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Topic: Stacked Deck Software Project
Message: Posted by: Nick Pudar (Jun 12, 2003 04:55PM)
Hi there.

After a lot of late nights, I've got to the point where I'm ready to share with you all an early version of my stacked deck software, which I am calling "StackView." The software is designed to explore stacked decks, and possibly develop new routines. This is freeware for magicians. My desire is to provide serious students of stacked deck magic a useful tool to explore new ideas.

I actually never intended to develop this software in the first place. Orignally, I had an idea for a routine with a stacked deck, but couldn't convince myself that my method would work in all cases. So, I decided that I needed to learn a programming language and write a simulation to test out my idea. Well, things sort of took a life of their own, and the result is this software. You can download a copy of the program at http://www.stackview.com - and also see some sample screens there.

When first opening the software, you will need to Set your Stack by selecting one of several stacks in the drop-down list (they are ordered alphabetically), then press the "Set Stack" button. Then just explore. I hope the rest is intuitive.

I'm going to take a break from programming for a bit, so version 2 won't be in the works for a while. However, I already have ideas of additional features that I want to add. (As a brief appendix to this note, I offer some areas that I have been thinking about, and why the software looks and operates the way it does.) I welcome any feedback and/or suggestions on how to make this a more useful tool for exploring stacked deck magic.

Enjoy. I look forward to learning what you think, and any ideas you have.

Warmest regards,
Nick Pudar

My overarching design objective was to be able to "do anything" to a deck of cards and be able "to see" the effect of those changes. I also wanted the manipulation of the deck to be as quick and easy as possible (without having to maneauver through many layers of menus). So, this has lead me to have the everpresent dialog box with one tab for cuts and shuffles, and another tab for card selections. This tabbed design allows me to expand to more tabs for more categories of things to do.

I also included the "Highlight Selections" and the "Show Index Values" check boxes so that the user can actually practice doing tricks that they have developed.

I do not want to teach the user how to learn the stacks, nor do I want to divulge any unique features or internal setups, or even setup rules for learning purposes. I am assuming that the user already knows the stack and its features, so I only want to provide a simulated means of doing standard (and a few non-standard) card maneuvers.

Other than that, I've tried to include everything that I could think of for a "first pass effort." Any additional insights and ideas are welcome.

One major addition I would like to eventually make is a "Record Session" capability. The user would be able to press a "Record" button, and the software would create a file with a saved sequence of deck activities. You would be able to save, and open those files whenever you want (even share them with friends). You would also be able to "play" the file back. An example of why this might be useful is: Construct a sequence of actions to have several cards selected, and then use the software to quickly and repeatedly practice discerning the selections.

Another change I'd like to eventually add is to allow the user to add their own stacks to the existing list. I would even add an algorithm to allow the user to construct their own variation of the Stanyon Stack.
Message: Posted by: Jeff (Jun 12, 2003 06:50PM)

Great job! I'm going to have fun with this.

Jeff Pierce
Message: Posted by: FZandura (Jun 12, 2003 06:56PM)

Thanks for sharing the product of your labors.
Message: Posted by: Close.Up.Dave (Jun 12, 2003 07:04PM)
Thanks a lot. I love stacks. :bluebikes:
Message: Posted by: Nick Pudar (Jun 12, 2003 09:43PM)
One thing I forgot to mention... one of the things that influenced me to extend the original (non-graphic) simulation to the final graphical application was Michael Close's effect "Tut Tut" in Workers Number 5. I was amazed that he was able to discover what he did in Aronson's stack. It occurred to me that if I extended the capabilities of the original simulation, I might be able to play around with the stack virtually (without having to do all those faros!) and still see what was happening.

Incidently, if anyone was wondering, Simon Aronson, Martin Joyal, and Juan Tamariz have all graciously permitted me to include their stacks in the software application. Many thanks for their kindness, and their contributions to the field of stacked deck magic.


An update...

For all those who may have had problems installing the software, I have recompiled the setup and installation program using a different (and more reliable) piece of software. Apparently, the installer that comes with Visual Basic 6 is not so good, as a few of you have experienced -- I'm sorry about that. Hopefully, this new setup file will work for you.

Nick Pudar

Yet another update...

Thanks go out to Richard Osterlind and Jim Sisti -- StackView now includes the Osterlind Breakthrough Card System!

Message: Posted by: landmark (Jul 17, 2003 08:24AM)
Hi Nick,
Thanks for your efforts. Any chance of compiling a version for the Macintosh? Perhaps if this is not in your plans you could release your code to someone who would be willing to work on developing a Mac version as a service to fellow magicians. Of course if this is intended for eventual commercial release, then I understand your need to keep the code private! Please let us know if this is feasible.

thanks, landmark
Message: Posted by: VinceMagicMan (Jul 17, 2003 10:05AM)

Great Job. After I mess with it some more I will be back to provide as much "useful" feedback that I can.
Message: Posted by: Nick Pudar (Jul 17, 2003 09:51PM)
I have no objection to having someone develop a Mac version of StackView. If anyone is very serious about this, let me know. I would only have a few minor conditions. (You should know that I am not a professional programmer, and I learned Visual Basic literally "on the fly" -- so the code is not elegant in structure or documentation.)

