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Magic Workstation or Cockatrice?

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Reply to topic Forum Index -> General Magic-League Issues

MWS or Cockatrice?
Magic Workstation
 37%  [ 13 ]
 62%  [ 22 ]
Total Votes : 35

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Joined: 25 Jan 2006
Posts: 159

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:45 am    Post subject: Magic Workstation or Cockatrice? Reply with quote

This is a very innocent poll of what everyones opinions are.

I am starting by putting my 2cents in, that I vote MWS by a landslide.
No reason to change anything, if u or someone eles has an error then reinstall it like you would with any other program that has an error.
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Joined: 05 Jul 2009
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, it's obvious you haven't investigated this question nearly as much as I have, so I will have to put some information in here to help people decide based on actual facts, not mere opinion. The issues with Magic Workstation aren't "just reinstall if you have an error", so you miss the point here in my opinion.

Let me start by posting the Advantages it has over Magic Workstation:

Replay function: All games are stored in replay files that are watchable after the match.
Spectators: Cockatrice features a spectator function, that allows Judges and other players to spectate your match. (Feature can be disabled and password protected.)
Multiplayer: Cockatrice supports games with up to 8 players, unlike Magic Workstation's limit of 2.
Stable Reconnect: Reconnecting in Cockatrice works reliably, I never had it not working for me.
Absence of Known Issues: Unlike Magic Workstation, there is no list of things you have to avoid doing in order to use Cockatrice.
Software is free and open-source: No trial version nag screens.

The by far most important arguments for Cockatrice are clearly that reconnects work every time. Yes, there is no potential in abusing Disconnects in Cockatrice, as they simply work always. No matter how often you disconnect or what the circumstances are.
It also saves every action (this includes arrows) in the log files, which is a HUGE help.

Magic Workstation has been out of development (hasn't seen updates, and no, I don't count 0.97 an update) in more than 6 years. It still has major bugs that will never get fixed. If you aren't aware of them, please take a look at this article.

There is really no logical argument to stay with Magic Workstation other than sheer convenience and being used to it. Cockatrice shares nearly all of the keyboard shortcuts of Magic Workstation (just a few are different), has a much more advanced server structure, is stable and bugfree and also open-source.

For me, this question is a no-brainer, and I honestly don't think Magic-League has a future with Magic Workstation as it's only supported application. Just taking a look at a public MWS server and a public Cockatrice server shows that on the first, around 20 people play, while on the latter, you have between 500 and 1000 users online.

The future is Cockatrice, Magic Workstation is a product of the past, it served its purpose and must finally be put to rest.
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Joined: 27 Aug 2007
Posts: 696

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cockatrice has a few pitfalls which make it strictly inferior to MWS for me.

1. You have to install images
Without images all you have is a rectangle with a card title and mana cost. The card text is tied to the images, leading to a huge headache of maintenance with each new set.

2. No/not enough hotkeys
It's a huge pain to communicate and move phases because so many things have to be done manually.

3. No log files
Seriously, this is really easy - why not just add it?

4. Open source
Anyone can make their own version with a code slightly altered to give them some huge advantage.

I could live with all of these(except the last, which is absurd) if Cockatrice was an old program like MWS. But why would you even create a program that is still not as good as older freeware?
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Joined: 05 Jul 2009
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, let me reply:

1. Maintenance in Cockatrice is actually 100 times easier than on MWS, as the masterbase contains exact gatherer information. Card pictures are downloaded automatically, no manual downloading as in MWS needed. It also has every single cardtext for the cards (as opposed to your statement) without pictures, even though there is no reason not to use auto-download picture feature.

2. Everything is on hotkeys, just look here. In addition, I added the common chat message of MWS to CTRL 1-9 in my version.

3. Log files are kept on the server. The client also has logs, you simply copy and paste them. But I agree, this wouldn't hurt to have. (On my server, judges can access logs)

4. There is no modification available, the server-client structure doesn't allow cheating(as hidden information is hidden to the client), therefore invalid argument.

