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I make the Cocktail design tool

7 replies [Last post]
Joined: 11/07/2019

My name is Dan Goodman. Most of career has been spent developing video games. I was lead programmer on a game called Hunter: The Reckoning, based on the White Wolf RPG. I also worked on Golden Axe: Beast Rider, and a Leisure Suit Larry game (Magna Cum Laude), among many others.

I've spent the last 10 years mostly working on tools for video game development, doing contract work for 2K Games, Ubisoft, Rockstar, Riot games, and a bunch more.

I've been playing board, card, and RPG games since I was a kid. I've always been designing games on my own as a hobby. I started using NanDeck about 12 years ago for some of my card game designs, and, as a programmer, I liked it a lot. I found that the ability batch export cards from a script was a really cool idea.

I did some work for a company called Spin Master back in 2017-2018 to develop an Illustrator plugin to speed up their workflow for the new Bakugan TCG. It read the contents of an excel file, and generated a card for each row, opening a template file, and filling in all the card info from the spreadsheet.
After working on that, I started thinking about creating a better way to batch generate cards from a stand-alone visual editor. I kept thinking about it, designing it in my head for about 6 months. A year later, I released the first version of Cocktail for free to the community.

Probably less that 20 people even tried that first version of the tool, but I started to get feedback which helped me focus on areas of the software that were most important to the users.

A year and a half after that initial release, Cocktail has 400+ users. I'm still making pretty regular updates and releasing them for free. My goal was to create a tool for any game designer, whether they be a hobbyist like myself, or a professional. We have a great discord community that helps new users, and I'm sporadically releasing new tutorials and documentation.

I'm very proud of the work that I've done and I honestly think Cocktail is as good or better than anything else out there.

Anyway, that's my story up to this point. I look forward to getting more involved in the BGDF community.


let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011

Nice podcast interview on Test Coast, Dan...! Great to hear the story of how your project began. It's cool to hear about the drag-and-drop flexibility of Cocktail and how it can be really accessible for first-time users while also providing advanced tools for someone who has been using it for a while.

Welcome to BGDF!

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
That all sounds GREAT

Actually that seems real SUPER to me! Since you know and have used NanDeck, what is your perspective on Cocktail in comparison to NanDeck??? Would you say that Cocktail is more "user-friendly"? Or is perhaps more simpler in design (WYSIWYG)?? Or is the way you store card information which could lead to a more elegant solution???

Because you have NanDeck experience and a couple of our Regular Members use NanDeck and even "Nan" is a member too! (Surprise, surprise). His account is the following:

Anyhow you can see from the Tracking Tab that "Nan" gives us updates when their tool is upgraded.

IDK if I read correctly... But did you say that "Cocktail" uses HTML5 markup to control the shape, size and formatting of objects or components on the cards??? I think I saw this on your website or one of your earlier posts...? Is this ACCURATE...??

Anyhow I'll have more questions for you soon enough... But I think I've asked you enough for the time being. Cheers and welcome to!

Also a BIG "Thank you" for helping support the proper maintenance and running of our Website! We hope that many people will become more aware of your tool through our Ad Program for both members and anonymous visitors...

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Also a minor complaint...

Why do I have to go through a "Check-Out" processing to get my FREE download. I'm not saying your are being shady or anything... But all you need to do is put an ANCHOR tag and host a ZIP file with your release.

The other option is IF you want to appear MORE LEGIT and that the software is free of malware and stuff like that... You can make it DOWNLOADABLE from C|Net's

All you need to do is register and then from YOUR website give the LINK/URL to the C|Net's "" page and voila. You can even offer SHAREWARE and/or TRIALWARE versions or even full COMMERCIAL licenses from C|Net too.

If it's only to collect e-mails. Just ask people to subscribe and then e-mail them the LINK/URL to download from C|Net ""... You don't NEED a "Shopping Cart" component to simply record a name and e-mail.

Anyways that's why I have NOT downloaded the software... I don't like the cart application I need to go through to get FREE software!

Note #1: Here is the LINK/URL to ADD software to "":

This could help you out... And you can maybe categorize your software TOOL as:

A DESIGN TOOL (Graphic or Game either way I think this is the best category...)

Hope this helps you out a bit...

Note #2: You can also maybe categorize your software as a TOOL/Utility:

If you prefer that over the "Graphic" Design category with more image related software...!

JewellGames's picture
Joined: 06/03/2012
Is there any tool out there

Is there any tool out there for custom dice? Like if I upload images, and define number of sides, I could make custom dice that could be rolled through the app?

nand's picture
Joined: 07/27/2008
JewellGames wrote:Is there

JewellGames wrote:
Is there any tool out there for custom dice? Like if I upload images, and define number of sides, I could make custom dice that could be rolled through the app?

I've answered here (I do not want to hijack this thread):

The Game Crafter
The Game Crafter's picture
Joined: 06/09/2009
Have you thought about

Have you thought about integrating Cocktail into The Game Crafter's API so that your users can export directly to TGC like Nandeck can?

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Maybe you could...

Share with us a "Road Map" of your product ... Just so that Game Designers are aware of the "Next Steps" for Cocktail?! I'm always encouraging people to share more their feedback, ideas (even if they are out-there) and to give our designers more of a say in what is going on.

It doesn't mean you MUST following anyone's advice. I'm just saying that sometimes when you share your thoughts with a community like ours, it could help you out ... maybe with OTHER ideas or maybe by demonstrating how your product can be improved with a specific feature...!

Having a "must" Road Map is not what I am saying. Maybe just sharing with us what are your plans for the product. I'm sure "The Game Crafter" (TGC) would really encourage and help you if you want to Export DIRECTLY to their platform from your tool... And in other respects, well giving us an idea of where you want to go NEXT ... Also allows for the other designers to give you some advice and tips and maybe even HELP you moving forwards.

Again this is NOT essential... As this Forum's Moderator (and primary Administrator) ... I'm just trying to get both YOU and our community more involved with the neat discussions we have on this Forum.

Cheers Dan and I hope the future for Cocktail is bright!

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