The current balltegrid is just a rough. Graphics are very likely to change and nothing is set in stone. Perhaps some if not all that i type here is rendundant or already considered. I just like making suggestions... it's who i am. Call it the vision of a suggestionfreak, but do note it comes from a graphical background. ;/
I'm talking about this: http://tictactoe.apocoplay.com/
- Pick 1 Style. Wether it's for the borders / playfield / background / card backside / etc. It must all breath the same atmosphere: The Magical Fantasy World called Alteil. For inspiration look at Bioshock: weird mechanical w. cogwheels. Everything in that world has this distinctive feel. For Alteil you may want to look at the soft colorful tones and swirly patterns of Ragnarok, or create a darker 'gothiclike' feel with pointy scales and whatnot. Eitherway when people click Alteil you want it to feel like they've entered your Magical Fantasy World.
Current 'leafs' borderpattern looks like that from my grandma's chair (not a bad thing perse), but the neon playfield is as futuristic as "Tron". I advise you to take a second look and make it all feel consistent from the same universe.
- Take it to the next age. Look interesting. You don't want to go for boring. People must see Alteil and think 'hey wow, that looks amazingly cool'. If it looks interesting people take the time to learn it. If it looks boring they're quicker to cast it aside.
I know there's much to say for functionality over distraction, specially when you want to teach something. But even MagicTheGathering stopped making plain square borders around their cards ages ago? People can handle abit of chaos if it makes things more interesting. (logical placement and smart use of space help to set aside what's really important) This generation of high res gamers has no problems with focuss, while hell breaks lose left and right while **** grannies start dancing on the bottom of their screens. Don't be afraid to spice it up a little:
- Spherelvl globes could be (softly) pulsing with light. So could the sp meter get some sort of lightning effect around it.
- A spinning Magical Circle in the center. Tiny lightningsurges come from it and disappear into the borderpatterns.
- Background color changes with the time of day. (<- one i know you're already considering)
- A viarity of animations. Think about when cards enter different zones. (it could fly, flip, fade or incinerate into a designated zone)
- Smooth entering /exitting of popups with battle information. (click on card, and unit details slide out/appear from within border, or an Alteil 'pokedex' version gets closer into view)
- High res character Art that come into the screen to explain or say stuff. They could replace/add to the current assistant feature. Moving avatar layers would be nice like Cigarette smoke, Pixy pet going up and down, blinking star from a swords edge, etc.
- Basically hire an Art Director to dress up your game.
I lost my motivation to spend more time on this post. I typed this twice after my comp froze and already got it out of my system. If people are interested in talking about the new battlegrid, go ahead.