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Subject: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Development rss

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bruce ross
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Can some explain to me how we create counters? I've downloaded Inkscape and the extensions needed to make counters. I think I have them in the right Inkscape folder...but from there...HOW do we make a counter sheet?

Is there a tutorial showing how to make counters?

Also, what program do we use to put stats and images on the counters?

Thanks.
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Pelle Nilsson
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I recommend you skim through this thread. There are two tutorial videos linked to, plus a number of examples.

Also look in the examples subfolder in the zip.

For editing the data I usually use either OpenOffice.org Calc or just a plain text editor. Excel should do as well. Just make sure the file is saved as CSV.

For images to put on the counters I usually use Inkscape, then export the images to PNGs (of sufficiently high resolution, say 300 dpi, at least). You could use any other graphics application you like (bitmap or vector) just make sure the images are saved as PNG or JPEG (SVG might work too).

Short summary:
1. Create the SVG template(s). Start with some of the example SVGs rather than making your own at first, just to see how things work.
2. Create the data CSV (or, again, start with one of the examples; column headers much match the ids in the SVG)
3. Make sure the SVG is open in Inkscape.
4. Run the Generate Countersheet effect.
5. Fill in the name of the CSV (full pathname, like c:\Documents and Settings\bla\blah\blah\Documents\example.csv).
6. Run the effect. Now you have countersheets, if everything was ok.
7. If you want to change something, just hit undo, which will remove all the generated sheets, so you can edit templates/data and try again.

But the tutorial videos Daniel created are much better at explaining this.
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Pelle Nilsson
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If you're going to make traditional wargame counters the nato.svg example (with two or so matching CSV example files to choose from) is a good starting point. If you want images other than simple NATO symbols there is an example somewhere earlier in this thread, uhm, here:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/4643241#4643241

OK, those are very simple, the entire counter is just one big image, so it's not really using any data other than a list of image files. Ah, here is a better example, generating the same sheet as above but with the numbers to put on the units defined in the CSV file:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/4643290#4643290

Seems like the download link for that example still works too.
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bruce ross
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Thanks so much Pelle!

I barely skimmed this thread and didn't see the tutorials. I do SO MUCH better with visuals.

I will take a look at them tonight when I get home.

I know I was having some problems getting the program "extracted" into Inkscape so I couldn't get the templates to show up...kept getting an error message but I'm sure it's operator error

Thanks again!
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bruce ross
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Ok, I've tried but I can't make counters

The two videos are great but don't show counters being made

Is there anyone who can make a video tutorial showing how to make a sheet of counters, placing images and editing/adding text to the counters?

Sorry, I'm that stupid blush
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Pelle Nilsson
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Did you look at the posts I linked to a few posts ago?

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/4643241#4643241

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/4643290#4643290

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Kibona Helen

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pelni wrote:
I have uploaded version 0.6 of my collection of Inkscape Boardgames Extensions.

Collection is a bit much to say perhaps. It currently has only two extensions:

Create Countersheet (or sheet of cards): This one uses templates (groups of vector/bitmap objects) in the document you are editing, and a CSV file (made in a text editor or exported from a spreadsheet application) describing how to combine the templates into a countersheet, and then generates a new layer with the countersheet (and possibly another layer with the countersheet backside, properly mirrored). Of course it can also be used for making decks of cards (as shown in one of the four included example files), tilesets or any other game component collection that is somewhat countersheet-like. This is the utiiity I came up with after thinking more about the things I wrote recently in this thread.

Create Hexmap: Not surprisingly, this extension creates hexmaps (grid, hex backgrounds, center dots, configurable coordinate labels; all in separate layers).

Hopefully even in the current early state they will be useful to someone. I don't know if I will add any more extensions to the collection, but I may improve the two existing ones at least, and I would happily include extensions someone else contributes.


Thank you for your information,just now i uploaded version 0.6,i think i can study to use it.
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David Perry
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Pille, is there any possibility to add the option for a diagonal row numbering scheme? I guess it is uncommon, but I'm trying to recreate the map for Orion: Combat Near the Speed of Light and I haven't found any program to generate a map with that kind of coordinate system.

Thanks!

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Pelle Nilsson
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curiousepic wrote:
Pille,


Pelle. please. With i it sounds like something, erm, different, in Swedish. blush

Quote:

is there any possibility to add the option for a diagonal row numbering scheme? I guess it is uncommon, but I'm trying to recreate the map for Orion: Combat Near the Speed of Light and I haven't found any program to generate a map with that kind of coordinate system.


