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MTG Familiar; An Android App For Magic the Gathering

September 6th, 2011 No comments

MTG Familiar IconI should point out from the beginning that I do not, in fact, play Magic: The Gathering. For those of you who do enjoy dead trees over pixels, however, here’s an app to check out.

MTG Familiar provides a variety of tools and utilities for Magic: The Gathering players, packaged into one lightweight, open source app. The core of the app is a master list of MTG cards, which automatically updates from time to time (whether you like it or not), ensuring that you always have the most up-to-date info about the cards in your deck. The card list is stored in a local database, so after a long unzip on your first run, you can search through it at blazing fast speeds.

When you first open the app, you’re greeted with a no-nonsense home screen.

MTG Familiar homescreen

MTG Familiar homescreen

Hitting “Card Search” brings up a full-featured search interface with options to search by all kinds of parameters I know nothing about (but you probably understand, if you’re reading this review).

Search Interface

Search Interface

Performing a search brings up a list of all cards matching your criteria. Clicking on a card name gives you a description and some other useful info.

Info about a card

Info about a card

Here is where the app really shines, text formatting aside. Hit the Menu key, and you get a bunch of useful options. Selecting “Card Image”, for example,  grabs and displays an image of the card.

Author Gelakinetic was kind enough to make this an optional function, rather than including the image with the card info by default. This saves you bandwidth if you’re on one of those infernal capped-data plans, and ensures that the text-only info loads extra fast (since it’s all you’ll need 99% of the time).

Full card images

Full card images

Another option is “Card Price”, which loads up a browser and gives you live info on how much the card costs.

Live MTG card prices

Finally, hitting “Legality” gets you info about where you can play the card.

Card legality info

Card legality info

In addition to the card-related info, the app includes several useful Magic: The Gathering related utilities. These include a life counter:

Life counter

Life counter

And a random number generator which simulates rolling dies of various sided-ness.

Random number generator

Random number generator

MTG Familiar already provides a lot of great functionality, but the app is only in its infancy. The good news, again, is that it’s open source, so if it’s missing something you’d like to see, you can dive right in and tweak it. Full access to the source is available at Google Code: http://code.google.com/p/mtg-familiar/

Hate the white-on-black aesthetic? Have mad Java-spider-writing skills and want to find a way to integrate the pricing data directly into the card info screen (my first thought, personally)? Want to integrate streaming video of matches (are they called that?) directly into the app? Grab the code and play around!

For the non developer types, MTG Familar is not yet available in the Android market, but you can grab an APK here: http://code.google.com/p/mtg-familiar/downloads/detail?name=mtg-familiar-a0.2.apk and install it yourself. It’s already a very useful app, and with the conspicuous overlaps between the MTG and Open Source communities, my guess is that it will only get better.

UPDATE: MTG Familiar is now available in the Android market https://market.android.com/details?id=com.gelakinetic.mtgfam

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