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Software for game design

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Anonymous

I have designed a game recently and used useless windows packages to get the end result - Powerpoint to design the cards, Photo Express (or whatever it is) for the packaging ideas etc. The game is out now (woohoo) but I now want to take this seriously with some kick ass design software for the follow up game ideas I have so the game's makers dont have to bring in a designer to re-work so much of the games asthetics. Can you lovely people recommend me any decent software packages that will do the job that also doesnt mean I have to remortgage my house to afford it? I have a good powerful computer now and I really want to get cracking on my new ideas... Incedently you can find my game here:
http://www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk/gifts-for-men/personal-gift/carry-me-hom...

Thanks Guys x

[ADMIN] I changed the title of the thread from "Adult Party Games" and removed a few of the posts.

Dralius
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For one i am not offended by the Title of this post or the game you have made. It's not the sort of game i would buy but thats just a matter of taste and i am sure there are quite a few people that would like it.

There is a piece of software called GIMP and its free. You can do just about anything that you could do in Photoshop. The down side is that its hard to learn with little documentation.

You can find it at http://www.gimp.org/

Good luck.....

larienna
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For making cards, I am currently using corel draw. Any other vectorial drawing software would do the same thing. I copy paste the card layout and copy the text in the card.

The gimp is good for some kind of images and you can learn it yourself by using it.

Nestalawe
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Larienna wrote:
For making cards, I am currently using corel draw. Any other vectorial drawing software would do the same thing. I copy paste the card layout and copy the text in the card.

The gimp is good for some kind of images and you can learn it yourself by using it.

Hey Larienna (still weird having a female name for a guy...) - you are a programmer right? The most useful thing I could imagine for making cards would be a program that accesses a database (that holds the card info) to place the card info into a layout. I have been using Word and Mail Merging for my cards and I can churn them out, and make changes to them very very easily. Thus if I want to change the layout, or need to alter the information on the cards, I can just alter the layout, and it affects all the cards, saving you a lot of time if you have to change like 100 cards...

But, of course Word is very limited, and there are only so many things you can do to alter the layout. And images still need to be put in manually (I think, i'm not quit a Mail Merge Guru, maybe you can get imags in...). So the next best thing would be to have a glorified version, where you could access a database or spreadsheet of info (stats and images for each card) and then define your layout for each set of cards, and the program would churn them out Mail Merge style.

Does that makes sense?

Anyone out there up for the challenge of putting something together? ;)

larienna
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Nestalawe

I already made that kind of software once. It was nice and it could change some numbers in images (ex:icons). But it is not a generic software. It was coded specifically for a game. So I have to recode the software for each card game I make. My software was coded with allegro.

I would have loved to send you samples, but I can't find them on my computer.

Making a generic software is possible. If you look at the MTG editor, you see that making a generic editor is possible. Maybe there is one currently available. I know that the MTG editor parameters can be modified, but you cannot add new stats on the cards which are not normally in MTG.

Now I have some limitations with the software an libraries I am using.

- I can't produce PDF sheet like the MTG editor. So I have to make pcx files. Use a batch converter to convert them in PNG. And then use a template made in latex where I enter manually the number of the cards(making a script that generate the latex file is possible).

- I must manage carriage return manually. There is no routine that will set automatically the carriage return and change the height of the text to make sure that the text fits correctly on the card.

- There is no GUI. The database is basically a text file where you enter information separated by a semi-colon. The output is hardcoded. And when I start the program, It shows each card one after another and dump them on the disk. So I would need to use a GUI to make it user fiendly especily for a generic software (gui is a bit more complicated on allegro or any other C++ software than VB for example.)

And no I don't have time for this. I am currently overloaded of work and stuff to do. If I ever need this kind of software, it is possible that I make a program that could eventually becomes a generic software.

Don't expect anything, but yes it is possible to do it.

