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Arimaa >> General Discussion >> An alternate piece set
(Message started by: thenoviceoof on May 24th, 2011, 7:57pm)

Title: An alternate piece set
Post by thenoviceoof on May 24th, 2011, 7:57pm
Hi all! I made an alternate piece set for computer interfaces. An example:

http://thenoviceoof.com/projects/arimaa/board_gs.png

or maybe two:

http://thenoviceoof.com/projects/arimaa/board_bw.png

I designed the set independently, and only after emailing Omar about it did I discover this forum and some relevant posts like Black and white silhouette pieces (http://arimaa.com/arimaa/forum/cgi/YaBB.cgi?board=talk;action=display;num=1228166526;start=0) and Abstract set concept (http://arimaa.com/arimaa/forum/cgi/YaBB.cgi?board=talk;action=display;num=1297669968;start=5) *facepalm*. However, I think that my efforts are different enough from previous results to warrant this separate post.

On the off chance someone is interested, I did a writeup on it, at my website (http://thenoviceoof.com/blog/projects/arimaa-icon-set/), which I don't really want to transfer over to forum syntax because I already spent several days writing it out, and I am a lazy bum.

Individual pieces in SVG format are also on my site.

Thoughts? Biting criticisms? Bland indifference?

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by Fritzlein on May 24th, 2011, 9:29pm
I think it is pretty sweet.  If I were publishing my book all over, I would want to go with diagrams in which the pieces were more distinguishable.  A cat and a dog look pretty similar, so for easily parsed diagrams, it's better to use some kind of cartoony caricature of each.  Your images have the great virtue of not being easily mistaken for each other, even at low resolution.  Thanks for sharing this.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by rbarreira on May 25th, 2011, 9:54am
I think they look very interesting, but the dog looks like a snake with the tongue sticking out which is a bit freaky for me.

At first I also thought the cat was the dog and vice versa.

I like your reference to TF2 :)

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by UruramTururam on May 25th, 2011, 11:08am
I agree, dogs and cats need some more work.
Also - the rabbit tail could probably be improved (too furry now).

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by Hippo on May 25th, 2011, 3:30pm

on 05/25/11 at 11:08:03, UruramTururam wrote:
I agree, dogs and cats need some more work.
Also - the rabbit tail could probably be improved (too furry now).


Rabbit is the only fully shown animal. What about only head with long ears?

But I like it :).

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by omar on May 25th, 2011, 4:00pm
Nice work. Although  I guess I am too used to the current images, so when I look at the board using your images, its takes me little while to adjust. One of the things on my wish list for the JavaScript game client is to allow an option to change the board and piece set. If I ever get around to implementing that then the icons you've created could be used and people can select the set they want to play with.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by RonWeasley on May 26th, 2011, 2:19pm
The horse looks very fast.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by mistre on May 26th, 2011, 10:28pm
I like the camel the best.  He has a nest on his hump.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by Eltripas on May 26th, 2011, 11:45pm

on 05/26/11 at 22:28:56, mistre wrote:
I like the camel the best. He has a nest on his hump.


I think it's just fur.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by thenoviceoof on May 28th, 2011, 4:17am
@Fritzlein

Thanks! Nice to have compliments instead of biting criticism  ;)

@rbarreira, @UruramTururam

Yeah, I can see where you guys are coming from (I don't see the snake, though): do you have any thoughts on how the cat/dog can be improved/made more easily distinguishable? I'll try some stuff and update sometime in the near future, but more thoughts would be helpful.

@UruramTururam

Yeah, fluffy tail is too much embellishment in retrospect. I'll take it out in the next update.

@Hippo

I tried that, but I thought it looked kind of weird. And, rabbits are special pieces, having restricted moves and being the scoring element, so I don't think it's such a big deal if rabbits don't fit the schema exactly.

@RonWeasley

That was the point, good thing it evokes what I was aiming for :P

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by Hippo on May 28th, 2011, 5:25am
One more think ... in the black white variant I would be confused that gold is black ... and I dont understand the problems with distinguishing cat and dog.
It seems to me absolutely clear.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by Fritzlein on May 28th, 2011, 10:37am

on 05/28/11 at 05:25:53, Hippo wrote:
... in the black white variant I would be confused that gold is black ...

