what CS could learn from

Development of our card database & card dev. tool. Used as the Gatherer & to empower the community to create new cards. Lead dev: Knitter
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snowdrop
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what CS could learn from

Post by snowdrop » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:17

http://www.cardgameforge.com

While the site has honourable intentions and does seem to help a lot of people, it lacks very much in functionality. My guess is that it's just not ready yet. However, it also has some good stuff aboard, e.g. export to PDF feature. (That's also the only feature I'd want you guys to clone...but please correct me if I'm wrong)

I'm confident CS will be a way better shaped tool than that, at least for our purposes, which aren't really the same as the forge. That said, I'll ask them for their source, just to see the PDF thingie...

Edit:
Greetings...

I'm the founder of WTactics.org and want to ask you if the source code for cardgameforge is using an open source license, and if so, where we could obtain it?

Reason I'm writing to you is that we have just recently also begun to develop an open source tool in PHP that is supposed to help us create cards, and also be used as the main card database, while also allowing extensive functionality like deck creation/export, rollback, patch exports for different engines (e.g. octgn2/lackeyccg etc), card translations etc etc. A super early sketchy pre alpha skeleton of this in dev monster can already be seen on http://WTactics.org/cardscape

As I notice you seem to have written your site in PHP I thought I'd check with you and also invite you to whatever co-work you might be interested in: Our goal is to create a generic and open source tool that can easily be adapated, by using config file, to work for any CCG around.

Consider it.

p.s. Great to see cardgameforge doing so well! I was around at bgdf when you presented the idea.. =)

with regards
/snowdrop
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Q_x
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Re: what CS could learn from

Post by Q_x » Mon Jan 17, 2011 18:50

Hmm LaTeX seems like the only option for such thing? And I'm not a LaTeX wizard, sadly.
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Knitter
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Re: what CS could learn from

Post by Knitter » Mon Jan 17, 2011 19:18

What do you want the "export to PDF" feature to do? Exporting to PDF can be achieved in many ways, some better than others, but it depends on what you really want users to be able to do.

PDF in PHP is a real pain the a...
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Re: what CS could learn from

Post by tdishman » Mon Jan 17, 2011 21:05

Hey, guys. I'm the developer from CardGameForge. I received your email, but after a little backtracking I thought it would be appropriate to respond here.

I made CGF a few years ago, primarily as a way for independant game developers to organize their creation efforts. I'm not sure how much you've played with the site, but each game can be public or private, and you can assign other users as editors for the game (allowing for collaboration).

Here's an example of a game that has been well-developed:

http://www.cardgameforge.com/game.php?id=138&mode=about

As you've already discovered, the site allows you to build your own PDF print sheets from the card images that have been added to a game. I accomplish this using the Open Source library, FPDF. It took some experimentation to get it working, but ultimately I was able to produce nice 3x3 sheets. The quality is purely dependent on the source images, but for the most part it is very good.

The site also has a tool that allows game developers to upload their cards in CSV format (from a spreadsheet). They can add lots of cards this way, then use the built-in card creator to map the uploaded information to card templates, which the site uses to produce JPG images of their cards. Here is a sample of a card that was produced using this tool:

Image

This tool was also written in PHP, using the gd library. In my database I store each template, and for each template I map "zones" where text/images can be overlayed. Each zone has an orientation (top-left, bottom-right, etc) and a font. I can create all sorts of card images by creating new background templates, mapping the zones and uploading the appropriate fonts. The templates I've added so far are pretty "vanilla", but they are only meant to produce cards for testing. A creative person could create very nice templates and use them to quickly prototype their cards from text.

The site hasn't had a lot of changes in the past year or more, primarily because I'm just too busy. I always knew that while I would love to make my own game, I was much better suited to help others make theirs.

