Deep seated archetypes, metaphysics and universal acceptance.

<strong>My personal views on fundamental design and how they effect games.</strong>

Immersion: A dirty word to some but critical none the less. How can a game be engaging if you are not immersed. For me, full engagement cant take place unless I am fully immersed. Anything that makes you question the moment breaks that immersion. We buy games to escape the real world and enter a virtual fantasy one. The deeper we are embedded into this virtual world audio/visual and not distracted by the real world audio/visual the better.

When you think about this in a deep way and try to classify that, the only way for mutual immersion to take place is to use universal paradigms that all players are comfortable with and not in any way instinctively jarring. This means that everything that takes place has to be universally acceptable from the viewpoint of as many cultures as possible. There must be a common frame of reference used as the framework at the very root of the game design and gameplay.

This for me, is why I expect real world physics to form the basis of combat and movement. It is a framework that everyone from all cultures is both comfortable and familiar with. However, what of Magic ? What kind of framework is universally acceptable across culture in such a deep seated way that magic can feel almost natural ?

All cultures share the concept of time, dream and consciousness. The ancient metaphysics of the 4/5 elements is also universally rooted. As is the mind, spirit, soul and body concept. Those elements are also associated with direction and can be traced back to 7 elements in total with 7 directions. North, south, east, west, up, down and the centre of being at the meridian of the past and the future. Could such metaphysics not give a framework for magic and yet be bonded to modern physics too ?

These ancient elements essentially describe the four phases of matter and with them the metaphysical structure of life.
Earth = Solid/dry, Water = Liquid/wet, Air = Gas/cold, Fire = Plasma/hot
Earth = Body, Water = Spirit, Air = Mind (often feather/ego), Fire = Soul (often Heart/conscience)
This is the devolution of the source of collective thought into matter of different phases.
Each requires sustenance in the form of food, drink, breath and warmth, without which we die.
We also crave security and protection from danger in a more abstract way, hence the herd mentality and social grouping.
We always struggle with balancing the need for individual freedom but also with social inclusion.
A never ending struggle between ego and conscience.

Just as dreams and nightmares are a random sequence of events and reality an ordered sequence of events.
The dream is given reality in the realm of time only.
Should the beginning of all things not be the source of magic, the source of creation ?
Should the beginning of all things not be when nothing existed except energy.
Was the energy random, chaotic, ordered, dispersed or concentrated ?
Is thought nothing more than entangled, dynamic harmonic energy patterns ?
In which case, is matter nothing more than solidified long term thought or a supernatural memory or fragmented thought ?

Getting deep right ? Don't worry, my main point was to describe a framework in which magic could exist that would be universally acceptable and quantifiable for game mechanics.
Mass = Energy
Mass, velocity and vector gives physical force.
So could Energy, velocity and vector not define magical force ?
And if Earth = Mass, could the 5th element = Present time and the 6th/7th element = Past memory and future dreams ?
Would we have telepathic clairvoyance, psychokinesis and foresight or memory, logic and imagination?

The 7 elemental points defines an octahedron. The centre of the outer 6 points define an 8 point cube. The game designers wish to use 8 classes.
So could 8 attributes not only define 8 classes but also every kind of element between those 8 points ?
Could we not blend metaphysics, ancient archetypes and reality into a universally acceptable system of physical and magical game mechanics.
And in the process make immersion as deep and universally satisfying as possible.

While on the subject of immersion, one of the most jarring aspects is having to reference a real world statistical UI by shifting visual focus from game world to real world.
Does anyone think a special effect + audible rather than numerical visual UI would be more immersive in regards to combat ?
I know there is not much we can do about inventory and such.

I figured I might as well voice those things that irk me about gameplay. Am I the only one this troubles ?

Comments

  • Thats a real hardcore take on things, I don't necessarily disagreee, but some of those elements can be quite hard to implement properly. Personally I don't find it hard to get immerged, as long as it makes a tiny sense and it's not to boring.
    Personally I've always been more of a no-numbers-guy when it comes to combat, problem is that at some point someone is mostlikely gonna script something that let them see this, then its gonna be hard to compete with them as a "normal" player.

    However your take on tying magic to the world is awesome, often its just explained by "it just happened", "its in all of us" or "the god will it". Would be awesome if there was some 'logical' or scientific explanation for once.
  • @julemanden. Thanks for the input. I agree on being hard to implement. In reality it has to really form part of the core design.
    Hence I was putting such an idea forward as early as possible.
    But the progress the team has made already suggest its far too late for such a thing to be implemented anyway.

