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Subject: EveryGame – Virtual Game Table for iPhone and iPad rss

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Mike Houser
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App Store Link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/everygame/id370362079?uo=4&mt...

I’m an early iPad adopter for a bunch of reasons but I’m very excited about the possibilities for virtual board games. Right away there were a bunch of game table applications, those that don’t know the rules, they just provide a table with pieces. I waited around hoping for the right combination of games and then EveryGame appeared in the store.

It’s a combined iPhone/iPad game table app with support for classic games such as Chess, Reversi and Go. But the big key for me is that the iPad version has support to create and play your own games. In the course of a few days I learned the system, which is an XML description file with images that you create, and I made a Sorry variant called My Apologies. Here is a screenshot: http://casdra.com/home/myapologies.png

My next project was to be able to play my annual Indy 500 replay with the old Avalon Hill USAC Auto Racing. That took a bit more work to get done but it’s there and I’m playing it without fear of the cat throwing the cars off the track. http://casdra.com/home/indy_2009.png

It’s been quite a lot of fun both making games for EveryGame and playing them and I hope they have a lot of success.
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Sterling Babcock
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Very cool. So do you use wireless to sent it the XML? Do you have the XML for those games?
 
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Kent Reuber
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Oh dear. must.resist.ipad.purchase zombie
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Richard Linnell
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I don't want an iPad, but I want stuff like this..... C'mon Android devs, get crackin'!
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Dave Nellis
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Getting this on Android would simply be a mattering of getting Vassal running on it I imagine.

However I bet everygame is a more intuitive platform than Vassal, but who knows.
 
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Mike Houser
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You upload the XML and the image files through iTunes. This is a new feature in the 3.2 OS. You can take a look at the files for one of my games here: http://casdra.com/home/MyApologies.zip

-mh
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Nathaniel Dirksen
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Hi I'm Nathaniel -- one of the EveryGame developers.

I'd been holding back from posting anything here on the Geek, since we're still in the middle of adding all sorts of neat features -- but since the word's out now, I thought I'd jump in!

I'm really excited about EveryGame. People have been coming up with all sorts of interesting games to build with it, and using it in ways I hadn't even imagined. Apart from Eurogames, I've seen solitaire apps, miniature-based RPG helpers, and even art tools! We're even going to start including the games people have made in future updates.

We've also started a little blog, which we'll use to share all those cool ideas with everyone else. Check it out here: http://ipadeverygame.blogspot.com/

Best of all (from my standpoint anyway), I'm getting more chances to play board games now that I've made EveryGame versions of my own favorites. It's so handy to be able to just pull it out over a latte at Starbucks!

Anyway, I'll hope that you'll give EveryGame a try, and let us know about the cool things you do with it! If you have any questions about it, feel free to post here, or email us: eggy.everygame@gmail.game

-Nathaniel
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Dave Dyer
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Ok, so if EveryGame is so revolutionary, why isn't there a
version for PC, so you could instantly have about a billion
potential customers instead of a mere few million?
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Hernan Ruiz Camauer
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ddyer wrote:

Ok, so if EveryGame is so revolutionary, why isn't there a
version for PC, so you could instantly have about a billion
potential customers instead of a mere few million?


There are already apps for traditional PCs that let you make your own boardgame ports (Vassal, ZunTzu and Battlegrounds, to name just a few). But I think EveryGame may be the first user-programable "virtual tabletop" app that will run on the iPad.
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Max Maloney
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ddyer wrote:

Ok, so if EveryGame is so revolutionary, why isn't there a
version for PC, so you could instantly have about a billion
potential customers instead of a mere few million?

The iPad is a different type of device. They are probably interested in developing for the easily-portable, touchscreen form factor.
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Dave Dyer
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Dormammu wrote:
ddyer wrote:

Ok, so if EveryGame is so revolutionary, why isn't there a
version for PC, so you could instantly have about a billion
potential customers instead of a mere few million?

The iPad is a different type of device. They are probably interested in developing for the easily-portable, touchscreen form factor.


This is kind of an "emperor's new clothes" argument. There are certain aspects of the Ipad that allow new and interesting kinds of applications - tilt, touch, and gps senses for example, but Everygame is not aimed at those things. It seems to be aimed at games and modes of interaction you could do perfectly well on a standard PC. So...

(a) if it's such a great idea, why isn't there a mass market PC application that already does it.

(b) if it's such a great idea, (and doesn't exist) why isn't there Everygame for the PC.

(c) if it's not such a great idea, then its just another wannabe riding the wave of gee whiz reaction to the ipad.


I personally favor parts of (a) and (c). Everygame sounds pretty close to Zillions of Games in concept. Zillions is (or was) a nice niche application, but never wildly popular among actual users. More of a proof-of-concept platform for game programmers.
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Eddie Mittelstedt
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My gatlingEngine, which was available between 2001-2007 used this concept - an XML-based descriptive file to tell the engine how to play the game. It was client/server and limited to windows platforms.
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Jay Volk
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Give in to the iPad . . . you know you want one!

Small World, Ketis Oracle, Money . . . lots of cool games to come . . .
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Todd Lang
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BugLaden wrote:
My gatlingEngine, which was available between 2001-2007 used this concept - an XML-based descriptive file to tell the engine how to play the game. It was client/server and limited to windows platforms.


Out of curiosity, whatever happened to the gatlingEngine?
 
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Bruce Murphy
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While a cute platform, simply being to move pieces around is somewhat limited. What would be particularly fascinating is if some sort of programmable language to build AIs was incorporated as well!

