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Author Topic: DIY Pilot Card with template and tutorial  (Read 1082 times)

Sartris

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DIY Pilot Card with template and tutorial
« on: 14 February 2019, 03:03:20 »
Maybe my favorite part of the new boxes is the pilot cards. After going through the pregenerated ones, I immediately wanted to make my own. Unfortunately, I'm not a graphic designer and attempts to fiddle with a PDF of pre-final cards CGL previewed a few months ago had... interesting results in Acrobat. I knew at that if I wanted new ones, they'd have to be from scratch - and since colorizing mech images is outside of my skillset, I decided to go grey scale (a happy coincidence in intersection with my propensity to do everything as cheaply as possible).

After some tinkering, where I inadvertently taught myself how to do a few things, I got to a result I was actually pretty pleased with



they even look pretty decent next to the official cards


Here's the files you need to make them too
Samuel Tabbard's example card. You can also copy/paste it several times on the page to make a bunch and print them out. Save paper!

here's the word version that's a little wonkier to work with but still functions.

SPA list. I used the official wording found on the box set cards. There are a number of abilities not used. I'd recommend just c/p the short description from CampOps for now if you want to use them

Faction Logos. A .zip with the official era icons as well as every faction logo I could glean from sourcebooks.


Step 1: Decide on a concept.
Before you go barreling into editing text, you need to figure out who your pilot is. Our example edit will be a Lyran social general. He needs a heroic name - a name that will inspire his troops and strike fear into enemies. We'll call him Michael Michaels.

Step 2: Edit Name and Skills
Click on the text box at the top with the name to edit it.


You also need to assign him skills. Michael Michaels is a warrior with skill befitting his lofty station. Click on the pilot and gunnery skill numbers to edit those text boxes.


Step 3: Enter Vitals
Next you need to assign Michael his basic stats. He's a pretty low-end social general so he's not too high in the chain of command


Due to his position he was assigned to a prestigious military command


And his ride. Definitely not compensating for something.


Step 4: 'Mech Pic
Now we need to make sure the 'Mech pic matches the 'mech. Left-click on the Orion. When the grey dots appear, Right click and go to "Change Picture"


Pick the file you want where you store such things. I learned how to make transparent backgrounds in Paint 3D so the white space won't cover up part of the faction logo background.



Step 5: Enter Background
Now you need to concoct a background. Make sure to not go overboard or there won't be enough room to add SPAs. Look at the official cards for an approximate word count.


Step 6: Choose SPAs
Now your pilot needs some SPAs. Technically, Michael shouldn't get any as a green pilot, but that makes for a poor tutorial. We'll take pity on him and give him one. Go to the provided .doc file and copy the text for the ability you want. Paste it over the top of the SPAs on the template.


Step 7: Say Something Clever
Add a quote that adds a bit more flavor and personality to your pilot. The official cards' quotes are by someone else about the pilot. You can follow that template. Or not. While you're at it, adjust the pilot BV mod (see the chart from TechManual in the SPA doc). At least our boy won't hurt his force's BV.


Step 8: Finishing Touches
Homestretch. Now let's replace that eagle with the Lyran fist (presumably clutching all that money). Right click on the main textbox and select Format Autoshape.


Next go to Fill Effects


And then File


Pick the Lyran Commonwealth image from the package provided. Or add literally any image you want. Go wild. Make sure your image is sized to 225Lx288H or it will stretch and look weird. Also double-check that the transparency is set at 75% or higher or else that background is going to overpower your text. 

Finally, select which eras your pilot is active in. Follow the same procedure as you did with changing the faction background and select one, two, or three eras. Make sure the transparency is turned up to 80% or it's going to cover up your quote and potentially part of the background. If you don't want to fill the second or third box, just turn the transparency up to 100% and it will be invisible.

we don't have to change anything here so i'll add a third era (which means our good general somehow survives the destruction of the 8th at the hands of the Falcons).







We're all done! Now get your avatar out into the field!


