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How to display the info?

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eyerouge
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WTactics.org: Templating

In my CCG cards will have a Gold cost that must be paid for the player to put the card into play.

Some card will in addition to that also have a Threshold cost: I.e. if a card belongs to the Elf faction, and has a threshold of 2, there must also be 2 cards of that faction into play already in order for the player to be able to put that card into play.

How would you show this info on the card? I have included three (bad?) ways I managed to do it on the card template I'm using.

Notice: All of them show a card that costs 4 gold and that has a threshold of 2. What way would you do it?

(It's not a required read, but I have written an extensive post about the problems I have and illustrated them on http://wtactics.org/2010/07/27/template-design-rationale/ if anyone should be interested. And as always, I'm still looking for co-developers.)

I suspect most of you will recommend the multi-container solution, but I'm not at all happy with how it looks or the fact that it takes up space from the card text area.

To answer any questions about how often these numbers are used: Not often, but always when the cards are being played. While in play the card's gold cost would sometimes be referred to, but not often. It will be rarer to refer to use the threshold once the card is in play.

richdurham
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Flip it around?

I read the linked article - I like the work and thought put in to this. And based off it I have a couple questions:

Related to a modification on the first design you attached:
- Instead of dots for the threshold count, can you just use a few of the faction icon? Or even just a "card" icon that's the same color as the faction?
- Then, in the larger Faction container (with the gold cost) put a gold coin icon next to the number (to remove doubt on what it is, since gold cost...is in a faction container....)

More general questions:
- Do all cards have a gold cost? If so, could that be the container used in the upper right instead of the faction?
- Relatedly, are the cards' general colour scheme different depending on the faction? If so, would you need the faction icon to be as prominent - and could it be used as described in the modification above?

In other news, I dig Battle for Wesnoth.

Cattlemark
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Option #1

I'd definitely go for number 1. Having the threshold as a series of dots/icons can separate newer players from thinking of it as a "cost" rather than a requirement. Your main cost, your gold, is going to need to be forefront.

Number 2 is kind of confusing, presenting it as a ratio.

Number 3 works well, because the threshold is within the leaf/elf icon, but as long as the threshold is race/class specific, stick with template 1.

eyerouge
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richdurham wrote:I read the

richdurham wrote:
I read the linked article - I like the work and thought put in to this. And based off it I have a couple questions:

Amazed anyone read my ramblings = P Glad you liked...

richdurham wrote:
Related to a modification on the first design you attached: - Instead of dots for the threshold count, can you just use a few of the faction icon? Or even just a "card" icon that's the same color as the faction?

I did both, and am happy to say I really liked the second one. I have attached both versions, and also compare them side by side with the dot-version. Check out the first mod I did: v1 here

Maybe it's just me, but I don't think the faction icon scale well at all. It is not a software issue, it's just a "fact" that it would look bad on a card in that small size. Thus, using an amount of faction logos to tell the player what the Threshold is seems to make the card very cluttered, at least I myself perceive it that way. In addition, I think it takes away some of the overall simplicity and "elegance" the template has (well, I'm biased, heck I made that thing so I guess I'm allowed to like it a little...)

Using faction logos as Threshold icons also seem to take up more space, and it will also do that differently depending on what logo is there.

Now, compare that with the other version I put together: v2 here

There I use some kind of rectangles. They could very well be taken for cards and I made the proportions of them resemble that of a card intentionally. I doubt it would be intuitive to understand them as cards by merely looking at them. I guess that a player would be more likely to associate them with cards once (s)he knew the rules and what they symbolize (the threshold). Personally, I don't believe this solution - using icons - stands or falls with if they are seen as cards or not: As long as the player can easily use them to figure out the threshold by looking at whatever is representing it, it should be fine, I hope.

