Almost-announcing - Arcmage: Seeds of Magic

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DireMungBean
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Almost-announcing - Arcmage: Seeds of Magic

Post by DireMungBean » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:32

Hi all,

This is going to be a long message, so I'll start with a summary: There's now a (limited and buggy, but playable) digital version of Arcmage that allows single player against AI. First Let's Play available here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILv-QIbvG2s

But the game is still not downloadable because I need some help from you regarding credits and licenses.

Now, the full version:

For those of you who haven't met me - my name is Shai, I had a somewhat brief involvement with the WTactics project in 2013, during the lovely "Summer of Cards" event; I came there with an initiative of making a single player digital version of WTactics. As the actual WTactics project was not really advancing, I took special care to make my project as generic as possible and completely independent, to be able to use it for other card games as well, as I waited for WTactics to be ready. I tried making some games for it myself, but deciding that game design is not really for me, I ended up putting it aside and mostly forgetting about it.

Fast forward four years, as I put some order into my old projects, and by chance decide to visit wtactics.org again; and what do I see if not a link "about our reformation". Excited to learn about Arcmage, having actually reached a full set of rules with enough cards to actually play a game, I decided to blow the dust off of my old engine, and implement Arcmage on it. You can see the results in the video above - The game works, and in my opinion is quite fun to play. Still quite a few bugs and issues, but nothing game-breaking.

I'd love to publish it now, but I need to get the licensing in order first. The license section of the Arcmage website is quite confusing, and references a "readme" file without any clear explanation of where to find it (pardon my ignorance, but I don't know what "our server" is...).

So what happens now? First, I'd like to hear your opinion. If you like the idea of playing Arcmage single player, and if you like the way it currently looks - I hope we can work together more. I'd need you to tell me what I can write on my license file - who gets what credit for the card art and rules, and anything else I need to know to release the game to the public (my code is BSD licensed). I think this can not only be a good way to spread Arcmage in general, but can also be a good tool for you in testing additions to the game - my basic principle in designing my engine was that games should be possible to make without writing any code and certainly without rebuilding the project. This means that, if you want, you can also tweak the game files yourselves to test new things and try new cards using this engine.

Looking forward to hear your thoughts. Either way, thanks for making a fun game!
Desttinghim
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Re: Almost-announcing - Arcmage: Seeds of Magic

Post by Desttinghim » Tue Nov 28, 2017 00:51

Hey Shai, nice to meet you. I'm new-ish to the project, and my IRL friends and I have been working on refining the rules of Arcmage to make it more distinct from magic.

I have to say that this is a very cool project! I've been trying to figure out a way to model ArcMage in code, but it looks like you beat me to it! What technologies did you use to build it?

I know that I am interested in using this for quick play-testing of new rules and cards and so on. I have a few rule changes and card changes that I would be interested in play-testing using this.

As far as licensing goes, I am not an expert (or a lawyer), but it sounds like you are looking for the art repository. It has pretty much all the art and includes licenses next to the original files. The only other license you might need is for the card templates, but I have no clue where those are or what the licensing is for them (though I would assume GPLv3). The game rules themselves are not copyright-able (in the US at least) so there should be no licensing issues there.

I may be getting something wrong, so you should probably wait until snowdrop and ngeomine have a chance to respond. Regardless, I'm excited to see your work!

EDIT: Took a look at the download on your website with the Hearts game. Seems pretty cool so far!
DireMungBean
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Re: Almost-announcing - Arcmage: Seeds of Magic

Post by DireMungBean » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:58

Nice to meet you, and thank you! The engine is written in pure Java, and all the game-specific data is in XML format. If you've downloaded the Hearts game then you can already check out the 2013 version of the code, slightly out of date but not by too much. I'm still not sure if I'm going to publish some sort of documentation for the XMLs (I wrote a little bit in the past, but partial and now out-of-date) - probably if there's a handful of users I'll just support their modding efforts personally, and if I feel there's a chance of a significant user base I'll prefer creating actual modding tools rather than spend time documenting the XML files. I'll definitely need to create a deck editor soon, for starters.

Thank you for the art repository link. Searching a bit more, I now notice the following line in the Arcmage credits page: "Whenever you download a complete deck (zip-file) the detailed artwork and copyright is in the following files". I took a look at those files, they seem pretty much like what I was looking for. So I guess I can just include those files in my project and I should be fine?

Hopefully snowdrop and ngeomine can share some thoughts soon, either way I'll probably publish within the next few days, I think these files should cover the licensing issue.
DireMungBean
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Re: Almost-announcing - Arcmage: Seeds of Magic

Post by DireMungBean » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:35

That's it, I published:

https://shaishapira.com/my-projects/arc ... -of-magic/

Hope you'll enjoy. Feedback very welcome, either here or directly to me!
ngoeminne
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Re: Almost-announcing - Arcmage: Seeds of Magic

Post by ngoeminne » Thu Dec 07, 2017 18:57

Hey Shai,

First let me say. Well done! Congratz. And don't worry to much about the ARC/Wtactics lics for now.