Incidently, as I wrote before, Juan Tamariz has kindly allowed me to use his stack in the software. His close friend, Ramón Riobóo, only uses a Mac, so if someone would compile StackView for the Mac, the odds increase that Juan will get to see the software in action. (Of course, someone else with a PC may get to him first...)

Also, I have no intention to ever release StackView commercially. It is freeware for magicians. Having said that however, I am not really interested in publishing the code.

Thanks for the kind words. I look forward to your feedback.

Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Aug 19, 2003 05:24AM)
Sweet- This is awesome, and you kick butt!
Message: Posted by: Hoelderlin (Aug 19, 2003 11:22AM)
Thank for your software: it is really useful and amusing. As a suggestion, I think it would be nice, and I think very simple to do, to allow to print the stack (when I want to bring with me a stack, I must now copy the result by hand)
Message: Posted by: lostnlonley (Aug 19, 2003 11:38AM)
Very nice man; I like it and this is one of those ideas you think "Why the hell didn't I think of that!"

Well done man,

Message: Posted by: Jon Allen (Aug 19, 2003 01:06PM)
That's an awsome program. Thanks for making it available.
Message: Posted by: Mark Martinez (Aug 19, 2003 02:00PM)
Great program, can't wait to get it installed and use it, I used a FARO program for a little while until the 30 day trial was up, but just couldn't bring myself to pay for it... This seems to fit the bill perfectly! :online:
Message: Posted by: Nick Pudar (Sep 4, 2003 10:54PM)
Now that I've added everything I can think of to the StackView software, (new version is available) I would like to toss out a question: How do you get to an Aronson stack from a new deck order by performing a sequence of actions that appear to a layman as shuffling and/or toying with the deck? Maybe this is already known and I haven't seen it yet. Either way, I'd appreciate it if anyone who can/has figure(d) it out to record a "session" with stackview and make the file available. To be safe, the file can be shared in the Secret Sessions forum.

Obviously, the more brief the handling, the better the solution.

Message: Posted by: Paul Sherman (Sep 5, 2003 12:21AM)
On 2003-09-04 23:54, Nick Pudar wrote:
How do you get to an Aronson stack from a new deck order by performing a sequence of actions that appear to a layman as shuffling and/or toying with the deck? [/quote]

You don't :P
Message: Posted by: Hoelderlin (Sep 5, 2003 11:59AM)
I think (but I'm not sure) it is not possible to stack an Aronson deck from a new order; I'm sure, instead, this can be done with the Tamariz's.
Message: Posted by: Nick Pudar (Sep 5, 2003 06:22PM)
I have a hard time accepting that it is impossible to get to an Aronson stack from New Deck order. I will grant you that it may be a bit convoluted, but I have to believe that there is some sequence of actions that will get you there.

On a related note, I am anxious to see what people come up with from the "Special Faro" options that exist in StackView. I think there will be some interesting discoveries. (For example, if you do 6 OutFaroSpecial(11) shuffles, you will get to the original order. However, you have to do 20 of these shuffles to get back if the cut block is 13 cards.)

So, I'm hopeful that there will be some brave pioneers that will take the exploration journey.

Message: Posted by: Dennis Loomis (Sep 6, 2003 06:23PM)
Hi Nick,
I don't think that anyone has come up with a way to get from new deck order into Aronson Stack which could be done as "toying" with the deck. It seems to me that it would take an awful lot of "fiddling." However, for anyone reading this thread that is not aware of it, there is a way to get into Aroson Stack order, or any predetermined order taught in the book: "Encyclopedia of Card Tricks" by Jean Hugard. It's the very last thing in the book and it's called "A Subtle Game." It's not toying with a deck either. You perform a pretty good trick, but at the end of the trick your deck is in order. At the beginning, it's a totally shuffled deck. This is very handy for memorized deck workers, so I urge you to check it out.
Dennis Loomis
Message: Posted by: Nick Pudar (Sep 6, 2003 11:08PM)
Excellent mention. I actually do use that effect when in a group situation and handed a borrowed deck to "do some stuff." It is brilliant, and amazingly unknown by most magicians who do own the book.
Message: Posted by: Jeff (Sep 6, 2003 11:53PM)
First of all let me say thank you for "Stackview.You might also check out the "Shuffle Calculator" at

Can you write a feature that takes two stacks and calculates the steps between each?

Just an idea.

Message: Posted by: sashain (Sep 7, 2003 12:11PM)

Thanks for sharing this project. Looks like a lot of effort.

Message: Posted by: Nick Pudar (Sep 8, 2003 02:39PM)
Jeff, thanks for the link reference. On the issue of a Stack to Stack conversion calculator -- wow, that sounds difficult. I'm sure it is possible, but I suspect that the math behind such a solver is outrageous. (However, this would definitely solve the New Deck to Aronson handling I've been anxious to learn.