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Classic Cities Jakarta [Quenched]

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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [4 May] Page 15

Postby natty dread on Tue May 15, 2012 6:01 pm

Well I'm probably just talking to a brick wall here, and I don't even know why I bother anymore, but let me try to explain why the problems I've pointed out are important...

If you look at the maps that are well designed, maps that are very easy to read and pleasing to the eye, there's one thing that they all have in common... they all are intuitive to the players, as they are built in a way that makes it easy to visualize the territories as connecting pieces of land. With a good design, you can immediately tell the connections because they feel intuitive, the territories feel like solid pieces of land attached to each other, rather than just numbers with ambiguous lines around them telling how the numbers connect...

To achieve this, the territories, the playable area, need to be clearly distinct from everything else, everything separating them, everything that is not playable area. That's where the contrast comes in. Currently this map doesn't have that. Yes, you can understand the map, if you study it, but it's not intuitive. It's not user-friendly. I'd hate to play this map as a speed game. There's simply no excuse why this map should be hard to play, it's very simple and straightforward when it comes to the gameplay, but the horrible user interface makes it a hard map.
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [4 May] Page 15

Postby koontz1973 on Tue May 15, 2012 10:40 pm

Nola_Lifer wrote:Also, I am pretty sure most people don't know where Jakarta,

And I am sure most people have never played the classic map. ;) But to have a reference on the map to where in the world Jakarta is, is not going to happen.
Nola_Lifer wrote:and Jakarta is an old Hindu part of Indonesia.

Jakarta has 6 religions practised. Why only 6, because that is what the government says. Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. But there is one other, and that is Pancasila. This is the main one but is not recognised by the government. Hinduism is only practised by around 2%.
You said you where not happy with the image, why?
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [4 May] Page 15

Postby ManBungalow on Sat May 26, 2012 5:14 am

Interesting graphics, but a few things to note:

The part of the legend that says "Reinforcements: 1/4" is quite vague, especially as the term 'reinforcements' is used for reinforcements, as odd as it seems. It could simply say '1 troop for every 4 regions', preferably with a note about the minimum deployment, if applicable.

Some borders are unclear. I don't know if the actual region borders are rivers, but that's okay. However, those darkened borders around the actual bonuses (such as Senen <-> Matraman) are quite difficult to make out, especially on the small image. I don't see why they shouldn't be the same, paler blue colour as is used between individual regions.
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [4 May] Page 15

Postby koontz1973 on Sat May 26, 2012 6:10 am

ManBungalow wrote:Interesting graphics, but a few things to note:

The part of the legend that says "Reinforcements: 1/4" is quite vague, especially as the term 'reinforcements' is used for reinforcements, as odd as it seems. It could simply say '1 troop for every 4 regions', preferably with a note about the minimum deployment, if applicable.

Good point, will change it ASAP.
ManBungalow wrote:Some borders are unclear. I don't know if the actual region borders are rivers, but that's okay. However, those darkened borders around the actual bonuses (such as Senen <-> Matraman) are quite difficult to make out, especially on the small image. I don't see why they shouldn't be the same, paler blue colour as is used between individual regions.

Was asked to make the border rivers darker. But am more than happy to make them lighter again.

EDIT: New maps.
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [26 May] Page 16

Postby natty dread on Sun May 27, 2012 3:18 pm

It doesn't matter what small tweaks you do to the map until you fix the fundamentals.
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [26 May] Page 16

Postby nolefan5311 on Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:13 pm

The XML looks good except that the spelling of Kramat Jati is actually spelled "Karamat Jati" in every instance in the XML. Once that's changed I think you're good to go.
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [26 May] Page 16

Postby koontz1973 on Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:14 pm

nolefan5311 wrote:The XML looks good except that the spelling of Kramat Jati is actually spelled "Karamat Jati" in every instance in the XML. Once that's changed I think you're good to go.

