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Old January 24th, 2015, 07:29 PM
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Yet another Rectangular Cards thread

Inspired by those who have already blazed the trail (Raudulfr Shieldcrusher, mathguy, and probably others), I'm working on my own rectangular cards. Seems silly when others have already done the work, I know, but several things led me to start this project:
  • A large number of my Clix minis are not the ones depicted on the Army Cards, and I prefer miniature shots to comic shots.
  • Originally, I wanted to do bridge width instead of poker width. (Changed my mind on that one later.)
  • I wanted to be very space-efficient with all the visual parts of the card, to maximize text area and keep font size from getting too small.
  • And finally, even though I am certainly Not An Artist, I can't resist tinkering in Photoshop.
I wasn't really ready to post all this and start collecting feedback just yet, but I made the mistake of posting a card or two in another thread, which of course led to conversation, questions, and the (good) suggestion not to steal bandwidth from that thread. Hence this one.

This is a work in progress. Design is still underway. Some parts aren't good enough to make me happy yet. And I've probably made some decisions that may offend! But here it is, warts and all.

First, the basic template. As I mentioned, I'm trying to be as space-efficient as I can while still having at least a little bit of aesthetic interest. It's very orthogonal and spartan, but a little bit of 3D beveling livens it up for me.

I wanted at least a hint of the real Army Cards' angularity, and took some inspiration from the peculiar relationship between the MOVE, RANGE, ATTACK, and DEFENSE labels. Notice the amazing coincidence of their alignment:


Even in my earlier tests with LIFE stacked on top, the alignment still held its magic. This was too good not to do something with.



You can see below that I've rescued the Super Strength and Flying icons from their exile at the bottom of the Army Cards. This was partly for space-utilization reasons (I can't let these icons cost me two full lines of text), but also because I wanted to cluster together all the most frequently referenced "at-a-glance" visual information. Also, when reading an unfamiliar card (depending upon one's learning/reading style), it can sometimes be helpful to notice Flying or Super Strength before reading the other special powers, since there could be a design dependency.


You've probably noticed those other icons, following the MARVEL logo, for Stark Industries and the Avengers. I call these "affiliation icons" and they are sort of visual/thematic counterparts to the Heroscape generals' icons (which will also likely be placed in this area when I start making classic cards.) These have no gameplay meaning, and are mostly just "flair" (though I didn't leave room for 37 pieces). At some point I'll probably use them as scenario aids, but for now they're just there because I feel like some acknowledgement of a character's affiliations is appropriate. I've not yet settled on how many of these I want, or who "makes the cut" to get them.

On Iron Man, you may also have spotted the teeny-tiny Hasbro icon following MEDIUM 5. Naturally it is imperative to acknowledge the C3G team's excellent work, so I scaled their logo to fit, and then made a version for the Hasbro cards I plan to convert and another for my own custom crap. At some point I'll need to gen some for C3V/SoV.



The placement of the point value is quite deliberate. I want it to be easy to see at a glance what a particular army build contains, and what it costs.

Here's a vanity shot of one of my favorite cards. Partly because I like the actor and his portrayal of Dugan in the MCU films, and partly because this is one of those Clix where WizKids posted a nice high-res CG image of the figure. Oh, and because I'm vainly amused by my silly Howling Commandos affiliation icon.

There are more features to show later (some controversial), but I think that's enough for now.


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Last edited by Just_a_Bill; November 20th, 2018 at 03:59 PM.
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Old January 24th, 2015, 07:29 PM
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Re: Yet another Rectangular Cards thread

And now it's time to answer some viewer mail.

Quote:
Originally Posted by japes View Post
what size font is the real name there and have you test printed to see if it is readable.
It's 6-point Helvetica Neue condensed bold (or some flavor like that), and I have not printed anything yet. Still in the design phase.

I know it's rather small, but I'm trying to plan ahead for characters that have a very long secret identity (e.g., He Who Devours Your Entrails and Thoroughly Enjoys It) — as well as characters that are actually more than one person!


