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Web-based game engine: good or bad idea?

I recently bought the game and after only a few games I’m already hooked.

Since I’m a noob and a developer, I figured that I could create a web-based game engine to

  • learn about all the rules of the game
  • be able to play with people from all over the world (unfortunately there’s not much people I can play with where I live)

But, from what I gathered, there seems to be issues regarding IP… :frowning:

So, my question: is building a free web-based android:netrunner game engine worth the trouble or will I be forced to take it down?

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Do you know about OCTGN platform? http://www.octgn.net/

Yes I do. Even though I’ve never tried it, I’ve seen a bunch of screencasts of people using it and I feel we can do better.

NOTE: I’m not judging db0’s amazing work on the ANR plugin at all. I just feel like the limitations of OCTGN platform prevent us (developers) from delivering a great user experience.


I agree. While db0 does a really great job with his plugin, the actual OCTGN program itself is lacking in many ways, and the OCTGN devs have shown a really hostile attitude to the community.

I would be interested in seeing a strong web implementation, but I would estimate a fairly high probability that Fantasy Flight asks you to take it down.

FFG does however turn blind eye to OCTGN, and I have heard these possible reasons why:

  • Censored cards for the first 6 months after they get released.
  • OCTGN is a “generic” platform that can play any game.

I would consider sending an email to FFG and asking if there are any limitations that would make it acceptable before starting.


I made the prototype in your second link. I had contacted FFG in Dec 2012 but they never replied about it (which I take to mean “no it’s not okay”) and I eventually had other priorities and found OCTGN to be good enough for the time being despite the limitations of the platform.

Mark Roach has a very nice prototype up on Github that I believe would sidestep legal issues as it doesn’t use copyrighted art or text. It’s pretty far along and probably only needs around 100-200 hours of dev work to be a viable alternative to OCTGN. You may contact him on BoardGameGeek as mrroach and I’m sure he would appreciate help.


So it should be fine to implement all the logic/rules but not use any of the art/text?

I’m fine ditching both the art and the flavor text. But I would love to use the same terms and card names.

Already did :wink:

I would love to say YESMAKEITNOWPLZ, but I realize you don’t want to put a bunch of effort into something that is going to be taken down. It would have to be free, as you said, and not use any of the copyrightable parts of the game (art, assets, rules text, some card text)

Are you sure these are copyrightable?

I don’t think that the rules text is. The big thing is art as far as I am aware.


Regarding the art and flavour text, I might be alone on this but personally I don’t like the way Netrunner looks when played on a screen with the card art from the game. There’s something about a computer game trying to ape the look of physical cards that bugs me and some of the constraints inherent in doing that - like the small, less readable fonts - negatively impact the game play experience.

Plus, I like the idea of the online play experience being something a little alien from the physical playing experience, more like a blueprint to the real thing. Feeling like a dedicated “testing environment” rather than trying to be something it is not.

Crazy idea: would it be viable to build a text-based version of the game?

And by viable I mean it has to actually be both feasible (how do we display the board/hand/runs…) and enjoyable (otherwise, there’s no point of making a game that’s not fun to play)

its not a crazy idea, i was thinking about it a lot. hacking in terminal. doing commands like ‘run hq’ etc. all with bash like commands, with history, tab completion etc. its doable, yet require both some heavy netrunner fans and computer nerds to play.

oh, and btw, here is my PoC of web based version :slight_smile: http://prozz.github.io/anr-client/

i started also writing some clojure code for serverside, not a whole lot of it - more of a learning project. planned to have text based and/or web based versions as clients. i may share if someone want.

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Yeah, that worries me a bit. I want it to be as accessible as possible.

Here’s what it would look like according to Alsciende (@Alsciende ?) on BoardGameGeek

The night is illuminated by neons and full of promises. Time to start working.

> ls
The Maker's Eye
Kati Jones

> ping
#R (Enigma)
#H [unknown] (Wall of Static)
#1 (Tollbooth)
#2 (unknown)
The Corp has 5 credits and 0 bad pub.

> stat #H
3 items in #H: [unknown] [unknown] [unknown]

> stat #1
2 items in #1: [unknown] [SanSan City Grid] 

> install Yog.0
 | 0c: Break code gate subroutine.
Yog.0 installed. 
Remaining MU: 2. 
Remaining credits: 6. 
Remaining clicks: 3.

> ls
The Maker's Eye
Kati Jones

> cat Kati Jones
 | You cannot use Kati Jones more than once per turn.
 | [Click]: Place 3 from the bank on Kati Jones.
 | [Click]: Take all credits from Kati Jones.

> launch Maker's Eye
Say what?

> launch The Maker's Eye
 | Make a run on R&D. If successful, access 2 additional cards from R&D.
Starting run on #R.
Remaining credits: 4. 
Remaining clicks: 2.
Approaching (Enigma). Action? [no] 
First ice, cannot jack out.
Ice already rezzed (Enigma). Action? [no]
Ice rezzed, encountering (Enigma). Action? [no] yes
Your rig:
  1. Faerie
  2. Yog.0
  3. Clone Chip
Use what? 2
Abilities of Yog.0:
  1. 0: Break code gate subroutine
Use what? 1
Subroutines of (Enigma):
  1. The Runner loses [Click], if able.
  2. End the run.
Break what? 1
Another action? [no] y 2 1 2
Another action? [no]
Resolving subroutines on (Enigma).
No subroutine.
No more ice.
Approaching server. Action? [no]
Jack out? [no]
Run about to be successful. Action? [no]
Run successful.
Triggering The Maker's Eye.
 | Make a run on R&D. If successful, access 2 additional cards from R&D.
Accessing 3 cards from R&D.
Accessing < Hedge Fund>. Trash? [no]
Accessing $Astroscript Pilot Program$. Steal? [yes]
You now have 2 agenda points. Way to go!
Accessing [Snare!]. 
 | If Snare! is accessed from R&D, the Runner must reveal it.
 | If you pay 4c when the Runner accesses Snare!, do 3 net damage and give 
 | the Runner 1 tag. Ignore this effect if the Runner accesses Snare! from
 | Archives.
The Corp does 3 damage.
The Corp gives you a tag.
You're flatlined.
Try again? [yes]

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

> who am i
Gabriel Santiago


Yep, that’s me, both. I would still love to work on something like this :slight_smile:

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that’s what im talking about!
im defo up to help, if my skills will match. i can help with serverside, if written in clojure or java.

here is what i have till now. if u wanna explore/expand it further, lmk: https://github.com/prozz/anr-server

Don’t forget to pass prioritet to corp on every window for paid abilities. (Before / after click, and during the run)

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By rules text I meant the rulebook itself which is subject to copyright like other books.

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Is that already handled by OTCGN? If not, how would you imagine it working? It’s hard to have interactions from both players during one player’s turn. How can we prevent the other player from stalling your turn?

No this is not handled by OCTGN. There is a window before accesses only.