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Subject: Create card games with open source software rss

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George Hara
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(This forum topic was open in order to keep separate the comments for the software.)

If you need a software application to help you to develop game cards or even card games, take a look at this forum topic http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/5733185 .


Usage instructions:

========================================
Introduction

Mosaic helps you manage the content / text of the cards, not do the graphics design. Basically, after the game is developed, if you want to professionally publish the game, you still have to give the cards to a professional graphics designer.

Mosaic has a grid of cells, on the right side, each containing an image file. Drag-and-drop image files on the cells. If you drag one file, you can drop it on the cell that you like. If you drag several files, they will fill the empty cells (in order: top to bottom, left to right).

Double-click on a cell with an image to edit the cell's properties - the text which will appear on the card.

Each cell has 4 zones with text, zones which can be moved around; each zone has its own text formatting.

Right click on a cell to display the context menu.

On the left side there is a tree whose nodes can be linked to cells which then act as a group.

Press "Ins" to add nodes in the tree.

Drag-and-drop cells with an image on the tree nodes (or tree nodes on cells with images) to link them. This helps with searching for images linked to tree nodes.

Press "S" to save the project.

Press "F1" for a small help.

----------------------------------------


Advanced tips

Press digits "1" through "4" to change the profile. A profile lets you have a different size for the viewport: rows and columns.



Settings

Press "G" to open the settings of the project.

In the "Mosaic" section, there are "MosaicColumns" and "MosaicRows" which let you change the size of the viewport for the current profile.

----------------------------------------


Searching for text in cells

Say you have 200 cells and you want to find the few cells that you know contain the text "shield".

Press "T". This opens / creates the "Temporary" tree node and focus its "Filter" where you can type "shield". Press "Enter" and all the cells which contain the text will be rendered clearly, while the others are faded.

In the "Search filter" section from the settings you can modify where Mosaic looks for text matches. For example, you can tell Mosaic to not look in the file name for text matches. (By default, all these options are true.)

Note: if the selected tree node has no "Filter" then all the cells which are not linked to tree nodes are not rendered faded (they are clearly displayed).

----------------------------------------


Export / printing

Mosaic doesn't directly print the images, but exports the mosaic to images.

In the "Export" section from the settings, the "ExportColumns" and "ExportRows" specify how many cells are included in a single exported image file (this is useful when you print, for example, 3 * 3 cards on A4 paper). Only the viewport is exported, not all the cells from the project.

Set "ExportQuality" to 100 to export as PNGs rather than JPGs.

For quick play-testing (that is, for cheap and fast printing), export the mosaic with "Export print text" which will export cells only with the text, and only black and white, not with the background image.
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Maja Stanislawska
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Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving. Pratchett
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Have you tried inkscape for vector graphics and scribus for DTP? This is a pretty robust combo!
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George Hara
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xenotime wrote:
Have you tried inkscape for vector graphics and scribus for DTP? This is a pretty robust combo!


I didn't try. I decided to make a dedicated program instead. Light, easy to use and with features geared toward creating card games fast. Look at the screenshot http://www.gardenerofthoughts.org/got/mosaic/mosaic.png .

For example, the cells / cards are attached to the tree on the left. When you click on a tree node, only the attached cells / cards are clearly shown, while the others are faded / colored differently. A great feature when you're searching for a card which does this and that - it pops out. (This behavior can be modified by double-clicking on the tree's nodes.)

For the type of game that I have in mind, with lots of cards, finding them lightning fast is essential.

I've basically created the program to help me with the game content rather than with the graphics.
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Wynand Louw
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I downloaded the program and have difficulty in figuring out what it does.

What does it do?
 
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George Hara
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I've put some usage instructions in the first post.
 
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Joe Mucchiello
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Do you know there is already a dedicated program called nanDeck? http://www.nand.it/nandeck/
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George Hara
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stormywaters wrote:
I'm looking for a program that will help me draw the cards.


Then this is not the program for you. This program deals for card content / text, not graphics. It helps card game developers manage the cards. Working with several hundreds of cards really needs this.
 
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George Hara
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jmucchiello wrote:
Do you know there is already a dedicated program called nanDeck? http://www.nand.it/nandeck/


Yes, but it's not useful to me because I wanted a program to help me manage game content / text, not do the card graphics.
 
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George Hara
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stormywaters wrote:
So assuming the card art is taken care of, I can use this to work out text formatting, etc?


Yes. Each cell has 4 zones with text, zones which can be moved around; each zone has its own text formatting.


stormywaters wrote:
Does it have a randomization feature to see how the deck draws?


There is no such feature.

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the program helps you develop cards games, instead of "create" or "design"?!
 
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J C Lawrence
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jmucchiello wrote:
Do you know there is already a dedicated program called nanDeck? http://www.nand.it/nandeck/


nanDeck is not Open Source Software.
 
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Joe Mucchiello
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clearclaw wrote:
jmucchiello wrote:
Do you know there is already a dedicated program called nanDeck? http://www.nand.it/nandeck/


nanDeck is not Open Source Software.

Did I say it was? I just thought he was recreating something like nanDECK. He is not. I don't know what he is doing that Excel/OpenOffice Calc and nanDECK or Excel/Calc and Inkscape w/BG extension doesn't already do.
 
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George Hara
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jmucchiello wrote:
I don't know what he is doing that Excel/OpenOffice Calc and nanDECK or Excel/Calc and Inkscape w/BG extension doesn't already do.


Consider the difference between calculating with a handheld electronic calculator versus pen and paper, or between Lightroom (photo processing) versus Photoshop (image processing).

It's specialization, it's speed in getting a job done versus the flexibility that the generalization gives you, it's about using a program that let's you concentrate on developing the game rather than positioning text-boxes and connecting lines.

The reason why some / many people (/ game developers) may think that Mosaic is superfluous is (probably) that most current games (the games they are used to) are heavily based on the presentation layer, that is graphics, layout, tokens, an immersion of the players in a physical universe more than in the logical universe (think Arkham Horror versus Bridge or chess).

On the other hand, with GOT CGS (Mosaic was created specifically for it) I intend to show how incredibly complex the universe of a board / card game can be even without doing heavy calculations and moving lots of tokens around a boardgame, and all the complexity is because of the game content (think Bridge, Arkham Horror "branch", with a story and possibly great graphics - scenes from the story).

This is the game content that must be managed because it's very complex, and this is done efficiently with a dedicated program. Mosaic organizes cards (for game developers) as you organize files in directories (based on whatever association you see in them) with a file manager.
 
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Joe Mucchiello
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be2c0c8aa1 wrote:
It's specialization, it's speed in getting a job done versus the flexibility that the generalization gives you, it's about using a program that let's you concentrate on developing the game rather than positioning text-boxes and connecting lines.

And using multiple programs allows for separation of concerns. And concentrating on what is important to you at the time. When you are designing the game's guts, a spreadsheet is a mighty powerful. When you are interested in layout, a layout program is mighty powerful.

Perhaps it's a matter of personal style.
 
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