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Production Artwork

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Desprez
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Joined: 12/01/2008

Apologies, if this isn't the right forum.

So, I've been working on a number of games, and couple are edging ever closer to the 'omg, it's done stage'. Naturally, during my development/testing process I end up making a lot of place-holder art.
The thing is, though, some of this stuff that was intended to be temporary, I think is starting to look pretty good.

I've attached a few detailed close-ups of a couple different types of terrain for some wargame maps.
Anyone think this is good enough for production quality art? Any opinions here?
Also (perhaps with a bit more serious effort) anyone think I might be able to sell my time making art for other games? I dunno, is there a market for that? How would I even price it?

http://img403.imageshack.us/img403/558/jv01.jpg
http://img543.imageshack.us/img543/264/rv01.jpg
http://img51.imageshack.us/img51/6799/jv02.jpg

Sorry, the images are rather large and don't seem to be handled well in this forum.
I recommend right-click opening them in a new tab.

rcjames14
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Joined: 09/17/2010
Portfolio

For a hex map war game, your current art looks to my eye to be little different from the material produced for ASL. So, you might not need to look any farther than yourself, if that is the audience you wish to target. But, the map is only a fraction of the total art you need, as you probably know right now. And, it is the sculpting, packaging and card artwork which often distinguish modern (commercially successful) war map games from those which are released print-and-play.

If you seek to sell your time as a graphic designer or artist, you will need a portfolio of work. Personally, I am always on the look out for graphic designers who know PS, Illustrator and AfterEffects really well. They can often take very bland artwork, add off-the-shelf iconography, patterns, brush strokes, etc..., and arrange it in an aesthetically pleasing way so that the images pop. This is something that I cannot do and would be willing to pay for. But, it is also something that would require you to show me what you can do by what you have done (especially in the genres of games that I design).

Desprez
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Joined: 12/01/2008
Thanks for the thoughts. I

Thanks for the thoughts.
I went over to BoardGameGeek and took a look at some photos of ASL as I wasn't really familiar with it.
I'm not sure what to say, exactly. We might be refering to different art? Or maybe there was a remake?

The graphics for ASL seem very cartoony, but they are apparently that way because of the LOS ruleset. I mean, it's functional and clear I guess, but it looks like an awful lot like temporary graphics.

I did some more image searching, and see that some people in the ASL community are trying making their own maps, and few of these looked fantastic. (http://www.hostingpics.net/viewer.php?id=269448demp.jpg for example)

Hmmm, it turns out that he's apparently reusing images from close combat video game. Still, I bet with a little practice and experimentation I could get there. That seems to be a good benchmark.

pelle
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Joined: 08/11/2008
map styles

Some people like the aerial photo 3d style of map, but many of us prefer a more stylized map-like 2d art that is clear and functional. I would much rather play on an original ASL board than on that 3d rendered one from close combat (although I love cc and like that map as well... for playing cc). Personally I prefer game maps that are more minimalistic than ASL is.

Besides remember that ASL is from 1985, and that it uses the same boards and graphics as the original Squad Leader from the 70's.

pelle
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maps

About the maps posted above: I think, at least on my monitor, that some of the green colors look a bit bright. Many trees stand out like pools of cryptonite. But except for some minor things like that the map art itself looks really good. You obviously know how to paint terrain. The odd-shaped double-border hexagons looked a bit weird to me at first, but maybe I just need to get used to them. What I do not like however are the numbers everywhere. The large numbers are distracting, the small numbers are mostly just difficult to read (especially against some darker backgrounds). I never played a game that cluttered the map with information like that, which probably is for a good reason. Besides when you start moving around units on the map you are going to cover the numbers, so there is a practical reason to instead use an off-map terrain key to describe the effects of different terrain types.

Desprez
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Joined: 12/01/2008
Funny you should mention that

Funny you should mention that - I was actually wondering what other people's monitors were going to do to the colors. In any case, the printed results are much different: neons are muted, etc.

Good to hear some feedback on the display of information.
I've actually changed how the numbers are displayed since my original post - which gives me a bit more freedom with the terrain image. In particular, there is now a thin outline that lightens the terrain below it, making it easier to distinguish the the shadows from the dark text. I'm trying to find a balance between readability and distraction.

In my own testing the numbers don't seem to be a distraction so far, though larger scale testing will reveal how most people feel.
A lot of the info can be derived from a key as you suggest, but I was worried that too much off-map info may have a tendency to slow down the game play - and that's the last thing I want to do with a hex wargame!

The odd hex shapes and the large numbers are part of the LOS system. They are one of the most important elements and used quite often, hence the visibility. However, playtesting here will reveal if I've overcompensated by making things a bit too prominent. (I can see I'm going to have to print out a couple test corners with different configurations.)

The large numbers are terrain elevation, with the height of LOS obstacles in parenthesis, if any. However, in 95% of the cases, forest and buildings will always be one listed elevation higher, and so this info could be removed, I suppose. My original intention was to keep the info there so as to reduce the number of times you have to recall and remember to add one when finding LOS. Maybe this isn't needed, or could be reduced in size.

As far as the odd hex shapes, you'll notice that the thicker black borders are smaller than a standard hex, while the thicker grey borders are larger than standard, and they encircle terrain groups that are of similar LOS obstacle height. Briefly, the black border blocks, while the grey border degrades LOS. It's a solution that so far seems to solve the problem of LOS with regard to obstacle hexes that are 'kind of' in the way, without introducing all kinds of rules that slow the game down. (Basically, I've never really been happy with LOS being either completely blocked or completely clear, just because the line just barely crossed or missed an obstacle hex corner.)

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