Even at maximum zoom I can't see the coordinate numbers in the photo, or the other photo of that map I can find on bgg. Could you describe it in text, maybe just list what the coordinates are for the first hexes in a corner?

Guess adding some other way of numbering wouldn't be too much of a problem, and it might be something I find useful too (I know of one type of "diagonal" numbering that I have thought of adding at least; problem is I can think of at least two ways to do it, and maybe there are more I didn't think of).
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David Perry
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Quote:
Pelle. please. With i it sounds like something, erm, different, in Swedish. blush


Hah, apologies. I went back and forth between Pelle and Pelni and somehow ended up between the two but somewhere else completely.

The numbers should just barely be visible on highest zoom, but in any case (zero padded for formatting):


0001 0202 0403
0102 0303
0002 0203 0404
0103 0304
0003 0204 0405


It's an odd system, but it's actually required by one of the game's mechanics.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Here are some beautiful countersheet examples and brief mention of using this countersheet extension to create them:
Counter Making for Wargames (by Capn Darwin on the Grogheads forum)
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Chris Hobbs
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Pelle, just wanted to say thanks for creating this extension. I've been following the thread for awhile, but haven't had need to build any counters. However, I just pulled out of storage an old copy of The Russian Campaign, 2nd Edition, which I bought second-hand at least 20 years ago. The counters in the game are a mess, so I've decided to build my own replacements. Using your scripts, it looks to be a pretty reasonable proposition. Here's what I've got going so far:



Thanks again!
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Pelle Nilsson
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You're welcome!
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Daniel Lamb
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Pelle - Incredible work! I'm thrilled at the hex map tool. Does anyone here have experience with map file getting so large that InkScape has trouble exporting large files? Sorry to hijack this thread, but I thought this would be a good place to find experienced users who might have a similar issue.

Here's a shot of the map.

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Clint Herron
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Hadik wrote:
Pelle - Incredible work! I'm thrilled at the hex map tool. Does anyone here have experience with map file getting so large that InkScape has trouble exporting large files? Sorry to hijack this thread, but I thought this would be a good place to find experienced users who might have a similar issue.

Here's a shot of the map.



Hotlinking is disabled for that image -- I get the message "We are sorry, you can not display images hosted by Yahoo! Groups on non Yahoo! Groups pages." when I try to view the map.

Maybe you could upload it to your personal gallery here on BGG?
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Daniel Lamb
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Done and done.


Thanks for pointing out the broken link.
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Michael Fuller
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Pelle,

Awesome tool! Thank you so much for working on this.

I seem to be having a problem with countersheet8_select.

When I run the extension every counter that is created has every NATO symbol. It seems to be ignoring the select columns in countersheet8.csv

Am I doing something wrong or is there a problem with the example?

Thanks.

EDIT: Never mind. I figured out my problem. I had the old version of your .inx and .py files in the Inkscape extension directory.

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Roman Rous
Czech Republic
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Hallo Mister ,

Is there any chance for some error corrections in your awesome boardgame extension?
I have these problems:
- Support for eastern EU languages (Unicode or UTF-8). I tried to save CSV in both formats with no success.
- BACK dont work in experimental version (Version 1.4.4 ). I use this version for "\n" ability.

Many thanx

PS: You will have free box of my game, if it is published ;-)
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Pelle Nilsson
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rrous wrote:

- Support for eastern EU languages (Unicode or UTF-8). I tried to save CSV in both formats with no success.


I'm from Sweden and have tested to make sure it works with our weird characters, as UTF-8. UTF-8 is a way to encode Unicode btw, and the most common way to do so (probably the only way supported by this application).

It could be that there was still not support for this in the 1.x versions of the extensions. Development moved on to 2.x a few years ago, I just haven't made any official releases. It is probably a better idea to grab the latest versions of the py and inx files from github.

https://github.com/lifelike/countersheetsextension

There could also be a bug somewhere so that UTF-8 works almost everywhere, but not in some particular place.

Quote:
- BACK dont work in experimental version (Version 1.4.4 ). I use this version for "\n" ability.


Weird. BACK is used in several of the automated tests I run before releases. Could you try with the 2.x version? Did you fill in BACK in every row as well, not just the header? That is needed because you might want to mix double-sided with single-sided counters, and sometimes the back have no content (I guess in the case a counter do have content on the back, the BACK keywoard is redundant, but I don't like special cases like that).

If you run one of the included examples, is BACK ok there? And/or try the much improved 2.x version as above.

