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episode 126: lenticular design, part 2
I’m pulling out of the parking lot! We all know what that means! Actually, you probably don’t all know what that means. It means I dropped my daughter off at school today. But it still is time for Drive to Work!
So today, well yesterday, last podcast I started talking about lenticular design. Which is a concept that we’ve been working on a couple different years, based out of our work on New World Order. And last time I talked about sort of what lenticular design was. But I hadn’t finished, and so today, I’m going to talk about sort of the rules for using lenticular design. What does it mean to actually… how do you use it? And there are six rules. This is based on an article that I had written. Very shortly ago published, to me, but since this is many weeks later, over a month ago for you.
Okay. So let’s start with the very first rule. Rule number one is, some complexities are invisible to inexperienced players. So the thing I explained last time was that there are three types of complexity. There’s comprehension complexity—can you read the card and understand what it does? There’s board complexity—can you understand how the card on the battlefield interacts with other cards on the battlefield? And there is strategic complexity. Do you understand how best to optimize this card to win?
So what we find is that comprehension complexity is more important to the beginning players than board complexity, which is more important than strategic complexity. So the way I like to describe this is, imagine a new player has a sphere of awareness. And when they first start playing, it’s really, really focused. In fact, when a beginner plays, most of their attention goes on their hand. Because the question they are asking is, “Can I play a card?” When you first start learning Magic, that’s the first thing you tend to be focused on. It’s like, “Okay, it’s my turn… okay, do I have a land? I have to play a land. Okay, can I play a card?”
And in fact, we do what we call focus testing, which is we take players and we put them in a room and we watch them behind a two-way mirror or sometimes we’re interacting with them. Sometimes they have never played Magic and they’re learning for the first time. Sometimes they’ve played but they’re beginners. And anyway, we learn from them by watching and see what they do. It’s very educational.
So one of the things beginning players do is they’re very focused on “What can I do? What can I play out of my hand?” Eventually they start thinking about, “Oh, what do I have in play? Can I attack with the things I have in play? Should I be blocking?” They start sort of becoming aware of the battlefield. But then, it’s mostly their side of the battlefield.
Eventually, they start thinking of all the battlefield. And after that, the start thinking about the opponent. The opponent really is a second thought until they get comfortable with their own hand and their own play, what’s going on on the battlefield.
So what happens is, the first thing they care about is comprehension. Can I understand what cards are doing? When I’m focused on cards in my hand, I read them and go, “What does that do?” Now, note, they’re not really saying, “Why would I do this?” It’s just, “What does it do?”
So for example, one of the things you’ll see with beginners is, you give the beginner a Shock. Which is R, deal two damage to target creature or player. What will happen is, on turn one, let’s say they have a mountain, they’ll play a mountain, they look at their hand, they see they have a card that only costs one red, they will read it. Now, odds are, if they’re a beginner, the word “target” will throw them a little bit, but at some point they figure out that “Oh, this can do two damage to a creature or a player.” They look, there’s no creatures, so they go, “Okay,” and they do two damage to their opponent. And they’re very happy. Because their opponent goes from twenty down to eighteen.
So one of the things, by the way, that we learn about beginning players is, they overvalue life, and the reason is, the goal of the game is to get your opponent from twenty to zero. So at first blush, it first seems like every time I’m lowering my opponent’s life total, I’m advancing the game and getting to the point where I’ll be winning, and every time my life total goes down, oh, well that’s a problem because if I get to zero I lose.
And so the key we found for beginners is, they just overvalue life. We take advantage of that sometimes. Sometimes we’re making cards for beginners. We play into the fact they really value getting life. Both gaining life and taking life away from the opponent. But the point though is that players early on will do whatever it is, like “Can I play this card? Yes, I can play it,” and do it. Even if what they’re doing is not beneficial. Or not… I guess not beneficial is the wrong word. But even if what they’re doing might not be strategically the best move, they’re not thinking about that. What they’re thinking about is, do I understand? Can I play this game? Do I understand what the card does?
Now at some point they advance beyond that, and they start thinking about the board. About the battlefield. And at that point, they start going, “Oh, well what do I have in play, what does that mean?” And early on, what we also find is beginners tend to be very hesitant to attack. In fact, they are very scared of taking any kind of damage, and they are very afraid of losing creatures by attacking. So what we tend to find is, if your opponent has blockers, a lot of beginners will not attack. And if your opponent attacks you, they tend to get in the way because they don’t want to take damage. Pretty much what they’ve learned is going down is bad, and so they do what they can to avoid it.
So what happens is, eventually they start realizing the importance of what’s going on on the board, and the interactions between the things on the board. It takes a little bit of while. And understanding whether you can attack or not… I think I told the story once before, but it’s worth repeating. And yes, I like repeating stories if you haven’t figured that out.
Is when you play, when I used to teach people Portal, it gave me a chance to play with really, really simple creatures. Portal was an intro version of Magic we made long ago. The creatures pretty much were vanilla. A few of them had enter the battlefield effects. And there were a few basic, basic keywords like flying. But pretty much it’s like, “Oh, I just have vanilla creatures.”
And in-between teaching sessions, we’d go to music festivals and different places where we’d teach people. The teachers would play each other. And we just had Portal decks to play with. And it was very intriguing how much decisions there were to make on the most basic of basic cards. I have a couple vanilla creatures to play, you have a couple vanilla creatures. What’s the right thing to do?
And it was interesting watching how just making those kinds of decisions. Forget any complications, there’s no instants, no enchantments, no artifacts. No activated abilities. Just really nuts and bolts how much stuff’s going on there.
And sometimes, one of the things that’s very easy to forget when you are an advanced player is how you’ve incorporated all the lessons you have. And things that at one point were a struggle, you’ve just learned how to do. I talked about this last podcast. So anyway, the reason this first lesson’s important is, the comprehension complexity is much more important to the beginning player than board complexity, which is much more important than strategic complexity.
So the beautiful part of this is, pretty much for a long time—in fact, I’ll say almost as long as they are beginners, in fact, one of the signs that you start to see strategic complexity is you’re not longer a beginner. So if we’re trying to make sure that we don’t make the game complex for beginners, strategic complexity is awesome, because strategic complexity is mostly hidden. It’s invisible to beginning players. That they’re not even thinking of those terms. And so that is very, very valuable when you talk about lenticular design, is well if I want to stick stuff that is for the advanced player but unseen by the beginning players, oh, well there’s an entire realm, strategic complexity, that is pretty much invisible.