Yes, for my book I adopted the convention that gold is white and silver is black.  I inherited it from Omar, who presumably inherited it from chess.  In some move lists on arimaa.com you will still find moves labeled 1w, 1b, 2w, 2b, etc., instead of 1g, 1s, 2g, 2s, etc.  Of course the color choice is arbitrary, but since the arbitrary choice was already made, it is best to go along with it.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by rabbits on May 30th, 2011, 8:59pm
I like these icons a lot!  The horse does look fast!

I added them to my Arimaa client: https://launchpad.net/arimaa-client

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by thenoviceoof on May 31st, 2011, 6:43pm
Okay! Overview of the next update:

http://thenoviceoof.com/projects/arimaa/board_gs-2.png

http://thenoviceoof.com/projects/arimaa/board_bw-2.png

Changes:


  • Rabbit - All curves now, no fluffy tail
  • Cat - Small tweaks
  • Dog - Looks more like a dog, and less like a mutated diglet


Every piece also got center aligned, so propagating changes into different colors is no longer such a pain.

Also switched the Gold-Silver directions to match the originals, like suggested by @Hippo and @Fritzlein.

@rabbits - cool! Nice to know something I do is useful =P

I'll be updating my page soon with updated everything.

EDIT: page updated! Use the original link.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by UruramTururam on Jun 1st, 2011, 1:05am
:D Much better! I like it.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by megajester on Jun 1st, 2011, 2:56am
Very cool.

(PS: How are you making this so that it can be used in the client? I have an abstract concept of my own I'd like to try, see...)

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by mistre on Jun 1st, 2011, 12:30pm
Just a few constructive comments (I hope):

  • Does the dog's tongue have to be so long? Does it need a tongue at all?
  • Shouldn't the rabbits, cats, and dogs have eyes if the other pieces do?
  • I am not a big fan of the design of the rabbits - it doesn't really convey to me what the piece is.

Aside from that, this is looking really good. Congrats!


Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by Fritzlein on Jun 1st, 2011, 2:42pm

on 06/01/11 at 12:30:11, mistre wrote:

  • Does the dog's tongue have to be so long? Does it need a tongue at all?
  • Shouldn't the rabbits, cats, and dogs have eyes if the other pieces do?
  • I am not a big fan of the design of the rabbits - it doesn't really convey to me what the piece is.

I'm not persuaded by the dog tongue either; too snake-like, and perhaps not even so distinctive since the cat has whiskers sticking out in the same sort of way.  Without a tongue, the dog would still be the only animal with an open mouth, appropriately since dogs are often panting. I like the general principle of less detail as the animals get weaker. I don't miss the eyes on the rabbits. I suppose one could have a three-blob rabbit that is just a head and two ears that is still quite distinctive and even simpler, and therefore better according to the design principles, but the current rabbit works for me.

My two tiny suggestions would be to make the camel just a smidge smaller relative to the elephant, and to make the horse's mane slanted parallel to the neck rather than triangular. But it's hard to know if it would make things better without seeing the changes; my imagination fails me in such situations.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by thenoviceoof on Jun 6th, 2011, 3:28am
@megajester - I don't have access to the client source code, so I can't integrate it. The screenshots you see are just me pasting over a screenshot of the board used by the client, just to give people an idea of how the pieces look "in real life"

@mistre + @Fritzlein - I agree with the dog comments, removed the redundant tongue.

@mistre - Unfortunately, I can't imagine how else to make the rabbits while retaining a profile view: either an isographic view (like the default pieces) doesn't lend itself well to flat pieces, or facing the rabbit head on breaks the procession (too much in my opinion).

@Fritzlein - I do agree with the camel comment, too, and lowered the hump a bit. I'm not sure how to make the horse's mane parallel to the neck without requiring lots of small scrunched up details, so I'm afraid I'm going to have to take a pass on attempting that.