So as you see, the program is not just as good, it is far beyond MWS. If you wouldn't have used MWS for years, and looked at the two programs in an unbiased way, it is actually a simple decision, not even a close one. Rolling Eyes
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Joined: 09 Oct 2008
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you JC for giving me Cockatrice, now my life is so much better! Just kidding, thanks man, its obviously better than mws but takes time to adapt. I think the "official" ml program should change to cockatrice.
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Joined: 27 Feb 2011
Posts: 299

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The big thing I dislike about Cockatrice is actually what JC listed as positive: automatic images. I want to choose different editions for my cards so they look good. :/

but seriously mws is awful
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Joined: 05 Jul 2009
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pg8, I use all custom images, simply give cockatrice the image folder and it will use your local images instead of auto.
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Joined: 27 Feb 2011
Posts: 299

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Will it let me use different basic land art in different decks?
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Joined: 05 Jul 2009
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The same card with different arts? Or different sets with different alt arts. That ofc works. The first, I think not even works in MWS.
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Joined: 27 Jun 2010
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed, JC made sure everything works to be able to run official tournaments.

While the interface is slightly slower, just the fact that there can never be a "oops, random error, restart the game!" moment is good enough for me. Everything else is identical or better. Of course it takes longer to get used to specific nuances, but that shouldn't be a dealbreaker.
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Joined: 27 Jul 2010
Posts: 901

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would defiantly consider coming back, if a good alternative to MWS is available. Currently MWS is just to buggy for me to use.

I agree with judicator on the open source being the big issue. I doubt many people were around when apprentice was the program in vogue but I was. And what you got was a group of colossal douche bag's at the top of league, who for the most part between them could not string together 3 wins in a row in mws but some how managed continuous 40 game win streaks in apprentice. Acting like they were the greatest magic players ever, when in fact all they were was massive cheats. Would not like to see a bunch of people who cheat at a free online card game and then develop massive egos like they actually believe they are good at magic at the top of the league again. Of course if they are prepared to use cheat programs its safe to say they are prepared to cheat in any other way also, which created a massive amount of douchebaggery in the league as sadly many of these people were looked upto.

Now I have not been on the league much in recent year's but when I have it seemed a lot more pleasant, friendly and fun. If an open source program does allow for cheating these people will return and ruin the league for everyone else.

That said I'm no computer programmer or anywhere near but I think this is the biggest issue. If that is a non issue I think cockatrice should atleast be given a chance.
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Level 1 Judge

Joined: 18 Jan 2010
Posts: 272

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not a programmer either but I am a mathematician and we do a lot of programming in mathematics. That said I could easily see the open source part being a huge issue for competitive play. The main reason is that those who are more computer savy could alter the code to be able to stack their decks, or just chose what cards they draw at any time. Since all the data for the players deck order is stored locally (or at least I assume so) a malicious player would be able to reorder his or her library without the server or his opponent knowing that had occurred.

Personally I do research in cryptography and it might be possible to create a system that can verify that both players are using valid non modified versions of cockatrice. This would still allow everyone to modify the program freely, however the modified version would get flagged online unless the server recognizes it as an "Official" version. Anyone who is interested in how this could work feel free to shoot me a message.
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Joined: 14 Dec 2009
Posts: 140

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When i saw all these misconceptions about cockatrice, my 1st instinct was to correct with comments of my own. However, I noticed that JC_Strainer has already provided all the correct information. If it ain't broke, don't fix it Smile

pg8, You cannot choose different art for cards in different decks (the choice is done by a priority list that you can change by simply dragging up and down). If you want to change the art, you must do it manually by the method mentioned above.

I do not know if cheating is an issue with open source software, but I'm pretty sure you can implement code that can detect any changes to the program.
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Joined: 13 Jun 2010
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding security concerns - There is nothing to worry about as long as you only download cockatrice from a good source, same as any other open source software.

Cockatrice uses a client/server model. Apprentice used a client to client model. The exploits that were possible in Apprentice are not possible in Cockatrice for this reason - the server generates random cards, dice, etc., and one client doesn't know secret information (like cards) from the other client.
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Joined: 27 Feb 2011
Posts: 299

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JC_Strainer wrote:
The same card with different arts? Or different sets with different alt arts. That ofc works. The first, I think not even works in MWS.

Yes this works in MWS. I want to have Mirage #4 Plains in UW control and Ice Age in Stax.
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