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Quest Mode: Guide to Formats, Worlds, and everything

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Quest Mode: Guide to Formats, Worlds, and everything

Postby RumbleBBU » 07 Jan 2013, 08:48

In the past couple of betas, the Quest mode has undergone some moderate changes. Since I'm responsible for many of them, I guess I'm in the best position to explain what they are and how they work. The in-game documentation is a bit sparse and not necessarily up to date.

In this first instalment in my Quest mode documentation series, I'll try to demystify Quest 'Formats' and 'Worlds' and how they affect your game, including, e.g., your booster rewards. Please feel free to ask questions!


Quest Mode Guide Part 1: Formats, Worlds, and Boosters

Format

All MtG players should be familiar enough with the concept of 'Format': we have Standard Format, Vintage, Modern and so on. Basically it is an environment that restricts the allowed cards to certain sets and possibly even more specifically disallows or restricts the use of individual cards. In the Quest mode, the concept is fairly analogous (technically) but a bit more flexible.

When you start a new quest, there are three ways you use formats to customize your Quest game. The relevant choices are:

1) Starting Pool
This is used to restrict the pool of cards you start your Quest with. The cards you can later buy or be awarded with are not affected by this choice. Your options are:
Unrestricted: Your starting pool cards are randomly drawn from the full Forge card database.
Sanctioned format: You can select a sanctioned format (Extended, Legacy, Modern, Standard, or Vintage), and your starting pool cards are randomly drawn from the pool of cards that are legal in the selected format.
Custom format: Allows you to choose specific sets with the Define custom format button. Your starting pool cards are randomly drawn from the pool of cards that are included in these sets.
Event or starter deck: You may choose a preconstructed deck from the list. You get all cards in that preconstructed deck, and they are also automatically added to your deck so you are ready to play immediately.
My draft deck: Allows you to import your playdeck from an earlier Draft mode game and use that deck as your starting deck, and you can start playing right away.
My sealed deck: Like above, allows you to import your deck from an earlier Sealed mode game and use that deck as your starting deck. You can start playing right away.

(NOTE: If you are starting the game in a World that defines a format, the format of that World will be automatically used for your starting card pool and the above selection will be disabled.)

2) Prized Cards
Here you can limit the sets that are used to determine the cards you can win as rewards or buy from the Spell Shop. The default, always used in earlier versions of Forge, is Unrestricted, meaning that you can find any card that is implemented in Forge. Your options are:
Same as starting pool: Use the same restrictions as in the Starting Pool choice.
Unrestricted: No restrictions. You can buy or be rewarded with all implemented cards.
Sanctioned format: Similar to the starting pool option. Choose a sanctioned format, and that format will be used to restrict the cards you find during your Quest.
Custom format: Similar to the starting pool option. Use the button to define a custom format, and that format will be used to restrict the cards you find during your Quest.

3) Allow unlock of additional editions
Unless you picked the option "Unrestricted" for your "Prized Cards" choice (or picked "Unrestricted" for your starting card pool, and then picked "Same as starting pool" for prized cards, obviously enough, since that has the same outcome), Forge will enforce a format during the Quest game you are about to start. This format could be called the persisting format. At some stage, you might find that you are bored with your format and want to add new sets to it during your quest. Or maybe that was your intention from the beginning: start with a very limited selection of sets, and gradually enable more sets.
This checkbox will enable you to 'unlock' new sets during your quest. The requirements are:
- You need to win a certain number of duels to be entitled to unlock a new set.
- You also need to pay credits. The different sets are priced differently, according to their real booster prices. This means that most sets will cost a moderate amount of credits to unlock, while Unlimited can cost around 250k credits...and you don't even want to know the price for Alpha or Beta!

When you are eligible to unlock one or more new sets, an "Unlock Sets" button will appear next to the Spell Store button. When you successfully unlock a set, you will receive a free tournament pack (or 3 boosters, if the set does not have tournament packs) to get you started with that set.

Notes on unlocking
- The selection of unlockable sets tends to tilted towards the sets that are historically close to the ones currently in your Quest
- The number of choices displayed (when unlocking sets) will solely depend your number of won duels.


World

Now you might ask: just what exactly is the point in limiting my selection of cards when my quest opponents are playing Vintage first-turn-kill decks with those sick P9/Urza's/Affinity/whatever cards? Well, maybe for the challenge...but seriously, the question is a good one. And Quest Worlds are the answer.

Quest Worlds are one step further from the Quest Format concept. Instead of just limiting the cards you find, they also include different selections of duel and challenge opponents whose decks have been doctored to conform to a specific format. At its simplest, a World is simply a collection of alternate duels and challenges. However, a World can also define a format of its own, and if it does, that format overrides whatever format you are normally playing with.

Currently there is exactly one alternate World in Forge: Shandalar. It is there mostly for 'PoC' (Proof of Concept) purposes, it does not even include the icons for the Quest opponents (due to copyright reasons). But it is entirely playable and can be used to demonstrate how Quest Worlds work.

To enter Shandalar, you need to click the 'Travel' button (near the Spell Store button) and choose 'Shandalar' as your destination. Or simply start a new Quest and choose Shandalar as your 'Starting world'.

It is recommendable that you complete your current challenges before you 'Travel' to a different world. Challenges are world-specific, and the game will forget your current challenges when you travel to a different location. (You will be given a warning, if you are at a risk of doing this.)

