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Subject: Beta Testers for iPad app? rss

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Nathan
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The first version of the Magic Collection app is now available in the iTunes app store!

Download it here: http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=Smq3RC8yf5I&offe...
Learn more here: http://scubabunny.net/magic_collection.html

I would like to thank the beta testers and the other people posting in this thread giving me feedback and ideas.

The offer for further beta testers still stands, however. I am working on adding support for multiple custom lists with importing and exporting and there are still lots of bugs to work out. Message me for more details.


Original post follows
I have been working on an iPad app that will allow you to catalog and track your collection. Knowing how we love to collect and track things around here I was wondering if anyone would be interested in doing some user testing to provide usability feedback.

I have almost all the features I was planning for an initial release, but I want to make sure the app works the way most people will expect it to, and that it is actually feasible to input large numbers of cards into a collection.

If anyone is interested, post in this thread, or send me a message. The beta app is being distributed via TestFlight (testflightapp.com), and you will need to provide your 40 character iPad UDID. You will also need to provide an email address, or sign up at TestFlight to get automatic emails when I update the build. There are a limited number of devices I can register, so it will have to be first come first served.

Here is a screenshot from the most recent build.
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Eric Jome
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Can I enter cards into my collection by taking pictures of them?
 
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Robert Loblah
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Is this purely a collection management tool? Or does it have any features for deckbuilding from your collection?
 
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Nathan
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cosine wrote:
Can I enter cards into my collection by taking pictures of them?


Unfortunately, you cannot do that with this app.

I've been asked about taking pictures before, and spent a bit of time researching it, but it is unlikely to be a feature in my app for a few reasons.

1. There is already an iPhone app that does it, but it only works on the card title, not the image of the card, so it can't tell printings apart.
2. The image database that would have to be bundled with the app to do that would be well over a gigabyte.
3. Bundling images like that would likely result in a lawsuit.
4. While it works ok for adding a few cards, it was much to slow for my tastes. Adding even a small collection would take hours.

It does make me curious though. What do you see as the benefit of being able to enter cards by taking pictures? Speed? Less typing? I've tried to solve those issues in other ways, but if there is something that can only be accomplished by photographs, I may revisit the idea.
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Nathan
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Bobloblah wrote:
Is this purely a collection management tool? Or does it have any features for deckbuilding from your collection?


Right now it is purely collection management, though there are basic tools like searching and sorting if you wanted to browse your collection and make a decklist on paper.

That is a feature I want to add in the future, so I've made sure there is support for it behind the scenes. But for the moment, I'm trying to make sure the management aspect is solid before expanding the scope.
 
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Cyrus the Great
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Great idea! I'm not sure how copyright infringing this would be though, you may want to check with somebody from WOTC.
 
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Nathan
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Josephus wrote:
This sounds exactly what I've been looking for and I would be happy to help test it out. I've been looking for an app that will help me manage my Cubes.


Great! Post or send me your iPad UDID and you'll be able to download the app.
 
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Robert Loblah
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mr.codepoet wrote:
Bobloblah wrote:
Is this purely a collection management tool? Or does it have any features for deckbuilding from your collection?


Right now it is purely collection management, though there are basic tools like searching and sorting if you wanted to browse your collection and make a decklist on paper.

That is a feature I want to add in the future, so I've made sure there is support for it behind the scenes. But for the moment, I'm trying to make sure the management aspect is solid before expanding the scope.

Josephus wrote:
This sounds exactly what I've been looking for and I would be happy to help test it out. I've been looking for an app that will help me manage my Cubes.

Cool! My interest is Cube-based, too. Don't really have time for proper beta-testing at the moment, but I hope you keep us updated.
 
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Nathan
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Bobloblah wrote:

Josephus wrote:
This sounds exactly what I've been looking for and I would be happy to help test it out. I've been looking for an app that will help me manage my Cubes.

Cool! My interest is Cube-based, too. Don't really have time for proper beta-testing at the moment, but I hope you keep us updated.


