Tools used

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Tools used

Postby Anderas » Wednesday October 19th, 2016 1:20am

While making my own version of Heroquest, i was using quite a plethora of tools.
Most of them i installed just for this project. Here's a short introduction of them - just if someone's accidentally interested in my opinion.



Photoshop removed itself from the market, from my point of view, with a license of 19,50 per month it is just not payable, no way. However, there IS a photoshop license of some years ago, for Photoshop CS2, that is free for download.
I used a more modern version of it, and i must say, they did not a lot better and they even removed functions in the new version. So despite the old school surface, Photoshop CS2 is the way to go.

Gimp is an open source paint program that i just use to fill the gaps of photoshop - i don't like GIMP at all. It has all the open source failures, like, it is difficult to use, essential functions are just missing, and so on. So i use it in the most extreme cases only. Particularly, my "modern" version of photoshop can't do animated gifs with different frame lengths anymore. stupid they are to remove it!

Inkscape is super for vectorgraphics, say, symbols made for Heroscribe. I can't become friends with this tool, but it's the only one having a lot of functions out there.

http://www.autotracer.org/ is an alternative to inkscape. You prepare a Hero or Monster Symbol in quite a good resolution, in png format, in your favorite tool, with three colors. Black, white and a light grey. Then you tell autotracer to remove the "white background" and you get a black/light grey vectorized symbol with transparent background. It sounds easier than it is: i need an average of one evening per symbol, doing it while watching television with my wife. Maybe i am doing something wrong.

Powerpoint for simple shapes: You can add shapes to each other, or substract them from each other, you can quite simply change their colors (for example for my four colored questbook) and then save the result as graphic. I was hacking my windows registy so that powerpoint outputs in 330 dpi instead of basic 96 dpi. That was worth it for Heroquest, just for all the rest of my life it now generates too big files. :mrgreen: I also like to make my questbooks in powerpoint, as it allows to move and place pictures and texts as you like. Also all my gamecard prototypes have been done quick and dirty in powerpoint. Afterwards, it is lacking some functions, so for the "real" printable version of my gamecards, i was reverting to photoshop again.

Flickr for sharing photos. More or less unlimited in space, it has some limitations in the terms of usage: You must link to flickr when sharing a photo, so nearly all my photos have that link embedded. It may be worth exploring alternatives like photobucket or others, but i am so lazy.

dropbox The only file sharing service i know, really, that doesn't bombard you with advertisements instead offering the download link. I shut it down after synchro, because this REALLY slows down my PC. My PC is behind a slow 30Mbit line on the countryside of france so it might be that, maybe.

Snipping Tool is pre-installed on Windows pc. There is nothing more practical for getting pictures out of pdf files.


PureSync: Over time, I was gathering a lot of data on Heroquest. Really a lot. And as editing pictures is quite time consuming, under no circumstances i want to lose my data. So i bought a 128 GB SD card recently and copied all the data. However, copying data each time i was doing something for Heroquest can be quite tedious, plus i was never sure if i worked on the SD card or on the C drive today. So i downloaded PureSync and connected the two Heroquest folders on the SD Card and on my PC. Now, every time i spend again my entire day to change something on one side, i start the synchro and it is automatically copied to the other side. It is maybe worth noting that i end PureSync each time it did it's job, because i have the impression that it slows down my PC.

Foxit PDF reader don't know if this is a good one. It was the first i installed to be honest. I use it in two ways: Open and read pdf, and then, if a pdf is interesting, print it as pdf to remove the protection. After print as pdf, the new version can be edited, so i can use my cleptocreativity in full force. :D

FreeOCR: Yes, while we talk about ripping, it might be worth using this tool once in a while when you have found a closed down text and you want to reuse it somewhere else. You have a scan of the original quest book? Let OCR read it for you. It's not perfect, but it saves already a lot of work compared to manually rewriting the text.

FastPictureViewer provides me with previews and shows metadata of all the pictures directly in Windows Explorer. I was so irritated after months of working on files i couldn't identify before opening that i finally invested the 10 bucks. It shows nearly all raw formats, and photoshop files, as a preview. Love it. Unnecessary, but i love it. I installed three free versions before this one, and this one really is the way to go.Test version is some days, so you can try without paying.

Heroscribe the tool with the most symbols out there. Even if Derfel Link is not reachable anymore, the tool is still the best you can have. Plus, if you open the folders, there are literally thousands of symbols inside that you can use for generating your own quests even if you prefer another tool.

