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Cataclysm: A Second World War» Forums » General

Subject: Graphics discussion rss

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Tristan M.
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I open this thread for a discussion on the hopes and desires of the players for the final graphics of Cataclysm.

As I wrote in a post on Inside GMT, I really think that this game is bringing something really innovative into the hobby. My congratulations to the desingers.
I hope to see it become a "classic" and I think that the final art will be an important factor for this.

1) I suppose that the final map will be just a graphically improved version of the playtest one.
Personally I would accept introducing significant deformations of actual geography to allow more space for the counters in central key areas such as France (its 4 areas crowded in the same space occupied by Spain which is just one area).
What do you think about it?

2) For the fighter icons on the counters it would be great if GMT and Lee Brimmicombe-Wood allowed the use of some of the smaller plane silhouettes used in the background of the Wing Leader squadron counters.

The idea is to show on the counters the technical evolution of the long period encompassed by the game. For example the japanese fighter icon on the playtest counter seems a Ki-27 Nate: this is OK in 1936, but in 1950?! The same could be said for a P-51 on the board in 1933.

I think that the counters should use a mix of a few pre-war types, some late-war designs and a majority of the main wartime model. For example:
Japan: 2 Ki-27 Nate, 2 Ki-84 Hayate and the rest A6M Zero.
Germany: 2 He-51, 2 Ta-152 and the rest Me-109,

Thus the first turns would be played with more or less appropriate materials for the epoch and more modern desings would come on the board only later.

I think this would add great historical flavour, but I'd like to know what the designers and the other users think of this idea.

I hope the discussion will continue when the first samples of the final art are posted by the designers.

The designers can close the thread at any time if they think it is not useful.
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Jon Gautier

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Quote:
but I'd like to know what the designers and the other users think of this idea.


I think it is trivial.
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Kevin Bernatz
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Dieroll Honker wrote:
Quote:
but I'd like to know what the designers and the other users think of this idea.


I think it is trivial.


Yes and no. To some extent /all/ art is trivial. Chess can be played with different shape stones you find off the ground and the game system is still equally compelling, but we live in a commercial age where "looks are everything", or so some say.

So, to that extent, art/graphics are very important. IMO, this is also a very strong factor in the wargaming hobby, where people are forced to spend a large sum of money on a product that they often have little or no direct knowledge of. E.g. a typical wargame these days will retail in the $60-$100 price range. Most people will not have played the game prior to purchase and will be influenced by (1) reviews, (2) the production team, and (3) the visual appeal.

If the game was only $5, a lot more people would buy it regardless of what it looked like. At $55 (or more), we need to make sure the game is visually appealing to the largest number of people inorder to maximize the number of sales that we can generate for GMT. Having it be a good game with good 'word of mouth' also accomplishes this, but only after the first wave of buyers have 'gotten the word out', so to speak.

So, yes, I think graphics are very important. Ultimately, it will be up to Scott, Bill and whatever artist we are assigned to come up with graphics that they like and that work with the game. My job is to make sure that we don't get pink flying elephants on the counters .

-K
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Jon Gautier

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Kevin, I'd say you correctly answered a different question. The question was not "Are graphics important?" but rather, "What do you think of having different plane pictures to match different periods?"

To me the latter is trivial.
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Caleb
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NATO symbols. That is all.


whistle
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Tristan M.
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I thank Jon for opening the discussion and the developer for his qualified contribution.
In fact with this thread I exactly wanted to discover if some graphics elements are relevant for others as they are for me.

As Kevin pointed out art is a key factor in the commercial success of a game. I think we all argee on that. But what are the main factors which determine our judgment on a game's art?

Personally I prefer game art which is a sort a total visual evocation of the historical period represented in the game. I love the use of any sort of antiquarian stuff, such as ancient maps, historical pictures, war posters, representations of actual equipments, uniforms, flags, archaic fonts, etc.
I also suffer seeing flagrant visual anachronisms, even if I accept some inconsistencies as inevitable.

I just wondered if other players share my personal whims on the matter or have different ones, thinking that this would help to orient the artist's work.

However, as Kevin said, it will be up to the designers to decide what graphics they ultimately like.



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Tristan M.
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cannoneer wrote:
NATO symbols. That is all.


whistle




It was Panzerblitz that first spoiled us all!

Seriously, I see NATO symbols as perfect for a detailed tactical simulations. In such a game the historical detail and chrome is built into the details of the complex game mechanics. So counter differentiation and usability are supreme.
Cataclysm is the vast picture of an epoch, using a high degree of abstraction and generic counters.
That's why I would suggest a higher degree of "visual chrome" in them.
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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We haven't discussed final art in detail yet.

I will say, for my part, I had to be convinced to use actual silhouettes at all in the play test art, instead of those cute little modernist icons you see in publications of the time (cf. Gerd Arntz).

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Wendell
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tristan330 wrote:


The idea is to show on the counters the technical evolution of the long period encompassed by the game. For example the japanese fighter icon on the playtest counter seems a Ki-27 Nate: this is OK in 1936, but in 1950?! The same could be said for a P-51 on the board in 1933.

I think that the counters should use a mix of a few pre-war types, some late-war designs and a majority of the main wartime model. For example:
Japan: 2 Ki-27 Nate, 2 Ki-84 Hayate and the rest A6M Zero.
Germany: 2 He-51, 2 Ta-152 and the rest Me-109,


Blech. One of these air units represent entire air wings with hundreds or thousands of aircraft. Not all the same type of aircraft, either. And even the same air unit across the years would NOT always keep the same aircraft; its composition would change over time.

If you go with very specific ones as you suggest, it will please some people, and others will point out the flaws (not an ENTIRE unit of Me-109s, the whatever airplane wasn't introduced until 1943 but it's available from game start in Cataclysm, etc).