Okay, rule number two. Cards have to have a surface value. Okay, so the way to think about this is, imagine if you will, in the far-flung future, we eventually… technology exists such that you can have an item that looks like a Magic card and feels like a Magic card, but in fact the face of it is, you can think of it like a computer screen. But something in which it has the ability like a computer screen to change.
So you can imagine, in the far-flung future, that there are Magic cards that look and feel like Magic cards, but you have the ability to program so that any physical card can become any Magic card. Now imagine, because it’s the far-flung future and we can, that there is something in the card that is able to sense who is holding it. And it knows, for whatever reason, how experienced you are as a Magic player.
So imagine, if a beginner picks up a card, and it shows the beginner a card that makes sense to them. That is something the beginner wants. And then, when an intermediate player picks up the card, it shows something that makes sense for them. That’s a little more testing than the beginner card. But not so advanced. And when the advanced player picks it up, it’s a very advanced card.
Lenticular design, the basic premise is you’re doing that, except you don’t have the luxury of the far-flung future and cards that just can change. And what that means is, each person when they look at a card looks through their own lens. How they see it. And one of the things that I‘m trying to explain about lenticular design is that different players will look and see cards differently. They don’t see it as the same thing.
Rescue from the Underworld
My example, this is from later in the article but I’ll grab it because it makes a good point here, it was the card Rescue from the Underworld. Okay, so to the beginner, they look at that, and that looks like a flavorful way to reanimate a dead creature. “Oh, I see, I’m going to just play the spell, and then I get a creature that’s in the graveyard out of the graveyard. And now…” And everything else is just flavor. “Oh, I get it. He went down to rescue his friend, and he brought him back.” But as far as the player sees, it’s just a way to get a dead creature out of the graveyard.
Now, the intermediate player looks at it, and the intermediate player says, oh, well not only does it get a creature from the graveyard, but it gets a creature in play, it sacrifices them and brings them back. And so they go, oh, well it’s kind of like a black Flicker. Okay, I can do some neat things with that. By choosing which creature I sacrifice, I could not only get back a creature that’s valuable, but I also can do something with a creature that I’m removing for a short period of time.
But the advanced player gets the card and they notice it’s an instant. They notice that there’s a lot of combat shenanigans and things they can do. They realize that not only can they take advantage of what card’s going away, and what card’s coming back, but they can tie them together so that the two of them creates an effect larger than the sum of any one card. And even build their deck taking advantage of the fact that those combos exist.
One with Nothing
And the beauty of it is, every player, when they look at it, is seeing something that makes sense to them. So the lesson of lesson number two is, if a beginner player doesn’t understand what the card is doing—and like I said last time, it’s not just a matter of strategically understanding. Sometimes it’s just like, “I don’t know why you would use this.” One with Nothing is an example from my last podcast. Which is, yes they could read the words and understand the words, but they don’t understand what it means.
Whenever the player doesn’t get what function the card has, what you have to do when you’re designing a card, you have to make sure that the sheen on that card, that the beginning player goes, “Ahh, I get it, it’s such-and-such.” They look at Rescue from the Underworld, they go, “Ohh, I get it! I’m getting a creature back from the graveyard.” Everything else just seems like flavor to them.
And they don’t realize, “Oh, well hidden in that mechanic, there’s a lot of interesting space.” But they don’t realize that yet, and that’s fine. Because the thing is, as long as the beginner can look at a card and come up with some reason why you’d play that card, they’re happy.
So here’s the parallel that I’m going to give. Imagine you were a spy. See, you’re going to the far-flung future today, you get to be a spy. There’s so much role-playing you get to do in this podcast. Okay, so imagine you’re a spy. And you need to have a little hidden camera that you want to carry with you. Now, if you just make a small miniature object and carry it around with you, people are going to go, “Ooh, what’s that object?” And maybe they’re going to go, “Hmm, is that a camera?”
But if you make that little miniature object look like something, let’s say you make it look like a book. No one’s going to question whether the book is a camera. Because they see a book. “Oh, it’s a book.” They’re happy. And that this is the same way, which is if you want to have your card be something greater, it still has to have some appearance for the low-end players so they go, “Oh, I get it, it’s this.” And if not, then they start looking to figure out what it is. And that’s when problems happen.
Now, I’m not saying, by the way, that we don’t make cards just for advanced players. We do. We don’t do it at common. That we make cards—for example, there are rare cards with lines and lines and lines of text that the beginning player picks up, looks at it, and goes, “Not for me!” and puts down.
But at common, and this is where lenticular design shines, is as much as we can, we want to make sure that cards that have value to the advanced player are also useful and not shunned by the beginning player. Because I don’t want beginning players to pick up a card and go, “Oh, not for me” when it’s a common. The commons need to be for them.
And so the lesson here is, you have to make sure. When you are designing complexity and trying to hide it, that the thing that the card is doing that’s not the complex part has a function, and the person playing it gets it and sees it and understands what it is. Because beginning players are not seeking out the complexity. It is not like they want complexity. In fact, the last thing they want is complexity. When they get simple answers, they will latch on to the simple answers. They desperately crave simple answers.
One of the hardest things about learning to play Magic is, there’s this feeling early on of, “Do I understand what’s going on? Do I get it?” And that one of the things we want to make sure is, as much as possible that the player goes, “Oh yeah, I got it. Oh, I got it. Oh yeah yeah, I get it, I get it.” And that that makes them continue. Every time they hit something they don’t understand it, that’s another exit where they can go, “Eh, that game’s not for me. That game is too hard.”
Okay. Let’s get to rule number three. So rule number three is experience is connected to how far ahead a player thinks. Okay, so I talked about the sphere of awareness. Which is when you play, how much you’re aware. So before I talked about sort of the distance. Like, my hand. My battlefield. Your battlefield. My opponent’s hand. And even farther than that, by the way, is my opponent.
One of the things you’ll find about really good players is that the best players, it’s not even about what the cards are or what the play is, it’s about who the opponent is. Mike Turian, hall of famer who I work with, used to be in R&D, now in Organized Play, or sorry, Digital Media.
One of the things that he talks about is that it’s not just enough to know what the cards are, you have to look at your opponent and think about what did he think about? “Oh, he paused before he did something. Well, why would he pause? What cards would make him have to think at that point?” And that helps to pinpoint what he has and what he’s thinking about.
Now, that’s very, very high-end play. Now, the other way that this sphere of awareness expands is through time. So for example, a beginning player is thinking about now. Now. Not later in the turn, not the end of the turn, not next turn, now. “Here’s my hand, what can I do right now?”
And for example, what we find with beginners is they really like to have the turn sequence, which they put right next to them and go, “Okay, I’m doing this.” And they do that. Then they consult again. “Okay, now I’m doing this.” And they do that. They’re very in the now.
