Monday, February 21, 2011

Forge 2 and Creating a TCG

This is sort of a continuation of my previous post.

I'm not sure why I can't get started on Forge 2.  I wrote the Forge 1 and the first 1,100 cards all by myself.  I wasn't writing it for other people or to annoy Wizards or for fame and fortune.  I wrote Forge because I wanted to.  While this sounds incredible self-righteous, truthfully you have to do things in life because you want to and not because other people want you do.  (When you do things that other people want you to, it is called work and they pay you.)

Currently my real life is a little random.  Like all respectable adults everywhere I need to find a job.  I've interviewed at a couple of computer places but none of them wanted to talk about Forge at all.  They didn't care how many lines it was or the number of times it was downloaded.  Obviously I enjoy Magic and other card games but it is difficult to translate that passion in money. 

I've seriously thought about writing Forge 2 and once it has 200 or so cards, I could try selling it for $5 apiece.  But the more I think about it, my conscience just won't let me.  Maybe selling Forge 2 (or even Forge 1) is legal but it seems too close to stealing.  One of the alternatives is to program a dead, forgotten trading card game (TCG) and sell it. 

Another option I have is to write a program like Forge for an existing TCG and become partners with the publishing company.  I recently found a new TCG called Wizard of Oz with all new artwork or I could do a computer version of Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer and add on a quest mode.  Of course the user interface and AI would have to be much better than Forge but I think I could accomplish that.

Ideally I could create my own TCG so I could "computerize" it and sell it for $5 or $10.  Obviously I have no idea how to really create my own TCG.  Wizards says that only publish 1% of all of the cards created for a set, which means that many cards never see the light of day.  I think it would be cool to mash together Magic's and Marvel/DC VS rules into one game.  I don't really know would this be legal but if I stole the same ideas from both games, the resulting TCG would be vastly different from either game. 

On a side note, it would be cool to have a Marvel/DC VS videogame that had all 2,000 or so cards.  The user interface could use some of the great comic art and everybody likes to use their favorite superhero.  Version 1 could let you play against the computer but the AI would be much better than Forge's.  Version 2 could be similar to Magic Online.  And I do know that there was a videogame and an online game but both of them tanked.  I blame the weird user interface that didn't have a cancel button, no kidding.  If you accidentally clicked on a card, you had to play it, even if the card helped your opponent.

So if I sound a little bit lost, well I am.  I'm sure that I'm not the only one on this swirling blue marble.

Keep on forging,


ripper234 said...

It's sad that interviewers don't care about Forge. For me, someone that has written a successful open source project is an asset, and definitely something interesting to talk about during a technical interview!

Anonymous said...

Please don't defect from Forge! It it weren't for Forge my Magic playign would be severely curtailed.

sprechblase said...

Hey Forge, cheer up ! Never give up, cause your talents will be needed somewhere. Maybe you can add something like a donate option to your blog?

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should consider Gathering Donations, or if your looking to design something new or for a dead card game consider -

You could approach online communities that still play dead card games and offer to build their engine if they "kick start" you with enough cash. It's worth a try!

Christian said...

Dude thank you so much for the time you have put into Forge. Even though it's not perfect and doesn't have every single card in the game of magic - it allows me to play a custom deck against the computer, which is a dream of mine. Please don't stop!!

I'd like to send you $10 as a thank you so far. What PayPal address should I send it to? Keep up the good work! I wish you could find the funding you need to continue and even develop Forge 2. I'm sure you just need to find how to monetize it because I'm sure there are millions of people who would pay to have a program like that.

Christian said...

I have to reply again because I forgot to click "email followups to me", and I cannot edit comments.

Michael said...

It's not legal to sell Forge 2.0 if Forge 2.0 contains WOTC intellectual property.

It's not legal to take intellectual property from more than 1 source, without permission, and mash them together. You would have 2 (or more) entities that could sue you, increasing your chances of being sued.

If you borrow things that are not intellectual property, that's not illegal . . . the key is to know the difference between what is IP and what is not protected.

If Forge 2.0 contains no IP (other than what you and other volunteers create), and it has a legitimate use (like being able to play a non-WOTC TCG in addition to being able to play MTG), then it would probably be legal and you could probably sell it.

Since Forge 1.0 contains a lot of WOTC IP, you should not borrow code from 1.0 when you are creating 2.0.

However, I doubt you will be able to sell Forge 2.0. You probably need other people to volunteer to help you create it (or at least, to help you expand it). Are they going to work for free while you get paid? And how do you stop piracy?

My advice (not LEGAL advice, just friendly advice) would be to write Forge 2.0 without using any code from Forge 1.0, and without hard-coding any WOTC intellectual property (don't use card names, the names of rules, the idea of 5 basic land types, etc.). You can design Forge 2.0 to be compatible with those rules, but don't hard-code them into the engine itself.

Then someone else could do the illegal stuff (coding MTG rules and MTG cards for Forge 2.0) while you only did things that are more likely to be considered legal.

Also, if you are the only person who writes Forge 2.0, and it's not distributed under an open source license, you would be able to licence it to any company that wanted to use it for its own TCG.

Forge said...

Thanks for the comments. :)

At least I know that I'm actually reaching somebody and not just blogging for my own self indulgence.

Christian said...

Dude it's the best! I love it! There are a few cards I miss as I put in decks, like Turn to Mist and Flourishing Defenses, but I figure those are pretty difficult to code.

But yes you are appreciated!!!

Mikey said...

First off, legal or not, it's not stealing. Copyright infringement is legally different from stealing (The things you learn supporting the pirate party is amazing...)

Second off, why isn't there a "Donate to our feed the developer fund" button in forge anyway? Or even on your website!? I paid wizards $5 for their crappy ass xbox version of the game that doesn't let me build my own decks let alone try to make the computer play against me with a randomly constructed one... ;-)

Thirdly, instead of selling Forge 2.0, or making it donation ware, why not flattr it?

Also... one final note on the "stealing" thing... said...

What namely you're saying is a terrible blunder.