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Thread: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

  1. #1

    Default Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    Absolutely no offense meant, this is just constructive feedback, as I'm just simply wondering about the Unit Cards for future DEI projects.
    The main DEI cards look blurry/pixelated like they were done in a low resolution with bad lighting in most cases, looks like HDR or SSAO was on very high or something.

    I've got a few screenshots below you can see how much more clear and brighter the Normal cards are, and even the last picture from a mod of the original Rome Total War look noticeably better...
    and the last 4th attachment is a mixture of Normal and DEI, you can see a noticeable difference in quality

    DEI
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    NORMAL
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    Rome Total War mod
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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Untitled.jpg  
    Last edited by Sagat; July 29, 2019 at 12:46 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    This could have probably been posted in the feedback sticky, as far as screenshots are concerned, Rusty was busy on overhauling those a few months ago, but I believe he's unavailable at the moment.

  3. #3
    Dago Red's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    Unit cards deserve a dedicated discussion in my humble opinion. Correcting the terrible choice made by CA by Bullgod back in the day was mod #1 for me just to be able to look at the UI and continue alpha testing after release for Sega/CA. I too have noticed a wide variety of cards in DeI, though thankful for them all nonetheless.

    OP, where are you getting the "normal" cards from?

  4. #4
    KAM 2150's Avatar Artifex
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    Default Re: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    Keep in mind that all unit cards need to be manually done in photoshop/gimp as they are not just basic screenshots. Now with around 2600 units in the mod and few changes to unit card style over the years, it is hard to be consistent, especially when person who works on them is unable to continue his work.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    Dardo I think I did mention it in the Feedback discussion, but no reply, I don't mean to clog the forum just trying to ask a relevant question, I am curious what kind of changes we'll be seeing for future projects

    Kam yea I wasn't suggesting anything unrealistic like redoing all of them, I'm aware it's a tremendous amount of work, I was just wondering if they were going to be of the same quality for future projects as well.. I figure if you guys will be doing new cards for newer projects, it would make sense to improve them a bit.


    DagoRed I use WuestenKrieger's Vanilla cards mod, and yes I used to be dedicated to Bullgod style, but over time started liking the Normal style.... there is actually a really amazing picture I found of what look to be Vanilla style unit cards, but I couldn't find any more info on them anywhere except just this one picture below




    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #6

    Default Re: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    As KAM said, there are 2600 units that are constantly being added to or updated. Its a common request to have unit cards for specific units be redone, have new unit cards done, have a different style worked on, etc. I think a lot of things need to be considered here that aren't obvious unless you have worked on it:

    1. There are a ton of units and they are always changing. Its an impossible task to keep every unit card perfectly updated in the mod. We are always working on updating them when we can, but there will always be older style cards in the mod, period. You can cherry pick those out as examples and say our unit cards are bad, or you can look at the various good examples and say they are good. Its a permanently ongoing process by nature. The Roman cards were an older style that have not been updated in awhile.

    2. We have had 3-4 different people work on them full time for months and all have burnt out eventually. Its easy to criticize the cards, ask for new ones, etc. But when you actually put the work in and realize the time and commitment it takes its a very different story. Add to that the fact that most people who work on projects like these come and go as they have time and real life commitments, its simply a task that will consume anyone.

    3. Unit card style is completely subjective and while some people may like vanilla or bullgod style, others like our style. We can't please everyone. Our choice with the style we have was to highlight the amazing unit variety and asset work done in the mod and bring that into the campaign. I stand by that decision.

    4. On the technical side of things, its not easy to properly capture a unit card in game. Not only is getting the right lighting/graphics/model at the right angle a chore, properly adding that image in is not straightforward. The game processes the image a certain way and often the saturation and brightness have to be cranked up in order for the card to look good at all. Its not like taking an awesome screenshot and just slapping it into the game. The reason some of the cards look pixelated is because that process had to be done on them so that certain PC configurations would show them properly.


    The above wasn't meant as a pushback on your criticism, I just wanted to highlight the overall issues with cards. I do agree they are not consistent, we are always open to help updating cards and anyone willing to put in the time to update older cards are always welcome here.
    Last edited by Dresden; July 29, 2019 at 03:29 PM.

