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Monday, December 18, 2006

It's Christmas in Magic Realm

The bad news: no new release until 2007. I had hoped to wrap up the current version I'm working on before Christmas, but the fact is that time is running out. I've got relatives coming this week, and still a bunch of shopping to do. I seriously doubt I'll have much coding time between now and then.

The good news? Besides the usual bug fixes, the big new feature I've been putting together is player board building. At LOONNNG last, you'll be able to assemble the board as the rules describe, and have some control over the overall game. If you play solitaire, you will place tiles randomly, one at a time, starting with the Borderland tile. If you are playing online, tiles will be shuffled and distributed to all the players, and then each player takes a turn placing a tile. Of course, the auto-build feature will still be there if you want it (I still prefer it for solitaire games).

This feature is mostly finished, but I'm still working out a few kinks. For example, I thought it would be nice if tiles that have no possible placement (like High Pass on the first turn) were highlighted somehow. This has turned into a bit more of a nightmare than I would have imagined. For some reason, I can't get the tiles to update for other players when they should. !!!!!

I also need to handle the situation where the board reaches a state where no tiles can be placed. It's rare, but it does happen! The rules say that in this situation, you are supposed to move back to the previous player, and have them remove the last placed tile, and replace it in a way that will allow the next player to place their tile. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle this, just yet.

Anyway, I hope the holiday season is treating you all well. Merry Christmas!


Anonymous said...

I can't believe you get this done so fast - please, enjoy your Christmas!!! You're amazing :) - Teresa

DewKid said...

Thanks Teresa!

mwrynn said...

Awesome to hear that you're working on this feature, Robin!

Out of curiosity, doesn't your random map algorithm need to check whether a tile placement closes off the map? Would seem that you could reuse this check, but I guess it doesn't exist. :)

Moving back to the previous player, having them remove the tile, then place it elsewhere - this all seems unnecessarily complicated. I can see why, in the board game, you'd need to do this whole spiel. When you place your tile, it might not be apparent that you've sealed off the board. The player placing a tile after you realizes, "Hey! I can't place anything!" so the turn is yours again and you place your tile elsewhere. But a computer game could have a check WHEN you place the tile - "sorry you'd close off the board if you placed that tile over there. Try again."

But I might not completely know what I'm talking about. :)


DewKid said...

Your idea is a good one: I could look ahead and prevent the situation from occurring in the first place... Aiy, easier said than done! My random algorithm doesn't do this directly. It builds the board, and if it runs out of possibilities, it simply restarts from scratch. Not terribly smart, but it works. Let me think about this, thanks!!

hawke said...

This is my first time at this kind of stuff.Blogging I mean. I have played Magic Realm a long time ago and have recently dug out the game and have ignited my interest again. It is one of the best games every created along with Diplomacy.
When I heard that you could play it online. I decided to see if I could get in on a game or at least play it solitaire.
Question? How do I get in a game.

DewKid said...

Well, to start, commenting on a 3 year old blog post might not get you the best visibility. ;-)

Seriously, the first thing you need to do (if you haven't already) is to download and install RealmSpeak, the java application for playing Magic Realm solitaire or online. Once you have installed it, play a couple of solitaire games to get familiar with the interface. The tutorial may help, even if it is a little old.

Next, I would suggest joining two mailing lists:

* RealmSpeak
* Magic Realm

The Magic Realm mailing list often posts information about online play, and even tournaments (there's one going on right now).

You can also post to either Mailing List, and let people know you are interested in playing a game.

Finally, there's no reason you couldn't get a few friends interested in the game, and setup to play with them (that's how I play the game most often).

Make sure you check out the RealmSpeak FAQ if you have problems.

Hope that helps!

hawke said...

Thanks sorry for the delay in response. I was away. I will follow your advice. Hopefully, I will meet you in the Realm under good circumstances I hope. The Pilgrim seeks no enemies.