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Discussion of software used on M-L



 
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JC_Strainer



Joined: 05 Jul 2009
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:29 am    Post subject: Discussion of software used on M-L Reply with quote

Fellow Magic-League players,

as there is a lot of different magic-related software out there, I think a thread to discuss all of them makes a lot of sense here.

I will begin with software meant for playing the game over the internet:

1. Magic Workstation

Magic Workstation has been the standard software to use on Magic-League for several years now. And don't get me wrong, it's a very good piece of software, especially considering that there hasn't been updates to the software in years. Updates to the database are provided by users.

The main concern with the software are the known bugs that cause disconnections in games. Also, there are random disconnects during games and the reconnect feature is not working correctly.

2. Cockatrice

Cockatrice is a free, open-source program that has the same purpose as Magic Workstation, but was in development until quite recently. A few weeks ago, the official website was taken down by Hasbro, and the programs development has been stopped since then. (At least to my information).
As the official server was also taken down, an alternative server has been brought online, but he future of this project doesn't look as good as it used to.
The real advantage this program had/has over Magic Workstation is the absence of major bugs. It doesn't have random disconnects, it doesn't have arrow problems and seems pretty much bugfree at what it does.

3. Virtual Playtable

One of the original creators of Magic Workstation decided to launch this new project. It looked promising at first, but here haven't been any updates for months, so I would personally not rely on another closed source, one person project again.


4. OCTGN 3

OCTGN is yet another program to play Card games online, and it has an up-to-date Magic module. I haven't been able to test the lastest versions, my experience comes from OCTGN2. As such, I won't comment on it just yet, as I want to test the latest version first, but I personally liked version 2 (even though I used it for other TCG games mostly, an area that OCTGN shines in)


So as you can see, there are quite some options when it comes to possible software for M-L. So why are we still using the oldest, Magic Workstation, you might ask. It has to do with the requirements the league has for its software:

1. Text log files with timestamps. (So a way of knowing at which time which action was taken in the game from the logs, this is important for judging slow play and stalling)
As far as I know, only Magic Workstation has these log files at the moment. Cockatrice uses a different system(Replays), it has log files but no timestamps. I'm not informed about VirtualPlaytable or OCTGN3, if anyone has information on that, I will be glad to add it here.

2. Indication if a deck has been sideboarded or not(Cockatrice can do that as well as MWS as far as I know)


So it all comes down to the text logs preventing us from supporting more, newer software. Some of these applications draw thousands of players everyday, so supporting them could increase our playerbase significantly.


My personal opinion on this is that the replay function of Cockatrice, while being different in concept, is actually better for many judging calls than our current log file system. Here is my reasoning:

1. Log files don't tell us anything about targeting (through arrows), which causes all sorts of problems. With the replay function, you just open the replay, scroll to the end of the match and watch the actions happening exactly as they did in the match, therefore making a correct judge call a lot easier.

2. The only area this could be problematic in is the aforementioned Stalling and Slow Play. it is possible to see that in the Replay too, but not as fast and easy as with the current log system.


I personally would be willing to give judging based on Replays a chance, especially considering we are still able to make all judge calls, with some advantages and disadvantages in some areas.
Generally speaking, I think that MWS is one of the reasons our playerbase isn't growing, even though interest in Magic is increasing.

Let me know what you think about it, this is all meant for discussion, but getting more players seems like the most important improvement to the League there is.

Thanks for reading.
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Strid3r



Joined: 18 Jan 2010
Posts: 295

PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You forgot that MWS is the only software supporting security codes.
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JC_Strainer



Joined: 05 Jul 2009
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This statement is false:

Cockatrice has it's own security codes.
OCTGN had them in version 2 already.

So the codes aren't the issue, people on M-L even had the cockatrice codes implemented for the new site design, so the algorithm is known. (drafts.in has it too)

How did you get to that conclusion?
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xJudicatorx



Joined: 27 Aug 2007
Posts: 696

PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it were up to me, I would be willing to forgo the text log file requirement. So some judge calls have to be made without the facts at hand, purely on what the players have said? That's exactly how it works every time in real life, where there is almost never a replay and never ever a text log file.

And sadly, we're not going to grow larger until we are accessible to the lowest common denominator.
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JC_Strainer



Joined: 05 Jul 2009
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, and the biggest problems for newcomers to me are:

-) The concept of IRC as a whole and how we use it
-) Having our software work different than what most people expect (They expect rules enforcment as in MTGO)
-) Entering a competitive environment, maybe for the first time
-) The lack of easily accessible tutorials. As long as someone is there to help, it works, if not, the new player probably won't return


We should really try to make it as easy as possible to understand how Magic-League works and how a new player must feel when he first comes here. I think there is no way around IRC, but that must be the biggest hurdle, having the tournament announcements in there, the whole concept of the judge room, it all is familiar to us now, but must be intimidating to every new player (especially if he hasn't played competitive magic irl).
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___



Joined: 07 Jun 2013
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I play regularly on Cockatrice, I never tried the other 2 softwares.
One problem with cockatrice is the server, sometimes it just crashes without any reason.
I played a bunch of tournaments on cockatrice and half of them had to be restarted/cancelled because the server just crashed in the middle of a round, then again after 30 minutes, then again and again...

