Have you been following my writing about my magic system? The one for which my game’s setting, War of the Seven States of Magic, is named? If not, read about it! There’s all kinds of interesting stuff in there. There are lots of useful links and categories and stuff to help you find things.
I’m really proud of my work on the magic system. I’ve designed it around real-world concepts with the intent to incorporate physics, biology, geometry, psychology, philosophy, and all kinds of other fantastic and useful things. Lately I’ve been reading about particle physics so I can simulate stuff like forces and energy. It’s cool!
What I’ve done in the past is used “magic” as shorthand for systems that are more physically complicated than I cared to elaborate upon – such as using “poison, necrotic, and psychic” damage types to represent toxicity, disease, and trauma. I think a lot of game systems are intended as representations of real things.
Of course the more a designer understands about the world around them, the better a designer they can be. Lots of game design is about representing concepts through the use of symbols, simulating complex interactions between people and things through the use of game systems and speculating on the nature of reality, too.
A lot of game design comes down to challenging a player’s understanding of reality, and seeing if they can adapt to think their way out of a box your provide them with – narrative is a tool, as is challenge and mystery, I know Extra Credits has touched on a lot of things throughout their run, I don’t know how much is commonly understood.
Eventually, I hope to have a game system that transcends its various media – video games, board games, card games, roleplaying games – and maybe give something back, or encourage others to try other settings. My limited understanding of the subjects I address isn’t wholly original and maybe it’ll inspire others to do better.
Today I created a hierarchy of energy types inspired by interactions in particle physics, and maybe some day the system I’m designing will inspire the person who discovers the secrets of time travel or teleportation. That would be cool. *snerk*
Periodically I try to “build” other games’ magic systems into my own to make sure I’ve maintained enough flexibility to allow for lots of different variations and interpretations right out the gate. I don’t know how long it will take to get there, but I want to leave my options open, you know? It’s a long, uphill battle from here.