The official Development Blog of SWCCG Online.

SWCCG vkit is out of beta

Today, SWCCG vkit went to 1.0. As the DNS changes propagate over the next few hours, you’ll see the new version roll out. This is a pretty exciting release for me. Back in 2007, vkit was the first Rails application I ever created. Now this is something I do professionally and love it. For the 1.0 release, I went back and rewrote the entire app, making it more stable, fast, and easy to change. I’m using a new reliable host, I have performance monitoring and logging, and error notifications, and tons of automated testing. I think that because of this, you will see vkit moving forward more reliably in the future.

For the most part, vkit is the same, but there are a few things I want to point out.

1) Mandatory login. You will notice the homepage is now a login screen. This is for a few reasons. I want to make it more obvious that cardlists can be saved to accounts and encourage users to do this. I also want to track how many people are using the app. And finally, I want to introduce a login system that I will be able to reuse on SWCCG Online. Unfortunately, this new login system means that the old logins are gone. You will have to register again by following the link on the home page or clicking here.

2) Card Database. I blogged a little bit about the Card Database earlier. Here you can browse and search for virtual cards. More advanced search features will be coming later, and this database will power Kelly Brown’s Dejarix app and SWCCG Online. It could also potentially power other SWCCG apps with internet connectivity, such as an iPhone app, or another web application. Most importantly, it allows admins to create new virtual cards, which I think will speed up the update process tremendously.

3) Improved vslip print-outs. Printouts now have printing instructions and a cardlist. You also only need to add an Objective once to get both the front and back side cut-outs.

4) Feedback link. Click Feedback in the upper right corner of the app and let me know what you think!

2 years ago on June 6th, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Permalink




General Jar Jar, one of 3417 imports from CDF files into the Star Wars CCG Online Card Database. This database will power vkit, SWCCG Online, and Kelly Brown’s DEJARIX project.

General Jar Jar, one of 3417 imports from CDF files into the Star Wars CCG Online Card Database. This database will power vkit, SWCCG Online, and Kelly Brown’s DEJARIX project.

3 years ago on December 20th, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Permalink




Status Update

My interest in swccgonline.com hasn’t waned, as much as my life has been very busy lately. Vkit 1.0 will be out in the coming months, and at that point, I’ll evaluate what needs to be done with swccgonline.com. Quite a bit of the work is already done for the online community portion of the site. Enough that I probably could have done the early 2010 beta I had planned on doing, but I didn’t have the time to move forward with information gathered from the beta, so the exercise would have fruitless.

Kelly Brown is working on a desktop (Windows/OS X/Linux) client to play SWCCG using the public API already running behind the scenes on swccgonline.com. Regardless of what ends up happening with swccgonline.com, maintaining that API is a pretty easy task for me, so I think Kelly’s work is a very promising replacement for Holotable.

Additionally, I’m taking a job in San Francisco as a web development consultant for startups at Pivotal Labs. This is both good and bad news for swccgonline. On one hand, I’m going to get better at Rails fast. On the other hand, I will be spending 40 hrs/wk on web development for my job. Will I want to do it when I get home? I’m not sure. I think the level of interest from the swccg community will largely dictate my enthusiasm for the project.

When I do jump back into the project, there will be quite a bit of maintenance to do before I can start making progress. I will be updating the Rails framework and cleaning up my old code. I’ll be writing tests that help ensure the code works and makes changing the code base easier and faster, and I’ll get everything in a public code repository with public issue-tracking.

3 years ago on July 12th, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Permalink




Q&A Part Two

Q: Lee, I’m very excited about this project, I can’t wait to see the deck building/deck sharing/analysis functions that will be possible with this program. You have said that the deck builder will be better than holotable - and that sounds great - my only big problem with holotable is I wish you could sort the deck contents by name without going into a special window.

Anyhow, can you elaborate on some of the ideas you have about the analysis? As I recall the video suggested that people would be able to see what decks people are playing - will it be possible to not only see what decks people are playing, but how they are generally performing, stratified by ratings?
-Nitsuj

A: The suggestion about sorting is a great one. I’ll see what I can do. I also think sorting by card type would be really useful.

You know I haven’t thought too deeply about exactly what statistics I would want to to show to the users. There’s a saying that too much data is just as bad as no data. The point is that a LOT of data will already be in the database, so it will just be a matter of creating reports that could show you things like what the winning record of decks that use 4x Vader is compared to decks that use 5x Vader. The real challenge here is not overwhelming the user with data. We could solve that by having a few preset reports to choose from, or we could try to solve a much harder problem and try to make it so users can generate their own reports based on data they want to see. Either way, the statistics is Phase 3 and we’re currently in Phase 1, so we’re a little ways off from this. So it’s certainly possible to be able to stratify results by rating, and that’s the kind of level of detail I’d like to be able to show, but it is a long ways off. -Terron