IMO, an entirely too in-the-weeds level of specificity for a game in which units represent air armies and entire fleets and army groups.

Personally I agree with what Scott said - cool period-looking iconography to depict the units would be fine.
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Wendell
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kbernatz wrote:
My job is to make sure that we don't get pink flying elephants on the counters .


Pastel-colored flying land animals are sadly underutilized artistic concepts for wargames.
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Stephen Rochelle
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#1 seems straightforward. Area maps are easy to distort without introducing extra effects.

#2: (pre-editing my doorstop of a response down to the tl;dr version)
There are lots of good reasons that game graphic design nearly always operates on a principle of "visual equivalence <=> gameplay equivalence". I don't think the suggestion (particularly when extended to all of the other unit types, too) provides enough benefit to warrant ditching that principle.

One silhouette per nation-unit, which is period-correct, visually distinct from that unit of other nationalities, and (hopefully) iconically identifiable (e.g. Spitfire, Panther, Flying Fortress) is IMO the correct approach. Note that I've got "recognizable as a particular model" at the end of the list.
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Tristan M.
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sdiberar wrote:
We haven't discussed final art in detail yet.

I will say, for my part, I had to be convinced to use actual silhouettes at all in the play test art, instead of those cute little modernist icons you see in publications of the time (cf. Gerd Arntz).



Great! Now I see where some of the icons used in the playtest counters come from! Definitely it would have been a great esthetic choice and very evocative of the esthetics of the thirties, but perhaps a bit too far from what most wargamers usually expect in WW2 game.

I see that the proposal of depicting different types of equipment on the counters is generally rejected by the other users. Clearly it wasn't a good idea. soblue

I hope the thread will continue with other observations or proposals since I'm interested on reading more about art choices and I think Cataclysm deserves a great graphic look.
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Kevin Bernatz
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Dieroll Honker wrote:
Kevin, I'd say you correctly answered a different question. The question was not "Are graphics important?" but rather, "What do you think of having different plane pictures to match different periods?"

To me the latter is trivial.


I'm a developer... I like to spin questions around to different questions, doesn't everyone know this ninja

In truth, I feel all art questions boil down to 'does it look good while still being functional'. Everything else is a red herring.

You simply can't please everyone, so I have no interest in trying to please everyone (sounds wrong..I know...but hear me out).

Ultimately, it is the designers game. So if Scott wanted all the aircraft to be shown piloted by cute cats since the game is CATaclysm, it would be HIS prerogative. I would try to talk him out of it ...but as long as the counters were still functional, the final say is ultimately his. The fact that any of yinz wouldn't like it - well...it would never even enter the question. Sorry .

So, ultimately, while people can certainly petition for what THEY find desirable, I'll be 100% upfront and honest and say (as an ex-girlfriend used to always say): "You get an opinion, but you don't get a vote".

Now...if you can sway Scott and Bill to change THEIR votes, then more power to you.
[though I've found them both to be amazingly stubborn..just like me :=> ]

-K
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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tristan330 wrote:
Definitely it would have been a great esthetic choice and very evocative of the esthetics of the thirties, but perhaps a bit too far from what most wargamers usually expect in WW2 game.

If we were concerned about what wargames expect in a WW2 game, Cataclysm wouldn't exist.

Quote:
I hope the thread will continue with other observations or proposals since I'm interested on reading more about art choices and I think Cataclysm deserves a great graphic look.

By all means, anyone should feel free to let us know what they think. But of course we reserve the right to make our own decisions within GMT's parameters.

I'm not even explicitly rejecting your idea, though it leans in the opposite direction to our current thinking. We can be stubborn, but Kevin is forgetting the many times we agreed with good points that he and our testers have made over the years.
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Ken Richards
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I love the air units used in games like World in Flames. Black and white seems wildly dull by comparison. As for the map, distortions are already used (Europe vs Asia) so why not? I'd love those distortions to allow the map of a global war to show a globe...actual adjacencies rather than "connected to" arrows. With the tracks together in the "polar" area rather than scattered around the world edges. All said, I'm playing Cataclysm no matter what.
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Wendell
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Oh on map distortion - I'm all for it, personally. I like how it works in Blitz! and Virgin Queen. Let the areas that get more action be bigger, that's OK.
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Tristan M.
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KenRichards wrote:
I love the air units used in games like World in Flames.


I like that kind of counters too. I would also mention the beautiful air units in Fire in the Sky and John Prados' Third Reich (I own both games).
But it must be said that those games are on a lesser scale when compared to Cataclysm.
Moreover I understand that the designers are not interested in doing something already done. That has been their strength so far.
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Tristan M.
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sdiberar wrote:
Quote:
I hope the thread will continue with other observations or proposals since I'm interested on reading more about art choices and I think Cataclysm deserves a great graphic look.

By all means, anyone should feel free to let us know what they think. But of course we reserve the right to make our own decisions within GMT's parameters.


Of course.
This thread is intended as a support for your considerations.
I'm entirely confident in your choices, having seen the great work you have done so far. thumbsup
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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KenRichards wrote:
As for the map, distortions are already used (Europe vs Asia) so why not? I'd love those distortions to allow the map of a global war to show a globe...actual adjacencies rather than "connected to" arrows. With the tracks together in the "polar" area rather than scattered around the world edges.

Our thinking is already going in this direction.
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Lawrence Hung
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kbernatz wrote:
My job is to make sure that we don't get pink flying elephants on the counters .


Same for the map areas actually. The pastel-colored maps of "Engulfed" series are one of the deterring reason not to buy.
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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Lawrence Hung wrote:
Same for the map areas actually. The pastel-colored maps of "Engulfed" series are one of the deterring reason not to buy.

They will probably remain subdued colors so the pieces pop rather than blend into the map.
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