I really like the rectangle solution. (This also reminds me of a couple of roundrectangle containers that Gary Simpson had for the attack stats when he did the concept for the original creature template, so all credit to him.)

richdurham wrote:
- Then, in the larger Faction container (with the gold cost) put a gold coin icon next to the number (to remove doubt on what it is, since gold cost...is in a faction container....)

Icon-within-icon, and a number next to that, is a visual nightmare. It's an ad-hoc solution that just adds to the mess. 50% of the cards won't even have a Threshold value at all, making the gold coin being there even odder perhaps.

Since you took the time to answer me, I will honour that and still give it a shot to check it out: v3 here

I think it looks somewhat too crowded in the corner now and messy - there are 4 different geometrical shapes: Original huge faction logo, a number, a coin, and then there are smaller logo(s). It also more or less spoils the logo even further (it's enough that I already have squeezed in a number in it ; ).

The least crowded version of the two would be the one to the right. It does however still feel strange to include an icon within an icon, and to be honest I can't even think of a game that has done that before. While being a wannabe-pioneer with a GPL CGG, I'm not sure I dare push it that far ; )

richdurham wrote:
More general questions: - Do all cards have a gold cost? If so, could that be the container used in the upper right instead of the faction?

Yes, they do all cost gold. You're right about that I could totally replace the huge faction logo with the gold coin container. It is very intuitive indeed. Problem I face then is where would I slap the faction logo? The card template is really not forgiving here ;) I honestly believe it's un-doable with that exact template. So, I could of course simply redo the whole thing and use a more conventional template. But... I think the template is hot enough to warrant the question what would have the least negative impact on the game: Keeping the template and using another solution than the gold coin container, or, using a totally different template and using the gold coin container.

My thoughts are that the template is "unconventional" enough to stand out in a good way and make the game instantly recognizable. For id-purposes and "branding", that's a good thing, if and only if the whole game has to suffer due to bad decisions that prioritized aesthetics before function.

richdurham wrote:
- Relatedly, are the cards' general colour scheme different depending on the faction? If so, would you need the faction icon to be as prominent - and could it be used as described in the modification above?

Each faction belongs to one of three alliances. A card has a faction logo, and the colour of the cards borders + it's text area background of the name & card type reveal it's alliance belonging. Thus, the elf card you saw happens to have a green leaf faction logo, and it also belongs to the green alliance.

Here's an example of a Merfolk factioned card, that also belongs to the same alliance as the Elfs: See merfolk example here

richdurham wrote:
In other news, I dig Battle for Wesnoth.

BfW kicks ass, it's a really well done game. :)

Cattlemark:

Cattlemark wrote:
I'd definitely go for number 1. Having the threshold as a series of dots/icons can separate newer players from thinking of it as a "cost" rather than a requirement. /../

Number 2 is kind of confusing, presenting it as a ratio..

Agree... Now it also strikes me how hard it is to have any number seperator there at all, even if it's something else than a colon it will still be interpreted as an operation of some sort instead of a divider...

richdurham
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Here's some examples, too

Hi eyerouge, you whip those up fast!
I think I had slightly different rectangles in mind when i suggested it - vertical rectangles, in particular. Since your cards look like they're played vertical, it makes sense to portray them vertically too.

In this first example I have the threshold count icons as vertical "card" icons in the same color scheme as the card. I used one of the lighter greens, and avoided applying the gradient because using it seemed to make it look like part of the card's background design rather than something to reference by the player.

In regards to using the icon-within-an-icon art, i agree. using a large gold coin makes it very crowded up there for the simplicity in this template. I think it's still viable, if you shrink the gold coin icon to 1/2 -1/3 the size of the number. I have an example here, but got carried away and placed three gold coins to give the classic "stacked" view. And it doesn't have the threshold count. Perhaps if the faction icon was used, but put to the left of the large faction icon instead of below?

