Hi supporters, gamers and backers :)
While our Kickstarter campaign is live (http://kck.st/1d2sRN6), I wanted to share the last of my posts about the illustrators that have been working with me.
This time we're going to Germany, where Caner Inciucu is living with his wife and son.
Caner has been on the project ever since the first pencil drawing was made for Burning Suns. So it's truly an great story to share with such a talented person.
If you want to see the things Caner has done, make sure to check out his DeviantArt account > Redan23
Talent, precision and hard work
I've seen a lot of talented people through my years in the world of design, games and education. So the nature of talent isn't surprising me anymore (there's a lot out there), but the way the talent is used... And here Caner stands out among the crowd!
Caner doesn't just "rely" on his talent - he's a dedicated and hard working artist - that doesn't leave work half done! Caner want everything to be just perfect, and he'll be working on it until it's been achieved. A valuable trait in a freelancer.
Many freelancers and up-and-coming artist could learn from him and the effort he puts into his work.
Fit for details and epic stories
I must admit that I've been lucky with the illustrators I've chosen for my board game project. All of them have fitted into their role and task, and I've had the pleasure of being able to use their talent in so many ways.
With Caner, the case was as clear as crystal!
His sense for detail, depth and atmosphere in every drawing is a complete and perfect fit for a scope like Burning Suns.
Atmosphere is everything - and Caner's illustrations brings those heroic and pivotal moments to life.
Get inspired by Caner's drawing - by watching his videos on Youtube.
An easy going and transparent process
Though I guess I'm also responsible for the nice tone and easy going vibe in our production of Burning Suns. It's undeniable that Caner is a very nice person to talk to - and very easy to be constructive with.
Caner has a good understanding of what you want portrayed - and he's always making sure that you'll be able to follow the process as the illustration evolves from the first few strokes to a full size art piece.
When handling these kind of long-distance projects where you can't just meet up. It's essential to be able to follow the process and catch up on errors right away. Caner makes this discipline a walk in the park from the very beginning.
Commitment and friendship
I believe that I've established a great relationship with all of my freelancers, and that we would be able to work together for a long time to come.
I've been so lucky to meet Caner during last years "SPIEL" in Essen. It was a really great and fun experience - and I hope I'll be able to do that again. Commitment and friendship can be strong tools when working with a freelancer.
I'll finish this post by giving Caner my highest recommendations!
If you need epic illustrations for your board or computer game - Caner is the man to go to! Raden23 on DeviantArt
Be sure to check out our Kickstarter campaign - and find more of Caner's and my other illustrator's great work: Burning Suns on Kickstarter
Best regards Emil Larsen, SunTzuGames
Good day all of you,
Today I wanted to do a little promotion on behalf of one of my illustrators.
I've worked with some of my illustrators for over a year now, and they have been key to the "x-factor" of Burning Suns.
Every illustrator I've worked with will be mentioned in an article of their own. I really appreciate the work and effort they have put into the creation of Burning Suns, without them it would have been nothing more than game mechanics and pieces.
To start it all... I'll be talking about Svenja Liv an illustrator and portrait artist from Ireland.
A favorite for portraits
It didn't take long to realize that Svenja Liv was all about personality and portraits. Though Svenja had to get used to the "alien"-aspects of her characters, she surely knew how to make something feel alive and "likable".
Svenja is also good at adapting other people's illustrations into her own style in order to make posters and similar. This has been required several times on the Burning Suns project.
No question her collection of portraits also speaks its own language.
Check out her many illustrations on DeviantArt here:
Svenja has a weakness for painting her favorite characters - which we can all enjoy on her profile :)
Mysteries are there to be solved
If you go to Svenja own homepage > http://svenjaliv.com/ - You'll discover that she uses a lot of time on creating "how to" and similar articles, uncovering some of the mystery behind being a good artist.
And if you find reading and writing novel material to be something for you - you might want to check out her other activities as well... as there's more than meets the eye to this illustrator ;)
And of course this equation wouldn't be complete if I didn't finish it off by saying that Svenja is great at doing covers for books, posters and similar work. It's just right up her alley!