Now, really good players… so, I’m going to tell a story. About Mark Justice. So for those that might not know who Mark Justice is, early on, if you had asked players, right about the time when Pro Tour began, if you asked players… in fact, I did this. So I did an interview at the very first Pro Tour where I said to people, “If you could end up in the finals, who would you want to play in the finals?”
And what I found was, people wanted to play the person they thought of as being the best Magic player. The most awesome finals would be them vs. the best Magic player. And the interview, I believe eighty to ninety percent of the people all named the same one person. Because, at that time, at that moment, that person was considered by the vast majority of Magic players to be the best Magic player on the planet. A man named Mark Justice.
Now previously, Mark had won the Southwest Regionals. Had gone and won the U.S. Nationals. And then had come in third at Worlds that year. He would later go on to Top 8 the very first Pro Tour, he would later that year come in second at Worlds… sorry, he had done Top 3 at Worlds two times in a row, so before the Pro Tour started, he had won a Regionals, won a U.S. Nationals, and then Top 3 Worlds twice in a row. And then, he came to the very first Pro Tour and Top 8ed. And then, the very next Worlds, he came in second. Almost won.
In fact, it’s funny. If you ask people, if you told them at the time, one day there was going to be a Hall of Fame, but Mark Justice wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame, people would say, “Well, why are you having a Hall of Fame?”
Anyway. So Mark Justice, one of the best people to ever play the game. One of the things that I was fascinated by is Mark had a natural flair for the game. That he had intuition. Now, what we find is that if you take players, the really good players and divide them up, some of them just have a natural intuition for what’s the right play to do. Jon Finkel’s a good example of that.
And some are good because they just work so hard that they learn every possible thing and they playtest every possible thing. Randy Buehler was this way. That Randy would test like nobody’s business. The reason he was so good is, he didn’t get into a situation he wasn’t familiar with. Because he did so much prep work that he knew everything.
So anyway, Mark Justice was one of the intuitive ones. And so one of the things that I loved about Mark and watching him play was, and this is something in general about really good players is, he would make a move on turn four that would win him the game on turn fourteen. That he would do something that you have no idea what he’s doing.
So here’s what I remember. He came down, there was some big event down in California, I used to live in L.A., and so he’s playing and he’s in the finals. And I’m looking at his hand. And he has a few things in play. A wall. But not much. Very little. Not much land in play at all. And in his hand is a bunch of land and a bunch of spells. And he’s discarding spells. Drawing, getting up to eight, discarding a spell. And he’s very frustrated.
Land's Edge
And I have no idea what’s going on. Because he could use the land. He has land his hand. There’s spells he could cast. I don’t understand what’s going on. And as the game progresses, little by little he’s discarding the spells. And finally, at like turn fourteen, he draws a land, drops the last spell he has in his hand, which I think was Land’s Edge , which is a red Enchant World from Legends. That allows players to discard a land from their hand to do damage to the opponent.
So he plays Land’s Edge, has a land of seven cards, throws them, fourteen damage, defeats the opponent. And like I was talking to him after, and basically what happened was, his opponent had answers for all his threats. And the only route to victory he had in his deck was a thing where he hit them all at once with Land’s Edge for fourteen. So he nibbled them down to fourteen exactly, and then played this game where he looked like he was stalled on land, so that his opponent didn’t understand what he was doing, and got to the point where he could at one burst just kill his opponent.
And anyway, beginning players are very focused on the now. Advanced players are very focused on the future. And so one of the things when making lenticular cards is that the function that is the now function is something that the beginning player has to care about. But the fact that the card has potential for long-term function means you can hide that kind of complexity in the card.
And so a lot of the way it works is, the newer player will take the immediate effect. And the ramifications… so one of the big things we learned, for example, is enter-the-battlefield effects are really, really lenticular. And the reason is, really what an enter-the-battlefield effect is, well on a creature, it’s a spell stapled to a creature.
Venerable Monk
And the thing that’s interesting about it is, sometimes what’s important about the card is the spell, and sometimes what’s important about the card is the creature. And so if I have a card, for example, that… later in the article I showed [Venerable] Monk. Which by the way is not the most exciting example of a lenticular card, but I’ll give an example here where it can be.
So the card is, it’s a 2/2 for a 2W, you gain two life. Most of the time you want the body. It’s a 2/2. Right? And so look, if you can get it out early enough, just it can help you attack, and life gain’s a nice little bonus but really it’s just a body.
But what happens is, sometimes in a game, what can happen is, the ground gets gummed up. That the board is all about your basic creatures, and when you play, there’s this concept called the clock. Which says that I have to be aware of how many turns before I can defeat my opponent, and how many turns until my opponent beats me? Well, if my clock is faster than my opponent’s clock, well then I’m going to win.
So then what happens is, people are watching the clock. As they get close to winning, they start making moves they would never make early on because they know that the win is in sight. So what will happen is, late in the game, if the ground’s gummed up, the “gain two life” is much more important than the 2/2.
And so an experienced player will hold onto that. They won’t play it. Because what they want to do is wait for the opponent to make a decision based on life totals, not knowing that you have the ability to go up two life. And at the last possible moment, you change the clock on them, so that they have made a mistake because they were counting on something that wasn’t true.
And in general, that is true of almost all ETB creatures. Enter-the-battlefield creatures. Is that you have to understand what’s more important at the time. The spell or the creature. And that makes a very lenticular card because the beginning player, they don’t think about that separation. They just play the creature when they’re capable of playing the creature. “Do I have two and a white? Okay, I’m playing Venerable Monk. Ooh, what happens? Surprise! I get a little life.” They’re not thinking of the ramifications of that. They’re just thinking like, ooh, they get a little surprise.
Festering Goblin
Which leads us into rule four. Novices tend not to think of causality. So I talked about this example last podcast, which is if you have a Festering Goblin , which is a B 1/1, 1/1 for black, that when it dies, target creature gets -1/-1. The beginning player will never think to block a 2/2 for that. Because you can block it, it’s a 1/1 creature, it will do one damage when it dies, you could do -1/-1 to the creature that’s already taken damage. It will kill the creature. I’ve watched time and time again where they’ll chump block a 2/2 with a 1/1 and then use Festering Goblin to kill another 1/1 creature rather than the 2/2.
And the reason is that much as the sphere of awareness, they’re not aware of time, they’re not aware of space. They’re not also aware of causality early on. That they don’t think of, “Oh, well this death trigger…” Death trigger’s another good example of lenticular design. That a beginning player’s just like, “I have a death trigger,” it’s like a little surprise. When it dies, I don't know when that happens. When it dies I’ll get something.
