When we last saw our hero, he was working on migrating spells from being hard-coded in 15 different places to being individual XML data files that are loaded at boot time.
While this makes it easy to modify, enable, disable, rename, or adjust spells without a recompile, the main reason I’m doing so is because there’s just so dang much clutter in the codebase with spell info strewn about everywhere. It’s like a pack of wizards exploded in there, I swear.
This will also make it far easier to make minor adjustments for balance. Instead of having to track down a developer to go through many slow tweak-recompile-reboot cycles just to adjust spell damage, the “balance engineer” will be able to work independently. In the future it may be possible to perform online editing of spell attributes without a reload. This is obviously not something that everyone should be allowed to do.
Part of the migration will be to move most of the actual function code into the spell files. Most spells are pretty generic in nature — add an affect (flight, strength, poison) or affect hitpoints in some way (fireball, heal). Even so, the same ~10 lines of code are duplicated for pretty much every spell with only the name changed.
Making the spells somewhat independent of the game engine also makes the engine less “tied” to Basternae. At some point I’d like to create a space-based MUD using the same code, and the spells would obviously be dead weight.