While in a World that defines a format (e.g., Shandalar), that format overrides all other formats - or the lack of one. The Shandalar World format includes Unlimited, Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Revised, Legends, The Dark, and Fourth Edition (plus bans a couple insignificant cards that aren't supported by Forge anyway). This means that as long as you are in Shandalar, you can only win or buy boosters and cards that adhere to this format. Also, you will see that your opponents also use such cards - at least mostly. There might be a surprise or two, though! While it is generally a good idea to keep the opponent decks more or less compliant with the World format, Shandalar is a fantasy world and not exactly a DCI tournament... ;)
Note that the effects of travelling on the Spell Shop selection are not immediate - you need to win (or lose) at least one duel before the Spell Shop inventory is updated to conform to the Quest World format.

Also note that the "Prized Cards" format you defined at the start of your Quest is not lost when you travel to a World that overrides your defined format (nor are your unlocked sets, if any) - you just need to travel back to a World that has no format of its own to get that back.

The 'Unlock Sets' button will also be disabled (hidden) as long as you are in a World that enforces its own format.

Boosters

There are two basic types of booster rewards: generic boosters and set-specific boosters. The type that you get is determined by whether you are currently playing with a persistent format (either defined at the beginning of your Quest or stipulated by the current World).

Generic boosters

If you are not playing with a persistent format, i.e., you did not specify one when you started your Quest and your current Quest World is not enforcing one, you will get generic boosters as your rewards.

Generic boosters are drawn from the full selected cardpool, and the Booster Pack Ratios you set in your Quest Preferences will determine how many commons, uncommons and rares are included in them.

When you win a generic booster, you get to choose which format you wish to use to determine the cardpool for the booster.

Set-specific boosters

If a persistent format is currently being enforced (either selected in the "Prized Cards" selection at the beginning of your Quest, or by the Quest World), your booster rewards will behave differently. Instead of generic boosters, you get actual set-specific boosters for the sets that are legal in the enforced format, and your Booster Pack Ratios will be ignored.

Typically, when you win a duel or challenge, you can choose between two boosters that are legal for your format. For certain milestone achievements like every ten wins, you get more options to choose from.

In the Easy Quest mode, you also get boosters for lost duels and challenges. However, in this case, you cannot choose the set for your booster: the game simply picks a random set that is legal in your current format and gives you that booster.

Questions and answers

Why don't the Booster Pack Ratios I set in Quest Preferences work?
You are playing a Quest with a persisting format (either defined when you started the Quest or defined by the current World). In this case, the format setting overrides your Preferences and produces boosters that are valid for your selected format.

What happens when I unlock a set that cannot produce boosters (e.g., Media Promo)?
The set will be unlocked but you will not get the free bonus cards for unlocking it. You will not be able to receive boosters from that set as rewards either. The only way to acquire those cards will be finding and buying them from the Spell Shop (or a lucky ante from an opponent, if you are playing for ante).

I can 'Travel' to 'Main World' even though I didn't start the Quest in any other world, why?
If you started your quest in a version of Forge that did not have the Worlds code, your current World definition is 'none'. The current versions define a specific 'Main World', which is in fact the same thing for all other purposes except that the game will forget your uncompleted challenges if you 'Travel' there.

I just want to play my specified custom format against Shandalar (or some other world) opponents, how to do that?
The best way is to add a world definition that includes the duels/challenges directory specification without a format specification. Part 2 of this guide will contain details on that.

Coming next, in part 2: The World Builder's Guide to Quest Worlds. I will be using the 'Jamuraa' World I'm currently working on as an example to illustrate how you can build your custom Quest Worlds (to share with us, I hope... :) ).

Direct links to the other parts of the guide:
Quest Mode Guide Part 2: The World Builder's Guide to Quest Worlds viewtopic.php?f=26&t=9258#p107236
Quest Mode Guide Part 3: Challenge Rewards viewtopic.php?f=26&t=9258&start=15#p108828
Last edited by RumbleBBU on 19 Feb 2013, 07:30, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Quest Mode: Guide to Formats, Worlds, and everything

Postby edessa » 07 Jan 2013, 19:38

Thank´s for the guide. Pretty interesting information. I will be waiting for the second part, I also would like to build new worlds.
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Re: Quest Mode: Guide to Formats, Worlds, and everything

Postby RumbleBBU » 11 Jan 2013, 09:33

Quest Mode Guide Part 2: The World Builder's Guide to Quest Worlds

This time, we will take a closer look into Quest Worlds and what makes them tick. Everything you need to know in order to build your own Worlds will be covered in this post.

General

The concept of Quest Worlds was introduced in Part 1. In short, they are collections duel and challenge opponents and they may (or may not) defined their own Formats, which (if any) will be enforced as long as you remain in that world.

There are at least two distinct uses for Quest Worlds. The first and the most obvious one is what I would call environmental worlds, i.e., Quest Worlds that are specifically designed to replicate a specific current or historical environment. For example, you could create a "2013 Standard" World with a Quest Format that is identical to the current Standard format and opponents whose decks conform to that Format. Playing that World would be like just starting to play Magic in today's Standard environment, collecting new cards and building better and better decks to match against opponents who are limited by the same restrictions as you are.

