One of the things we promised to blog about was what it takes to bring a game to market. The amount of time and effort that goes into each detail before a game is released is actually pretty remarkable. To give you an idea, here is the design process we went through for just one agent card and its faction’s template.
We originally started with the following text that was used during play testing:
Take two bonus cards from the Berlin deck on completing a mission.
The Killer: Destroy any two agents, either in the city decks or completed missions.
A man as dark as the name he was born with…
Based on this we were tasked with coming up with some art direction for the artist and/or graphic designer. In this case we discussed making the agent cards look like passports. This was the first design that was turned in.
Note: The artist and the graphic designer are not always the same person, but they could be. Typically the artist would be responsible for the drawn portions of the card while the graphic designer would be in charge of the layout, choosing text fonts, colors, etc.
We then passed the drawing onto another artist to cleanup some of the shading. There were a few more pseudo ‘stamps’ added into the passport and after some back and forth discussing bleed areas and text fonts we came up with the following image.
Note: Think of bleed areas as lines on the card that will be cut. The cut may be too far on either side of the line, so you have to leave some extra space just in case.
This looked pretty good on the computer so we did a test print on some actual cards. The test print showed us that some of the text is difficult to read and the cards printed are too dark. So we made some more changes, lightened up the cards to look more like the other agents so they’re consistent, and corrected some of the issues with readability.
In the end, this was the final result of each of those iterations. The card’s stats are clearly shown to the left of the passport’s photo. There is now an icon to indicate the agent’s special ability and this helps segregate the various sections of text on the card. All in all, I’m pleased with the way this turned out and I hope you will be too when you get a copy of Ace of Spies in your hands.