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  7. #7

    Default Re: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    Dresden appreciate the detailed reply, and yea like I said I wasn't criticizing at all, because it's exactly as you said there's a few things that go into it and of course it gets tedious doing hundreds of cards. As far as preferences and all those other minute details I agree with you as they're irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

    I was just wondering if we'll be seeing the same quality cards for Alexander and future DEI releases as well, that's all.

    I'm actually trying to figure out how to make them myself, I've never done any type of modding and maybe I'm naive in thinking that simply having a high end PC and 4k monitor is enough to make some really nice cards, but I don't know, if I figure it out maybe I could be of some sort of help.

  8. #8
    Dago Red's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    Echoing Sagat -- same here. Like I said, thankful for all the unit cards. And I'm not implying any criticism for the slightly differing styles either. The sheer number of units, frequent updating, and regular new content is a boon and by nature with different people working on it, you will get variation.

    Loved Bullgod's work, but would have made the exact same decision. The DeI photo-capture realism style is not only the only sane solution to so many units, but this approach also highlights the actual model & skin work of the unit best.

    My only nitpick of current unit cards is when the card doesn't represent the unit well. It's not common, but you find one here and there -- usually it's about armor: a unit has little armor in game, but the unit card appears well armored, or a unit is actually well armored, but the unit card shows a man with little or no armor. Also, the Greeks have too many samey unit cards between them even though the units may be actually slightly different. This is first world problems minor stuff

  9. #9
    Jake Armitage's Avatar Vicarius
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    Default Re: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    It would be useful if someone would start doing a well done list of which UI need to be changed.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    Quote Originally Posted by Sagat View Post
    Dresden appreciate the detailed reply, and yea like I said I wasn't criticizing at all, because it's exactly as you said there's a few things that go into it and of course it gets tedious doing hundreds of cards. As far as preferences and all those other minute details I agree with you as they're irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

    I was just wondering if we'll be seeing the same quality cards for Alexander and future DEI releases as well, that's all.

    I'm actually trying to figure out how to make them myself, I've never done any type of modding and maybe I'm naive in thinking that simply having a high end PC and 4k monitor is enough to make some really nice cards, but I don't know, if I figure it out maybe I could be of some sort of help.
    A lot of mod work isn't "difficult" per se. Just very, very time consuming.

  11. #11
    KAM 2150's Avatar Artifex
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    Default Re: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    Just a fun math, if you would dedicate on average 15 minutes per single unit card (which can take much more than that), it would take you around 27 days of constant work to redo them all.
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  12. #12
    Jake Armitage's Avatar Vicarius
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    Default Re: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    So we just have to find 27 people...
    Not so difficult if some of the people around the forum would decide to give a hand...

  13. #13
    Ygraine's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    @Sagat

    The "vanilla style" picture you linked is from the game "Apotheon": https://store.steampowered.com/app/208750/Apotheon/


    As for unit cards, I think we might see some mods in that regard once DeI stops adding new units.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    What is the best/easiest/fastest way of creating unit cards?

    I've been testing around a little bit, thought I could view units in the Variant Editor and take screenshots there, but that didnt really work out.

    So I began taking screenshots of specific units in custom battles and then made an icon out of that. Which is is obviously easier said than done, as it involves cutting out the background, getting the lighting and camera angles right and a few more things. This is indeed a very tiresome and time consuming process and I'm wondering if thats the way you guys do it?

  15. #15
    Dago Red's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    @yaxl3y yes, but you need photoshop, or Gimp. There's no way around it, and you have to know what you're doing or the cards will not turn out great. But once you're a photoshop pro (or even average user) it will allow you to make a more uniform look and adjust things without being a professional graphic designer.

    My photoshop is trapped on a dead computer and adobe is a pain in the ass now that they've gone subscription (installs were already limited so to re-install I first have to uninstall from the dead computer, which is not possible). I got Gimp and spent hours customizing/installing mods to kit it out like photoshop so I could use it, and then the drive it was on got wiped by a bad anti-virus install from Avast. So i'm currently kaput. If I could just get a new copy of photoshop, I would, but they only offer subscription now (and F that).

  16. #16

    Default Re: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Armitage View Post
    So we just have to find 27 people...
    Not so difficult if some of the people around the forum would decide to give a hand...
    I don’t care much about the unit cards. Battle mechanics and gameplay are far more important to me. I also know very little about photoshop and don’t have a program. However, more generally, I would love to see the devs come to the forum with specific asks like this whenever we in the community can be helpful. I imagine there are many folks like me who would gladly help out any crowdsourcing needs.

