fireandfury.com We design wargames for historical military miniatures
Battlefront WWII
Powerpoint OBs

Microsoft Powerpoint

Microsoft Powerpoint can be used to create extremely nice Orders of Battle and Map files. Here is a .zip file with a tutorial on how to use it to draw things.
Zipped MS-WORD document + demo PPT map (17k)
Almost all of the orbats in the Orders of Battle page are now provided in both Powerpoint and .pdf format, so you can use them as a base.

Winzip

Raw powerpoint files are very large, so I use WINZIP to compress them to a manageable size. Usually .ppt files compress at to about 1/6 their normal size.
If you don't have WINZIP yet, I recommend that you go to their site and get a licensed copy. It is one of the most useful utilities ever created for the PC and they deserve our support. I use it on the site extensively.

Converting Powerpoint into web graphics

  1. Buy a good graphics program. For the Battlefront WWII website I use PaintShopPro (costs about $99), but the amount of use I get out of it has fully justified the price. Without a program like this, you can't do the conversions and image manipulation that you need to do for good web postings. You won't end up using a lot of the strange features unless you are an artist, but the ability to trim/resize, copy, save in different formats, and manipulate color depth are essential.

  2. There are only 3 formats that you should consider for posting final images on the web:
    .jpg for pictures,
    .gif and .png for non-photographic images (including most maps and unit symbols).
    These formats use compression algorithms that make the pictures take up a lot less room than .bmp and .tif files. Not only do you use up possibly limited storage space with other formats, but the time needed to download an image is directly proportional to its size. This can be very important for people with modem (instead of high-speed) access. .jpg uses an algorithm that loses some unessential detail in the photo to save space. This may sound bad but usually you don't see any degredation until you save with a very high compression. Paintshop allows me to play with compression to see the effects, so I can choose different levels of compression to get a good compromise between size and appearance.
    .gif and .png are lossless algorithms, which means that no detail is lost. They are not good for photos, as the final product is sometimes larger than the original, but are excellent for maps and orders of battle. I like .png better, because it creates slightly smaller files and also is not subject to a weird patent restriction (someone technically could demand a payment from almost every website in the world) and if you don't use animated graphics it has all of the features of .gif. The key parameter for .gif and .png is "color depth". Most of our OOBs and maps can be reduced to a color depth of 16 or 256. Manipulating this parameter can lead to some very small files that take up minimal space and load quickly.
    .tif files are used for print publishing, and take up much more room than you need for the web. However, they are quite useful as an intermediate format, as the files saved from powerpoint as .tif seem to have more detail than those in other formats.

  3. After you build your .ppt file, convert them to web graphics as follows:
    1. Save the presentation as a .TIF file (one of the options on the SAVE AS menu).
    2. Use your graphics program to manipulate the resulting .TIF files by cutting the size down to just the picture you want. Also resize it if needed.
    3. Use the Count Colors Used and Decrease Color Depth options on the picture.
    4. Save the picture as a .png or .gif. You are now ready to put it on the web.

  4. Just as I recommend PaintshopPro, I recommend getting a good web editing tool. I like HTML-Kit Tools, which you can find on the web. If you use FrontPage or one of the other editors, the resulting code is often inefficient.

  5. When putting graphics on a webpage, EVERY image on a webpage should have a WIDTH and HEIGHT attribute. This allows the page to display while the graphics are loading. If you don't do this, the browser must wait until every image loads before it displays anything. If you have a lot of graphics, it will look like the page isn't displaying.


This page was last updated on 02/16/2014 at 06:11AM

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