With regard to tracking Cubes, I have a few questions to get a feel for what you hope to do.

Do you have a single Cube or more than one that you wish to track?
Would you rather select cards relative to your collection (selecting which ones were in or out) or relative to all cards (selecting which ones you have or want)?
Would you treat the Cube as a large decklist or a separate inventory?
Do you modify your Cube after each set is released? Or after you buy a few new cards?

Currently, you could track a Cube in the app now. It lets you track cards you have, want, and foils you have or want. Visually, each card gets 4 little indicator badges so you can see your collection as you flip pages. You could easily use the have counter to track your Cube, which would allow you to use the statistics page on your Cube as a whole. Alternatively, you could use the want or foil counts to mark cards from your collection as being in the Cube so when browsing your collection, you'd be able to visually see which ones were a part of it, and you'd be able to filter out other cards. The markers don't have any explicit visual meaning, so you can use them how ever you want.
 
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Mark McEvoy
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I was fiddling with it this morning, and there are a lot of great ideas in it, looks like it will be a great app.

Aside from the above multi-deck-and-cube tracking, and it would be nice to be able to generate/email text 'reports' (like a report of all your wanted cards as a shopping/trading list, or the contents of a deck/cube)...


The biggest improvement that immediately jumped out as me was how much you could do with gestures. Most prominently, swipe-up, swipe-down, and doubletap (and of lesser concern, pinch/unpinch). Right now up and down (and pinch and unpinch) do nothing and doubletap just opens+closes the popup bar. It should be really easy to make these gestures do something - I suggest swipe-up on a card being +1 to owned, swipe-down being -1 owned, unpinch be +1 want, pinch be -1 want, and doubletap to transform a flip card. All of these are functions I'd like to be able to quickly apply without having to call up the popup bar and find-tap the button I want. Maybe you could even have a setting that defines what some of these gestures on a card would do (some might want doubletap to increment owned; some may not use want functionality and would prefer to track foils-owned with gestures). Another gesture you could do something with is tap+hold.

The pullout bars (Advanced, Filters, etc) should open with a leftswipe starting at the tab, and should close with a rightswipe anywhere on the pullout.

So many reader apps allow me to page-back with a tap along the left margin I'd like this app to do the same. Don't reduce the screen real estate to have another opaque bar on the left - just have the app treat a tap in the leftmost half-inch of the page as a page-back.


Sorting: it would be nice if we could do two-criteria sorting. I don't like that when I go from cost sorting to color sorting it goes to color-alphabetical and not color-cost. I would like to be able to sort by colour-then-cost. I know I can partially do what I want with filters, but secondary sorting really shouldn't be that tough to implement.
 
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Nathan
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thatmarkguy wrote:
I was fiddling with it this morning, and there are a lot of great ideas in it, looks like it will be a great app.

Aside from the above multi-deck-and-cube tracking, and it would be nice to be able to generate/email text 'reports' (like a report of all your wanted cards as a shopping/trading list, or the contents of a deck/cube)...


The biggest improvement that immediately jumped out as me was how much you could do with gestures. Most prominently, swipe-up, swipe-down, and doubletap (and of lesser concern, pinch/unpinch). Right now up and down (and pinch and unpinch) do nothing and doubletap just opens+closes the popup bar. It should be really easy to make these gestures do something - I suggest swipe-up on a card being +1 to owned, swipe-down being -1 owned, unpinch be +1 want, pinch be -1 want, and doubletap to transform a flip card. All of these are functions I'd like to be able to quickly apply without having to call up the popup bar and find-tap the button I want. Maybe you could even have a setting that defines what some of these gestures on a card would do (some might want doubletap to increment owned; some may not use want functionality and would prefer to track foils-owned with gestures). Another gesture you could do something with is tap+hold.

The pullout bars (Advanced, Filters, etc) should open with a leftswipe starting at the tab, and should close with a rightswipe anywhere on the pullout.

