DevBlog Indie Game #4 : Laying out the game board

For days now I’ve been dying to start cutting some code for my new game. Unfortunately, as I have already mentioned, I am severely graphically challenged.

Thankfully, an amazing 3D artist on CGTrader (Goes by the handle of CGPitbull) has allowed me to use 2D static images for many of his spacecraft in my game.

It didn’t take me long to realize that I couldn’t start writing code until I had laid out the board and at least decided on the size of my playing cards. After going through several iterations, I feel fairly happy with my final card design.

No doubt the card design will continue to change as the game mechanic evolves. Hopefully, the dimension won’t change too much. But if they do, my intention is to store the widths and heights of various components in global variables, so they can be changed without having rewrite large chunks of code.

Along the way, I found several tools that helped with the graphics. One of the most important tools allowed me to remove the background from the image files.

Remove BG Web based image editor

Maintaining a transparent background on most of my images means I can place them onto the game board without having to worry about having matching solid background colors.

In the end, most of the images were quite small – so the free version of the tool was all I needed.

After getting over the initial learning curve, another essential tool in my arsenal has been Paint.Net

Paint.Net Image Editor

This is one tool I can’t live without! It’s an image editor that can handle almost anything you throw at it.

Its ability to create layers that can be turned on and off is a godsend when it comes to designing a pack of cards.

Having the base card components in one layer, and overlaying the ships, values, and other graphics (without having to create every image from scratch) was such a time saver.

The best thing is that Paint.Net is also free (and also available in the Windows Store for less than $7)

The final graphic editing tool that I couldn’t live without was a PSD to PNG converter. Many of the game assets are already provided as PNG files. However, occasionally some assets were only provided as PSD files.

Free PSD to PNG (or JPG) file converter

Without owning Photoshop, assets provided as PSD files would have been impossible to work with.

It’s worth noting that when you convert from PSD files, its best to create PNG files. Unlike JPG files, PNG files can maintain their transparency and alpha channel settings..

Even though I didn’t end up using it, a couple of free websites that would have allowed me to edit PSD files online looked very promising

https://www.photopea.com/
https://pixlr.com/editor/

Now the bulk of the cards have been designed, I’ve been able to create a rough mockup of the game board

And finally, I can get into writing some code. I can’t wait to get started!!