Multideck Maker: Custom Card Tutorial

Multideck Maker: How to Create Custom Cards

This tutorial will cover how to customize, modify and create your own playing cards using the layouts and art assets available through the Singularity Games Patreon. Patrons not only get access to the art assets, but get to make suggestions for new art and custom layouts.

There are 4 main components to the whole operation:

Art Assets: PNG image files for the suit icons, royalty cards, etc

Layout instructions: A text file with instructions for the layout of the cards.

Link Spreadsheet: A spreadsheet that tells the layout instructions which art assets to use. This is the only file that actually needs to be edited to customize your own cards.

Nandeck: Software that takes the art assets, layout instructions, and link spreadsheet and creates the cards.

 

All right, let’s get everything set up:

1. Download the entire Multideck Maker folder from the Patreon Drive. This will include the Art assets, the layout instructions and the link file.

2. Download the free software nanDeck: http://www.nand.it/nandeck/

 No need to install the software, it runs straight from the executable.

This program is the heart of everything. It is the software that combines the layout instructions, the link spreadsheet and the art assets to create the cards. nanDeck was created by Andrea Nand and is impressive at how powerful it is. It can have a bit of steep learning curve though to get the results you want; however, you do not have to worry about that because the card templates are already done!

3. To test everything, we are first going to generate the Singularity Deck Diamonds Suit.

a)       Open nanDeck. 

b)       On the left side click “Open deck”

c)        Navigate to the Multideck Maker Folder, go to Deck Templates -> Standard Layout and open “Standard Layout - Diamonds.txt”

d)       On the left side of nanDeck, select “Validate Deck,” then “Build Deck.” Building the deck will take a couple minutes. 

e)       On the right side of nanDeck select “Card Preview” to be able to scroll through the cards. You should see cards that look like the standard Singularity Deck Diamonds suit. If not, let me know.

f)        If you wanted to, after closing the card preview, you could select “Save Images” or “PDF” on the left-hand side of nanDeck to save the output file of the cards. I’ll go into more detail on this later. 

4. Once it seems like everything is working, open the “Standard Layout – Diamonds.xlsx” excel spreadsheet in Deck Templates -> Standard Layout. This is where you can edit the card contents.

It’s going to look like a lot of info, but it looks more intimidating than it really is. Each row is a card, and each column is a feature of the card. At the top of each column is the name of the card feature.



The card features that can be edited and where they are at in the layout can be seen in the below image:


Each feature will be explained in detail later, but here are the main things to know:

The first column, Card Name is to help with organization and does not correspond to a part of the card design.

If the column name includes “Image” in it, the cell should be a file path to the image. For Example "..\..\Deck Components\Singularity Deck 2.0\Icon Diamonds.png" The "..\..\" is a relative file path from the location of the layout text file.

In the "Deck Components" folders you will find the images named by catagories.
"Background" for background images
"Dice" for dice
"Icon" for suit icons
Face cards are named starting with "12," "Jack," "Queen," "King," "Omega," etc. followed by their suit.

If the column name includes “Color” the cell expects a hexidecimal color code. This site:  https://www.w3schools.com/colors/colors_picker.asp is great resource, just grab the #code for whatever color you want. The Singularity Deck Color Reference spreadsheet in the "Deck templates Folder" lists the colors used in the Singularity deck.

If the column name includes “Text”, the cell expects text, for example the card’s rank.

If the column includes "PipGroup" it controls the layout of the suit pips in the center of a card. Check out the detailed explanation later to see how to adjust pip layout.

Also, worth noting is that the first row of the spreadsheet labeled Card Back is reserved for the Card Back image. The only thing that should be changed in this row is the image path in the BackgroundImage column.

 

5. Okay! Time to make some edits.

Let’s change the jack of diamonds into a purple prince:



In the “Standard Layout – Diamonds.xlsx” spreadsheet, find row 28 for the Jack card.

a)      In the RankTopText column, change the “J” in the to a “P.” This changes the rank at the top of the card.

b)      In the PrimarySuitColor column, change the #2B4B91 color code to #8F2A80 . This changes the color of the suit icons in the corners.

c)     Likewise, in the FaceColor2 column, change the #2B4B91 color code to #8F2A80 . This changes the color of the “accents” on the jack artwork in the center of the card.

d)      Save and close the spreadsheet

6. In nanDeck, just like before:

a)       On the left side click “Open deck”

b)       Navigate to the Multideck Maker Folder, go to Deck Templates -> Standard Layout and open “Standard Layout - Diamonds.txt”

c)        On the left side of nanDeck, select “Validate Deck,” then “Build Deck.” Building the deck will take a couple minutes. 

d)       On the right side of nanDeck select “Card Preview” to be able to scroll through the cards.

