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Subject: SOTM Card Creator tool rss

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Mariusz Kosecki
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Hello everyone,

Some of you may have heard that in my free time I was working on a tool to aid the custom deck generation
I would like to present to you the first version of that tool.

For now, it only generates the hero deck (without the character front and incap) but may be used to generate a villain deck as well if you swap the hero_frame.png file with your own.

My goal with the tool was to provide a way to create concise cards (with regard to fonts, indentation, wrapping) and to make it as close to the original cards as it's possible. I went through many official decks to determine all the proper formatting rules in my tool.
And the most important thing of all: the tool is supposed to be easy to use. So there's no need to use Gimp, Photoshop and whatnot to prepare the cards. You only need to take care of the pictures you want to end up with on the cards.


Main features:
- Each text on the card is adapted to fit in the designated box, whether it's the title of the card, the text box, keywords or the quote.
- Keywords allow custom images to be input (Ennead's deck style).
- Footer and other texts allow [R] and [C] to be specified, which will be translated respectively to "reserved" and "copyright" characters.
- A card may be a target and it is allowed for "*" to be specified as the HP, which can then be referenced by the card's text with a [*].
- Quote text is laid out so that it fits in the quote cloud.
- Card text supports the following features:
* Bold text, underlined text, text in italics,
* Indentation (like in power/perform/accompany texts),
* Special characters such as non-breaking-spaces, newlines, new paragraphs, [H] icon,
* Custom images (such as Nightmist's spell icon and Naturalist's various icons), which can be resized and centered (examples will follow),
* Special characters (such as "!" and "/") may be "escaped".

To use the tool, just download it from here ("SOTM_CardCreator_v1.zip"):
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1asMqXl7GN27vIYAyfdGQ...
and unpack it.
"the_golem example.zip" is there to test the tool if you would like to see the effects immediately.

For that, I used the art from 2 of Matthew Bishop's (tosx) cards and The Golem hero deck found here: Untested hero concept - Golem (no art).
And most importantly the card templates by Robert Kamphaus (Koga), found here: Card Templates. Without those, the tool would not come into life.
The fonts used by the tool can be found on http://www.blambot.com/ - I just put them together inside the package for your convenience.
There is a Samples folder that you might want to examine - the samples.txt contains all the info needed to generate the cards but I didn't upload any art used so this is just for reference.
There are only the resulting cards there - only to show the effect of the tool. The art I used was found either on the SOTM wiki or Handelabra page.

Generally, the tool is an .exe file that should work under any 32-bit windows but was tested only on Windows 7. For Linux and Mac users, it should also work properly with Wine.
To run it, just type in the command line sotm_card.exe followed by the input filename. E.g. "sotm_card.exe input_golem.txt"


There's a lot of processing done in regards to the card's text to keep up with the original design but I don't want to go into details here unless somebody notices an issue.

The next thing I plan to do is to work on the character cards, incaps and setup cards.

Currently, the hero_frame.png and HP_box.png are stored as external images, thus you can easily create a villain card by replacing the files with the correct graphic and also you are able to customize the HP box if need be.

Below are the cards I mainly based my work on and what was specific about them:
Nighmist's Oblivion - the embedded spell icon in the text.
Tempest's Reclaim from the Deep - quote without no author and source.
Tempest's Otherworldly Resilience - one-line effect with a proper margin.
Visionary's Wrest the Mind - really long text.
Haka's Savage Mana - long text with long power below it.
Tempest's Localized Hurricane - two powers.
Argent Adept's Inspiring Supertonic - Perform and Accompany texts.
Argent Adept's Xu's Bell - power with Perform and Accompany references.
Absolute Zero's Onboard Module Installation - long title and three effects on one card.
Absolute Zero's Null-point Calibration Unit - the longest title and the longest keywords.
Sky-Scraper's Proportionist - long text.
Wraith's Utility Belt - quote with a two character dialogue.
Grand Warlord Voss' Quark-Drive Translocator - longest title with the HP box.
Naturalist's Bestial Shift - 3 embedded icons on 1 card.
Chokepoint's Shocking Animation - the longest text on a card.
Omnitron's S-84 Automation Drone - long title with the HP box and an asterisk for the HP. Additionally, the asterisk is then referenced in the text.
Ennead's Ancient Magicks - the (H) icon and custom icons in the keyword box.
Wraith's Infrared Eyepiece - the longest quote text.

