Devblog: Learning javascript

Magic system of Bliaron RPG just got a quite big and fundamental overhaul, although it still isn’t ripe enough for a release. The main goal has been to develop a deep atmospheric shamanistic magic system with as little mechanical complexity as possible. The system has to be quick, easy and intuitive, but still deeply detailed, facilitating interesting, creative and complex use of magic. This system has went through several development phases without a release, but it’s now starting to look like it’s ready for some real testing.

The magic system is based on combining one or more magical effects and modifiers. All effects belong to magical categories of senses, heat, kinetic, matter, destruction, life or intelligence. Choosing an effect sets what the spell actually does, e.g. whether the spell cools objects down or is used for supernatural sensing. It’s possible to combine several effects in a single spell. The modifiers are then used to change details of a spell, like the spell size, duration, detectability or, as all magic and spells are spirits, even the intelligence level of a spell.

Counting quickly, I realized there are more than dozen trillion possible spell combinations, and although limiting combinations to something like “no more than 6-7 levels of effects and modifiers” greatly reduces this number, there is still a huge number of possible and potentially useful spells to test. Some of the balancing can be done mathematically, but obviously storytelling-like magic is quite a bit more than just damage numbers and mathematical tricks. Therefore, we needed a way to quickly test the system. We’ve thought of cards, but to actually do it quickly and test it online with developers, I felt like a computer application would be probably better. We needed a good tool for testing, and, just for the sake of it, I started to dabble with javascript – if only I could make a crude developer tool for Bliaron testing. Line after line it got better, and the code that turned variables into human-understandable spell descriptions also got more streamlined and intelligent. And why not, I added runes magic and alchemy in it too. At some point, I added some visuals to make using it more pleasing and fun. As of spellbuilder v. 010 I feel like we are soon ready for some closed alpha testing.

As for the spells, some of our current favourites are:
– Spell of invisible nothing-ball
– Spell of ultra-hidden triggered dual empowered ranged nothing-formation (Umm.. what?)
– Spell of thought-state altering magic-portal ball
– Spell of flaming heavy force wave (nothing wrong with the casual damage spells either)
– Spell of far-cast gas/liquid/material/metal/gem/body -changer ball. (human-understandable? not.. basically something like changing body parts to gas-form or diamonds)
– Spell of empowered nullify magic ball (the ultimate spellshield)
– Spell of triggered healing ball (well, basically anything triggered by an event can be quite much fun!)

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