January 25, 2014

Sorry for the lack of updates recently, especially given that we had espoused earlier in the month about how we planned on getting the ball rolling again on the blog itself. It doesn't mean that any of us have forgotten about our promise of course, just that we've all been really busy lately. Despite that fact, we have at least been discussing more possibilities and deciding on projects that we all plan to individually pursue in the coming weeks. For me, it will be Naruto CCG related, and be something that has been a long time coming, considering that the community that still exists to a degree via the Facebook group has decided to embrace the larger overall Shippuden Format, which covers Set 11 and up, along with reprints.

So what exactly is it that I'm going to be working on? Well, it's actually something that I'd been doing before the game was cancelled last May, but I never had a chance to finish it and present it for official use. What I'm talking about is a card retexting file. If you play Magic the Gathering at all, you are likely familiar with something called the Oracle. The Oracle is the official text of a card that is meant for use in the game, which isn't always the same as what is actually printed on the physical card itself. Sometimes, it's because cards get erratas, other times it is clarifications on what the card does. A great deal of it though is the clean up of old cards that were worded poorly due to the time that they were printed, or cards that were worded a certain way because that's the way the rules worked back then. So what the Oracle did, was to consolidate every single card in the game to follow the same rules and all be written in a similar manner, following certain restrictions on the wording of the cards. All triggered effects will read the same, all activated effects will read the same, all replacement effects will read the same, and so on and so forth. Taking this in the direction of the Naruto CCG would be something like making sure all triggered effects were worded with "When", since some cards that predate I believe Set 15 used "If" a lot. Another example is the disuse of "at the beginning" in favor of "at the start". The retext would take the most recently used word choice and apply it across the board.

Card games that last as long as Naruto did, which was over 30 sets, are going to go through changes like this, and there were at least three significant changes to the core rules of the game in it's time, along with at least half a dozen random variations on certain wordings ('target' in Ninja effect text was a recent change over 'choose' and 'select'). Now, back to what I was saying before about this having been something I'd started and never gotten a chance to finish, I would have loved to simply be able to use the original spreadsheet that I was working with, but I no longer have access to it, and I'm not about to go asking people who might still have access to it to allow me to try and use it for anything. So, I have to start from scratch. Rather than going from Set 1 and on-wards though, I am going to start at Set 11, since that is the beginning of the Shippuden Format that is being used most wide spread. As of this writing, I'm about 50% done with Set 11, which I started on the 24th, and I put about three hours into it. So if each set takes about six hours, I could probably put out about two sets a week, maybe three. Now, assuming I only have to get up to Set 21 where the new effect templates had begun being used, that means it would take about three and a half weeks. But, we all know that isn't likely the case and that I'll be combing through Sets 21+ as well to make sure there isn't anything that is too out of whack.

You're probably wondering why I'm wasting my time doing this at all, and the answer is that I figure if people want to keep playing the game, they're going to want to be able to understand all these old cards that stopped seeing use because of the way Block Format rotated things out. Now that people are wanting to play with a new format that includes old cards that have outdated card text, this will make it easier on everyone, and possilby help promote more people getting into playing the game again, since it will sort of blend everything back together. I'll be sure to say more on the matter when I get a chance, but that's really it from me for now. Be sure to check back in to see what MJM and TheNosePath might be up to soon.

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