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Subject: Card Maker 0.99.1.7 (Updated 7/3/2015) rss

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Tim Stair
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Overview
Card Maker is intended to assist in the creation of cards for a game. Cards can be generated using a CSV file as your data (text) source. You can enter all of the pertinent data into a spreadsheet, edit your card layout, then iterate easily without having to go back and change the layout of every card individually.

Card Maker is a layout designer using a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editor, not a scripting system (though some scripting functionality is present). Card Maker has a lot of crazy extra features as well. The documentation is reasonable (or so I hope)...

NOTE: This is a Windows .NET application... and is Mono compatible (statement weighs heavily on "compatible").

What's New
0.99.1.7
- Added ability to export images with a transparent background
- Added ability to stitch images on export
- Made adjustments to logical statements to better support FormattedText
- Added support for < > character replacement via html standard > and %<
(critical if the '<' character is surrounded by white space in an if statement)

0.99.1.6
- Added export option to allow exported images to be rotated 90/-90 degrees
- Fixed an issue with save/load of project files that would result in messed up UTF8 characters
- Fixed very annoying bug where the arrow keys would adjust the zoom instead of move an element

0.99.1.5 Significant Change to inline FormattedText Images
- Added error handling to font draw for possible font issues
- Centered FormattedText inline images (img tag) vertically
- Scaling of FormattedText inline images (img tag) is now based on the measured font height and not the line height

0.99.1.4
- Added Defines window to display the current active defines (also can copy and paste references from it)
- Fixed issue with re-ordering layouts in the treeview (was not saving correctly)
- The last reference (after others are removed) is defaulted as the reference for a layout
- Added ability to duplicate multiple elements with the "dupe" button (must specify the same number to create)
- Fixed a bug with duplicate defines

Download 0.99.1.7

----CardMaker Tutorials---- (more coming soon!)

CardMaker Users Guild (ask questions, make requests, report issues)

(there may be bugs... I am one person mostly driven by writing functionality... I need a QA team! ninja)

You can always find the latest version here: CardMaker (and other tools).

Donations / Gifts -- I have read some messages about the possibility of donating/gifting to support CardMaker. If you really want to: please gift via Paypal to nhmk@nhmk.com (Think of this like a tip, nothing more!)

Thank you for your feedback and ideas. Your helpful comments and bug reports make the application better for you and everyone else!
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Andrew Rowse
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.0 (beta)
I've just taken a quick look at it, and it looks like a very solid tool

Having spent countless man-hours building my own bespoke card builders in Flash, and finally reaching the point where iteration between projects has become rather trivial, I personally won't be using this tool, but it's a fantastic service you've done to the community!
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JonnyRotten
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.0 (beta)
Is there any way to make the card count random, without having to do a bunch of duplication in my csv file?

I have 5 different cards that make up a 210 card deck, and I want them to each have a unique number, but not sequential.

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Eric Raue
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.0 (beta)
I've been using Card Maker to design a card game with a friend. We found it to be intuitive and flexible enough for our game. It takes very little time to setup decent looking card layouts and is perfect for printing playtest cards. We're using Google Spreadsheets to collaborate and Subversion for sharing the project files/images and to keep track of versions.

Here is what a printed page looks like. The health track on the side has 15 elements (3 for each square: background, number, rectangle) that are automatically toggled on and off depending on the health data value in the spreadsheet. Art is placeholder if that's not obvious.


I just gave the Google Spreadsheet feature a try, thanks. I think it would be better if it saved a copy of the spreadsheet and users could press a button to refresh the data. That way you only need to supply your login if you want to update and can work with it offline. Knowing when it was last synced would be important information too.

Feature requests

Undo:
- Undo movement/resize
- More levels of undo

Suggestion: Custom formatting for inline graphics
I prefer to keep visual formatting separate from my data as much as possible to make editing quicker. Formatted text gives me a lot of control but it gets in the way for design. What I'm proposing is creating a system for users to define markup that scans text and automatically applies formatting as defined by the user. Simply put, regular expressions, but hopefully more user friendly. The immediate use I can think of is inline graphics with text on them without using the bgi tag.

Example uses:
1) 4GG
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Tim Stair
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.0 (beta)
jgilmour wrote:
Is there any way to make the card count random, without having to do a bunch of duplication in my csv file?

I have 5 different cards that make up a 210 card deck, and I want them to each have a unique number, but not sequential.



I've thought about this puzzler and looked at the existing functionality... I cannot think of anything that would currently do that (or even get close). I could investigate adding something like this though (especially if others mention it too).
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Tim Stair
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.0 (beta)
zazery wrote:

Feature requests

Undo:
- Undo movement/resize
- More levels of undo

Suggestion: Custom formatting for inline graphics
I prefer to keep visual formatting separate from my data as much as possible to make editing quicker. Formatted text gives me a lot of control but it gets in the way for design. What I'm proposing is creating a system for users to define markup that scans text and automatically applies formatting as defined by the user. Simply put, regular expressions, but hopefully more user friendly. The immediate use I can think of is inline graphics with text on them without using the bgi tag.

