Monday, July 27, 2009

Getting Stuff Done

Today I’m just going to talk about “getting stuff done.” MTG Forge was completed not because it was a work of art but because I was willing to use duct tape and “get it done.”

Magic is a wonderful game that seems to attract its fair share of programmers but very few programs ever get finished enough to be useable. Part of this problem is that people try to add too much stuff and get overwhelmed. I didn’t have this problem with MTG Forge version 1 but I’m definitely having it with version 2. In version 1 I knew that it was going to be not-perfect so I didn’t sweat the details. At first the computer treated all mana costs as colorless. I wasn’t trying to make the computer perfect and later I was able to update the code so the computer would tap the appropriate lands.

I also programmed MTG Forge with only a few of the phases because I didn’t know how to program all of them. While this annoying from the players perspective, it enabled me to work on the rest of the program and get it done. The same thing could be said about the user interface. It isn’t perfect but it has gone through a few upgrades and it looks better. At first the card picture was only displayed on the right and the cards in your hand and on the battlefield were just colored boxes.

Much like writing a paper for school, you just sit done and “get it done” or as we say in the south “git er done.”

p.s. By south I mean the southern USA not South American.


Xuelynom said...

A-choo! -snif-

Somewhere, someone must be saying something about me...

willow said...

Wow, I'm really happy you talk about this. I'd say it's my philosophy for all things in life, especially programming.
Once the application is out, there are so many people ready to criticize and say "I wouldn't have done it like this". But when they give it a try themselves, they realize months of work await them. I laughed recently when I came across a forum that sort of trashtalked my game. The guys were ready to recreate a new Shandalar, that would be 100 times better than Wagic... well, as expected, their project never went further than a forum discussion :P

Unknown said...

No prob Forge - there was no doubt what you meant about the South.

willow - that's what I like about MTGForge. It's rough around the edges, but it's workable. It's malleable and instead of just criticizing it, we have a team of blacksmiths to hammer away at it to fix what we don't like about it.

rising fruition said...

My tendency is to design for all possible features. When I do that, I find that the project is too big, and I lose motivation.

When I force myself to do the simplest thing that could barely work, just to make some progress, I usually make progress, and then I can change it a little to make it more general. And, since I have working code, I change it only to the extent I need to get the next thing barely working.

I still have to force myself to work this way. But, dang, the times I have, have convinced me it is a good way to do things. At least compared to the over-design-things end of the spectrum.

Forge said...

It is always easy to trash talk another program but it is a million times hard to make one yourself.

Alot of commercial videogames get mediocre reviews but they still get made, the same thing could be said about movies.