Quote:
Originally Posted by A3n View Post
I really like your styled rectangle card the JAB. I think that's the best offering I have seen yet.
Thanks for the encouragement!

Quote:
Originally Posted by A3n View Post
What's with the team symbols? What do you do with them?
Right now they're just for looks, and to satisfy my desire to recognize important affiliations. I might use them later as a scenario aid, or maybe someday I'll create some custom units that reference them.

Here's an example that shows the "law enforcement" and "Gotham underworld/underground" icons I'm playing around with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A3n View Post
There is still something that doesn't appeal to me in the power text area but I don't know what it is. Maybe it's just that it's a solid coloured background with nothing to break it up.
Yes, I agree; it needs a watermark.

Another thing I don't like about the text area is its edge treatment. It has the same inner bevel as the other 3D elements of the card, but the bevel doesn't showp up well on a pale yellow field. I threw on an inner glow treatment to give it some depth, but it doesn't mesh well where the text box abuts the other elements. I may experiment with a gradient so that the text box can be darker or a different hue at the edges and then quickly fade to pale yellow for the text.


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Last edited by Just_a_Bill; November 20th, 2018 at 03:59 PM.
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Old January 24th, 2015, 11:03 PM
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Re: Yet another Rectangular Cards thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_a_Bill View Post
And now it's time to answer some viewer mail.

Quote:
Originally Posted by japes View Post
what size font is the real name there and have you test printed to see if it is readable.
It's 6-point Helvetica Neue condensed bold (or some flavor like that), and I have not printed anything yet. Still in the design phase.

I know it's rather small, but I'm trying to plan ahead for characters that have a very long secret identity (e.g., He Who Devours Your Entrails and Thoroughly Enjoys It) and characters that are more than one person!


.
6 point at that font will have fine readability for a name. I've had to go with that for a few card text and it was a little tougher but since for names you will know what it's suppose to say your brain will see it.
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Old January 24th, 2015, 09:34 PM
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Re: Yet another Rectangular Cards thread

Where did you get those spider bots?

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Originally Posted by Craig Van Ness View Post
I highly recommend C3V and C3G customs!
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Old January 24th, 2015, 10:54 PM
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Re: Yet another Rectangular Cards thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by quozl View Post
Where did you get those spider bots?
Found 'em in a common Clix bin at my local game store. Pretty cool, yeah?

They come on little mini-bases and they don't have dials. The actual Superior Spider-Man clix figure has slots on the base that Spider-Bots fit into (but I'm not doing anything like that with my custom).

====================

And now one of the potentially controversial features (since it involves editing some game text).

In some cases, I plan to take advantage of Printer's Studio's ability to put a unique cardback on a particular card. For those units that have a "modal" effect controlled by a single Marker that moves onto and off of the card, I'm instead making flippable double-sided cards. (I had thought this was innovative until a couple of weeks ago when I discovered that Grishnakh was already doing it.)

The back will have a different image from the front, and each side's features will be edited as appropriate for the mode that side represents.


In most cases, the difference between the images will be more pronounced than what you see here on Magneto. This was basically a test of a quick Photoshop effect; it's okay, but I'm not sure I will keep it.

While all of the card fronts will show miniatures, I'm going to allow myself more latitude on the backs. Many of them will have "media" images, such as a screen capture from a movie or TV show, or a frame of a comic. Really anything that adequately communicates the figure's other mode would be okay. Here are some of my current placeholders.




Usually there are just text changes, but sometimes numbers, icons, or other features can be affected. The Human Torch, for example, loses not only all of his special-power text but also his Flying icon; and his RANGE drops to 1. (This change is permanent, so there is no text or arrow to flip back to the front.)



There may also be a few cases where I own two different Clix minis, so I may print a double-sided card where only the image differs.


