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Subject: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Development rss

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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
Release 1.1 can be downloaded
here.

It is not linked from project home page. Consider it unstable. Stick to 1.0 for now if you don't want crashes and bugs. Only the countersheet effect has changed.

Changelog:

- Bugfix for problem with substituting style attributes when the attribute to replace happened to be first in the list (patch submitted by Jay Muchnij)

- Bugfix for problem with correctly finding and substituting attribute values when using id:s containing dashes.
(patch submitted by Jay Muchnij)

- Registration Marks. Add by setting the value to something other than 0 in the effect dialog. The result will look something like this:

(Feature requested by Jay Muchnij.)

- Selections: Using a column header like "id?" in the CSV file means that if you put a y (or Y) in a cell in that column then the SVG element with that id will be included in the counter for that row, otherwise not. Not sure how to explain well. There is an included example (countersheet8_select.svg). I need this to make the dice labels for my entry for the diy dice game contest. I hope it can be a big time-saver to others as well.

- Included that countersheet csv format reference text file that was missing in 1.0.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
Uploaded (still unstable and unofficial) 1.2.

Changes:

- Added "hex corners" to the hexmap generator. Maybe there is a better name I should have used? This adds a new layer called "Hex Corners" that contain small 'stars' of three small lines at each hex corner, similar to what is used in the maps in for instance The Devil's Cauldron: The Battles for Arnhem and Nijmegen. Normally you probably just want to hide that layer (maybe that should be the default...). (Since the lines are of the same width as the regular hex grid, you will not see the corners unless you change the style of the lines on either layer or hide the hex grid layer). It can look something like this (the second image created by some manual editing in Inkscape; duplicated the Hex Corners layer and then changed the styles of the corners in each layer):




- "Multiselect" for counters, similar to the select (?) feature described above for 1.1, but makes some sort of selections easier (see included examples and the new csv file format description file).

(The requested line-break feature didn't make it into 1.2. Maybe 1.3...)
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
One of the examples of multiselect countersheets in 1.2:


template


csv data file


result

(B is the multiselect column. Not very pedagogic screenshot perhaps. Some rows further down have the value "sad" in that column, to get the sad mouth.)

(The other multiselect example one is a basic NATO wargame countersheet, like most other examples.)
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Daniel Wilcox
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
Great work! I can't wait to use it! This really gets some ideas going!
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
The new version 1.3 has a very experimental (and useful! to me at least) VASSAL export feature.

In short, by specifying a VASSAL module file to export to, game pieces will be generated in that module for all counters you have given an ID (as for the bitmap export feature) in the CSV file.




Bitmap export must also be used, so make sure you have set an bitmap export path, width and height or you will get an error message from the VASSAL export.

For some more control of how each counter is generated you can have a look at the new (optional) CSV column headers VASSAL-Name, VASSAL-Panel and VASSAL-Prototype in the included documentation and examples.

Always make a copy of your VASSAL module before using this effect and export the counters to the copy. Keep backups.

The export will not work well if counters already exist with the same name in the VASSAL module file. That means you need to keep a "clean" version of your module without the generated counters, making all manual edits to that, then make a copy and export the counters to the copy.

Because of a weird bug, if you try to edit a module in VASSAL, all the counters added by this effect magically disappears.

Again: BACKUP, and export to a COPY. Don´t blame me if your VASSAL module is destroyed by this effect. Also, of course, make sure that the output folder you use for bitmap export does not contain any images that will be overwritten.

In fact, of course, I hope you are sensible enough to always keep recent backups of anything remotely important before experimenting.

Note that VASSAL 3.2 will have a new feature to allow you to import lots of counters automatically. Combined with the good old bitmap export feature of the countersheet generator that will probably handle everything many need to easily generate counters and import them into VASSAL, without any need for this new VASSAL export thing.
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Joel Uckelman
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
Is there a reason why you're exporting bitmaps for VASSAL? VASSAL supports SVG natively.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
Yes. Exporting the counters as SVGs is not trivial, since some part of a counter may depend on something defined elsewhere in the SVG document, or on external files. It is on my list of things that would be great to have, sometime, if someone cares to implement it.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
And now... 1.4.

This adds a feature requested by Erulisse here on bgg a long time ago: force linebreaks in texts. I revived the old cards example to illustrate this.

Here is what the example template look like:

Notice that when editing there is a blue rectangle around the text. This means that you are using a proper text flow area, created by dragging with the text tool in Inkscape (not just clicking). This means that text will automatically flow to fill up the rectangle, and that no text is ever visible outside of the rectangle, which is probably what you always want for creating cards with multiline texts (and it is required for this new linebreak feature to work; don't use the other type of text objects that you get from just clicking with the text tool).


Here is the card data, same as before but with a new multiline card added at the end:

The magic string "\n" is what forces a line-break (Erulisse suggested "/n", but I prefer the more traditional backslash).

This is what two of the generated cards look like:

The text on the left card (the last of the ten identical cards defined in the spreadsheet) is automatically flown by Inkscape to fit within the rectangle. The text on the right card, that has the linebreak markers in the spreadsheet, has lines broken in those positions.

Hope that makes any sense and there are no too serious bugs included. Please test it and let me know how it works (and the same goes for other recently added features)!
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Joe Kundlak
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
Nice!

