Castle Magic: How Decorating Changed Forever

Valkoor MistStone, also known as Micah on Twitter, is a Wizard101 player who is known for his unique housing creations. This talented decorator has designed games and interactive housing features, among other things, which he'll be sharing in this guest post!

The introduction of Castle Magic into Wizard101 has added an entirely new level of creativity and possibilities. I know that for many, Castle Magic seems too complicated to try and figure out, or the gold cost is too high. However, it is a powerful tool that can really make your home come to life and stand out among the rest.

What I love most about Castle Magic is how fun and creative you can be with it. I taught myself a lot of techniques by experimenting with Castle Magic spells and how they can affect different objects. This has often lead to being inspired to decorate in new ways. I would like to show some examples of the houses I was able to build that previously would have been impossible to create.

The Spooky Theatre 

I used Castle Magic in my Death House in a variety of ways to turn it into a haunted carnival with games, magic shows, and a spooky movie theatre. Initially, I was going to build a few theatres and use Darkmoor paintings as the “screen.” However, I had never taken advantage of the camera angle spells they added to Castle Magic and thought it would be an opportunity to push my limits and create a series of short films. Below is one of the three films which shows a typical day in the life of Nosferabbit.

Since this was supposed to be a spooky house, for each short movie I took inspiration from famous horror tropes and films such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Mummy. I shortened them and created my own small storylines set within The Spiral. All of these were made using magic timers and reflectors which created a sequence of events that did certain things at a set time, such as making the background change, or visual effects. The trickiest part was merging multiple props and backgrounds all onto one stage so that they could transition between story locations. I did this by telling those items to go invisible and the new items to now become visible. Below is an image of what I see when decorating. Castle Magic certainly made it easier to move all of those items together by using the move in x direction spells. I also had to make it so the Castle Magic reset at the end of the film so it was possible for players to replay it over again without any issues.

It was the hardest thing I had ever done with decorating in the game. Nonetheless, it was completely worth it. Some of my favorite games out there are narrative driven; I love a good story and I enjoy writing my own as well. Who could have known a few years ago that it would be possible for you to create your own movies and tell stories in Wizard101?

The Palace of The Ancients 

Besides narrative, another way I like to tell stories is through the environment. After finishing Valencia Part 2 in Pirate101, I felt the desire to one day go to El Dorado even more than before. This inspired me to decorate a house as my own version of what El Dorado could be like in Wizard101. I soon figured out that this would be very difficult considering the lack of golden housing items. So instead, I used other ancient cities and civilizations as inspiration to make my own mystery of The Spiral. Floating in the sky of my Sun Palace, I built The Palace of The Ancients. What was this place? Legends say it belonged to three powerful Aztecosaur Rulers in The First World. No one really knows where it came from, or its true purpose. Not even Merle Ambrose would dare send a wizard there. It’s extremely ancient, filled with mysteries and secret knowledge. A lot of inspiration for the design of this house was from one of my favorite films, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, by Studio Ghibli.

The creation of a house of this size and detail was only possible thanks to Castle Magic timers and reflectors. When dealing with the housing item space limit, enlarging items to their maximum size with Castle Magic is a great way to fill up large spaces. It also allows you to play with scale, which gives you the illusion of walking through this vast, monumental architecture. To save on item space at the end, I had to enlarge the plants in the garden to maximum size, which doesn't look as great as I would want. Sometimes you must make sacrifices with your houses, but working around your limitations is all part of the creative process!

One of the best tips I can give on decorating is to add your own little touches of detail into your homes. For example, I ran out of item space to include any Monstrology House Guests, which often are a fantastic addition to any house. Instead, I used Castle Magic to add some small touches to make the house feel more alive. I used timers to tell the boats on my dock to float up and down a bit, mimicking the ships in Pirate101 and giving the sense that this palace is floating in the skies. I also made sure the fountains in the palace grounds were more magical and dynamic with rotating sculptures. They are small details; however, they are quite eye-catching and help the area feel less static.

To continue, I wanted to experiment with more camera angle usage and I created a short cutscene to go along with this house. You start on a small boat and there is a lever which, when pulled, begins the cutscene. I used timers to tell each object to repeatedly move forward towards the player, creating the illusion you are sailing closer to it. I added cloud effects using the Storm School bathtub, distant islands, as well as parrots and jellyfish pets flying around to make it look like a skyway from Pirate101. Making cutscenes is now one of my favorite things to do in houses and I love to see what other people come up with!

The Horror Game Puzzle

Items like the Magic Lever, Magic Brazier, and Orbs and Catchers are perfectly designed for puzzles and mazes. I had never created a maze house before, so to begin the process, I started with a theme. I love to play horror games, so I thought, could it be possible to make a horror game within Wizard101 that’s actually somewhat spooky or scary? Setting the mood was the most important thing. The choice in music scroll greatly impacts the ambiance you’re going for, so I used ones like the Khrysalis Dreamworld Theme and the Empyrea Reverie Hive Theme, both of which are more atmospheric, and haunting tracks.

The house begins with a main hub, where the player can press a magic button, activating the computer, and allowing access to the rest of the room which has teleporters to each level of the game. The story revolves around this evil Necromancer, Rurik, who has trapped you in his nightmare realm. Level 1 is like an escape room, where you are captive in Rurik’s home and you have to find a way to unlock the front door to escape. However, Rurik is roaming the house and if you get too close to him, he “captures” you and you are sent back down to the basement.

After you thought you escaped his home, it turns out you’re now trapped in his dark dimension which is Level 2. This level incorporates a variety of puzzle rooms, each more nightmarish than the last and you are being watched over by Rurik the entire time, playing his mad game. I even created some short cutscenes where he “speaks” to you using housing signs.

I’m sorry to players who have arachnophobia, but here is a clip of one of my cutscenes that takes the player by surprise after completing a previous puzzle. I changed the music to the Khrysalis Arachna Theme because it’s so intense, which helps to evoke that sense of danger that these spiders are crawling towards you and you don’t know what’s going to happen.

Puzzle houses and unique mazes are some of my favorite homes to explore on Castle Tours. It’s like you are creating games within a game. When making a puzzle or a maze, use a variety of Castle Magic items, experiment with how they work with each other, and take inspiration from other puzzle games out there and think about how you could bring them into Wizard101.

Castle Magic is an update to the game that has changed the way we can decorate our houses. It allows us so much more freedom and so many more opportunities to come up with new ways to put things together or create unique experiences. It’s inspiring to see how other people take decorating in this game to a whole new level. Thank you for taking the time to look at some of the things I’ve created, and I hope you have gleaned some insight into just how much potential Castle Magic has. All I have left to say is please share your creations with the community, whether it be on Castle Tours or Twitter. Everyone loves to see what people come up with and to be inspired!

I’ve also included some links to helpful resources below for using Castle Magic at all different levels:

Thanks to Micah for his post on housing!

Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!

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