Kreitler
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Nestalawe wrote:

But, of course Word is very limited, and there are only so many things you can do to alter the layout. And images still need to be put in manually (I think, i'm not quit a Mail Merge Guru, maybe you can get imags in...). So the next best thing would be to have a glorified version, where you could access a database or spreadsheet of info (stats and images for each card) and then define your layout for each set of cards, and the program would churn them out Mail Merge style.

Hey Nestalawe,

I checked out some features of Word, thinking maybe you could write some macros to give you more power. It looks like there's something called Microsoft Query that will let you access outside database sources (including Excel and Access) to do exactly what you're talking about.

Granted, Word's still limited as a card editor, but this might be a step in the right direction and not involve writing new software.

Have you tried this?

Kreitler

Challengers
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Nestalawe wrote:

The most useful thing I could imagine for making cards would be a program that accesses a database (that holds the card info) to place the card info into a layout. I have been using Word and Mail Merging for my cards and I can churn them out, and make changes to them very very easily. Thus if I want to change the layout, or need to alter the information on the cards, I can just alter the layout, and it affects all the cards, saving you a lot of time if you have to change like 100 cards...

But, of course Word is very limited, and there are only so many things you can do to alter the layout. And images still need to be put in manually (I think, i'm not quit a Mail Merge Guru, maybe you can get imags in...). So the next best thing would be to have a glorified version, where you could access a database or spreadsheet of info (stats and images for each card) and then define your layout for each set of cards, and the program would churn them out Mail Merge style.

Does that makes sense?

Anyone out there up for the challenge of putting something together? ;)

Well, I love a challenge. You have my e-mail address. If you want me to give it a go, please send me a more specific wish-list. Who knows, you all might just get an early Christmas present!

Mitch

Rick-Holzgrafe
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I have written a program that reads a database for card text and images and outputs the cards in a printable fashion. It's for Mac OS X only, so if you don't use Mac OS X you can pretty much stop reading now.

The "database" is just a CSV-formatted text file, which can be produced from nearly any spreadsheet program such as Excel. Images are simply kept in separate image files and can be of nearly any format: JPEG, PNG, GIF, etc.

The output is designed to print onto Protoparts playing card stock: poker-size blank cards, six to a US-Letter sized sheet. A while back I added an option to print the cards edge-to-edge so you can cut them out by hand more easily if you don't use pre-perforated card stock.

The program itself allows you to lay out cards with images and text placed and oriented as you choose, including upside-down and vertical. Text can be any reasonable size, and any font you have on your system.

I wrote it for a card game I designed last year. You can see a sample card image at my Web page for the game: Thrust and Parry. (The image there is low-resolution; the actual cards are better-looking.)

The bad news: this program is a total hack. It has a number of obvious bugs and is not anywhere near the usual quality of my work (that I let others see and use, anyway). And like others on this forum, I don't currently have the spare time to devote to polishing it up and making it nice. But if any of you are using Mac OS X and are willing to risk using the beast, with the understanding that if it doesn't work that's just too bad, drop me a line with your email address and I'll be glad to send it along.

-- Rick

VeritasGames
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For Windows at least, I think that Serif PagePlus 10 (or 11) is a great piece of software. It lets you read in information from a database and then lays out the cards per a standard template. The real bonus is that each card has its own layout so that you can go back and tweak them by hand a bit.

PagePlus has a lot of fontagraphic effects too, so that you can make a really sophisticated looking layout. You can link the graphics too, to keep the layout itself small when you save it.

If a card needs a different icon or background based on data, you just have those things computed in an Access database and then have PagePlus display the calculated image. However, any game is easier to layout with a custom dingbat font for the symbols instead of individual graphics.

PagePlus has one limitation I hate -- it cuts text fields off after 255 characters, trimming longer fields. Yuck.

Otherwise it is a great affordable DTP package with lots of PDF and publishing features built into it.

One thing that is a really useful trick for any software package that can merge from a database is being able to control the multiples of a card. This is a neat trick which many people don't seem to know about.

If your database is relational, include a field with each card data entry called "Multiple". Create a table called "Multiples" that has only one field in it called "Multiple". For the data in that table type the following:

1
2
2
3
3
3
4
4
4
4

and so on. One copy of the number times the number itself, so for 25, you type in 25 lines with "25" in it.