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Last edited by Just_a_Bill; November 20th, 2018 at 04:00 PM.
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Old January 28th, 2015, 11:52 AM
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Re: Yet another Rectangular Cards thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by quozl View Post
Where did you get those spider bots?
I believe they were part of the recent Deadpool set. I think their was 3 different versions in total.
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Old January 25th, 2015, 04:00 AM
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Re: Yet another Rectangular Cards thread

Fantastic! I love what you're doing here.

There is nothing more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. --MLK
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Old January 25th, 2015, 09:13 AM
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Re: Yet another Rectangular Cards thread

Really nice design work! A suggestion for the watermark, how about the Marvel or DC logo?
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Old January 25th, 2015, 12:29 PM
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Re: Yet another Rectangular Cards thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xorlof View Post
Fantastic! I love what you're doing here.
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by IshMEL View Post
Really nice design work! A suggestion for the watermark, how about the Marvel or DC logo?
Interesting idea, but the differing aspect ratios would be tricky unless I did a "wallpaper" thing, which I'm afraid would make it look like the backdrop for a sports interview.

The other downside would be the variety (and sometimes lack) of logos involved. For classic cards, the Heroscape logo might be too busy. Some publishers, like Image, have pretty crappy logos, and there would be other sources with no publisher logo at all, such as people's customs.

Regardless, I think I want one watermark, not four or eight or a dozen.

BTW, I'm also fooling around with creating my own card back.


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Last edited by Just_a_Bill; November 20th, 2018 at 04:00 PM.
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Old January 25th, 2015, 12:37 PM
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Re: Yet another Rectangular Cards thread

Unwieldy and inefficient as they are, I prefer the original Heroscape cards, but your cards make me consider switching to rectangular! Very nice work!

".... the Cambridge ladies do not care, above
Cambridge if sometimes in its box of
sky lavender and cornerless, the
moon rattles like a fragment of angry candy"
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Old January 25th, 2015, 03:00 PM
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Re: Yet another Rectangular Cards thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrollBrute View Post
Unwieldy and inefficient as they are, I prefer the original Heroscape cards, but your cards make me consider switching to rectangular! Very nice work!
Thanks!

"Unwieldy" is right, although I never quite got to the point where I wanted to replace my existing army cards with playing cards. The original hex design is unique and beautiful, that's for sure. However, the thought of having to print, laminate, and then cut out (yikes) dozens and dozens of army cards for C3G/C3V/SoV stuff at 18 cuts per card put me over the edge. As much work as it is to design and key these rectangular cards, it's lots more fun than hours and hours with the laminator, straight edge, and hobby knife.

And, even if my aging back muscles could take it, I can't really be spending hundreds of dollars on printer ink not when Artscow or Printer's Studio can do it for me for tens of dollars! So I finally have the excuse I need to start purging pretty much the only thing in Heroscape that detracts from the play experience.

Though I totally get that it's not everyone's cup of tea. I wasn't too keen on this whole idea much at first myself.


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Old January 25th, 2015, 03:16 PM
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Re: Yet another Rectangular Cards thread

Here's another probably-controversial idea I'm playing around with.

I'm really trying to keep the text readable, especially since I'm now old enough for progressive lenses. I love how C3G turned the Flying special power into an icon, and wondered if it would make sense to do that for a very small number of other powers that are (a) commonly used and (b) simple to understand and remember. Counter Strike, Disengage, stuff like that.

So I made a Disengage icon to see how I feel about it. This lets me increase Gambit's font size from 6.5 to 7, which may sound trivial but makes a difference to us old farts.

The one thing I don't like is that we would have to train ourselves to watch for the icon. Disengage isn't as intuitive as Flying, since most flying figures look like they fly in the picture. (Most. I'm still trying to adjust to all the supers that fly in C3G but don't fly in the movies. Seeing Rogue floating in the clouds just seems so bizarre to me; my Triplicate Girl clix figures don't have wings or capes either. And boy am I weirded out by the conversation about Drax flying!)

Anyway, this is just an experiment at the moment. My "real" Gambit file that's going to Printer's Studio has a normal Disengage text power instead.


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Last edited by Just_a_Bill; November 20th, 2018 at 03:58 PM.
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