In a couple of days I might prepare a document explaining the format of the input file used to generate the cards. For now, I hope the examples are self-explanatory.
Basically, the file consists of sections:
##version - must be on the first line and only "1" is supported now.
##hero - section describing the hero character card, besides syntax check, nothing is processed here.
##hero-incap section - as above but used for hero incap.
##hero-deck - all the cards belonging to the deck. Fully supported.
By specifying a keyword enclosed in double brackets, you set the value of a card's characteristic, e.g. the keywords or a footer, this will apply to each of the cards until a different value is assigned later.
Whenever a save keyword is specified, the card will be saved with all the current characteristics.
All the characteristics persist for the current section being until changed. This can be easily seen in the Golem example, where I only set the footer and quote once for each card. Also, HP=3 was set once for couple of cards until it got cleared for the other cards. There's no need to specify the HP for each card if all of them share the same amount and occur consecutive in order.
- Whenever you want to put a text in bold, you simply enclose it in exclamation marks, like so: "!this is in bold! this is not".
- Similarly, if you want to put the text in italics, you write: "/Hi there/". To underline the text, use "_" in the same manner.
- If there's a need to use one of such special characters themselves, you need to escape them with a backslash "\", like so: "/Hi there\!/" - this will show "Hi there!" in italics.
- If you want to embed an icon in the text, just write the name of the filename used as the icon (either png or jpg) in single brackets, like so: "deals [spell.png] damage" - this will substitute the "[spell.png]" part with an icon from spell.png file.
- If you want to indent your text (such as for a power text), just enclose the text between > and <, like so: "!Power:! >draw 3 cards.<" - this makes more sense for longer powers that take multiple lines, so that they are indented properly and text that is not supposed to be a part of the power but is following it will not be indented.
- Whenever you want to break a text into two lines, just add a "\r" (backslash and an r) between the characters on which you want the split to occur - this is rather an aesthetic thing because the tool always tries to pack as much text as it's possible in the given box.
- Another option is to break the text into two paragraphs (usually because they are distinguishable enough to have them separated) - just use "\n" in the same manner as above.
- Things like italics and bold won't work for the titles (because it's forbidden) so each ! and / will be escaped automatically. There are similar treatments done during the processing of other areas that I didn't mention here.
- When you want to provide a quote, you usually provide it in a following way:
Author|Text
@Source

which means that "Author" said "Text" in "Source" comicbook, e.g.
Nightmist|"You shall not enter this world\!"
@Nightmist #22

If, on the other hand, there was no author nor source for the text, simply state it as a one-liner (no "@" at the beginning and no "|" in the middle).
- Whenever you want to use (H) icon, just write [H] in the text, the same goes for [*] if your card's HP is "*". You may also use [R] and [C] as mentioned before.
- Special character: "^" is treated as a non-breaking space - it's a space that will never be used as a separator for the lines. If you want to use that character in your text, you need to escape it.
- Sometimes, you want your embedded icon to be bigger than the text: I have introduced a simple mechanism for that:
after the opening bracket, you may provide any number of hashes ("#") to denote that the icon should be scaled up by 50%, e.g.:
[#spell.png] will show up as 1.5 of the original text height and [###spell.png] will show up as 2.5 of the original text height - this might be useful in some cases but I didn't test the behavior for more than 2 "#".
Additionally, when you scale the icon up, you might want to center it to be aligned with the text that it precedes - you do that by including a "=" sign just after the opening bracket, e.g.:
[=##n_gazelle.png] will show up as an icon double the height of the text but will be centered. It's hard to describe the behavior, you should rather test it yourself to see the effects.

I hope that's all you have to know for now!

Please remember that some keywords accept no arguments (like save) so if you add a space or tab after an argument-less keyword, you might get an syntax error, please pay attention to that!
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Mariusz Kosecki
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TODO:
- HP font ought to be customized.
- there should be more options for manipulating the graphic put on the card (e.g. offset, scale, etc.)
- I would like to introduce some sort of grammar/spell checking and give the user warning when something seems wrong with the text
- I want to add support for custom images specific for a deck that can be put anywhere on the card (sort of Nighmist's spell value in the bottom right of each card)
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Mariusz Kosecki
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Known issues:
- card and quote text won't be displayed if too long
- keywords that are too long will still be displayed, going out of the box
- because of the specific height of the font, some icons may display weirdly in the text - just try to add a margin to the image of that icon, to set it straight. I didn't want to spend too much time on that.
 
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Derrick Maltman
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Ok I might be misunderstanding something but when I try to extract the files from their compressed form I keep getting 17 error messages
 
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Matthew Bishop
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Same; only 2 images came out when trying to extract the main zip, and 1 image from the "golem example" zip. Bunch of errors otherwise.

Awesome concept. The text entry sounds a bit daunting (I'm a visual guy) but man this would save a lot of time to someone just starting out.
 
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Mariusz Kosecki
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Thanks for the input! I've used 7zip to compress so maybe it's using some unknown method of compression? I will take a look at that asap and reupload.
 