But that's only the beginning. There is no reason that Quest Worlds should necessarily be limited by their real-life analogies. The sample Shandalar world, very much like the computer game it is modeled after, is not like any real MtG environment. This is the second type, which could be called fantasy worlds. They can be pretty much anything you can think of. Just include the sets you want, ban the cards you don't want, and - here's the fun part - then build opponent decks that just might include an 'off-world' card or two to make the toughest opponent decks even harder. Fair? Not strictly (but then, the AI doesn't know how to play those decks optimally anyway, compared to a good human player). But it can be surprising and fun...and that's what the game is about, isn't it?

Now let's see what you need to design your World. There are 4 distinct phases:
1. Create a new directory for the World
2. Add the World definition to worlds.txt
3. Create duels and challenges
4. Play your new World!


1. Creating a new directory

The World definitions and the World-specific duels and challenges reside in the res/quest/world subdirectory (in your Forge directory structure). In this directory, you will the all-important worlds.txt file that is used by Forge to read the World definitions at startup. Be careful when you modify this file - if you break it, all Worlds could stop working or Forge could fail to load. It's a good idea to take a backup of the file before modifying it. But you will need to modify it anyway if you want to add or change a World.

If you are happy with the default opponents and challenges (or want to reuse opponents and challenges from an existing World), you do not need to create any new directories now. However, if you want to define a new set of duels and challenges for your World, you will need to create the following directory structure for your world (in the res/quest/world subdirectory):
res/quest/world/(world name)/
res/quest/world/(world name)/duels/
res/quest/world/(world name)/challenges/


I am currently building a 'Jamuraa' fantasy world. (I'm labeling it a fantasy one since I also want to have Arabian Nights in it and some tougher opponents with Vintage decks.) So, I've created the following directories:
res/quest/world/jamuraa/
res/quest/world/jamuraa/duels/
res/quest/world/jamuraa/challenges/



2. Adding the world definition

If you open the worlds.txt file (again, in the res/quest/world directory) in a text editor, it will look like this:
Code: Select all
Name:Main world
Name:Shandalar|Dir:shandalar|Sets:2ED, ARN, ATQ, 3ED, LEG, DRK, 4ED|Banned:Chaos Orb; Falling Star
How to read it:
Every line is a World definition. The parameters are typically in the format parameter:value(s), and they are separated with '|'. There is exactly one required parameter, Name:, which defines the World name. The simplest possible World definition is, therefore:
Code: Select all
Name:Main world
This defines a World that does not have its own duels/challenges directory structure nor a format of its own. In other words, it uses the default duels and challenges and the player-defined persisting format (if any).

The second line is definition of the Shandalar World. It contains a few more parameters:
Code: Select all
Name:Shandalar|Dir:shandalar|Sets:2ED, ARN, ATQ, 3ED, LEG, DRK, 4ED|Banned:Chaos Orb; Falling Star
The parameters are:
Name - Quest World name, like above.
Dir - The directory name for the World. The game expects to find this directory (and its duels/ and challenges/ subdirectories) in the res/quest/world/ directory. Since we wrote "shandalar" here, Forge will expect to find the Shandalar duels and opponents in the directories res/quest/world/shandalar/duels/ and res/quest/world/shandalar/challenges/, respectively.
Sets - Which sets will be legal in this World. Only cards from these sets can be bought in the Spell Shop or won in boosters as long as you stay in this World. If you do not specify any sets with the Sets parameter, all sets will be legal in this World.
The set names are 3-letter codes, separated with commas. If you do not know the official code for a set, you can look it up in the setdata.txt file, which can be found in the res/blockdata/ folder.
Banned - Lists the banned cards, separated with commas. These cards will be banned in your World. If you do not list any cards here, all cards will be legal in your World (if you did not define any sets either) or the default bannings will be used instead (if defined sets for your World) - see important notes below.

IMPORTANT NOTES!
- If you add a 'Sets' or 'Banned' definition to your World, a Format will be created for the World. Even if you just ban a single card like Disciple of the Vault or Jace, a Format will be created. (In that case, it would be a Format that includes all sets but bans those specific cards.)
- If you add 'Sets' but do not include define any 'Banned' cards, a Format will created for your World and the default in-game list of banned cards will be used in your World! This is due to how Forge operates internally. So if you really want to limit your World to certain sets but do not want to ban any cards, the best way to achieve that is to ban an insignificant card or two to ensure that your list will be used instead of the default one. Cards from other (non-included) sets or unimplemented cards work great for this. The Shandalar World 'bans' cards like Falling Star for this exact purpose.

Now, what if you wanted to play the Shandalar opponents but use your own Format rather than the Shandalar one? Easy. Just add the following line to your worlds.txt file:
Code: Select all
Name:Shandalar(no format)|Dir:shandalar
Since the World directory is defined ("shandalar", the same as for the original Shandalar World), the duels and the opponents in that directory will be used. However, since no 'Sets' or 'Banned' parameter was set, no Format will be created for this world. It will show up as "Shandalar (no format)" in your 'Travel' dialog, and you can travel there just like you would travel to Shandalar proper. And it will be just like Shandalar, except that it has no format. In other words, it just switches the regular duels and challenges to the Shandalar ones (and retains the player-defined Format, if any) - just like we wanted.

