If you follow this blog, you’ve probably heard of Wagic, “my” card game (I put “my” into quotes because there have been dozens of people working on this project since it was first released, I merely started it), which is a TCG strongly inspired by games such as Magic The Gathering (but does much more since Wagic allows you to create your own rules, your own cards, etc…).
It is also even possible that you’re actually one of the guys who’ve been following this blog for a few years, who came here for Wagic, and saw this blog progressively turning into a blog dedicated not only to wagic, but also to the PSP scene.
Gah, I digress again… my point is, if you’re a Wagic player, you probably know that there are a bunch of freewares attempting the same as Wagic out there: providing a TCG experience with an AI.
A long time ago, MTGForge and MagMa were the only valid competitors in this friendly “freeware competition”, with Incantus being an interesting outsider (which unfortunately never provided an AI). I rarely talk about other MTG Freeware (except MTGForge which was my initial inspiration for Wagic), mostly because I don’t have the time to try them. But recently there’s been an increasing number of freeware attempts at creating a TCG experience (most of them try to mimic Magic, Wagic being one of the few that try to be a bit more than an MTG simulator). They all have their good and bad points, but when you think of “number of cards”, MTGForge and Wagic are the ones you need to try.
For a long time, Incantus had been the “goal to reach”, with more than 6000 supported cards. Unfortunately, Incantus failed to build a community and was “out” for a little while (although it seems development started again), but it didn’t have an AI. Then came MagMa with its 5500 cards, which unfortunately is only available in Italian. Finally, nowadays, if you’re lucky, you can find a copy of Deckbot, which apparently supports a bit more than 8000 cards, but is still a bit “under the radar” compared to Wagic and MTGForge.
A little while ago, Wagic reached the bar of 6000 cards, and we are now getting close to 8000. It seemed to me that Wagic was achieving the unexpected goal of being the MTG freeware implementation supporting the most cards.
But recently Forge has been healthy and many cards were added to this game.
Based on Wagic and Forge’s blogs, I tracked the number of card both programs support, and clearly Forge’s recent increase is impressive!
Will this trend continue? Only time will tell. Wagic has been adding more and more cards on a fairly regular basis as shown by the graph (thanks go to Abrasax, Leungclj, Zethfox, Dr.Solomat, 840126, and the cards coders who all helped for this ), but we are reaching some limits to the system we put in place, making it more and more difficult to add new cards.
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.
How about Forge, will they be able to add many more cards? Last time I checked the code, it seemed like they had a huge technical debt to pay (more than 50’000 lines to handle 8000 cards, while wagic does it in roughly 8000 lines) which might hurt their maintenance. However, it used to be 50’000 lines a while ago for 3000 cards, so clearly there’s been some massive improvements.
If you’re interested in the alternatives to Wagic, I strongly recommend the SlightlyMagic forums. Forge’s blog is also a good source of information. None of the alternative will run on your PSP, though 🙂 (Wagic runs on the PSP, Windows, Linux, Maemo, and I swear we’ll support more platforms soon)
I hope I don’t sound like I’m bashing other programs here, it is very exciting to see all these possibility for Card games fans. However I saw a recent post in a blog (apologies to the writer, I can’t find the blog anymore), in which the author said Forge was the Freeware MTG implementation with the most cards. Which, as the graph shows, hasn’t been true for the past 2 years, and, as the graph doesn’t show very clearly, still isn’t true since Wagic supports officially 50 cards more than Forge’s latest version.
Also, that blog post said that Wagic doesn’t have any card image, which technically is true (for copyright reasons we don’t distribute any image with the game), however Wagic does support images, you just have to find them. And, honestly, even without the card pictures, thanks to our awesome designers, Wagic is probably the most gorgeous implementation out there 🙂