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Ars Magica 2 - Ideas

ars magica magic spells

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    Lapis Lazuli Collector

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 08:17 PM


While I still refuse to give a release date, I have created my to-do list for release.  I am not going to put what the specific items are, but I will keep a count updated here to give you a rough idea of progress.  This count may go up if the testing finds bugs that I need to fix, but for the most part, the mod has been running stable in testing lately (aside from a couple known bugs). So, without further ado:

Items left on Mith's to-do list before AM2's release:


Please keep in mind there will also be a brief testing period once this list reaches 0 to make sure there aren't any show-stopping bugs!  Thanks!


Ars Magica has been a lot of fun to work on, but it has had its share of problems.

I think it might be time for a wholesale refactor of some of the core mechanics.  So I'm creating this thread as a place to suggest ideas on some of the concepts in the mod.  Here's what I have in mind so far.  This is by no means set in stone.

My recent attempts to refactor to make the changes have caused more problems than they have solved.

First and foremost is the issue of progression.  
Exploration is well and good, but you can't really *aim* for a specific build simply because you never know what you are going to find.

To that end, what I am thinking is to implement some form of skill trees, where you can analyze certain aspects of the world to unlock spell components.  Learning from the world around you is, I think, an excellent way to do progression, but to do it in such a way where exploration adds to it.  So you could technically advance without needing to explore, but exploration would potentially make it faster.

For example, one might unlock "Projectile Spells" and "Fire Spells", and could then go on to create fire bolt.

Spell components would be linked together in a progression and would have far less randomness than is currently present.

Worldgen would be extraordinarily less important and would be severely reduced (if not done away with altogether).  There would be more of a focus on plants, ores, and trees rather than structures.  There may still be some here and there though.

Predefined spells would become more of a collection of "effects", which you can piece together to have the desired end result.  For example, you might take "Beam" + "Fire Damage" + "Ignition", and that will essentially re-create fire beam as it currently is:  A beam that does fire damage and lights targets/blocks on fire.

Naturally, after creating your spell, you would be able to choose its icon from a list.

Affinities would play a larger role.
This was a poll on the Ars Magica forum post, but affinities will shift based on what you cast.  Cast a lot of fire spells?  You're better at them.  They cost less mana and don't fatigue you as much, but you'll have a harder time with water spells.

Magma affinity will be merged with Fire affinity.

Affinities will also give minor bonuses in addition to reducing mana costs/fatigue.  The further you are into the affinity, the stronger the bonus.
  • Earth affinity will give you a slight permanent increase to mining speed
  • Water affinity will make you swim faster and lose breath slower underwater
  • Fire affinity would reduce damage you take from fire/lava
  • Air affinity will let you fall farther without taking damage, and jump slightly higher
  • Lightning will give you a run speed boost
  • Plant affinity will cause you to get extra seeds/saplings when harvesting plants
  • Ice affinity will cause anything that hits you to be slowed, and allow you to freeze water to ice and lava to cobble/obsidian while sneaking forward
  • Life affinity will cause you to regenerate health slightly faster and regardless of hunger levels
  • Ender affinity will cause you to have poison resistance and automatically get night vision when you enter a dark area
Should affinities also have some sort of negative effect based on their opposite?

This would be limited by what is possible, but that's the goal.  These will likely evolve over time.

Magic Level would increase by casting and by Researching more spells and spell types

Progression would feel more natural - as your knowledge of the arcane improves, so does your skill.  This would also stop the mod from hogging all the XP in the game.  Mana levels would not disappear on death.

The Power system would be changed.

The power system would likely become a second standalone mod that can be run with the main one.  They would have interoperability but would be able to be run separately.

Items would not be able to be converted into raw essence anymore, nor fabricated.  There's simply too many balance issues.  The regular nexus would need to be crafted over a "mana rift" a naturally spawning resource, similar to oil in Buildcraft, and the like.

My main concern is how progression should work.  I feel it is the main failing of Ars Magica as it currently stands.  I'd love to hear your input on this, and see what we can come up with.