Working with Svenja
I've found working with Svenja very easy and constructive. It usually doesn't take more than a few comments back and forth before Svenja has located ways to improve her drawings and giving them the x-factor.
If you want to experience Svenja Liv before hiring her for a job, you should definitely go to her page on Facebook and drop her a line or two.
In that regard Svenja got my warmest recommendations :) Especially if you need a portrait, magazine cover or poster done - she is the one to go to.
Emil Larsen, SunTzuGames
Naming your board game
Hello again world :)
My day started out with a lot of writing.. writing about my newest game "Startups". While I was writing it suddenly hit me - "Is this really the best name for my game?"
To be honest I wasn't quite sure - though I've been going over this brainstorm so many times. In the end I came to the conclusion (again)... that Startups is a good name because it relates to the theme and mechanics of the game - but it's not without drawbacks.
So with this in mind I started this post - enjoy :)
A project's name
Every project has to start out with a name... a working title so to speak.
But you have to keep in mind - that it's a bit too easy to let your project's name convert into the name of your board game. This may happen if you run out of time and haven't really paid any attention to the fact that you're missing a name.
The importance of a name
Then.. as your project starts coming towards a conclusion the concerns about the "real" name comes back - "What am I going to call this board game?"
I think this is important - far too important to be concluded over a single brainstorm or the initial idea that triggered the game creation itself.
You have to find the right name for several reasons:
But I ran into a different problem with my board game's name Startups - Which was the English grammar rules...
I don't pretend to know much about grammar I just hope that I spell correctly from time to time ;) But even I could see the problem with writing "Startups is" instead of "Startups are"... it sounds and looks wrong and will be a thorn in my eye until I launch my new game :D
Brainstorming - Name inspiration
When it comes to finding inspiration... going to www.boardgamegeek.com is always a lot of help - also when looking for names :)
Try looking for computer games with the same theme / game play as your board game. Just to get you started.
I usually start a good name brainstorm with dissecting my game... going through the mechanics, player situations and game pieces to see if I can find a good phrase or name.
Looking forward to see your crazy suggestions out there in the stores - Happy gaming! :)
I hope you've had a wonderful weekend with lots of board game moments - I know I had :)
This weekend I was testing one of my new board game prototypes that's based on a computer game. Actually several of my board games are....
Therefore I want to give you some names on computer games that has inspired me and that I think you should check out :)
Later this week I'll make a post about just how you can turn computer game aspects into playable board games!
Transport Tycoon is a great game with fun "old school" build mode and many interesting economy elements. The brick by brick building makes for some interesting projects - and monitoring how well your transport company is doing is fun when playing against real opponents.
A great role playing game (RPG) with a low entrance barrier for new gamers. The whole aspect of picking a specific hero and then equip him or her with weapons, armor and loot you find on your slain enemies is fantastic. Spells, damage types, enemies, environment.. it all add up to this involving universe where you want to explore every corner of every map.
I can find many real time strategy (RTS) games that I like.. but never one that comes close to the time I've spend on Starcraft - trying to master it! Starcraft is a triumph when it comes to balancing and unit diversion. Whenever you think balancing - think Starcraft!
Grand Theft Auto
Ever wonder how a "free world / sandbox" game looks like. GTA is the answer - and that's a high quality answer. You can do almost anything here - and there's no restrictions on how you have to play the game - though there are goals. I don't know if any board game could ever get close to this sandbox concept. But I would salute those trying!
It's hard to come around the tension and atmosphere you find in Silent Hunter (submarine simulator). As a submarine captain you have to navigate through hostile waters in search for your prey. The whole "fog of war / aiming in the dark" aspect is hard to find in board games. But if the result can be anywhere near the atmosphere from Silent Hunter it would be worth exploring.
The battlefield games are great shooters and worth knowing (and playing) when we talk about fun combat with tanks, planes, infantry and what not. Shooters aren't easy to turn into board games but they still have many interesting features... ex how easy you switch from driving a jeep to flying a helicopter and how this suddenly changes the premises for your involvement in the game.
