Multi-Games

Hi again fellow readers!

Today I’m gonna talk about a feature which is at the heart of OCTGN 2.0: game independance. The client in itself is just an empty shell, made for no game in particular. To play, you must first install into the client the games which you want to play.

A game defines virtually everything in the program:

  • The cards are different for each game, and this includes:
    • The card properties. Maybe your game has cost, power and toughness. Or maybe it has just a points value. Make the properties anything you want. There is only one standard property that each game must have: each card must have a name.
    • The cards aspect ratio. You aren’t locked into one card format.
    • The cards pictures, of course. Including both front and back.
  • In OCTGN, each player has a set of counters. Games are able to define the name, default values, icons, of every counter. And they can include any number of counters!
  • Define the card groups you want. Any number of piles, with any names. Only 2 groups are standardized: there’s a table, and each player has a hand.
  • Each card and group has actions associated with it. Like shuffle, draw 3 cards, discard, engage, flip, take a mulligan, whatever. Every game can define any action they need.

I probably forget things, because games can customize pretty much any aspect of the client.

Different games in OCTGN

And best of all, any number of games can live side by side without problem. They don’t share directory structure, nor database. It’s very easy to add or remove games. And when you start a game, you just have to choose which game you want play from a dropdown list.

Have a nice day,

jods

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23 Comments on “Multi-Games”

  1. roblethal Says:

    w00t, First post! Um… yea. Wow jods, it’s coming along nicely, poison counters and mana pool? Unless there’s some kind of automation, I don’t know if I’d be changing the numbers for my pool… but I like what you are saying about customizing game properties… the problem I have is this.

    Who will define the game properties? Meaning, the first person to create a game module for say Blue Moon: will that be it? Or will the properties be modifiable per client? Will they be upgradeable w/o affecting a card database? Of course you see where I’m going. I’m guesing everyone needs to have the same ‘version’ of a game release. The problem I’m seeing is compatibility issues with different versions of a game (similar to different versions of a patch in OCTGN 1.x)

  2. Discord Says:

    There won’t be any automation…that’ll open up a huge can o’ wurms.

    Think of the turn phase option in the old version…it was there, but no-one used it. This doesn’t make it worthless…I’d use it if I were teaching someone how to play.

    Even for generally arbitrary values, having your module allowing “tracking” of these values can be useful when matters become complex. It might only be used 2% of the time, but it will be used. In OCTGN 1.0, every now and then you see people using the chat to say “red/etc.” when tapping a dual or prismatic source, for example.

    Great work, Jods…I’m especially impressed with your decision to define “card/pile physics” within the game structure, in the sense of what is possible with each card/pile.

    As for module releases, I’m guessing that identical modules is probably required. You _could_ run an intuitive system that worked by matching card names across rogue module releases, but you’d run into small problems(i.e. matching in CCGs with cards that change abilities but not names over expansions) and possibly larger ones(modules with incorrect “card/pile physics”).

    Discord

  3. jods Says:

    Although technically possible, it’s still unclear how much customization (if any) of the game players will be allowed to do. So for now, the situation stands like this: someone creates the defintion of a game, and that’s it.

    About the patch compatibility, it’s another story. Nothing is decided yet, but there are some radical suggestions to prevent the mess users may have experienced with 1.x.

    For many reasons, which I won’t enumerate here, Discord is right: no automation will be supported. So yes, I don’t expect many people will use a mana pool. But, just as Discord said, sometimes you do tricky things like floating mana, or having complicated color choices… In those cases, a mana pool is handy. That’s why it’s here.
    And if you don’t like it, you can hide any counter (or group for that matter).

    Kind regards,
    jods

  4. AkumAPRIME Says:

    So with database independence, does this mean that when I am using a deck editor, you will specify which game you are making a deck for? I don’t want to wade through other games when I’m making a deck for one.

    In terms of path compat, for those games like Discord, we can host official patches so that won’t be a prob. But the majority of games won’t be…. “new” games… May I ask what ideas are being tossed around to prevent patch differences? I REALLY don’t want to share my images… I know it sounds greedy, and blahblahblah…

    Oh and yay for No automation.

  5. AkumAPRIME Says:

    So with database independence, does this mean that when I am using a deck editor, you will specify which game you are making a deck for? I don’t want to wade through other games when I’m making a deck for one.

    In terms of path compat, for those games like Discord, we can host official patches so that won’t be a prob. But the majority of games won’t be…. “new” games… May I ask what ideas are being tossed around to prevent patch differences? I REALLY don’t want to share my images… I know it sounds greedy, and blahblahblah…

    Oh and yay for No automation.

