Different figures are produced by different things,

I think quilted and flamed maple is something to do with the tree being so heavy its crushing its self

birds eye maple is as follows

The swirling grain and "birds eye" features found in bird's eye maple can be attributed to hormonal responses within the maple. In an effort to capture more light during the elongation/ bud breaking period, the maple will desperately produce new shoots. Low soil pH and a sugar deficit within the maple cause the tree to abort the new growth. The aborted new growth leaves tiny knots ("bird's eyes") in the tree which become covered up by the next year's growth ring.

Spalted maple is a fungal infection

Burl maple is as follows

A burl (British bur or burr) is a tree growth in which the grain has grown in a deformed manner. It is commonly found in the form of a rounded outgrowth on a tree trunk or branch that is filled with small knots from dormant buds

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AFAIK, flamed/quilted wood becomes like that because of a genetic defect (not too sure though).

I have a really cool piece of maple on my kitchen cabinet, it's like it has flaming/quilting AND birdseye, very cool looking.
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figuring is caused by the way trees grow. Two things make most of the pattern, in the spring the tree grows quickly and it slows down in the summer and stops in the winter (in temperate parts of the world) This makes the growth rings which everybody knows about and which you can see when a branch is cut across. When you cut along the wood you get grain and the look of this depends upon the angle you cut (plain sawn, quarter sawn etc) this creates thlines we call the grain. The second feature (in hardwoods) are the medullary rayswhich the tree uses for sideways transport (kind of like veins in the trunk). These make the basic pattern which identify each species the rest is caused by growth irregularities where the tree isn't straight or a branch grows or whatever. If the tree is damaged it will send out a mass of smallbranches and a load of scar tissue creating a burr or burl. sometimes this is done on purpose by woodsmen with plenty of patience.
It also depends upon how it is milled. The angle the blade goes through the trunk changes what the finished product looks like. Quarter sawn oak for for example, will often come out with "tiger striping", but would look ordinary straight cut. One of the reasons figured wood costs more, is there is more waste/log--fewer board feet.