Monday, July 11, 2011

Buggy Cards – To add or not to add, that is the question

When I was working on Forge as a personal, pet project I didn't mind adding buggy cards.  I knew which of the cards were buggy and generally they just made me smile when a bug happened during the game.  Generally the bugs were mildly annoying but nothing more than that.  (If the bug caused the game to crash, I didn't smile.)  And the Forge developers continued to add cards that were a little bit buggy.  By “buggy cards” I mean the cards would work under "normal circumstances" but not when things got complicated.

(Random cool card picture)

This rule-of-thumb has worked well for a while but it now that Forge has 8,437 things could be changed.  The only reason that I included buggy cards to begin with was because Forge didn’t have many cards.  And the more cards it has equals more fun.  Now all of the buggy cards could be removed and the player could optionally use them by changing an option.  

I started thinking about buggy cards after recently reading this post on the Wagic blog.  One paragraph caught my attention:

[start quote]

I’m also proud to think that in Wagic, when we say a card is supported, you are very unlikely to find a bug with it, and if you do, we acknowledge it’s a bug, we won’t say “no, we couldn’t do better than that with this card”. When we can’t fix the bug, we “downgrade” the card. It is still in the game, but you have to enable a special option (the “grade”) in order to play with it. 

This way, by default, a card that is not good enough will not appear in your game experience. For example, you won’t officially find the Planeswalkers in Wagic, because we think they do not reach the “quality bar” we expect them to reach…but it doesn’t prevent you from downloading them in a “workaround” version. So, when we say we support 7700 cards, we could actually say we support 8000 cards, but 300 of them were not considered “good enough” to be in the default settings.

[end quote]

I thought it was a very good way to deal with buggy cards.  Of course the level of “bugginess” is hard to tell.  Does a non-buggy card mean that it is 100% rules compliant and works correctly in all situations?  And to further complicated the situation some cards appear buggy only when other new cards are added.

Wagic is a great implementation of Magic with rules enforcement.  Wagic’s primary platform is the Sony PSP but it also runs on Windows, Linux, and Nokia N900 (maemo).  Wagic for Windows features mouse support or you can use the plain, old keyboard.  I think you can also use your gamepad if you use an external program to remap your keyboard to your gamepad.

Keep on tapping (and winning),


Anonymous said...

Although Wagic has some good rules enforcement, I feel it can't compare to Forge when it comes to making a deck and story mode, considering you can't just start a quest on a whim and have it start without any problems. I say this after having realized how obnoxious Wagic could be when it came to adding campaigns.

wololo said...

@Anonymous: Wagic's Stroy mode allow you to write your own scenario and your own rules. You can for example set a series of challenges/enigmas and make a story our of it.

I must admit don't know how it compares to Forge which I haven't checked in a while, but yes, under these circumstances, since Wagic's Stroy mode practically allow you to create an entirely new game, it's not necessarily "easy" to create one.

As far as playing a Story made by somebody else, you just have to copy a folder, it shouldn't be too hard in theory. I understand that there are a few bugs but we are trying to fix them.

Since the campaign mode in forge and the Story mode in Wagic are not aiming at doing the same thing, this might be where your frustration is coming from?

I'm open to suggestions though, if you have specific pain points :)

rares: Forge ended up beating Wagic in number of cards, but we'll be back ;)

wololo said...

Stroy -> Story

Anonymous said...

I apologize if I sounded overly critical of Wagic, it's a great program as well. My frustrations must have stemmed from my attempts at the many different programs available to play Magic, and I specifically wanted to play against computers in an immediately accessible story mode. I will say that if a story mode that continued after the tutorial was included, I would have been much more inclined to continue on with Wagic, as the interface was excellent.

Anonymous said...

I love Wagic. I used to play it all the time before I discovered Forge. I love the graphical interface, I love the open variety of the card shop, and I love "unlocking" players and sets. However, I wish this game would update more often. It's sad to see a set come and go without a new version of Wagic to play it on. And planewalker support is not a small feature of Forge :p So I play both games, and I enjoy when they pick up features from each other.