Let's add the Jamuraa World definition now. To do that, we'll insert this line in the worlds.txt file:
Code: Select all
Name:Jamuraa|Dir:jamuraa|Sets:5ED, ARN, MIR, VIS, WTH|Banned:Chaos Orb; Falling Star
What this means:
1. The World is called (and displayed as) "Jamuraa".
2. It has its own duels and challenges, which can be found in the res/quest/world/jamuraa/duels/ and res/quest/world/jamuraa/challenges/ directories.
3. The legal sets are Fifth Edition, Arabian Nights, Mirage, Visions, and Weatherlight. The other sets are excluded.
4. The cards Chaos Orb and Falling Star are banned in this World. (Yep, I put them here to simply override the default bannings list.)


3. Creating Duels and Challenges

Now this is the part of World building that will - in addition to actual playing/playtesting ;) - consume the most time. It can be exteremly tedious if you try to invent and build new deck lists for a given environment from the scratch, and especially so if you weren't actively playing in that period!

The absolute minimum you will need is 10 decks and one challenge, broken down as follows:
3 'easy' opponent decks
3 'medium' opponent decks
3 'hard' opponent decks
1 'very hard' opponent deck
1 challenge opponent deck

And that is just the absolute minimum to make your World work. If you don't have any more, you will just be playing the same opponents (and the one challenge) over and over. Boring! You want to have many, many more than that.

Fortunately, there are lots of sources on the 'net that can help you. The first and the most obvious one is the Forge decks subforum:
viewforum.php?f=48
Just look for the decks that would be legal in your World. The World Championship decks thread ( viewtopic.php?f=48&t=4808 ) lists very high quality tournament decks for practically any year of Magic, and is a good place to start.

Other good online sources for historical decks:
The Magic Workstation Decks forum: viewforum.php?f=36
The classic Dojo: http://www.classicdojo.org/
The Wayback archive of the latter-days Dojo: http://web.archive.org/web/200104181505 ... edojo.com/
The Google Groups archive of rec.games.trading-cards.magic.strategy: https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgr ... c.strategy
(...and probably lots of other MtG related sites and forums, too.)

Actually, finding a suitable deck is sometimes the easy part. It could be a lot harder to find suitable characters/identities for all those opponents. In my current Jamuraa project, I'm using more than 50 decks, and trying to think up suitable 'in-theme' opponent characters could have taken an enormous amount of time. So this is what I did: first, I made some opponenets based on fictional African characters (and maybe an occasional historical one too). Didn't get many that way. Then I looked up traditional African religion and mythology in Wikipedia, and got lots of usable character names/identities. And they were definitely in theme for my Mirage block/Arabian Nights Jamuraa world. That sped up the process quite a bit.

Importing decks to Forge

The first thing you will need to do is convert the deck listings to Forge format (if they aren't Forge decks already). There are two ways to do this, the manual (slow, tedious) method and the importing (fast, error-prone) method.

Manually converting decks

Just launch your Forge deck editor, look at the deck listing and add cards like you normally would. Save the deck and exit. You can find your saved deck in the res/decks/constructed/ directory.
Note that you can ignore the sideboards since the quest AI will not sideboard.

Direct import

In the deck editor, if you select the All Decks tab, you will find an Import button. Clicking this button opens a dialog that allows you to type the deck list to the pane on the left, and the recognized cards will appear on the right. You don't actually even need to type anything, you can just copy and paste a deck list to the pane on the left...and keep your fingers crossed and hope that Forge recognizes the cards and their amounts. You can edit the pasted deck list on the left if you need to. And you often need to because a single deviation from the expected format ("(amount) (card name)") will cause the Import feature to not recognize the card. The card name has to be exactly correct, so it's "Man-o'-war" and not "Man-'o-war" or "Man-o-war" etc. The Import feature also has certain other problems. By default, it will give you the newest edition, but there's a checkbox to disable that. What you get once the checkbox is unchecked is somewhat unpredictable. Often you get the oldest version of the card but not always.

Errata: Contrary to what I wrote earlier, it is possible to request a specific edition in the Import dialog. The format is the same as in the deck files: card name|setcode. For example, to request the Unlimited Serra Angel rather than the M10 one, you could write "Serra Angel|2ED".

In any case, you should be prepared to manually correct the mistakes the Import feature makes. You can do that either in the deck editor or by manually editing the deck file (in the res/decks/constructed/ directory, after you have saved it) with a text editor.
Again, do not import sideboards - the AI will not use them anyway.

A common problem with the deck listings you can find online is that they often include cards that are not supported by Forge. In such cases, you have to think how important the cards in question are for the deck. Could they replaced with some other cards, maybe with ones from outside your World Format? Can you find something that does at least almost the same thing? And if not, how critical is that card for the deck? Does lacking it break the whole deck concept?
If yes, the deck concept probably can't be converted to Forge. Note that this problem occasionally also arises when Forge technically supports every card but the AI doesn't know how to play them! This often is especially the case with some highly specialized control or combo decks that rely on the player skill to make them work, like ProsBloom. The AI will just cast (and lose) its win-condition card as soon as it can with no long-term playing strategy. This is, by the way, the main reason why you should playtest your quest opponents extensively!

Ok, now you have now created a selection of decks in your res/decks/constructed/ directory. Next you have to decide which ones you want to use as duel opponent decks (there should be lots of these) and which you want to use to build challenges. Copy the duel decks to the res/quest/world/(world-name)/duels/ directory, and the challenge decks to the res/quest/world/(world-name)/challenges/ directory.

