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    1. #1
      slickriptide's Avatar
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      Does KI care about developing castle magic any further?

      Near as I can tell, Castle Magic was released in the 2016/217 timeframe.

      That's going on four years or so depending on whether you start counting from test realm or from live launch. That's plenty of time to spend improving the shortcomings of Castle Magic if KI was inclined to do that.

      So, I'm feeling like maybe they just aren't inclined.

      Even if the coding side of things was left as-is, it seems like the communication side of things could use some support. So much more could be done with the available tools if it was just possible to tell a visitor what it is that she's expected to do. The text detector especially is woefully unsupported - How do you tell your visitor to give commands when the only choice is to hope they guess it?

      Even if there was just a "Get" menu chat choice under the castle magic menus, that would say "Get the-housing-object-I-have-targeted" and a corresponding way to put that on a customizable sign. As it stands, I'm using glyphs to hint at relationships between things, but there's no effective way to make it a choice for the player to interact with the things. Well, I could use a jump detector and put up a sign that says, "Jump!" <sarcasm>That's a cool solution.</sarcasm>.

      If the only addition was a collection of decals (like the graffiti wall hangings) that were just a bunch of symbols, number, interactive action words, and maybe doodles showing a doodle character performing an action, that would at least offer a way to tell a semi-clever visitor how to interact as a choice without it being forced to be a proximity detection problem.

      I'm really curious why there isn't a Magic Interaction Detector that links to an object and puts up a "Press X to Interact" prompt?

    2. #2
      tnerbllih's Avatar
        tnerbllih is offline Initiate Wizard

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      Re: Does KI care about developing castle magic any further?

      I would love more options (particularly more specified sign options) to help give players prompts on how to interact. What I really want is a castle magic or puzzling section in castle tours. Having a category specifically denoted as such would give players the right mindset; the options given to us to convey our intentions to visitors is limited, but the greatest deterrent to players' interaction with our creations is their lack of awareness that interactivity even exists. Letting players know that there is likely something to interact with allows them to read between the lines and figure out how to interact with a house on their own.

    3. #3
      Allison DeathWielder's Avatar
        Allison DeathWielder is offline Archmage Wizard

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      Re: Does KI care about developing castle magic any further?

      Sounds like a question for @Arthur Wethersfield, as he's generally the KI staff member here who responds to threads about Castle Magic. Some things have been added each year, but it has been a decent amount of time since we got anything aside from new attack animations as far as I'm aware.

      While I'm tagging you, Arthur, I did want to add another suggestion from a previous thread in case you see this:

      It was requested that we have the ability to give an object the player detection property by casting a "Detect Player" spell on them. Effectively it would work the same way as a magic player detector, except that now any object could be one, such as a roaming house guest.
      Last edited by Allison DeathWielder; 9-7-20 at 8:15:24 AM.

      1 account, 7 Wizards. Over 10 years of adventure

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    4. #4
      slickriptide's Avatar
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      Re: Does KI care about developing castle magic any further?

      Here's the funny/interesting thing - If we had any kind of dialog making and processing ability, we could make quests as good as the earliest KI stuff.

      Here's a for instance - I've been farming Sunken City on and off in the past month, collecting animus with the idea of making some Halloween NPC's in my house. Putting aside the street battles, Sunken City consists of only two things: tower battles and talking to Marla Stinger, the quest NPC.

      The dungeon itself is three chapters with each chapter having an increasing level of boss battle, and the final boss attached to the end of chapter three. Marla tells the player that she'll run ahead and meet you and we players pretend that the Marla in the next chapter is the same one we met before, but the tech in Sunken City is so simple that there's actually a separate "Marla" in each chapter.

      Basically, a player using Castle Magic could recreate the entire thing using monstrology tomes for the tower battles. The two issues are the third tower, which is a gauntlet rather than a single battle, and the quest dialog.

      Which is why I'm wondering about why KI prohibits any kind of actual quest dialog. Imagine running through Sunken City, and the first thing that happens is you hit the first gate and Marla is standing there, but she doesn't talk to you. Maybe there's a sign or a symbol, something that indicates she's important, but there's nothing except maybe a camera zoom that tells you that the tower is your next step. Even if that camera zoom is good enough to hint at it, you still don't have any particular clue as to your motivation for doing it. You're not helping Marla or proving to Professor Drake that he's wrong about Grubb. You're doing it because it feels like it's what the owner of the house wants you to do.

      So, in the end, you walk in, walk to the NPC in the room, follow the camera zoom, fight the battle, stand next to the gate and watch the special effects, the gate opens, and you repeat that three more times and then you're done. Not because there's a story and you're playing it out but because it's what the homeowner is guiding you to do and you're smart enough to follow the lead. If you're a kid and you're not that intuitive, you probably don't make it past the first gate at all.

      I can't be the first person in four years to ever make these observations, so it leads me once again to conclude that KI wants it this way for a reason. I'm curious to learn that reason and whether it is time to re-evaluate that reasoning.

    5. #5
      Arthur Wethersfield's Avatar
        Arthur Wethersfield is offline Wizard101 US Faculty
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      Re: Does KI care about developing castle magic any further?