Where an experienced player says, no no no. The fact that its death does something, and I can manipulate that information. I can manipulate it because I can make it die when I want it to. I might manipulate information because I know my opponent doesn’t want it to happen, so maybe I attack with the creature knowing that it’s a disincentive from blocking it. But anyway, novices don’t think of that causality. And so when you are building stuff in in lenticular design, you can take advantage of that.
That’s why we, for example, are doing a lot more enter-the-battlefield and death triggers in common, because for the most time, they’re nice simple vanilla creatures to the beginning player. And that to the advanced player, they have a lot more depth than that.
Aven Cloudchaser
Okay. Number five. Players will try to use the cards to match the perceived function. Okay, so let me talk about the Venerable Monk and Aven Cloudchaser I think is the card I talked about? Aven Cloudchaser. So Venerable Monk, as I said before, is a 2W 2/2, enters the battlefield, gain two life. Aven Cloudchaser is a 3W 2/2 flyer, when it enters the battlefield, destroy target enchantment.
So the Venerable Monk, they look at the card, they see the two life, they go, “Okay, whatever. I like life.” And they play the card. The problem with Aven Cloudchaser is they look at it and go, “Oh, it destroys an enchantment. Ooh, destruction, that’s important. Oh, I better wait for an enchantment.”
Now, the good player says, “Oh, well sometimes I care about the enchantment removal. But sometimes, you know what? The 2/2 flyer is way more important than enchantment removal.” And you go, (???) good, it’s decisions that the advanced player would see that the beginning player wouldn’t. The reason this card isn’t good is that the beginning player understands the value of destroying things, and so they see that as so important, they won’t play it until they’re able to destroy something. So they might sit with this 2/2 flyer in their hand when it can be helping them winning the game, because the thing they feel they need to do to play it isn’t there.
And so you have to be careful. Once again, when I talk about surface value, what does the player think this card does? Destruction is so important, they look at a 2/2 flyer with “destroy enchantment” and they think like, “Ohh, it’s a destroy enchantment card with a little bonus, I get a 2/2 flyer.” Rather than, oh, a 2/2 flyer a lot of times is the most important part. And the destroy enchantment is secondary. So that’s an example where the Venerable Monk makes a good card, where the Aven Cloudchaser is not quite as good card. Because the beginning player is using it incorrectly. What they think it does does not lead them in the right direction.
And once again, that’s very important. What the beginning player thinks it does is very important, because they need to have a plan. That every card has to have a function for every player. When players look through their own lens, the card has to have meaning for them.
Okay. So rule number six is let the players play the game they want to play. This is a fine general lesson in game design. The key here is that each player has in their mind what they think the game is about. And how a beginner sees a game of Magic is much, much different than how an advanced player sees it. To the beginner, Magic has much—there’s much fewer things going on. And the reason it has to be that way. That they could not handle—like the number of decisions that an advanced player makes, a beginner couldn’t handle. And once again, remember this is important to understand. It’s not that the beginning player is incapable of decisions more so than the advanced player, it’s that the advanced player has incorporated a lot of decision-making.
Both the beginning player and the advanced player are only capable of thinking so much. The human brain can do so much. The difference is, when you do something multiple times, you learn how to do it, and you shortcut it in your brain mentally so that you don’t have to think about it as much.
And here’s a good example of keywords. A lot of people, when you’re an advanced player you look a keywords and you go, “Why don’t you keyword everything? Keywording just makes it easier.” Because you’re like, “I understand the idea that putting a card from the top of your library into your graveyard is the concept known as milling. So if you just say ‘mill 1,’ I get it. Much easier. I don’t have to read all those words.”
But the problem is, for a beginning player, the vocabulary isn’t a known thing yet. So when they come and they encounter it, if they see “mill 1,” they say, “What? That’s not English. What does that mean?” Now they have to learn what that means. And yes, eventually they can learn what that means, but the point is, there’s only so much they’re capable of learning.
When you’re introducing a game to an audience, they are invested in some learning, but there’s a barrier. That if you make them learn too much, they opt out. They check out. Like, “Ooh… too hard for me.”
And Magic already has a rep of being a hard game. Because it is. And that we’re trying to do as much as we can to… one of the things I try to explain to beginners is, the basic game of Magic, the basic game is actually not that complex. Now, we layer lots of things on top of that basic game, but the basic game itself is not that complex. And I’m like, “Just learn the basic game. And with time you can learn the other stuff. Not important right now. As long as you have the basic game, that’s what you need.”
And when you’re teaching someone to play, by the way, you want to strip out every possible thing you can. And that’s why Portal was just mostly vanilla creatures and sorceries. Cut out as much as you can. And the key to lenticular design is an idea I talked about before, which was that each player has to look at the card, and to them, they have to see the card that they want it to be. And it has to make them smile. So using my far-flung computer cards, each player, when they look at it, if the card has something that they want it to be, they’re happy.
And lenticular design is trying to take this far-flung technology and bring it to today, which is can we make cards that different players look… that’s why it’s called lenticular. That each player looks at it and they see something different.
And the reason I use Rescue from the Underworld in my article was, it’s a really, really good example of something that—and this is one of the advantages of flavor, by the way. A lot of what’s going on in Rescue from the Underworld, to the beginning player is flavor. That as long as there’s a reason for the text to be on the cards, they’re happy. Flavor is a reason. So that’s another very good way that we can hide stuff. I didn’t mention this before.
Which is, if the player looks at it and they justify why it’s there, like for example, a lot of times we’ll put what we call trinket text, which is flavorful text. Well, sometimes that trinket text can hide interesting gameplay. But as long as to the beginning player it just looks like it’s flavorful, they’re happy. And that’s a big, big part of lenticular design, is you want each layer of player that you’re trying to make happy see what they want to see, have it be something they want it to be, and then they go happy walk away.
And what’s great about Magic is, and this is why lenticular designs are really good is, there is a moment that happens in Magic, it happens multiple times in Magic, but the first time it happens is the one time you remember the most. Where you see a card that you’ve played before, but one day you notice some functionality you hadn’t noticed before. And you go, “Oh my goodness! Normally I do thing A. Ooh, but I could do Thing B. Thing B will help me win!”
And then you feel really clever, and just it’s one of the things that grabs people about Magic is that Magic has this quality where cards can do multiple functions. That you can learn about something and you can feel real clever and have neat interactions, and there’s a lot of opportunity for cleverness in Magic. Players like feeling good about themselves. Players like feeling like they’ve found something.
