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SVan
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Joined: 10/02/2008

I tried looking in the forum to see if this had already been asked but didn't find anything, but if it's there, well, I guess I didn't look good enough...

Anyways, because I like to use the computer a lot for making games, and also seeing some programs being talked about on here, I wanted to know which software programs are the best programs used for designing games, board and card games preferably. All comments and help would be greatly appreciated!

DarkDream
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Joined: 12/31/1969
CorelDraw Essentials?

I heard from FastLearner that he created his "Frog God's Pond" (definitely check it out, it is really well done) using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign. He is a part-time graphics designer, and these products costs upwards of $400 dollars.

I am hoping other people have some ideas or recommendations for some lower price software geared towards the hobbyist. I have been looking on the web, and CorelDraw Essentials seems like a good candidate to me ($70 and does a lot of things).

Anyone else have any input?

Thanks,

DarkDream

Torrent
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Software

I use Paintshop by Jasc. It does almost everything that Photoshop does but I got it for US$90. The pieces that I can see it doesn't really do I wouldn't use anyway. It has all the layers and fancy paintbrushes that Photoshop has.

Andy

Scurra
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Joined: 09/11/2008
Software

I use PaintshopPro too, and version 5 (which is all I use) is a free download now I believe.
Certainly it does layers and that's really all you need to be able to do some decent tricks, but it's got some other good tools as well.

Deviant
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Software

I use CorelDraw 8, which is legacy software now and can be picked up for a song ($20 or so, and maybe less now). It has every feature I could ever want or need, so I've never felt any need to upgrade. When finals week is over and I get some time off I'll submit my board game Wormhole so you have some idea what's possible.

Oracle
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Joined: 06/22/2010
Software

Deviant wrote:
I use CorelDraw 8, which is legacy software now and can be picked up for a song ($20 or so, and maybe less now).

I also use CorelDraw 8 which I got under an academic license (Ontario licensed a copy for every teacher and student in the province; Corel is a local company). It is an excellent tool for game design. I'd strongly recommend it, especially if you can get it that cheaply. It was originally around the same price as photoshop.

Jason

SVan
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Joined: 10/02/2008
Software

Thank you all for your comments. I am demoing something by Corel, I don't remember which one but I will demo all the programs everyone said. I'm still looking for anything else that will help as well, free or under 100 bucks. (Free is the best though :D )

Ken
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Software

If you are looking for FREE, I have a couple of suggestions. First would be a full featured Office Suite called Open Office (below is a review) and the host site. Open Office now also supports one button conversion to PDF's in its latest versions.

http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=6492
http://www.openoffice.org/

For graphics you could look into a program called GIMP

http://www.gimp.org/the_gimp.html

Both of these have versions that will run on a Windows machine (with mixed results), but they really shine on a Linux operating system ... which is also free (among its many other benefits)

http://www.linux.org/dist/download.html?ID=21

Anonymous
Software

Just a quick word though. Linux is great. It really is. Stable, secure, direct access to your hardware, shell interface.

However, it's not for those who concider themselves "computer newbies" or "novices".

I'm sorry to all the linux geeks out there, but it's just true. My best friend uses Slackware as his main OS. I'm getting ready to install slack on an extra box and run it as a web server (as well as a storage center for MP3s for distrobution throughout my house).

If you're somone who feels comfortable formatting and partitioning their hard drive and installing Linux and then ironing out all the quirks and config files that need to be tweaked in order to get the video to display properly, the scroll button on your mouse to work, etc. etc. Then go right ahead. If you're not entirely sure what I just said... then I'd either forget about Linux, or find someone else to install it for you. Once you get linux installed KDE shouldn't be too unfamiliar to you if your'e a windows user.

Just don't expect to be buying any screensavers, or games, or whatnot from the store. Almost all linux programs are free downloads online or purchasable online. Almost none of them can be purchased at the stores.

Again, Linux is great, but not for everyone. And those programs may run in Windows, but they were really designed for Linux. You'd be better sticking with Corel or PSP.

I've used Paint Shop Pro a lot since '98. I highly recommend it to those who can't afford to spend $400 on software (which is a lot of people). Corel also makes a lot of good products. I havn't used any of their graphics programs except their painter series. Painter is geared more toward digital artwork rather than graphic design, but if it's any indication as to the quality of their other products, then there should be no problems there. I think their software ranges from between PSP and Photoshop though... I can't remember.

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Software

Painter was designed by a now-defunct company called Fractal Design. It truly is an amazing program.

Corel -- and they do make decent software -- couldn't have created Painter. But they did buy Fractal Design (and ended up with Bryce and KPT as well), and so have the application now.

Years ago I could have recommended inexpensive software but once I was able to buy the higher-end stuff (Photoshop. QuarkXPress but now InDesign, Illustrator, Freehand, Acrobat, Dreamweaver, etc. etc.) I've managed to buy upgrades (most of the time) and so have lost touch with the more affordable stuff.

-- Matthew

Anonymous
Software

Aha, that's where I was drawing the Corel-ation! Bwahahah... ha... oh...

But yeah, that must be why I thought Corel did Painter.

I had a chance to use Dreamweaver and Fireworks recently (well, back in September, recently). I did a 30 day trial of MX, then I did a 30 day trial of mx 2004. Now both of those trials have run out.

Man, I never wanted $400 more in my life. As a wannabe web designer, those programs are gold.

SVan
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Joined: 10/02/2008
Software

Going back on the comments on Linux and Windows, I was wondering if they co-exist, meaning if I put Linux on my computer, will I have to get windows off first, or will it run on top of Windows.

I know enough about computers to do what I need to do, and how to fix most common and some uncommon things, but never really dealt with Linux, but always heard it was much better than Windows (but really anything could be better than Windows, just like it was said in the post on the politics game review or marketing, America just goes after what it is comfortable with and sticks with it even if it's designed to bring us all to our graves. I'm an American and I can say that as consumers we are a mostly dumb country, spending money on the names instead of the results most of the time.)

I better step down from my soapbox. I don't like being hit with tomatoes... 8O

Anonymous
Software

Ah, the dual boot solution.

Yes Linux and Windows can coexist, but since they're both Operating Systems, and since they are so vastly different, they will each require either separate hard drives, or their own partition on your hard drive.

A windows partition will only require one partition. Linux will want two (one for the Linux OS and one for swap).

You'll most likely have one more partition that will contain a boot loader like LILO or something similar. LILO will allow you to select which operating system you want to boot into when you turn on your computer, and even let you set the default in case you want to turn your computer on and go get a cup of joe.

I had my system dual booted for a while, but most of the Linux apps that I'd be interested in running aren't really geared toward part time Linux use. (i.e. web servers, file servers). So when I ever did switch to Linux I was mainly just tinkering and not really USEing it. I'd be constantly switching back to Windows to play games and whatnot.

My friend running slackware has had some pretty good luck getting most windows games running on his system, but it requires a great deal of fiddling to work in most every case.

Dual boot would be worth it if you found out you really do like GIMP (which is great, but I prefer PSP over GIMP by far).

I say dual boot to give Linux a try, then if you really like it, wipe the drive and just go Linux all the way.

SVan
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Joined: 10/02/2008
Software

I hate windows. The last good one was 98 which I still run on my computer, so getting rid of it would be a plus for me.

According what has been said here, most games that you buy in stores are not meant for linux. Is there a way to run these on a Linux OS?

Anonymous
Software

There is WineX, which (as they would want to make sure you understand) is not Wine. WineX is geared toward making games run in Linux. It's kind of like Wine in that it's not changing the games to run on them, but rather it's creating an envirionment that the program will THINK is Windows.

Wine does the same thing, but it's not geared for gaming, and is usually for running other types of applications. Preferably ones that don't require hardware acceleration.

There are a few games out there that come with a Linux client. I think Return to Castle Wolfenstein is one of them, but I know for sure that the online only "expansion" Enemy Territory has a native Linux client.

If you go to fileplanet, and search for demos of games, sometimes you'll see there are Linux clients for some of them. If there is a Linux demo, naturally you should be able to install it on Linux from the disc you buy at the store. I'm not entirely sure if games that support Linux are even stated as having such support on the box though.

My slack friend got Dark Age of Camelot running in Linux, but it took a bit of hocus pocus to get working. He basically had to install it on Windows, patch it and update it, then copy it over to his Linux machine over his LAN.

So, it would seem that having a Windows machine going for gaming is your best bet.

As far as other applications, Linux is great because you can find just about anyting online for free. There are some companies that either want you to pay for their software, or allow limited use without payment, but for the most part Linux is free country.

Right now, like I said earlier, GIMP and other native Linux programs for art work are not really up to snuff on the other programs. Although there are pretty big strides going on right now to get some quality art and 3-d modeling programs for Linux. They're advancing, just not to the point of being prefered at the moment.

As for windows. 98 SE (Second/Special Edition) wasn't all that bad. It was reasonably stable and didn't have nearly the problems 98 did. Windows ME is just plain horrid, avoid it like the plague. Windows 2000 wasn't bad, but it only really shines in a corporate environment, and it's not really good for gaming, but anything you'd want to do corporate, would actually best be done with Linux, except for most people know windows. Windows Xp is probably the best OS for computer gaming right now, and it's actually got some nice features, but it's got a lot of uneccessary fluff that just inflates the system. There are a lot of services that nobody needs, and a lot (A LOT) of security issues. Seems a new patch for a new vulnerability comes out every other week. I'm behind a firewall, so I don't worry about it too much, but not everyone has a router or firewall, and not everyone knows better.

What I'm saying is just a long winded way of saying, Linux is great, but until it's user friendly and approachable as Windows is, then windows has it's place. Distros like RedHat are making strides in presenting linux in a easy to swallow tablet formula. Insert CD, install, enjoy. Complete with pretty graphics and helpful tooltips. KDE is also not that much different than windows. It just has a lot more features, and of course, caters to Linux's strengths rather than trying to emulate Windows. Of course all this polish comes at a price. You can purchase RedHat in stores like CompUSA and whatnot. I think the only way to get RedHat free is to download the large ISO files and burn them to a disc, but I'm not entirely sure if they offer it for free.

Anyway, just be sure you're prepared to struggle when it comes to mainstream software. You don't have to abandon it, but you'll have to work at it harder than just installing and going in most cases.

SVan
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Joined: 10/02/2008
Software

I never knew Windows 98 first edition, when I bought my computer, ME was about to come out, and at the time I kicked myself for not waiting a week to get ME with my computer. Now I am very happy I got my computer when I did.

You're right about XP, it is great for games, but for anything else it just takes away your memory and has a hard time multi-tasking sometimes. It doesn't like to close things down like it should. I use it at work and it makes my work computer slower than my computer at home where the computer at work should be 2 times faster.

Thanks for your help and hints for Linux. If I use a computer stricting for apps and not for games I will set it up as Linux only.

Oracle
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Joined: 06/22/2010
Software

SVan wrote:
I hate windows. The last good one was 98 which I still run on my computer, so getting rid of it would be a plus for me.

According what has been said here, most games that you buy in stores are not meant for linux. Is there a way to run these on a Linux OS?

I agree with you, but win2k was like 98 but more stable. MS announced today that they're pulling the plug on 98. The downside for us is that it means no security updates so we can't run it on an important machine anymore.

XP is useless because of the EULA; you don't really own your computer anymore as soon as you install it. I don't like the idea of pirating because then I sink to their level.

I've been using linux since 1995. It's great for some things, but it's still not ready to be a desktop replacement. I've been looking into getting a Mac since winXP came out, and I'm going to switch to it when my current computer gets too obsolete.

I also think I'm not the only who feels that way and with what's coming up soon in the windows world, I think there will be a mass exodus to Apple, so I recently bought a lot of of Apple stock.

Jason

Anonymous
Software

Apple still has a few problems to overcome. For the most part, their products are generally priced slightly higher than other computer products. As such, they cater to a bit smaller demographic (i.e. people with a little more money to spend).

Another problem is that, there can't be an exodus without third party software support. I'm increasingly surprised at how many developers are starting to develop for Mac these days. However, Windows is still cornering the market on 3rd party software. Longhorn is about to be released again. It'll entice newcomers to the PC simply because Microsoft will put out a new ad campaign telling people how simple using a computer is, and they'll bite. Not to mention Microsoft has been throwing a lot of money around since the turn of the century, and ensuring that it'll remain a giant in the industry for a while.

Marketing mistakes like what happened with the release of the G5 recently, with the first models out the door being much underpowered to what they promised, hurts Apple in the short term. They raised people's expectations and then let them down ever so slightly.

I feel Mac will remain a loyal fanbase type system for years to come. If anything comes to challenge windows, I feel it'll be Linux. It seems Apple is in the business of surviving, rather than conquering, but Linux is trying to build an army to take on Microsoft head on.

Just my 2cents.

I do happen to like macs btw, in case it sounded like I don't :P
Except when they break. They're very tightly sealed systems. When something breaks, you pretty much have to call Apple or take it to a mac certified repairman. Then again, things rarely break. Then again, when they do break, they break big time.

Ken
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Software

Interesting discussion! I didn't mean to open up a whole can of worms. I have found that the newest versions of the "big" linux distros (like Red Hat or Mandrake) to be excellent desktop replacements. The install for mandrake is about as clear could be (even the partitioning). This from a guy who is a relative newbie.

You do lose some of the applications you've grown accustomed to in WIndows (but a dual boot can take care of that), however (to my mind at least) the advantages it offers in other areas , make it something every computer user should at least look into as a possibility.

Oracle
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Joined: 06/22/2010
Software

Ken wrote:
I have found that the newest versions of the "big" linux distros (like Red Hat or Mandrake) to be excellent desktop replacements. The install for mandrake is about as clear could be (even the partitioning). This from a guy who is a relative newbie.

This is getting way out of the scope of the site, so I hope we're not annoying Darke too much.

As I mentioned, I'm a Slackware user, but I did try Red Hat and Mandrake a couple of years ago. I found that they're worse than windows as far as hiding all the configuration information; they have hundreds of config files, and the only sane way to change anything is with silly GUI tools that abstract what you're really doing. A simple change might affect 20 files.

Slackware has a couple of dozen config files that are divided much more logically.

It might be easier to do basic stuff with the GUI with RH or Mandrake, but since it hides what's really going on, you'll never get a deep understanding of Linux.

That being said, I should mention I recently installed Slackware 9.1 and I'm having a horrible time dealing with getting the GUI set up, so when I have time I'm going to try out either SuSe, Debian, or RH. I haven't touched anything but slack in about 2 years.

Jason

Anonymous
Software

Well unfortunately changing config files might seem a daunting task for some users, which is why RedHat is doing things the way they do it. They're looking to become a windows alternative.

I'm a debian fan myself, but now that they're doing away with it, I think I'm going to go slack. I'm a linux newbie as it were. I still have a lot to learn about it, but I'm around it every day at work, so I'm fairly comfortable with it.

Oracle
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Joined: 06/22/2010
Software

Bandecko wrote:
Well unfortunately changing config files might seem a daunting task for some users, which is why RedHat is doing things the way they do it. They're looking to become a windows alternative.

I have no objection to that, but why can't their config tools edit files that are simple enough to manually edit? They go out out their way to make everything as complex as possible so the newbie will be afraid to experiement and learn anything to no longer be a newbie.

In their defense, this is very windows-like. That's one of the reasons I hate windows. In the mid 80's, when I was 10, I had a very deep understanding of how the computer worked because it was a lot simpler. Now, with a recent Computer Science degree from one of the best computer schools in the world, I know less about what's going on deep in a modern windows computer than I did about a modern computer 20 years ago.

Jason

Anonymous
excel card deck

Would anyone have interest in a deck of cards simulation.

this is an excel spreadsheet that lets you 'pretend' a deck of cards.
(it would handle many cards, I use it for two decks. shuffled together or in two halfs)

It has deal and shuffle, and it let me play test and change a deck really quickly.

you would need excel or somthing to use it.

I would give it out for free. ( i would put on an ftp/website but i dont seem to be able to get it onto my space at the moment)

Anonymous
Re: Software

SVan wrote:
I wanted to know which software programs are the best programs used for designing games, board and card games preferably.

I use Freehand for vector type graphics. It is excellent for laying out cards. Personally, I prefer Freehand because it is produced by Macromedia and integrates well with Flash and Dreamweaver. If not Freehand, I would recommend Adobe Illustrator; it does pretty much the same things as Freehand, but is less intuitive.

For images I have only one choice, Adobe Photoshop, but it is expensive. There is, however, a program I used once, for Windows, call PhotoPlus, by Serif, that I think is better than all the other Photoshop imitations and only costs around $90. It does almost everything Photoshop does, supports layers, cloning, transparencies, has great effects...Well, I hope this helps.

prophx
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Joined: 08/13/2008
Software

The tool I use in that price range is Ulead PhotoImpact. It does everything you need and more. It is very user friendly. You can pick up the previous version for around $45 and the new version for $90. Last I looked, Best Buy still carries it. I don't know what I would have done without it.

Anonymous
Software

In doing protos... I work in ....... drumroll please.......

Microsoft Word and Microsoft Paint! Wooohoooo! :-)

I've been using those two pieces of software since the dawn of time and I understand them. I can lay up some pretty nice stuff in Word... especially with the Avery plug-in that let's me import a Excel db and formats it onto buisness cards for me... makes card making a BREEZE. Paint (the version that will open/save GIFs) does everything I need... considering I'm not an artist by ANY means.

Tyler
(Okay, I'm open for "ha ha!"s) :P

Anonymous
Software

I am backing Random_Person 100% here!
I took a year of graphic design and animation in school (seperate courses) so I have a tiny bit of background in Adobe, Corel, and Macromedia programs. I've also played with Gimp and a few other programs here and there. That said, I am a word and paint guy. I created my first full-fledged website using. . .now be nice . . .word, paint, and geocities :D (can you say ouch? that's a story of its own).

I have found that the aforementioned gif compatible version of paint does nearly all I need for prototyping. My biggest complaint is its lack of free rotation. Beyond that, its integration into Word makes it perfect for protyping any kind of game.

- Silverdragon0

Anonymous
Software

excel as a database, word with a mail merge. its great for prototyping.

Then as things get better, I do my art in photoshop and bryce. (great for making several of the same sort of cards. like a sceen with an arrow in it . you can move the arrow and render the sceen again.)

lastly I use XML as the database (exported from excel) and use XSLT to convert the layouts into HTML

IngredientX
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Joined: 07/26/2008
Software

Weird as it sounds? FileMaker Pro. It's a light, quick database program that can hadle certain tasks (like rotating text fields) that Access can't.

I like using a database program for my games because I usually have cards. A database lets me arrange the layout for the cards very easily; and the only thing that changes from card to card is the actual data, which is handled record-to-record.

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Software

IngredientX wrote:
Weird as it sounds? FileMaker Pro. It's a light, quick database program that can hadle certain tasks (like rotating text fields) that Access can't.

Just FYI, Access has been able to rotate text fields (on reports anway) since 1999. But don't get me wrong, I'm sure FileMaker Pro kicks its ass in other ways.

Quote:
I like using a database program for my games because I usually have cards. A database lets me arrange the layout for the cards very easily; and the only thing that changes from card to card is the actual data, which is handled record-to-record.

Aye, quite understandable. In fact with the advent of the BGDF blank playing cards I'm working on a Windows app that is database-based strictly for putting together card games. It'll have a variety of printing templates (for the BGDF cards as well as several other formats, including those Avery business cards and some labels and such), and will start with a few card templates. Later versions (as planned out now, anyway) will allow you to create you own card templates.

I plan to allow you to do things like specify that a certain graphic should print in lieu of a number or other value, create instantly multiples in suits, specify that the deck contains x number of each different card, and be able to specify precisely which cards (backs and fronts) you want to print this time (no need to print the whole deck, for example).

Future features I'd like to add (but may not) include the ability to do interesting calculations based on your decks.

Anyway, I've given it a fair bit of thought and plan to release the tool sometime in the next several months. It's a tool that I'd really, really like to have for myself, and so will produce it in a way that will make it valuable shareware, too.

Though don't hold your breath, of course: I still have done the BGDF graphics site redesign. :)

-- Matthew

IngredientX
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Software

FastLearner wrote:
IngredientX wrote:
Weird as it sounds? FileMaker Pro. It's a light, quick database program that can hadle certain tasks (like rotating text fields) that Access can't.

Just FYI, Access has been able to rotate text fields (on reports anway) since 1999. But don't get me wrong, I'm sure FileMaker Pro kicks its ass in other ways.

Hmmm... I've only been able to get text fields to rotate 90 degrees sideways in Access, not upside-down or at 270 degrees. But anyway, FMPro is much lighter, and I'm a little more comfortable with it.

Quote:
Aye, quite understandable. In fact with the advent of the BGDF blank playing cards I'm working on a Windows app that is database-based strictly for putting together card games.

Oh Jeeves, would you be so kind as to fetch the drool cup?

Quote:
Anyway, I've given it a fair bit of thought and plan to release the tool sometime in the next several months. It's a tool that I'd really, really like to have for myself, and so will produce it in a way that will make it valuable shareware, too.

As long as "next several months" means "by next Tuesday." :p

Seriously, that app would kick serious tail. Thank you!

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