      Howdy, Iím the Castle Magic guy. I did the design and the programming.

      Iíd love to fix any existing bugs with it and expand it as needed.

      Adding phrases to housing signs is easy. If there are phases that would help develop your Castle Magic ideas, let me know.

      I didnít make a Magic Interaction Detector since Magic Buttons kind of serve that purpose. I could add one if yíall thought it would be useful. It would act like an invisible Magic Button.

      I saw the Detect Player on an object idea from an earlier thread. Iíll look into it when I have time.

      By the by, if all goes well, there will be an easier way to access Babbage Basset in the fall update.

      Arthur

    6. #6
      slickriptide's Avatar
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      Re: Does KI care about developing castle magic any further?

      Thanks for the reply, @arthur.

      Let me give an example from a "mini-game" in my current project. On my farm, there's a dog and a dog food dish. (A jar shoved into the ground so only the neck shows.)

      The "game" is for the player to "pick up" the dog biscuits lying around the farm and bring them to the "bowl" to feed the dog. When the dog is fed, he grows. When he reaches maximum size, something happens - I don't know exactly what yet; probably a cat materializes and he chases it off the screen, while causing some "accident" due to his now giant size that causes a change in the state of the farm.

      So, given the current limitations in communication with the player, how do I tell the player that she can "pick up" the dog biscuit? Putting a lever, or a button, or a pressure plate nearby puts a mechanical contrivance in between the player and the "quest object", where a "magical interaction detector" would trigger when the player is nearby and TELL the player that the dog biscuit is something interesting in way that simulates interactible objects in the game world.

      Instead here's what I have to do - First, hilight the bowl when the player is near by making it go transparent, making a dog bark sound, and then targeting the nearest dog biscuit with a zoom or pan spell. That gets the player's attention and points up that the dog biscuit is something relevant that should be investigated.

      Second, put up a room detector that triggers when the player is near the dog biscuit, that causes the dog biscuit to flash and fade-out (visible->transparent->opaque->invisible) while playing a magical sound and, again, a dog barking; the hope being that the player will wonder what is going on and make the connection between a dog, a dog biscuit, and a food dish.

      All of it subject to guesswork and interpretation, because, on the one hand, there's no inarguable indicator of a thing's status as an interactive object, and on the other hand, there's also no way to communicate clearly and concisely that feeding the dog is a "quest".

      Look at the fellow who made the working chess game - Yeah, it's clever that he used the schools to control movement but what does it say that something so non-intuitive is the user interface to his game, and that it depends entirely upon a player guessing what "Say the magic word" means in that context?

      On the subject of signs and canned menu chat, maybe an official thread, here or on the official forum, asking for input about game-related options would be a good idea.

      I've mentioned elsewhere that I think "doodles" that illustrate an action related to a magic item would be helpful. Canned phrases like "push", "pull", "hot", "cold(er)", "warm(er)", "move", "get", "put" would be useful in the context of both the magic text detector and signs as a reaction to a player's actions. Numbers, say 1 - 20, that could make a sign into a counter, scoreboard, or leaderboard. Signs with "Yes", "No", "Up", "Down", "Left", "Right", Smiley-face, Frowny-face, "Dead" (x for eyes) face, etc... In other words, things that can show status or results of an attempted action. Emoticons are a sort of universal language these days. Right now, signs and menu chat are the only possible form of communication and the current usefulness of each of them is extremely narrow.

      On a somewhat-related tangent - the current zooms and pans are also very limited. I know I'm already asking for a lot here, but it would be pretty nice to have a "pull back, turn, pan, and zoom" kind of zoom like, for instance, in Sunken City when Marla is telling you what tower you need to investigate.

      Anyway, thanks for taking an interest. I'm not trying to criticize, rather to illustrate the kinds of things that would help me use castle magic to create an experience rather than as just fancy decoration.

    7. #7
      slickriptide's Avatar
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      Re: Does KI care about developing castle magic any further?

      Speaking of signs - It would be fun to be able to shout out to Indiana Jones - "You chose... poorly." "You chose... wisely."

    8. #8
      slickriptide's Avatar
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      Re: Does KI care about developing castle magic any further?

      So, even though I know it's a bad idea when one thread is dominated by one voice, I figure that posting my Castle Magic suggestions in one place is better than littering the forum with threads.

      I've made the comparison elsewhere between Castle Magic and computer CPU machine language. The one thing that we're really missing is "registers". That is, every interaction in Castle Magic is based around triggers and responses to triggers. What we don't really have is a way to simply query a Castle Magic object and ask it what state it's currently in. Is the Switch01 turned on? What's the current logic value of Computer05? What value is Counter03 currently set to?

      It would be useful to have a "register" object that can be explicitly set to a specific value, or alternatively the ability to explicitly set a counter to a value other than zero.

