Owlcat Games is clearly committed to providing us daily updates to their Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter campaign, as they've cranked out yet another entry as we count down the remaining sixteen days of the initiative. This time around, they talk about the game's magic system and the visuals they're creating to make spells feel all the more potent in the game:
Out of the core classes, only monk, fighter, barbarian and rogue don’t use magic, so each and every spell we add will increase the depth of the game for all parties that will not specifically avoid magic. And we want you to have a multitude of choices every time you level up your spell casting characters and every time you choose your spells for the day. Of course you won't have to constantly rearrange your spells and you'll be fine with just a basic set of spells in some parts of the game and on the easier difficulty settings. But we also strive to create challenges and environments that will make you stop and consider what spells to prepare for the task at hand.
But no spell may truly come to life without its visual component – because it is this exact part of the spell that makes it an actual translation from pen and paper to your screens. And in visual effects as well we try to support both the variety of spells and their targets. A special system in our game supports scaling of both shapes and sizes of visual effects on different creatures to improve both the aesthetic feel and gameplay feedback from your (and, sometimes, your opponents') actions.
Mechanically, spells consist of a basic skeletal structure and a system of multiple components that make up complex magical effects. The main structure contains common parameters that include, but are not limited to, range, different descriptions, name and release animation. Components include parts of the spell that working together will eventually make spell act the way we want it to. For example, the spell "Snowball" has components that add it to the Wizard spell list, a component for the conjuration spell school, a ranged touch projectile component, cold descriptor and actions that deal damage on hit and allow the target to make a saving throw, with an action that applies staggered condition on the target if it fails this saving throw. Each such component is programmed to be a new cog to create new spells from, to assemble them from different parts. And with each new component, it becomes easier to make spells that have similar mechanics.