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May 30, 2013

Battle Cards Spotlight 1: History

I found my old Battle Card deck, so I finally get to make some project spotlights and explain what they're all about! Let's start at the beginning...

Part I: The History of Battle Cards

In 5th Grade, I was interested in Pokémon Cards. Not interested enough to collect them (except for a limited-edition holographic Mewtwo one that came free with Pokémon: The First Movie), but I always liked looking at the ones my brother and friends would have. I honestly don't think I ever actually played a game though.

Anyway, as much as I liked Pokémon, I thought it would be cool if there was a more normal, classic genre of card game to play, such as my favorite genre, medieval fantasy. This was before I had ever even heard of Magic: The Gathering.

I decided that I should make my own. I cut some random, irregular-shaped pieces of paper and drew characters, giving them stats and attacks. Before long, I had about eight or nine "Character Cards," very heavily based on the heroes from the first Final Fantasy game and random creatures. The ones I can remember off-hand are Fighter, Dark Mage, Light Mage, Black Belt, Thief, Tamer, Centaur, and Orc. The attacks were pretty vague, and the flip-side of each card was the character card's description. It was almost like they were less of a card game and more of a collectible card deck from some comic book or something, with the attacks as an added bonus.

(mouse over them to see their laughable descriptions written on the back)

 At any rate, I mostly just showed off my cards to my friends. An actual game involving them was never played, and I don't even know if I had any rules for such a game in mind.

The next year (perhaps in the summer) I decided that I was going to get serious about making my own card games. I came up with the creative name of Battle Cards, and planned a layout design on my dining room table. The cards would be 7.5cm x 9cm big, and have places for the card's name, element, hit points, portrait, attacks, and description. I also came up with a back logo for each Battle Card.

Rather than go by natural elements (fire-water-air-earth, etc.) as Pokémon cards do, or as the almost-invariable alternative (life-death-order-chaos), I decided to make my own "element" or "alignment" system based on motivations. I came up with the system of good, evil, wild, and tame. Good was the alignment of creatures such as angels, knights, phoenixes and fairies. Evil was, obviously, creatures like the undead, demons, and creatures of the night. Wild was the most common element of creatures, covering everything from barbarians and wild animals to elementals. Tame was rather interesting: it seemed to lean towards literally tame creatures, such as bottled genies and caged beasts, but it also included an attitude of nobility or organization, so wizards and soldiers were common as well.

This is the very first official Battle Card I made. I remember sitting down at my dining room table in Idaho drawing it.

At some point, my friends Nathan and Dustin decided that they wanted to catch on to my idea. They started drawing their own decks, and we played them against each other. Over time, the rules evolved, but it was mostly just fun how we would come up with ideas for attacks, and the other guys would come up with ways to defend against them. Some cards were way too "power-happy" and we would vote to dumb them down. Over the course of 6th Grade, I made over 200 Battle Cards. My friends weren't nearly so diligent, making only about 2030 each, and to my knowledge they lost those decks.

I remember once we were playing with our homemade cards in the hallway during recess and my middle school principal came over to see what we were doing. I think he was impressed at what we had invented while the other kids just played basketball. I remember I would sometimes leave my envelope of Battle Cards next to the pop machines near the lunchroom while I went out to play on the  swings, but such thoughts make me cringe now at my carelessness. I'm glad to have all the cards intact today.

I made Battle Cards all throughout 6th Grade, and some time during the following summer I gave up. There was no more paper with the specific size and thickness left, but more importantly, there was no more drive. I was out of ideas, and Battle Cards entered the Hall of Fame as one of my favorite projects of all time.

May 29, 2013

Dream: The Mystic Penguin

I've kept a pretty consistent Dream Journal since 2010, writing down my most vivid dreams as I dream them. I've been going through it lately, and I just love how incredibly random dreams can be! I don't even know where my brain gets this stuff! Anyway, I've always loved hearing about other people's dreams, so maybe you'll enjoy hearing some of mine. Heck, you should even post interpretations in the comments!

This is... um... the symbol for dreams. Or something.
November 19, 2012

For some reason I knew the outcome of this entire dream. It was like I was watching a movie but couldn’t remember all the details. There was some sort of super rare blue penguin that had a lumpy head and was very smart. It only lived in frozen sewers. For some reason one was desperately needed, so I went underground looking for one. When I entered the sewers, I was daunted by an endless maze of pipelines. I sighed, realizing I’d never find a penguin. Just then I looked behind me and one was right there. I took it up into the subway tunnel and fed it some sunflower seeds. It was basically just a normal penguin, but more humanlike. For example, it would sometimes pick a sunflower seed out of its mouth and look at it if it was having a hard time cracking or if it tasted bad. Someone passed by me and acknowledged the penguin, but I could tell they didn’t believe that was what it was because it was so rare.
Later, on the surface, I had to have some sort of scary operation, but something happened that canceled it. It was something about Denny’s and another restaurant having a competition, or a get-together, or a debate, or a legal battle, or a concert. Some lady was talking about how she and her family were going to go, and that it was a ‘dress-up-nicely’ event, and that they had gone early and won hoodies. I was just glad there was no operation for me. My friend Dustin was in the dream and he had a lisp for some reason. He was involved in the having of operations too or something like that.
Sometime after that encounter, I woke up.

May 22, 2013

Lightning Masta

My brother and I had some fun with After Effects before the trial expired. But most of this was actually put together on Premiere, so hopefully I can come up with more like it soon.

May 21, 2013

Drawing: Techno-Mamn

This was just a doodle while practicing figure drawing that was fun to end up digitally coloring.
Also, it seems spammers have found Pretzel Lectern, so now I have to approve comments. I think they found it because of my game reviews (specifically Path of Exile)... what I hoped would be a way for legit people to come see my site has backfired. :(

May 12, 2013

Comic: Pizza Party

As always, click to enlarge. This one's credit goes to my wife Karen! Happy Mother's Day to her.
P.S... You can expect some kind of influx of comics this summer, because I am really getting into drawing them with this book How to Draw Comics by Scott McCloud.