And now, another update:

http://thenoviceoof.com/projects/arimaa/board_gs-3.png

http://thenoviceoof.com/projects/arimaa/board_bw-3.png

As always, comments welcome, I'll update the page with updated svgs/images tomorrow.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by UruramTururam on Jun 6th, 2011, 4:41am
Hmm, EMH have eyes while DCR don't have them. Forr rabbits a single dot would be enough for cats and dogs adding something more is welcome.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by Fritzlein on Jun 6th, 2011, 12:07pm

on 06/06/11 at 03:28:48, thenoviceoof wrote:
As always, comments welcome, I'll update the page with updated svgs/images tomorrow.

Much improved.  Seriously, if I were doing a second edition of my book, I would use these pieces instead, if you would permit me to.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by mistre on Jun 6th, 2011, 12:21pm
Thanks for the update!  I like the camel's lowered hump. It still bothers me that the cats and dogs don't have eyes. The rabbits are fine as is.


Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by thenoviceoof on Jun 7th, 2011, 3:04am
Due to popular demand (and imagining a kid crying because the animals had no eyes), I added eyes to Dogs, Cats, and Rabbits. Cats look a tad strange, but I think many more details would push it towards Huge Anime Eye territory, and we can't have that happening.

http://thenoviceoof.com/projects/arimaa/board_gs-3.1.png

http://thenoviceoof.com/projects/arimaa/board_bw-3.1.png

@Fritzlein - there's a reason I licensed these under CC-BY. By all means, use them! (Here's a refresher (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/) on what CC-BY means if you need it)

As always, comments welcome, and I'll try updating everything now.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by Nazgand on Jun 7th, 2011, 3:40am
I like the latest version much better. My main suggestion is to make the rabbits fatter by doubling the visible body area, put the ears a bit thicker near head, and decrease tail size maybe 10%. A google image search hints that easily recognizable rabbits(for me at least) have the body area showing 4 to 6 times the area of the head(without ears).

So yeah: fatter rabbits. Things are looking good.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by UruramTururam on Jun 7th, 2011, 4:08am
Nihil obstat. Imptimatur.  :D

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by megajester on Jun 7th, 2011, 5:30am
http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTT8g82SRAKWDWt027lhlog1DSCqAHeGB-ziaERPsWC40qUsOiRZQ

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by mistre on Jun 7th, 2011, 7:54am

on 06/07/11 at 03:40:06, Nazgand wrote:
I like the latest version much better. My main suggestion is to make the rabbits fatter by doubling the visible body area, put the ears a bit thicker near head, and decrease tail size maybe 10%. A google image search hints that easily recognizable rabbits(for me at least) have the body area showing 4 to 6 times the area of the head(without ears).

So yeah: fatter rabbits. Things are looking good.


Well put! I will second this suggestion.

As for the eyes, maybe a small dot under the line for the cats would improve it and make it look like they are not sleeping... ;)

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by jsiehler on Jun 7th, 2011, 8:03am
The dogs are so adorable now that I'll feel terrible trapping one.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by Nazgand on Jun 7th, 2011, 10:57pm

on 06/07/11 at 08:03:12, jsiehler wrote:
The dogs are so adorable now that I'll feel terrible trapping one.

When I play with you, I'll demand to use this set, and then threaten both your dog  :o and your camel :D Which will you choose? :P

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by Eltripas on Jun 7th, 2011, 11:28pm
I liked the dogs with tongue  :-/

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by Fritzlein on Jun 8th, 2011, 12:36am

on 06/07/11 at 03:04:09, thenoviceoof wrote:
@Fritzlein - there's a reason I licensed these under CC-BY. By all means, use them! (Here's a refresher (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/) on what CC-BY means if you need it)

I'm not even contemplating a second book, or a second edition of my first one, so I will have to content myself with trying to persuade chessandgo to use these images with his book instead.  

