Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Changing Your Replays for Magic Online

Today I thought I would let you in on a little secret about Magic Online. Most of my audience probably already knows this, but Magic Online is a program where you collect digital copies of Magic the Gathering cards and compete with players around the world in a series of different game formats. It's available for a minimal startup fee of $10, and you can play an unlimited amount and need not ever invest another dollar in the game. Of course, just like in paper Magic, cards are acquired either through purchasing boosters or buying the individual cards; in both cases, you have to spend more money.

The way I have chosen to sidestep this financial necessity is: first, I almost exclusively play Standard Pauper, which is probably the cheapest Magic format ever; and second, I create online content and publish it through PureMTGO in exchange for credits on their Magic Online marketplace run by MTGOTraders. Both are excellent websites, and I strongly suggest you check them out.

One type of content I am working on this week involves video-casting the semi-finals and finals of the Monday Pauper Deck Challenge Season 20 Championships. One of the advantages of Magic Online is that it creates replays of all the games that you play, which you can watch at a later time. However, I didn't play in either of those matches, nor was I able to watch them live to record them. So how did I manage to create these videocasts?

As it turns out, the current Magic Online client uses a very simplistic text file to save which replays you have access to. This database file is found beneath a sub-folder called "AppData," which is normally a hidden folder, located in the same directory as the "My Document" folder. Within "AppData," you click on "Roaming," then "Wizards of the Coast," then "Magic Online", and finally "3.0." The text file starts with your Magic Online username with an extension . MYGAMES. Here's what it looks like on my system:

Double click on that, and open it with Notepad. It will look something like this:

Looks pretty scary, doesn't it? Truth is, most of it is irrelevant. But the very first set of numbers in each line - the first eight numbers before the hashtag to be exact - is actually the only thing that matters. If you change those either numbers to another valid entry, that particular replay on Magic Online changes to the corresponding game. Scroll to the last entry, copy and paste it below the last entry, change the first eight digits, and viola! - you have a new replay. So that begs the question: how do you get a valid game number? There are (at least) two ways.

First, you can see the game number from the virtual game table of any MTGO game:

Notice the circled number. This is displayed in each and every Magic Online game. 

Second, if you double-click on any completed match on Magic Online, the following will pop-up:

Either way, you simply record those numbers, then replace the first eight numbers before the hashtag on any line of the .MYGAMES document. Save it, and then when you next load up Magic Online, that particular replay has been changed to a new game.

You can use this is two ways:

First, Magic Online is notorious for not saving all your replays. If you note the number down of each game, even if Magic Online fails to record your replay, you can always go in and create it later.

Second, it allows you to watch replays even of games that you didn't play. While the games listed under the "Games" tab on Magic Online won't have the right info, when you start the replay, it will show both players who participated in that game. Neither player will display their hands, but otherwise you have full access to the game. You can rewind, fast forward, or play it in real time.

So that's how I create most of my videocasts. I just make sure to capture the relevant game numbers, input them into the .MYGAMES document later, and then make a videocast of the replay at a later date. This long post makes it sound much more complicated than it really is.

Want to try it? Feel free to use the above game numbers to edit your own .MYGAMES document. The replays are from the Finals of MPDC Season 20 Worlds. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading. Hope you found this information useful. See you next time!

1 comment:

  1. Great ! That really enlightens the fact that you CAN replay "non watchable" matches or games after they have been played by right-clicking "Replay". Simply because those games or matches have those numbers as well. Mtgo software allows this when it should not, and you made it all clear to everyone so everyone can get better at this game.
    Def this game is all about tricks. Heheheheheh.