I think one of my regrets of the comic is that I never really properly shoe-horned in a more detailed explanation of how magic works. It’s in things like that probably better planning out story structure and being a more experienced writer probably comes in – the problem arises from the fact that almost all the characters that would practically talk about it, already know at very least the principles of it. Peter, being someone that doesn’t typically use magic much himself much, but seems to have some clever tricks for programming autocasters do various things, is sort of the perfect vehicle for exposition of it in a way because he has an inherently very mechanical knowledge of how it works – very few characters have a better analytical grasp on it than he does (aside from someone like Mium, who arguably has far too analytical a grasp on it), but there’s rarely a case that it would make sense for him to explain it, because everyone that he could explain it to would tell him to take a hike, given that they’d already know at least the basics.

Bits and pieces of explanations have been in various pages, but it’s sort of a picture built over small pieces over years, and probably more complicated than it has to be given that the magic system itself is fairly straight forward. At some point I should probably just put a detailed description of it on the wiki, or at least a summary of what could have gleaned from the various bits and pieces that have appeared in the comic so far.

The extent that Peter can or cannot use magic is somewhat ambiguous, but it should be noted that many (or perhaps even most) people can use magic with an autocaster and some training, though how good they are at it varies somewhat – the simpler the autocaster the more people can use but the more limited its functionality. As we saw with Miko trying to move the pen in the last page, many people that can use a more general autocaster simply use it just far too slowly for it to be of practical use in a combat situation (though it’s still sometimes useful). Translating Eidos calculations to a computerized load is a tricky business though, and it’s a bit more complicated than just mathematics – there’s a certain layer of translation. Mium is quite good in this in theory, being far more proficient than a typical computer at handling Eidos data – to the point that Rovak seems to suspect that Mium can read and understand Eidos data to an extent, but seems to still lack something in terms of writing to it. On the other hand of the spectrum is someone like Naomi who’s translation layer goes almost all the way from “conceptual” to “write to Eidos” without her generally being aware of most of the steps in between, effectively allowing her to skip the conscious calculation (which is what is typically called Innate Mages… they don’t even strictly need to know Eidos exists to use their ability in many cases, though the rate of Innate Mages among populations that are aware of Eidos is significantly higher than among populations that don’t – vastly so – suggesting that many will likely be unaware of an innate talent without prior knowledge of Eidos… or that magic is even possible).

Making something float is quite fair bit harder than fling it across the room – there’s probably a dozen ways to do it, but almost all of them would involve multiple calculations. Peter could probably do it in one single variable calculation, which he would have gotten to if his lecture had continued long enough. Peter is both the best and the worst teacher of magic – he has a better grasp on the fundamental nature of it than many natural or innate mages who rely more heavily on the translation layer of turning intent into magic, but in a way not as good as that understanding of during intent into magic is often the more useful part for people that want to use magic quickly to the point where they cannot really be said to doing the mental calculation anymore – no one can really calculate magic faster than a bullet, at some point its more like embedding some of the calculations into the translation layer – muscle memory of calculations in a way; even the main example of a Natural Mage (Kally) has the calculation formula for her dragon sort of directly stored in her calculation layer (Eidos Key) to the point where she couldn’t really be said to be calculating it when she calls it at this point – calculating it from scratch would be almost impossible; more over, because she is storing such a complicated calculation like that, it somewhat impairs her ability as a Natural Mage, sort of like how Innate Mages tend to struggle more with being calculations outside of their innate magic compared to a Natural Mage that isn’t also a Innate Mage… all of which to say the line between Innate Mage and Natural Mage is fuzzy one.

Now if you want fuzzy lines… Miko is perhaps something of an Artificial Natural Mage at this point 😀