So many reader apps allow me to page-back with a tap along the left margin I'd like this app to do the same. Don't reduce the screen real estate to have another opaque bar on the left - just have the app treat a tap in the leftmost half-inch of the page as a page-back.


Sorting: it would be nice if we could do two-criteria sorting. I don't like that when I go from cost sorting to color sorting it goes to color-alphabetical and not color-cost. I would like to be able to sort by colour-then-cost. I know I can partially do what I want with filters, but secondary sorting really shouldn't be that tough to implement.


Great feedback, thanks!

I would like to have some way to export/inport lists of cards, and I've heard so many suggestions including text files, Dropbox, email, Facebook, .dec, etc. that I don't think I can implement them all. I'll add another vote to the text and email columns, though.

Gestures are a tricky area, but I like the idea of being able to perform a base action on a card without having to access the detail panel. I am a little worried that an invisible prev page button on the left might cause more accidental or mistaken taps and become a pain point.

Each sort actually has 3-7 more criteria running behind the scenes, but only the top level is named. This was very much a conscious design choice because the interface space and complexity required for completely custom sorts outweighed the utility. I'm still trying to figure out the most popular sorting styles until I can come up with a sorting interface that doesn't bloat to become a copy of the iTunes smart playlist UI. In the meantime, I'll try color-cost sorting and see what kind of reaction it gets from other testers.
 
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Joakim Björklund
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I'm not interested in testing, but I'm interested in an app like this. But some form of export/import of card lists (in some form of CSV or XML) is crucial for me, since I'm not interested in sitting down and enter every single card I have. It's just too much work.
 
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Nathan
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I have been getting lots of good feedback from the few testers I've gotten. There's a new beta ready with several improvements suggested by testers. So if you'd like to try it out and offer any opinions please send me or post your iPad UDID and I can send you a link to download the latest beta straight to your device.

I've also made a short video of the current version so anyone interested can see how it works.

http://screencast.com/t/4z2F6DuV
 
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Robert Loblah
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mr.codepoet wrote:
Bobloblah wrote:

Josephus wrote:
This sounds exactly what I've been looking for and I would be happy to help test it out. I've been looking for an app that will help me manage my Cubes.

Cool! My interest is Cube-based, too. Don't really have time for proper beta-testing at the moment, but I hope you keep us updated.


With regard to tracking Cubes, I have a few questions to get a feel for what you hope to do.

1.) Do you have a single Cube or more than one that you wish to track?
2.) Would you rather select cards relative to your collection (selecting which ones were in or out) or relative to all cards (selecting which ones you have or want)?
3.) Would you treat the Cube as a large decklist or a separate inventory?
4.) Do you modify your Cube after each set is released? Or after you buy a few new cards?

Currently, you could track a Cube in the app now. It lets you track cards you have, want, and foils you have or want. Visually, each card gets 4 little indicator badges so you can see your collection as you flip pages. You could easily use the have counter to track your Cube, which would allow you to use the statistics page on your Cube as a whole. Alternatively, you could use the want or foil counts to mark cards from your collection as being in the Cube so when browsing your collection, you'd be able to visually see which ones were a part of it, and you'd be able to filter out other cards. The markers don't have any explicit visual meaning, so you can use them how ever you want.

1.) Multiple Cubes, just like decks

2.) I'm more interested in selecting from my collection, assuming this app is tracking that. It'd be handy to be able to also have the ability to select from all cards, as that is part of the Cube-building process.

3.) Preferably as a decklist. Some of the things that are desireable on top of that are: sorting (colour [W,U,B,R,G,Artifact,Land] > Creature,Non-creature > CMC) and random booster (like a sample hand draw, but 15 cards)

4.) Both.
 
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Nathan
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The first version of the Magic Collection app is now available in the iTunes app store!

Download it here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/magic-collection/id560500410?...
Learn more here: http://scubabunny.net/magic_collection.html

I would like to thank the beta testers and the other people posting in this thread giving me feedback and ideas.