Q: The gameplay through swccgonline will be web based right? nothing to download? Will this also mean that my decks and everything are stored online so that i can log onto any computer and have my decks and be able to play with them? Would you like to issue an apology for how much time I’ll waste at work due to this awesomeness? -quesosauce37

A: Yes, the game will be played in your browser. Your decks are stored on the server, and not only could you play them from any computer, but you will be able to open them and print decklists and virtual card cutouts from say, a hotel computer. That being said, playing at work seems like a terrible idea. -Terron

Q: if decks are stored online, will the lists be encrypted to prevent other ppl (including the site administrators, no offense) from seeing them, or will terron have access to unlimited tech once this is up and running? or maybe an option to select whether a deck is secret or not -The Smoking Gungun

A: HA! Good question. Currently decks are not encrypted in the same way passwords are. I can’t figure out a user’s password even if I wanted to. This is usually ok, because logins only happen once per session usually, and users expect some delay. If I wanted to store decks in the database in an encrypted format, I’d have to look into ways to do that without slowing down the user every time they access something in a deck. In reality, whatever I came up with could never be 100% secure, so you’re going to have to trust me to some extent anyway. I’m a pretty good player, but I suspect I’ll end up with a win-loss ratio that won’t raise any eyebrows. I don’t know if that’s the answer you were looking for, but I don’t know if there’s a better one to give you. Your data WILL be protected from other users, including me in the web interface. The user account I play with will be the same as everyone else’s. I can look into finding out what other similar sites do about securing their sensitive data from admins. -Terron

4 years ago on September 23rd, 2009 at 12:43 am | Permalink




Q&A Part One

Q: “Will this project distract you from vkit?” -arebelspy

A: Most definitely, yes. vkit will always be around, because it’s a simply stand-alone application, but I think swccgonline could be a much better tool for serious tournament players. Being able to maintain your decklist including ideas about possible “61st cards” makes it a unique format that stores more information about your deck your your own deckbuilding purposes. In addition to being able to print your decklists for major events, I’d also like to reuse some of the vkit code to allow you to print your virtual cards too. -Terron

Q: This project is intriguing and necessary. The controls for the game will be simpler and more intuitive than holotable right? -Jerba

A: Thanks for your interest. I really want this to be the case. Good user interface design is always a much more difficult matter than simply declaring that you want to build a simple and intuitive interface, but I am taking a lot of steps to try to make this a top goal of the project. I’ve been drawing up UI mockups for some time now and I have some really talented people I’m consulting with for the overall design.

To be perfectly honest, there are a lot of things I like about the Holotable UI. Most of the interface is drag-and-drop, which is exactly what this kind of problem calls for. The major weakness of Holotable in my opinion is the deckbuilder, and maybe more importantly the tedious process of keeping your Holotable decks up-to-date. The deckbuilder for swccgonline is almost done and I think it has a lot of big improvements over Holodeck. -Terron

4 years ago on September 22nd, 2009 at 12:36 am | Permalink




Log onto the SWCCGPC forums to ask a question about SWCCG Online and see it get answered here.

4 years ago on September 12th, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Permalink




Technology of SWCCG Online

I’ve had a few questions about what I’m using to develop SWCCG Online. I know we have quite a few technically-inclined people in the community, so I thought many you might find some of this interesting.

Development:

Development Framework: Ruby on Rails 2.3

Database: MySQL

Javascript Library: jQuery 1.3 with jQuery UI 1.7.6

Browser: Firefox 3.0 with Firebug plug-in

Editor: TextMate

Source Control: Subversion

Graphic Design: Adobe Photoshop CS4

GUI Mockups: Balsamiq Mockups and Moleskine notebooks

Organization: The Hit List

Presentations: Apple Keynote ‘09

Video: Apple iMovie ‘09, Jing, and Vimeo

Blogging: Tumblr

Webhosting: Rails Playground

Development machine: MacBook 13” unibody running Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard

Anticipated Minimum System Requirements:

Operating System: Any

Browser: Firefox 3.0+ only (no plans to add support for other browsers)

Screen Resolution: 1024x768

Internet Connection: DSL/Cable/T1 or equivalent

CPU: 500 MHz

RAM: 128 MB

Disk space: 50 MB

4 years ago on September 11th, 2009 at 9:02 pm | Permalink




SWCCG Online Introduction video posted on 8.21.09

4 years ago on September 11th, 2009 at 6:18 pm | Permalink




Welcome to the Dev Blog

I’ll be posting occasional updates here to keep people informed about what’s going on behind the scenes at swccgonline.com.

As I said in the video, we’re still on target for a preview release by the end of 2009 for the Phase I features (decklists, articles, TRs, blogs, comments. user profiles, card search). The two major things that need to get finished before then are the Deckbuilder and the Card Database, both of which have basic design work and prototype implementation done, but need to be polished. Look for a Deckbuilder preview in coming weeks.

4 years ago on September 11th, 2009 at 6:16 pm | Permalink