Creating a new duel

First, copy the deck file to the res/quest/world/(world-name)/duels/ directory, and rename them. The file name before the .dck extension should reflect the difficulty of the opponent as follows:
1 = easy
2 = medium
3 = hard
4 = very hard

In this example, we are creating a new duel using the deck file "Seth 3.dck" (an actual example from my upcoming Jamuraa World). It's supposed to be a pretty hard opponent but let's see how it turns out...

First we open the res/quest/world/jamuraa/duels/Seth 3.dck with a text editor. It will look something like this:

| Open
[metadata]
Name=Squandered Resources / Jokulhaups
[main]
2 Ball Lightning|DRK
2 Birds of Paradise|LEB
2 Earthquake|LEB
3 Fireblast|VIS
7 Forest|MIR
2 Incinerate|MIR
4 Jokulhaups|ICE
2 Misinformation|ALL
8 Mountain|MIR
2 Pillage|ALL
2 River Boa|VIS
2 Rowen|VIS
2 Savage Twister|MIR
3 Soldevi Digger|ALL
4 Squandered Resources|VIS
2 Suq'Ata Lancer|VIS
5 Swamp|MIR
2 Sylvan Library|LEG
4 Thawing Glaciers|ALL
2 Yavimaya Ants|ALL
[sideboard]
[planes]
[schemes]


The above is a typical Forge deck file. To turn it into a Quest duel file, you need to add some more data and modify the beginning of the file:

| Open
[duel]
[metadata]
Name=Seth 3
Title=Seth
Icon=Seth.jpg
Difficulty=hard
Description=Seth plays a Squandered Resources / Jokulhaups deck.
Deck Type=constructed

[main]
2 Ball Lightning|DRK
2 Birds of Paradise|LEB
2 Earthquake|LEB
3 Fireblast|VIS
7 Forest|MIR
2 Incinerate|MIR
4 Jokulhaups|ICE
2 Misinformation|ALL
8 Mountain|MIR
2 Pillage|ALL
2 River Boa|VIS
2 Rowen|VIS
2 Savage Twister|MIR
3 Soldevi Digger|ALL
4 Squandered Resources|VIS
2 Suq'Ata Lancer|VIS
5 Swamp|MIR
2 Sylvan Library|LEG
4 Thawing Glaciers|ALL
2 Yavimaya Ants|ALL
[sideboard]
[planes]
[schemes]


The [duel] at the beginning of the file to indicates that this is a duel file. Note: The numbers at the end of this name indicate the difficulty of the opponent: 1 = easy, 2 = medium, 3 = hard, 4 = very hard.
The Name parameter indicates the internal name of the Quest deck.
The Title is the actual display name for the opponent.
The Icon is the name of the jpg file that is used for this opponent. The icon should be a 100x100 pixel jpg, stored in the res/pics/icons directory.
The Difficulty parameter must be one of the following: easy, medium, hard, or very hard. This is used by Forge to choose the appropriate opponents for the different stages of your Quest.
The text entered in the Description field is displayed in the opponent selection menu. It can be sometimes difficult to estimate how difficult an opponent deck will be, especially in certain environment. A deck that might look relatively harmless in today's environment could have been a killer deck back in its own environment, and vice versa. And the AI definitely plays certain deck types much better than certain other ones. The only real way to find out is playtest your decks a good few times before making the decision - that's what I do, then I list the decks from the easiest to beat to the hardest ones. I tag the (relatively) easiest ones 'Easy', the next ones 'Medium', and so on, irrespective of how hard they 'objectively' are.
Description: The verbose description of the duel, displayed in the duels menu.
The Deck Type should always be constructed.

I thought that this opponent would be fairly hard since SqHaups can potentially be a rather powerful deck. However, that's assuming that the opponent knows how to play it - and the AI apparently doesn't. It can do some things with it but it misplays most of the key cards, rendering this deck much less menacing than it should be. So, although I first named this "Seth 3.dck" and labeled it "hard", after playing it a couple of times, I discovered Seth to be one of the wimpiest opponents in Jamuraa. Reluctant to trash the opponent completely, I chose to simply downgrade its difficulty rating. I renamed the file "Seth 1.dck", changed its Name parameter to "Seth 1", and its Difficulty parameter to "Easy".

Rinse and repeat the above for the other duel decks you want to add.

Creating a new challenge

This is pretty similar to creating a duel. The main differences are:
1) The challenges are, obviously, in the res/quest/world/(world-name)/challenges/ directory.
2) A challenge file will need a few more headers.
3) The challenge files must be uniquely named using the questN.dck format where N is an integer, e.g., quest100. Currently, all challenges should be assigned unique numbers. In a future version of Forge, a world identifier will probably be automatically added to them, but until then, challenges across all worlds should have unique numeric idetifiers. For example, you can see that the Shandalar challenges are numbered in the 1000's (quest1001.dck, quest1002.dck, etc.). In a similar way, when creating my new Jamuraa challenges, I'm naming & numbering them quest3001.dck, quest3002.dck and so on.

