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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • How would you edit spells? A text editor window?

    Immediately, people would post the "best" spells for anyone to use. Once things aren't controllable as an in-game resource, they will be copied without limit.
    • No, not a text editor that parses a grammar; I’m thinking something like lambda calculus written using playful graphical symbols [], but with symbols for particular function calls or something like that.

      With this in place the game could require you to read certain “books” before you gain “knowledge” of particular “runes”. It could also do this is stages, eg. you can use only two runes of that particular type in all of your programs after reading one book; you need to read an advanced book about this rune before you can use the rune in as many of your “spells” as you want, but still only one of these runes per spell (f.ex.).

      People can still publish scripts then, and others can use them, but greenhorns can’t just copy the wizards’ spells and have them work. They’ll need to spend time questing in order to build up their “knowledge” of “magic” before they can create advanced scripts.

      It goes further too:

      The books that confer this knowledge can also serve as an interesting aspect to raise game complexity. F.ex. imagine that they don’t disappear upon reading, but they take game time to actually read (just like a real book). And maybe reading a book several times “deepens your knowledge” (enough to be valuable, but not enough to make it worthwhile to read every book thrice). Maybe less precious books get worn out a little after every reading and fall apart after two dozen reads. Maybe books can be copied, but only if you have good writing skill and then it still takes a long time.

      Now you have very interesting items for trade! In fact someone could make it the point of their character to collect books in a library (which lets others read them for a fee), complete with players spending time replicating tattered books (monks). There could be a few books of highly advanced knowledge that do not wither from use but only exist in a few copies in some wizard guilds’ libraries; aspiring wizards would make pilgrimages to these libraries and might have to get on a waiting list for their turn to read. And on and on.

      It’s not hard to imagine how you to set up a few relatively simple constraints so that complex societal and political arrangements arise from that. You just need to make sure that even simple scripts are worthwhile, but not close enough to the utility of scripts written with more functions, so that there is an incentive to use the “magic” at all but also an incentive to expand one’s “knowledge”.

      • This is extremely interesting as it allows user defined variation and facilitates sandbox style play ("spells that do cool things that I wrote") while at the same time making sure that players do not abuse the idea. Brilliant.