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Middara» Forums » General

Subject: Grid Styles on Tiles rss

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Joshua Delahunty
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[UNOFFICIAL FAN-OF-THE-GAME POSTING]

There has been some discussion around the latest release of a sample art style for tiles in this game over in the kickstarter updates area:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/succubuspublishing/midd...

There seems to be a lot of varied opinion about how grids might be drawn so as not to distract from the artwork. I decided to put some of those suggestions to the test (I'm just a fan/supporter, like you guys -- I'd just hoped to give us all something to look at and discuss while we wait for the machinery to move forward).

NOTE: I made some judgment calls on what would constitute a water tile over a land tile at the edge of the river. I took some artistic license in my determination, preferring a more aesthetically pleasing (to me) shoreline over exact calculations of percentage of water mass versus land mass in a given spot. These are all samples and ideas anyway.

Here is the sample with a "standard" transluscent 1" grid overlaid. It is simple, straightforward, but terrain types are impossible to discern for certain. It is, in my opinion, a little boring as well.



Next, I added dashed colored lines to differentiate areas on the map. This would help the players discern terrain types, but it's still very ambiguous.



----

One comment mentioned how dots at the grid corners helps to delineate space, but distract less from the artwork. I think in this case the artwork CONTAINS dots, and this becomes distracting.



Here I've added dashed terrain indicators, which does help a bit. But the look is very boxy.



----

Another idea was to place icons at the center of each grid spot, eliminating grid lines altogether. This just seems to shift the grid off-center, and is (IMHO) confusing.



----

After all the experimentation, I still find Stephanie's "negative space grid" (fashioned after one side of one of the original Super Dungeon Explore tiles, but none of the newer Forgotten King tiles) to be the most functional and least confusing. It's less distracting from the artwork than I would have personally thought, as well (I actually think this is better than the simple grid).



Finally, I've added dashed lines and icons for "special" terrain. Personally, I consider this a favorite (it is my attempt to match Stephanie's sample as closely as I could).



NOTE: the left edge would most likely be overlays in the actual game. I wonder whether Succubus intends to place terrain icons on those overlays or not.

-- joshua

EDIT: added comment about my favorite being an attempt to match the prior sample by Succubus.

EDIT2: Added the tag at the top trying to be very clear that this is unofficial visualization of what different grid styles COULD look like if the publisher were to go in some fan-suggested directions.
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Daniel Theuerkaufer
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The favorite is also my favorite of these. Or maybe the one with dots only.

My most preferred design is this one from Stephanie Gustavsson:
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Daniel Nedeljkovic
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The last one looks the best.
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Masoud Tabatabaei
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I like the one before the last one ( the one without icons). The problem of course is knowing the type of terrains especially on the borders of two type of terrains. I suggest to add small photos of all tiles with the guide for the terrain types on each square(for example at the end of rulebook). After some plays, they will be intuitive for sure.
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Masoud Tabatabaei
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masoudtab wrote:
I like the one before the last one ( the one without icons). The problem of course is knowing the type of terrains especially on the borders of two type of terrains. I suggest to add small photos of all tiles with the guide for the terrain types on each square(for example at the end of rulebook). After some plays, they will be intuitive for sure.


Or maybe to change the curves in the graphics a little bit so that they almost matches the borders of squares and deciding the type of terrain becomes straightforward.
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Joshua Delahunty
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snake2shake wrote:
The favorite is also my favorite of these. Or maybe the one with dots only.

My most preferred design is this one from Stephanie Gustavsson:


My most preferred is Stephanie's work, and the last one is an attempt to match it (I didn't spend a bunch of extra time getting the diagonal gaps in my dashed lines, that's a good Saturday afternoon project for me -- I may do it anyway).

As for the dots only, there's no specification of the terrain type (so does a particular shoreline piece merit an extra movement point spent or not, for instance?), AND the dots of the artwork interfere visually with the dots of the grid, IMO.

