Techniconica - The Mech Combat Card Game

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The Process of Creating a Techniconica Card

Date Published: Wednesday 27th Apr 2016 Main Category:

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for a long while now and as you can see, I’ve gotten around to it… finally. I will outline the process of how we plan, design, play test and finally release our Techniconica cards which you can buy on this very site.

Looking For Holes

The first real stage is looking for holes in our current line-up of Techniconica cards, and see where the range could be best expanded in the next release. For example, we have currently have plenty of weapon parts available and a fair few Locomotors and Cockpits.

At the time of writing, the biggest area that we are lacking any real diversity, at least compared to the other part types are the Armour and Shield cards – which, for the purposes of this article, we will look at how we go about developing a brand new Shield card for your Mechs.

Initial Ideas

The next logical step in the process after deciding that we need one or more of a particular type of card is to brain storm ideas that will fit in with existing range or that would be a natural progression of what is currently available.

This could be a easy as looking at an existing card and then wondering how to take that idea and make it different from the predecessor.

Other times, inspiration may strike out of the blue.

Either way, we get an initial concept for the new card and we mull over it, and how it fits into the rest of the Techniconica universe. If we think it will fit and we can make it work “in universe”, we take it to prototyping.

The Birth of a Prototype

The concept we have at the moment is for what will become the Foxen Shield - the initial idea is that the shield part projects a bubble of pure force to protect the part – an effect similar to how the ‘Energy Bubble’ works in the universe.

Once we have an idea, we initially write up some stats for the part, going off existing parts. The Foxen shield will be based off the ‘Bubble Shield.’

The initial stats we came up with are follows:

Part NameWeightArmourDamage ThresholdPower ConsumptionSpecial Rules
'Energy Bubble'2332Regenerative (1)
Foxen Shield1243-

As you can see, they are subtly different. The Foxen Shield is lighter, has a lower Armour value, higher Power Consumption but has a higher Damage Threshold. We adjusted the Armour down as we pictured it operating in a focused arc (probably toward the front of the Mech).

Once we’ve came up with a few stats created, we test them out in battle!

For testing purposes, we use a card "blank" we created for testing. The Foxen Shield card "blank " can be found below:

The initial prototype card

We typically run the new part on a few different Mechs. We try to play test them with the venerable Sniper Wolf build as well as a few inventive Mechs of our own devising.

Once we have feedback, we may adapt or adjust the stats as necessary. During our play testing, we found that the Foxen was a little under whelming for a WE 1 and a PC 3 part, so we lowered the PC down to a more considerate ‘1’, so now the stats are now:

Part NameWeightArmourDamage ThresholdPower ConsumptionSpecial Rules
'Energy Bubble'2332Regenerative (1)
Foxen Shield1241-

Card Background

Once we have the card stats devised, we begin writing a small amount of background for the new part. This is pretty much as it sounds, we sit down and write a few paragraphs (at least) about how the card operates, how it was first created (in the universe of course) and any other items we can come up with to make the part more interesting for you, the readers.

All this that we have so far is entered into our own sites CMS (part name, card type, stats & the little bit of background).

Card Artwork

The next stage is creating the artwork that will go on the card itself. For this, we use Blender to create visual artwork of the part in virtual space.

Blender prototype artwork

Blender prototype alternative view

The new part now ready for rendering

Once we are happy with the how the final part is looking, we place several copies of the part side by side in Blender and then render out the part.

The first, initial render

When we have the final rendering, we then import the artwork into Photoshop and apply several filters and other graphical trips to get the final graphic in the style that you’ll find on all our cards.

The render with our image processing applied.

We then take the processed rendered images and pass them through Photoshop again to produce all the various sizes we need for the site, including one for the cards themselves, cart views and all the other areas you can find the artwork.

These then get uploaded to our website and from there, the card actually starts to come together – we have everything we need for a particular part – the stats, the background & the artwork.

Initial part editor screen

Our website actually takes care of the final card artwork creation – as you can see in this screenshot, the actual card looks finished!

Finished Artwork as seen in the admin area of our websites CMS

The Final Card

Once the process is finished, we now have a finished Techniconica part card!

Finished Foxen Shield Card

Finishing Up

Once a card gets to this stage of completion, we will then typically order a small number of cards printing which go through a final play test – any further amendments are made and then the card gets saved until all the cards in that particular release are ready and then they are all released together.

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