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MMORPG Game Concepts  » Magic casting system.

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22 posts found
  jusomdude

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/21/06
Posts: 2353

 
OP  6/26/10 1:00:06 AM#1

I'm been thinking of a new magic casting system for the MMO I'm working on and it would be something like this.

 

Each spell has a set amount of different runes.

Say anywhere from 3-9.

Each spell also has a rune pattern which is basicly just placement positions for the runes on your screen.

When you cast a spell, the rune pattern pops up on your screen, and you have to click the runes in the correct order to successfully cast a spell.

While you have your rune pattern up(you are in the process of casting a spell) you are susceptible to interrupts from damage.

This system has the benefit of having the caster in control of how quickly their spell casts, and also requires a good memory to remember which runes to click.

 

The system isn't set in stone, it's still in development, so I'm up for suggestions for improvements.

  Cactus-Man

Novice Member

Joined: 4/30/10
Posts: 573

6/26/10 9:20:18 AM#2

Do you have to do this everytime you cast a spell?

All men think they're fascinating. In my case, it's justified

  Rallycart

Novice Member

Joined: 1/02/08
Posts: 740

6/26/10 9:25:11 AM#3

This wont let the caster control how fast they cast a spell really though. People will just macro them, and have near instant cast all the time, while the people that dont macro actually need to work at it, for less benefit. PvP would be widely imbalanced, and groups would be looking for people with macro capabilities only.

  Hedeon

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/27/05
Posts: 909

6/26/10 9:31:51 AM#4

guessing there will be more than just spell casters in game,  sounds like this will be hard to balance to make it "fair".  would be awesome tho if you need the runes in several diffrent spells.

for the poster above, have to do this every cast.  if the out come is equally effective, doubt ppl will have a problem with it, but its also the point where it will be hard to make fair compared to other classes in game, if they dont have a similar system, but then its hard to think of a realistic way to make someone "hit the mob" 3 - 9 times for 1 attack.  everyone would have to be a branch of a spell caster (talking free skill choices).

but 1 thing is certain, you will need to make it feel worth it to do the long combos and remember them.

  jusomdude

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/21/06
Posts: 2353

 
OP  6/26/10 12:40:28 PM#5
Originally posted by Rallycart

This wont let the caster control how fast they cast a spell really though. People will just macro them, and have near instant cast all the time, while the people that dont macro actually need to work at it, for less benefit. PvP would be widely imbalanced, and groups would be looking for people with macro capabilities only.

If I shuffle the runes everytime it will be un macroable. So for example, you cast the spell once and rune 1 is in location1 rune2 in location2 and rune 3 in location3, next time you cast the spell, rune3 is in location2, rune 1 is in location3 and rune2 is in location1.

  jusomdude

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/21/06
Posts: 2353

 
OP  6/26/10 12:41:46 PM#6
Originally posted by Cactus-Man

Do you have to do this everytime you cast a spell?

Yes, I want it to feel like you're actually casting a spell, not push button, get prize.

  Plasuma!!!

Novice Member

Joined: 9/19/05
Posts: 1874

There's a formula for everything, even famous quotes.

6/26/10 2:06:11 PM#7

Yes, now we're pushing lots of buttons to get a prize! Genius!

  jusomdude

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/21/06
Posts: 2353

 
OP  6/26/10 4:23:02 PM#8
Originally posted by Plasuma!!!

Yes, now we're pushing lots of buttons to get a prize! Genius!

So, do you have a better unique system or are you just here to troll?

  Rallycart

Novice Member

Joined: 1/02/08
Posts: 740

6/26/10 5:08:51 PM#9
Originally posted by jusomdude
Originally posted by Rallycart

This wont let the caster control how fast they cast a spell really though. People will just macro them, and have near instant cast all the time, while the people that dont macro actually need to work at it, for less benefit. PvP would be widely imbalanced, and groups would be looking for people with macro capabilities only.

If I shuffle the runes everytime it will be un macroable. So for example, you cast the spell once and rune 1 is in location1 rune2 in location2 and rune 3 in location3, next time you cast the spell, rune3 is in location2, rune 1 is in location3 and rune2 is in location1.