    For my part here, if the dev team decided it was worth pursuing, I would gladly commit a dozen hours to taking screenshots of units for someone else with more capability to photoshop. Whether that, unit testing, or anything else, I think many of us are happy to help this awesome mod in any small way we can.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    Quote Originally Posted by yaxl3y View Post
    What is the best/easiest/fastest way of creating unit cards?

    So I began taking screenshots of specific units in custom battles and then made an icon out of that. Which is is obviously easier said than done, as it involves cutting out the background, getting the lighting and camera angles right and a few more things. This is indeed a very tiresome and time consuming process and I'm wondering if thats the way you guys do it?

    I think the best way was the way Rusty was doing them (mpo). Taking screenshots etc. as you have described is how Rusty went about it, iirc. Unfortunately i don't think there's any easiest or fastest way to do them.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    Quote Originally Posted by Dago Red View Post
    @yaxl3y yes, but you need photoshop, or Gimp. There's no way around it, and you have to know what you're doing or the cards will not turn out great. But once you're a photoshop pro (or even average user) it will allow you to make a more uniform look and adjust things without being a professional graphic designer.

    My photoshop is trapped on a dead computer and adobe is a pain in the ass now that they've gone subscription (installs were already limited so to re-install I first have to uninstall from the dead computer, which is not possible). I got Gimp and spent hours customizing/installing mods to kit it out like photoshop so I could use it, and then the drive it was on got wiped by a bad anti-virus install from Avast. So i'm currently kaput. If I could just get a new copy of photoshop, I would, but they only offer subscription now (and F that).
    Yes I have PS and know how to use it, it just seems overcomplicated and I thought I was missing something obvious.

    Quote Originally Posted by LEXI2016 View Post
    I think the best way was the way Rusty was doing them (mpo). Taking screenshots etc. as you have described is how Rusty went about it, iirc. Unfortunately i don't think there's any easiest or fastest way to do them.
    Yeah I guess you're right. I'll keep looking if I find another way.


    Maybe it's possible to export unit models to 3ds max and take screens from there?

  19. #19
    Jake Armitage's Avatar Vicarius
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    Default Re: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    Basic Gimp is more than enough to do quite all the work, the only passage where PS is needed is when you'll have to reduce the image size (gimp quite sucks regarding this).
    Last time I used 3d max was years ago (never done 3d modding) and no you can't take a picture from it 'cause you'll have to do a render to have a decent image.

  20. #20
    ScipioTheGreat's Avatar Miles
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    Default Re: Quality of Unit Cards going forward with Alexander

    Quote Originally Posted by yaxl3y View Post
    Yes I have PS and know how to use it, it just seems overcomplicated and I thought I was missing something obvious.



    Yeah I guess you're right. I'll keep looking if I find another way.


    Maybe it's possible to export unit models to 3ds max and take screens from there?
    If it helps quell any misconceptions, the process isn’t too complicated, all you’re really doing is taking a screenshot of a unit, using a selection layer tool that is typically present in any standard photo design or document design program (like PS, gimp, the affinity tools, etc) to highlight the intended unit within the picture, and separating it so you can make all wanted aspects of the picture transparent.

    However you proceed after that, like adding a black “shadow” or “glow” effect on the unit layer, cropping/resizing, and/or additional effects/aesthetic adjustments, is up to you, but all that is needed in the end is to export to a png file. May seem like a lot, but it comes down to a couple main steps, that are simple enough for any user of DEI I’d argue, if you take the little time to get it down. Not to mention, there’s even automated programs and sites that will simply detect and output the transparent png image for you, though the results will vary obviously.

    So while this process isn’t too complicated as it may seem and can be done quite quickly, even if you’re not a graphic design guru, once you run through it a bit, the task gets quite impressive with scale (as anything) if you plan to redo all the estimated 2600 unit cards in DEI like others have stated above.

    So my unimportant advice is if you have some rosters or cards in particular that you don’t prefer, start with those! And whether or not the unit cards end up getting done in the base mod, you’ll at least have a more preferable number of unit cards than before, and even maybe down the road you’ll be able reach a suitable point where the major rosters are completely done or even all 2600!

    There’s tons of guides and videos on the process if there’s anything someone might find confusing, and I’ll also be more than happy to help. And of course, don’t forget, if you’re ever unhappy with a certain thing, its always better to fix it yourself than depend on someone else. Cheers

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