23 June, 2017

Glyphs and Icons

If you've read through the blog, you'll know that I'm a visual thinker. I make maps. I make images. I like things to have patterns and systems to have a sense of order to them. I don't like games where there are a dozen subsystems for a dozen different tasks. I like ideas that feed back into themselves making holistic ecosystems of play.

As a part of my current design project, The Law, I've decided to make a series of glyphs for the attributes. In my earlier "image-free" version of the rules, I was using placeholder wingdings and webdings, but it's time to move to something more distinct and tailored to the game.

This process saw me make a set of initial glyphs and show them to the world.





The responses were generally positive, but a few feedback comments raised some valid issues that would have led to problems. The glyphs generally portray what I'm trying to get across with them, but when shrunk down to fit in with text, they'll lose a lot of detail and generally get a bit busy.

So that led to a new set of glyphs being designed...

First the attributes.




Nothing particularly dramatic about the changes, but the swords (on the conflict glyph) were being confused for crystals and other mystical elements, and the swirls around the book (on the knowledge glyph) were distracting from the central symbol. Generally, the main elements linked to the attribute concept were magnified too.

While I was at it, I figured that other parts of the game required glyphs of their own.  

Health (which resists the conflict actions of others)

Status (which resists the influence actions of others) 

Willpower (I might need to change that name, but it resists the mysticism actions of others)

Wisdom (which resists the knowledge actions of others)

Equipment (which works to both resist certain actions, or magnify others)

Finally, since I've been drawing some inspiration from the game mechanism sigils used in the card game Vampire the Eternal Struggle, I decided to create a few generic sigils. The first of these reflect action events directed from the character, and reactions against events incoming.
Action Glyph (typically associated with circumstances, tools and items that enhance a character's ability to manipulate the world around them..such as weapons which deal extra damage on a successful conflict action, or specialist toolkits that might bring extra information with a successful knowledge action. It could just as easily be a positive "blessing" that makes mystic actions more successful or a negative "curse" that makes actions less successful. The key thing to note here is that the effect occurs when the character is active in some way.)  

Reaction Glyph (typically associated with circumstances, tools and items that cause follow up effects when a character is subjected to someone else's action...such as armour reducing incoming damage,  minimize the negative effects, or cover reducing chance that a ranged shot hits at all, similarly it might apply to mystic protective wards. Negative reactive conflict situations might include being ambushed, having a tracking beacon attached to your car when pursued. The key thing to note here is that the effect occurs when the character is reacting to something incoming)

I'm also thinking of generating glyphs that will quickly show if something is a one-off effect, limited in usage, or freely usable. I'm sure there will be other glyph ideas that come to me, but I need to make sure they are all distinctly different in appearance to avoid confusion.  
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