    Keep up the Great work guys… Some of us are sExcited about this. (not a freudian slip)

  6. AkumAPRIME Says:

    Also, any hope of getting a screen of the board game implementation? or a word about it?

  7. jods Says:

    Hey, I’m glad to see that this project raises so much interest AkumAPRIME!

    Deck editor: yes, you must specify which game you want to build a deck for.

    How to prevent patches differences: I don’t like to create big discussions about things that may never exist. But one idea is to use digital signatures on the patches, so that only one “source” could create new patches. So creating “rogue” patches is more or less impossible. This is the basic idea. Of course it has several obvious drawbacks, which is why it’s unclear if it is going to be done.

    Board games: well, this has never really been our goal. Remember OCTGN is a CARD gaming software. If we can make some board games playable without too much effort, we will. But right now the main and only focus is on card games. So I guess the answer is no: there exists no board game implementation yet.

    Kind regards,
    jods

  8. Aggersborg Says:

    Hello
    I have three requests. I do not know where to post them so I do it here. Also I do not know if there is other who has requested the same but here the requests are.
    I wish that the new OCTGN (2.0) have:

    1. Voicechat

    2. The card number is shown in the card Information (eg. Moss Kami 228 / 306)

    3. The program supports an easy (EASY) way to make a database over the cards I own my self. And a way to make the database talk to excel or/and sql.

  9. eyerouge Says:

    1. If you hide a counter, will it stay hidden after exiting and entering the program or that specific game (saved or new) again? Or will you have to hide it every time?

    2. When it comes to how customizable a player can make a pre-made patch: There is no need for a player to ever customize the patch itself: Make it so that the player can customize his/hers interface by changing chortcuts, hiding stuff (like the counters) re-arrange menu items etc etc. That way the game itself will never be influenced, and the software will allow the look and feel of things that suits the user. This data would of course be loaded when a patch is loaded, but, the userinterface info will not be in the patch itself but saved localy.

  10. Discord Says:

    Just a few comments…

    Re: Voicechat.

    I don’t personally see a need for Voicechat to be implemented. If you want it, there’s nothing stopping you from using third-party software like Teamspeak or Skype.

    Re: Display card number

    I can’t really see a point to this, unless things go horribly horribly wrong and you’re missing some(but not other) graphics. Why would you want this type of system, Aggersborg?

    Re: Easy way to create patches.

    Problem here is patch compatibility. I don’t know that it should be “super-easy”…if EVERYONE makes/edits their own patch then no-one might be able to play each other.

    However, module/patch construction SHOULD be clear and concise both for those porting games and those creating them.

    Re: Display settings.

    I imagine Jods will comment on this, but should be fairly easy to implement a “save when quitting” for visual options.

    Discord

  11. Btrice Says:

    There is a definite demand (at least in the US) for FREE software capable of playing texas hold em that connects to friends and family rather than a main site like the gambling sites. That means an auto dealer and ability to handle betting (incremental, no-limit, pot-limit, fixed limit, rebuys). I can think of about 20 people I know offhand that would like to see this type of functionality.

  12. Discord Says:

    Texas Hold Em:

    As with other card games, is there any NEED for automation for the game to work? Or would it just be nice to have? I can’t see why you couldn’t play THE(man, bad acronym) with a player-dealer.

    Boardgames:

    Don’t write off the boardgame potential. It might be easier than you think. I’ve gone through a few possibilities…one method wouldn’t actually NEED any extra programming(though a few options would be nice).

    One things I was going to ask….how easy/hard would it be to implement CIRCULAR tokens? They wouldn’t need to show in the preview window, they’d just be colored circles(at worst), on the game screen, representing player tokens in board games, or even betting chips for card games. If possible, they could have small graphics connected to them(like coins, chip values, or player faces).

    Don’t worry about it too much, it would just be a nice feature, especially IF boardgames would be as easy to implement as my theory suggests.

    Discord.

    P.S. Oh…and can we have a “draw-friendly” play area so we can scribble comments like EVIL next to big monsters, and play pictionary/etc! 😀

  13. eyerouge Says:

    There already is an excellent boardame engine called “Vassal”. [ http://www.vassalengine.org/community/index.php ] If implementing boardgame function in octgn should be worth it, it would have to be at least as good, else nobody would use octgn for boardgames anyhow.

    However, since octgn is a generic cardgame engine, I fail to see why the boardgame stuff should be a part of it at all.

  14. Discord Says:

    Vassal has its limitations. It could not, to give a rather extreme example, handle a nine player game of STRIFE.

