Monday, June 25, 2007

MTG Improvements

3 new articles today

I’m all for feedback, and I read all the e-mail I get. What are your thoughts about MTG Forge? Do you like the user interface, deck editor, and the computer AI? Do you play more constructed, sealed, or draft? Just click on the comments link at the bottom of this article to let your voice be heard.

Well I’m going to tell you my opinion. I’m not just the developer, I’m also an end user. I enjoy programs (games) that are easy to use and fun. I enjoy good surprises, like when the computer hits me with Hidetsugu's Second Rite which causes 10 damage only if you are at 10 life, it was a great way to lose. I think those kinds of surprise moments really make MTG Forge infinitely re-playable.

Personally, I used to play just sealed games with the “Generate Deck” option. I loved the surprises like getting 2 copies of the same rare in my deck or playing offbeat color combinations like white red or green blue. Recently I’ve done more drafts, about one a night, and I play all seven of the computer opponents. One time the computer had a pretty good red/green land destruction deck that really crippled me. Usually I don’t even experience a game loss, and very rarely I lose a whole match. This is a tidbit of inside info, when you are drafting instead of clicking the “Choose Button” card, you can just right click. By right clicking you are selecting the card that is currently highlighted.

I also really enjoy the deck editor. It took a lot of time to get the tables to show correctly on the screen and sort, I really wanted a sort feature. In case you don’t know, you can sort the cards by clicking on the column name. The deck editor looks a lot like Magic Online, and this is done on purpose. The deck editor is really easy to use, unlike other games. I think making your deck should be as fun as possible.

The suggestions that I’ve heard the most are making the user interface look more like Magic Online, cards pictures in play, stack lands, etc… and to program a whole set of real cards like 9th Edition or Ravnica. Of those two suggestions, the 2nd one is the most feasible. I really would love making MTG Forge more graphical like a video game, but I don’t have the knowledge to do that. Being able to play with a whole set would be cool because you could accurately draft and play block constructed.

I am currently trying to program the 10th edition core set. I am rebuilding MTG Forge from the ground up to make it better and more flexible, so currently it just cycles through the phases and I can play creatures. You can choose which phases stop, so you can play cards at the computer’s end of turn. Combat does not work, and all the old cards won’t work with the new version. I am going to start programming the white cards and many of white’s prevention effects have been eliminated, which makes it a little easier to program. Story Circle is still around, and I’m not sure how to currently program it, but I should be able to figure it out.

High Ground will be a pain to code, it is an enchantment that lets your creatures block 2 creatures. It does some seem useful for either block constructed or in limited games. Windborn Muse is a 2/3 with an ability like Ghostly Prison, that makes your opponent pay 2 for each attack. I think I can program it, but cards like that are prone to errors. Programming the computer AI for that card will be a pain also. Just the 10th edition white cards has first strike, double strike, and protection (yes, Paladin en-Vec seems to be back.)

Mobilization is back, it is an enchantment that gives all your soldiers vigilance and generates new soldier tokens for 2W. Thankfully, Mobilization won’t be hard to program. I have to program aura’s, and I think I can do it, but it will probably have some weird errors that I have to stamp out. Spirit Link is probably the most complicated aura, since it triggers on damage. Heart of Light is an odd aura that prevents all damage to and from the enchanted creature, so it becomes an all-star blocker? I’m not sure. So it prevents combat and regular damage, which might be tricky to program. OK, enough about all that, tell me your comments. --Forge


Nanocore said...

I don't have a lot of time to spend on this, but I did take the first steps to developing code to display the card images, with stacking and tapping. I don't have anything to share, as I haven't yet merged it into the existing code base. If I make a block of time available, I will get this into the code and see if you can use it in a future release.

Forge said...

Sounds good, what language are you using?

Nanocore said...

Java. And I will be using the first version of MTG Forge you have published as the base to modify.

Forge said...

Well best of luck to you. Keep me updated on your progress. :)