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by thenoviceoof on Jun 8th, 2011, 3:00am
Thanks to @Nazgand and @mistre this update gives y'all, among other things, fatter rabbits.

http://thenoviceoof.com/projects/arimaa/board_gs-4.png

http://thenoviceoof.com/projects/arimaa/board_bw-4.png

After reading @Eltripas' comment, I realized there really wasn't a reason not to have a tongue, as long as it wasn't freakishly long like originally. I think this iteration is understated just enough to be obviously different from the cat's whiskers, but helpfully reminiscent of a panting dog.

Other changes: I tried toning down the camel fuzz, and tweaked the cat's eye. Seriously looks like both are sub pixel changes, but it should be visible with bigger icons, like at 60x60.

I'll update this post when I'm done updating the page, or I'll just put out another update.

EDIT: page updated to version 4 (this one) the one with the downloads and stuff (http://thenoviceoof.com/blog/projects/arimaa-icon-set/)

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by Nazgand on Jun 8th, 2011, 8:51am
I must say, I really like this last one. Especially the rabbits :D I think you really did a good job making all pieces easily recognizable (except possibly the horse).
The only thing that bugs me now is that the horses seem to be the odd one out(what with not having any curves). After doing a Google image search of "horse", I decided that the base of the horse's neck is too thin, or the neck too long. I suggest shortening the neck 15% or so, then scaling up the picture to result in a larger horse head. This would require a rework of the mane though, so perhaps thickening the lower neck would be better(it looks like the current neck is long enough to widen with the shoulder muscles). I'm not really sure what the best route is.

When you've done your final revision, I'd like to see this on the website. I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult to program the JS client to handle another piece set. In fact, if given the opportunity, I would do it. :)

Edit: I'm also glad to see the dog tongues back, though I agree that previously they had been excessive in length. Brilliant work, mate.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by Fritzlein on Jun 8th, 2011, 1:56pm

on 06/08/11 at 08:51:45, Nazgand wrote:
Brilliant work, mate.

I second that, although now the rabbits have gotten a bit too close in size to the cats, and could stand to be scaled down a smidgin.  I like the rabbit shape better than before, though.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by thenoviceoof on Jun 11th, 2011, 12:40pm
@Nazgand - I thought that a thicker horse neck would be nice, too, but I can't figure out how to do it. If I do the lazy thing and just thicken the neck, then the horse's head looks closer and closer to standing up, which normal horse heads don't do. Trying to move it the other way means pretty much taking out the mane, so I'm leaving the horse alone.

@Fritzlein - Agreed. Smaller fat rabbits.

http://thenoviceoof.com/projects/arimaa/board_gs-4.1.png

http://thenoviceoof.com/projects/arimaa/board_bw-4.1.png

Version 4.1 because I changed only the rabbit.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by Nazgand on Jun 11th, 2011, 4:52pm
I have an alternate thought then. Notice the camel shows more than the head. This, I assume is because the camel neck is vertical(and the hump is important). Because the horse neck+head is more horizontal, perhaps you could shrink the horse and add legs(starting a little below the point directly left of the bottom of the mane). This is a more drastic change; thus, I am quite uncertain that it will be better.
It amazes me that such slight changes increase aesthetics so.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by Hippo on Jun 11th, 2011, 5:57pm

on 06/11/11 at 16:52:25, Nazgand wrote:
I have an alternate thought then. Notice the camel shows more than the head. This, I assume is because the camel neck is vertical(and the hump is important). Because the horse neck+head is more horizontal, perhaps you could shrink the horse and add legs(starting a little below the point directly left of the bottom of the mane). This is a more drastic change; thus, I am quite uncertain that it will be better.
It amazes me that such slight changes increase aesthetics so.

I disagree ... that would lead to dog and cat changes as well. ... smaller animal ... more of the body shown priciple. But I like cats and dogs as they are ...

Title: improvement
Post by Nazgand on Jun 11th, 2011, 8:24pm
Yes, as I said, I am quite uncertain it will be better. By my very nature, I offer alternatives I think might be an improvment, even if I think it unlikely.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by robinz on Jun 12th, 2011, 7:05am
Am I the only person who keeps falling for the kind-of-optical-illusion where I think the elephant is a swan for half a second or so, before my brain notices the tusks and reinterprets the swan's neck as a trunk, and its body as the elephant's head?


