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Blueprint Cluster Cards

Blog posted by Ste Pickford on Wed, 17 Nov 2010
Subject: Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint

Ste Pickford

We've been beavering away on the iOS version of Magnetic Billiards lately, and I've pretty much finished all the graphics for this 'Blueprint' version of the game.

We've stripped the game right back to the core gameplay for what will be the first commercial release of Magnetic Billiards, and removed a couple of 'de-luxe' features found in the PC game which we didn't think were neccessary for this handheld / small screen version, including the trick cards when you remove a cluster. We still wanted an event and a reward for clearing certain cluster shapes, so we needed to come up with a more streamlined replacement.

We wanted some kind of on-screen visual recognition when the player creates different cluster shapes, so we had the idea of a graphic popping on screen when the cluster is removed, showing the cluster shape and the associated reward. Kind of a 'lite' version of the trick cards from the PC game.

The first attempt (1) was a sheet of Blueprint paper, with the cluster shape drawn on. This did the job, but was really dull looking. The blueprint visual style we've gone for means that the background is already a sheet of blueprint paper with white lines. I think I was just being lazy with this one, trying to use existing assets without bothering to draw anything new.

Back to the drawing board, literally, with attempt (2). Maybe a different coloured sheet of paper, with something hand-drawn for each cluster? It's always nice to get a new graphic as a reward. I came up with this for the 'atomic' cluster, but in the game it looked too busy and wasn't completely clear about the shape of the cluster. Besides, I wasn't sure if I could think of matching designs for some of the other cluster shapes with less interesting names ('trapezoid' etc.).

Attempt (3), come up with something completely different. John had a vague idea about a set of laminated cards that an engineer might have attatched to a key-ring, that they could use to compare against shapes they came across in a tech drawing office, which seemed to fit with the theme. I tried a different look for this laminated card idea, which I thought worked well, and contrasted pleasingly with the blueprint graphics in the game. John came up with a neat animated sequence in-game, where the a set of laminated cards (including the cover shown) fly on screen then are flipped open one by one until the image matches the cluster you've removed. The space at the bottom is for the details of the reward, to be drawn in-game using our standard font.

So there you go, that was just a day's work really (including sorting out all the finished cluster cards). I thought it might be interesting to show the discarded graphics and explain the thought process behind this tiny snippet of our new game.


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