Sunday, September 16, 2018

Superbia's Tank is Alive!

That's right! The board game I've been been working on, for longer than I'd like to admit, is finally a thing that actually exists. It's printed. It's playable. It's available for purchase! It's a real thing.

All the parts of the game!
Here's a quick blurb about the game:

A lost civilization known only as Superbia has been discovered in uncharted territory. Ancient and valuable tank part artifacts have been uncovered. Now, military organizations around the world have pledged to fund expeditions for the retrieval of these artifacts.

     Players give their tank commands to progress through the expedition. Shoot opponents to set back their advances, research locations to find powerful new tank part artifacts, and move all the way to the end to win! Develop a strategy utilizing a wide array of artifacts to complete the expedition and become the ultimate tank commander.

A game mid-play.
So, some thoughts...

One, as I mentioned, this took a lot longer than I thought it would. The game went through various revisions and one huge revision where half the game completely changed. The gameplay should have been hammered out first and foremost before I started creating art for the project. Luckily, I was able to reuse most of the art throughout the various revisions, but there were definitely some things cut that I had spent lots of time on.

The board and accompanying hex tiles were completely cut from the game!
Two, I think I've learned how long I can work on something until I start getting tired with it. Not to bash the game itself, but the process of creating the game was becoming a grueling slog. I was ready to be done with it a long time ago. The broken gameplay and subsequent huge revision to the game was a swift kick to moral, but I'm glad I stuck through it despite wanting to give up.

And three, I'm really grateful that my friends helped test the game out - especially one long night where it became clear the game was nigh unwinnable. I really appreciate the critiques and ideas from my friends and wife. Also, how awesome is it that there is a print-on-demand board game store? I'm glad to live in an age where something like The Game Crafter exists.

Well, thanks for reading, and if you ever get a chance to play Superbia's Tank I hope you have a fun, good time and thanks for trying it!

Some cards from the game!

Do The Dø

I have to thank YouTube's autoplay for leading me to this band. Every so often the autoplay leads me down a new path of music listening while I do whatever sort of work I'm doing on the computer. Eventually, while wading through some pleasant music, I'll be piqued by a certain song - I have to check them out. I pop back into the browser and click to the YouTube tab. The Dø is what I found that day.

I've really enjoyed their music so far and am excited to share! So if you care to listen here's a of couple songs from them I've been listening to recently.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Pixel Art

I recently completed a course on pixel art from Udemy, and though it was short I really enjoyed it. The instructor, Benjamin Anderson, went through some art basics and related them to pixel art. Things like shape, line, value, and colour. He introduces the free web based software Piskel which is easy and fun to use. Here are some of the exercises I did for this early section.

These are my reference pictures.
The course then includes some animation. We start in Piskel, but end in Aseprite which has a lot of extra features that help with animating your pixel art. It's free if you know how to compile it, or you can buy it off their website for about $20 Canadian. I'm not familiar with all the program's features, but the course does teach the basics of setting up a new animation and how to work with the key frames and colours to create your project. For the final assignment we had to google some animation key frames and base our animation off of that. Here's what I did!
A diving and rolling gymnast!

This was my reference image.
I really enjoyed the course, the instructor was great and knew what he was talking about. There were a lot of little tips and tricks you might not be able to learn on your own. It was great to just get exposed to a couple of nice pixel editing software and I had a lot of fun.

Here's another animation I did in Piskel of some old turtle-man running! He's silly!
Next I'm planning to do another course from the same instructor and finally start learning GameMaker!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Superbia's Tank Update!

Hey everyone! I've got a bit of an update on the board game I've been working on. Superbia's Tank is still tankin' along - bit by bit. A lot of the artwork, which you'll see some of in a moment below, is mostly done. It's been a lot of work, but also a blast to create these really creative, wacky parts for each player's constantly transforming tank. Each tank is made up of three parts which are the treads, the frame, and the turret. As player's move around and explore the island of Superbia they'll discover cards with all manner of tank parts and other suprises.

The island of Superbia. As you explore you'll add hex tiles to the island.
The artwork, as I said, is mostly complete (as far as I can tell!). Gameplay, however, needs to be a little more thoroughly tested. I have tested the mechanics myself and managed to test the game with a group as well. More testing will be needed though. I want to make sure that at the end of the day the game doesn't have any odd hiccups or broken rules and that above all it is fun! Usually it's important to get the gameplay nailed down before doing a lot of the art, but I found people were not as interested in testing a game if they didn't have anything visually interesting to attach to. Risky move - we'll see how it pans out.

Anyway, now for the good stuff!

Artifacts: The island of Superbia is littered with old and powerful tank parts called artifacts.

Each part has it's own abilities and there are 45 different parts!

Events: Exploring the island of Superbia can be tricky business. As players move across the map they'll draw event cards that could test a players strength, or they may find a helpful item for later.

There are good events and bad ones too!

 I'll try to keep this blog updated with any other large milestones! Currently, I'm working on the manual and the box, but I can't complete the manual until there has been more testing. See ya!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

MTG Deck Stats Are Neato

I like making a new Magic The Gathering deck every once and a while - but it's often a hefty undertaking to create a deck I'm somewhat happy with. There are so many card choices and it often involves doing some research and exploring on the Gatherer site. Afterwards, I like to check the availability and pricing on the cards on sites like Magic Stronghold, Face to Face Games, and lastly Troll and Toad (I try to avoid the US sites ever since the loonie fell). I want to be able to get the cards I want at a reasonable price!

Depending on the type of deck I'm making there are all sorts of little guidelines to follow.
  • Balance the land - around 40 in an 100 card EDH deck and about 20 in a regular 60 card deck.
  • Check mana curve - you want a decent spread of 1 to 4 mana spells with select 5 and up spells.
  • Non-creature to creature ratio - this depends on your deck, but you always need some creatures.

EDH decks demand another way of thinking and the choice of a legendary commander. Currently I have Animar, Tymaret, Noyan Dar, Zada, Kemba, Doran, and Thelon EDH decks.

When I want to make a new deck I sometimes like to use the site DeckStats. You can create your decks by searching the database and dragging and dropping cards into your deck. Afterwards, you can see a nice little graph and pie chart showing things like Mana Curve, Card distribution, Mana distribution, and Mana Source distribution. Then, you can save your deck (just make sure to make a profile on the website).

For example, here's what my Tymaret deck looks like on DeckStats.

I can easily see that the majority of my spells are quite cheap with 3 mana spells being my most abundant. From this I can hope (getting mana-boned happens to the best of us) that I shouldn't have trouble getting most of my spells out.

Here you can see that I tried to balance my instants, sorceries, and enchantments while balancing the total non-creature spells with my total lands and total creatures. Creature (31%), Spells (31%) Land (37%). You can also take a look at a more detailed view showing artifacts etc.

With this pie chart I can easily tell that I have more black cards than red cards (shown on the left). This will inform my decision on how many swamps and mountains to put in the deck (shown on the right). Taking the information from the previous pie chart I made sure that my Swamps and Mountains were balanced to accommodate my deck being more black. I've made sure to add a few more swamps (20) than mountains (16) in this case.

There we go! There are others things to consider when making a deck of course. The specific abilities and effects the cards do are also incredibly important! However, I like to use DeckStats because it keeps me organized and lets me quickly see at a glance the other information to keep in mind when making a deck. Happy deck building!