Creature Templates: ATK/DEF colours?

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Creature Templates: ATK/DEF colours?

Post by snowdrop » Sat Jul 14, 2012 00:41

Check out the pic. Look at the colours for the ATK & DEF containers (Red circle + Green shield). Currently they are identical on the two differently coloured creature card templates that we use. Each faction will have it's own colour when it comes to the templates. Here we see the Gaian (brown/green) and the Shadowguild (green/purple).

What I need input on is if it is good or bad to keep the colours and the rest of the appearence of the ATK/DEF-containers identic on all cards, no matter how the faction template happens to look like. My direct answer would be that it is best to keep it the same due to it being easier for the player to locate and immediately read them, as means of "standardization". Or should aesthetics be considered even more in this case and prioritized more due to me overrating the need of consistency in appearance of how/where ATK/DEF values are displayed?
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Re: Creature Templates: ATK/DEF colours?

Post by Q_x » Sat Jul 14, 2012 05:57

Consistency is my answer here. If you change all other things according to the faction, what's the reason to keep those unchanged? There is one more layer to this - those marks are quite naive with the colors they have, while the rest of card elements is rather smooth and subtle and not that redundant (or redundant in more subtle way).

But doesn't look all that bad - red almost matches gaian template, while green is close to shadowguild's template, so maybe it needs to be tweaked only slightly to be consistent.
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Re: Creature Templates: ATK/DEF colours?

Post by snowdrop » Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:20

It is consistent even if we keep it as in the above: The faction logos need to be different, else they fill no function. The same almost goes for the loyalty symbol - it is totally faction dependent, hence it is currently telling that player by being unique to each faction. The same goes for the overall idea that factions have differently coloured template bases.

We could of course write out loyalty as "L: x" with letters on the templates and it would create a more consistent experience cross-factions while it breaks template consistency internally within a faction. Issue is that symbols as we use them now are probably smoother and faster to read/understand when they are so few, and even if it would just be on par with text it seems to be less intrusive and add way more aesthetically while it doesn't take away anything. The same discussion can be had for pretty much any value in the game, like for example faction logos: Why have them when we can have a letter or word representing the faction? ; )

While loyalty points needed by a gaian creature is one thing and loyalty points needed by a HoN-creature is another, thus having different looking symbols, the same can't be said about attack values: They are always the same. (If we would have had diff weapon types I wouldn't hesitate to use one container for every type, but we don't and won't in ORC). What I'm getting at here is that there exists "gaian loyalty", but not "gaian ATK/DEF". So I'd say it is consistent to keep them as they are on some logical level + maybe from a usability perspective, while it isn't so on puerly aesthetical grounds.
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Re: Creature Templates: ATK/DEF colours?

Post by Q_x » Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:00

You're really wasting time thinking how to turn all things around. All other colors change to fit faction theme, period. Texts, backgrounds, frame, logo, loyality markers, all. Without any reason in game mechanics in case of text color - but with aesthetic one. Why would you leave those two elements sticking out and call it consistency? From aesthetic point of view? I can't agree.
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Re: Creature Templates: ATK/DEF colours?

Post by snowdrop » Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:20

The whole game can be cerated in black and white and play just fine. The reason we have colours, art and different templates is mainly aesthetical. That said, it doesn't mean that aesthetics and function cant go hand in hand. And when they do, it's proper overall design.

For example, it isn't a random fluke that our shield is green and not red, or that the factions have differently coloured templates. Differently coloured templates means faster id of the card/belonging, and as if that wasn't enough you also have, in addition, the huge logo which is there for the same reason and also dubbling as cost container.

I am not trying to turn all things around. Just explaining how I do indeed see consistency even if it we keep it as it is. I'm not sure I'm right about that it is there, but I probably am. Question is if that really matters and if my assumptions are enough to warrant us keeping it as it is, or if we should change it.

From an aesthetical point of view it works more or less as it is right now with these two examples (Gaia & SG), but it will break very soon since nobles will have blueish template for example. These two elements stand out very much as it is and aren't coloured neutrally as in for example MtG. I am not suggesting they will work aesthetically with every faction template.

