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Tom Larkworthy

Runesketch: A CCG with user art trading (HTML5)

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Hey we are in the process of making a game. We started for a "make a game in a month" competition by our local hackerspace (http://www.edinburghhacklab.com) A few months later, urgh, its actually playable now. Its built on Google App Engine. We have got latency down to 300ms, which is pretty good for a http only communication method I think.

Anyway I would love for some people to try it out.


Each card has its own set of rule for moving and attacking around the board. The aim is to kill the other players commander. Thats the core game concept. The movement is more interesting than other CCG IMHO, but we wanted to go further than just interesting game mechanics.

Your cards start blank and you draw your own art on them. You can then sell your art to other players (if its good). So we want creative players to get rich, as well as the good card strategists  We want a game that people can play for different reason. Not sure if we have quite nailed it yet, but that's what feedback is for!


Anyway, I would really welcome some feedback, you don't need to install anything, its in the browser. Firefox and Chrome should work. I think safari and iphone doesn;t, but I have managed to play it on my phone too (albiet the screen size is not great, work to do on that)


Thanks alot


Buy my card art! (or just login)



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Real time chat added. This has really helped the game as users can now help other users. Its also meant the person vs. person matches are *much* easier to setup. Activity on the leagues has increased significantly. Yesterday our usage grew **without marketing** 

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-User's art is put into missions so the missions are pretty
-Some really good mission campaigns have been developed (A New King).
-A tutorial starts *as soon as you login*
-Cards are split into factions, you can only have a few off deck faction cards
-lots of new cards
-existing player base has drawn a fair number of cards now.

My anecdote:
After one batch of new user testing, 78 out of 78 users tried to play the site without logging in or signing up, and left frustrated when none of the buttons worked. People were ignoring the sign in button and heading straight to battle. Doh!

Hopefully people won't get lost on the first interaction now, lol! www.runesketch.com live and learn

pic by one of players:-


honest swordsman


Edited by tlarkworthy

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Turned out new players could not play the game. Sesh! What a messup. Should be working now, I hope people can give it a second go.

Edited by tlarkworthy

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OK so we jsut did a big refresh with better graphics.
We developed it on a shoe string, its hosted on google app engine (free at first, $9 for SSL per month), plus $20 for the domain. That's pretty much all our costs. We built the javascript client using angularJS which is AMAZING btw. 
We liked card games, but found the online ones too simple. So we made the cards like robots which carry out predefined tasks including spatially moving around the board. The aim is to kill the enemy commander but you only get to choose where the cards start on the table and then they do the rest themselves. 
The icons of the cards glow as they carry out the action, which is supposed to be how the players can learn the rules. I think we are still far away from making the game's learning curve shallow enough though, feedback on what confused you and how you learnt (or failed to learn) the rules is **very** welcome. 
Art is a major part of card games like magic the gathering. Well known artists have their own highly sought cards. We thought it be nice if artists could emerge and become powerful like players. So we let users draw and sell their arts to other players. We are tracking view and "likes" of arts, so that at a later point we can give the best arts a stat boost. We are deliberately restricting the ability for players to find novel art, because we want them to "like" an art before being able to purchase them (so we can determine the popularity of certain arts). I think this is our best feature and what makes our game interesting.
It turns out the drawing app is a pig to develop and its hard to get right. Feedback welcome on the drawing side of things.
When cards receive damage they glow. So one of the cool things is that we let the user custom define the glow overlay. Obviously no-one can be bothered to draw animations for a card, so we think this gives a little edge to an otherwise static drawing. (see in the pic above I make Blindsnakes eyes glow)
You make a deck by buying *blank* cards from the shop, and then slapping art on them (if you have the right art). So the basic card and the art are independent items.
We did that so the art economy is independent to the basic playing blocks. TCGs are hard to keep the economy working well, so this is how we have full on trading without the huge issues that normally arise.
Landing Page
On the first page, art drawn by users is randomly presented (although its not from the full range, will try to expand this soon). So you can see what people have drawn without logging in. We are sensitive to people not wanting to give away their email address so just username and password is required (no email authentication). Or if you are gung ho with privacy (like me) you can just use the easier facebook login. The advantage of the facebook login is that you can "share" you drawings with your friends, which puts the drawing in your facebook photo album (it doesn't do that unless you want it to, no spam systems here).
Hope you enjoy, www.runesketch.com
LordTom :p

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