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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
I want to also have a look at if there is some commonly supported standard way of storing linebreaks in a comma separated values (CSV) file. A quick googling tells me that Excel supports linebreaks within double-quotes for instance. I guess supporting whatever is output automatically from spreadsheet applications makes it easier to edit multi-line texts than having to put everything on one line with "\n"s.
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Daniel Wilcox
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
Ya! Way to go! This will cut down on post editing a bunch! Thanks again for the great extension!

By the way, is there any way we can financially contribute to the cause?
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
Erulisse wrote:
Ya! Way to go! This will cut down on post editing a bunch! Thanks again for the great extension!

By the way, is there any way we can financially contribute to the cause?


No thank you, I have a day job programming for money; this project is only for fun (not that I don't enjoy seeing some thumbs up and gg tips here now and then ).

Besides you contributed greatly in creating the Open Game Guild.
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Anthony Thompson
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
pelni wrote:



csv data file


result



O... M... G... What an amazing time-saver this will be for me. I'm not thrilled about getting into yet another design tool but kit-bashing similar results using PSP and Word's mail merge is _over_.

Thanks for the good stuff!
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Daniel Wilcox
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
Who me? modest I'd love to see more action going on in the Open Game Guild! The tools that you are working on put out the perfect platform for development of card games and now, really complicated tile games (with the multi-select feature), oh yeah and not to mention hex-and-counter war games

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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
Talked (IRL!) to a guy that has used the countersheet generator for over a year now, for a medium-size Wargame. He puts lots of info in a spreadsheet, including all his historic research, in addition to the values required to generate the counters. One clever thing he told me about now was that he put the scenario setup hexes as well in the spreadsheet, then he wrote a simple script that extracts that info and generates the setup instructions to put in the rulebook. I'll make sure to steal that idea for one of my planned projects.
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Daniel Wilcox
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
That is quite the idea! Everything you need in one step!
 
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R.S. Barker
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
Greetings,

I've contacted Pelle via email in regards to a few issues I'm having with the counter sheet extension, namely that I've been unable to have more than 1 image to appear. I've yet to hear back from him, but thought I would post my query here to receive replies that might help in the mean time.

****

Part of this work entails creating counters to be included with a new Ambush! expansion called Currahee, and in this instance, I'm including updated weapon and soldiers - along with some brand new elements.

As simply as I can explain, I've been able to get 1 weapon - an M1 in this case, to appear on the counter sheet. However, there are a total of 16 weapons to be added, and yet I've been unable to have more than the M1 appear.

Has anyone else figured out how to do this, and more importantly can you possibly explain the process to me?

Many thanks,

R.S.
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R.S. Barker
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
Got it !!

Took quite awhile, but I finally understand this package.

I've created two screen shots, and am including them herein. The first is an example of the layout of the svg "template" within Inkscape proper - I've even labeled each rectangle and applied comments for direct reference.



The second is a snapshot of the CSV spread sheet itself, with additional comments that includes an explanation of each column and heading - where applicable.



Cheers and hope it helps,

R.S.
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R.S. Barker
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
Included here is a copy of the Ambush! Currahee DEMO counter sheet illustrating what this extension package can do when combined with Vector graphics.

Once I figured out a couple snafu's for the back side counters (given they had to be a different color), the rest was quite easy.



Thanks to Pelle for creating this package and I look forward to new additions/updates.

Cheers,

R.S.
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Daniel Wilcox
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
Glad you were able to figure this out on your own! The package is really helpful once you work out how to actually do things I can't wait to see what people start to use this extension for!
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
As I have already told Daniel, my current plan for various reasons is to split off the countersheet generator and hexmap generator into separate projects.

The most important thing to decide now then is what to name the new projects. Ideas? I need a name for the countersheet generator that clearly tells that it also can be used for sheets or cards or tiles or lots of other things (even non-game related), but still I want it to be obvious to wargame designers that it is the tool they are looking for if they need to make a countersheet.

While we're at it, this seems like a good time to ask for other ideas. What features are you missing? What needs more documentation? What example templates do you want?

And of course, remember that examples, graphics, documentation, code etc contributions are always welcome.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
Yesterday I ran into a problem I had never thought of before: how to give some counters white text and other units black text?

This was the best way I could figure out:

I prefixed the id attributes of the text elements that should have different colors with txt- (like "txt-move", "txt-name" etc) then added a column to the spreadsheet file titled txt[style:fill] and on each row of that column put white or black depending on what text color I wanted.

Maybe that trick can be useful to someone else as well.

(A more obvious way is to duplicate all templates containing text, but then every time you change something you need to remember to change all of the templates, and if you need 10 different colors you need 10 copies of each template.)
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Norbert Haas
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
It would be cool, if we could change more than one parameter from an object (e.g.: 2. 3. 4. .... Parameter started with "SUB"), it would be also nice, if it is possible to define a default value of the parameter, which is used when te cell is empty.
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Pere
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
pelni wrote:
- Added "hex corners" to the hexmap generator. Maybe there is a better name I should have used?


Vertices.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Re: Inkscape Extensions for Boardgame Developlemt
senseless wrote:
pelni wrote:
- Added "hex corners" to the hexmap generator. Maybe there is a better name I should have used?


Vertices.


Yes, that sounds better!
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