Game Magic : A Designer's Guide to Magic Systems in Theory and Practice book cover
1st Edition

Game Magic
A Designer's Guide to Magic Systems in Theory and Practice

ISBN 9780429099403
Published April 22, 2014 by A K Peters/CRC Press
376 Pages

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Book Description

Make More Immersive and Engaging Magic Systems in Games

Game Magic: A Designer’s Guide to Magic Systems in Theory and Practice explains how to construct magic systems and presents a compendium of arcane lore, encompassing the theory, history, and structure of magic systems in games and human belief. The author combines rigorous scholarly analysis with practical game design advice in the form of a magical recipe book (grimoire).

The book gives you an in-depth understanding of the history and structure of magic to make your games richer and deeper. It shows how to set up tables of correspondences and spell components as well as how to write programming code integrating these components as part of game mechanics. It also illustrates how to divide a simulated world into domains of influence (such as alteration, conjuration, and necromancy) and how to use specific rule systems to simulate powers within these realms.

Showing you how to weave compelling magic into your games, the book is interspersed with examples that illustrate how to design and program magic systems. Working examples are available for download on a supporting website.

Table of Contents

How to Use This Book
Who Is This Book For?
A Note on Audience, and a Symbolic Key of Intended Audiences
Triangulating Game Magic

Magic Systems in Theory and Practice
Putting the Magic Back in Magic Systems
A History of Game Magic Systems
Occult Magic and Game Magic
Magical Grammars
Ritual and Symbolic Correspondences
Ritual and Multimodal Input
Rituals as Puzzles

From Exemplary Game Magic Systems to Code Recipes
Magic Systems and Language
Interactive Fiction and Enchanter
St eve Jackson ’s Sorcery! and Gamebooks
Modern Magical IF
From Roguelikes to Recipes
The Runes of Dungeon Master
The Incantations of Wizardry
The Magical Syllables of the Ultima Series
Spell Reagent s in the Ultima Series
The Magical Language and World Simulation of Ultima Underworld
Ultima VIII
Loom and Music as Magic
Arx Fatalis
User-Generated Magic and the Elder Scrolls
The Void
The Legend of Grimrock
Magical Gestures
Magic in MMORPGs
The Magic of Alternative Controllers
Augmented REALITY and Location-Based Magic

Schools of Game Magic
Chapter Summary
The Schools of Magic
Beyond the Four Elements
Mage and Vampire’s Alternative Spheres and Disciplines
Eternal Darkness
The Colors of Magic
Mythology and Schools of Magic
Colors of the Tree of Life
Planar Magic
Alternative Schools of Magic and World Simulation
Schools of Magic and Magical Character Customization
Magical Combat

Magic as Programming, Programming as Magic
Arcana: A Ceremonial Magick Simulator
Recipe: Combining Linguistic Elements through an Array

Game Design Lessons from Occult Magic
Occult Ritual Flowcharts
Mapping the Do mains of Ritual Traditions through Pie Graphs
Occult Magic and Game Interactivity
The Occult History of Symbolic Correspondences
Videogames and the History of Ritual
Iamblichus and Neo-Platonic Magic
Writing Game Incantations and the Barbarous Names of Evocation
Viking Magic and Runes
Magical Level Design and Ritual Space
Game Spell Foci and Ritual Objects
Ancient Egypt an Magic
Magical Books: Grimoires
Modern Grimoires, Modern Practices

A Videogame Designer’s Guide to Non-Digital Game Magic
The Magic of Ancient Games
Chainmail, Dungeons & Dragons, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
Ars Magica

White Wolf, the World of Darkness, and Mage
Occult Role-Playing: Unknown Armies, Maléfices, and Nephilim
Taking Performative Magic to the Next Level in the Palladium Fantasy RPG

Adapting Game Magic from the Literature of the Fantastic
Procedural Adaptation
Pulp Magic: Robert Howard’s Conan, Fritz Leiber
True Names and Ursula Le Guin
H.P. Lovecraft and Chaos Magic
Jack Vance and Vancian Magic
Larry Niven and Mana
Roger Zelazny Chronicles of Amber (Planar Magic and Tarot)
Michael Moorcock and Elric’s Ritual
Dragonlance and the Moon-Based Magic of Krynn
Death Gate and Quantum Magic
Harry Potter
A Song of Ice and Fire
Contemporary Magical World-Building
Comic Magic
Fantasy, Games, and Magical World-Building

Works Cited

Appendix A: A Magic System Worksheet
Appendix B: Timelines


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