But the main point in your original post was that it would reward people for good memory, which implies it would be the same, therefore allowing memorization. Also, if it is different every time, people will spend more time looking at the runes than the game, and it just ends up being DDR. It would make PvP a nightmare to be forced to take your eyes off of your opponents and focus on the runes. I would think that casters in general would be shunned by the vast majority if they had the option to just melee without the hassle.

It would be like the melee combos in AoC, but you would need to press more buttons, and would not be able to know what was coming.

  jusomdude

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/21/06
Posts: 2353

 
OP  6/26/10 5:26:14 PM#10
Originally posted by Rallycart
Originally posted by jusomdude
Originally posted by Rallycart

This wont let the caster control how fast they cast a spell really though. People will just macro them, and have near instant cast all the time, while the people that dont macro actually need to work at it, for less benefit. PvP would be widely imbalanced, and groups would be looking for people with macro capabilities only.

If I shuffle the runes everytime it will be un macroable. So for example, you cast the spell once and rune 1 is in location1 rune2 in location2 and rune 3 in location3, next time you cast the spell, rune3 is in location2, rune 1 is in location3 and rune2 is in location1.

But the main point in your original post was that it would reward people for good memory, which implies it would be the same, therefore allowing memorization. Also, if it is different every time, people will spend more time looking at the runes than the game, and it just ends up being DDR. It would make PvP a nightmare to be forced to take your eyes off of your opponents and focus on the runes. I would think that casters in general would be shunned by the vast majority if they had the option to just melee without the hassle.

It would be like the melee combos in AoC, but you would need to press more buttons, and would not be able to know what was coming.

The memory would still be required with shuffled runes, you'd still have to hit the runes in order, they'd just be in different locations.

It wouldn't be so bad to focus on runes for a little bit with the typical MMO targeting system. But I'm gonna have a non - targeted combat system, so I think I'll probably just scratch this idea, since it doesn't fit well with manually aiming spells.

If I switch the game to targeted combat I might pick it back up. I like it because it's kind of like moving your mouse around like a wand.

 

I'm just tired of the same old formulas.

  Plasuma!!!

Novice Member

Joined: 9/19/05
Posts: 1874

There's a formula for everything, even famous quotes.

6/27/10 5:25:12 AM#11
Originally posted by jusomdude
Originally posted by Plasuma!!!

Yes, now we're pushing lots of buttons to get a prize! Genius!

So, do you have a better unique system or are you just here to troll?

Who's trolling? Well, okay, the last bit was a sarcastic jab - but you criticized a system in which pushing a button was the main method to earning a prize. I was commenting that your system is just an extended version of it.

 

If you want a "better" magic system, I couldn't give you anything. I could give you tons of different ones (because I would describe the same thing in different ways to give an implication of a different context for each one), but I'm not the one who would be able judge whether or not any of them are better.

Written down as a definition/classification, any idea for a video game can be seen as "push button, receive bacon." What really makes the difference isn't the classes of mechanics or the starting and ending states, but rather the activity that happens between and around them.

 

With your system, I could start with a series of buttons that, when pressed in a certain order, produces a result. The flow diagram for that looks like:

[Buttons Pressed] -> [Check Sequence] -> [Result]

So you press buttons, the sequence is checked, and something happens... well, great! You have a viable function, there, but why are the buttons being pressed and what is going on during those mysterious little arrows (if anything at all)? There's so much missing context! A system in isolation means nothing because it's just like everything else, like a carbon atom - it is not unique by itself, but when combined with others it can become something great (probably you).

A big part of designing an effective system for a game includes plotting activity and dynamics for everything going on - in fact, that's a majority of it. If the player presses buttons to receive delicious bacon, then what macro or micro activity is also involved that make it more engaging? Is it a puzzle game with a focus on macro-thinking, where the player presses those buttons in order to achieve small victories in a larger, over-arching puzzle? Or is the focus on micro-reflexes, where the player has to press the buttons while also simultaneously reacting to various goings on? Or a healthy combination both?

If it's just pressing buttons, I imagine the game is going to be pretty boring.

 

You can get some pretty dense diagrams going on when you describe a game's mechanics. You could start with these tutorials if you want to represent them in a more logical way (clicky and clicky). The latter link might be more useful since the site contains everything you need to know about diagrams.

Anyways, try plotting out a game's activities and interactions using the diagram formats in the tutorials. If you feel you can't or you've messed up after weeks of work, keep trying anyways. You'll figure it out, and if you love video game design, the effort will be worth it.