Let me know what other questions you might have - I'm happy to share.
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Re: what CS could learn from

Post by pennomi » Tue Jan 18, 2011 18:36

Hello! I'm pennomi, and at the present, I'm the dev who most actively write the cardscape code. Thank you for your quick reply! If there is any way we can collaborate, that would be greatly appreciated. You can contact me at pennomi (a) wtactics (dot) org.
tdishman wrote:I made CGF a few years ago, primarily as a way for independant game developers to organize their creation efforts. I'm not sure how much you've played with the site, but each game can be public or private, and you can assign other users as editors for the game (allowing for collaboration).
Very nice! I am rather impressed with your tool, as far as what I have seen. Oddly enough, once cardscape was done, I was thinking about starting a website almost exactly like yours! :D
The site also has a tool that allows game developers to upload their cards in CSV format (from a spreadsheet). They can add lots of cards this way, then use the built-in card creator to map the uploaded information to card templates, which the site uses to produce JPG images of their cards.
Very clever! I had written something almost exactly along these lines in C# before, but it's nice to see that someone else had the same idea. I'm doubtful that WTactics wants to do things this way for the present, because we are custom-making our card image files, but it's really cool to see that in action.

While I haven't spent much time thinking about PDF export, I eventually intended to add support to export to a printable file. It sounds like you've got this down to a science! Perhaps this is one thing you will be able to help us with?

I very much appreciate your willingness to help us. I look forward to any collaboration in the future!
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Re: what CS could learn from

Post by tdishman » Tue Jan 18, 2011 19:06

I'd be happy to share some specific code that I used to generate the PDF cut sheets.

At one point (prior to CGF) I also created a hacked up message board for a game I was working on (I think it was a phpBB board). I basically extended the basic post/reply mechanism to allow us to post cards in lieu of traditional messages. Much like you're doing I also stored revision history of each card so you could view prior versions of the same card without losing the comments. I also added an up/down voting mechanism for the cards so we could post our cards and rate ones that others had posted.
I'm doubtful that WTactics wants to do things this way for the present, because we are custom-making our card image files, but it's really cool to see that in action.
I was suggesting this more as a way to rapid-prototype your cards, rather than produce production-quality images. It's relatively easy to create loads of new cards in a notebook or spreadsheet, but it takes a LOT of time creating custom images for each one (only to have them get cut). A tool like this would be used to turn 300 card ideas into something tangible in a matter of seconds.

When you get to a point where you'd like some more info, don't hesitate to look me up. I don't have a ton of time to contribute, but I can certainly contribute what I've done in the past.
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Re: what CS could learn from

Post by snowdrop » Tue Jan 18, 2011 19:56

Knitter wrote:What do you want the "export to PDF" feature to do?
"Only" reason for having it in Cadscape is to let users to easily print cards at home, mainly for testing purposes. The PDF should be geared towards that and that task only, filling no other functions.

3x3 rows of cards, all aligned and centred properly. Hit print, and you have them.


tdishman & pennomi:
Oddly enough, once cardscape was done, I was thinking about starting a website almost exactly like yours! :D
Should be very easy making several diff. CS run on same server, using diff config-files and templates etc. All you need to do is to use one global master config file, and let that just load correct local config file of whatever CS the visitor wanted to view. That way each CS is totally isolated and all are super tweakable. You could build this into CS already, even if WT intends to run only one CS at the site. :) Would be nice feature to it, albeit one that can easily be added last in like 1h work.

That said, I think it's better if you guys merged or co-worked than fired up "competing" sites if goal is to help people create CCG:s in general. Trust me on that one :P
I was suggesting this more as a way to rapid-prototype your cards, rather than produce production-quality images /../ it takes a LOT of time creating custom images for each one (only to have them get cut). A tool like this would be used to turn 300 card ideas into something tangible in a matter of seconds.
I agree on that it could be useful for that specific purpose. I'd like to divide this into two - three separate questions really:

a) When people create concept card in CS and that lacks art, CS currently(?) shows a default card image (e.g. Empty card or whatever with text "missing art" on it). This could be made somewhat better: CS could allow the cards text to be printed directly on the temp prototype image, using zones etc as described. Purpose would of course not be to produce play ready cards - just to have temp placeholders. For WT, I'd set the priority of this feature to bottom. Not because it's a bad one, but because it's so early in dev. that we must prio other stuff first. This is really deluxe.

b) Batch creation from external data file, e.g. a comma delimitted file or whatever. By uploading a file into CS with 200 cards all those 200 should be insta-imported and placed as concepts. Again, nice feature, albeit medium to low prio. If it was around maybe also a way to config which user classes that can actually use that feature.

c) A & B combined.


http://www.fpdf.org/ tip was nice. :)

I'll let you guys exchange ideas and what not when you feel like it without meddling :P

tdishman - appreciate your input and that you've taken the time. Kudos.
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