This is the ultimate clone between real time strategy and turn-based strategy... there's no equal! And the scale of battles is a chapter all by itself - stunning! You can learn many things from both aspects of the game.... the variety of gameplay, the many units and formations, and the whole region conquering works very well.
Sins of a Solar Empire
My favorite in space strategy game! Loads of upgrades and interesting planets to explore. Many ways of forcing influence on your opponents bases. Huge fortifications and many different space vessels that make it fun to fight battles in outer space. Like Starcraft they use 3 different races to insure ever changing gameplay.
This is just a short list - I could write many more... I'm sure you can find other cool games I haven't mentioned for one or more reasons (one being the goal of not having too long articles on my blog)...
Go out and explore some new cool computer games - and drag them to the board game table afterwards - you never know what might come of it ;)
Happy gaming on both fronts!
Evaluating and comparing board games
Hello again board gamers,
In this post I'd like to go through a very subjective/individual topic when it comes to board games - which is evaluation and comparison.
I think it's important if you're going to create your own board game - that you have a base of knowledge about what does and doesn't work in other board games.
Actually - I'd recommend you to "study/evaluate" this across platforms because computer games in many cases are board games with a virtual interface - It's all about core gameplay (I'll have to visit that in another post) ... :)
First off - you should create an evaluation table in where you can place the board games next to each other. Excel is always good for keeping things organized!
When you have written down all the games you want to evaluate - you have to figure out what precisely you're looking for - what data do you want?
Here are some of the questions I used for my list:
This is a very individual matter - and my list is minded only on strategy games.
(ex. Starcraft, Axis & Allies, Risk, Memoir, Civ, HoI, Total War, Diplomacy)
Now that you have all the game data listed. It's time to evaluate on it.
Here I usually use 3 levels (easy/good , medium/ok , hard/bad) to keep it simple.
These graduations can't stand alone of course... You'll have to write down why you're choosing "easy" instead of "medium" etc.
This should give you a good overview of what game mechanics and game designs that work.... and in the end this can help you create a better game!
You can easily do this with other board games like Trivial Pursuit, Cluedo and Pandemic.
So... get on with your evaluation - and happy gaming :)
Board gamer's business cards
As a business man or woman it's important to have your contact information available at all time.
A business card is "of course" the answer - also for board game developers :)
In this post I'll try to go through some business card examples for inspiration. Hopefully you'll never have to miss a business opportunity because people forgot about you.
And don't stop here.... remember there are lots of blogs, pictures and inspiration to gather on the net about design of business card.
Classic Business Cards
Most of us can probably agree that the classic business card is a bit doll and doesn't really depict your creative skills.
Never the less you need to have a business card that you can hand people leaving no questions how to get in contact with you and a classic version is easy and cheap to produce.
There's really no need to order 300 business cards from your printer just because you get a better price per unit.
Think about the environment and where are you going to hand out 300 cards anyway?
And what if you change contact informations next week?
Create or order 50-70 cards at a time - then you'll spend them and your money wisely :)
The classic with a twist
Using common materials (like cardboard) and sizes (approximately: 8 x 5 cm) is a good base.
You could then give it a theme that matches your work and attitude towards it.
At the right you see the 3 business cards we used in the computer game company I worked in before I went for board game development.
As you can see we portrayed our professional qualifications through a character card usually seen in a roleplaying game.
The cards were created by my friend and former colleague August Hansen (prof: Illustrator) - www.geniusmalignus.com
Different business cards
For lack of better word - I'll call these cards different - because unique is such a buzzword with little meaning.
These business cards doesn't really have to be cards as long as they have the relevant information and is easy to store away.
No matter your creativity or brand - if your card isn't handy the reciever might just throw it away!
Can you fulfill the two requirements - then "knock yourself out"
There's really no limit for what's possible when it comes to creating different business cards.
On the picture you can see I decided to use poker chips containing only 4 key informations - and these chips are very easy to put away in your wallet and so on.
This "business card" is primarily connected to my first board game (Startups) and most people can recognize a poker chip.
I hope this gave you some inspiration :)
Until next time - Happy gaming!
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