Magic Online Development Update Q1 2011

Posted in Feature on March 25, 2011

By Wizards of the Coast

The Scars of Mirrodin release period saw record user and game play activity and the system performed very well. We are tracking to the plan of running a series of betas in Q2 for the new client. The Digital Object Update and Collation update project is well underway and is going very well. The Alternate Entries module shipped early in Q1 and has performed well, including have a positive effect on system performance. Support for Multiplayer game play will be improved and becomes official in Q2.

New Client
The construction of the new WPF client is tracking to schedule. Stainless Games is constructing the client to our design, and the Magic Studio is building the components that support the display layer and communicate with the server system. There will be a series of betas beginning in the back half of Q2 that begin closed and end in an open beta of the full client. In order to meet or exceed the full beta schedule, we need to skip the small closed duel scene beta that I mentioned previously. The schedule is aggressive, and we are tracking to have the new client complete and functional on time. It's going to be a fun and very busy time, as the whole studio is very excited about getting the new client constructed, polished and shipped.

The client will ship with multiple themes available. But the initial closed betas will have one theme. WPF provides excellent support for managing themes, so once we have the first theme polished and fully integrated into the application, the rest will drop in nicely as all the art production work is completed. To reassure folks that we aren't restricting everyone to a brown based theme this time around, here are examples the 2 player duel scene and login screen skinned in the Nicol Bolas and Jace Beleren themes. The Nicol Bolas login scenes are screen shots from the new client. Move your mouse over the small images to see a larger image below.

Nicol Bolas Login Nicol Bolas Widescreen Login Jace Beleren Login

Nicol Bolas Login Scene Jace Beleren Duel Scene

Infrastructure Update
Our current infrastructure project is going very well. We have added a second architect to the design team and are doing the design work for the next round of infrastructure projects to follow the digital object storage update and the new real time collation service. Generally, we are looking to continue to build system capacity as growth continues in the user base. We completed a meaningful full system load test back in November, and we’re pleased with the results. That test regimen will get applied to all other major modules in the future to measure progress and success factors.

Q1 Maintenance
The card set development team shipped a lot of fixes for card bugs in between building new sets in Q1. Items like the Always Yes feature for effects were added to V3 now to support of the new client design. Generally the new client isn't going to require major changes to the server system, but we will be making some server side updates to improve usability. We are also identifying new issues to fix as we work through all the new logging that was added to the system in 2010.

2011 Magic Online Development Plan

  • Deliver Quality Card Set Releases - Ongoing
  • Alternate Entries - Shipped Jan 2011
  • New WPF Client - In progress, on schedule
  • Digital Object Storage and Collation update - In progress, on schedule
  • Multiplayer Support – Phase 1 scheduled for Q2 2011
  • Leagues - Design being updated to take advantage of new infrastructure and features. In the project queue behind the digital object storage and collation updates.
  • Additional Features – Ongoing announcement and details in Q2

Gordon Culp
Director - Game Systems Design
Magic: The Gathering Digital Studio
Wizards of the Coast, LLC

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