The offer for further beta testers still stands, however. I am working on adding support for multiple custom lists with importing and exporting and there are still lots of bugs to work out. Message me for more details.
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Nathan
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Adding decklists is coming along, but there are a lot of unknowns I need to figure out to make it as easy to use as the rest of the app.

If you'd like to help, please answer the following questions. It should only take a minute or two, and will help me improve the app.

1. Have you ever opened an email attachment on your iPad?

2. How do you instal documents via iTunes?

3. Do you have existing deck lists? If yes, what format are they in, and what app or website are they from?

4. Do you consider your have/want list to be one list or two?

5. Will you share your deck lists with others, or use them to track part of your collection (like a cube)?

6. How many decks do you have built at any given time?

7. Do your decks contain sideboards? If yes, do you normally isolate 15 cards as a sideboard, or is the deck 75 cards, sideboarded as needed?

8. What do you name your decks?

9. What's one feature other deck editors had that you hated?

10. What's one feature other deck editors had that you loved?
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1. Have you ever opened an email attachment on your iPad?
Yes, mostly .docx and .ppt documents.

2. How do you install documents via iTunes?
I've never installed/copied/moved/etc. documents via iTunes. Music and apps yes, but not documents.

3. Do you have existing deck lists? If yes, what format are they in, and what app or website are they from?
.dec - Used in MTGO, Magarena, and tappedout.net
.txt - Export format from tappedout.net
.dck - Used in Forge

4. Do you consider your have/want list to be one list or two?
Two lists.

5. Will you share your deck lists with others, or use them to track part of your collection (like a cube)?
I'd use them for both. I'd like to be able to bring my iPad to a card store and show them my buy list, while at the same time be able share my deck ideas with friends.

6. How many decks do you have built at any given time?
Maybe 1 or 2 a week.

7. Do your decks contain sideboards? If yes, do you normally isolate 15 cards as a sideboard, or is the deck 75 cards, sideboarded as needed?
Yes I have sideboards, though I don't always use the standard 15 card size since I play entirely casual.

8. What do you name your decks?
I usually pre-empt with a color identifier if you cannot determine that from a moment's glance (e.g. Mono-R, BW, UG, etc); followed by the name of the "star" card (e.g. Delver); finally the game plan of the deck (e.g. Control). So the final product would be something like "Mono-U Delver Control." Tappedout.net places a color pie chart of the deck next to the deck name, so you can immediately identify a deck's color without reading the name, in which case I drop the color identifier from the names.

9. What's one feature other deck editors had that you hated?
Text only inputs to build the initial deck and how anal they are about where you put spaces. For instance "4 x Forest" will return an error on tappedout.net, but "4x Forest" is the only acceptable format. (Tappedout.net)
The only way to add more copies of a card is to find the card in the index, then click "add a copy" instead of selecting the card from the deck. (Forge)

10. What's one feature other deck editors had that you loved?
The ability to view the CMC mana curve (histogram), the distribution of color symbols in a deck (pie chart), and the distribution (pie chart) of card types (i.e. land, sorcery, instant, creature, artifact). The histogram is invaluable.
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Joakim Björklund
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1. Have you ever opened an email attachment on your iPad?

No.

2. How do you instal documents via iTunes?

I've transfered some PDFs and e-books, but it's not something I do very often, so I'm not even sure how it's done right now.

3. Do you have existing deck lists? If yes, what format are they in, and what app or website are they from?

Yes, I have a few. In different free-form text documents.

4. Do you consider your have/want list to be one list or two?

Two separate lists. I have actually three. My entire collection is my have list. The cards in my trading binders are my trade list and is a subset of my have list. One could perhaps call my trade list a have list, and every card as my collection. And then I have a separate wantlist.

5. Will you share your deck lists with others, or use them to track part of your collection (like a cube)?

I could do some sharing, but it's not so important. I could use a deck list as a subset of my collection, like a cube list.

