Wagic

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One of the many great open assets that can be found on opengameart. This image is taken from the card game WTactics

Note: A list of sites where you can download free art that you can legally use in your video games (including for commercial usage) can be found at the bottom of the article, read along.

Working on Wagic has introduced me to the painful reality: I suck at graphics. Initial graphics in Wagic were mostly made of copyrighted content, and this eventually led me to trouble. Our game has since then been blessed with the help of several talented designers (including Julio, Jeck, Ilya B., Kaioshin…), and, let’s be honest, art is basically the only thing players have to make their first impression on a game, so I’m really really thankful for these people’s help.

If you’re a game developer and suck at drawing like me, there are a few options for your game, and you’ve probably thought about some of them already.

The easy solution, the one most people unfortunately choose, is to take your graphics from somewhere else, without looking at copyright information, or knowingly stealing graphics from games/movies/anime… You won’t see any harm in that initially, but if your game ever becomes successful (and don’t we all want that to happen?), this will bite you. For the youngest among my readers, taking a character from an anime and removing the background does not make the art “yours”, and redistributing it is copyright infringement in most countries.

Another option, which many of us choose, is to use “easy to make” art, that even you can create. Your main character becomes a blue cube, and its enemies are red circles… Obviously there’s so far you can go with such a solution, once all possible clones of tetris and pong have been made on all platforms.

The luckiest among us have a friend who happens to be a designer, motivated by their project, and who will help as a full part of the team. But if you’re in this situation, you’re most likely not reading this article. I’ve seen on many homebrew forums people offering their services as a designer for free. I’ve grown extremely suspicious of those. Many people who have  claimed to be “designers” to me on those forums were kids with close to no drawing skills, who had been running a pirated version of Photoshop for 15 days, recompositing stolen art and claiming it to be theirs. My advice would be: avoid like the plague such “artists”, not only will they bring you legal trouble, their creations are often not great, and they have no experience in teamwork. Depending on the size of your project, trust is extremely important between the devs and the designers. A good designer will not join your project if you haven’t proven that your game is seriously going to happen. The same way, as a good project “leader”, you shouldn’t accept a “designer” who cannot prove they are good. In my case, with Wagic, the game came first, and then designers came, and provided graphics. They didn’t “offer” their help, no, they came to us with art, telling us “hey, I made that for your game and thought it would be interesting for you”. We provided a working game, they provided “working” graphics, no false promise of “help for the future” here, or rather, the promise was in the achievement. Both the dev and the artist were able to tell each other “I can work for a good amount of time on this project, and provide a result” before even actually talking for the first time. forums discussions starting like “I’ll code a game” and “yeah, and I’ll do your graphics” rarely lead anywhere.

Another option if you have a bit of money is to look into royalty free stock photo websites, such as dreamstime.com (this is a random example, I am not affiliated with them, and have not tested their services). These sites can sell you pictures for as low as 1$ per picture, and allow you in most cases to use those in video games, even commercial projects. However I’ve dug recently into many of those sites, and let’s be honest, it is very unlikely that you will find lots of useful content for video games… no textures, no 3D model, close to no drawings (mostly photos…)… but it can help for a loading screen here and there.

For the rich among us, art commissioning is also a possibility. I don’t have details or good resources on the subject, but the basic idea is that you pay an artist to do the work for you. I’ve seen prices for such commissions go as low as 5$ per request on ebay, but never checked if this gave you the right for commercial use, or even redistribution. I guess it’s up to each creator and how you can convince them. I’ve also seen prices go up to 1000$ per image for a complex request, and commercial use.

The best solution I found recently is to focus on Creative Commons, Public domain, or GPL art (GPL art is kind of an heresy, really, but it exists nevertheless). A few sites are designed to gather that kind of art. I’ve unfortunately ran into many sites claiming they have “Public Domain” art, when a quick google search showed that this was pure b***s***, so going only to trusted sites is an important thing here.

The best site on the subject I could find is opengameart.org. They have thousands of sprites, 3D models, 2D graphics, sounds, all available with very precise license explanations, and most of them being available even for commercial projects (as long as you are ready to make derivative art available with the same license, which is not too much to ask, I think). The major point of that site is the centralized access to open resources you would have to hunt on the Internet otherwise. Free Art Search and FreeGameArt are similar sites, but not as well organized as OpenGameArt IMO.  Burningwell.org is a site with Public Domain images. These images are free for any use, including commercial works. Again, we run into the problem that images on burningwell are “only” photos, and will need some tweaking on your end to be usable in your game.