  GTwander

Novice Member

Joined: 3/14/09
Posts: 6125

LARPer Hunter

6/28/10 2:48:13 AM#12

I would have replied sooner, but I got a 3-day timeout from the ref for what he percieved as a low blow.

Anyway, I covered exactly this a while back. *cough*

http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/261517/A-spin-on-magicschools.html

You owe me some royalties, homeboyee.

 

 

The TL;DR of it is that there are 3 mechanical varieties of magic;

  • Geomancy - Sigil system =/= your rune system
  • Gyromancy - Gesture system ala Black and White
  • Gigamancy - Point and shoot spells, AoE pillars and line-traps.
The game would allow for full environmental control in order to raise the variants on whatever combat style you would bring. Example;
 
Use a weather-changing sigil (geomancy) to change the weather to cloudless, dry and change the wind to face your enemy. Cast 'spin' (gyromancy) on a target by circling the mouse cursor around it with the spell activated to CC the enemy with a rotating spin in the direction you did by hand. Throw a fireball (gigamancy) that is carried by the wind, into the spin and fueled by being dry out. Mega-damage, same applies for causing rain and attempting to freeze/shock someone.

Writer / Musician / Game Designer

Now Playing: Skyrim, Wurm Online, Tropico 4
Waiting On: GW2, TSW, Archeage, The Rapture

  Plasuma!!!

Novice Member

Joined: 9/19/05
Posts: 1874

There's a formula for everything, even famous quotes.

6/28/10 8:02:05 AM#13

...and you should have to use a DDR pad for the spell-casting gestures, too! Footwork matters, you know. Also, don't forget to click the "breathe" ability every few seconds to make your character not suffocate to death. Walking should be interesting - maybe you have to click on the ground where each foot should go, and don't forget the balancing mini-game that you play with a second mouse! It takes a lot of focus to use your toes right to avoid falling on your face.

 

You can add as many dynamics and hierarchies to a system as you like, but there comes a point where the game's flow becomes too busy and dissonant to bear. Try streamlining some stuff.

  GTwander

Novice Member

Joined: 3/14/09
Posts: 6125

LARPer Hunter

6/28/10 4:45:35 PM#14

Psh, please.

Most games are meant to run with one hand on hte keyboard and one on the mouse, this is no different. Only the [tab] button swaps between the 3 hotbars set for the 3 magic types, examples.

Geomancy - Hotbar selects the spell and the cursor changes to a large sigil that scrolls along the ground and can be placed. Once placed you click the symbols on it in w/e order to change the weather.

Gyromancy - You need to swap the hotbar to this set of spells with tab, then activate a spell with the hotkey, and whenever your mouse does an movement in-tune with the activated spell, it will fly. It's not like you can accidentally let some fly just by moving the mouse around, and some require a target in the first place (like using a shield on yourself or circling a target to spin it). there's a lot of puzzles that would require a mixture of many of these spells.

Gigamancy is point and click, but the spell must be activated through the hotbar like anything else.

 

It's not all that confusing, and if your are grouped there's tons of ways to split up the casting duties in tandem to achieve maximum output. DDR-sytle is what people who "don't get it" would say, because it's probably the first thing that comes to mind when you're not bothering to actually *think* about any of this. Whereas I already thought of making the controls as simple as possbile, though I doubt that matters if you won't bother to read.

Writer / Musician / Game Designer

Now Playing: Skyrim, Wurm Online, Tropico 4
Waiting On: GW2, TSW, Archeage, The Rapture

  Plasuma!!!

Novice Member

Joined: 9/19/05
Posts: 1874

There's a formula for everything, even famous quotes.

6/29/10 2:22:41 AM#15

When you absolutely must think in complex terms, it's very easy to miss a simple point.

 

Why would it be fun to need to use three or more different systems at different times and in different ways in order to do one very simple thing that you must indefinitely repeat? Compare what you have there with, "Aim/look in some direction and click to fire." Does it really need to be more complicated than this? Is there a point in adding more bureaucracy to a system, so that a player must perform an elaborate song and dance every time they want to, say, shoot a gun?