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    Lapis Lazuli Collector

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 08:23 PM

To elaborate on spells:

As I said, spells would become a collection of effects that you would unlock in a form of a skill tree rather than spells at random.  This would be a form of progression that you could aim for.

Exploration would still play a role.  Here's a hypothetical situation:
Here's another one:

As for spells themselves:

The new system allows for much greater customization, with effect chaining and a new way to put them together.  As you unlock components and modifiers in the skill tree, you can use them to create your spells.

The spell creation system (or a variant of it) would be used right from the get-go.  You might start with the Projectile component and a random Damage type component.  You could make a couple simple spells by combining these starter components.

The pre-fab spells that you are familiar with would not be there, and their effects would instead be unlockable, which you could then combine together with more flexibility.

Basic spell structure:

Spell Shape (AoE, Beam, Projectile, etc.)
Spell Effects (Fire Damage, Random Teleport, Recall, etc.)
Spell Modifiers (larger radius, damage increase, etc)

So if you wanted to make an AoE fly - you could.  But the fly effect would be deep in the skill tree and would take some time to unlock.  But if that's what you wanted, there would be a visible progression path to get there.

I realize this doesn't all make sense - it's tough to explain.  I'd rather be able to demonstrate the system working.  I think you will find that it is still very unique and brings a sense of adventure to the game, which is something I don't want to lose.  I think it offers even more creative possibilities though, and much more flexibility with your spells.

I've made a video showing some of the pre-alpha stuff I have been working on.  Lots left to do, but it's coming along nicely!

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 08:53 PM

I think this is a great idea Mithion a Ars Magica 2.0 if you will!

Learn from all the past trail and errors and aim towards the best ideas for a ultimate Minecraft Magic world.

Iv got some great ideas that would not really change the basics but still add alot to be able to build on.

EDIT: ill fill up a notepad with some brainstorming and give you a full work up with a bit more detail..


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Posted 28 May 2013 - 09:08 PM

I like the new spell research idea but the world gen adds a lot to the mod in my opinion, because you're rediscovering lost knowledge. So maybe, remove the spell scrolls from the old towers and add research papers, that could than be used to unlock Fire Spells, Projectile Spells, and such. This way finding towers isn't required but it can help if you're stuck while trying to research a certain class of spells.


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Posted 28 May 2013 - 09:52 PM

I have a few thoughts on progression and power systems, and balance overall. Overall, I would like to make a case for greater simplicity offset by greater material cost, while maintaining and emphasis on exploration and adventuring.

Please click through each spoiler and let me know what you think! They're a little wordy, but I'm not suggesting drastic changes, just specific simplifications.




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Posted 28 May 2013 - 10:18 PM

i like this... but i also like Ars Magica as it is. i like the new spell creation better, but i don't like the changes to the worldgen/power. i like the power as it is, but deficit is just annoying. Also, one thing i don't like about the mod right now is how i could just walk up  to a new player and kill them with arcane bolt. maybe a permanent magic resist until you get a level in magic/cast a spell?

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 11:19 PM

I'm just tossing my two cents in here, but I think that what your onto here with v2.0 is exactly what the minecraft community has been looking for in a magic spellcaster mod. I think you've pretty much nailed down the progression and solved that issue. Try to look into what Thaumcraft has done for research, as you seem to be suggesting a similar system. Just be careful to make your system unique, and talk to Azanor so that you don't make the same 'mistakes' he feels he made with his research system (too many aspects, not enough exploration). I'm really excited to see what other great ideas you can come up with for progression.

As for the affinity changes, once again you seem to be spot on. There are several issues surrounding affinities in general concerning Ars, and your suggested fix is a great one. I'm a little worried that your passive effects are a little too overpowered, but tweaking how effective they are, and maybe making them consume mana and be able to be turned on and off would solve that issue. Sometimes ice mages might not want to turn all the lava they're sneaking around into obsidian?