6. How many decks do you have built at any given time?

At the moment I have about 10-15 decks. The way I'd like the deck lists to work is to have a collection of decks in the app. These would be separate from my collection, in order to be able to put cards I don't have in them. I sometimes have to take decks apart because I need the cards for other decks, so I'd like to have all the old decks written down as well, not just the current ones I have. Some functionality I'd like for decks:

- Mana curve and color composition.
- A way to check if I have all the cards necessary in my collection. If not, some sort of way to show what's missing (perhaps highlighting them in a different color?).
- A comments section where I can write down thoughts about possible changes, strategies for the deck, change logs, etc.

7. Do your decks contain sideboards? If yes, do you normally isolate 15 cards as a sideboard, or is the deck 75 cards, sideboarded as needed?

Some have sidebords, if they have it's 15 cards.

8. What do you name your decks?

Most have no name, but it could be anything. Some examples:

Fungus Haze
Not you again!
Niv-Mizzet = #1
Mono-Black Standard, post-October 5th

9. What's one feature other deck editors had that you hated?

Haven't used any.

10. What's one feature other deck editors had that you loved?

Same as 10.
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Joakim Björklund
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I thought of one cool feature for decklists that I'd like. I don't know if it's feasible at all in your design, but presenting it as a suggestion anyway.

If I enter a decklist for somewhere, for instance the decklists from the official website (.dek format is it?), it would be nice to indicate what cards and quantities I'm missing in my collection in order to make deck. I mentioned this already. The feature I thought of is this:

What if the app would look through your collection and suggest replacements for those missing cards based on color, card type, casting cost, and perhaps simple keywords (like Flying, Protection, Trample and so on)? Perhaps some sort of fuzzy search could find possible replacements as well.
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That is an interesting idea.

Finding other cards with the same color, type, and cost isn't hard, but determining which words in the text are important to search on is. A human can determine that Incinerate is a possible replacement for Lightning Bolt, but I'm not sure the app could with the data it has. I'm afraid I'd end up with searches that were incredibly narrow (functional reprints only) or uselessly broad (all red instants that have the word "damage" or "target").

The only data in the app is basically text on each part of the card. Breaking down the text box into functional units (abilities, triggers, state-based effects, etc.) is what MTG Online and the various other apps do. I wonder if they could do something like this.
 
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I agree that any search on the text box is complicated, but color, type and mana cost (both exact and converted mana cost) would help a lot already. And if you the order the result based on how many of those match up, then you can probably quickly see what is similar and usable.

I thought of something else as well. I don't know if the app already have this feature (I haven't bought it yet, but I planning to do it.).

- Filtering on tournament legality. Applying a filter on my collection to show, for example, only Modern or Standard legal cards I have. It's something that's hard to see quickly sometimes because I have older cards that have been reprinted. For example, the Ice Age Painlands. They're all Modern legal, but all my copies are pre-8th edition so they have the old border and if I didn't know they were reprinted in 9th/10th edition I wouldn't know that they are Modern legal just by browsing my binders. Changing banned lists and Extended/Standard sets could probably complicate this a bit, if it is hardcoded in the app. You'd then have to upload a new version with every change. But perhaps allow the user to change banned listed and sets? Or could it be downloaded from somewhere?
 
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I spent a good chunk of the weekend trying to figure out how tracking format legality would work and had a huge post all written up about the pros and cons, but I reconsidered since I don't know if anyone is interested in that kind of detail.

The short answer is: it's going to be complicated and will require you to keep the app up to date when new sets come out, but I think I figured out a way I might be able to make it work. The way the app works (each printing is a separate card) and the way format legality works (each card with the same name is indistinguishable) aren't really compatible, so I'm going to focus on getting list editing finished, and then see what will work in the next update.
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Deck building is coming along. Here's a preview screenshot of the list manager, where you can load your deck list and get summary graphs about it.



Beta testers: The most recent build fixes a bug that may have been preventing this screen from showing, and could have crashed the app. If that was happening, try the latest version here: http://tflig.ht/S4c7s3
 
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