Mohawk's Questimator: Check out his signature. That tool calculates, correctly used, the average BP a hero group will lose during a quest. The results are given with a variance, so you can see how trustworthy the result is. Use Multi-BP-Monsters and the variance goes down, just a tip. In my experience, with a difficulty of 8 the Heroes start to complain that it is too easy (that's the rescue of Sir Ragnar); with a difficulty of 14 or 15, regularly one of them dies and they really stop complaining. With a difficulty of 20, you can give them quite the hammer. The Trial with a newborn Hero group has roughly 25 as difficulty, just for comparison.

Mohawk's Heroquest Modern Font: Yes, really, check out the signature of that guy. Heroquest Modern is a font that has all the normal letters, but outside the range of the normal letters, you have a lot of symbols that you can use directly in the text. I was testing them on some spells, the response was overwhelming. Afterwards, i changed all my cards to use the symbols instead of ever reapeating sentences. "Discard this card after use" is a line you will never write again.

7-Zip: Yeah. Can't live without it, really. Just make sure you deactivate some context menu lines in it's options window. No-one needs the CRC code in the context menu. The only context menu options i was keeping, was "unzip here" and "open". Once that's done, it is really a great tool.

Bulk Rename Utility: That one's really a highlight. It lets you open an entire folder and rename all the files with simple to use functions. For the more experienced, it even understands regular expressions which is just great for me because i used them all the time since i discovered them. For people not knowing regular expressions, it is still a great tool because it is so easy to use and there is nothing better than this if you want to rename 300+ finished Heroquest cards in a go. Example: You have Fear, Ball of Flame, Rust and some others, but you like them to be called Chaos Spell - Fear; Chaos Spell - Ball of Flame, Chaos Spell - Rust? This is the tool that will do it.
Last edited by Anderas on Wednesday October 19th, 2016 10:08am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Tools used

Postby knightkrawler » Wednesday October 19th, 2016 4:40am

Nice thread and nice list.
The ones I use are way simpler and way more basic:

Photoshop Elements 6 - does everything I want from PS,
but I'll probably download the CS2 license as recommended before it goes sour.

MS Paint - pre-installed on Windows OS; for making my own descriptive and explanatory graphics, for the rulebook and such.

XNView - just my basic free picture viewer that I also use to cut out and re-size pictures

OpenOffice Writer - the thing for hacking my texts in and the lifesaver when I have ideas; aptly named files floating all over my desktop;
lets me effectively paste in pictures and convert to PDF

HeroScribe - well, duh; source for symbols, too.

HQModern font - a lifesaver

Dropbox - for sharing end product
HQ - Heroes & Villains (Dropbox-download link) https://www.dropbox.com/sh/jgj0kzsys9w38oh/AAA_VEHx6vMv4HKRX7IiOWTFa?dl=0
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Re: Tools used

Postby mitchiemasha » Wednesday October 19th, 2016 8:22am

Bulk rename utility. I use Tag and Rename on a huge Music archive for my job, if it works similar to that, should be exactly what I've been looking for.

Google drive has become my filesharing site of choice now. One drive for system back up.


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Re: Tools used

Postby Anderas » Wednesday October 19th, 2016 10:11am

Mitchie,
it's quite that. just for normal files, too. For MP3 it's normally easier to rely on the MP3 tag, but for normal files you don't have it. I added a link to it in my posting.

Knightkrawler,
i use the MS office package only because i was getting it from work for free. My employer thought it would be cheaper to distribute it to everybody instead of training the people.


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Re: Tools used

Postby Spectre » Monday January 2nd, 2017 12:37pm

As an alternative to Photoshop, I use Paint Shop Pro.

Now, Photoshop does have a few tools that Paint Shop Pro does not (when comparing PSP8 vs. PS CS2, both older versions, I know), but it has a few that Photoshop does not have, such as vector graphics support and a very broad array of supported image formats (much larger than Photoshop). I even use it to open up PDF files to snip images.

On the subject of PDF files, I use something called PDF995. I can take any image I create in PSP (hell, you can even use this with MS Office if you want) and turn it into a PDF. Now, you can't save your image as a PDF. Instead, you print an image as a PDF with PDF995 by selecting it as your print device (even though it's only software. It's a free program. Sure, there are ads, but they're not overwhelming, obnoxious, or most importantly virus-laden. Been using this for almost 10 years now and never got any kind of malware from it.

Now, on the topic of these two programs being used together, I can also incorporate the use of HQ Card Creator. Make your cards in there, print them out as a PDF, then create a new image in PSP- setting the resolution to 300dpi, importing the card PDF I created, and moving the cards over to my new image, arranging them nine to a page. I am then able to save the BMP images and take them to my local print shop and make use of their high quality print machines with some good cardstock. Yummy!
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Re: Tools used

Postby yoi » Sunday August 27th, 2017 12:32am

Tried Sketchup? I will post topic in this section.
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