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Quest mode: Shandalar emulation

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Quest mode: Shandalar emulation

Postby RumbleBBU » 16 Oct 2012, 12:47

Fooling around with some quest-mode hacks (limited quest mode), I thought that it might be fun to have a 'Shandalar' environment in the quest mode, if you so desire. So...I set out and built quest decks, challenges and for all those Shandalar enemies. And here they are if you are interested.

How to use this quest mod

1. You will need a version of Forge that supports enforcing a format during the quest. The most recent snapshots do, and the next beta (1.2.16) will too. The current beta (1.2.15) does not.

2. You will need to define a format that restricts your available cardpool to the sets that were in Shandalar. Currently, the only way to do it is to manually edit your formats.txt file that is in the res/blockdata/ directory. Add the following line to this file:
Code: Select all
Name:Shandalar|Sets:2ED, ARN, ATQ, 3ED, LEG, DRK, 4ED|Banned:Chaos Orb; Falling Star
(Obviously, you can put other set codes in there if you want to...but the original Shandalar never had any other sets in it. In fact, it didn't even have many notable cards from Legends and The Dark.)
I'm currently coding a dialog with checkboxes to help you to define a custom format when you start a quest, but it isn't complete yet. Expect it in the next beta, I hope. Until then, manually editing the formats.txt file is the only way.

3. Find your Forge res/quest/ folder and rename the subfolders duels/ and challenges/ something else (like, e.g., "duels_original/" and "challenges_original/"). This way you can play pure Shandalar enemies and later restore the original quest decks when you want to.

4. Unzip the res/quest/duels and res/quest/challenges folders from the zip (to their respective locations in your Forge directory).

5. Unzip the images in the res/pics/icons directory to your Forge res/pics/icons directory.

6. Launch Forge.

7. Start a new quest. Select the "Format" option, select "Shandalar" from the format list, and make sure that the "Enforce format during quest" checkbox is selected.

8. Embark!

Conversion notes

I mainly used the "Shandalar enemy decks overhaul" ( viewtopic.php?f=76&t=5478 ) as a reference for building the quest decks. However, there are certain differences, mainly because some essential cards are missing.
- White has the biggest casualties. Most notably, all creatures with Banding and all Circles of Protection are currently not implemented in Forge.
- Blue lacks, most notably, Magical Hack, Sleight of Mind, and Drain Power.
- Green also lacks a number of creatures, plus some other spells.
- Red is pretty well off. No major missing cards.
- Black is pretty well off, too, but there is one significant issue: there's no Drain Life in Forge. That is a problem because it is a key card in certain Shandalar decks.

So what did I do with decks that had those cards in them? Basically, I tried to find the closest equivalent, i.e., a card that
a) did more or less the same thing as the missing card, and
b) was in the sets that were in Shandalar (I occasionally used cards from Legends and The Dark that were actually not actually implemented in Microprose's original game, although never multicolor ones).

I had to break those rules in two cases that I can think of. In both cases, it was a pretty essential card for the deck theme and I had to go as far as Ice Age before I could find a close-enough stand-in:
1) Polar Kraken, replaces the unimplemented Leviathan (Astral Visionary decks)
2) Woolly Mammoths, replaces the unimplemented War Elephant (Tusk Guardian decks)

In general, I used the original Microprose deck as the model for an easier (difficulty 1-3) version of the deck, and the improved "enemy decks overhaul" version for a slightly harder version (difficulty 2-4).

I used original enemy icons when I could find them. When I couldn't, I used suitable MtG card art.

And yeah, I know it's Mandurang, not Mandarung, but that typo only affects the file names, not what you see in the actual game.

Please comment on the decks! Do you find the difficulty ratings accurate (in relation to each other)? Which decks would you rate higher in this environment, which decks would you rate lower, in this environment?
And how would you improve the decks?
Remember, we need decks of all difficulties (from easy to very hard) for the quest mode to function properly.
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Re: Quest mode: Shandalar emulation

Postby Sloth » 16 Oct 2012, 16:37

Thank you RumbleBBU. I loved Shandalar back then.

There are lots of cards in the decks that our AI can't play though: Dark Ritual, Mana Vault, Time Elemental, etc.
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Re: Quest mode: Shandalar emulation

Postby RumbleBBU » 16 Oct 2012, 19:15

Actually, in my experience with this quest mode so far, I've seen the AI do a perfectly good number with the Mana Vault (second turn Sengir, ouch!), and Time Elemental (keeps bouncing back my creatures faster than I can summon them - making it a prime candidate for Terror!)

A card it really doesn't seem to get is Stasis. The AI thinks it should play Stasis as soon as it can and then keep it going as long as it matter if that leaves the AI with no mana for any spells.

In any case, I'm entirely open to suggestions how to make these decks more efficient for the Forge AI. The only limitation being that I want cards from the Shandalar expansions only (Unlimited, Revised, 4th Ed, Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Legends, The Dark).
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Re: Quest mode: Shandalar emulation

Postby RumbleBBU » 25 Oct 2012, 09:38

Some personal observations so far:

- Jihad is worthless for the AI. It doesn't pay any heed at all to what colors/lands the opponent is playing. Typically, when I'm playing my monoblack discard/Rack/reanimator deck against a Jihad AI, it will pick "Green".
- The only use the AI has for Kry Shield is, apparently, 'Maze-of-Ithing' its own attacking creatures. :lol: (I think I tried to use Kry Shield as a replacement for Jade Monolith, which was not implemented in Forge. Bad idea.)
- The AI has no clue about the Nettling Imp, either. It just attacks with it when it can, and nothing else. This makes the obvious Nettling Imp + Sengir Vampire combo a bit pointless.
- It's a very bad idea to give the AI more than one Basalt Monolith. If it has more than one in play, and one of them it is tapped, it will tap the other for 3 mana and untap the other one. Then it will tap the second one and untap the first one. Then it will tap the first one and untap the second one, and so on.
This will happen several times per phase, in several phases per turn. This solitaire is kind of...tedious.

I will need to do something about the decks that contain those cards. Any suggestions?
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Re: Quest mode: Shandalar emulation

Postby vinnie » 03 Dec 2016, 15:52

Ehy rumble, since I would like to see the characters icons, I have tried to insert your icons among those of forge (after changing JPG jpg) but not all are visible (for example sorcerer is not visible).

How could I do to have the icons visible?

Ops, after a couple of restart all icons work perfectly, thanks rumble :)
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