Now let's take a look at a challenge file, in this case res/quest/world/jamuraa/challenges/quest3006.dck:

| Open
[quest]
id=3006
OpponentName=Baron Samedi
AILife=35
Repeat=true
Wins=30
Card Reward=3 black rares
Credit Reward=300
HumanExtras=Bad Moon
AIExtras=TOKEN;B;1;1;Skeleton;Creature|TOKEN;B;1;1;Skeleton;Creature|TOKEN;B;1;1;Skeleton;Creature
[metadata]
Name=quest3006
Title=Voodoo Night
Difficulty=hard
Description=It is a pitch-black night, and an eerie howl echoes in the distance. Something moves towards you...
Icon=BaronSamedi.jpg
Deck Type=constructed

[main]
4 Coercion|VIS
4 Fallen Askari|VIS
4 Fireblast|VIS
1 Hammer of Bogardan|MIR
4 Incinerate|MIR
1 Kaervek's Spite|VIS
3 Kaervek's Torch|MIR
10 Mountain|MIR
1 Necromancy|VIS
2 Quicksand|VIS
4 Rocky Tar Pit|MIR
3 Shadow Guildmage|MIR
1 Snake Basket|VIS
1 Stupor|MIR
8 Swamp|MIR
4 Talruum Minotaur|MIR
1 Undiscovered Paradise|VIS
4 Viashino Sandstalker|VIS
[sideboard]
[planes]
[schemes]


You notice that the format looks pretty similar to the duel file format, there are just a couple more headers and parameters. These are the parameters you need to define:

In the [quest] section of the challenge file:
id: The unique numeric identifier of the quest (should match the one in the filename, obviously!).
OpponentName: The challenge opponent name that will be displayed during the match (but not in the challenge menu). In this example, you will be playing against an opponent called Baron Samedi.
AILife: The opponent starting life.
Repeat: (Possible values 'true' or 'false'.) Is the challenge repeatable? If yes, the challenge may reappear later in your challenge menu after you have taken it once. If not, you only get one chance at this challenge. Unless you have a specific reason (like an exceptionally generous reward) for making a challenge nonrepeatable, you should write 'true' here.
Wins: How many duels do you have to win before this challenge becomes available? Typically, the harder the challenge, the more wins it should take to become available so you can build up your deck and fantasy-mode life total before trying it.
Card Reward: How many cards you get if you win this challenge. The format is pretty much self-explanatory: "(amount) (color) rares". The "color" parameter is optional, you could also just put a "3 rares" here. Note that you can only specify one color, and the color specification also covers multicolor cards that have the specified color as one of their colors.
Credit Reward: How many credits you get when you win this challenge.
HumanExtras: Both players may start the challenge match with some cards or tokens in game. This parameter lists which cards the human player automatically gets when the match begins (in addition to plants/pets, if any). Just list the cards here, separated with a '|' (if you want to list more than one). The format for a token is "TOKEN;(color code);(p);(t);(name);(type)". You can see a list of available tokens in the file res/AllTokens.txt, and the available types in the file res/gamedata/TypeLists.txt. The type you normally need is 'Creature'. In this example, the human player has a Bad Moon in play. It won't do him much good, though...it's there for Baron Samedi's benefit! ;)
AIExtras: Like above except that this parameter defines the cards or tokens the AI player begins the game with. In this example, Baron Samedi begins the challenge with 3 black 1/1 Skeleton tokens.

In the [metadata] section, you will define the following parameters:
Name: Internal name for the challenge. Should match the filename. Used internally, not displayed.
Title: The display name for the challenge in the challenges menu. This can be different from the challenge opponent name, like in this example.
Difficulty: Like duel difficulty, either 'easy', 'medium', 'hard' or 'very hard'. Note that, unlike with duels, Forge does not expect the world to have challenges of every difficulty. It's perfectly ok to make all your challenges 'easy' or 'very hard' if you want to!
Description: The verbose description of the challenge, displayed in the challenges menu.
Icon: This icon will be used for the challenge in the challenges menu and the opponent during the match. The icon should be a 100x100 pixel jpg, stored in the res/pics/icons directory.
The Deck Type should always be constructed.

Incidentally,, the deck I used as the basis for Baron Samedi's deck was Mark Justice's 'Voodoo' deck from the 1997 Pro Tour Paris (you might have recognized it) - hence, I thought that Baron Samedi would make an appropriate character to play it. :)


4. Playtesting your World

Now you have built your duels and challenges and added the opponent icons, is your World ready for release?

No!

There is one important task left that should not be overlooked: playtesting your World before you unleash it on the unsuspecting public! There are a number of reasons why you should do this:
- Catch any errors you may have made. Maybe your duel or challenge definitions are missing required parameters. Or maybe you copy-pasted them from another duel/challenge file and forgot to change them. Or maybe an icon is missing. Maybe the opponent's deck has incorrect cards or card editions in it or is missing cards. You have built tens of duels and challenges, a number of things could have gone wrong.
- Finetune the decks for AI performance. Even when a card is supported by Forge, the AI might not know how to play it properly. In such cases, you might want to swap a card for another relatively similar card. For example, a couple of decks I used to build the Jamuraa decks had Frenetic Efreet in them. Now the AI is really bad with 0-cost abilities. It tries to use them whenever it can, even when it can't really benefit from them. As a result, its Frenetic Efreet is always phased out (until the AI loses the flip and has to sac its Efreet). So I replaced the Frenetic Efreets in the Jamuraa AI decks with some other creatures - except for one 'Easy' deck where I deliberately left it in so you can have a laugh at the AI's peformance with the card.
- Finetune the difficulty ratings. Maybe your 'easy' decks are way too hard for the early stages of a Quest. Or maybe your 'hard' decks are laughably easy because of how the AI plays them. The only real way to find this out is by playtesting the decks. (However: note that if a Quest goes on long enough, you will be encountering 'hard' and 'very hard' duel decks only. So, when deciding whether to make a duel opponent deck 'medium' or 'hard', it is probably better to go for 'hard' because it is better to have lots of different 'hard' decks than 'medium' ones.)
- You might actually get some ideas for duel opponents and challenges while you are playing the current ones.
- And, of course, have fun! It's your World, after all, why should anyone else enjoy it before you have had your go first?