Thanks for the spot.
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [26 May] Page 16

Postby koontz1973 on Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:05 am

Click image to enlarge.
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Click image to enlarge.
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EDIT: just tidied up the small maps text in the legend part.
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [17/6] Page 16

Postby natty dread on Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:28 am

Since no one else cares enough to comment, I guess it falls on me to provide feedback...

The glow around the playable area is a step in the right direction, but it's not quite enough. The map still doesn't look right - it still blends together, the entire map lacks contrast and structure.

I think there are two options that would work best. First is, you could abandon the idea of the map being painted on the same canvas as the background and pop it up from the canvas somewhat. Add some shadow around it, make the surface of the land area a bit smoother, and use some lighting effects to further bring it to focus. I think this would probably be the best solution - you already have the legend as a separate "note" lying on top of the rest of the map, although it's done a bit sloppily.

The other option is, tweak the colours of the playable area - make them all clearly lighter than the background, this should be doable as the background is quite dark. This is easy to do - just use the hue/sat/light tool to tweak each bonus area until you have a good set of colours - then redo the minimap accordingly.

There are other things that require work, but this is the most important one, so I suggest you see to it first.

Oh, and please remove or at least hugely reduce the opacity of those creases you have going all over the map. They add nothing to the visual look, they only detract from it - if you look at images of oil paintings on canvas, you don't see creases like that on them. They don't look like they belong, and also they contribute to making the map look messy.
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [17/6] Page 16

Postby AndyDufresne on Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:24 am

natty dread wrote:Since no one else cares enough to comment, I guess it falls on me to provide feedback...


Natty to the rescue. ;)

The glow around the playable area is a step in the right direction, but it's not quite enough. The map still doesn't look right - it still blends together, the entire map lacks contrast and structure.

I think there are two options that would work best. First is, you could abandon the idea of the map being painted on the same canvas as the background and pop it up from the canvas somewhat. Add some shadow around it, make the surface of the land area a bit smoother, and use some lighting effects to further bring it to focus. I think this would probably be the best solution - you already have the legend as a separate "note" lying on top of the rest of the map, although it's done a bit sloppily.

The other option is, tweak the colours of the playable area - make them all clearly lighter than the background, this should be doable as the background is quite dark. This is easy to do - just use the hue/sat/light tool to tweak each bonus area until you have a good set of colours - then redo the minimap accordingly.


Of these two possible suggestions you mention, I'd maybe lean toward the second. Could changing the texture to something similar, but not wholly uniform with the background, also help the gameboard?

There are other things that require work, but this is the most important one, so I suggest you see to it first.

Oh, and please remove or at least hugely reduce the opacity of those creases you have going all over the map. They add nothing to the visual look, they only detract from it - if you look at images of oil paintings on canvas, you don't see creases like that on them. They don't look like they belong, and also they contribute to making the map look messy.

I think I am on the opposite side of this suggestion.


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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [17/6] Page 16

Postby thenobodies80 on Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:06 am

natty dread wrote:Since no one else cares enough to comment, I guess it falls on me to provide feedback...


I had a briefly discussion with koontz about the map a couple of weeks ago and I have to say that your post is almost the same things I said to him.The playable zone is too confused and it meshes too much with the rest of the map (the decorative part), specially in the lower part.
A change of colors in the lower part could help to pop out the map. Also increase trasparecy of the non playable area of the map could help.
The continets, the land mass, the playable area, call it as you want should have a sort of contrast like the internal borders ( I assume small rivers) do now. The "burned" outline doesn't work so much...

Finally the small legend on the left is a sort of eyesore....on teh contrary of the map, this part pops out too much, probably because you don't have the same texture there. Try the opposite, remove (or change ) the texture on the playable area and mesh a bit more the legend instead

Anyway , kooontz you have just to re read the briefly discussion we had on skype and listen a bit natty, I think he has hit the nail on the edge with the above post.
Now, it's not that the map looks bad, just is not a map perfect to be played
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [17/6] Page 16

Postby koontz1973 on Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:29 am

Already read nattys post and am working on it now. It is not small changes he wants but big ones so will take me some time to do (should be tomorrow). So far, the texture is toned down a lot, the colours on the playable part have been changed so the bottom is light against the dark background and the top is dark against the light background. The creases have gone in favour of a light rolling effect.