Even if the thing they’ve found has been found by thousands and thousands of people before, it doesn’t matter. They found it. And it feels great. Like, one of the reasons people play games is, they want the mental stimulation, and when you find something where you get a positive thing, it just… endorphins get released and you’re happy and you’re excited, and it’s a great moment because you found something. And you discovered something. And you managed to twist the game to your means, to do what you want it to do. It’s one thing Magic does really, really well.
So anyway, that, my friends, is all I have to say, or more of what I had to say on lenticular design. The thing that’s really exciting to me about lenticular design, and I talked about this in the first podcast, is one of the things that I love doing, and one of the things I love about design is that I feel like the reason I’ve been at this close to twenty years is that I keep finding new things. Just like the players get excited when they discover new things, I get excited when I discover new things.
And that New World Order was a very interesting thing, and out of New World Order came lenticular design. And like I said, I’m fascinated because lenticular design isn’t just for complexity. It started as a tool for complexity, but imagine the same idea of I have a card that’s seen different ways by different players, maybe psychographically. Maybe Vorthos and Melvin scale, or not scale, but the Vorthos/Melvin aesthetics. Maybe… there’s different ways for me to make different cards for different players. In which the same card meets the needs of different players.
And that one of the things that Magic—one of the big problems Magic has always had is space. That we are trying to make many games for many different players, but we only have one card set, so a lot of times I’m really tight on space. And the idea that I can make a singular card and make it be multiple cards for multiple players is very exciting.
And now here’s a good way to think about this, which is the example I’m trying to say of how what lenticular design does is a little bit different than how we’ve done things before. In the past, we’ve made cards that were a Timmy and Johnny card. Or a Spike and Timmy card. That they were “and.” And lenticular design says that we could try to do “or.” That we could make a card for Timmy or for Johnny.
And my parallel to this is kind of like in a mana cost, the difference between traditional multicolored cards and hybrid cards. A red/green card is red and green card. But a red/green hybrid card is red or green. And the difference between those, it’s subtle, but it’s very important.
And so lenticular design is this awesome thing, and I’m very excited, because it allows me to look at Magic and how we make Magic in a completely different light. And I’ve been thinking about Magic for almost nineteen years, okay? The fact that I can think about cards in a different way than I’ve ever thought about them is mind-blowing and awesome. And so the reason I want to share lenticular design with you is it’s the cutting edge of where we’re going and how we’re thinking of Magic.
And the next awesome thing is, New World Order is a great thing. From New World Order came lenticular design. I don't know where lenticular design will lead. I mean, clearly there’s a lot more things to do with lenticular design. But it’s going to lead to other awesome places. And that this discovery, much like you guys love finding neat things to do with the cards, I love finding neat things… well, to do with the cards. On the other side.
And so anyway, if you can’t tell, I’m excited, and I’m passionate about lenticular design and just making Magic, because guys, I love talking about making Magic. I love talking about making Magic! But even more, I like making Magic! So this has been awesome talking with you guys. Hopefully you can see my passion in lenticular design. I really, really think it’s something interesting and a very exciting portal in where we’re going. It’s had a lot of impact on the last three years of design. But it’ll have even more on the next three and the three after that.
So anyway, thanks for joining me today guys. As always, it’s awesome to talk with you. I’ll see you next time.
Posted 2nd February 2015 by Natasha Lewis Harrington
Labels: lenticular design my favorites
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5/23/14 Episode 125: Lenticular Design, Part I
All podcast content by Mark Rosewater
Okay, I’m pulling out of my driveway! We all know what that means! It’s time for another Drive to Work.
Okay. So today, there’s a topic that I wanted to talk about on my podcast, but I wanted to wait until I wrote the article about it first. And the article I wrote about it came out today, just to give you a little hint of how far in advance I’m doing these.
And the topic is lenticular design. So today I’m going to talk all about what it is, how we came up with the concept, and sort of how it impacts Magic design. It’s actually a pretty important concept. And it’s something that’s pretty—I have not seen it elsewhere, so I know it’s something that I’m sure other designers think about, but anyway, it’s interesting sometimes that one of the things I try very hard to do is put words to things. To concepts. Because I write about design so much, I’m very conscious about sort of having things that I can form and discuss. And lenticular design is a big one. I’m actually very proud of lenticular design. And today, I’m going to talk about it.
Okay, so to understand lenticular design, let’s go back in the WABAC machine to the beginning of New World Order. So I did a whole podcast on New World Order, but the super short version is, less people were getting into Magic. The number of people that were joining was going down. That’s a bad sign. We were trying to figure out what’s going on, we realized that the game was just getting too complicated because when people enter the game, they’re always at zero comprehension, they don’t know anything, and little by little Magic had just been—the gap had just been widening between knowing nothing and being able to play.
So the big idea of New World Order Was if we take common and hold it to a tighter complexity, beginners, most of their cards are common, we would just make it easier for them—we’d essentially lessen the game’s complexity for the beginner but still allow the more complex things for the advanced players. That was the idea.
So one of the things that I was tasked with, figuring out what made things complex. And what I realized was, there was three types of complexity. What we called “comprehension complexity,” which has to do with reading the card and understanding what the card is saying. And as I explained in my article, there’s actually a couple different types of comprehension complexity.
So number one is, I just use terminology you don’t know. And this is why—I talk about keywords come at a cost. Whenever you read something and it’s a word you don’t know, that’s a barrier. It’s a big barrier. That imagine reading something and just coming across a word that you aren’t familiar with. Okay, once or twice, the vocabulary, you can learn it, but at some point it just becomes daunting. So you have to be very careful.
What we found is, certain vocabulary is very hard for people. The example I use in my article is mentioning the stack. Now, advanced players might feel like, “Oh, I get the stack. Last in, first out, blah blah blah.” But a lot of what the stack does is pretty invisible to most players. Most player understand kind of how their spells interact, but they don’t—if you actually ask them what the stack is and how the stack works, most players don’t know.
A lot of players, in fact, have never heard the term “the stack.” Now, real quickly, the counterargument for us not mentioning the stack is, “Why should mention it more. How are people going to learn what it is if we never talk about it?”
The problem is, it’s a pretty advanced concept. You don’t need to understand the stack to play. That’s another important thing to understand, which is, one of the goals of teaching somebody to play a game, any game but Magic in particular, is you don’t need them to know everything. You need them to know enough to play.
So one of our strategies has been—because Magic is such a hard game to learn is, only teach people what they have to know. And a lot of things, like how the stack works, we teach the elements of it so they’re playing correctly, but we don’t right away teach them the nitty-gritty. Because it’s just overwhelming.
