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Pictures on cards

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Pt314
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Joined: 12/31/1969

I have gotten my game to the point where I have made all of the cards on my computer except for 1 thing left. The pictures/portraits. I have all the rest of the data on them.

Games similar to mine have fancy pictures on their cards, but I don't have any.

Should I try to make all the fancy pictures before I print out another prototype on cardstock? Or does it not matter much at all?

PS. If the card is between 2x2 and 3x3 inches in dimension, how much (minimum) space is prefered for a nice picture?

SVan
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Joined: 10/02/2008
Pictures on cards

One of my card games, codebreaker, i am currently working on the proto right now. It probably would be done if I decided to leave the pics off til the next time. But I decided I wanted pics on it, so that's what will happen.
I'm basically doing it for flavor, and it isn't needed.

So if you're planning on playtesting this game with friends and family, pics aren't needed now. But if you're planning on sending it to a publisher, pics are definately a nice add-in (but not completely needed there either.)
This has been stated on this site many times, but most publishers will change your artwork, unless it is something very impressive. They may even change the theme, making your artwork less essencial.

Btw, I am using clip art for my proto artwork, from microsoft, so it's not impressive, but it help make my game look more like the theme.

-Steve

Deviant
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Pictures on cards

Clipart is a great thing if you want pictures. So are search engines like Google, that can search for images. I wouldn't worry about the pictures just yet unless you really like to draw/paint/etc. It can easily become the most time-consuming aspect of your design if you let it.

First priority is getting your game in any sort of playable state. Looks really aren't important for the purposes of playtesting. I use index cards marked with pencil to make my first draft card games. Once you've playtested and thoroughly streamlined your draft, then you can make your final draft. If you're like me, though, "final" is a relative term.

In not so many words, I wouldn't worry about it. Unless you're already at the publishing/marketing stage, in which case go for it!

Pt314
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Pictures on cards

My little brother (who is an amazing artist, can draw near photo-realistic things from scratch) is drawing some of the portraits for me on paper. We are planning on scanning them into the computer later.

However, I have run out of patience and want to test my latest version now. So I will make simple quick pictures for now. I can always make another copy later. 8)

SVan
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Joined: 10/02/2008
Pictures on cards

Pt314 wrote:
However, I have run out of patience and want to test my latest version now. So I will make simple quick pictures for now. I can always make another copy later. 8)

That's what I'm thinking too. The problem for me is even with the quick pics they still take forever so long to find. I'm too much of a perfectionist when it comes to the computer. Plus I don't want to print these things out more than once for the proto.

-Steve

VeritasGames
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Joined: 08/01/2008
Re: Pictures on cards

Pt314 wrote:

Games similar to mine have fancy pictures on their cards, but I don't have any.

If the cards have lots of text on them then pictures are useful. Gamers will de facto use mnemonics and encode the text in their mind, associating it with the picture.

Quote:
PS. If the card is between 2x2 and 3x3 inches in dimension, how much (minimum) space is prefered for a nice picture?

If you can afford 50% of the total surface area of the card face, go for it. Most importantly is that the art be well-cropped and that the card overall doesn't look cramped. Some of my current layouts involve nice, big pictures, but I'm considering altering that to make the cards look less cramped.

Lee

trnardo
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Pictures on cards

Quote:
LV: "If you can afford 50% of the total surface area of the card face, go for it. Most importantly is that the art be well-cropped and that the card overall doesn't look cramped."

To be more specific, avoid "mouse print" -- make sure your card text font stays at least 10 pt or larger. This can sometimes be as much an exercise in rewriting card text more concisely as in balancing the space for artwork. (For me, Gods Vs Goddesses was a great exercise in this area; a pity it never made GMT's P500 cut.)

Having an idea of how much space you want for artwork is a good way to keep you honest on the text early on, so you don't spend all your time playtesting verbose cards and then tightening up the text at the last minute.

As someone else noted, clip art packages are very useful in tossing together something to go in that art area.

VeritasGames
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Pictures on cards

trnardo wrote:

To be more specific, avoid "mouse print" -- make sure your card text font stays at least 10 pt or larger.

I think that WotC tries not to go below 6 pt. or 7 pt.

Quote:

This can sometimes be as much an exercise in rewriting card text more concisely as in balancing the space for artwork.

One way to do this for a more complicated game is to not require all cards to have the same space for artwork. Come up with 2 templates if necessary, one for verbose cards and one for concise cards. Whatever you do, don't leave out useful words and sacrifice clarity just to cut the card wording down. This almost always ends up producing errata guides the size of pocket dictionary.

trnardo
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Pictures on cards

Quote:
"I think that WotC tries not to go below 6 pt. or 7 pt."

I sometimes wonder if there's a second definition of point size that I'm unaware of. Defining 1 pt. = 1/72", a 6 pt. font is painfully small. And while I've seen M:tG cards with 7 pt. font, they're far from being the norm. Most of their cards I recall seeing had a 10 pt. font size.

However, it is true that the less visible the card needs to be from across the table, the more you can afford to go to a smaller font.

Quote:
"One way to do this for a more complicated game is to not require all cards to have the same space for artwork. Come up with 2 templates if necessary, one for verbose cards and one for concise cards. Whatever you do, don't leave out useful words and sacrifice clarity just to cut the card wording down. This almost always ends up producing errata guides the size of pocket dictionary."

In GvG, we have five card templates. One of the templates was suited to a one-shot card class that required more verbose text.

Nonetheless, the point of doing this exercise early is to test card wording in the first stages rather than doing it as an afterthought. It's especially useful in avoiding "everything but the kitchen sink" cards; i.e., cards that have a multitude of secondary functions, most of which end up not getting used anyway.

When artwork isn't under your direct control, it's also helpful in justifying your position with an art department that you really do need space for N lines of text for a given class of card -- you can demonstrate that pruning text any further renders a card (or cards) unplayable.

VeritasGames
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Pictures on cards

trnardo wrote:
Quote:
"I think that WotC tries not to go below 6 pt. or 7 pt."

I sometimes wonder if there's a second definition of point size that I'm unaware of. Defining 1 pt. = 1/72", a 6 pt. font is painfully small. And while I've seen M:tG cards with 7 pt. font, they're far from being the norm.

Who said anything about the norm. I said that was their minimum size, the size below which they won't go below. Smalller than that and they scrap or revise the card.

Quote:
Most of their cards I recall seeing had a 10 pt. font size.

Right, I quoted a minimum, not a median, mean, or mode.

Quote:
However, it is true that the less visible the card needs to be from across the table, the more you can afford to go to a smaller font.

Honestly, except for certain icons, even when my vision was better, I could never read cards across the table. Particularly with glare on card sleeves, much writing on cards is practically invisible. CCG players 90% of the time try to memorize card text and identify cards by artwork instead.

Lee

Quote:
"One way to do this for a more complicated game is to not require all cards to have the same space for artwork. Come up with 2 templates if necessary, one for verbose cards and one for concise cards. Whatever you do, don't leave out useful words and sacrifice clarity just to cut the card wording down. This almost always ends up producing errata guides the size of pocket dictionary."

In GvG, we have five card templates. One of the templates was suited to a one-shot card class that required more verbose text.

Nonetheless, the point of doing this exercise early is to test card wording in the first stages rather than doing it as an afterthought. It's especially useful in avoiding "everything but the kitchen sink" cards; i.e., cards that have a multitude of secondary functions, most of which end up not getting used anyway.

When artwork isn't under your direct control, it's also helpful in justifying your position with an art department that you really do need space for N lines of text for a given class of card -- you can demonstrate that pruning text any further renders a card (or cards) unplayable.

Anonymous
Pictures on cards

I managed to get a 'visual vocabulary' of images quickly and easily for my protototype at the weekend using dingbats.

try
http://www.fontgarden.net/dingbats/

Pt314
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Pictures on cards

I have come a long way on making my cards during the past week. I have made every card for my game so far. All I have left for the individual cards is to redraw some of my pictures that I don't like, and to clairify my text.

The text on my cards are 12 pt. I am thinking I might need to make it smaller for some of my more complicated cards.

Another problem popped up recently though. Since each card is in its own PCX file, printing them would waste a lot of cardstock. So now I am trying to find an efficent and fast way to print many at once on the same piece of cardstock.My idea right now is to make 8 or 9 files that are a composite of 12 others each.

Deviant
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Pictures on cards

If you can get a graphic design program like Photoshop or CorelDraw, those programs make it easy to edit and move around whole cards as vectors. Usually you can also save a document of multiple pages in a single file, which saves the time spent working between files. If money is an object (isn't it always?) the GIMP is available on the BGDF. Click on the "Downloads" link on the sidebar.

Anonymous
Pictures on cards

However, if you have the money, one of the computer programs you can buy is Poser by Curious Labs, Inc. It is a 3D portrait program designed really for video game characters though I don't see any reason not to use it for this purpose.

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