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User:Alamedyang/CardBattle Proposal

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This is a place where I can organize my ideas about a theoretical "CardBattle" engine that can play the Pokemon TCG. Unlike Apprentice, it'll be fully implemented on a card level -- which means sets will take forever to come out, but it should be a lot less tedious to play, and you don't have to worry about keeping everything straight. Plus it'll look better, and you'll even be able to play an AI.

So far, only a few mockups exist of CardBattle -- it's all theoretical right now. As a Pokemon collector/historian, I have loads of scans at my disposal and can provide many, if not all of the graphics. My brother Solra Bizna is working on a gaming engine (a generic one, not one for CardBattle) that I may have to use, but it's not capable of everything I want, so any offers of any help whatsoever are appreciated.

Anyone can add comments to this page -- add an indented paragraph below the one you're commenting on. (Sign please.) But don't edit the original paragraphs. If necessary, I'll make a different page with the current proposal (if the suggestions and changes add up too much) and a separate one for the original, but we'll see what happens.

Comments are highly encouraged! If this thing ever gets off the ground, I'd like it to be something that everyone would use. It'd also be good to work out all logistics before actual implementation, as it'll save a ton of rewriting.

Primary Requirements

Screen size must be 1024 x 768

This is the smallest screen where everything will physically fit, and it is reasonable to expect no one has 800 x 600 or 640 x 480 screens at this point.

App must be cross platform

As a solid Mac user, it would be irresponsible for me to not do so. Likewise would it be stupid for me to have it only be for Windows, for the very simple reason that I don't have a Windows machine to test it on. With Windows and Mac support in mind, Linux support is no further trouble and should also be a given.

At least three main modes: collection, deck building, and battle

If it'll be more like an MMO there will probably be some sort of overworld, at least like in the Gameboy games. Otherwise it'll be more like netbattle. See below for mockups of the three main modes.

Collection Mode

File:CardBattle Collection v1.png
Collection Mode mockup v1.0.
The idea is to appeal to even the most intense collectors, and to make card organizing as intuitive as real-life boxes and binders and convenient as search engines and spreadsheets.

What is defined as a "collection" is a list of cards, displayed as an open binder with various pages. Collections can be as simple as a handful of your favorite cards, a record of your real-life binders, or lists from expansion sets. Because it's in the 9-slot binder page format, you an plan out our binder pages before you insert your cards, making it so you don't wear out your cards testing out different formations.

View Tab

Open binder, insert cards. You can flip one page at a time, five at a time (or other designated number) or jump to the beginning or end of the binder.

Cards are represented by small squares which contain the card image, the name of the card (name includes things like "Misty's" and "Dark"), the expansion logo, the monster number and the identifier (level or eCode where appropriate, expansion code otherwise). (Perhaps the display info will be customizable?)

If you want to view the entire card, all you'd have to do is click on the square and the whole card will be displayed in the Card Viewer in the top-right portion of the screen.

You can drag a card from one binder to another, or option-drag (alt-drag on Windows?) to copy.

Define Tab

You can make Collections dynamic based on certain criteria, including but not limited to numerical figures (HP, Retreat Cost), attack properties (Poison, self-heal), and Pokémon (bloodlines, same-name cards).

Sort Tab

You should be able to sort cards to all sorts of specifications. It's just wide open here. For complete set collections, for instance, I'd want the language-default order, but for deckbuilding collections, I might just take a whole card set era and sort it by element, number, and experience level or set.

Stats Tab

Provided the cards are completely encoded, you can do a statistics check on anything: numbers, like Retreat Cost, HP, or whatever you an think of; attack effects, whatever.

Save Tab

"Save" and "Save as..." are a given. Besides that, I think collections should be exportable and/or printable.

Other thoughts

The mockup above is really close to the way I want it to look. The card portraits were taken from the Gameboy game to be quick -- the real portraits would be from card scans.

Binder colors are customizable.

I'm not sure how to display multiples in the binder -- but there should be an option to scrunch or spread multiples (have multiples in the same "pocket" or have each copy of a card in different pocket).

Deckbuilding Mode

File:CardBattle Deckbuilding v1.png
Deckbuilding Mode mockup v1.0.

I imagine the top of the screen would be like in Collection Mode -- a collection binder on the top and card viewer on the right, with tabs on the bottom: Pokémon, Trainers and Energy, plus Stats and Save. (Stats and save will have similar parameters as they did in Collection Mode.

Energy, and possibly Trainers, should have an auto-calc feature. If the cards are hard coded properly, simple Trainers could be calculated (high Retreat Costs call for Switch, high Energy discards call for Energy Retrieval, many Energy types call for Energy Search, etc). Energy cards are simple enough to calculate.