I mean if you sat down to play Magic and I’m like, “Okay, read this phone book first,” most people would be like “Thank you, I’ll play another game.” And really what we were trying to do is saying, “Okay, here’s the things you have to know.” And as you get into the game you slowly learn more.
And that trying to throw people in the deep end tends to make people not able to deal with the game. And that Magic is a fun game, and the point—at its core it’s not as complex as people think it is. It’s complex in that there’s lots and lots of corner cases. To understand about the corner cases is complex. To understand the basics of how to play actually is not that complex. And part of doing that is making sure that we…
SO anyway, number one is just vocabulary. We have to be careful with vocabulary. Some vocabulary I worth it. Some vocabulary. If done correctly, such as flying, could actually help you. Because the vocabulary comes with outside meaning, and that outside meaning can help you understand what’s going on.
But other vocabulary, in which it doesn’t connect to anything. People ask us all the time about keywording “mill.” And maybe one day we will if we come up with the right word for it. But the biggest problem with keywording mill is, like why don’t we use the word mill?
And the reason is, the word mill is a Magic thing that comes from the word Millstone, which is just a card in Magic. Milling is like grinding wheat. I guess there’s the metaphor of we’re grinding your mind, but anyway, mill doesn’t mean anything. I mean, I understand if you play Magic for a while you get the slang, but if you’re a new player and I say, “mill two cards,” you have no idea what that means. And that Magic has enough of that. It just gets hard to grok.
So anyway, number one of comprehension complexity is just vocabulary. Number two is just having things that don’t—like one of the rules I said in the article is, if you read a card and you go, “I’ve got to read that again,” that’s a sign there’s something going on. That it’s complex.
Dead Ringers
That if I can’t grok what happened—and the one I use in my article is Dead Ringers, which was a card for Apocalypse I think. So basically what happened was, I made a card—the card I made was, “Destroy two target creatures that share a color.” That’s easy. Pretty simple. That’s got white in it, that’s got white in it. Done.
And I think what happened is, in trying—because of the multicolor block, they didn’t want to hose you for being part white, and so they changed it so the idea is, “Okay, so I destroy two cards that are exactly the same combination of colors.” But anyway, the way they ended up wording it, if you’ve ever seen Dead Ringers, literally it’s like “What? What?” You just don’t know what it means. And like, that’s not good.
And the answer, by the way is, if you have a card in which template correctly you can’t understand what it means, one of two things—either the template is wrong, we need to find a simpler template, or you can’t make the card. We learn all the time that we want to do something, but in order to template it correctly so that the rules work, you can’t understand what it is, it means don’t make the card. Okay. That’s number two comprehension complexity.
Number three comprehension complexity is—I think I used suspend as the example, which is sometimes, when you write it out, that there’s so much going on that just it’s hard to grok it all. And like suspend is a perfect example where on the surface, I thought it would be pretty grokkable. It’s like, “You’re exchanging time for mana. It costs less mana, but it costs time. I have to wait.” And in a very sort of esoteric sense, it’s pretty simple. You trade time for mana.
But then in actual playing, it’s like, “Okay, I take this, I’ve got to put it in this zone, I’ve got to understand the exile zone. And then I’ve got to put counters on it. And then every turn I’ve got to remember to mark down the counters. And when the counters go off, then I have this thing happen, and I’ve got to remember to…” And it’s like, “Aah…” I mean—and once again, it’s another example of a mechanic where the advanced players got it. They got it. They had no problem with it.
But beginners really, really struggled. There was a lot going on. There was multiple zone changes, there was dealing with counters and countdowns and upkeep effects and things happening, and—holy moly, there was a lot going on. It just was overwhelming.
One with Nothing
Now the fourth type of comprehension complexity, I used One with Nothing as an example. So One with Nothing is from—what is it, from Scourge, I think? [NLH—Saviors of Kamigawa.] Anyway, it’s a card that says, “Discard your hand.”
So you’re like “How can there be comprehension complexity? There’s three words on it. ‘Discard’ ‘Your’ ‘Hand.’ How tough is that? Take your hand, discard it.” The reason that this has comprehension complexity is it doesn’t make sense. Players read it, they go “Discard your hand—I understand what it’s saying. Take my hand, throw it away. That makes no sense, so what is it really saying?”
So that’s another big part I’m going to talk about today in lenticular design is, people—a lot of confusion comes from people not understanding what it’s doing, and when people don’t understand, they just start making things up to try to make it understand.
And One with Nothing’s a perfect example where the card is crystal, crystal clear what it does. But it’s so non-intuitive that you would ever want to do that, that people like would not understand it. Because they understood the base definition, and said, “Oh, that can’t be right. What am I missing?” And they spent all this time and energy trying to understand what they were missing.
And that’s, by the way in general, I’m not saying we shouldn’t make cards like One with Nothing. Although a lot of people would prefer we don’t. I think we should make cards that you go, “What?” Now that card’s rare, as it should be. We should occasionally make cards that are confusing. But not at common. And not that that card was at common. But I’m trying to show different kinds of comprehension complexity.
Prodigal Pyromancer
Prodigal Sorcerer
Okay, number two. Is board complexity. So board complexity is, do you understand how what is in play interacts with the rest of the board. The example in the article I use was Prodigal Pyromancer, which is for old folks, Prodigal Sorcerer. It used to be a blue card, back in the day. And basically the card taps to do one damage to target creature or player. “How complex is that? He taps to do one.”
And the answer is, it’s actually pretty complex. Because with him on the board, what it means is, every combat, I have the potential to have one more damage done. And let’s say I set up a situation where I have a complex blocking situation. Now just adding one card, Prodigal Sorcerer or Prodigal Pyromancer, all of a sudden I have so many more options I have to do.
Now, once again, for the experienced player who can shorthand the math of combat. Because one of the things that happens, and this is a lot of things that people forget is, when you play a game or really do anything in life, your brain starts to shorthand things.
For example, right now I am driving to work. Well, how is it I’m driving to work and doing a podcast? And the answer is, well you know what? I’ve driven a car a long time. I’ve driven to work many, many times. Most of what I’m doing is on autopilot. My brain knows what it’s doing. And so I’m able to actually do a podcast, because well…
Now, if I was a first-time driver, just someone who had never driven before, could I do a podcast while driving? Noooo. No I could not. Or it would be a very short podcast. “Hi, today I’m… (yelps)” That was my imitation of… (laughs) See, you get wonderful dramatic skits like that.