    I know many people arent really into the roleplaying escapism thing.
    For many its just about numbers flying across the screen before winning a battle. Thats OK...I honestly get that too.
    Its just something I needed to get off my chest and was curious to see how others felt and if this was just a personal bias.

    I was always thinking of implementing such a system as the core of my own game.
    But I am reluctant to deny this game market share with so much obvious and long awaited promise for the MMO community.
  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited July 2017
    @Rune_Relic
    I'm not quite sure what you trying to convey in your initial post , but i definitely got the gist of it. After reading through your elaborated thought, think this:

     " ... The ancient metaphysics of the 4/5 elements is also universally rooted. As is the mind, spirit, soul and body concept. Those elements are also associated with direction and can be traced back to 7 elements in total with 7 directions. North, south, east, west, up, down and the centre of being at the meridian of the past and the future ... 
    These ancient elements essentially describe the four phases of matter and with them the metaphysical structure of life.
    Earth = Solid/dry, Water = Liquid/wet, Air = Gas/cold, Fire = Plasma/hot
    Earth = Body, Water = Spirit, Air = Mind (often feather/ego), Fire = Soul (often Heart/conscience) 

    ...

    Just as dreams and nightmares are a random sequence of events and reality an ordered sequence of events.
    The dream is given reality in the realm of time only.
    Should the beginning of all things not be the source of magic, the source of creation ?
    Should the beginning of all things not be when nothing existed except energy.
    Was the energy random, chaotic, ordered, dispersed or concentrated ?
    Is thought nothing more than entangled, dynamic harmonic energy patterns ?
    In which case, is matter nothing more than solidified long term thought or a supernatural memory or fragmented thought ?

    Getting deep right ? Don't worry, my main point was to describe a framework in which magic could exist that would be universally acceptable and quantifiable for game mechanics.

    ...

    The 7 elemental points defines an octahedron. The centre of the outer 6 points define an 8 point cube. The game designers wish to use 8 classes.
    So could 8 attributes not only define 8 classes but also every kind of element between those 8 points ?
    Could we not blend metaphysics, ancient archetypes and reality into a universally acceptable system of physical and magical game mechanics.
    And in the process make immersion as deep and universally satisfying as possible.

    While on the subject of immersion, one of the most jarring aspects is having to reference a real world statistical UI by shifting visual focus from game world to real world.
    Does anyone think a special effect + audible rather than numerical visual UI would be more immersive in regards to combat ?
    I know there is not much we can do about inventory and such.

    I figured I might as well voice those things that irk me about gameplay. Am I the only one this troubles ? "
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     is a good basis of it all. Specifically the parts in Bold.

     I'd say its rather difficult to implement Magic as accurate as possible because it cannot be defined into Game Mechanics, but sure have been depicted well-enough in some Titles - even if every aspect was perfect ; sure, it'll be noticiable, and it'll definitely stand-out, but why not let Intrepid focus on the Core of the game 

    ( ironcially, the programming is technically part of that same " Core Aspect ". Hence, it's stated in their FAQ about the UE4 engine )

    and they'll ... " pollish it " later. 

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Mass = Energy
    Mass, velocity and vector gives physical force.
    So could Energy, velocity and vector not define magical force ?
    And if Earth = Mass, could the 5th element = Present time and the 6th/7th element = Past memory and future dreams ?
    Would we have telepathic clairvoyance, psychokinesis and foresight or memory, logic and imagination?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Some can, questionably, be defined by Science - but not all.
     You ever heard of Curses ? something like that can't measured 

    ( And yes. When by curses, I'm referring to the Bio on Bards from Kickstarter  :p


  • Curses are no differnet to buffs and debuffs.
    Some are 1st party effects some are 3rd party effects.
    Even using 3rd party effects like curses and blessings of gods would and should have a price to those who do use them on your behalf.

    Basically what I am trying to say is anything that cant be rationalised and systemised into quantifiable and equitable functions should be dropped. So I dont see the need to rationalise such things. Just accept that they must be.
  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited July 2017
    @Rune_Relic

    Thats odd. I never once thought of a ... " Curse " as a simple debuff. 
    Instead i thought of them in a different manner.

    I envisioned a Curse ... as an " Advanced Debuff "  -  a "debuff " that doesn't necessarily requires an activation-time, cast-time nor a certain-distance.


