[MUD-Dev] Scripting Languages and Magic

Sheela Caur'Lir dstgasey at webhiker.dk
Wed Oct 8 19:14:20 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: "Patrick Dughi"
> Edward Glowacki wrote at some point in time:
>> Simon Fairfax wrote at some other point in time:

>>> I am attempting to write a new MUD codebase, and I was wondering
>>> what people have done as far as magic systems. Specifically, I
>>> was thinking of letting the players define spells in a custom
>>> scripting language so that new spells could be created on the
>>> fly

>> I've considered this a bit as well, and I really like the idea.
>> But I'm not sure how easy it would be to pull off.  One of the
>> things that would probably be the most difficult with this system
>> is balance.

> Balance issues aside, it is difficult and awkward for a player to
> learn a scripting language sufficiently complex to describe the
> possibilities of 'magic' for all but supremely limited systems.
> If a player is intended to be a mage in a fantasy world, he should
> be casting fireballs or calling lightning, not asking the CSR's if
> they can help him debug scripts.

I absolutely agree here - A fullblown scripting system will most
likely also make it harder to immerse yourself in the game. Mind
you, I think that a mage of any sort ought to have some research and
tinkering of spells available to him, since it's such an integral
part of magic, in my opinion.

> I'd prefer a system that was well integrated into the roleplaying
> environment, such as having a given effect not added by simply
> double clicking on a list, but perhaps by saying "use this
> specific magic stone" or "cast with this rune".  It would also
> provide yet another goal for players; collection of items required
> to develop 'really cool' spells.

Another example would be the way the game Evil Islands (Rage of
Mages universe) did it. They had a Keystone, with the spells basic
description and base attributes, and then you could insert 8 small
runestones into this Keystone in order to alter the effect of the
spell. Each Runestone had a complexity to it and also a mana cost,
so while a very complex Fire Arrow would do more damage, it was also
balanced by the fact that it was harder to cast and cost more
mana. And there was also the limit of only 8 runestones.

You could say it's the same way with augmented weapons.  You could
have a staff for example :

Staff + Enchanted gemsetting + Mage Gem = Staff with Spell focus

And then later on when you find a better staff (it might be able to
hold 2 gems), you could swap the old one out for the new one. That
was basically what they did with the spells instead, where the
Keystone was the base.

I guess what I'm hinting at here, is that a Spell could be handled
as an item.  That could simplify things a lot for the player.

Jens L. Nielsen
(aka Sheela Caur'Lir)
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