Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Awesomeness of PowerPoint

If you've ever been a corporate drone like myself, you've probably grown used to being bludgeoned to death with PowerPoint (PPT) pitches.  It's approaching the point where PPT deserves its own article under the Hague Conventions, next to the chemical weapons and frangible bullets. 

But PPT is also incredibly flexible and useful for drawing, and that's what makes it of value to the wargaming community.  PPT has a lot of the tools built into it which make for easy illustrations, line drawings, etc., that can be difficult to do in Photoshop and Illustrator (I can't speak for CorelDraw, as I've never used it).  Using the "Edit Points", "Align", "Glow", "Group", and other functions makes for easy and fairly accurate work for someone who otherwise has the artistic prowess of an epileptic clam.

Take, for instance, the below examples.


I love blips.  I've loved them ever since I first played Space Hulk back in the late '80s (insert cheap shot about modern Games Workshop versus '80s GW here).  There was something ominous and foreboding about watching those inscrutable blip markers converging on your Marine squad.

Here are some blips from around the web:

Pretty nice stuff.  Now here are some that I made using nothing but PPT:

Original size:

And a size more suitable for gaming:

Here is one that more closely resembles the motion-tracker HUD from "Aliens" (possibly one of the best movies ever made):


On a complete whim (and in the middle of my divorce, when I needed some distraction), I made up a number of silhouettes of Brigade Models' 6mm and 15mm vehicles.  I won't burden you with the dozens upon dozens of designs, but here are a couple examples (again, made solely using PPT):


Below are two of the dozen or so maps I had made for a pack of Dirtside II scenarios (which I had started to adapt for Brigade's Iron Cow 2103 rules in an as-yet-unfinished supplement called Operation Starlight):

One of the upsides of using PPT is that you can easily duplicate and then tailor specific shapes.  For example, the dashed yellow dividing line on the highway above is the same line as the highway itself, copied and pasted on top of the highway line.  The Format options were then used to make them each serve their own purpose:  the highway line was set to Black, 12 Point weight, Solid, while the dividing line was set to Yellow, 1.5 Point weight, Dash. 

The trees are obviously just the Cloud Callout shape with a dark-to-light green gradiant fill!  I was too lazy to make individual trees.

Speaking of Operation Starlight, here is the cover page for it, which was done in Word with graphics drawn in PPT:

Some other random things that I did for the OpStar project using PPT include these unit patches for mythical futuristic units from the Iron Cow fluffyverse:

This is the CDSU People's Liberation Army 6th Armored Division crest:

It was based off a real-life ChiComm unit patch that had the outline of what looks like a T-55 or T-62 on it;  I replaced it with a line-drawing of Brigade's Zhu De main battle tank (a GEV tank, hence the hoverskirts on the above patch).  Here is the actual PLA 6th AD unit patch:

Here is the NeoSoviet 191st Motorized Rifle Division's unit crest:

Not the best, but not horrible, by any means.

Unit Cards

Below are a couple unit cards I made in PPT and then embedded in an Excel spreadsheet for Stargrunt II.  Once in Excel, I used text boxes linked to the formulas in hidden cells that were overlaid on the cards, so that when the user changes an option or value on the unit-builder sheet, the values on the data card appear to update themselves automatically.

Other Stuff

There is a ton more I could say and share about the awesomeness of PPT, but you have much to do and have probably wasted way too much time here already.  So, here are a last couple items for your perusal.

Slot-floor stamp:  I drew this and sent it off to (who, by the way, are fantastic to deal with) to get a custom stamp made so that I could quickly add texture to my Litko 15mm space corridors:

Fighter tokens:  I designed these to have them laser-etched into acrylic by Litko:

Map banners:  These are intended for the headers of pages in the Operation Starlight booklet.  I love military maps, being a former grunt, and I think they make great decorative touches for wargaming-related projects.

Sci-fi soldier silhouette:  No worries;  I won't inflict any further alliteration on you!  This is a well-known clipart and TrueType Font silhouette of a solder kneeling and aiming.  I decided to sci-fi it (yes, that is now officially a verb, but not to be confused with "SyFying" something, which means to take a decent concept and make it suck) by adding to the rifle and putting a small aerial on the guy's helmet.

Anyway, that's all, folks!  Thanks for putting up with me whilst I proclaim the virtues of the much-derided but misunderstood animal that is PowerPoint!

1 comment:

  1. Very nice indeed! I'm also a fan of PowerPoint: I've used it to design event and action cards such as these: