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What do you think about this *sample* character card?

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vertfromage
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Joined: 01/23/2017
My attempt at a character card
This is the old version.

Hi,

This is my first topic, so correct me if I do anything wrong.

I just want to know:

1. Does this look like a fun character card?
2. Does it look amateurish?
3. What changes would you make to improve it?

More info if you like reading:

This is a character card for my story telling party game, the first version had black and white clip art... I'm trying to see if I can learn manga and computer coloring on gimp (I'm mostly a visual artist... not cartoons so this is quite new).

I've been working on this story telling party game for awhile. The original game was based off a verbal story telling game I invented as a child called "the computer game" which was in turn based of text based computer adventure games. I continued to play the original game on road trips as a young adult and entertained groups of pre-teens with it, but I wanted a version where there didn't need to be one person deciding the outcomes, I made one with black and white clip art.

It's been so popular I've decided to improve it. I've been changing the game play a bit... adding a competitive element, more plot aids... stuff that I'd have to explain quite a bit more before you'd understand why it's important, but improving the art is obvious, so that's what this question is about.

radioactivemouse
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hmm...

vertfromage wrote:
Hi,

This is my first topic, so correct me if I do anything wrong.

I just want to know:

1. Does this look like a fun character card?
2. Does it look amateurish?
3. What changes would you make to improve it?

1. No
2. Yes
3. Hire an artist.

However, my answers come with a caveat. "Fun", to me, isn't about a pretty picture, it's about giving players meaningful decisions (at least in game terms). The question you should ask is, "Is this appealing" or "Do you think this would be appropriate for a party game?". In which my answers would be "maybe" and "yes" respectively.

Art for a party game doesn't have to be too fancy, to be honest. If the game is strong enough, it may not need art. Cards Against Humanity literally has NO art and it sells like mad. Uno has no real art, yet it's successful.

vertfromage wrote:
I'm trying to see if I can learn manga and computer coloring on gimp (I'm mostly a visual artist... not cartoons so this is quite new).

I highly suggest you don't go the "manga" route, unless you're shooting for a "manga" audience (which is niche; you want to hit the widest audience). You've said this is a party game, and I would take your original black and white art FAR before anything manga-like. Don't get me wrong, I have manga and I watch a TON of anime, but manga isn't the appropriate style for this game you're proposing.

vertfromage
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Joined: 01/23/2017
Thanks Radioactivemouse

Hey,

Thanks for the helpful feedback. I did think I had a bit too much ken doll going on.

I had some tips about the character cards from a designer that is more experienced than I am.

- Try to replace the text description with an image. To allow more room for imagination.
- Have two sided character cards male/female to allow players to choose which sex character they'll be.

I strongly agreed with the two sided idea because I've experienced in game play people not wanting to play a character of the opposite sex.

I wasn't sure about getting rid of the text because I thought it was like a mini biography that would be difficult to express as an image.

I mostly picked manga because I liked the look better than action comics or old style cartoons. And it seemed to be gaining popularity.

So two new questions:

Do you think I should keep the text for the characters?

If not manga what is the appropriate style of illustration?

radioactivemouse
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Hmmm...

vertfromage wrote:

Do you think I should keep the text for the characters?

That depends. Is the game enhanced with the text or is it there just to be there?

Keep It Simple, Stupid (K.I.S.S.) is what my design teacher taught me. Some elements you put in to give the player a little more depth, but is the depth needed? That's what you have to ask yourself.

vertfromage wrote:

If not manga what is the appropriate style of illustration?

Your art should reflect the game. Some games use the art as its selling point, but with hardly any game. Some never really utilize art. Me? I believe the gameplay comes first and the art is the icing on the cake and gives it that extra "umph".

Manga...while not inherently bad, is not really something you'd see in a party game. I mean, with a game like Tanto Coure...that game is about buying Japanese maids using love points, so the art fits the game. In addition, the manga style is such a love-it or hate-it style...some love it, many hate it.

So as far as "appropriate" style...I'd say one that speaks to your game. If your game is quiz-like, then you can use the style in your b/w pic or maybe more something like the Fallout (video game) illustrations. Cartoony, playful you get it. You may also want to think of something less "formal"...like don't use fancy Catholic art style.

I don't really know what your game is about in detail, so I can't really give suggestions. But I think I've stated my point.

Soulfinger
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The first image looks like

The first image looks like the vanilla prelude to some deeply bizarre, amateur fetish erotica art - like right before the triceratops mounts him. It's the style of illustration that makes me ask, "How did I end up on this website?" If it was dealt to me in a game, my most optimistic guess would be that it is some sort of fundamentalist dream date game for deprogramming homosexuals. I wouldn't use this, unless it is said-same game.

The illustration is much better in the second image, but the text makes me die a little inside. It's trope, but more in the "Jerome is a black guy who is great at basketball, but what people don't know is he likes to read" sort of way than the hip and ironic turning stereotypes on their heads sort of trope that is its own trope now. A nerd knowing Krav Maga, they were doing that more than ten years ago on Malcolm in the Middle. I think the illustration would work with a better font and a good layout.

Evil ColSanders
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At best, use this as

At best, use this as placeholder art. Go to deviantart and look around. I spent a solid MONTH looking for an artist whom I liked and was within my price range. There are a lot of talented, undiscovered artist there who with work for prices even a starving college kid could afford.

BUT, first and foremost, have a solid game on your hands. Nothing like scrapping your art because the theme changed, someone breaks it, or you lose interest.

WinsmithGames
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Joined: 01/20/2017
I agree with many of the

I agree with many of the above.

No, it doesn't look fun.
Yes, it's amateurish.
Depends on where you are in the game development.

If the game is in the alpha playtesting phase (ie playtesting with friends and family), then any art is fine (except manga, lol, I agree with RadioActiveMouse). Focus on the game, not the art. But if those you play it with like manga, by all means, go with it.

If the game is in beta playtesting (playtesting in local gaming groups, blind playtesting), the art should reflect the style you want in the published game. In which case, the manga route is no good, because it won't sell for a party game. I don't know if I agree that manga/anime is growing, but if it is, it's still far off from being a widely appealing art style.

TL;DR Spend your time wisely. Focus on developing the game. No manga.

questccg
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Deviant Art for Manga!

WinsmithGames wrote:
...If the game is in beta playtesting (playtesting in local gaming groups, blind playtesting), the art should reflect the style you want in the published game. In which case, the manga route is no good, because it won't sell for a party game. I don't know if I agree that manga/anime is growing, but if it is, it's still far off from being a widely appealing art style.

Well my opinion is ... Manga artwork could WORK. But you need a REAL MANGA "Artist". Someone who can DRAW "Dragon Ball Z"-like MANGA. That in my opinion could work for a MANGA-Inspired Party Game. Of course, if you have an AWESOME artist, that will help attract people to your game.

Please DON'T "DO-IT-YOURSELF"!

Check out Deviant Art at: http://www.deviantart.com

Here's a COOL sample (click on the image to see the Deviant page):

But there are a LOT of MANGA artists out-there... Feel free to contact several of them...

Cheers.

radioactivemouse
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I'm sorry but...

I don't trust Deviant Art...

1) Most operate on their own schedule, many don't know how to work with an actual client.
2) Sifting through the artists will take you more time than you need.
3) Dealing with an artist online creates a TON of communication problems.

Yeah, there are people that are "legit", but finding those people are difficult.

My advice?

Go to a school. Look for an artist personally. Go to a coffee house and find the people sketching. Go to legitimate artist sites like conceptart.org.

Evil ColSanders
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Joined: 12/08/2010
radioactivemouse wrote:I

radioactivemouse wrote:
I don't trust Deviant Art...

1) Most operate on their own schedule, many don't know how to work with an actual client.
2) Sifting through the artists will take you more time than you need.
3) Dealing with an artist online creates a TON of communication problems.

Yeah, there are people that are "legit", but finding those people are difficult.

My advice?

Go to a school. Look for an artist personally. Go to a coffee house and find the people sketching. Go to legitimate artist sites like conceptart.org.

I definitely agree. Those things CAN happen. Solution? Interview them. I ALWAYS ask for turn around time for work. I keep in contact with them regularly. I ask for progress sketches. You've also got to understand that for some of these people, it is side work, not their main source of income. My main artist takes FOREVER to finish work and it's biting me in the ass, but will I complain? Hell no. He works cheap and his art is exactly what I'm looking for. I'm not going to squeeze blood from stone.

I DO disagree on #2. Click on art, click on gallery, like the art? send a note asking if they do commercial commissions, and if so, their rates. Then click on someone else's art. Repeat. Sent out 15-20 notes all to different people. You whittle them down from there. It's WAY better than being some detective gumshoe, tracking down random people, wasting more time walking and searching than you would online. I will say, conceptart.org is super legit, but, they know how much they're worth and are usually full time artists. Thus, their prices are steep.

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