But once your World is ready and you are happy with it...please post and share it! There's a good chance that it will be included in a future version of Forge.

(The Jamuraa World is actually already in stage 4. And I believe you could be seeing it in a nearish-future beta.)
Last edited by RumbleBBU on 14 Feb 2013, 11:51, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Quest Mode: Guide to Formats, Worlds, and everything

Postby lugaru » 11 Jan 2013, 17:15

btw for Entertainment I make these decks I call Worlds Tour decks... basically strong but balanced decks that are thematically sound and only have cards from one world at a time, so if you want I can send you a stack of pretty good and creative Jamuraa decks that you can use, get inspiration from or discard.
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Re: Quest Mode: Guide to Formats, Worlds, and everything

Postby edessa » 11 Jan 2013, 22:01

I have a question. I made a world and in the challenge I gave to AI 3 zombie tokens, the tokens actually are displayed on the field but they have no power or thougness they just are like enchantments.

This is how I write it:

AIExtras=TOKEN;B;2;2;Zombie|TOKEN;B;2;2;Zombie|TOKEN;B;2;2;Zombie

They are just static, they dont attack or block they act like enchantment cards.
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Re: Quest Mode: Guide to Formats, Worlds, and everything

Postby ZzzzSleep » 12 Jan 2013, 00:42

edessa wrote:I have a question. I made a world and in the challenge I gave to AI 3 zombie tokens, the tokens actually are displayed on the field but they have no power or thougness they just are like enchantments.

This is how I write it:

AIExtras=TOKEN;B;2;2;Zombie|TOKEN;B;2;2;Zombie|TOKEN;B;2;2;Zombie

They are just static, they dont attack or block they act like enchantment cards.
Wouldn't you need to say that it's a creature somewhere?
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Re: Quest Mode: Guide to Formats, Worlds, and everything

Postby RumbleBBU » 14 Jan 2013, 06:03

ZzzzSleep wrote:
edessa wrote:I have a question. I made a world and in the challenge I gave to AI 3 zombie tokens, the tokens actually are displayed on the field but they have no power or thougness they just are like enchantments.

This is how I write it:

AIExtras=TOKEN;B;2;2;Zombie|TOKEN;B;2;2;Zombie|TOKEN;B;2;2;Zombie

They are just static, they dont attack or block they act like enchantment cards.
Wouldn't you need to say that it's a creature somewhere?
Indeed. My example was bad (broken). I'm fixing it ASAP.
Apologies for the inconvenience...

The correct line in the above case would be:
Code: Select all
AIExtras=TOKEN;B;2;2;Zombie;Creature|TOKEN;B;2;2;Zombie;Creature|TOKEN;B;2;2;Zombie;Creature
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Re: Quest Mode: Guide to Formats, Worlds, and everything

Postby serrasmurf » 17 Jan 2013, 14:46

great work!
i should have read this first before I posted my new ideas in the feature quest thread :D
is it possible to develop all the new funcitionaly while keeping all the new worlds that users might develop now? Is the basic framework steady enough for that?
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Re: Quest Mode: Guide to Formats, Worlds, and everything

Postby RumbleBBU » 18 Jan 2013, 11:14

serrasmurf wrote:is it possible to develop all the new funcitionaly while keeping all the new worlds that users might develop now? Is the basic framework steady enough for that?
Yes, definitely!
A World is, essentially, little more than a collection of duel and challenge decks (plus one worlds.txt definition line that informs Forge of the World, its format, and its usage). Whatever new functionality may be added in future versions will not in any way invalidate any current Worlds.

Incidentally, I committed the Jamuraa World yesterday. You can expect to see it in the very next beta, out soon. And it is likely that Jamuraa is the last World I'll work on for a while - I need to spend my time on something else now.
...so, if you were planning to develop a new World of your own, now would be a good time. :wink: :wink:
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Re: Quest Mode: Guide to Formats, Worlds, and everything

Postby serrasmurf » 18 Jan 2013, 12:01

OK, time to build some worlds!

Any idea what kind of worlds you want users to make so they can potentially be used for the complete cool Forge quest with a homogeneous feeling?
- historical block/ standard environments?
- planes? the ravnica blocks are of course awesome to combine on the ravnica plane, just as mirrodin. The plane Mercadian Masques however will contain only the set mercadian masques....
- themed? combine graveyard centred sets, multicolour sets, etc.
- fanatasy? Anything goes! I think i will start here... :D
KR
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Re: Quest Mode: Guide to Formats, Worlds, and everything

Postby RumbleBBU » 18 Jan 2013, 12:22

Personally, I would think a historical environment like a block (or two) + the related core set would be a good scope for an average quest world. And minimum overlap with the worlds that have already been added to the game.

