Apprentice (software)

Apprentice (software)

"Apprentice" is a program that assists in playing "" over the Internet and maintains a searchable database of "Magic" cards. It was developed by Dragonstar Studios from 1996-1999 and based on an earlier program from 1995 by Tan Thor Jen. [cite web|url=|title=Apprentice: Play Magic Via Modem |accessdate=2007-04-06 |date=1995-12-08] The original 1995 Apprentice, written in Visual Basic, was then ported to Delphi by Mike Allen and after creation of the 1.0 port development was continued by Ryan Davis. The last release was in the version 1.4 branch and a 2.0 branch, developed by Davis, was promised in the future. [cite web |url= |title=More Apprentice 2.0 Screens |accessdate=2006-12-06 |date=2006-12-13] However, Dragonstar Studios disbanded. In 2007 Apprentice 2.0 was open sourced and development continues [] .


"Apprentice" lacks a rules engine; the game moves forward by the players talking out their current actions. "Apprentice" simply provides an interface that can keep track of the current phase of the game; cards in play and their current state; and cards in the graveyard. [cite web |url=
title=VHS, Betamax and DVD: MWS, Apprentice and Magic Online |author=Zvi Mowshowitz | authorlink=Zvi Mowshowitz |accessdate=2006-12-06 |date=2005-06-22
] There is no concept of card ownership; players may use as many copies of a card as they would like in decks they create. [cite web |url= |title=Apprentice Walkthrough / Guide at Magic-League |accessdate=2006-12-06 ] Cards which interact with sideboards such as the ' "wishes" or the ' split card Research/Development are not implemented directly, and are instead usually adjudicated by creating temporary new cards on the spot.

The program is freeware and is downloadable without need for either charge or registration. [cite web |url= |title=Download Apprentice |accessdate=2006-12-06 ] However, when Dragonstar Studios disbanded, they did not release the Apprentice 1.0 source code due to the legal agreement between them and Wizards of the Coast.cite web |url=
title=Wizards Wrote Me A Very Large Check, That's Why |author=The Ferret |accessdate=2006-12-06 |date=2001-12-03
] Hence, the 1.0 branch is frozen in time without the possibility of any future upgrades or bugfixes. However, the simple data format used to store cards has allowed new sets to be added and the registry of cards updated.

"Apprentice" was officially acknowledged and licensed by Wizards of the Coast, as it only uses publicly-available rules and lists of cards.


Netdraft is the main program used by both "Apprentice" and "Magic Workstation" to support "drafts," a popular limited format. Netdraft hosts up to 8 players who may draft from any magic set. [cite web |url= |title=Netdraft Guide |accessdate=2006-12-06 ] This includes out of print sets as well as the most recent set in the interval between the Prerelease event and the street release. In Netdraft's early days it was considered buggy and did not always compensate for those with erratic connections.Fact|date=February 2007 Unlike the original "Apprentice", Netdraft has been occasionally updated, and is currently spartan but functional.


"Apprentice"'s usage was threatened with the proliferation of the "Backwash" program which allowed undetectable cheating; for example, the ordering of each player's library. This program threatened the viability of "Apprentice" in leagues where any kind of prizes were available. An update was created that allegedly allowed the staff to check for the use of such 'cheat' programs, however. [cite web |url=
title=MTGOnline Responds: Why Apprentice Works, And Why You Can Play Safely For Free |accessdate=2006-12-06 |date=2001-12-03
] A more recent version can be found at [ Magic-League] . Apprentice 2.0 includes encryption to prevent these types of exploits.

ee also

*Magic Workstation


External links

* [ Snapshot of former Apprentice Site at Dragonstar Studios]
* [ Magic-League]
* [ Apprentice 2]
* [ Daring Apprentice]

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