Quote:
PS: You will have free box of my game, if it is published ;-)


That would be awesome of course, whatever it is. Nothing I expect from anyone. I feel a bit bad for all the bugs and lack of documentation all over this project. 8)
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Roman Rous
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pelni wrote:

It could be that there was still not support for this in the 1.x versions of the extensions. Development moved on to 2.x a few years ago, I just haven't made any official releases. It is probably a better idea to grab the latest versions of the py and inx files from github.

https://github.com/lifelike/countersheetsextension


Yep, newer version is even more awesome ;-)

Only minor bug - if you use header with hard name of the background, UTF-8 does not work correctly. No error, but does not render correctly.
I mean
green,@unitvalues,attack
2,,1
is wrongly rendered

,+,@unitvalues,attack
2,green,,1
is OK

Many Thanx
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Roman Rous
Czech Republic
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pelni wrote:

Quote:
- BACK dont work in experimental version (Version 1.4.4 ). I use this version for "\n" ability.


Weird. BACK is used in several of the automated tests I run before releases. Could you try with the 2.x version? Did you fill in BACK in every row as well, not just the header? That is needed because you might want to mix double-sided with single-sided counters, and sometimes the back have no content (I guess in the case a counter do have content on the back, the BACK keywoard is redundant, but I don't like special cases like that).

If you run one of the included examples, is BACK ok there? And/or try the much improved 2.x version as above.

I figured out the problem is even more complicated :-( If I delete all obsolete .py and .inx files and copy the newest ones, I see nothing under "Boardgame" submenu. I have to just copy the newest files over the older ones and let the other (older) files there. Than it works but ... again, without BACK. Created countersheet(back) is empty. I test BACK on the version 1.1 example countersheet2_cards.svg.
It seems like some Python residuum is still on my W7 computer ...
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Pelle Nilsson
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rrous wrote:
pelni wrote:

It could be that there was still not support for this in the 1.x versions of the extensions. Development moved on to 2.x a few years ago, I just haven't made any official releases. It is probably a better idea to grab the latest versions of the py and inx files from github.

https://github.com/lifelike/countersheetsextension


Yep, newer version is even more awesome ;-)

Only minor bug - if you use header with hard name of the background, UTF-8 does not work correctly. No error, but does not render correctly.
I mean
green,@unitvalues,attack
2,,1
is wrongly rendered

,+,@unitvalues,attack
2,green,,1
is OK



The first example is broken if the file is UTF-8 encoded? Or if green is replaced with a string containing weird Eastern European UTF-8 characters?

Is it only if this is on the first line of the file? For UTF-16 files I know some editors like to put invisible byte-order marks at the start of a file. Not sure why anyone would do that for UTF-8, but I found some info now on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byte_order_mark#UTF-8) and it seems like unfortunately some editors do add the marks for UTF-8, and I guess they could become part of the identifier when I parse the first line. Maybe it works if you start the file with a blank line?
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Pelle Nilsson
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rrous wrote:
pelni wrote:

Quote:
- BACK dont work in experimental version (Version 1.4.4 ). I use this version for "\n" ability.


Weird. BACK is used in several of the automated tests I run before releases. Could you try with the 2.x version? Did you fill in BACK in every row as well, not just the header? That is needed because you might want to mix double-sided with single-sided counters, and sometimes the back have no content (I guess in the case a counter do have content on the back, the BACK keywoard is redundant, but I don't like special cases like that).

If you run one of the included examples, is BACK ok there? And/or try the much improved 2.x version as above.

I figured out the problem is even more complicated :-( If I delete all obsolete .py and .inx files and copy the newest ones, I see nothing under "Boardgame" submenu. I have to just copy the newest files over the older ones and let the other (older) files there. Than it works but ... again, without BACK. Created countersheet(back) is empty. I test BACK on the version 1.1 example countersheet2_cards.svg.
It seems like some Python residuum is still on my W7 computer ...


It SHOULD work using only the py and inx files found on github, not relying on any of the old files. I think I removed the dependency on the old vassal.py at least...

Search for some of the filenames on your disks and see if it shows up somewhere?
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Roman Rous
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I tested the newest version on other PC with new InkScape installation (0.48.2 version) with the same result - see nothing in the BoardGames submenu. So the problem is somewhere else ... (Windows 7?)

Never mind, the previous 2.x version (with vassal.py) works fine, so I use this ;-)

Thanx
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Erkki Lindpere
Estonia
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Sorry if this has been asked before: any chance of combining hex map generation with counter sheet generation? i.e. create a series of hex counters like with the countersheet generator, but layed out like a hex map (should be much easier to cut out).
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