If we could get somehow a decent server that software could be a viable option.
One advantage of cockatrice you didn't mention: match spectators.
The judge can enter the game and resolve issues, like IRL when judges come to your table, look at the battlefield, hear the players and give their ruling.

One thing I don't like about cockatrice: it's slow, really slow to play, move cards etc
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JC_Strainer



Joined: 05 Jul 2009
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hosting our own server should be no problem, as I remember the old, official cockatrice server to be stable.
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BIRDYYY



Joined: 25 Jan 2006
Posts: 158

PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JC_Strainer wrote:
Yes, and the biggest problems for newcomers to me are:

-) The concept of IRC as a whole and how we use it
-) Having our software work different than what most people expect (They expect rules enforcment as in MTGO)
-) Entering a competitive environment, maybe for the first time
-) The lack of easily accessible tutorials. As long as someone is there to help, it works, if not, the new player probably won't return


We should really try to make it as easy as possible to understand how Magic-League works and how a new player must feel when he first comes here. I think there is no way around IRC, but that must be the biggest hurdle, having the tournament announcements in there, the whole concept of the judge room, it all is familiar to us now, but must be intimidating to every new player (especially if he hasn't played competitive magic irl).



-Anyone with common computer experience knows how a simple chatroom works through a web browser.
-That situation can be noted in a tutorial if created(feel free to do so)
-MTGO is just as competitive as we are, and most FNMs since all levels of players are scattered everywhere
-Yes, I agree with that completely I see multiple people every night (2am-7am EST) asking for what software we use and how they get started. And are lucky to run into myself or Weedmonkey.

The big thing I always think about ML is that it is so old and not a million dollar idea, so this is so much more of a MTG/IRC FanMade site and Ran by them now more then ever.

Fans and Volenteers only can do so much since being here might not even be top 10 important things in life.

MTGO is ran by paid employees cause they bring in our money every day, every second etc.

Thank you for all your suggestions though, and once I pass the judge test I will personally might be just as motivated as the hardest working judge on this site to help promote it and keep things running a bit more smoothly.

Which is why judges of ML, that I asked if you can make an exception for a "TO" that cannot make rulings, but run mini's and just cant make MTG rulings. I can give game loss's etc though and enforce rules like that.
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BIRDYYY



Joined: 25 Jan 2006
Posts: 158

PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You also gotta realize that this site really is not for beginner level magic players, and that makes up a fraction of the scene. You shouldnt be coming on here with your deck that has 4-5 rares in it that you got in some boosters the other day.
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pseudodespot



Joined: 08 May 2011
Posts: 496

PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We aren't allowed to advertise or recommend any specific software. We can't host tutorials here.
Also the mentioned spectator mode is fine. Without it and no text log we judges have absolutely no base on which we can rule other than players comments. And tbh we are multicultural and not everyone is perfect in English.
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keveed92



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey there everyone. I am new to this website and I just finished reading all of the documents explaining the rules and everything. It all seems very clear to me but I came and posted here first because it addressed my biggest concern. Do most people on here use MWS or Cockatrice. Because I have only used cockatrice and I just wanted to know if I should download the MWS software and get to know it just in case my opponent doesn't use Cockatrice.

Oh and I just wanted to point out how amazing this site is. It seems there are issues just like in real life, but the fact that there is a site like this simply amazed me.
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JC_Strainer



Joined: 05 Jul 2009
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@pseudodespot:

I wasn't saying that the spectator mode is the big feature to replace text logs, but replays are. You can literally watch the match as it happened, with the possibility to go exactly to the moment of controversy.

As such, you see everything that happened, exactly as it happened, which seems a lot better than our current technology (logs show no taretting, logs are lost very often when trying to reconnect, etc.)

OK, I get we are not allowed to write the name of any playing software on this page, this is fine. Would that prevent someone from making a series of video tutorials on youtube for our site, but who has no connection to us whatsoever?

Same with text tutorials, an external site that has nothing to do with us hosting tutorials about magic-league? How would be stop this from happening?
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derflippi
Level 4 Judge


Joined: 19 Mar 2005
Posts: 1402
Location: Weiterstad

PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If a user or judge creates a Tutorial and spreads word for it on chat or forums, there's not much magic-league as website will do against.

Magic-League will not host links or downloads the specific softwares. Magic Workstation (MWS) is the most commonly used software here.
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JeZeus



Joined: 05 Sep 2004
Posts: 225

PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MWS is painfully outdated and such a hassle to update or upload photo's to. This site really REAALLY should consider moving to Cockatrice, its bar none the best free program to play cards on.

It is literally the only program I will use other than my MTGO account. Well that is my two cents.
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