Those are the easy ones. If you’re ready to dig more, google books has options to look for books published before 1910. Those that contain images will be in the public domain, so things like that can be investigated as well.

finally, this page has a series of links to free game art that you might want to check.

opengameart.org is to me the most interesting of these websites, with its community-oriented system, and the fact that I have been successfully using some of their resources recently for one of my side projects. I wish I could contribute directly to that site, but I’m not an artist so for now I’ll just say that my way of contributing is that Wagic is open source (and has been so since the beginning). If you happen to be a talented artist and want to help the indie gaming community, opengameart.org could be the best place for you :)



We recently organized a Mod contest for Wagic 0.16. It took me a while to take the decision. First of all, the 3 entries are all awesome, and I’m hoping they won’t stop here, but will keep being updated.

Now that this is said, let me say that my winner is Entertherat’s thicker than water, and I will contact the author asap to send him the 100$ prize.

About the reasons behind my choice, again, all 3 entries are awesome, but I felt “Temple of Wololo”, despite being an awesome concept, was probably fairly easy to code, and the addition to Knights and Dragons is simply great (and I sure hope we develop this game even more), but I was biased as I created it initially. Finally, the original music in Thicker than water is what sold me. I’m personally not an artist, and I get impressed when I see what musicians or designers can come up with. The music in Thicker than water is entirely original, and helps creating the campaign atmosphere.

Congrats to Entertherat, and many thanks to the 3 competitors for their awesome work :)

The 3 mods can be downloaded here

A few weeks ago I announced a contest for Wagic 0.16. Contestants had to come up with a mod or a campaign running on Wagic 0.16. If you’re not familiar with this concept yet, Wagic is progressively becoming a generic card engine allowing you to tweak the rules of the game, creating your own cards, and your own campaigns.

We “only” got 3 entries, but the 3 of them are of extremely good quality, and the choice will be hard. My favorite entry will get a 100$ prize, but before I choose, I’d like to ask you guys which one is your favorite. Nothing formal, just give a try to these campaigns, and let me know which one you prefer :)

Read the rest of this entry »

What’s up?  

There was a time I would post new blog articles every day… these days I don’t have much time to post here, and the news slowed down on the PSP scene (or is it just that I’m less involved since the HBL days?)…

But I’m not dead, far from that. Actually the main reason I’m not posting on the blog recently is that I’ve been working very hard on Wagic these past few weeks/months. Our biggest fans might have seen our recent “quiet” release of an alpha version of Wagic for Android. The truth is, the entire Wagic team is hard at work to provide a good gaming experience on Android, and this is eating up all my free time.

So, am I going to progressively stop talking about the PSP scene, and migrate to Android discussions? Well, in all honesty, part of the excitment for this blog comes from the fact that the PSP is entirely locked, from the mad joy that comes to me when a guy is able to say “screw you Sony, I want to use my hardware the way I want, and here’s a hack to prove it”. I love my Android phone, but it doesn’t need to be hacked to run the stuff I want, so nothing specifically fun to talk about on this blog.

So, will I instead start talking about the PSVita from now on? I’m seriously pissed at Sony for what they did to geohot and other hackers, so I really don’t want to give them my money, but I’d love to be there when we run homebrews on the PS Vita… I guess this will depend how much enthusiasm the devs in the /talk community put into hacking that device :)

On the subject of not giving any money to Sony… I recently got a life insurance…of course all negotiations were in Japanese, so my wife did most of them for me. It turns out the best insurance for us was, by far, Sony’s offer (their insurance branch is called Sony Life). When the insurance “adviser” told that to my wife, she replied (per my decision) that we would go with the second best choice, because “my husband doesn’t really like Sony”. The adviser was super surprised, but the week after that, Sony was hacked badly as we all know.

My reason to not choose Sony at the time was the geohot thing, but as we met the insurance adviser again, he thought I had decided not to go with Sony not because of my principles, but because I was aware that Sony’s shares would fall. He was like “that was good judgement, they’re not in a very good financial situation these days”. It kind of pisses me off he ended up thinking I did a financial choice, while it was 100% a matter of principle.

Anyways…that insurance is close to 500$ per year for the next 40 years or so I believe, so, take that Sony, that’s a pile of money you’ll never see (instead we went to some insurance company whose symbol is a sheep, can’t remember the name on top of my head.)

And that’s the end of my awesome Sony anecdote…check out Wagic on your Android, it rocks!

If you haven’t heard, I’m running a little contest for Wagic users, and there’s 100$ in cash for the winner (check here if you’re interested).

We recently got our first entry for the contest, Vikta’s Temple of Wololo. This is an original take at the campaign system, as it doesn’t have much of a story, but basically allows you to “donate” some credits to the “Temple of Wololo”, and in exchange get a set to unlock for you. Very useful, especially if you’re close to the end of the game and only have a few last sets to unlock (they get more and more difficult to unlock with time…).