Jeremiah_Lee
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#1

Out of the three presented above, I think the first one is the clearest. Using a number for one thing, and icons for another helps us to remember that they're two different things (and to remember which is which).

innuendo
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Out of all the examples and

Out of all the examples and mock ups the original first light yellow circles is the most pleasing to the eye. No reason to make them squares or rectangles, they are unnecessarily large and distracting. The circles were small at fit the color scheme of the cards perfectly, while still standing out enough to indicate significance. All of the rectangle proposes are huge and any threshold more than 3 or 4 and you'll have 1/4 of the card covered with ugly boxes.

I vote strongly in favor of the dots.

RacNRoll Gaming
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I like the dots too....

I am also casting my vote for the dots....however I can see where they may just be "looked over" as part of the border design.

Have you tried it with the dots in the top section under where the leaf is?

I am assuming there will not be an over-abundance of dots on any card which would make it look cluttered...but again I have no idea.

ilta
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I like the rectangles,

I like the rectangles, because they remind me to look for cards on the table that match them (ie are that shape/orientation and mostly green). Make sure that the colorblind have a way to keep track of them though; perhaps a pattern or alliance insignia or somesuch.

eyerouge
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Thanks for all your input

Thanks for all your input guys, and that you took the time. It's been interesting reading it and of value. I must also admit I was kind of surprised more didn't go with the gold-coin instead, as it should make most sense in terms of telling the player what that variable represents. (Not that I'm a fan of it, but still...)

I think most people in here seem to agree that going with the icon/dot-solution for the threshold. That alone answers my original question I think. The rest of the discussion is, in large, details about aesthetics and how to implement the idea.

richdurham: I think your idea with using cards to represent the threshold has merit. I am however not convinced that a person can understand that they are representing cards by just looking at them. I believe they would have to know the rules first, and then, it would make perfect sense to them.

If that's true it almost defeats it's purpose to have them vertical instead of horizontal. Or rather, more correctly expressed: It wouldn't matter how they're rotated, if rotation doesn't lead to greater understanding in itself.

This is the kind of stuff I'd love to see a major poll being done on, among mortals :) How do they perceive different icons and their meaning by just looking at them? I know the exact rules can never be conveyed through them, and that's not the point either. Question that's interesting is if the players would even be close in their guesses, i.e.. "That's a cost of some kind"... "That is probably connected to you doing something with the cards." etc. The closer their guesses, the more "intuitive" the iconic language we use. (I.e. flagging something red or green sends a clear message to most people in western influenced cultures ; )

You are maybe correct that my version seemed too tightly connected with the template. This is interesting, because it's an aesthetic question for me, and it could, as you point out, actually affect function. If so it should be ditched. To be on the safe side, one should probably do as you suggest. I guess this is yet another thing I have to test on people. Would be nice to have two test groups: One that only gets to see that card and that gets the question "Please point out all the places on the card that conveys any kind of information needed to play the game." and another that gets to look at several different cards, where some have no threshold, others 1, and others 2 etc, asking them the same question.

Here one might argue that the first group is all that matters. But I think that's mistaken: This CCG can't ever be played with just 1 or even 4 cards. You'd need to have at least 30 or so, and what we conclude from them when we build our deck wouldn't be the same as what we conclude from only seeing 1 (I.e. we'll notice there are more creatures, different factions, some have no foonky (threshold) icons while others have 2 etc)

That said, if one would want to play it smart & safe and avoid all these dilemmas, I believe your suggestion is preferable.

innuendo: You're maybe correct that the squares are "unnecessarily large and distracting". If so, it would show when I print these in high quality, something I haven't done yet with this addition to them. (Btw, this is interesting, because it suggests that you have opposite worry as rich - he suggested they are too discretely incorporated into the template, if I understood him correct. You suggest they stand out too much, are too huge, and are too distracting.)