As for separating your power system from the rest of the mod, I'm not sure how necessary this is, but I do see the sense in it. Then again, it might be easier to simply combine them again to make the integration that much easier on you and the players. In fact, I see a lot of benefit in using the power systems as part of the progression in the mod. It could work into research and/or spell creation. All in all, I think it's a good idea to remove the essence values from items, as you can do anything if you have enough cobblestone or a great farm. Also, I think there should be more you can do with the power system. It seems a bit lacking, more so than most things in the mod. It has it's few great uses, but overall, seems rather limited. As previously suggested, deficit was probably added as a balance measure, but it is frustrating to work with and requires constant surveillance. Often times, if a single section is removed accidentally, (breaking it to move or adjust it/creeper explosion/etc) it results in a chain reaction. Deficit needs to be reworked or removed.

Great ideas overall, I hope to see it being worked on soon!
*witty comment here*



Posted 28 May 2013 - 11:36 PM

honestly, most of these ideas seem to push it closer to parallels which could be drawn between thaumcraft and frankly, i was really digging the lack of similarity, that effects combining system for spells sounded amazing, but the rest i really disliked, actually the affinity stuff sounded iffy, but not bad.

ars magica is a good change of pace as is from other magic mods, i hope it stays that way instead of emulating. Posted Image



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Posted 28 May 2013 - 11:56 PM

I think you should stay away from any sort of tech type stuff, like when you said you were going to study plants and tree etc. and do away with world gen.

I use Thaumcraft alongside Ars Magica and I find Thaumcraft to be a great magic/tech companion to the extremely magic focus Ars Magica.

If Ars Magica went down the tech line then it would be a choice between Ars Magica tech or Thaumcraft tech also when you focus on ores and trees for research and creation that is what Thaumcraft focuses on as well.

I would prefer Ars Magic to remain a very magic heavy mod and leave any sort of tech type stuff to Thaumcraft because currently Thaumcraft and Ars Magica are the only in depth magic mods that focus on two separate areas and yet compliment each other.

So that my opinion take it or leave :).

EDIT: I love the affinity ideas this makes it so you have to really think which path you would like to choose as a mage making a magic server very diverse also help with faction servers :D



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Posted 28 May 2013 - 11:59 PM

as long as Illusion blocks don't bar ones progression I like where you are going with this.



Posted 29 May 2013 - 12:20 AM

I posted the original idea in the normal ars magica forum last night, but seeing this topic, it seems a much more suitable location.
My original idea,
After looking through some of the changes for the mod made just recently, and playing with a few of them, perhaps this "ability" to walk the "hallways of magic" could be tiered up from the 'rift storage' spell, or as sugested in this rework, as a continueance of research in that direction? To the side perhaps it requires a large amount of mana as well and as such is only accesible to higher level mages.
   I realise that it might seem like this idea would take place of the Gateway system, but i dont know where/how gateways would work without the essence system, so i think of it as more as a branch off of the same idea tree.

Edit: With your suggestions of "mana rifts" perhaps, this idea would be focused on the idea that you could travel between rifts, that are spawned in the world. ect. ect.
P.S. Awsome mod. completely new minecraft experience, expecially because i play it over LAN with 2-3 other people most of the time. Keep up the good work!

Edited by ShadeStealer, 29 May 2013 - 02:20 AM.

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 12:48 AM

I like what im reading but i dont want the world gen structures to go away totally.

Plus with the current leveling system if your not using ars magica armor as you get higher you can get one shotted to easy and for instance if you have invested in say a full MPS system that could be painfull. Would it be possible that any tech mod's armor give at least 75 percent protection in such a situation?

I do like the idea of the spell staves too maybe some other types of equipment could be added including rings and slots for them for example.



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Posted 29 May 2013 - 01:07 AM

Your mod is already one of the very best, but I appreciate that you see some of its shortcomings...

Much like Azanor is refactoring his mod for his 3.1 update, a refactor of Ars Magica could be a lot of fun...

On the flip side, your mod is already one of the very best... It is a shame to change TOO much!

Your knowledge books, your spell creation, your amazing particles... You've done some things that most other modders can only dream of, so take some time to realize that and make sure you don't get away from the core of the mod that has given you so many followers over these months :)



Posted 29 May 2013 - 02:27 AM

Perhaps spell creation should work like the Android phone game "Alchemy" by Amdrey “Zed” Zaikin.