Now when you hook up the Multiples table with your card data in a relational query the result set has the card data multiplied an appropriate number of times.

This is great for playtesting, particularly when you do not need to custom tweak the cards, because you can say, "Bill just requested 6 more copies of X and two more copies of Y", and you can trivially print them out.

So, a good relational database, appropriate dingbat fonts, and some kind of DTP software that can dynamically layout text AND graphics based on queries in the databae.

scopa
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Rosko,

I've tried loads of different packages and have finally settled on Paint Shop Pro. I find it's level based design easy to use and I can import raster or vector images.

Regards
Keith

VeritasGames
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Paint Shop Pro is great for designing icons, backgrounds, etc., but it's totally the wrong way to design hundreds of cards. Design graphics in Paint Shop Pro and then do the layout in a DTP program.

Nestalawe
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Larienna wrote:
Nestalawe

I already made that kind of software once. It was nice and it could change some numbers in images (ex:icons). But it is not a generic software. It was coded specifically for a game. So I have to recode the software for each card game I make. My software was coded with allegro.

Cheers Larienna, it does seem that people with programming nouse can set up specific programs as you did, but making a generic one is a bit more work ;) I've talked to a few people who have done this.

Kreitler wrote:
I checked out some features of Word, thinking maybe you could write some macros to give you more power. It looks like there's something called Microsoft Query that will let you access outside database sources (including Excel and Access) to do exactly what you're talking about.

Cheers Kreitler, i'll have a bit of a perve at this and see if there is anything useful there...

Challengers wrote:
Well, I love a challenge. You have my e-mail address. If you want me to give it a go, please send me a more specific wish-list. Who knows, you all might just get an early Christmas present!

Dangerous words there Mitch ;) I'll send you an email when I get a chance ;)

Rick-Holzgrafe wrote:
I have written a program that reads a database for card text and images and outputs the cards in a printable fashion. It's for Mac OS X only, so if you don't use Mac OS X you can pretty much stop reading now.

Yep, PC user here...

VeritasGames wrote:
For Windows at least, I think that Serif PagePlus 10 (or 11) is a great piece of software. It lets you read in information from a database and then lays out the cards per a standard template. The real bonus is that each card has its own layout so that you can go back and tweak them by hand a bit.

This sounds very useful! Can you set the size of the cards etc? Looks like I will need to dust of my database knowledge...

The thing that would be Really useful would be the possibility to set the size (and even shape...) of the 'thinig' you are dsigning. i.e. to be able to use the same program to design normal playing card sizes, as well as the other various small tokens and chits that you may need for a game. For example, a game where you have hundreds of small counters (as per old style wargames) that all have different images, text or numbers on them...

Hmm, i'll check out PagePlus, but will send you an email Mitch, with a bit more of an outline of what I at least reckon would be a very useful design tool...

Hamumu
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PagePlus sounds like just the thing I need... I've spent the past month or so working on a web-based program (mainly because PHP seemed like the easiest language to code such a thing in!) that would take your data and generate a card image from it that you could print. But it's really clunky, as you have to define a template in text (example line: "IMG 0 fire / 0,0 http://mysite.com/fire_backgd.jpg"), and you have to save your data out as a CSV, then cut & paste your CSV text into a form on the page.

But I'm downloading a demo of PagePlus to cut myself off at the pass! Writing this thing has been torture! Not to mention the quality will be vastly superior. Fingers remain crossed. Having a good way to churn out quality cards will actually be really inspirational, I think I'll take a lot more stuff to prototype stage.

seo
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Mike,

The link isn't working. I just get the mysite.com home page. :-(

In your PHP program, you might have the option to upload the CSV file and read it once uploaded instead of coping and pasting. That might be more to your liking, perhaps. It would have more "open file" feeling, at least.

Seo

Edit:
I've just re-read your post. The link wasn't supposed to work, was it? It was just an example of the scripting. I thought it was a link to a sample card. I shouldn't be reading the forum while I'm working on other stuff. Duh!