I was surprised to discover that the one that had the grid "disappear into the background" for me is the second-to-last (the negative space grid). Without the icons, it fades away from view (vis-a-vis the artwork), even better than the simple grid, AND better than the dot grid.
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D. Lund
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I honestly don't see the problem. The first sample looks the best in my opinion. Why would anyone need lines/dots/icons to mark what is in the water and what is not? It seems very obvious.

If needed, just have that second one in the user manual as an example. Once they see that everything should be fine.
 
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MM
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BasenjiMaster wrote:
I honestly don't see the problem. The first sample looks the best in my opinion. Why would anyone need lines/dots/icons to mark what is in the water and what is not? It seems very obvious.

If needed, just have that second one in the user manual as an example. Once they see that everything should be fine.


That's definitely true for water, but add in terrain elevation, rough terrain, etc. and you need icons to quickly discern what you're looking at.
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Joshua Delahunty
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BasenjiMaster wrote:
I honestly don't see the problem. The first sample looks the best in my opinion. Why would anyone need lines/dots/icons to mark what is in the water and what is not? It seems very obvious.

If needed, just have that second one in the user manual as an example. Once they see that everything should be fine.


[I'm mildly playing Devil's Advocate here -- I don't personally play my games as such a rules lawyer, but I have run into many people who will care this deeply...]

Compare the second and the last. Look at the shoreline near the south edge of the map.

In the second image, I (arbitrarily) made one of the bottom 4 squares water, and the rest shoreline. In the bottom one, I made 3 water and the other shoreline. One could say it's obvious that if a square is more than 50% water, it's a water square, otherwise it's shoreline. But several of those are borderline. In image #2, I made the completely obvious choice. In the last, I took a bit of artistic license.

It will be up to the designers to decide which count as water, and which as land. Using specific marks to make it clear means there is no confusion. Trying to have a "look-up" in the manual slows down games and can bore or irritate the players.

When it comes to board games, functionality is almost always going to win a bit over aesthetics, for better or worse.
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Brian M
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The negative space lines look kind of nice. I'd vote against the dots; I've used those before and they tend to get very confusing.

Mixed feelings on the terrain icons - it depends on how many you are expecting to have on the tiles. If there's only likely to be one kind of terrain per type, they don't seem worth it. If there will be several, they could be useful.

On the topic of SDE boards, I have noticed that some of the Forgotten King boards have terrain that's really hard to make out; the icon will show a blocked space, but it just looks like the terrain around it. I'd try to avoid that; make anything that has different game effects clearly visually different.

Quote:
When it comes to board games, functionality is almost always going to win a bit over aesthetics, for better or worse.

thumbsup to this!
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Joshua Delahunty
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I want to clarify, like I said at the top, I'm just a fan playing around with ideas, so we can hash out a discussion with photos, and Succubus can get an idea about what people favor.

StormKnight wrote:
The negative space lines look kind of nice. I'd vote against the dots; I've used those before and they tend to get very confusing.


When Stephanie mentioned in her post that she was taking a cue from Super Dungeon Explore, I was happy to run off and check out my SDE boards more closely. I was surprised that while all the (original) boards have the negative-space grid on them, only one used the dashed-line outlines to highlight features. Then I was REALLY surprised that Forbidden King had a bit of a different look to it: standard grid over all accessible spaces, and dashed-line outlines IN ADDITION on top of features.

When someone mentioned dots in the kickstarter feedback, I thought "That idea sounds like one of those 'good at first, but there's a gotcha lurking' ideas." Then the icons-in-the-middle of squares idea really didn't work for me (but I was happy to be able to check it out and experiment).

StormKnight wrote:
Mixed feelings on the terrain icons - it depends on how many you are expecting to have on the tiles. If there's only likely to be one kind of terrain per type, they don't seem worth it. If there will be several, they could be useful.


The mass of water on this arrangement -- of what would be 4 tiles in the actual game -- does look like overkill of icons, and presents some concern, I think. But the functionality aspect is the key (and I see from your agreement below that we on the same page there). Stephanie's sample forest tile shows multiple terrain types, without going overboard, I think.