I can imagine the elements of the spellcasting system you describe being separated for the purpose of allowing the player to combine them into macro-spells, but that would be no different from what is going on already in games like World of Warcraft - in which the players use macros to combine their abilities into one super-ability that they just need to click one button to fire. They also have the individual abilities on their toolbars anyways, so in groups they still have "casting duties" as you call them.

Just saying: deliberately refraining from implementing streamlining features into a system only makes it unecessarily laborious to use.

That is, unless it was not deliberate and you genuinely thought you had an original idea, there... ah, but perish the thought, you're a game designer! It even says so in your signature.

 

If the gestures required to use the abilities is what makes the system unique, then there you go, but I'm pretty sure that isn't going to sell a game as it has been done in many since Black and White (and perhaps before) and is never the reason you'd buy them.

 

TLDR; mouse gestures were the only unique part of your system, so I poked fun at it by referring to other gimmicky control methods. Since your system involved a lot of steps, I decided to add a few others as a joke, such as a breathing ability and clicking-to-walk (click to take steps, get it? harharhar).

  GTwander

Novice Member

Joined: 3/14/09
Posts: 6125

LARPer Hunter

6/29/10 3:26:00 AM#16

Think of the group applications. While you could just spam fireballs at a ice-based boss, you'd be better off having one guy attempt to change the weather for boosts while another sets up traps that would amplify fire, then the rest take aggro and get it setup for the burst damage. It's really about the show involved, because imagine finally pulling it off and decimating that boss.

Sure you could make everything point and click, but then one man could do it, and you can just throw out all points to divy out the responsibilities across many people. The main point here is in the time to cast, mang.

The sigil thing will take the longest, the gestures are going to be determined on whether you make the move correctly, and the main attack branch is basically instant (save the cooldowns). It's like this for good reasons;

A. You shouldn't be able to change the master background boosts (weather/climate) without a long cast that can be interrupted, and excuse me for saying this, but screw cast bars.

B. The branch controlling CC is based on gestures, and therefore they cannot be spammed like an instant use action, and each has a way out of it by using another spell in tandem; counterspins, burst jumping out of it, lots of ways per situation.

C. The 'gimmick' is not in just how you activate spells, but their conjunctive use stacked onto each other. Both preemptive (weather), situational (gesture) and to-the-moment (aim and shoot). If it was all instant hotbar doohickery like other games you *could* macro it all, but we both know it's not likely in this form... another reason there alone, but lets leave this at point C.

 

There's more to it, but the reason for all this madness should be evident by now.

Also keep in mind the supply of points needed to cast with, and spamming the same spell lazily would most likely drain you pointlessly in this setting. You'd be better off playing smart in order to conserve MP, and your time. There is also the aspect of dragging your prey into set traps to cast a point-and-click spell at. There is much more tactical BSery going on here than you give credit.

Writer / Musician / Game Designer

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  Plasuma!!!

Novice Member

Joined: 9/19/05
Posts: 1874

There's a formula for everything, even famous quotes.

6/29/10 10:34:56 AM#17

There's a lot of tactical BSery that is not evident because it's a system described in isolation. If you gave a descriptive diagram for an idea of the total activity context, we wouldn't be discussing this.

 

But you didn't, so we are! Nya-nya~

 

Now, I can buff, place traps, and use any other ability with a simple click in most other games. All the strategies you talk about have been done and continue to be done in every game that has such compatible activities and objects. PvP traps and epic boss-fights that require specific strategies to beat are quite commonplace, and I don't know of many successful games that give the player infinite ability usage points.

Really, I never think twice about how easy and intuitive it is to just press a button and see something cool happen, because it's an expected feature and a very nice one.

 

A. The notion of more interactive spell-casting via lengthy pattern-matching on-the-fly seems to me like a bad idea in a fast-paced tactical situation. If I have to be moving around a lot, my fingers are going to be on ESDF and my mouse, not about the number glyphs or a cluster of more than 4 custom hotkeys.

Alternatively, if the game has a much slower pace, then yeah, I can see the pattern-matching minigame working in the fray.

Casting bars never bothered me personally, so whatever vendetta you have against them is not shared here.

 

B. If you want spam prevention, you could just use a cool-down timer instead of giving all your players arthritis pain. Gestures don't work if they're meant to be inconvenient. I know I can easily write something that moves my cursor in a specific way when I press a button (come on - if I can do it, any schmuck with a compiler can, too; and they'll probably share it on forums). So at that point, all I'm really doing is still just pressing button... except now I get to watch my cursor do a dance before something happens.