Hamumu
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Yep, you got it on the second try!

So it turns out that the most recent version of PagePlus that has a demo is the one "specially made for Win95!" (i.e. the "wow, it's not DOS!?" edition). That's not terribly current, and it's a seriously crappy program.

Is it really worth a $130 risk? Can it import data from excel, or CSVs or anything, or do I actually need Access to use any database features? Or is there a demo somewhere maybe?

I'll keep on googling, but I'd love more information on the programs people use for this task.

Yogurt
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I've been using Microsoft Access reports to print prototype cards lately, inspired by Veritas's example in a similar thread.

OpenOffice has Base, a free alternative, which should have similar functionality for people without Access.

Access is working well for me, although I'm not familiar enough with the program to do the sort of if/then work that I'd like. (For example, if the symbol in the Mana field is "fire" then set the colour of the field to red.) Come to think of it, I should see if that task is any easier in Base.

The idea of tying in a full DTP program is appealing though. Does PagePlus have any features like conditional formatting or does it simply fill text fields?

Yogurt

seo
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Hamumu wrote:
I'll keep on googling, but I'd love more information on the
programs people use for this task.

Old versions of CorelDraw used to have a merge function that might work fine. It's been several years and many versions since the last time I used this feature, so I don't know if it still exists or what versions include it or not. But I might be a good option, as you'll have plenty of design control (though not as much as Yougurt suggests with Access).

The good news are that some time ago Epson printers came with older CorelDraw versions included, so it might be possible to find someone willing to give you a copy he doesn't use. Even if you decide to buy the latest version, it sells for USD 260 or so, and it's a really powerfull application.

It could most certainly be done with Corel using scripts, but I never used them.It shouldn't be too difficult, as it's VBA scripts. That would give more flexibility, but also means some programming.

Seo

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yogurt wrote:
I've been using Microsoft Access reports to print prototype cards lately, inspired by Veritas's example in a similar thread.

OpenOffice has Base, a free alternative, which should have similar functionality for people without Access.

Access is working well for me, although I'm not familiar enough with the program to do the sort of if/then work that I'd like. (For example, if the symbol in the Mana field is "fire" then set the colour of the field to red.) Come to think of it, I should see if that task is any easier in Base.

The idea of tying in a full DTP program is appealing though. Does PagePlus have any features like conditional formatting or does it simply fill text fields?

Yogurt

Yogurt,

Can you upload an example of what you've done in Access? I played around with it last night and found the image ability of Access to be extremely limited. I'd like to see how you might have implemented it better.

I too am looking into Open Office's Base as an alternative to Access. If I figure out how to make it semi functional I'll upload it to the community.

-Darke

VeritasGames
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yogurt wrote:

The idea of tying in a full DTP program is appealing though. Does PagePlus have any features like conditional formatting or does it simply fill text fields?

It's got lots of formatting it can apply to text. However, it's not conditional -- if it's in the field it gets X type of format applied to it. This is trivial to take care of, however if you want to simulate conditional formatting. I need conditional formatting for my current prototyping project. Here's how I do it.

Let's say each card has got just one of 3 different types of icons in the upper left corner. All icons have a number overlayed on them. One of the icons, however, needs white text over it, because the icon is dark. The other two needs dark text over them because the icons are light. Let's say Rock is a dark icon and Paper and Scissors are light icons.

In your table called "Card_Data" you store two fields, the number to overlay (call it "Card_Value") and a one-letter abbreviation for the icon (call it "Icon_Type"). You have a separate table called "Icon_Data" that has a column for the icon abbreviation, and another column with the full path. Got that? So that, for example, if a card has an "R" icon type, when you set up the relationship, that card will have an icon path of "C:\icons\rock.jpg", for example.

Your PagePlus dynamic template has a single field and displays whatever icon you pass the path to. So, that's a field that can now, dynamically, have all sorts of background formatting by loading in a different JPG for a given card.