As for the glow, I am not putting that back in as it does look awful. Removed it once already so no need to go down that route again. As for the legend text part, never happy with it so that went a long time ago. It is a non painted part of the map now.

It is not that I do not listen to natty, it is just that after the rudeness of his posts on the last page, I did not see any reason to listen and just ignored him. I have no trouble changing things, I just have trouble with rudeness.
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [17/6] Page 16

Postby thenobodies80 on Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:35 am

You know that sometimes natty likes to be an asshole (natty don't complain because you know it's true and I've said to you 1000 times you have to learn to bite your tongue mate! ;))

Anyway, the secret with natty is to draw a line on his rude words, ingore them and read only the rest of what he says, the real meaning behind them.
He is like a parent that has to scold the children, it isn't done to hurt them, but just to help them to grow
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [17/6] Page 16

Postby koontz1973 on Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:03 am

That being said, you can catch more flies with honey. But if he wants to come and play nice, then I am more than willing to change things.
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [17/6] Page 16

Postby thenobodies80 on Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:36 am

the (missing) outline in the plaable area is still a problem imo.
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [17/6] Page 16

Postby koontz1973 on Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:40 pm

Working on it now. Give us a chance. :mrgreen:
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [17/6] Page 16

Postby natty dread on Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:41 pm

koontz1973 wrote:That being said, you can catch more flies with honey. But if he wants to come and play nice, then I am more than willing to change things.
New large.


Image

Anyway.

I still think you're attempting to make it look like the map is all "on the same canvas" and you're being too stringent with it. Loosen up a bit. I did the same thing way back, worried too much about the "realism" of the image - "it's supposed to look like a painting, so I can't use any drop shadows, blah blah blah" - and it just ends up hurting the work rather than improving it.

If I might be as self-centered as to point an example in my own work, I could drag your attention towards some of my latest work - if you look at what I did on the Eurasia map, I have very much a watercolour feeling going on there, but I haven't let that stop me from doing things on it that strictly don't look like watercolour when it helps the overall style of the map. Particularly, there are all kinds of small details to help give the land area contrast with the surrounding waters.

Now, in this case, things are going to be trickier, since you have a background with a lot of stuff going on, instead of a solid colour of a sea - but it shouldn't be impossible to salvage this map. I suggest you also take a look at the California map - it has a lot of the same "issues" this map has, you could take some inspiration from how that map has solved those issues.
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [17/6] Page 16

Postby koontz1973 on Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:13 am

Not stringent with the realism of it at all, but it is something that should be doable. With a mixture of effects it can be painted on and different enough to let players know where it starts and ends. The drop shadow effect was put on and stayed on for a few versions, but when people say it is no good and to take it of, I take it of.
The shadow of around the playing surface kinda makes it pop off the canvas, not a good thing.

This is the same effect but done in a slightly different way and not as thick. It should be more than noticeable to allow all player to see the start and finish of the map itself. If anyone looks at this and says where does is the map we can play on is, I really would be more than surprised. None of the colours match the painting itself, all are brighter, large swaths of colour with a thin outline between the painting and the map.
Click image to enlarge.
image

Looked at Eurasia and you know that I like that map, but you also know that there are things about it that I do not like, like the great wall, it does not sit right on the map IMO. But we discussed this in the thread. Looked at Cali, and it really is a different kettle of fish. The background is not full of details, it is large swaths of the same colour/ The map itself has a texture or detail that is similar to the background. The only thing of any detail on that map is the mountains so therefore the huge drop shadow and black lines work. But even on that map, it is missed out on places like the channel islands and not done with any great care around the cut out parts of the map, but that is not for me to say now.
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [17/6] Page 16

Postby natty dread on Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:51 am

It's nice that you're attempting to do something that looks like something, like you're trying to create an oil-on-canvas like style on this map, but it just doesn't work very well as it is. A lot of the elements just clash together, and in fact the only thing that looks like oil painting is the background.