If you want tandem abilities, why not handle more than one input at a time? You could have something similar to the CJK language input interfaces to do this.

If you want simultaneous targeting abilities, an effective system involves two different target possibilities: one contextual / soft-selected (which the mouse is hovering over), one picked / hard-selected (which you clicked or 'tabbed' to select). So using the ability normally activates at the location of the mouse or soft-selected target's location, and using it with a modifier key (like shift, alt, or ctrl) will activate it at the hard-selected target's location. Problem solved and nobody has to get out the pain meds.

 

C. Not all abilities are instantaneous in other games, they're usually just convenient to activate. They have predetermined rules for warm-up and cool-down times for balance purposes, because if those are determined solely by player reflexes, you're going to have cheaters who circumvent it (even FPS games now have max firing rates for all weapons and abilities, and there is a constant struggle against aim-botters).

If you stay one step ahead of hackers and bots by designing systems to remove or include and even improve upon their purpose, as well as paying special attention to balance, you'll preemtpively equalize the playing field for everyone and potentially have a game that pushes the envelope of known gameplay.

 

I'm with the belief that the idea of designing a game with good flow is to reduce the incentives for cheating and modding by introducing more streamlined features into what the player uses to interact with the world and others - to both reduce frustration with mechanics and future-proof the design. You don't have to agree with this sentiment, but it makes the most sense out of all the other theories I've heard.

  maltos

Novice Member

Joined: 2/16/07
Posts: 94

Fortune favors the bold...

6/29/10 10:53:57 AM#18

I think the systems are very interesting. I have looked into them myself. Creating dynamic spells was my take on thing. In books I have read "actual" mages from those books usually don't just launch super fireballs of doom on the fly. So this results in mages in groups which usually need to be protected. This relies on the party needing to distract the enemy to give the mage time to cast. So a game mechanic like this IMO would be interesting. A system that lets you generate spells on the fly using runes/elements/sigils, doesn't matter, different name for the same thing. This system would result in longer casting times with fewer spells cast. However the spells would actually DO something, instead of just generic damage coming from a different source. 

Games with these styles of magic systems, much like the ones in this post need to be taken with a grain of salt. It is easy to tell someone they are wrong, it is hard to actual create a solution. I agree with many of the posters here and am glad to see them actually thinking outside the box. In addition these styles of magic systems are targeted at a niche group of people. As you can tell by the "Debby downer" posting against everyones posts. Although he/she does bring up good points, as long as it is understood that these ideas would be targeted at a niche group/game not popular mainstream. 

These "unique" magic systems tend to result in slower gameplay, which isn't ideal for WoW players as it is quick satisfaction in short time.

 

On a seperate topic, no offense to the original OP about working on an MMO, I had a slight chuckle. Designing and laying it out can be a job for a small group of people, but if you are seriously designing an MMO by yourself I wish you all the goodluck. MMOs are not developed by 1 person due to the large amount of work ranging from art, music, coding, etc. If you just meant designing it than, seriously good luck and I look forward to your ideas on how your article has evolved from when you first posted.

-Maltos-

  maltos

Novice Member

Joined: 2/16/07
Posts: 94

Fortune favors the bold...

6/29/10 10:55:16 AM#19

removed as it posted twice.

-Maltos-

  Eronakis

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 12/17/08
Posts: 1982

6/29/10 7:53:49 PM#20

I've read the post several times. It's interesting and brings immersion into play. I do like that a lot. However, I ask you, is this a pve or pvp oriented style? I am hoping it's for pve. Do you have a set duration between each runes to cast? Like for an example, a 4 second spell takes 5-9 runes to remember with shuffle and a 10 second spell takes 15-20 runes to remember. Will there be different various of different durations of cast times to complement the amount of runes?

Does a miss trigger of a rune conduct a spell fizzle? How will this complement you're melee? Will you do the same when you swing a sword? Just remember, when you design combat mechanics, always focus on how it will complement all types of classes. If classes are going to be your primary means of gameplay?

Half of me is attempted to post my spell combat system, however I have an example from my portfolio. I want to show it to get some honest feedback, also the other half of me doesn't want to post it because of wandering eyes as well as people may use it without my consent.

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