Now, how do you do the text overlay? Back in your database, in the same query that you merge the card data and the icon paths, you set up two calculated fields: 1) "Light_Text", and 2) "Dark_Text". If the card's icon is an "R" for Rock, you need light text, so you copy the "Card_Value" field into "Light_Text" for this query, and you leave "Dark_Text" blank for the card. If the card's icon is "P" or "S", you need dark text, so you leave "Light_Text" blank, and dynamically copy (as part of the query, don't store the data) the "Card_Value" into "Dark_Text".

This may sound complicated, but if you can merge two simple tables and know how to set up a calculation field, you'll set this up in under 10 minutes, maybe under 5.

Now, back in PagePlus you create two different text fields, one to display "Light_Text" and one to display "Dark_Text". Set the text values for those fields appropriately to the text styles you want.

Run your merge. To review, PagePlus has only 3 fields, all aligned with each other. The first is an icon field. The second is a field to display Light_Text if that field isn't blank. The third is a field to display Dark_text if that field isn't blank.

This will take maybe another 5-10 minutes to setup.

From here on out, you can dynamically display Rock, Paper, and Scissors icons on the corner of the card with a color-coordinated text overlay.

These principles will work with most DTP packages that allow database merges of images and values and will simulate dynamic field formatting pretty will with a minimum of mess.

You can similarly dynamically set font size for card text. Let's say you want your card text to be in 10 point if possible, in 8 point if you hit 100 characters, and in 6 point if you hit 200+ characters. You dynamically determine the field length in a query, and then put the value in a corresponding calculated column called "Six_Point", "Eight_Point", or "Ten_Point". In PagePlus you create 3 text display fields exactly overlapping and set each one to display the appropriate font size. This will display 1-99 characters as 10 point text, 100-199 characters as 8 point text, and 200+ characters as 6 point text.

You can dynamically color text in much the same way.

Hope that helps.

If you have questions about these types of techniques, drop me a message.

BTW -- using a merge to a DTP program is MUCH MUCH better than laying out in Access, because otherwise, unless you want to code your arm off, a lot of the layout decisions you make in Access will either be static (meaning you have to change them for all cards if you want to change them for any of them), it will be memory intensive, and/or you'll get stuck with OLE fields to manage some of your card text and images to get the effects you want. Also, you probably won't be able to get Access to easily emulate as many fontographic tricks as PagePlus can.

The methods I've described work on dynamic pages and queries, require minimal data storage space, are flexible, and fast to run once implemented.

I can program Access pretty darn well, but these methods are by far easier ways to get really nice results, and they allow you to custom tweak each card, as needed. Trust me, if you generate enough cards for a complex game, some card, sooner or later, will need to be custom tweaked in a manner that is not trivial in Access or the database software of your choice.

VeritasGames
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I've updated a sample Access CCG layout program to get some of you guys started.

I've posted this here before.

http://members.aol.com/veritasgames/card_layout.zip

http://members.aol.com/veritasgames/sample_output.pdf

This is a very rudimentary solution that is 100% in Access instead of being designed to plug into a DTP solution.

Hope that it's useful to somebody.

larienna
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VeritasGames

Your sample is really acceptable.

Does it requires a lot of tweaking or esoteric knowledge to do this or anybody who knows access should come up easily with these results?

Is the output is done as a "report" or as a "form".

In your example, there are multiple copies of the same card, does this mean there is duplicate entries in the database?

Does it requires any VB coding, or it can be done with all other tools or maybe wizard?

Does all versions of access are capable of doing something like this?

Yogurt
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Darkehorse wrote:
Can you upload an example of what you've done in Access? I played around with it last night and found the image ability of Access to be extremely limited. I'd like to see how you might have implemented it better.

Oh, I may be giving the wrong impression here. Right now, I don't use images other than dingbats in my cards. I'm still just testing gameplay. However, check out Veritas's file above. It uses images.

