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Subject: A request for information to the GIMP-Users out there rss

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Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
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Hi, I'm honestly not entirely certain if this is the correct subforum to ask this question but I suppose the DIYers among us are the most likely to have stumbled upon the same problem I'm standing before now.

I'm currently creating a mobile phone version of Arkham Horror for a university course I've taken (JME game design), progress is going well in the areas of my expertise (that is, software design and programming) but abysmally slow when it comes to acquiring the necessary assets.

Now, while scanning the normal cards yields acceptable results (This is, after all, only supposed to look good on the screen of a mobile phone and the WTK emulator), I've been hitting a few snags:

1) Scanning the investigator pieces gave me rather grainy results (Their surface is riffled, obviously the scanner I'm using has problems with that), I could theoretically use them in their current form, but I'd prefer cleaning the picture up a bit, the only GIMP-tool that looked promising for that was the soft-focus/diffuser tool (the drop icon of the standard toolbox), however this washes the result out a bit too much for my taste.
Maybe I just don't know how to use it properly, so any advice on its use or on more suited tools I might have overlooked would be greatly appreciated.

2) The filesizes are pretty big for a mobile device, so far, I've made extensive use of the alpha channel in rendering the different parts of my canvas, so I have to use a file format that supports using it. I only know of two widely supported formats I can use for that: png and gif.
Even in gif (which doesn't really look that good) the file containing the investigator-icons is over 300kb in size, in png format, even using the highest compression rate GIMP offers, it's almost 1mb. The investigator-icon file is still the smallest of the bunch. So I'd expect that the bigger sets like the common and unique items would exceed 3mb in png format.
Now, I have a number of ideas to reduce that number significantly (mostly redesigning the different screens to make use of alphafree jpegs instead) but this would mean a lot of work on the scans to extract only the most necessary parts to build the canvas around and eat away quite a lot of my time I'd rather spend getting the game to run properly and bug-free, so I was hoping for ideas anyone might have that do not involve days of cutting and pasting scans on a pixel-scale.

Lastly: I am aware there are a few people around here who just love to hijack threads like this for their moral crusade against DIY-copies (and yes, I very much intend to install the complete application on my phone and play it), so if you, dear reader, are one of those, here is my answer to whatever you're about to post:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
This is not intended for publishing beyond giving a copy to my professor for examination (Alright, maybe sending one to FFG to see if they'd like me to port it to other mobile devices beyond my own phone and sell it to them, though that's not a priority), and I bought the original I'm using for my scans.
I understand your overwhelming desire to openly display your disgust with my efforts to both create a playable mobile version of this game for my own use and get a good grade for it at the same time, and while I would absolutely love to trudge through a page-long discussion about how my little project will bring about the destruction of western civilization in order to get to any helpful answers from the people I'm trying to reach here, unless you're a representative of FFG or any other copyright holder, I'd appreciate you taking your soapbox somewhere else, though you're certainly welcome to bring this thread to their attention if you so wish.
I know your opinion, in certain circumstances I can also see your point, but please, and without any sarcasm this time: Just leave it alone, OK? I'm not making any money out of this, and FFG isn't losing any money through this.


So, everyone else: Shoot
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You might be better taking photos of the investigator pieces if they wont lay flat on the scanner.

Otherwise I think your best bet is to only scan the essential pieces (the board) and use your own small palette artwork for any informational counters. Cards can just be text and your own icons.
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Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
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sbszine wrote:
You might be better taking photos of the investigator pieces if they wont lay flat on the scanner.

Otherwise I think your best bet is to only scan the essential pieces (the board) and use your own small palette artwork for any informational counters. Cards can just be text and your own icons.


Well, that would be an option, but using icons and text would in my opinion diminish the authenticity of the final product, so this is really a last resort, however, I've played around with it some more and think that with the similar approach of using smaller parts of the original assets for my picturesets, I can cut down on the size requirements rather severely (Right now I have the investigators down to 40kb, the quality is still alright and the parts are still big enough to get a well sized and discernible picture of the investigators into the menus, let alone the game board, I'm estimating available RAM for the application on my phone to be in the range of 5mb, perhaps more, so that should still leave me some air), oversized pictures of the components would use up way too much real estate on the screen anyway...

The problem with photographing the investigator pieces is that I don't have the equipment here to produce decent photographs of... well, anything, so in that case I'd have to get around glare (Their coating is pretty shiny) and probably also a good amount of blur.

Still, if I find no better solution, I might have to resort to trying that, and I didn't think of it myself, so thanks for the idea

Thanks, keep the ideas coming!
 
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Aaron Tubb
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1) Scanning most game components at 300 dpi results in grainy or thatched-looking results for some reason. I have the same results with my scanner. Maybe the components are printed at a specific resolution that just doesn't look good under a 300 dpi scan.

Try scanning it with a higher dpi setting and then shrinking it down to the size you want. This will fix the problem; works for me anyway.

EDIT: this is about game components in general. I haven't really scanned riffed components before, so I don't know about those, but this solution might help. If not, taking a regular photo may be the best solution.
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Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
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Aarontu wrote:
1) Scanning most game components at 300 dpi results in grainy or thatched-looking results for some reason. I have the same results with my scanner. Maybe the components are printed at a specific resolution that just doesn't look good under a 300 dpi scan.

Try scanning it with a higher dpi setting and then shrinking it down to the size you want. This will fix the problem; works for me anyway.


I'll try that and then check back, thanks
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Nathan James
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Regarding the problem with file size...