StormKnight wrote:
On the topic of SDE boards, I have noticed that some of the Forgotten King boards have terrain that's really hard to make (out); the icon will show a blocked space, but it just looks like the terrain around it. I'd try to avoid that; make anything that has different game effects clearly visually different.


Can you cite a tile? I'm honestly having a hard time spotting an example.

Here is a good article about what we're talking about:
http://www.gamewire.belloflostsouls.net/super-dungeon-explor...

StormKnight wrote:
Quote:
When it comes to board games, functionality is almost always going to win a bit over aesthetics, for better or worse.

:thumbsup: to this!


I love a good grognard fest as much as the next fellow, but all too often that turns into a solo affair. No point in creating artificial barriers to entry [when trying to entice players into the fold]... ;-)


EDIT: clarified how SDE tiles are designed, I had mis-remembered some details.
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Brian M
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dulcaoin wrote:
I want to clarify, like I said at the top, I'm just a fan playing around with ideas, so we can hash out a discussion with photos, and Succubus can get an idea about what people favor.

surprise
Whoa...I didn't read the thread too closely. The tile lines looked so nice I just figured you were posting something official.


Quote:
Can you cite a tile? I'm honestly having a hard time spotting an example.

At a quick glance, Fey Woods 1 and 6 have some trees that (to me) just sort of blend into the green. Overgrown Castle 4 has some blocked spaces that are...I'm not sure what. I guess rock outcroppings? I can see the icon, but I really can't tell what's in the space - they just kind of look like the floor next to them.
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Joshua Delahunty
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StormKnight wrote:
dulcaoin wrote:
I want to clarify, like I said at the top, I'm just a fan playing around with ideas, so we can hash out a discussion with photos, and Succubus can get an idea about what people favor.

:surprise:
Whoa...I didn't read the thread too closely. The tile lines looked so nice I just figured you were posting something official. :p

Thanks for the compliment. I put a "tag" in the original posting to try to clarify for new readers of the thread.

Quote:
Can you cite a tile? I'm honestly having a hard time spotting an example.

At a quick glance, Fey Woods 1 and 6 have some trees that (to me) just sort of blend into the green. Overgrown Castle 4 has some blocked spaces that are...I'm not sure what. I guess rock outcroppings? I can see the icon, but I really can't tell what's in the space - they just kind of look like the floor next to them.


I see what you mean now, the opposite issue is the one for me: some thorny branches are marked and impassable, others are just "clear" terrain, and the imagery doesn't give a clue which way it might go in any given case.

I also noticed a big pet peeve (for me): a weapon on the ground on a tile. That's not flavor, it's just dumb. MAYBE if the weapon looked broken beyond use, but it's just an ax forever sitting there untouched. Suspension of Disbelief: very difficult with that one.
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Joshua Delahunty
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I had to slice up the river tiles to the proper size for the TileSystem module anyway, so here you can compare something more akin to apples-to-apples. These are the same size as Stephanie's sample forest tile now.







-- joshua

EDIT: I had posted a bad top-left tile that had water ornamentation where land had been. Fixed.
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Joshua Delahunty
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+++ FAN CONJECTURE POSTING +++

While puttering around the gaming room tonight, I stumbled upon some tiles that reminded me of a style I hadn't tried...






I think this works a lot better than the dots.

Here's the top left corner with icons added for specialized terrain (I've adjusted these down to closer in size to Stephanie's icons)



+++ The author is just a fan, not affiliated with Succubus Publishing +++
 
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Yash Samant
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dulcaoin wrote:

After all the experimentation, I still find Stephanie's "negative space grid" (fashioned after one side of one of the original Super Dungeon Explore tiles, but none of the newer Forgotten King tiles) to be the most functional and least confusing. It's less distracting from the artwork than I would have personally thought, as well (I actually think this is better than the simple grid).



I agree that the uniform negative space grid (shown above) looks the best and is still functional.
 
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