Creating an AI that understands the card rules isn't easy. Let me run trough your post.
DireMungBean wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:32
Fast forward four years, as I put some order into my old projects, and by chance decide to visit wtactics.org again; and what do I see if not a link "about our reformation". Excited to learn about Arcmage, having actually reached a full set of rules with enough cards to actually play a game, I decided to blow the dust off of my old engine, and implement Arcmage on it. You can see the results in the video above - The game works, and in my opinion is quite fun to play. Still quite a few bugs and issues, but nothing game-breaking.
We kicked the project back to life in feb 2016, however 2017 was again a bit silent. But nice to see that an old engine/project, a keen mind, and some dusting off resulted in something new.
DireMungBean wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:32
So what happens now? First, I'd like to hear your opinion. If you like the idea of playing Arcmage single player, and if you like the way it currently looks - I hope we can work together more. I'd need you to tell me what I can write on my license file - who gets what credit for the card art and rules, and anything else I need to know to release the game to the public (my code is BSD licensed). I think this can not only be a good way to spread Arcmage in general, but can also be a good tool for you in testing additions to the game - my basic principle in designing my engine was that games should be possible to make without writing any code and certainly without rebuilding the project. This means that, if you want, you can also tweak the game files yourselves to test new things and try new cards using this engine.
What happens now? Who'll tell, but I do like the idea of an AI opponent. It sure wasn't our first priority, but somewhere on the long term.

I'd love to see your engine integrated with our online version of the game. The plus side of this is that our online card database and deck builder feeds directly in the online web version. We could try to integrate the two.
The database supports both high resolution png's as low resolution jpegs. Each card is identified by a guid.

It would be cool if you could also implement the Uneasy Alliance deck, which is also finished.
Brothers in Arms is also near completion, but doesn't have all the artwork yet.

Anyway, I guess we could work together to advance arcmage. We'll take Louis along with us, as he has some good suggestions to simplify the gameplay as well :-)

Kind regards,
Nico
DireMungBean
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Re: Almost-announcing - Arcmage: Seeds of Magic

Post by DireMungBean » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:50

Thank you Nico, and well done to you as well! From what I understand, you're the reason why this project became relevant again.
I'd love to see your engine integrated with our online version of the game. The plus side of this is that our online card database and deck builder feeds directly in the online web version. We could try to integrate the two.
What kind of integration do you have in mind?
It would be cool if you could also implement the Uneasy Alliance deck, which is also finished.
Brothers in Arms is also near completion, but doesn't have all the artwork yet.
Implementing more cards is definitely on the way, although second in priority after UI improvements - I don't know if you've actually tried playing it, but right now pretty much everyone agrees it's very unintuitive and challenging to play. I have to say though, you are not giving me an easy time in adding cards to the engine with how virtually every card has a completely unique special ability, I'm so happy in the rare cases when I see a card that just does something simple :-D
Anyway, I guess we could work together to advance arcmage. We'll take Louis along with us, as he has some good suggestions to simplify the gameplay as well :-)
Any chance you'll update the roadmap, so we can see where we're standing and where we're going? The current roadmap suggests we should have had five decks and numerous additional cards by November 2017.
ngoeminne
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Re: Almost-announcing - Arcmage: Seeds of Magic

Post by ngoeminne » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:54

Hey DireMungBean,

The integration I have in mind is running your AI on the server of our online game demo. That way people don't have to install anything and can just play online against your AI. That would also release you from creating a gui, and you could focus on getting it smarter, and adding new cards.

I guess we should have skype/discord chat, and maybe a game or to with the online demo.
DireMungBean wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:50
Implementing more cards is definitely on the way, although second in priority after UI improvements - I don't know if you've actually tried playing it, but right now pretty much everyone agrees it's very unintuitive and challenging to play. I have to say though, you are not giving me an easy time in adding cards to the engine with how virtually every card has a completely unique special ability, I'm so happy in the rare cases when I see a card that just does something simple
Well that's actually not by accident, we've designed the cards in such a way that there are almost no duplicates (even not over different factions). In MTG you have a lot of duplicates, especially over the different colors.
You'll find a simple blue 1/1 flying, and a simple black 1/1 flying, etc... This makes the factions less distinct.

As a guideline we actually don't want that at all, hence each card has something different. Have a look at Shadow in the dark. He's extremely bizarre cause he infiltrates in an enemy's city!

But the one thing you're really right about is that we need more cards, more decks, etc ...
I had hoped we could have made more by now, but we need more help in this area. Most of us are ICT'ers and we love to code, and develop, and thus the priority isn't always where it should be: making cards.

Besides me, only Clemens started to make a deck, but didn't finish it all the way.
So for now, the only two finalized decks are 'uneasy alliance' and 'gaian love for life'.

There are some that are close like 'Borthers in arms' and some that show good intentions 'Annoyed' and 'Toll of time', but they are not near completion. Another one is 'Ablaze', that should have been a burn deck, but terrible hard to make right (balance wise).

Kind regards,
Nico
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