Bam! Purple prince! 

 

Now that we have a gist of the workflow, The below section will cover each card component in a bit more detail.



Card Feature Columns in Detail:


CardName: Expected input: NA. This column is used to help with organization and keeping track of each card. It does not contribute to the content on the cards.

BackgroundImage: Expected input: file path to image. This image spans the entirety of the card and is the bottommost layer. In the “Deck Components” folder you can find a growing collection of images with names staring with “Background…” that are designed specifically for this purpose.

Example "Background Frame 2.png"


BackgroundColor: Expected input: Hexadecimal color code. This column alters the color of the background image.

FontColor: Expected input: Hexadecimal color code. This column changes the color of the text on the card.

RankTopText: Expected input: text. The Rank at the top of the of the card.

RankTopImage: Expected input: file path to image. An image in the same location as the rank. It sits behind the rank text.

RankBottomText: Expected input: text. The rank at the bottom of the card.

RankBottomImage: Expected input: file path to image. An image in the same location as the bottom rank. It sits behind the rank text.

PrimarySuitImage: Expected input: file path to image. The primary suit that will go in each corner of the image.

PrimarySuitColor: Expected input: Hexadecimal color code. The color of the primary suit.

SecondarySuitImage: Expected input: file path to image. A secondary suit that goes in each corner, below the primary suit.

SecondarySuitColor: Expected input: Hexadecimal color code. The color of the secondary suit.

SideImage: Expected input: file path to image. An image that goes at the side of the cards.

SideColor: Expected input: Hexadecimal color code. The color of the Side Image.

 

Face Images and colors: These columns control the face cards of the deck (i.e royal cards, special rank-12 artwork, etc.). The images span the entirety of the card. The 3 layers are used for the royal cards which are split into 3 pieces of art: Base, Accent, and Item layers.

FaceImage1: Expected input: file path to image.

Example “Queen Stars.png”


 

FaceColor1: Expected input: Hexadecimal color code.

FaceImage2: Expected input: file path to image.

Example “Queen Stars Accent.png”


 


FaceColor2: Expected input: Hexadecimal color code.

FaceImage3: Expected input: file path to image.

Example “Queen Stars Morning Star.png”


 

FaceColor3: Expected input: Hexadecimal color code.

Combined you get:



Pip Groups: These columns control the Pips at the center of the cards. The assumption is that the card has either “Face Images” or pips, however it is completely possible to include both. To allow for a ton of modularity there are 3 layers of pips at the center. The icon for the primary suit is determined by the “PrimarySuitImage” column, the icon for the secondary suit is determined by the “SecondarySuitImage” column, and the modifier pip icon is determined below.

Each pip is designated a letter when determining the pip layout:

primary suit = P
secondary suit= S
modifier = M
empty space = x
new row = >

For example here is how the pips are specified for the 19 of Hearts:

PrimarySuitPipGroup = xPx>PP>PPP>PP>xPx

SuitModifierPipGroup = MxM>MM>MxM>MM>MxM


PrimarySuitPipGroup: Expected input: pip group designators for the primary suit.

SecondarySuitPipGroup: Expected input: pip group designators for the secondary suit.

SuitModifierImage: Expected input: file path to image. Icon for the Suit Modifier. Ex. “Icon Hearts Mod.png”

SuitModifierColor: Expected input: Hexadecimal color code. The color of the Suit Modifier icon

SuitModifierPipGroup: Expected input: pip group designators for the modifier suit.

 

HeaderText: Expected input: text. Text that sits at the top of the card.

FooterText: Expected input: text. Text that sits at the bottom of the card.

CenterText: Expected input: text. Text that sits at the center of the card.

 

TextureImage: Expected input: file path to image. This image spans the entirety of the card and is the topmost image covering everything.

TextureColor: Expected input: Hexadecimal color code. The color of the texture image.