by dwarves.Also,BURN THE HERETIC! He's a arcanaphobe! Seize him!
 

Izanagi009_v1legacy

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Apr 25, 2013
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Kopikatsu said:
Izanagi009 said:
If i might comment, could game companies turn to anime for ideas how to use magic better?

Toaru Majutsu no Index, for example, uses a collection of different Christian, Shinto, Norse and even Hindu mythology for the use of symbolistic magic. They use the theory that an item that copies an original magic item gains some of its power; this can be weapons, idols, even people.

Just something I wanted to comment on

(P.S. this is my first post so if the format does not work, tell me why)
To Aru Majutsu no Index handles it very strangely. The Espers are powered by 'technology' while the Mages work with magic. If an Esper attempts to use a spell, it kills them (Unless you're Accelerator). The main character is granted a power that seems fairly useless at first, but can be used to kill God himself. The main character also loses his memory due to a spell early in the series, but it's permanent and he never regains them (nor shows any interest in regaining them). Among other things.

But even so, I don't think the author would like Index. It has exactly what he said, people shooting fireballs and summoning golems.
These are the early spells, later we have the sweep spell which was said to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, spells that are based around the angels and their elements and directions. Finally is the slight integration of Aleister Crowley's religion in the text

I could go on but the final point is the attempt to make Grugnir which utilizes the direct powers of Oden's weapon

It is not so much the spells themselves he has an issue with but the fact they are not normally connected to a religion or appear simply as an attack without much impact.
 

Falseprophet

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You bring up tabletop RPGS, but I'd argue they're part of the problem. Especially starting with 3rd edition D&D, where magic was codified into a reliable science and technology with clear-cut rules. There wasn't really a sense that magic was some esoteric, forbidden lore known only to a select few, and often at great price. Rather, it's something you can buy on a street corner for a few hundred gold pieces.

There's also never been a good distinction between arcane and divine magic in D&D. Yeah, wizards can't wear armour or heal people, and clerics generally lack attack spells. But mechanically, their spells work almost exactly the same, right to having priests and clerics casting "spells". They don't feel different enough.

Plus D&D magic is so broken. 4th edition did a much better job at balancing magic, but at the cost of robbing it of whatever soul it had left.

I know there are tabletop games out there that do magic much better--I've played them. But for so many video game RPGs, D&D/d20 is the only template they seem to ever acknowledge.
 
Apr 28, 2008
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Izanagi009 said:
If i might comment, could game companies turn to anime for ideas how to use magic better?

Toaru Majutsu no Index, for example, uses a collection of different Christian, Shinto, Norse and even Hindu mythology for the use of symbolistic magic. They use the theory that an item that copies an original magic item gains some of its power; this can be weapons, idols, even people.

Just something I wanted to comment on

(P.S. this is my first post so if the format does not work, tell me why)
I'd really love to see a game use the principles of Alchemy from Fullmetal Alchemist. Mainly the "you can't create something out of nothing. Everything requires something of equal value" part. I think that could make things pretty interesting.
 

Izanagi009_v1legacy

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Irridium said:
Izanagi009 said:
If i might comment, could game companies turn to anime for ideas how to use magic better?

Toaru Majutsu no Index, for example, uses a collection of different Christian, Shinto, Norse and even Hindu mythology for the use of symbolistic magic. They use the theory that an item that copies an original magic item gains some of its power; this can be weapons, idols, even people.

Just something I wanted to comment on

(P.S. this is my first post so if the format does not work, tell me why)
I'd really love to see a game use the principles of Alchemy from Fullmetal Alchemist. Mainly the "you can't create something out of nothing. Everything requires something of equal value" part. I think that could make things pretty interesting.
That sounds intriguing, the use of differing elements and circles to produce effects with potentially your sanity, reputation, or body in exchange the use of truly powerful spells and summons, as in the case of the philosopher stone and homunculi.

There is even an intrinsic game mechanic of creating optimized magic circles.

Let's see that
 

Pepsik

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I think there is one problem with this and that is in game balance. You can have this kind of deep lore with magic, if your whole game is about magic, than it would be great. Because otherwise you have to balance out mage, warrior, archer and others, so they can have the same experience from the game.

And making mages inherently evil? No, just no. That's like making superheroes evil, because they have powers, it's just prejudice, you can't take that as a history think, well you can, but that's all kinds of wrong.
 

Robert Rath

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I don't even play DOTA, and I saw this joke coming a mile off.


OT: Nice article. But I somehow think it would just be a little impractical. Just as you can never create a truly realistic fighting game (at least, not until we re-create the Matrix, anyway), I find it hard to see how you could truly earn the skill of "magic" with just standard game interactions.
 

oldtaku

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I agree, but I think this mostly comes down to convenience. There's no room in Diablo III for this sort of subtlety, and even in games like BioShock and Dishonored the /mechanism/ is still magic as completely reliable and consequence free science. Even though BioShock tut tuts about using plasmids, it's a story consequence, with no impact on the game. In Dishonored, well, you may get more rats but when you try to use blink it will work as long as your mana pool is full enough. Basically, there's just no room for 'realistic' magic getting in the way of gameplay.

With an RPG or adventure you have much more room to play around and more time to explore this sort of thing.

Possibly the game which did this best was Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter. You have a completely fixed amount of 'magic' for the entire game. It's your life force. It will let you make incredibly powerful attacks. If you use it all up you die. Game over! So on your first playthrough you are almost guaranteed to run out. Then your real playthrough becomes a very tense rationing exercise, because you know those end bosses are coming...
 

JakobBloch

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Hmmm I think those kinds of things are just other forms of narrowing. The idea of using "real world" magic is cool and good but personally how a fantasy world handles magic is good to give the world its tone. For dark fantasy you want magic to have dark roots. Dragon Age is a good example of this. Mages are born and not made. They are open to demonic possession and to get as powerful as you can you have to use a branch of magic that has you draw your own blood or that of others to fuel the magic. Another cost of this branch is that you are also more susceptible to demonic possession. In games like Torchlight magic is a lot like science. You either use ember or mechanics to harness the ethereal forces. I also once played a game where magic and technology where abhorrent to one another so if you used a lot of technology you would become more resistant to magic and also magic you used would become less effective. It is also interesting to see worlds that were built on magic. Street lamps with eternal flames in them, railways powered by caged elementals and where your local smith uses everyday magic for this and that.

The fantastic thing about magic is that it is so fantastic. It lets you do anything. Break the bonds of what is possible and let the imagination run wild with no restraint.

Now I do agree however that it would be nice if that would translate into more interesting magic to play with in games.
 

JarinArenos

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One of the (in my opinion) best magic systems in gaming right now is a little minecraft mod called Thaumcraft. You have to work for each magical discovery, and every spell has to be "assembled" from core elements in the world. Not just by tossing them in a simple minecraft crafting table, but by finding materials in the world with the right aspects and fusing them in an arcane cauldron. Moreover, unless you're very careful and prepared, "extra" aspects in the items being broken down are released into the environment as free magic, or "flux" which can cause all sorts of weird negative effects, from random hostile wisps to lightning from a clear sky. Magic with weight and consequences; gotta love it.
 

Right Hook

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I feel like a complex and robust magic system like the one described in the article would be hard to implement unless it was the core focus of the game. Multiple non-mage classes sort of make this idea an unwise way to spend development time. However I think it would be amazing to play a game with magic and its interactions tied into the very core and foundations of gameplay.