Thursday, January 2, 2014

A discussion of recent art changes


Darin Shepit is the instigator of this post. It is an explanation of my recent changes to my card art. It might be interesting to others as well, so it is memorialized here. I did take a lot of Darin's comments into consideration when I made my recent changes. I also did some things of my own initiative.

The following changes were per Darin's advice:

The platforms. They are circles, rectangles, and ovals, colored with perlin noise and bordered with white to black gradients. The parts 'sit' on top of them, and the text floats above the parts (although I don't intend that to be apparent in most of the cards).

I tried to lighten up the 'scratched metal' background to make the part stand out more. I also increased the saturation and contrast of the cards. The art does look much clearer with this change, so I thought that that really helped the overall appearance.

Finally, The borders on the cards were removed entirely.

The changes that I made of my own accord follow:

I removed the colored glow around the card (which indicates what deck it is from) in exchange for making the card name text the only thing that indicates the deck (at some point the backs of the cards will all be different colors so that they can be more easily separated into their respective decks (which is important to the game))

I also fooled around with automating the coloring of the title texts and the attribute texts as well. This should make it easier to bang out a lot of cards once I figure out what they should look like (there are 25 unique parts cards (with 2 to 8 copies of each), so this is important if I ever want to get done).

I also changed the icons in the upper corners of the cards in the following ways: I made them colored so that when the same symbols appear in the card text the players will more easily be able to recognize them as being the same symbol. I also removed the card symbol entirely and replaced them with either a heat capacity symbol (if the card modifies the heat capacity) or nothing (this change is not really set in stone yet, I am not entirely happy with losing the card symbol).

In terms of game rules:

The game has been pretty stable for a long time, but since I gave it a months rest during NaGaDeMon I have decided to change some things recently. One such change was making the Bomberman Judge award 2 points per part that you lose during the dance off (instead of the original 1 point per part) since he was one of the lowest benefit granting judges and pleasing him was rarely a good strategy.

I am pretty happy with my new 'discard all of your parts before the dance off' rule (even though it severely gimps the Grand Poobah) since it makes more parts available to draft before the second dance off.

I have also been considering finding ways of making the Oil Reactor better, since it seems a little under-powered. Subtracting a heat or a space would seem to be too much of a boon, but I don't know if adding an electricity might be a better option (it might also be too much). I will have to fool around with it and see which thing works best.

Now, The future:

I haven't even considered what I am going to do with the dance move cards yet (with 42 unique dances I am not yet ready to start on them). There are also 16 judges, so I have to figure them out too eventually.

I only have hired Dave (my artist brother in law) to make the art for the 25 part cards, so I haven't yet gotten any art for the moves or judges yet. The art that I have received is not entirely complete (you can find the extent of the artwork I have received as of yet here), but I expect it to not be too long before it is ready to go.

The whole reason for making the artwork is that I have made a website to play the card game and people have been telling me that the game would be more approachable with artwork. I do intend to try to sell the game to a publisher eventually, but until I do that the website makes it easier to get playtesters from all over, allows me to play against friends who do not live close to me, and also allows me to easily change things and see if I like them without printing and cutting a lot of cards. Another benefit is that the website records logs of every game, so I can mine the logs for info about approximate card power levels and use that to balance the game.

I have been entertaining the possibility of making the game into a android app, but the website is pretty usable on a phone or a tablet already, so I probably will save the idea for one of my other games (MOAR MOAI, my recent NaGaDeMon entry is pretty well suited to be played on a computer since I haven't yet figured out how to cut down on the math for restocking fish and such).

Either way, if I can get the game ready to show to some publishers by SaltCon I will be happy (I just recently realized that I missed the deadline to submit it to be judged for the Ion Award, so I am just hoping that I can show it to some publishers there anyway.)