...yeah, I know I broke both 'rules' when I included Arabian Nights in Jamuraa (it was not in the Mirage block, and it was already included in Shandalar). But there was a method to my madness: 1) with 5th Edition + Mirage block only, the Jamuraa might not have had enough variety, 2) thematically, I found it a perfect complement to the African theme of the Mirage block, and 3) when including out-of-format elements, I prefer to consider older sets rather than 'too new' sets because they make sense in a Vintage/Type I way. (That said, there is one absurdly modern in-play card in one of the Jamuraa challenges - but I just had to include it because it made the challenge much more maddening. :twisted: )

Ideally, I would love to see worlds that complement each other and cover the chronology of MtG, each representing a specific era or point in time. But there are no rules really. Why not combine the old Ravnica block with the current one, for example? That would make perfect sense in a 'Ravnica' world. Any well-designed world, no matter how it is themed, will be welcome and likely to be included in the Forge distribution. They are, after all, an optional part of the game: if someone doesn't like some world, they don't have to play it.
The key here is 'well-designed': just make sure that you have enough opponent decks, that they work, and that the AI can play them properly. Or at least with half a brain.
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Re: Quest Mode: Guide to Formats, Worlds, and everything

Postby Chris H. » 18 Jan 2013, 12:31

RumbleBBU wrote:Incidentally, I committed the Jamuraa World yesterday. You can expect to see it in the very next beta, out soon. And it is likely that Jamuraa is the last World I'll work on for a while - I need to spend my time on something else now.
 
Thank you for this work. :D

I unfortunately had a failure while trying to do the 1.3.5 beta build and deploy. I can't predict how long it will take to resolve.
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Re: Quest Mode: Guide to Formats, Worlds, and everything

Postby serrasmurf » 20 Jan 2013, 11:01

Nice work on the Jamuraa world!
Fun to rediscover the cards from that era. It also works very well to collect certain cards you need (for instance, it is a good place to buy 5th edition and get some brainstorms and counterspells)
Pretty difficult to start there and develop a proper deck though.

Here are a some ideas to increase the playability of (such) a Quest:
• It should be a bit easier to get 2 or 3 copies of a certain important rare. It is tough now to develop your deck properly without going over the top with something as ante. (with ante you can easily win a lot of high value rares but you always lose that 1 rare you are building around).
An elegant way would be a bazaar item you can buy once in a while that enables you to buy an extra copy of a rare you already have
• Multiple copies of cards in your starting pool. When I buy a fat pack i get multiple copies because i get several boosters. My starting pool has only unique cards which doesn't give direction and the chance of 2 rares to build around
• Card prices. The game is off balance with a lot of old cards having high value not related to card power. You have to restrain yourself for not going a route to collect these cards and generate a lot of cash. On the other hand are normal good cards from these sets unbuyable.
I do appreciate the gamble idea of receiving a pack of arabian nights and hoping for supervalue cards and the idea that some iconic cards are unbuyable

I have limited time do properly develop a world, so it might take some time. Do we need a special thread for worlds building so we see can see where others are working on? I could start a topic under quest decks, but maybe we need separate area.

I'd like to start on the Ravnica plane. Combining both ravnica blocks will create an awesome deckbuilding environment (and no M13, that's Dominaria). Maybe the precon decks (already in forge) for very easy opponents. The 10 guild champions for decks in the guilds colours, from easy to hard. The 10 guild leaders can be met in the challenges. The challenge setting will make it possible to make these very hard opponents who are still using only ravnica cards and guild colours. Maybe starting with them in play like a commander and something along with it to keep it at bay for 2 turns.
A plethora of powerful 3 colour decks can be developed. That format is wide open because ravnica-block constructed was never competitive and we now have already a lot of new ravnica cards to add.
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Re: Quest Mode: Guide to Formats, Worlds, and everything

Postby friarsol » 20 Jan 2013, 23:46

serrasmurf wrote:• Multiple copies of cards in your starting pool. When I buy a fat pack i get multiple copies because i get several boosters. My starting pool has only unique cards which doesn't give direction and the chance of 2 rares to build around
Just so you know, this restriction exists because of how the starting pool is generated.

There are 7 color "rules" that go into a Starting pool, one of each color, colorless, and multicolor. Each of the 5 colors has 4 spots, colorless has 3 spots, and Multicolor has 1 spot. For every 30 cards, we want to guarantee as close to an even distribution of colors as possible. Since Boosters don't guarantee this, and we don't really want to generate starting pools that are heavily weighted towards one color.

Without beating around the bush too much, basically this rule is in place to prevent you from getting 5 of the same colorless/multicolor card in a format that doesn't have very many colorless/multicolor cards in a specific Rarity slot. While generally allowing repeats wouldn't cause an issue (i just did this locally for a Standard pool and low and behold I have two Akroma's Memorial).
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Re: Quest Mode: Guide to Formats, Worlds, and everything

Postby RumbleBBU » 21 Jan 2013, 07:48

As an aside to Sol's informative post above, I would like to point out that the code that disallows multiple copies of the same card in your starting pool can cause problems if you are specifying a custom format with a very limited cardpool. For example, if you start a new quest and limit your starting pool to a single small expansion only, Forge will try to find unique cards that meet the above criteria in your selected custom format...and fail. Resulting in a hang-up when you start a new quest.

Morale of the story, don't limit your starting pool too much. At least add one large expansion or a core set to your format! A block + a core set works well.
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