Syzyx

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Re: DIY Pilot Card with template and tutorial
« Reply #1 on: 14 February 2019, 03:28:27 »
You are clearly here to make my life promoting BattleTech to my mainly RPG friends worlds easier. Thank you for all the work on this and the equipment cards.
But as a matter of fact I was quite busy getting potty-trained at the time and had no time for interstellar politics.- ykonoclast

mbear

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Re: DIY Pilot Card with template and tutorial
« Reply #2 on: 14 February 2019, 09:52:46 »
Sartis, what software are you using to make these cards?


NeonKnight

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Re: DIY Pilot Card with template and tutorial
« Reply #4 on: 14 February 2019, 11:20:01 »
Good Job!

Hmmm...I Actually have publisher...and I think it's the 2019 version.
AGENT #575, Vancouver Canada

Sartris

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Re: DIY Pilot Card with template and tutorial
« Reply #5 on: 14 February 2019, 13:52:14 »
i'm running office 365, but i'm not doing anything wild and crazy from a features standpoint that would cause any version compatibility bumps.

Daryk

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Re: DIY Pilot Card with template and tutorial
« Reply #6 on: 16 February 2019, 10:18:25 »
I'd be willing to bet PowerPoint could do it too...

Sartris

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Re: DIY Pilot Card with template and tutorial
« Reply #7 on: 16 February 2019, 13:44:45 »
it required a different approach to certain elements, but i did *mostly* get it to function in powerpoint. what's maddening is that you can't wrap text around graphics like in every other office app. it creates issues for the mech picture. i'll have to try some workarounds

i love the patronizing explanation from microsoft for why there's no wrap feature

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2011/03/30/wrap-text-around-pictures-and-shapes-in-powerpoint-avoid-it/

"we think you shouldn't use the program this way so we took the option out"

Daryk

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Re: DIY Pilot Card with template and tutorial
« Reply #8 on: 16 February 2019, 13:51:48 »
That... is... SO... [Rule 4]

It seems like every damn time they update Windows, I have to kill Cortana and reinstall software all over again.

Sartris

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Re: DIY Pilot Card with template and tutorial
« Reply #9 on: 16 February 2019, 18:54:01 »
So long story short - Publisher is the only office app that lets you wrap text around objects positioned in objects. word refuses to because the textbox and pic are both in the "draw" layer as opposed to the "document" layer. The two layers can wrap around each other but the objects living the draw universe can't interact like that. Powerpoint's just a free for all. The end result was a little different than expected but not horrible?



I tried printing one out and the text is surprisingly readable. Ultimately it doesn't matter as much because the overlap between the textbox and the mech pic is biography, which is non-essential to gameplay. It's also slightly more of a pain to select the mech pic  It will at least let people without Publisher actually use the template.

Sartris

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Re: DIY Pilot Card with template and tutorial
« Reply #10 on: 17 February 2019, 23:10:22 »
i've made peace with the fact that you can't auto-wrap text in textboxes that have overlapping graphics in word. That means you have to do it yourself like it's the damn 1980s and you're on a typewriter. The bright side is pretty much everything else operates normally per the tutorial above. I'll add the .docx file to the links on the OP



the one thing is that word favors selecting textboxes, even when there are elements far above them on the layering. The easiest way around this that i've found is to use the selection pane



then find the mech pic and select it that way. when you go to right-click to find the Change Picture option, make sure to do so on the visible pic border to avoid selecting the textbox again


panzerfaust150

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Re: DIY Pilot Card with template and tutorial
« Reply #11 on: 06 March 2019, 15:15:37 »
« Last Edit: 06 March 2019, 15:18:08 by panzerfaust150 »
Quote from: HABEAS
Now now. The C-bill stops here. Everything in BattleTech is my fault.

I AM BATTLETECH!

Kilderkin

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Re: DIY Pilot Card with template and tutorial
« Reply #12 on: 07 March 2019, 04:59:31 »
Nice work! These are really cool. The tricky part is balancing SPAs!

 

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