      The existence of orbs and orb catchers indicates that it's possible for status to be attached to a player and carried around with him. Going back to the dog biscuit example - if the orb and orb catcher idea was made more generic, a player could have a virtual "inventory", even if the "inventory" was just, say, eight binary flags (signals) and an object that can look at a player (say, because a player detector or room detector triggered it) and initiate some trigger based on one of those "signals" being set. So, in the simplest case, I as the programmer would know that "signal5" on a player would mean he's carrying a dog biscuit and the room detector object near the dog food dish would invoke a "signal detector". The signal detector would be a special case of reflector. Instead of playing all eight slots in sequence, each slot would test for the equivalent signal on a nearby player and only trigger if that signal was set.

      And, of course, in an ideal world houseguests would be able to have an "inventory" as well. Might as well dream big while we're dreaming.

    9. #9
      tnerbllih's Avatar
        tnerbllih is offline Initiate Wizard

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      Re: Does KI care about developing castle magic any further?

      Quote Originally Posted by slickriptide View Post
      So, even though I know it's a bad idea when one thread is dominated by one voice, I figure that posting my Castle Magic suggestions in one place is better than littering the forum with threads.

      I've made the comparison elsewhere between Castle Magic and computer CPU machine language. The one thing that we're really missing is "registers". That is, every interaction in Castle Magic is based around triggers and responses to triggers. What we don't really have is a way to simply query a Castle Magic object and ask it what state it's currently in. Is the Switch01 turned on? What's the current logic value of Computer05? What value is Counter03 currently set to?

      It would be useful to have a "register" object that can be explicitly set to a specific value, or alternatively the ability to explicitly set a counter to a value other than zero.

      The existence of orbs and orb catchers indicates that it's possible for status to be attached to a player and carried around with him. Going back to the dog biscuit example - if the orb and orb catcher idea was made more generic, a player could have a virtual "inventory", even if the "inventory" was just, say, eight binary flags (signals) and an object that can look at a player (say, because a player detector or room detector triggered it) and initiate some trigger based on one of those "signals" being set. So, in the simplest case, I as the programmer would know that "signal5" on a player would mean he's carrying a dog biscuit and the room detector object near the dog food dish would invoke a "signal detector". The signal detector would be a special case of reflector. Instead of playing all eight slots in sequence, each slot would test for the equivalent signal on a nearby player and only trigger if that signal was set.

      And, of course, in an ideal world houseguests would be able to have an "inventory" as well. Might as well dream big while we're dreaming.
      I enjoy the idea of storing values to players; I would enjoy a system which gives players numbers in order which represent them in castle magic systems as soon as they enter a house.

      If you're talking about "checking" states, computers store "states" through their signals, however the only way to "check" that signal is to recast a signal which would not change its current condition or to always cast signal 2 to check whether or not signal 1 is present; if it is present "AND" will cast and if it is not "OR" and/or "NOT signal 1" will cast.

      However if we did have the ability to store player variables, however that took shape, we would have to have items which specifically detected those variables. There are ways to have player specific actions through environmental manipulation; you can have a detector linked to a reflector and a counter for example which only grants an "ability" until a second player activates that detector, cancelling the activated state of the ability. It can also make the first player unreachable in that zone so that it can only apply to him/her. You can make it semi-specific by reading off signs indicating magic text detectors and a specific phrase (there ARE school sign messages available to indicate thus) then having the sign vanish so that only the present player now knows that phrase is active. You can localize said text detector by adding another computer/detector pair for each location you wish the "ability" to be pertaining to.

      Now obviously, making CM systems to mimic non-existing ones is costly in space and has flaws and limitations, but usually it is possible.

      One other suggestion for player stored variables I'd like to add: a magic orb detector which detects if a player is holding a specific orb when they enter an area as opposed to at a small point(catchers). This would not necessarily use the orb either. This plus orbs pertaining to all of the schools (spirits+balance) for more variability.

    10. #10
      slickriptide's Avatar
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      Re: Does KI care about developing castle magic any further?

      I wonder if we could separate behaviors from bread crumbs? I'd like to play a behavior on demand as a spell card rather than require that a mob walk to a bread crumb that triggers the behavior.

      The practical application is spell casting by, or at, houseguests. "Happy" behavior is a houseguest's spell casting animation. "Sad" behavior is a houseguest's defeat animation.

      Currently I see no practical way to chain effects like this: A-Seraph-Attacks(breadcrumb10) -> Magic Timer(5 secs) -> Behavior:Sad(Wandering Wizard).

      Beyond that, it has applications on any pet/NPC interaction. Take the "feed the dog" example -- look at how easy it would be to just play a Behavior:Happy spell card in a reflector to make the dog prance about joyously as opposed to futzing with behaviors attached to breadcrumbs and possibly requiring multiple dogs attached to multiple breadcrumbs being phased in and out to trigger the appropriate breadcrumb behaviors.

      ***edit***
      An alternative could be that we let "visible"/"invisible" apply to normally invisible magic items and use "visible" or "invisible", when applied to a bread crumb or castle magic item that's normally non-visible, to mean "activate" and "deactivate". At least then we could stack the behavior-related breadcrumbs together and turn them on and off as desired. That would also have the benefit that pathing of a mob could be dynamically changed by using branches and activating/deactivating branches based on the state of the room. Not to mention removing the need to pull tricks like teleporting magic items across the room to insure that they only trigger once.
      Last edited by slickriptide; 9-24-20 at 12:51:22 PM.

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