I would suggest reducing the dpi of the images. Scanning at a high dpi is fine to get highly detailed originals to work from, but the screens on most devices can only display 72dpi so you don't need 300dpi images if the user is going to view them on any kind of computer monitor. If you are scanning the images at 300dpi, you can reduce them to 72dpi and the file sizes will be much, much smaller.

To reduce the dpi setting in GIMP, go to the Image menu and choose "Scale image". Change the x resolution and y resolution to 72 pixels/in. These two values should be locked together (the little chain icon) so you only need to change one and the other will change in sync.

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Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
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paperwacky wrote:
Regarding the problem with file size...

I would suggest reducing the dpi of the images. Scanning at a high dpi is fine to get highly detailed originals to work from, but the screens on most devices can only display 72dpi so you don't need 300dpi images if the user is going to view them on any kind of computer monitor. If you are scanning the images at 300dpi, you can reduce them to 72dpi and the file sizes will be much, much smaller.

To reduce the dpi setting in GIMP, go to the Image menu and choose "Scale image". Change the x resolution and y resolution to 72 pixels/in. These two values should be locked together (the little chain icon) so you only need to change one and the other will change in sync.



Hm, it appears my GIMP (v2.6.6) ignores the x/y-PPI-values when rescaling and only considers the fixed px values, the filesize remains unchanged when I try reducing its resolution to 72 PPI, it also looks exactly the same, even in close zoom, but it's alright, by now I'm pretty certain that no reasonable reduction in image resolution of a "traditional" RBG(A) image will yield the desired result, at least not without hogging a lot of the available resources of the phone after pre-loading all necessary images...
But I think I've found a satisfactory balance between image quality and filesize, it's not perfect, but still well in the green...

In other news, changing the scanning resolution did the trick regarding the investigators
There's still some grain to be seen, but scanning the pieces at 600DPI and then scaling the result down to roughly one sixth of the resulting image size reduced the grain enough for me to proceed.

Scan result of Kate Winthrop:
 


Scan as it will (as of now) appear in the game (Well, not exactly, BGG shows a zoomed version, click on the picture to see the actual size):
 
 
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Nathan James
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Very odd. I did some tests changing pixels/inch resolution of images in GIMP this morning (I'm using 2.6.6) and you are correct, it doesn't seem to have any effect on file size.

I tried the same thing in Photoshop (to check my sanity as much as anything else) and it has a dramatic effect on file size. I usually use Photoshop and that's where I use this trick, when making graphics for on-screen display.

I'm not sure whether GIMP isn't actually changing the ppi or if GIMP is doing something different from what Photoshop is doing.

At any rate, it sounds like you've figured out that problem.

Good luck with your project; it sounds interesting. I'm intrigued to know what solution you came up with to translate a game I can barely fit on my table to a mobile device.
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Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
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Well, lots and lots of context-sensitive menus. As you pointed out, there is simply no way to make all information available at all times on what little screen real estate there is. So all the detail-information will have to be tucked away in different menus, a little clumsy, but on the other hand not so different from the way it works in the physical game

Obviously, as I finish more features (Right now I'm only just done with starting the game, selecting a GOO and investigators and receiving initial equipment, and I'm not entirely happy with those parts yet, though those are mostly cosmetic issues) I'll encounter problems with my concepts, alas, such is the nature of the learning process and the developmental cycle, and so far I'm positively surprised about how well my initial plans worked out. Almost all the hold-ups I've encountered so far were entirely matters of aesthetics, and I'm eager to get to the more juicy parts to see if I can translate the structures I have established so far into the games rules and if I can keep my principle of realizing every part of the game as closely and completely as possible (Apart, probably, from that irritating flute of the outer gods, I've had the game for well over a year, probably 2 or 3, and I still don't know how exactly the damn thing is supposed to work...).
 
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Roland Wagner
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paperwacky wrote:
Very odd. I did some tests changing pixels/inch resolution of images in GIMP this morning (I'm using 2.6.6) and you are correct, it doesn't seem to have any effect on file size.

I tried the same thing in Photoshop (to check my sanity as much as anything else) and it has a dramatic effect on file size. I usually use Photoshop and that's where I use this trick, when making graphics for on-screen display.

I'm not sure whether GIMP isn't actually changing the ppi or if GIMP is doing something different from what Photoshop is doing.

At any rate, it sounds like you've figured out that problem.

Good luck with your project; it sounds interesting. I'm intrigued to know what solution you came up with to translate a game I can barely fit on my table to a mobile device.



Well, if you only change the ppi, GIMP does not reduce the actual nubmer of pixels. You can look up the infos about size and ppi with 'Image' > 'Image properties'. There you can check on 'Pixel dimensions', 'Print size' (how big your image is when printed out), and the 'Resolution' (how many ppi).
Important is also in the bottom paragraph the 'Number of pixels', this is the REAL size of the image.

So when you only reduce the ppi, you can see that the Print size gets bigger, but Number of pixels is unchanged. You only 'zoomed' the image for printout.

But if you reduce Image size AND resolution in the Scale dialog, the Number of pixels will get smaller, reducing the file size of the image.

I don't know about Photoshop, but GIMP obviously does only what it is told, to the point. I am using version 2.4.6 of GIMP, and like working with it.

I think it will take some practice to find out what dimensions/resolution looks best on a small mobile screen, so good luck for your project!
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If you reduce PPI/DPI you'll end up with a larger image, which you can then scale down (in terms of px) to reduce file size. The thing to remember is that if your image has a greater PPI than the mobile's screen, you're getting an unnecessarily big file size.

Some newer phones actually go up to 300 PPI to cram a 600 x 400 web browser window into small space. 600 px at 300 PPI exactly fits a 2 inch screen. If the device has a bigger screen or lower res, the PPI is going to be lower.
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