My Access file consists of a single table with fields like CARDNAME, STRENGTH, POWER and a single report that prints these fields inside a card-sized box (eight to a page). Rudimentary, but better than writing on business cards, which is where I was before. :)

Yogurt

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VeritasGames wrote:
If the card's icon is an "R" for Rock, you need light text, so you copy the "Card_Value" field into "Light_Text" for this query, and you leave "Dark_Text" blank for the card.

Ah! I was using this very trick in Access, as it happens.

I'll try your PagePlus tips, if the demo allows them. [Update: I don't think there IS a demo. They have a free limited edition now instead, but it doesn't do mail merges.]

I'm still a little baffled that conditional stuff that's easy in Word and Excel is so tricky in Access and other packages.

I know this isn't the place for Access questions, but if anyone knows how to change a property of a report element (like a text box or a line) based on the contents of the current record, could you let me know? DTP is promising but I may not have time before my deadline to explore a new software package.

Yogurt

Challengers
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Hi yogurt:

If you are familiar with grouping your data in a report, you can approach this whole output from a new perspective.

The general idea of a report is to present data in a linear, yet comprehensive fashion. However, you're making cards. The linearity of the report is irrelevant. This means that, by grouping your data, you can apply all formatting at the group level. This eliminates the need to examine the value for every record.

Having said that, if you can't group the data, you have to code changes in the On_Format event. It's helpful to review the order of event firing to see where it makes the most sense to test your fields. I have not had a need to code any events other than the Format event. (As far as my memory goes) Here is a sample segment from one of my projects. I have a calculated field in the report detail section which simply increments by one on each record. If the value of this field, which I call line, is less than four, then the backcolor property is set to red. Otherwise, it alternates between grey and white.

Private Sub Detail_Format(Cancel As Integer, FormatCount As Integer)</p>
<p>' Use this code segment to alternate between grey and white rows.  Improves readability.</p>
<p>Const grey = 12632256<br />
Const white = 16777215<br />
Const red = 8421631<br />
Select Case linecount Mod 2<br />
    Case 0<br />
        Detail.BackColor = grey<br />
    Case 1<br />
        Detail.BackColor = white<br />
End Select<br />
If linecount < 4 Then<br />
    Detail.BackColor = red<br />
End If</p>
<p>' end of Grey/White code segment</p>
<p>End Sub

Hope this helps. If not, pm your requirements and I'll bang out some code for ya!

Mitch

Yogurt
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Thanks Mitch!

The On_Format event was what I was looking for. I had been looking for it in the wrong place, not under Detail.

I'm not familiar with grouping in reports, but I'll fiddle around with it and see what I can do.

I'm grateful for the help!

Yogurt

Challengers
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yogurt wrote:

I'm not familiar with grouping in reports, but I'll fiddle around with it and see what I can do.

I think I was off-base about grouping. The only advantage would be in forms, which just displays your cards and, in that case, the grouping is achieved with queries. All of the techniques that Lee mentioned in his post can be accomplished in the Detail_Format procedure of your report.

I also agree with Lee that Access isn't the best product for layout. I'm always adding fields to handle exceptions, which wastes space. If I feel motivated, I'll create a look-up table, but you still need a field in your base table. The advantage of look-up tables is that, if you first name a group of cards "FROGS" and decide to change the group to "PRINCES", you only have to change one item in the lookup table.

As a programmer, I do tend to use pliers to bang a few nails. Oh well!

Anyway, glad to be of some help!

Mitch

larienna
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I found my example on my backup disk. Only the first page is generated by my software. In my program, by commenting lines of codes, I made it possible to draw the same content in black and white.

All the cards has been generated with the allegro library. The fonts are TTF exported for allegro. So the character size cannot be dynamicaly changed. The background texture have been generated with GenTex (random texture generator). The text box is a semi translucent white box drawn over the texture. The yellow dot and icons on the top right corner are simply bitmaps drawn on the card.

Enjoy!

http://www.bgdf.com/files/My_Uploads/Larienna/Cardshee.pdf

VeritasGames
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Larienna wrote:
Does it requires a lot of tweaking or esoteric knowledge to do this or anybody who knows access should come up easily with these results?