Example uses:
1) 4GG


I'll see about making the Google reference more of a shared reference that is local but is updated from Google upon user request (probably just another type of reference or an option on the existing).

Undo is definitely high on my list of things that should be added. It is a bit of an undertaking but I have at least done it before in another application.

I think project level user-defined tags to make the data a bit less messy could be very useful.

No promises on any of this of course! whistle

Thanks for the feedback!
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Kolja Geldmacher
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.0 (beta)
It seems your forum has gotten wiped out...
What do i do when i want to have comma in my text fields? What code do i use?
Thanks in advance
FH
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Eric Raue
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.0 (beta)
I've been using my spreadsheets for non Card Maker data and separating cards by blank lines. Could you make it so if the duplication field is blank it ignores the line?
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Tim Stair
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.0 (beta)
Flashhawk wrote:
It seems your forum has gotten wiped out...
What do i do when i want to have comma in my text fields? What code do i use?
Thanks in advance
FH


If you quote the entire field all the text within the quotes should show up (including the comma). Openoffice's calc automatically quotes fields (however annoying/convenient).
Quote:
"Hi, how are you?"


I'll add in a new escape code \c to make things even easier in a future revision.
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Tim Stair
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.0 (beta)
zazery wrote:
I've been using my spreadsheets for non Card Maker data and separating cards by blank lines. Could you make it so if the duplication field is blank it ignores the line?


Currently if the field is blank it creates 1 of the given card. If you enter 0 the line will be ignored. Is that okay or is that problematic?
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Eric Raue
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.0 (beta)
I would prefer it if blank ignored the line since I always enter a number for cards I want to use. I like using blank rows to separate groups of cards and the currently this requires me to enter 0 in the first column.
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Tim Stair
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.0 (beta)
zazery wrote:
I would prefer it if blank ignored the line since I always enter a number for cards I want to use. I like using blank rows to separate groups of cards and the currently this requires me to enter 0 in the first column.


I'll likely be doing an update soon with some additional log information when connecting to Google. I'll change CardMaker to ignore completely empty lines.

Hopefully that won't break anything... whistle
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Eric Raue
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.0 (beta)
If you ignore a completely empty line (not just first cell) that would be fine too. That shouldn't break anything. I found as I added more cards I moved the statistics formulas such as card distribution to another sheet.

Refreshing the image cache and layouts work great. The shortcuts have minimized the time it takes to update the card maker project.

I've noticed a few minor issues with trying to hide elements conditionally. Switching to another card fixes the problem until you start interacting with the card such as selecting an element in the layout control window. This does not affect printing.

Here's what the card is supposed to look like:
Hidden borders
No bug

When I select an element in layout control this appears:
Bug

Text elements will display the text #nodraw but if it's a graphical element it won't. Borders appear regardless of element type. Here's what I'm doing, each ship has a hp value from 1-7. Each hp box on the right consists of 3 elements: the background white box, the number in the box equal to it's hp, and a grey square outline around it. Here are the definitions for hp = 3 elements.

White background (graphic type): #(if @[hp] >= 3 then images/hp_bg.png else #nodraw)#
Number (text element): #(if @[hp] == 3 then 3)#
Box around number (graphic with a border thickness 2): #(if @[hp] != 3 then #nodraw else )#

Another minor thing I noticed is the outline on the M and a few other letters produces weird spikes on some fonts.


Those issues are easy to work around. The most annoying thing right now is auto-scaling doing a poor job of adjusting the odd card ability or name that doesn't fit in the text box. Often it only needs to reduce the font size by 1pt but ends up reducing it to an almost unreadable font size with half the text field blank. I don't have an example right now because I've compensated by rewording or slightly adjusting the element's size. Sometimes it appears fine in Card Maker but scales really tiny when printing.
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Tim Stair
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.0 (beta)
Eric, thanks for all the detailed input! I'm guessing I overlooked the use of #nodraw for other element types as well as affecting the visibility of the actual element border.

The unfortunate font spikes are something I found when originally working on the font borders. Certain fonts have paths that scale in crazy ways making nasty spikes when drawing a border along the path. I will see if there is anything I can do... but no promises! I may have to find another approach to drawing the outline. It would be nice to have a universal solution instead of one that doesn't work on some fonts.

Auto-scale sucks thanks to the pathetic font measuring functionality provided by the .NET drawing classes I am using. I'll see if I can hack it to allow for a bit more space... but again every font has a mind of its own so the result may be things drawing outside of the desired element border.
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Tim Stair
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.1 (beta)
Just posted a bugfix version that addresses a couple issues. Check the original post for the changes. laugh
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Kolja Geldmacher
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.1 (beta)
Thank You!!!
Absolutely appreciate it!!!
Kolja
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Eric Raue
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.1 (beta)
Joe, thanks for creating a great tool. I'll keep the bug reports and suggestions coming. The project I'm working on seems to be a really good test case for it.