Deck formats include:

  • Full Deck (60 cards)
  • Reduced Deck (40 cards, i.e. for draft)
  • Half Deck (30 cards)
  • Strict Half Deck (30 cards, max of 2 cards per name)

For draft decks (see the last note below) the Collection on top would be booster yields for that player.

Battle Mode

File:CardBattle Battle v1.png
Battle Mode mockup v1.0.

Play Area

For Battle Mode, every possible real-life card arrangement should have a place on the screen; two Actives, Supporters, Stadium cards, and other miscellaneous piles (for Blaine's Quiz or whatever) should all have a space. (And in the mockup, there's room for all at once.)

Now there's an "Out of Play" Discard Pile! 0_0 I guess for that, the current "pile" of discarded cards can get scooted up toward the deck, with the new pile underneath. --Alamedyang (talk) 18:12, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Your opponent's hand is much like your own hand, so for things like Rocket's Sneak Attack the cards can turn over, and nothing else has to change viz a viz layout.

Like the Gameboy version, Special Conditions will be indicated by a small icon next to the card in question, rather than rotating the card various directions as per the rules. (Does anyone actually do that when they play??)

Damage counters would probably work like in the Gameboy games. In the mockup they're seven bubbles across -- six would be best, except I want to account for the future (of CardBattle) and allow for up to 200 HP, which would be three rows of seven minus one (or seven-six-seven in an alternating pattern, as in the mockup).

Energy is shown as the color it provides undernetth the card portrait. Click on the Energy icon to see what card is providing the color; click on either Colorless Energy icons from a Double Colorless Energy card and it appears in the card viewer.

PlusPowers and Defenders will have icons and go in the Energy card row; Pokemon Tools will show as "attached cards" like previous Stages. (See Gyarados in the mockup.)

Cards look the same as in Collection Mode and are shown in depth on the card viewer section of the screen, where you click on the attack to use it. The card viewer can be closed up to provide more room for the chat window.

Side Bar

On the bottom-right is a section where you can look at your opponent (webcam would be nice, or at least an avatar), plus a few stats on the deck he/she is using. Below that is a mini chat window.

I would love the opponent's picture square thingie to be a little webcam, but with my brother's game engine that won't be possible. At the very least I'd like customizable avatars.

After long deliberation, saving the game shouldn't be possible, except to keep track of the game that's in progress. (Saving would encourage scumming too much.)

You can undo everything except:

  • your opponent's turn
  • coin flips
  • card draws
  • and other random events

Optional Ideas

Utilization of IRC

I'm not a user of IRC on the whole, but I had this idea and my brother (Solra Bizna, who practically lives on IRC) thinks it could work. The idea is that the battle process itself is running off an IRC server, meaning not one single player's game is responsible for what's happening in-game (with will prevent most cheating or other manipulation) and/or anyone could spectate and comment on the game just by being in the IRC channel, without even having to download CardBattle.

AI Support

Despite the cards being independently encoded, it should be possible to make an AI. (I'll express these ideas further later on.) Along with that, as the AI should have a generic idea of how in trouble it is, the AI portrait icons could have different emotions, not unlike in Pokemon_Card_GB_2.

Draft Tournaments

The sealed draft is one of my favorite formats. The idea of tournaments (long term, perhaps -- one match a night over the course of a week) organized within CardBattle is a distinct possibility, and draft isn't too far removed, although I'm not sure how it would work with CardBattle.

Known Issues

Fossil Ditto

The Gameboy game omitted it completely, but it was a presence in early decks, so I think it's necessary here. (I mean, would netbattle implement every Pokémon but Ditto or Castform?) Maybe Ditto will have tabs along the top -- Current and Default -- or something.

Base Electrode and Holon Pokémon-Energy etc.

(How to implement?) Again, the Gameboy didn't even try to keep Base Electrode in the game, so there's no precedent.

Card Portraits

Several times I've tried to "rip" the card portraits from masses of cards, but ran into this problem almost immediately -- the're all different sizes. That is, Trainer cards and Pokémon card portraits don't have the same proportions. What's worse is that the proportions change when the card layout does, which is about every era. (Even classic to Neo has different size portraits.) The proportions aren't subtly different, either, they're 'way' different.

I've decided that each card portrait will have the same "width" and whatever height would be proportional for that type of card (so all early Trainers would have the same height as each other, but not the same as early Pokémon cards' height). This will work out, I think, since there's no way to get them all to have the same proportions, anyway. --Alamedyang (talk) 18:52, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

In Evolution cards, a bit of the evolution box cuts into the portrait. In the past I've tried PhotoShopping them out, but sometimes it just doesn't work. In any case, it's impractical to do this to every single new Evolution card that gets encoded.

Further Discussion

If there's anything else you want to say about this proposal, you can comment here. Remember to sign!