My problem is that I edit this on a computer screen, and while doing that I have to try to imagine how small it will actually be in reality when printed. Keeping all the proportions in my head is an issue, so I guess I'll have to start using the measurements inside of the software better. But even then it is hard to understand the numbers in a meaningful way: When one takes into consideration that a player will hold the cards in her hand, in a certain light, at a certain distance, print quality etc etc, it all leaves us with almost nothing until we actually test print them. = /

http://chaosrealm.net/wtactics/wiki/images/c/c0/LogoSize.png

As a reference I have included the size of a card and the size of the logo in this reply. I just looked at the rectangles, and they're a third of the logo's height (around 3 - 4 mm) and somewhat smaller in width than half of the logos height (around 7 mm).

I agree with you that the card would be filled with boxes if there was a threshold that went beyond 3. It's my intention to never or extremely rarely do that.

RacNRoll: Yes, I did try the dots under the leaf: Problem is that our creatures use a different template, and it would look differently on that one. Thus, it only leaves us the side/margin, if I want to stay coherent with where costs are located, and I do.

You're also correct in "assuming there will not be an over-abundance of dots on any card which would make it look cluttered" - there will rarely ever be more than 3-4.

I'm also of the opinion that the higher the number here, the less good the idea to use this kind of representation - nobody should have to "count" the dots/boxes etc - their amount must be easily "seen" directly. Huge difference between the two =)

ilta Interesting. You validate what rich suggests =)

Colours of the boxes don't matter at all, only the amount of them will. Putting something in them is impossible if one wants to make it look good, as the size of them is very small (we're talking about something in the range of 8x4 mm, max) and many printers would make it look even more crappier.

You're right that colour blind proofing is a good idea in any case though, as the colours of the card template border and the bg-colours of the name fields matter (green, in this case).

innuendo
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You: "I believe they would

You: "I believe they would have to know the rules first, and then, it would make perfect sense to them."

This is exactly why I think dots work best. They are the simplest shape for the space, are the least distracting to the card frame, and since they will not be referenced once the card is "cast", they need to fade away into the card once played. This is a positive that they don't stand out and take place away from actual information.

And since you admit, and I agree; that a player will need to know the rules for the cost to make sense anyway why not put the least invasive icon there. Once a player knows it has meaning they will automatically make the adjustment to look at those dots when they look at the cost.

And I don't think your theoretical play group is important. Even if the dots aren't immediately recognizable as important, a player will have to be taught to look there and what the numbers means anyways, so why not make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible (with limit of course, but still)? Once taught, no player will be confused about the dots, it's not like they are hard to notice. And I'll say again, since they are so rarely used once the card is actually in play, it's actually a good thing they don't stand out.

Plus in my brain, since the dots are close together specially (taking up less Y-distance on the card), it is easier for the brain to quickly count them since the eye doesn't have to travel as far to see all the shapes. I can easily imagine a scenario where flipping through cards quickly I would have to recount a card with 4 rectangles just because of how much space my eye will have to look in such a little amount of time. Making the grouping tighter on the icons will make it much easier to digest the information I suspect.

irdesigns510
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plenty of space on the card

keep in mind that you also have the two bottom corners. Maybe you dont need them, or want them, but just a suggestion to keep it separate from the cold cost.

eyerouge
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Trying out a new form on the

Trying out a new form on the "ugly threshold rectangles" >> http://www.bgdf.com/node/3573

I was thinking about replacing them with the more round version shown. And yes, there will never be more than 3-4 such icons on a card.

This does of course abandon the good idea to let the icons try to signify actual cards. But, today I discovered that I actually already use such an icon: The "mark" icon (called "tap" in a famous CCG) as seen in the above linkage, is already a way to tell the player that he has to do something with the card itself, and, it also "happens" to look like a card that is turned in a horizontal position. Maybe that's a case against having more card representations in icon form? I dunno... I still think it's a good idea... hrm...

So, this time around, I'll ask you guys which threshold bars you find _aesthetically_ most appealing: The rectangle classy ones, or the roundish ones?

RacNRoll Gaming
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Hip to be square

I like both but the squares stand out more.

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