Posted 29 May 2013 - 04:10 AM

View PostDistortionEngine, on 29 May 2013 - 02:27 AM, said:

Perhaps spell creation should work like the Android phone game "Alchemy" by Amdrey “Zed” Zaikin.

Incidentally, that is the inspiration Azanor is using in his TC3.1 refactor Posted Image

Anyways, I just wanted to weigh in on the XP thing.  I personally enjoy that aspect of the mod quite a bit, actually.  I don't use silly mods like Soul Shards, and setting up Vanilla-style XP farms to feed my Ars power was a great building exercise  and my world has much more character thanks to the scale and effort that must go into those types of things.  Removing that aspect of it, which strongly encourages what Minecraft is really all about - by which I mean building, of course - and changing it to right clicking X amount of times with a certain spell or whatever doesn't sound like a very good idea to me, personally.

Given that the mod is your baby, no doubt you see shortcomings in it pretty keenly.  But as a player, the Research Table solved the only complaint I had about progression; imo, the current, relatively slower pace of learning is great, as it gives you something to do for a long time.   The only gripe I have with the mod right now, actually, is that I feel that the worldgen structures could stand to be a bit more dangerous to explore, as there aren't many traps or monsters associated with them, and those that are present don't usually work.  Why not have hostile Fire Elementals or Battle Chickens guarding some of the secrets of the arcane?

The idea of all/most spells having to be player created is pretty neat, though.   Ofc, there should still be some "examples" and such that you could find, and I would hope that there would be some better hints as to the process than currently exist;  something like the Tinker's Construct book that you get when you first start with the mod to explain it.

Regarding affinities, personally, I would much rather have some kind of maintained and exclusive "Fire Aspect" spell or something like that for the different elements, than have to say "I want to mine faster now, time to cast Rock Ball or whatever 50 times to get my affinity up".  I understand what you are trying to do there, but I think it would probably end up just being a pain in the buttocks.

Anyways, those are just my thoughts so far.  I have greatly enjoyed AM1 so far, so looking forward to where you take it.

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 05:29 AM

I absolutely love the suggested changes, but there should be some things added. First, if you gain an affinity in fire or something, it should not have negative effects based on the opposite affinity, but have it take longer to get the opposite affinity. Also, make it very hard to master the affinities, as I could see it becoming quite overpowered quite quickly otherwise. Next, I love the concept of researching different types of things to put into spells, like combining projectile with fire with ignite or explode to make spells with those properties, but I also feel that there should be a way to imbue items with magic as well, somewhat like the current imbue enchantment, but on very customization steroids. Currently I like to use a diamond sword with chain lightning for nice AoE, but I feel, if i want to add something to a piece of armor or a weapon aside from something I've already had experience with, I feel there is no way to get it right. I think it would be cool to use something similar to the new spell crafting system on items. I want to be able to choose how a spell is proc'd (activated) with an item. I know it would be hard, and if you don't feel like this would play well to the mod then feel free to ignore the rest of this, but if you like my idea keep reading. Have a runic inscriber that can inscribe spell runes (or some such system) onto a sword or bow or armor piece. An example could be on a successful hit, electrocute the target, or on a successful block knock nearby targets back and have runes controlling all of this. If you had lightning spells, you could make a rune for lightning spells to add to something and cause it to do additional lightning damage. Then you could have specific effect runes to add additional things to the hit such as paralyzation or slowness or something and also have an activation rune using the types of spells (beams, projectiles, etc.) determining if it would happen while blocking, when absorbing damage, when doing damage, or while healing. You could make it so this would all be considered 1 effect on something, like by combining a rune of on deal damage, a rune of lightning, a rune of Area of Effect, and a rune of paralyzation, it will make it so when you do damage it will hurt that mob with lighting damage and the others around it as well, and also paralyze them temporarily. And the more research points you put into rune engraving, the more stuff you can put on something and the greater chance of success. Maybe? If I was a tad confusing, you can ask me to try to rewrite this.
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Posted 29 May 2013 - 07:29 AM

View PostMithion, on 28 May 2013 - 08:17 PM, said:

Magic Level would increase by casting and by Researching more spells and spell types

Progression would feel more natural - as your knowledge of the arcane improves, so does your skill.  This would also stop the mod from hogging all the XP in the game.  Mana levels would not disappear on death.