With the playable area, there are just too many problems - it'd be easier for you to just redraw the whole thing from scratch, maybe using some skills you've learned since from your other map projects, and just abandon the idea that it has to be on the same canvas.

You still have some kind of diagonal striping of variating light/dark areas going on on the map, and the effect doesn't look very natural - it looks like there are huge bulges and holes on the map, but the graphics of the map don't follow those bulges, so it just brings another disconcerting clash on this image. I say just get rid of the diagonal stripes alltogether, they add nothing of value on this map.

The legend looks plain ugly. It's an ambiguous blob of solid colour with smoothed edges, it just further clashes with the rest of the picture. Frankly it looks like a rush job, and there's like a million more interesting things you could do with the legend if you'd just abandon the idea that it has to be on the same canvas. You could do some kind of tapestry or a scroll of paper sitting on top of that background image. Of course then you should do the same to the playable area, make it sit on top of the canvas.

And on to the playable area itself... the problem is still the lack of contrast. You added a sligh dark fuzzy border around it, but that still doesn't fix the issue - the playable area is not easy on the eye, it's not intuitive, etc. I've told it to you before. The problem is less noticeable if you only look at the top half of the map, but the middle & bottom half is just plain intolerable - there's so much noisy stuff going on at the background, and the map fails to properly separate itself from all that noise. Sure, you can tell where the edges between the map & bg go, if you look right at them, but the map doesn't draw your eye to it.

The fuzziness of the edges of the playable area only contribute to the problem. They should be sharp, you should have a sharp transition there marked by a high local contrast, it's no coincidence that most maps use sharp black lines for borders - it's because those are elements that require most clarity and contrast. Some don't use black borders, but they use different tricks to achieve the same effect, so it amounts to the same thing. So you're going to have to figure this out.
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [17/6] Page 16

Postby koontz1973 on Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:08 am

Striping gone, legend gone for the moment.
This should make it very clear beyond a shadow of a doubt.
This I am happy with. It is clear and I get top keep my texture. Just need to do the tidy up of all the other elements.
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [17/6] Page 16

Postby AndyDufresne on Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:14 am

I prefer the flat over the bubbly.

Did you ever try to do an outline of the gameboard that is similar to the outline of the title?


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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [17/6] Page 16

Postby natty dread on Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:20 am

Ok I think you're sort of jumping from one extreme to another here... ever heard of "subtlety"?

I mean, it's definitely a step to the right direction, but it's such a large step you end up going to the wrong direction in the end...

Tone down the bevel, make it narrower and lower the opacity, reduce the roundness of the map - the drop shadow should be subtler as well.
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [17/6] Page 16

Postby koontz1973 on Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:45 am

AndyDufresne wrote:I prefer the flat over the bubbly.

Did you ever try to do an outline of the gameboard that is similar to the outline of the title?


--Andy

I did, and been told to take it of, put it back, make it bigger, smaller, darker, lighter. You name it, it has been done. :lol:
natty dread wrote:Ok I think you're sort of jumping from one extreme to another here... ever heard of "subtlety"?

I mean, it's definitely a step to the right direction, but it's such a large step you end up going to the wrong direction in the end...

Tone down the bevel, make it narrower and lower the opacity, reduce the roundness of the map - the drop shadow should be subtler as well.

I know, this was just my frustration coming out. ;)
Here's the new one.
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [6/7] Page 17

Postby natty dread on Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:27 pm

Ok, the playable area is definitely starting to look better. At least it stands out from the background now.

I'm not so sure about the bevel though. I think it might be a better solution to just have a border on it, maybe a really thin one, but leave the drop shadow on...
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Re: Classic Cities Jakarta [6/7] Page 17

Postby Dukasaur on Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:45 pm

I agree. This version is much, much easier to see.
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