Aesthetics set aside, my main question is if there is a drawback or not, for the players and playing time, if we change them to better blend with each factions template. That is really what it all boils down to. Either it matters, or not. Usually clarity is affected if we meld them too much. On the other hand, since their shapes remain, they are huge, always placed exactly in those positions, and every creature has them regardless of faction, it may be argued that it doesn't matter at all how we colour them in the end and that it doesn't affect playingtime/ease of finding them.
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Re: Creature Templates: ATK/DEF colours?

Post by Q_x » Sat Jul 14, 2012 15:29

I'm not convinced. I probably can't be by arguments like that. Either we follow aesthetic logic, or not. If not - why bother with re-coloring the template? Just switch faction logos, loyalty marks and we're finished. It will still look really pretty. And if we do - I think oddly colored logos shouldn't be used, doesn't matter if what is being represented by those is or isn't faction-specific.

We don't even have to have those icons there, to be honest. They'd help 4 yo ADHD kid to memorize things, seasoned players won't need much bling-bling.

I think card abilities are the most often forgotten thing by strained players, and huge, clear, separate field, placed in most valuable place on the card, doesn't help here really. Also, as an alternative, we can not only drop those icons, but also move the numbers, for example under card title. Consistent placing, easy to spot, easy to read and memorize.

Please forgive me messed fonts. I hope you'll get the point.
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Re: Creature Templates: ATK/DEF colours?

Post by snowdrop » Sat Jul 14, 2012 18:03

. Either we follow aesthetic logic, or not
It's my bad here for introducing the word "logic" when discussing aesthetics, as clearly they're two separate qualities.

Aesthetics can look consistent, or not. Our goal is to try to keep them that way. We use different colours for different factions: Is that aesthetic consistency? Yes, within each faction it is. No, between faction it isn't.
. If not - why bother with re-coloring the template?
Why do we use different colours for diff factions? My reason is not aesthetical, at least not primarily. It is functional. Since it adds function it is good, especially since that function should ideally be around when playing the game: It aids in identifying faction belonging, card type (to a degree) and also to get an instant overview of the table as a whole which is impossible to get otherwise unless you look at every cards corner for a symbol. That is why the templates have and should have diff colours: It's better design. Once we decide to use it because of function the next issue is aesthetics - if we have something around, then why not make it look "good"? ;)
Just switch faction logos, loyalty marks and we're finished.
Imagine a game that is 2 or 4 players, mid game, with each player having around 5 to 10 face upp cards on table, and these changing every turn. Also imagine that 50% of the players have multifactioned decks. Now, in such a scenario it is hard as hell to get an overview of how much from what faction is around. You can't by just glancing quickly at the table. You would need to check "closer", even if you can see the logo from a far.

Faction colouring turns the whole card into a signal of faction belonging and is easier and faster to process when getting such an overview. This is obvious when playtesting with b/w cards, and same thing seems to apply no matter the colours. I myself am alwyas totally clueles about what is on the table if it a) lacks art b) lacks colours and c) lacks an instant way of identifyind different classifications (for example, gaian or not, cheap or not, creature or not, etc). This is maybe me having a handicap, but I don't fathom I'm all that unique and don't think making life as easy as possible for the player is a bad thing...
Just switch faction logos, loyalty marks and we're finished. It will still look really pretty. And if we do - I think oddly colored logos shouldn't be used, doesn't matter if what is being represented by those is or isn't faction-specific.
I agree it would look perfectly good and I don't have any issue at all with that from an aesthetic point of view. If anything the game would feel/look more "mature". That set aside, I think we lose what I try to describe above and that it is less functional. It takes parts of what we can learn from how games have been designed and just declares it as invalid without any other reason other than us being lazy/lacking manpower/not affording proper templating ;) which is kind of a totally different issue.