The latest version fixed the #nodraw issue. The new auto-scale system does a much better job scaling text smaller so it will fit in the box. However, it seems to make the text larger than the specified text size, which is not what I would expect.

Issue 1: Auto-scale makes text larger than specified font size.
Example

Issue 2: Data preview for spreadsheets with lots of columns is hidden by a scroll bar.
Example

Issue 3: Text is rendered as red until user changes an element property even though colour is set to black by default.(eg. toggling strikeout will fix this, see issue 1 for example)

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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.1 (beta)
zazery wrote:
Joe, thanks for creating a great tool. I'll keep the bug reports and suggestions coming. The project I'm working on seems to be a really good test case for it.

The latest version fixed the #nodraw issue. The new auto-scale system does a much better job scaling text smaller so it will fit in the box. However, it seems to make the text larger than the specified text size, which is not what I would expect.

Issue 1: Auto-scale makes text larger than specified font size.
Example

Issue 2: Data preview for spreadsheets with lots of columns is hidden by a scroll bar.
Example

Issue 3: Text is rendered as red until user changes an element property even though colour is set to black by default.(eg. toggling strikeout will fix this, see issue 1 for example)



Haha Issue 1 is an accidental side effect of the new auto scale code. I'll go ahead and use the specified font size as the "max" font size. I'll probably get a new version out tomorrow with that bug-fix(time permitting).

Issue 2 is a problem I figured might come up. I still run everything in the Windows XP mode and the draw size for windows controls vary based on the selected theme. I'll probably just make the listview taller overall and hope for the best (likely to go into the bug fix release).

Issue 3 is actually intentional to get the user to setup the font (red is used when the font is unspecified).

Thanks for all the feedback!
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Tim Stair
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.2 (beta)
Auto-scale is fixed up on 0.98.0.2.

I also added a bit more space to the list view that has the spreadsheet contents in the element view.
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Eric Raue
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.2 (beta)
Everything looks good, great work!
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Eric Raue
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.2 (beta)
Would it be possible to add a card duplication index just like the current counter except it resets for each new card? In my game each spaceship has an initiative value that must be unique. Currently I'm appending the card index to the initiative for tie breaking. Using the cards I posted previously as an example, card 7 has an initiative of 110 so it displays 110-7. Playtesters were confused by this so I'd like to replace it. With a duplication index I could drop the 0 and the dash and write 111, 112, 113, 114 etc. This is how we plan to do it in the finished game. The new formatting could be ###x;y;z#.
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Travis Torrey
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.2 (beta)
Hi,

I just started using your program and it's pretty great. I had a rought time getting started though. When I first started a project I couldn't click anything. Not sure if I was just being dumb or what. So I just ended up editing the sample file and resaving from there. The help file was helpful, had to teach myself a lot. I think it would help the csv section to have a screenshot of a sample csv file. I was able to wrap my head around it but a screenshot would have helped. I feel the help guide could use screen shots in a few other spots too.

The other thing it took me a bit to figure out was using @[column name] in the definition field. It's right there in the help file, but I didn't see it right away. I dunno, maybe I am just asking for a dummies guide. I actually had fun figuring it out, but figured since everyone else is offering constructive criticism I would too.

This is a really handy program though. Thanks for making it!
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Tim Stair
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.2 (beta)
zazery wrote:
Would it be possible to add a card duplication index just like the current counter except it resets for each new card? In my game each spaceship has an initiative value that must be unique. Currently I'm appending the card index to the initiative for tie breaking. Using the cards I posted previously as an example, card 7 has an initiative of 110 so it displays 110-7. Playtesters were confused by this so I'd like to replace it. With a duplication index I could drop the 0 and the dash and write 111, 112, 113, 114 etc. This is how we plan to do it in the finished game. The new formatting could be ###x;y;z#.


This is an interesting idea. I'll look into it for the next revision.
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.2 (beta)
Eyflfla wrote:
Hi,

I just started using your program and it's pretty great. I had a rought time getting started though. When I first started a project I couldn't click anything. Not sure if I was just being dumb or what. So I just ended up editing the sample file and resaving from there. The help file was helpful, had to teach myself a lot. I think it would help the csv section to have a screenshot of a sample csv file. I was able to wrap my head around it but a screenshot would have helped. I feel the help guide could use screen shots in a few other spots too.

The other thing it took me a bit to figure out was using @[column name] in the definition field. It's right there in the help file, but I didn't see it right away. I dunno, maybe I am just asking for a dummies guide. I actually had fun figuring it out, but figured since everyone else is offering constructive criticism I would too.

This is a really handy program though. Thanks for making it!


Glad you're enjoying and learning the application. Did you check out the included "Card_Maker_Basic_Project.pdf" in the zip file? I should probably give it a different name to make it more obvious that it's a crash course in the very basics of setting up a project.
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Tim Stair
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Re: Card Maker 0.98.0.3
New version (0.98.0.3) with bug fixes only. All related to some issues that TheDukeOfSpades messaged me about (primarily formatted text caching issues when printing or exporting).
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