TBH I really liked the idea of everything a mage does and experiences, increasing his ability to do magic. Including meanial tasks.

I also liked how neatly Ars magica worked with TConstruct (both more or less adventure based mods, with one having a high need for EP and the other reducing the Vanilla need for EP:)

edit: Regarding the Power system.

Have you and Azanor ever considered working together? Perhaps also with the Thaumic tinkerer guy. I feel his version of duplicating items using energy is quite fine (using vis and aspects., as  long as you can't transmute aspects into other aspects)

edit2: regarding the affinity I don't think these special effects are needed. I really liked the idea

And also (I know I am annoying) I just  can't stress how awesome it would be if you and azanor combined your efforts.

Imagine Runes being crafted with crushed Thaumcraft shards instead of dyes or a machine that creates Reagents using a special base Item, Aspects and certain amounts of Vis/Essence/that type of ressource.

Imagine the three thaumic wands that currently are there and instead of having thaumcrafts staff you can now bind spells onto them (like your current staffs)

Obviously all of this is more in line with Azanor's suggested low-aspect version (you know just 8 aspects)

A man can dream ..



Posted 29 May 2013 - 09:04 AM

Well, I only dabbled with Ars magica so I cant give a lot of specific feedback as to what mechanics should be changed. I did not stick with the mod for long due to various reasons namely too much world gen. But one of the things that interested me about it in the first place was that it gave you a reason to explore and fight. Most big mods dont do that so when you talk about replacing it with analyzing items (which is exactly what thaumcraft already does) then I become sad. Id rather ars magica be different from the rest. Instead of research or whatever you want to call it, why cant we just get most of the materials we need from mob drops and dungeons?

Speaking of dungeons, the things in the first one were way overdone and obvious. Perhaps you could look into formivores structure generator mod which does a better job at generating structures in a logical way than any other Ive tried. The underground city is especially interesting. One thing that seems to suit minecraft well and has hardly ever been touched on is archeology.

Its really cool how the tech mods out there interact with one another like one big happy family and is almost the only reason I use tech mods at all. Id definitely like to see more of that attitude coming from the magic and adventure side of things.
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Posted 29 May 2013 - 09:09 AM

Dear Mithion,
I personally think that there is always space for improvement, but i fell like no modder should ever complately irradicate any feature of his/her mod, because it is usually a no-return journey that may, or may not work. I suggets that if you want to take out the current essence system, just design a new one, wich is more fun and useful, and slowly start to try and switch over to it. If people like it, they will stop using the other one by themselves and when you eventually end the process of transfering everything into the new system nobody would be using it anymore.

From the information you provided in your new post it seems it would be a very nice implementation, BUT i think there are some things you need to be wary of.
1) Placing items into a GUI has lost its WOW factor, and feels constrained. If you were thinking about having  a "research circle" i think it should work like a nexus. No GUI, just magic and setting up the items correctly.
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Posted 29 May 2013 - 09:14 AM

This is exactly what I was looking for, and it seems to fix many of the main problems I saw in the original Ars. I particularly like the new method of spell creation and progression, and believe that it will make playing with the mod a much more immersive experience. The new affinity system also opens up new possibilities, allowing you to increase a stat to fit your play style. However, I would suggest expanding the new affinity system a little bit by having the player gradually upgrade their affinity-gained abilities using items, magic, or XP levels. I think that way it would fit much better into this idea of "progression" that you've presented.

One thing I've never seen any mod do well before is "exploration". I enjoyed the "exploration" idea that you came up with in the original Ars, but I did think that it got repetitive after a while. After I knew all of the towers and their secrets, they just became boring. As stated above, a reason is needed to fight and explore. After you've done everything possible in Minecraft and all of your mods, what will you do next? Is it possible to recreate the excitement of exploring a Minecraft world for the first time?