So the thing to remember is, when you play, you start shorthanding things. And what happens is, players who have played a long time forget they’ve shorthanded it. So like, “That’s not so hard.” No. Combat’s not so hard once you’ve done it hundreds of times. And there’s a point at which you learn, “Oh,” like you can glance at the board and understand, “Oh… do I want to trade or don’t I want to trade?” But for beginners, they have to figure out, “Oh, if I do this, that means I will trade.” And then they’ve got to figure out whether they want to trade, which is also complex.
And so the idea of Prodigal Pyromancer is, that’s adding a lot of extra data to a complex situation that maybe you’ve mastered, and once again, most people have not mastered combat, but they understand it, quicker they can understand it.
So anyway, so first board complexity is things that affect other things. The second thing I talked about are things that are affected by other things. (???) the one I did. The one I talked about was a creature whose power and toughness is equal to the other creatures you have in play. And the reason that can get complex is let’s say I get into combat with multiple creatures.
Well, I’ve got to remember if other creatures die, that this creature will be smaller based on the other deaths. So if I get into combat, I have to go, “Oh, well, this creature and that creature could die based on their blocking, so my guy could be this big.” And it gets much more complex. Like if I want him to survive, if I attack, what does he have, how big is it? Well, he could block other creatures in such a way that he could kill it. Do I want to attack?
So board complexity is talking about “Can I understand the implications of what’s going to happen with all the things on the battlefield in conjunction with one another?” And what happened was, when we first realized complexity was going on, like Time Spiral happened, we were losing people, like “Okay. People aren’t getting what’s going on.”
Silvergill Douser
And then in Lorwyn, we made sure the cards were much easier to read. “I get it. I get what it’s doing.” But the cards had a lot of interconnectivity, and what we had done was we lowered comprehension complexity, but we hadn’t lowered board complexity. And in Lorwyn, especially Lorwyn/Morningtide, it was a very high board complexity. The beginners, what we found, couldn’t even tell what was going on. Like, they would just walk into on-board tricks constantly because they just couldn’t see it.
Okay, the third type of complexity is what we call “strategic complexity.” Now, strategic complexity is about do you understand the strategic ramifications of what’s going on. What we found, and lenticular design is based a lot on understanding strategic complexity.
Fact or Fiction
So strategic complexity is, “Oh, I see.” A good example I think I used of strategic complexity is Fact or Fiction. Which is, “Here’s a card that depending on how you use it, the card could be very weak or very strong depending on how you use it.” Do you understand how to divide cards, how to choose cards? Are you able to look at your opponent and the board state and understand how, in the current board state, your opponent values his cards?
Like, at the beginning of the game, this card might be not valuable, but mid-game it’s very valuable. Depending on what they have or how they’ve acted. That’s another big thing about advanced play is—Mike Turian taught me this. That if you want to optimize your play, it’s not just a matter of what the cards are. It’s a matter of how long did your opponent look at his card before he did something? How long did he wait after you cast a spell?
Like, a lot of advanced play is reading the people and saying, “Oh, well let me think of the kind of… what they’re thinking about. If I could figure what they’re thinking about, that tells me what’s in their hand. Oh, are they trying to decide whether to cast a spell or not? Well, maybe they have a counterspell in their hand.” Stuff like that.
So what we learned was, comprehension complexity is more—for the beginning player, comprehension complexity is greater than board complexity, which is greater than strategic complexity. Which mean, first and foremost, if you are a newer player, you are trying to understand what cards do. Then you’re trying to understand what’s going on on the board, and finally you’re understanding strategy. But you have to learn the first before you get to the second, you have to learn the second before you get to the third.
Okay. So the idea of lenticular design—I’m halfway to work, and I haven’t got to actually define lenticular design yet. So I was working on New World Order, and I was trying to figure out how to lower complexity. When I made the following discovery: you have to be very careful about comprehension complexity, because if beginners don’t understand the card, you’re doomed. So you have to be extra careful about comprehension complexity.
Board complexity, well you’ve got to be careful because at some point they get to board complexity, and that you’ll make states they don’t understand. So you—there’s certain types of board complexity you can get, but in general you have to be careful with board complexity.
Lightning Bolt
Ahh, but you get to strategic complexity, strategic complexity, up to a certain point, is pretty invisible to the beginning player. And by the time they can see it, they’re no longer beginning players. And the perfect example is a Lightning Bolt or a direct damage spell. Often what you see is when you give a beginner direct damage spells, they love to just do it to the opponent. They know the point of the game is to get 20 down to zero, you give the a spell, and “I hit my opponent, they’re lower, I’m that much closer to winning.”
And only with time do they start to understand that “Oh, well, until the clock on my opponent matters, until I’m close enough that maybe I can beat them, doing the damage to the face isn’t worth it.” That it’s more valuable to use that to deal with creatures early on than it is to deal it to the opponent. Barring the deck, there are decks that actually want to go to the face.
And so what I realized was that when I was thinking about complexity, I started to realize that not everybody sees the cards the same. And what that meant was that as people look at cards, they gauge them based on the lenses they have of what they can understand. So what that meant was, there were some cards that might be simple to one player but difficult to another.
Now. Obviously, the more advanced player will see things simpler. They’re better players. So I can take a card that for beginners might be somewhat complex, but to an advanced player would be pretty simple. But—this is where lenticular design gets interesting, I figured out something else. Some cards were seen by advanced players as more complex than by beginning players.
Black Cat
And my example there was Black Cat. I don’t think Black Cat was the card actually—because Black Cat was in Dark Ascension. I figured this out before then. But the thing that made me figure out lenticular design was watching someone play—what we do is sometimes we’ll get people in other sections of the company to come up for a playtest.
So we can see—R&D is very, very hardcore, a lot of them came from the Pro Tour, die hard Magic players. And sometimes you want a more casual player, just—I love first impressions, and so sometimes we get people from other sections of the company that know Magic, but aren’t nearly as invested. And get their impressions.
And I was watching them play, and they had a creature with a death trigger. I use Black Cat as my example. The reason, by the way, that I love using Black Cat whenever I talk about lenticular design is, one of the online media people that does our graphics made this awesome Black Cat graphic that is a lenticular-looking card, where you bend and the cat sort of does—looks 3d, and it’s so awesome that I love making them put that graphic on. So whenever I talk about lenticular design, I always talk about Black Cat.
Festering Goblin
But anyway, the one that made me learn it was, I was watching a player with a death trigger. And I don’t remember, it might be, in the article I talk about, what’s the goblin? Festering Goblin. Festering Goblin’s a 1/1, B, one black mana, 1/1, when it dies, target creature gets -1/-1. And I watched them—somebody attacked with a 2/2, and they had a 1/1. And they didn’t want their creature to die. And so they didn’t block. And so the person kept doing two damage to them.