...

*long, confused silence*

...

OK, I guess it's just me then  ??? (But I do have this experience every time I look at them, for half a second or so.)

(Seriously, though, nice work on the set  :))

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by Hippo on Jun 12th, 2011, 8:08am

on 06/12/11 at 07:05:22, robinz wrote:
Am I the only person who keeps falling for the kind-of-optical-illusion where I think the elephant is a swan for half a second or so, before my brain notices the tusks and reinterprets the swan's neck as a trunk, and its body as the elephant's head?


...

*long, confused silence*

...

OK, I guess it's just me then ??? (But I do have this experience every time I look at them, for half a second or so.)

(Seriously, though, nice work on the set :))


So would you prefer phant looking into it's trunk?

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by Fritzlein on Jun 12th, 2011, 11:45am

on 06/12/11 at 07:05:22, robinz wrote:
Am I the only person who keeps falling for the kind-of-optical-illusion where I think the elephant is a swan for half a second or so, before my brain notices the tusks and reinterprets the swan's neck as a trunk, and its body as the elephant's head?

In the set of pieces used in the game room, have you ever seen the elephant as a rooster? It's always dangerous to point out alternate ways of seeing. In college my Chinese teacher showed me the rabbit in the moon, and ever since I have had difficulty seeing the man in the moon. Now there is a rabbit there for me by default.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by robinz on Jun 12th, 2011, 12:05pm

on 06/12/11 at 11:45:10, Fritzlein wrote:
In the set of pieces used in the game room, have you ever seen the elephant as a rooster? It's always dangerous to point out alternate ways of seeing.


Lol, I fear you're right. I'd never seen that before, but having just checked and stared for a while, I see exactly what you mean - I just hope it now doesn't happen automatically for me :)

(Incidentally, as regards the elephant-as-swan in the set under discussion here, I find it much more convincing for the black elephant than the white one. I doubt it's actually to do with the colour, but to do with the direction the pieces are facing - for some reason I'm more inclined to see a swan swimming to the left than to the right. I almost included this in my previous post, but decided you'd all think I was mad enough without giving further evidence ???)

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by thenoviceoof on Jun 12th, 2011, 2:26pm
@Nazgand - Not digging the addition of legs, but thanks for the thought.

@robinz - The trunk markings kill it for me, but if I look at it just right...

At the same time, though, different trunk configurations don't scream ELEPHANT in the same way to me.

Also, swans are usually white, so it might be color? Maybe?


Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by lightvector on Jun 12th, 2011, 3:30pm
Fritz: Yes, definitely!

I actually *still* see the gameroom elephant as a rooster, if I don't look closely. I just call it an elephant because everyone else does.  ;)

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by alih on Jan 17th, 2012, 6:16am
Hi everybody,

I've made yet another set, aiming for simplicity. Used thenoviceoof's colors for silver, but lightened gold rabbits instead of darkening them.

Here's version 1.0:
http://87.106.33.251/alih-arimaa-set-v1.0.png

Zip with SVGs (http://87.106.33.251/alih-arimaa-set-v1.0-svg.zip)

What do you think?

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by Fritzlein on Jan 17th, 2012, 8:08am
I like how easy it is to distinguish the pieces.  One thing that troubles me is that the rabbits are no longer identifiable as such.  If you took any of the other drawings out of context, showed it to a random person, and asked, "What animal is this?" they would probably get it right, except for the rabbit, for which they would probably guess a bird or a flying insect.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by alih on Jan 17th, 2012, 10:09am
You are right. Now that you've mentioned it, I can see the insect in there.
Here's another try. I've also removed the neck cut segments from the camel and the horse.
http://87.106.33.251/alih-arimaa-set-v1.1.png

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by megajester on Jan 17th, 2012, 10:12am
Very nice. The elephants, camels and horses all stand out when you look at the board, I like that.

Title: Re: An alternate piece set
Post by Fritzlein on Jan 17th, 2012, 12:43pm
I'm looking forward to the client that allows us to switch between all of these piece sets in a single click.   :)



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