Monday, January 24, 2011

Insider Turned Outsider

I used to be an "insider".  I knew everything that was going on with Forge.  I knew all of the cards.  I knew why these specific cards were added and I knew the internals of Forge.  Being an insider was great because everything made sense.  I knew everything about Forge frontward and backward.

The Forge project has progressed without me for more than 2 years and I'm astonished at their progress although my lack of involvement has turned me into an "outsider".  I have no idea why the new cards were chosen.  I don't know which cards are buggy and which one's aren't.  I read about the changes but I don't feel like I really know what's going on.  I've changed from being an omnipotent programmer to a mere user. 

Way back in the day when I was the only programmer, people would ask me all types of questions.  One commonly asked question was, "Why did add card X?" because card X seemed to be a completely random card.  It was confusing to the user because they didn't understand my decision to add card X and even after I told them my reason, I could sense that they still didn't understand my decision. 

(The truth is that I added cards that were powerful or cards that I read about on or cards that were expensive or cards that Forge could support.  These reasons also apply to the current developers and how they choose cards to add.)

Since I've morphed into a regular user I have to accept other people's choices.  I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I'm just saying that it is very different.  As a user I feel less involved, mostly because I am less involved.  As a programmer I was in the driver's seat but as a user I'm definitely a passenger. 

I created this blog so that user's could learn more about Forge.  Without this blog Forge would be some random program that was pretty cool but hardly anyone would download.  With this blog you get to see a little bit "behind the scenes". 

On a side note, Forge is the biggest project that I've ever worked on and I'm glad that it fills a niche.  (Not that I didn't make any mistakes.  I built Forge about 3 times before the program became too complicated and would fall apart.)  Hats off to the new developers who keep the dream alive. :+)

Keep on forging,

--I see myself as the PR (public relations) guy for Forge.

--I loving using Magic lingo like the word morph, "I've morphed into a regular user".

-- I really enjoyed the "feature" the let you use the activated abilities of the computer's creatures, I thought it was just the type of bug the Forge should have.  (This feature has been fixed so it doesn't work now.)


Unknown said...

The real beauty of Forge to me lies in the ease and elegance of the card scripting. You can reproduce almost every card now via the AbilityFactory and the newly added Trigger system. We now have a mana pool for the human player. I just started following the project last fall and the progress has been incredible. Close to 6300 cards as of Jan 25. You really have to hand it to the devs. Incredibly bright bunch with a passion for the game.

Forge said...

Forge has quickly grown thanks to the coders who donate their time. Obviously they get some benefit because they enjoy playing Forge also.

They have done a great job scripting more and more Magic cards. Scripting is great because it is fast, compared to coding the card completely with Java.

Forge is a Magic project that has gotten "off the ground" and actually works. is littered with Magic projects that never got anything working.

Somewhat accidentally, Forge has attracted many smart people :)

Psycho X said...

It's a good program and I use it often, always getting the new version as soon as I find out it's been released, but I think the reason for adding cards needs to be rethought. A powerful card does not necessarily make a card good. I use many cards that are not very powerful but the work well in the deck. If the only add cards that are added are the powerful ones or the ones that are read about, many of cards that are potentially useful are being left out. The reasons I chose this program over the others is it's ease of use, ability to play solo against a computer controlled opponent, and also to play decks that I have constructed when I get whim to play and have no live person to play against. The former two I have been able to do, but the latter I keep running into a block, as not all the cards I use in my own deck are available to use in this program, and now I see that the reason for adding cards is a not very well thought. Good program, but I'd like to be able to play my own decks as well as decks that others have constructed.

Hellfish said...

Psycho X: That was only the case at the very beginning, and is understandable when working alone or with a very small group. Now we are aiming toward full set compatibility and are pretty damn close. Starter 2000 is only missing one card and for "real" sets, M10 is 89% completed with only 26 missing cards.

Psycho X said...

@Hellfish:What of older sets such as Ravnica Block and Kamigawa block? Alot of my decks utilize cards from those blocks.

Anonymous said...

@Psycho...patience is needed in your case. Eventually, your cards will make it into the project. Believe it or not, it takes time and one person's card list does not take precedence over others. I suggest you read the Forge Wiki and learn to script your own cards so that we can all enjoy them.

Hellfish said...

Psycho X:To answer your question, here is some data from the latest SVN build(not the latest beta):
Kamigawa Block: 307 cards completed out of 621 = ~50%
Ravnica Block: 327 cards completed out of 636 = ~51%

I agree that patience is needed and that you should check out the scripting tutorials and maybe help. It can be fun (sounds weird but it's true) and you can focus on the sets you want to see.

I'd also like to point out that the we're not exactly slow about adding cards. Quite a few new people have started helping with that and in the last week alone we've added 336 new cards.