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Mariusz Kosecki
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The files have been packed with Windows compressor and reuploaded.
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Errol Glazer
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Sorry. Don't want to burst your bubble but someone called Faust put together a SotM card creator and posted the link on the Greater than Games webiste forums with a link to his program (Version 5.0, October 31, 2012).

I haven't checked out at what you've put together so I can't compare the two.

Home - > Forums -> Games -> Old Rules & Gameplay Boards -> SotM Villain Contest Discussion [Closed -> Forge of the Multiverse! SOTM card creation

https://greaterthangames.com/forum/topic/forge-of-the-multiv...
 
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Mariusz Kosecki
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I was affraid of something like that. But I made some limited research on that subject previously. If I remember correctly, Forge creates playable cards but the fonts used are different and the layout is not as close to the original cards as in my case (which was my main goal from the beginning and I've put a huge emphasis on that).

Unless I missed something about the FotM? Is there anyone who used FotM that could share the experience?

Thanks!
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Matthew Bishop
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I've never used FotM but the screenshots I saw years ago had quite a few differences from official cards; yours sounds like it produces something much more authentic-looking.
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Michael Hunter
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I'd agree with Tosx, I tried using Forge a few years ago but the cards really didn't look much like the official ones, so I eventually wound up making my own templates - your tool likes it gives a much closer fit to the legit cards. Nice work!
 
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Matthew Bishop
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This might be greedy since I believe you said you already included an example in the zip file, but would you post it here? By which I mean, show the entire text block of one card, and then show the output image?
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Mariusz Kosecki
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tosx wrote:
This might be greedy since I believe you said you already included an example in the zip file, but would you post it here? By which I mean, show the entire text block of one card, and then show the output image?
Not greedy at all! Thanks for asking! I'm glad to see an interest in this
I will try to prepare one or two as soon as I will find some free time when at home. Do you have any specific example in mind?

Also, if anyone feels that something is missing or anything extra could be added, feel free to post here! I won't have too much time any sooner (lately, I travel often) but will always consider options to make the tool better!
 
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Mariusz Kosecki
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Ok, I prepared some simple explanations of the segments of the input file, tell me if that's what you were expecting.


As shown in red, the name of the character (Nightmist) is in italics thanks to enclosing it in-between slashes ("/Nightmist/").
As shown in blue, the text in-between square brackets will be replaced with an embedded image from the image file under "Spell-0.png" and fit it as an icon into the line of text.
As shown in brown, the footer is specified and will show up on the card. It's worth to note that no other card needs to specify the footer (if it's supposed to be the same text) since any characteristic already set, will retain its value until changed (or until the end of the file).
The same goes with quantity in those examples - it's set to 1 once and never repeated.
As shown in dark blue, the "!" is a special character used to put the text in bold, thus it needs to be escaped if we want it to show up in the text and this is how you do that - by preceding the "!" character with a backslash "\". The backslash will of course not appear in the resulting card but the exclamation mark won't be treated in any special way other than a part of the text.
E.g.: writing something like !haha\!! will cause the first and third exclamation mark to be treated specially, making everything in-between in bold but leaving the second exclamation mark as the part of the text - we end up with "haha!" text all in bold. If not for the backslash, the tool would disregard the last exclamation mark, since there's an imbalance between "opening exclamation marks" and "closing exclamation marks".



As shown in red, the "\r" has been used explicitly to force the text to break down to the next line after the word "power". If not for that, the program would fit the "during" word on the first line, making the whole text less pretty, let's say.
As shown in blue, the line of Bunker's character is specified in the following way: <character name>|<what did he say> (note the "|" between the author and the quote).
As shown in brown, the card's art will be loaded from "F6thewraith.jpg" file.



As shown in green, the text enclosed in-between the angle brackets (">" and "<") will be indented, this is usually used for text of a Power. You do not need to worry about the correct placement of the text, just provide it as is and the tool will take care of the indents as seen above.
As shown in red, the text enclosed in-between underscores will be underlined.
As shown in yellow, the text enclosed in-between slashes will be in italics and there's no problem if there are spaces inside. The same applies to "_" (underline) and "!" (bold).
As shown in blue, the quote is used in the same way as in the previous card. Please note that this time it's a quote of one person (with Utility Belt it was a dialogue between two people) - it's specified in exactly the same way but shows up on the card differently (just as on the standard SotM cards).


At the end, when all the characteristics of a card are ready, you just use the save keyword enclosed between double square brackets (just like any other keyword) and this will save the card with all the characteristics specified.


I understand that some of my design decisions might come out like something strange (like using "!" to put the text in bold) but I was trying to pack as much features into the text processing, to make the least effort on the user side in the end.


I would be glad to assist anybody with preparing an input file for any new character if there's a need for that.

I didn't have time to work on the character card yet but will try to do that as soon as possible.
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