    However, I believe that OCTGN 2.0 _could_ run a ccg/boardgame hybrid like this with very little tinkering. In most games, the “board” is merely a means of applying effects on tokens/pieces, based on their location.

    To give a better known example of a boardgame with a couple of decks: Monopoly.

    All players load their Monopoly module, which loads the board background and (either manually or automatic) resize their “play area” to the same defined value.

    Two public decks are loaded and shuffled…community chest and chance.

    No need for a Banker, as everyone’s Cash value starts at $1500. Players each create a different token card(hat, shoe, cannon, etc) and place it on Go. Because all players are playing on the same “scale”, everyone’s “board” looks the same. Players then start rolling 2D6 and moving around the board. When they buy a property they grab the property card from a token generator(or there could be a third loaded public deck, to prevent duplicates).

    My point is that this is all possible “within the confines of a CCG engine”. The only potential problem is differences in board appearance between players, which might be solved by including the ability for fixed resolution/scalability in modules.

    Discord

  15. Btrice Says:

    I guess you wouldn’t NEED automation as long as you had complete control of the deck and the ability to set some sort of way to make sure you are dealing face up or face down, not just a hotkey to do it (I’ve had several games of MTG in the current program where my morph card didn’t exactly stay overturned).

    So I guess the minimum things are the ability share a deck (or set a dealer flag, as it is usually passed around the table) to deal like that, and a betting system that allows ease of use for changing up the chip values, the ability to go all in, and assign a main pot and if needed multiple side pots and the ability to split those pots in cases where people have an equal hand.

  16. roblethal Says:

    re boardgames:
    I agree w/ discord, that the ability exists in OCTGN right now to play many board games, if the option to make cards/game objects different sizes:

    eg 1. Scrabble could be played using a deck of the appropiate number of letters scaled down to a square, and the game board could be loaded to play it.

    eg 2. Dominos could be played using cards as dominoes.

    eg 3. Chess/checkers could be played using cards as the pieces.

    eg 4. Pente/Go/Othello could be played using small circular pieces. (or even small square pieces if need be.

    eg 5. Sequence is a card game/board game that could be played… one deck would be the cards, another would be the game pieces… etc etc

    these are just examples, and i’m not sure anyone would use OCTGN.net to play checks, but it shows the clients potential, provided some small functionality is there. I would very much like to port some classic board games into OCTGN, because playing with family/friends far away may be fun on occasion.

  17. eyerouge Says:

    Discord:
    I buy your concept, was afraid you wanted a more general/boardish engine. If it’s done the way you propose I agree that there’s no hinder, except for maybe loading huge hi-res maps (beyond standard boardgames), but even that coould easily be fixed if you do it scrolling blizzard-style.

    Btrice:
    What you suggest should pose no problem unless jods doesn’t feel like coding 😉 Also look forward to a nice texas engine, eventhough I’m a ccg-geek.

  18. AkumAPRIME Says:

    There is a SciFi/Fantasy Stratego board game that I would love to port.
    If a Developer could answer this question: Will it be possible to make a token have a small clear image, but show a full card and text in the display box? That way I could have a collect of maybe half inch tokens with just small icons for id, then see the text for the units up above.

  19. AkumAPRIME Says:

    Also, I though OCTGN was spefically being designed with Boardgames in mind, a la the T in ocTgn.

  20. jods Says:

    Wow… o_0

    There have been a lot of comments posted. I’m very happy to see that interest in OCTGN is so high, and I really appreciate all the good suggestions.

    Unfortunately I had a hard week and I am too tired to comment every single suggestion. But be sure that I’m considering every one of them. The simplest and most useful ones will be in the first release. The other ones may be considered for the next version.

    There has been a lot of comments about board games. I want to state clearly that this is not a priority, the main focus being card games. I agree one could play chess using a card set to depict the pieces, and a black and white background. But I also believe that nobody would, because there are other software which are much more suited to chess playing than OCTGN ever will be.

    Thanks for all the comments, and stay tuned, a new post is coming soon…

  21. Nok1 Says:

    Perhaps check the file consistency with a Checksum? By File i mean the “game definition” files. And i’m confused if these are going to be plain-text and interpreted by the OCTGN engine, or “binarY plugins” of sorts?

  22. jods Says:

    The game definition are plain text files (actually XML files).
    Other people are working on a java version of OCTGN 2.0. The main idea here is that we can easily share the data.

  23. Marie Says:

    It really merely depends on your thought behind it, the number that you simply keep on give and how much anyone paid for it.


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