And finally, they felt they had to block. And they chumped with the Festering Goblin a 2/2, and then after it died, they used the -1/-1 to kill one of their opponent’s 1/1 creatures. And it dawned on me, it was invisible to them that they had the ability with this 1/1 Festering Goblin to kill a 2/2 creature.
And the reason was, the way they thought about the card was, “I play this creature, I have a 1/1. When it dies, something cool happens. I get a present. I’ll open that present when the creature dies.” They don’t think about it—like where an advanced player, the fact that you get -1/-1, yeah, you’re blocking the 2/2 creature because you can kill the creature. That the ability of the death trigger is connected to the ability. It’s part of the card. And you can use them in conjunction.
That’s not how the player was playing at all. And what I realized was, they liked the card. It was fun. They could play it and it did something. Then it died, and they got a little something. They happened to get something. It killed a creature, they were happy. But the idea that the creature and its effect had any synergy with each other was invisible to them.
And that’s when I realized that to that player, that card was simpler. Because to that player, what do you do with it? You play it when you can, when you have enough mana to cast it, you have black mana, you play it. When the creature dies, it dies. And then something happens and you use it when it happens.
But they never think about how to use it in conjunction, where the idea of the death trigger matters. And that’s when I realized that, “Oh, in their mind, to the beginning player, that was a much simpler card.” Because they didn’t have to think about the interaction between the two. And that’s why I started realizing that when we thought about complexity, we had to stop thinking about—like for a while, I think I was thinking about complexity as a scale. Like a card is just so complex. It’s a 1 to a 10.
And I understood there was adjustment for advanced players, but the thought process was just, “Well, the scale, as you get better, just you see things as being higher up or lower down the scale.” What might be a 4 complexity to a beginning player might only be a 1 complexity to an advanced player. That’s how I was thinking of it. And what I realized is, “Oh, no no no no no, the reason you look at complexity is, what are they thinking about?” And that it’s possible for an advanced player to think more about something than the beginning player did.
And that is a pretty—I mean, let me stress this concept, but this concept is kind of the cornerstone of lenticular design. Which is that when you are addressing complexity in your audience, you have to think of each section of the audience differently. And that your beginning player isn’t—there’s certain things that are invisible to the beginning player. And that is crucial, because essentially what that means is I’m trying—the whole idea of New World Order says, “I want to take complexity out of common so that I’m not making the game more complex for people learning how to play.”
But lenticular design taught me that some things are invisible. And what that means is, it’s not that I need to keep common actually complex-free, I need to keep it complex-free as the beginner sees it. Right? My goal is not—once again, it’s not that I have a scale, and common has to be at a certain complexity overall, common has to be at a certain complexity for the beginning player. Meaning I want them to look at it, and it looked like a 1 or a 2 or a 3. Something on the low end of the spectrum.
The funny thing is, and one of the things that I’ve discovered is, some of the best mechanics are ones in which—to the beginning player they seem really straightforward. And to the advanced player, there’s lots of interesting decisions.
Like one of the examples is, morbid was a good example. And morbid tends to play into this. One of the reasons I like morbid was morbid says, “If a creature’s died, I get a bonus.” Right? It’s from Innistrad.
Now, to the advanced player, the answer is, “How do I manipulate things such that when I need to, things have died to trigger my morbid?” Meaning, they think of it as being completely in their control. Or more in their control. Where the beginning player’s kind of like, “When I cast the spell, let’s look.” But they don’t think of it as being in their control. So just like, “Hey, it’s a cool bonus if it happens.”
And in general, one of the things that sets the beginners from the advanced players is, the beginning players—so real quickly, I’m almost to work, and what I realized is this is a complex enough topic that it’s worthy of two podcasts.
And so what I’m going to do is, I’m going to save tomorrow—I’m going to talk about all the lessons of how do you make things—how do you make things simpler for the beginner and more advanced for the advanced players? That’s going to be tomorrow. Today I’m just wrapping up—I just want to talk about sort of the key essence of what we’ve learned, so that tomorrow I can talk about how to execute. How to make things lenticular.
And really, the lesson is understanding the vantage point. And by the way, one thing about design that’s always cool is one thing leads to another. New World Order made me try to make commons simple, or not complex. Which, and what lenticular design made me realize, is that I’m actually asking the question wrong. But by the way. That this is a big, big part I find of the creative process is that a lot of times the big discoveries come when you realize that you asked a question that had more scope than you needed.
For example, I was asking, “How do you make common cards complex-free?” And the real question I needed to ask was, “How do I make them complex-free for beginners?”
So, the big question that this had led me to, that each thing opens up—my new discovery new is, lenticular design made me realize that everybody views the game through their own set of lenses. In fact, the very idea of lenses, in fact, Jesse Schell does a book on game design where he talks about looking at your game design through different lenses.
And so I’m applying this in a different context, sort of a psychological context, which is how does your player look at your game? What are the means by which they look at your game? And that when you are—I believe when you’re designing things, you have to be aware of who you’re designing for. And so part of the idea of lenses is understanding in this particular aspect, what are you trying to do? And who are you looking at?
And that what I’ve learned, and lenticular design has taught me this is that different cards can be for different players. It’s not that each card’s only for one player. Each card actually could be for multiple players, as long as each player has a vantage point they understand.
And so I’ll make my final point today, because I’m just about at work, which is a big part of understanding lenticular design is the concept of lenticular. So what lenticular means, I don’t think I’ve defined it today, there’s the cards that they’re printed in such a way that when you turn them, you see different images. And usually they’re done such a way that the way the brain works, it looks like it’s moving. Because it’s looking straight on. And looking to the side. And less to the side. And straight on. Like, it creates motion. Sense of motion.
So lenticular design says, “You have to understand that different people will look at the cards and see different movements of the head.” And that you the designer kind of have to understand all the different vantage points. That what does the beginner see when they look at this card? What does the medium player when they look at the card? What does an advanced player see when they look at this card? What does a Johnny see? What does a Timmy see? What does a Spike see? That’s the next level, by the way. Today’s level, because I’m doing complexity, is about experience level.
But what I’ve learned from this is if you extrapolate out, what you will learn is, you could apply the lenses of how people look at the cards, and you can do that for other things. I’m looking at right now, experience level, but imagine looking at it for a psychographic. Or looking at it for Vorthos vs. Melvin. I mean, there’s a lot of different ways you could look at something.
And that---that’s pretty exciting, because it means that you can—one of the problems we always have when doing design is, you only get so many cards. But as soon as I say, “Imagine this, that you can design two cards but have them fill one space,” that, my friends, is quite exciting.
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