Monday, December 20, 2010

Odds and Ends

I wanted to name this column “Todds and Tends” but I wasn’t sure that anybody would get it.  When I post something I try to have a specific topic in mind but today I’m going to wonder a little bit and talk about various magically related subjects.

Forge continues to be developed by about 5 serious programmers who tend to spend many hours a week programming new features.  One of the areas of improvement is the attacking and blocking code.  They have been working on improving this important piece of code.  Considering all of the combat modifers in Magic like first strike, deathtouch, regeneration and planewalkers the AI combat code has to take into account a lot of information.  Improving this area of the AI is very tough because the AI cannot “see” activated abilities and treats insanely, powerful creatures like Royal Assassin as generic 1/1 creatures.

I’ve been playing Magarena all week and it has been great.  Magarena has a great AI and it will make some very good tactical decisions.  The other good thing is that the AI is very fast and I only have to wait a few seconds, even though my computer is ancient.  Magarena has 450 cards but all of the cards are game winners, no stupid 2/2 for 3 mana.  The AI can be very aggressive, one time it killed my 8/8 with 2 spells and another time he totally devastated me with a trampling 24/24.

I’m thinking about adding a quest mode to Magarena because I think it would be really fun.  I’ve really enjoyed using randomly generated decks but the quest mode provides some real depth and is very engaging (you don’t want to quit).  Magarena happens to be written in Java, so at least I have a chance of modifying the source code.  I’ve written about Magarena previously here.

I’m not sure how many of you know about, which is a question and answer website that only deals with computer programming.  There is a new-ish website called that deals with Magic questions.  Draw3cards isn’t a very “serious” website but it does let people ask and answer a variety of questions like: What is the least printed magic card? and Are there any colored lands? (only Dryad Arbor which is green.)  I even asked my own question, “Is there a downside to being able to play any card as a land?” I didn't know about the Dakkon Blackblade Magic Online avatar that lets you play any card as a land.  Vanguard seems to have some great avatars like Momir Vig which have spawned whole new formats.

The card art is from  Jace vs. Chandra which are Japanese duel decks with new manga art for the planeswalkers.  You can read the official announcement here.

Keep on tapping,

This is a little bit random but just sit back and enjoy something: look outside, tell a joke, or just say ‘hi’ to the people sitting next to you.  I love computers, the internet, and always being connected but it can be very stressful.  And truthfully you don’t need to read the latest gossip or read about the latest technology or read somebodies twitter feed (I’ve never used twitter myself).  Try to relax for a whole 2 minutes. :+)


ripper234 said...

Thanks for mentioning Draw3Cards! I just wanted to mention that the site is very useful in answering rules questions (about 40% of the questions on Draw3Cards are rules question).

Keep on Forging...

atar said...

i would like to see a quest mode in magarena.It seems like a good program!Please make it happen! :)