Counters as a font

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Re: Counters as a font

Postby VX-134 on Thu 31 May 2018 16:27

aramis wrote: I'm thinking of doing an alternate (I'd label it as italics) with the minis painting guide plan drawings... I'll need to find space for a third color for each.


I love the art in the old minis painting guide (I assume this is the one from the 2nd edition era). Not sure how it would look on a small counter (would you still be able to see the detail?). It would be interesting to see these available as a PDF of oversized black and white counters (equivalent in size to a miniature) that players could print and "customize" with markers. Steve Jackson Games once had a similar product for Car Wars.
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Re: Counters as a font

Postby Skarn on Fri 01 Jun 2018 04:22

Morpheus wrote:Skarn, this is really cool!

While i mostly play 3rd Edition tactical battles, i can definitely apprecite what you have done and the time/effort that you put into this. When you get a chance, can you post an image of what your Sol system looks like?

Since i haven’t played much 1st Edition, are all the systems portrayed on the 48x32 map?

Thank you. :cool:

The basic numbered grid can be used for any edition. 1st Ed's Galactic Hex Chart is actually a larger grid than the 6-part map (which was only 42x30). Speaking of which, here is a MapTool .CMPGN file with JUST the generic, numbered hex grid.

Sol System, as requested: Image

With the resolution I've used as a baseline (100 pixels), I will admit that MapTool doesn't zoom out very well for as large as a Starfire map turns out to be. (Note to Self: Try 200 pixels for the New Empires framework.) I've zoomed out far enough to show Earth; it therefore shows Mercury and Venus near Sol, Earth and Mars at the bottom, and Saturn off to the right. Click-through for the full-size image.

Each planet listed on Starfire III: Empires, pages 19-20 for the six starting systems has a unique token created from the six planets in the Latin character range of Aramis' font.

Yes, all of the systems use the same map grid as the warp point map (Galactic Hex Chart) and battle map. The System, Intercept, and Tactical scales weren't broken out from the Strategic scale until 2nd Edition. Also, it turned out that I missed a few planets in three of the starting systems when I was designing my layout; :oops: I had to expand the map to 48x33. :D

I've finished the 'framework' for 1E, and I'll probably be starting my solo exploration of it after I've slept. As to posting it, I'm just waiting for the OK from Aramis on my repackaging of his font and working out details with SDS on the Game Aid Agreement.

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Reason for Edit: Added the blank hex grid link
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Re: Counters as a font

Postby Morpheus on Sat 02 Jun 2018 20:42

I really like how this turned out, especially with how you have added color to the counter font.

What did you use to generate the map? I’m trying to find the time to put together a digital 3rd Edition tactical/system hex map (to match the 4-part map that shipped with Imperial Starfire), but so far between work and family I haven’t had the time. I’ll either be designing it in PostScript or LaTeX (haven’t decided on which yet but both have pros and cons). I want to automate the creation rather than draw it out by hand so that it will be easier to change in the future.
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Re: Counters as a font

Postby Skarn on Sun 03 Jun 2018 03:00

Morpheus wrote:I really like how this turned out, especially with how you have added color to the counter font.

What did you use to generate the map? I’m trying to find the time to put together a digital 3rd Edition tactical/system hex map (to match the 4-part map that shipped with Imperial Starfire), but so far between work and family I haven’t had the time. I’ll either be designing it in PostScript or LaTeX (haven’t decided on which yet but both have pros and cons). I want to automate the creation rather than draw it out by hand so that it will be easier to change in the future.

Again, thank you. :oops: This is the first time that I've tried to write my own code for any sort of graphics manipulation that wasn't ASCII art back in the 8-bit days. (I'm a developer, not a designer.) The counters font made it fairly easy.

The hex grid itself was provided by MapTool, and it extends infinitely beyond all edges of the numbered area, allowing for running battles once you drop ship tokens on the gird. (It can also provide horizontally aligned hexes, squares, or isometric squares.) The star field is one of the backgrounds included with the program.

MapTool isn't designed for printing, though, as I suspect you're wanting to do based on the references to PostScript and LaTeX, but since its open source, you could probably extract the Java code for drawing the hexes and reuse it to make a map for printing.

For hex numbering, I used C# to create a series of transparent tokens the full width of the hex, with the numbers in white, then spent nearly two hours manually dragging each numbered token on to the grid, letting MapTool center them at the top of the hex. (Unless I missed something in the API documentation, the current macro language for MapTool doesn't support programmatically putting tokens on the map; I'm hoping that will change once they convert to JavaScript and get that change into a stable release version.)

As to making the planets, the majority of the code is identical to what I used for the hex numbers, since they both come from TrueType fonts. I'm using .NET's predefined brushes for my color choices. I paint a black background on the token, then overlay it with each of the two glyphs that make up the planet in different colors.

I've tried to use the same color scheme for denoting planetary atmosphere that Space Empires 4 used (red for hydrogen, blue for oxygen, green for carbon dioxide, purple for methane) for the base colors on a given planet. For no atmosphere, I used browns & grays. I concluded that Fl meant fluorine (actually F), then looked up it and chlorine on Wikipedia to learn their natural colors for use on planets with those atmosphere. For 'Cor'ossive I tried to tend towards green as an acidic color, and for 'Ex'otic atmospheres, I went with clashing colors.

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Once I finish with my 1st Ed. Empires play-through (or give up on it in frustration at how vague 1E is in places :mrgreen:), I intend to give 2E New Empires the same treatment in MapTool, complete with tags for distance in light minutes from the system primary in place of the hex numbers.

While they did change the scale a bit between editions, that map should still be usable for newer editions if you're willing to switch from wood or plastic to a virtual tabletop. ;)
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Re: Counters as a font

Postby aramis on Fri 15 Jun 2018 23:51

Thanks to Skarn's prompting, I've incrementally improved it a bit.

Including ringed planets, DSB's CD, and Planetary Base.
still at http://aramis.hostman.us/fonts/
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Re: Counters as a font

Postby Tesuji on Sat 16 Jun 2018 09:01

Great stuff!

@Morpheus:
I would appreciate if you designing in Postscript/LaTeX, since I have done my version 4-part in Asymptote, which can integrate LaTeX and ships out native Postscript. :-) It's finished now, and I am working on integration of Aramis ttf fonts, which i try to convert to LaTeX .sty fonts. Ill send you an image of the final map...
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Re: Counters as a font

Postby Morpheus on Sat 16 Jun 2018 15:00

Tesuji wrote:@Morpheus:
I would appreciate if you designing in Postscript/LaTeX, since I have done my version 4-part in Asymptote, which can integrate LaTeX and ships out native Postscript. :-) It's finished now, and I am working on integration of Aramis ttf fonts, which i try to convert to LaTeX .sty fonts. Ill send you an image of the final map...

Do you have a preference for which one I do first (Postscript or LaTeX)? I’ve been planning out the design so once I get a chance to code it up, the map should go fairly quickly in either language.
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Re: Counters as a font

Postby Tesuji on Sun 17 Jun 2018 06:38

@Morpheus:
Nope, do as you like. It's both equally cryptic to me.
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