Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Game Graphics Creation

Following on from the MM:Scotland post, I thought I'd describe a bit more about how I made some of the Standard Game graphics, in particular the board.

The ideas and progressive versions were described in previous posts:

Game Board Design Part One.

First Printed Map
Discarded White Sea Version
Game Board Design Part Two.

Second Printed Map
Here's what I did to make the board.

1) Sketches on paper, pencil scribbles leading to the first set of area/region outlines you see in the first map above.

In my case, I am familiar with Corel Draw software for doing vector graphics, so used this program. There are many alternative vector editing applications, such as the freely available Inkscape (Open Source under GNU General Public License) all the way through to Adobe Illustrator (Not Open Source and Commercially Licenced).

As you can scan your paper drawing and then use the Corel Draw autotracing facility (vectorisation or image tracing) to convert your input into Corel Draw vectors, I used this method to get my scribbles vectorised.
A bit on hardware and software... 
An alternative would be to draw vectors directly in Corel Draw - the best option for doing this is to use a Pen and Tablet (for example those made by Wacomhooked up to your computer. 
Even better would be a Tablet PC with on-screen digitiser, such as an Asus Eee Slate, which can run standard PC software applications, or a full Wacom graphics tablet with integrated display, such as their Cintiq seriesThe latter two are expensive options that allow you to draw/paint directly onto your 'page'. 
I now have a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, which is a cheaper Android equivalent to  the above, with an 'S Pen' and Apps available to do similar tasks, but without the full power of a PC. The S Pen is a proper, pressure sensitive digitiser and the applications that can be used with it allow sketching and painting directly on screen. 
Here's an example, drawn based on an extracted snippit from a BBC News web page (hint of glasses in the end product, I think): 
 Practice1 Practice2 Practice3  Practice4 Practice5 Practice6
And stuck through the Lithic App:
Potential Character for a Card

Back to the board - the main advantage of the vectors is that they are scalable to almost any size without the loss of detail that you get with bitmap images (rasters or 'photos').

The advantage of bitmaps is that thay are great for doning tonal images, can be treated with various effects filters and can be 'painted' on.

I exported the basemap at the size I wanted (originally A0) as a bitmap, so I could then add details in a 'paint' package.

2) Add textures and colours to the basemap. I did this in a mix of Corel Paint Shop Pro and Corel Photo Paint, using different layers.

Basic outlines with basic blobs of texture added by hand
Coloured up, with radial brightness
With maelstrom swirl graphic added
3) Switched to Corel Draw to add vector linework.

Areas, regions, island and fine lines added to give stain glass look
Islands drawn in
And finally, victory track, Jormungandr head / tail, etc

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