You should be able to tweak my samples pretty easily.

Quote:
Is the output is done as a "report" or as a "form".

There is a form to input cards, but the output is a "report".

Quote:
In your example, there are multiple copies of the same card, does this mean there is duplicate entries in the database?

See my post earlier in this thread from Sun Nov 20, 2005 9:56 am

The answer, in short, is that you simply type in a number in the Frequency field and the card repeats multiple times.

Quote:

Does it requires any VB coding, or it can be done with all other tools or maybe wizard?

I don't think there's any VB coding in the example at all. My example (which you can download from the links I have posted elsewhere in this thread) are all the results of a few OLE fields and some queries.

VB coding would streamline the process slightly by allowing you to type in text and then to present some text rotated 90 degrees. I don't think Access allows for 90 degree text rotation without OLE fields or without VB coding.

The method in my example uses no VB coding.

Quote:
Does all versions of access are capable of doing something like this?

All recent versions of Access can if they support OLE fields, and those aren't even 100% necessary.

In fact, almost any good relational database should be able to do some of the tricks I'm doing. The biggest trick that you want to learn is how to do multiples of cards without re-entering the card multiple times. That's a real useful trick that's good for any type of merge into a word processor, an Access report, or into database-enabled DTP software like Page Plus.

VeritasGames
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Joined: 08/01/2008
Software for game design

Hamumu wrote:
Is it really worth a $130 risk? Can it import data from excel, or CSVs or anything, or do I actually need Access to use any database features? Or is there a demo somewhere maybe?

Serif, I think, will sometimes offer you a money back guarantee for 30 days if you call their sales line and ask them for one. So even if there's not a demo, that's a good secondary option.

The software is nice, and it's relatively inexpensive. I don't have version 11 yet, just version 10. It's biggest limitation on imports is a 255 character limit (which some really long CCG cards can run into occasionally).

It imports a number of different spreadsheet and database format. It's native format is called "Serif Database Format", but it's really just a CSV import format if memory serves. It's most powerful with a relational database behind it because with the right queries you can generate multiples of cards without entering the card data for individual cards multiple times (as I've described elsewhere in this thread).

If you buy any of their products you can often get cheap discount rates on future upgrades.

soulbeach
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Software for game design

Firtsly, i do not databases to create my cards. It seems a great way to go but i've not used this method. Instead, i use librairies and do the rest of the workload manually.

I personnally use Photoshop 6.0 and Flash. I mostly do the vector artwork in Flash then export the end results as a 300 or 600 dpi jpeg image.

From there, i Use Photoshop to create Card Pages: a 8 by 11.5 inches page in which i created an operation canvas(gameNo01.psd) of guides(guides stay in place and make the placement of cards easy). I then open all the cards(jpegs) i want to print and place them within the operation canvas and can print them thereafter.

Another technique using Phostoshop is to use layers and folders: in 1 folder i keep the background images, in the other folders, i keep the cards's texts which i can change whenever i need to.

If i want to create an entirelly new document for another game, i simply save the original under a new filename(gameNo02.psd) and delete the old folders i don't need, keep the layout of guides to place the cards, and start fresh with new jpegs and new folders with appropriate names.

Flash is great for creating loads of library images(movie clips) to be used time and time again. It cuts down the graphic time, and makes created stuff available for later use.

These programs are great but costly. You can get Photoshop on ebay for around 200$. Flash is also available, but it seems to be more availble by buying the Studio MX: which comprizes a whole bunch of other programs. Of these programs, Fireworks can effectivelly replace Photoshop, cutting your costs down.

The one problem that might present istelf is the learning curve: it's quite steep!

I hope this can help,

Ben

RehtBill
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Reccomended

Hello!

I work here at Rehtmeyer (www.toysngames.com) and the most preferred format for art from our production facilities in China Is Adobe Illustrator CS or In Designs CS. You can get a 30 day free trial of Adobe Illustrator CS2 at their website.

Thanks!

Bill

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