Temple of Wololo can be downloaded from Vikta’s thread here, but other (more serious?) campaigns for Wagic can also be downloaded from our campaigns subforum. To install a campaign, just unzip it into the “campaigns” subfolder of your wagic resource folder. To play it, simply run the game and select 1player > Story then choose the campaign you want in the selection menu.

You have until September 15th to submit your campaign to the contest. Right now Vikta’s entry is the only competitor, so there sure is room for more entries :)

Today I wanted badly to play Wagic on my big screen TV. There are two reasons I play Wagic mostly on the PSP rather than my PC: first, I have little free time when I’m home, compared to when I commute on the train. And second, I’m used to Wagic’s PSP controls, and have a hard time playing on the keyboard. We’ve dramatically improved Wagic’s controls on the Windows version recently, but I’ve been playing on the PSP for 3 years and got really efficient with the PSP controls of Wagic, so it’s hard for me to play it on the keyboard and the mouse now…

On the other hand, the PC version of Wagic has several benefits compared to the PSP version, mostly that it doesn’t have any lag and can display high resolution pictures. So today, I wanted to play on a big screen, with high quality images.

I was aware that techniques exist to map a gamepad to the keyboard, but never tried them. This morning I tried to use my PS3 controller on the PC, and, although it is relatively easy, there are a few tricks that people might want to know about.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wagic 0.16 was released a few days ago, with a bunch of new features. We are making Wagic more and more customizable with each release, and people already know that they can add their own cards or themes to the game. What is less known is that you can create your own campaign for the game. On top of that, in Wagic 0.16, we put some emphasis on creating your own mods. I’m talking about creating entirely new card games here.

In order to give these features the attention they deserve, I’m throwing a little contest on the Wagic forums. You have until September 15th to submit your own campaign or mod for Wagic 0.16, and the best entry will get 100$ in cash. You can get more details on the Wagic forums here, and you can use the opportunity to give a try to the existing awesome campaigns on the campaigns dedicated forum.

Have fun, be creative and original, looking forward to trying everybody’s entries!

More info and join the contest here

Wagic 0.16 was released yesterday for the PSP and Windows, and we added the maemo and Linux versions today! As usual, the Downloads can be found on the wagic page.

Enjoy!

Wagic’s releases are more sporadic (the last release was more than 3 months ago) but always of greater quality, so I’m sure you’ll forgive us .

What is Wagic?

Damn, do I still need to introduce Wagic? Often compared to commercial games for its replay value and quality, Wagic is a heroic fantasy card game, in which you fight as a wizard against the computer. Read the rest of this entry »

With the Genesis competition going on, I haven’t found the time to post regularly about Wagic, but fear not, the entire Dev team is still hard at work, with major things coming up! Actually, Wagic 0.16 is now available in Beta for those who want to give it a try, and we will probably make an official release in a week or so. It contains almost 500 new cards (bringing the total to more than 8100 cards), including of course New Phyrexia and Magic 2012 (which officially launched today!).

I’ll describe the new features in more details for the official release, meanwhile, you can help testing the Beta

As always, have fun :)

Freewar  

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 :)

Wow, I must say it’s been a while. Yes, the last Wagic release was almost 4 months ago. I’m the lazy one here. Between real life, the genesis competition, the whole HEN crazyness that happened, it was difficult to find time to put into Wagic. Thankfully, I’m not the only one working on Wagic anymore, and thanks to the incredible dev team, this update is impressive, as usual.

What is Wagic?

Damn, do I still need to introduce Wagic? Often compared to commercial games for its replay value and quality, Wagic is a heroic fantasy card game, in which you fight as a wizard against the computer. As you win battles, you unlock new game modes and earn credits that allow you to improve your army. Wagic is community driven, entirely customizable (you can create themes, mods, even new rules), available in several languages (English, French, German, spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Serbian), and open source. It currently runs on the Sony PSP, Windows, Linux, and N900 (maemo). We are also working on ports for other devices such as the iPad, and we are still looking for devs to help on that ;)

Obligatory Screenshots

Changelog

What’s new in this release of Wagic? Well the major point is that more than 1000 unique cards were added. Wagic now supports more than 7700 unique cards (which, if you count the reprints, means more than 13700 cards), thanks to the incredible work of Zethfox, Dr.Solomat, and 840126. But that’s not the only new stuff in this release, check this out:

  • More than 1000 new cards. Wagic now supports more than 7700 unique cards, 13700 cards total, including the new set MBS (thanks go especially to Zethfox, Dr.Solomat, and 840126)
  • (Windows) Mouse version improved, some bugs fixed, overall controls have been improved (Xaw Otihs)
  • Threading support for image loading. Overall this should make image loading a bit smoother (Mootpoint)
  • Support for actual button icons instead of text (Mervin, Mootpoint)
  • New Wallpapers by Kaioshin
  • Translation updates (thanks to all translators!)
  • Added new keywords/abilities for card creators. Hopefully we will find the time to edit the wiki and add documentation for these new keywords, for now you’ll have to look into the new cards to see what’s new :)
  • Various performance improvements
  • Many, many, many bug fixes

More Info

Remember that in addition to the news in this blog, you can find more Wagic news on twitter and facebook thanks to Leungclj

Download

If you enjoy Wagic, please consider a donation. Thanks in advance!

download here

As usual, enjoy this new release of Wagic!

Update: Many thanks to everyone offering their help for translation. Please see this post where I explain how to translate Wagic. I can’t contact every person by email, I’m too busy for that. If you can create/update the translation file for your language, please do so and submit your finished work on the forums, we will then add it to the SVN. Thanks for your understanding

I usually don’t announce Beta versions on the blog, but this time I’m changing our release flow a little bit, in order to gather some attention from translators. Wagic is available in several languages (English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Italian), but our language files are usually not up to date compared to the latest code.

 

This time, in order to do the correct thing, I’m calling all translators who would like to help, to participate in the beta, update the language files, and send them back to us. This way, the official release will have the best possible translations.

We expect the beta to be extremely short. If you want to help find bugs, or if you want to help with the translation, please join us!

The Beta is open to anyone who is registered to the Wagic forums.

This new version of Wagic, among many other things, adds more than 1000 unique cards, bringing the total of unique supported card to 7675 (or more than 13600 if you include reprints)

Get the Beta here, thank in advance for your feedback and your help!

This is a post I promised myself I would do, a long time ago. The main reason I haven’t posted about this yet is that I don’t myself own any Apple product, so I’m in an awkward position to talk about this…

If you’re a Wagic player, you’ve probably been wondering if there was any plan to release Wagic on platforms outside of the PSP. The answer is, of course, yes. Wagic already runs perfectly on several platforms (Maemo, PSP, Linux, Windows), and we are trying very hard to get it ported to as many platforms as possible. But the truth is, we’re lacking manpower to maintain all the ports.

A little while ago, Xaw Otihs, who already ported Wagic to the Maemo platform, shared a video showing extremely good progress on the iOS platform.

If you’re into card games, you probably already know about freeware games such as Forge, Incantus, MagMa… These games all have pros and cons (Forge recently reached a number of cards higher than Wagic… but wait for our next release guys, the competition is not over yet ;) ), but Wagic is the only one designed for portable devices. If you’ve been hoping for a Card Game on your iPhone, Wagic is likely to be the thing you’ve been looking for. The thing is: the port exists (and it’s been in our public svn for a little while now), but we now need devs to improve it so that it goes into a more acceptable state: easier to compile, easier to configure, easier to distribute, better interface for touch devices, etc…

If you’re an iOS dev and are interested in this project, we would love to hear about you. Don’t send me an email personally, as I’ve been really busy lately, but rather, please follow our “procedure” for joining the Team: provide a few patches for the game, on the forums, and we will review them. If they’re good enough, we’ll gladly give you submission rights in our SVN :) . More info here

(and to clarify one thing, we’re talking of the Cydia side of the force here…we don’t expect Wagic to be distributed on non-jailbroken devices anytime soon :) )

If it’s the first time you’ve heard of it: Wagic is an Heroic-Fantasy card game. It is available in 8 languages, and runs on the PSP, Windows, Linux, and Maemo (and on iPad/iOS for those who are brave enough to compile it). More info on the Download Page

I haven’t talked about Wagic in a while. This week, as I browsed the Wagic forums, I saw this gorgeous theme made by ZirRuSH.

One of its particularities is that the Theme ships with a “Customize” folder, that allows you to change the backdrops, icons, fonts, card backs, etc… It’s a DYI Theme, in a way :) . But pictures are worth a thousand words, so enjoy these screenshots.

Screenshots

Download

You can download this theme, as well as many others, on the Wagic forums. Use the opportunity to give feedback to the author :)

There’s more

Solo campaigns, themes and hundreds of new cards are added regularly on the Wagic forums. Although we try to keep the “official” releases of Wagic in a “Vanilla” state, keep in mind that the community is hard at work to let you customize the game as much as you want. Meanwhile, we’re actively working on the next release (Wagic 0.15), and trust me, it will be good :)

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