Creating our first game, we wanted to make it not only interesting, but also beautiful. Cards - this is something with which the player interacts constantly, so work on them has been going on for a long time. In this article we will tell you how the design for cards was created in the digital board game Fated Kingdom, and also we will share the problems we have encountered and the ways to solve them.
The basis of the visual style of the game has not changed from the very beginning: we use dull colors to give realism to graphics, as well as various variations on the theme of gold painting on a dark background. For example, the game board is made of wood with gold trim, and in the case of cards, dark cardboard is used as a background, again with a gold painting.
This is the 5 main stages of card design development in Fated Kingdom. We'll look at each of them separately. So, from the very beginning, we made a first sketch of the card, using elements of floral ornaments of the medieval era. Then we immediately noticed two drawbacks: bright gold was too straining eyes, and 4 numerical parameters overloaded the game mechanics too much.
Then we decided to rework the design, so the second option appeared. We prepared a fairly detailed gold mask, which had a softer shade and at the same time had a beautiful glare effect. We also combined 2 similar in meaning parameters into one and carried it into the header of the card. In the same place there was a color ribbon, helping to determine which guild belongs to card.
In order to efficiently use the space that has been freed up, we have introduced a string for type of card that helps us quickly understand its main purpose. This option suited us, but after a series of tests we realized that the gold frame too overloaded the appearance of the card and distracted attention from the main content - illustrations and descrption.
Then we started work on the third iteration of the design. There is more ascetic frame, which allowed to visually increase the space for illustration and text. Also, we added a color gradient as a background, which added a color ribbon to the cards that are used by some guild. For a long time this option was considered final...
Until one day we did not understand how to improve it. So the fourth variation of the card appeared. We abandoned the black edging, made the frame thinner and wider, and also increased the field for illustration. The value parameter moved to the center, giving more room for the name. All the «roundness» was replaced by corners, and the type field moved to the description of the card.
Based on this design, we created one more - for skill-cards. For a long time we could not figure out how to make a universal frame that would fit all the cards, but in the end they decided to just make the fifth layout without the fields for the numbers. We decided to stay on it, because it suited us completely. Later we implemented it in the game.
Of course, there is no limit to perfection, and even after so many edits we still think about how to improve the template of cards. However, when creating an indie game, when resources are extremely limited, you can not focus on one thing, because in this case you can get too carried away, which will eventually affect the development time.