B>
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Eddie Mittelstedt
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Kiyote wrote:
BugLaden wrote:
My gatlingEngine, which was available between 2001-2007 used this concept - an XML-based descriptive file to tell the engine how to play the game. It was client/server and limited to windows platforms.


Out of curiosity, whatever happened to the gatlingEngine?


In 2007, we had a family tragedy. The aftermath, which continues to this day, completely wrecked my desire to work on anything related.

I think I was starting to get burned out, and the tragedy amplified my feelings towards it.

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Anthony Inskeep
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Probably a dumb question, but I'll ask anyway. Can games that are developed on the iPad version of EveryGame be played on the iPhone/iPod Touch version? I can't afford an iPad right now, but it sure would be cool to play, say, Blood Bowl on my iPod Touch.
 
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Nathaniel Dirksen
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Games developed on the iPad can indeed be played on and iPod or iPhone. The biggest trick is getting them onto the device. Currently, only the iPad lets you load on files via iTunes. However, it's very possible that when iPhoneOS 4.0 comes out this Summer, that the same functionality will be extended to the smaller devices.

We're also adding games that users have created with every update, so the iPod will start getting new games that way immediately.

People like to play their board games different ways. I can understand the benefits of playing on the computer, but personally, if I'm at home next to my PC, I'd rather break out the physical game. However, when I'm in Starbucks, with two drinks balanced on a tiny table, the iPad is perfect for playing a game over our coffees. But that's just how I use it -- it's flexible enough that people have been making their own projects for their own reasons -- which I find super cool!

-Nathaniel (EveryGame Developer)
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Sterling Babcock
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I saw Tally Ho on one of the screens. Do you have a script for that on the site?

How difficult is it to do hexagonal items, such as Taluva? Or perhaps Fjords?
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Ryan Metzler
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Nathanial ~

I'm going to preface this and say that I have no XML knowledge whatsoever, but am pretty computer literate and giving this a try.

I have had a problem with transferring the files (including the template) from the iPAD to my PC. I am able to transfer the files, but all of the *.png files show up as blank white images. Additionally, I have tried the reverse of making an XML file which says only the following:


Quote:
< game xml_version="1.0" >

< sides paths="Dominion_board.png" >
< board >Main board< /board >
< /sides >

< /game >


This file references a board I made called Dominion_board.png. The board is 1024x768 resolution. Uploading this XML file (Dominion_game.xml) and my board (Dominion_board.png), and then running the Dominion game in EveryGame results in nothing but a blank screen, which SHOULD be my board image.

Any ideas?
 
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Nathaniel Dirksen
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I do know that Tally Ho has been made. It can't really be released to the general public though, since it uses the original artwork, and would be a copyright violation. However, if somebody created new art and rules, certainly a game board allowing identical mechanics could be created and shared. If anyone reading this has EveryGame and is interested, let me know and I'll get you some files to start from.

Games with hexes would certainly work (actually, I think Fjords in particular sounds like fun). It's not quite as clean as if you're using square spaces and pieces. Your piece images will always be square obviously, but you can make parts of them transparent. The spaces (as defined in the xml file) are also always square, but not actually displayed. Instead, you just create a background image for "the board", and choose coordinates for each spaces. So for a board covered in hexes, you'd just pick square spaces centered in each hex.

-Nathaniel (EveryGame Developer)
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Scott Petersen
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In Fjords, you need to be able to rotate the tiles in 60 degree increments. Also, there are blind tile draws like Carcassonne. How would this be handled?
 
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ddyer wrote:
Ok, so if EveryGame is so revolutionary, why isn't there a
version for PC, so you could instantly have about a billion
potential customers instead of a mere few million?

You can take an iPad to a cafe and plonk it down flat on the table between the players, just like a physical board game. You can't do that with a PC, even a netbook. You could do it with a tablet PC, but iPads have a bigger market share and a built-in shopfront and patch deployment system, so it makes sense to do it on iPad.
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Nathaniel Dirksen
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Hey Ryan,

What you're doing there looks correct to me at first glance, so something fishy might be going on. The iPhoneO does all of the .png file loading for us, but it's possible it has some requirements on the .png that I'm not aware of.

Could you send your files (maybe the xml one too, just in case) to eggy.everygame@gmail.com (that's our combined developer email). I'll investigate tonight to see if there's anything obvious that would cause them to appear all white.

-Nathaniel (EveryGame Developer)
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Nathaniel Dirksen
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Dang -- two responses in a row -- guess the threading didn't work out quite the way I intended.

Anyway, just to fill in some of the details about how a game like Fjords could be made, let me expand slightly on how EveryGame works.

Unlike some of other, similar games on the app store, we're not just pushing around images. There's a whole little board game engine under the hood.

A "piece" in the game represents any movable object. Pieces can have multiple "sides", each of which shows a different image. So a chess pawn might have one side, a card two, a die 6, and a hexagonal tile 7 (one for each rotation, and one extra for the reverse side).

Pieces also support a variety of actions when they're tapped on. So for Fjords, you might have double tapping the piece increment it by one side, rotating it.

Pieces are held in "locations" on the board. Locations also have various settings. For instance, some locations may hold many pieces. To do a blind draw, you'd create a location that held all of the undrawn the pieces face down. You could choose an action -- say triple tap -- to shuffle the order of the pieces in that location. Then you could play the game, drawing randomized pieces off the top of the draw pile.

Hope that helps to clarify how making a game in EveryGame would work.

-Nathaniel (EveryGame Developer)
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