Let me take an example here: Semphore lights. They have faulty design if you ask me. What's good is that they all look the same wherever you are. They also have a certain order in which they are placed, and also a specific formation. What I can't see any logical explanation for is why on earth they are all round, when it would be so much better (colour blinde, memory etc) if they had different shapes? Say red stop is a square, yellow is a triangle and green is circle. You use not only order, formation and colour, but also geometry.
We don't even have to have those icons there, to be honest. They'd help 4 yo ADHD kid to memorize things, seasoned players won't need much bling-bling.
One might reason that it "isn't needed". Sure, it isn't needed. But so what? In a strict sense NO colours at all are needed in a traffic light. It would suffice if all 3 were black and only one bulb went on and off in them, at a time. In another sense there isn't even the need for 3 of them, even though the yellow can be explained as somewhat functional, then again - seasoned drivers will know when to start or stop a car, how long he/she has been standing there, so why bother...

Personally I agree that the icons aren't needed. We have very few variables in that area - 2 of them - and it doesn't require icons to learn what they do. The more stats we would have had there, the greater the need of icons, colours, and what not.

But how does this tell us to ditch them? They aren't a problem. (Or am I missing something?) What I wanted to know was how diff colouring might affect the player/game. It is a really easy thing to do to recolour them. And they do add yet another dimension to memorising and identifying rapidly.

@examples:

The first one I didn't get - there is no use of the extra field since you extended the name field instead, but I think that was to just save time. I wouldn't want the name field to have the atk/def values mixed in as they are in it though: It is cluttered enough in it as it is, and having to look at the text in the middle/next to it makes little sense as the eye will also always see the other text all around it, creating what I'd describe as "visual noise".

As for the other I think something like that could work excellent and would def. use it if it wasn't for the fact that we lack a reason for removing the shaped containers and replace them with a single one, while there is a reason for keeping them.

Edit: I'll do thematic colouring of them as well and put them in here soon.
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Re: Creature Templates: ATK/DEF colours?

Post by Q_x » Sat Jul 14, 2012 18:59

I think the fact we can't meet each other actually has something to do with our background. For you it might be that aesthetics is a branch of philosophy, where people ask about beauty. For me developing card template (even if I worked with little luck on this subject) is more complex problem. Not only I care for anything to be easily digestible eye-candy (with some variables like illustration or card title). I'm also trying to think about establishing and maintaining consistent visual communication; from this point of view card is a medium to present a set of information that's being used by player in various ways. I have to know the ways. The card has to be clear, easy to read and understand, it's good if the template is driving the eye where it needs to go. But overloading player with extra noise is really easy, and I want to avoid that. That's more or less what my "logic" and "aesthetics" are.

We're doing really good job. But I think any odd colors colors, no matter what and where, are this kind of noise. I'm not going "monolithic" way by any means; if all looks the same, finally whole card template gets dull. It simply needs to be balanced. So, sadly, very many things have to be made just well.

In human brain shapes have bigger impact than colors. Going into ethnic background, sex differences or disabilities - almost all have something to do with perception of color. We all read letters, we're excellent at differentiating shapes. I don't understand why drivers have round lights, while all other people may (or may not) have their lights formed in some sort of helpful "shapes". Triangle, circle and square wouldn't work in case of obstructed or blurred view (like through droplets), but I'm sure there is a similar, but working solution (like vertical/horizontal rectangles - unfortunately used already).

In our case I have nothing against using icons. I've proposed some lazy ideas without it, but I have nothing against. I just don't like the idea of blue or yellow card frame, red and green icons, cute blue logo and yellowish numbers on top of everything. Plus a fancy illustration of a wealthy man in purple clothes with gold necklace and a hat with peacock's feather in it. And it was looking like such things may be happening soon.
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Re: Creature Templates: ATK/DEF colours?

Post by verbalshadow » Sat Jul 14, 2012 20:18

I think the best way to do this is to pick the two colors for atk and def. Then shift the color warmer or cooler as the template requires.
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Re: Creature Templates: ATK/DEF colours?

Post by Q_x » Sat Jul 14, 2012 20:27

Aye, or shift the colors a bit towards the color that a frame of a card happens to have.
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