    ( such as, in some MMOs, in a Tab-Target Combat-Style , some abilities require you to
    be at a minimum set-distance in order for the Ability to be cast )

    (kinda hard to consider it a debuff )
    Realistically speaking, a Curse can be ... " granted " regardless of how far away the person is. but with certain Requirements:

    For Example ... lets use a common example that's used in movies - the user would have to need something thats of their Victim's Possession or something of their
    DNA ( like a hair Strand )

    In addition, i truthfully thought Bards will cast illusions / Hallucinations on their Opponent.
    Imho ,  some for this particular skill(s) this would involve some Skills / Abilities being at a minimum set-distance & the opposite   ( what i mentioned above thats underlined)
  • @Rune_Relic
    but i suppose that would make it hard to Balance that out.  :s
    Ultimately, however, this is all based on what i read on the KickStarter Bio for Bards 
  • Rune_Relic I like this kind of world building discussion very much! I agree that the way magic is defined in the Ashes universe will be fundamental to everything in the game and ultimately the whole franchise.  

    I also agree that there could be some kind of Choprarian connection between game physics and metaphysics, which describes how a magical force interacts with physics and game mechanics.

    However, magic embedded in the primary elements has kind of been done to death in fantasy games and I'd really like to see a variation or reinvention of this theme in Ashes.

    I like how you are alluding to time (past/present/future) as possible additional elemental forces. The ability to manipulate time (even to a limited extent) would lead to interesting new game play, in the vein of Singularity, which I don't think took this idea far enough.

    The most enjoyable question you posed is the idea of a non-numerical representation of magical force. I could not agree more with this. Magic should be occult and mystical and by this definition should defy quantification and computation.

    I hope that special effects are favored in every aspect of combat as opposed to number based systems. As much as I loved D&D, it's time to move on from purely numerical systems of gameplay. At least in terms of the user interface.

    I'm glad I found your post and I look forward to watching this conversation unfold.
  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited July 2017
    @Eragale Thats kind of the point I am trying to make though. Every action requires agency and agency is effort on someone's part. Its just that not everything action we deploy is a direct action. Some are indirect action in which we invoke others to do our work. Either way....work is done and must be costed. And anything that is costed can be balanced.

    It did take me quite a well to get my head around 1st party and 3rd party actions though. So I get where you are coming from in trying to get your head around it.

    @lexmax Thanks for the kind and thoughtful post. Thats some deep thinking there too. My main thrust of the opening post was to use existing concepts of magic, that exist in the psyche and are common among many cultures. Concepts that are shared and ancient. So although elemental magic is 'done to death', it also happens to be part of the common metaphysics that weaves its way through time and place as a framework or agency to magic.

    Take the ogdoad as 4 primary forces that have masculine and feminine aspects like the singular yin/yang. These were hoary with age at the birth of Egyptian civilisation. Take the concept of the 4 children of Horus as 4 directions. Initially there were in fact 7 children of Horus. They included up, down and center. Together they made a geometrical construct of the point of an octahedron attached to the faces of a cube, whose corners were the ogdoad. Although you could of course have the 8 faces of an octahedron as the ogdoad and the 7 children as the faces of a cube and its center.

    These khemenu/ogdoad were the precursor to the heliopolitan nine. So why Nine instead of eight ? Well the first was actually temu/atmu or TIME. All the others were actually aspects of Temu or time, that sprang forth at creation. Even magic must exist within its laws. Although no-time or dream time (dynamic/random) would be familiar to aborigines as a precursor to linear time.

    These kind of concepts are also deep seated in the marvel comic universe with the infinity stones. Here we have two sets of three. Mind, body and spirit/soul along with time, space and reality. Almost like 3 stones for the environment and 3 stones for identity that exist within the environment.

    I guess I just ache for a game where magic makes sense. And to make sense it must exist within a logical framework.
  • Can't have universal acceptance due to cultural diversity.

    All cultures do not share the concept of time.
    And even the cultures that do share the concept of time, do not share the exact same concepts of time.

    Some cultures do not have a concept of theft.
    Some cultures do not share the same concepts of ownership.

    Many cultures do not share the same concepts of illness.
    In the US we can't even agree on when life begins.
    And we can't agree on whether vaccinations work or whether they cause autism.
    Is the Earth 6,000 years old or billions of years old?

    Immersion does not mean that characters must all share the same world view/philosophy.
    Coming from a world with no magic, Ashes may have factions of scientists who refuse to believe in magic.
    Magic is magic - it isn't science.
    Especially in a high fantasy world where magic comes from gods, they don't have to be bound by logic - they can change the laws of physics at a whim.
    Mortals may be limited to using laws/rules/ritual formulas to wield magic. Doesn't mean the gods are.
    And doesn't mean that we all have to share the same views on how magic works in order to feel immersed in the world.

    Immersion is subjective.
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