Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Review of Shuffler (2.10.3) by Papermakeit!

Review of Shuffler (2.10.3) by Papermakeit

Available as a free download (with a watermark for the free version) the $15.90 USD program is a tool to create your own paper terrain.  I’ve seen some examples that people had made of barricades that fold in half to be “3D” but I used it as a sci-fi floor-plan layout builder.

This is a flash program, it comes with both a .swf file and an executable file.  There is no install, you just run the file.  I bough the plugin so I can use my own images as well, but I haven't used it yet.  The plugin isn't the most straightforward thing to understand, but it's not complicated either.

You can see that the files unzipped are a little haphazard.  I could make folders myself, but it would be nice if there was an install program to make things a little neater.  But again, it works right away without any problems.

The program itself is a drag-and-drop affair.  You chose one of the types of images from up top (Out Door, Train System, FX, Extras, Access Points, and Floors, along with user images) and then the images you can select change on the right side.  The floors are shown here, with the walls being the outside squares. 

Here I am using the 4-way arrow button to give me a little more control, you can drag and shrink or grow stuff. I've put a "darkness" layer over the flooring so I can add lighting. 

Here I've added some lighting on the left, some blood splatters and two dead scientists.  If you use the up and down arrow on some images it will switch between variations.  This is useful for floors too, where used in conjunction with rotation keeps things from looking stale. 

Overall, I really like the program.  I've already made interiors for some of my buildings.  I save it as PNG (15mm) then print it with another program.  I then mount it on corkboard. It works and looks great. 

Besides the installation issues I have there are a couple of other things:

1) When saving as a SMP (the file so you can go back and edit it) or a PNG it does not add the file extension, you have to add that yourself.

2) There is no undo button.  Not a really big deal, but would be nice!

3) I have trouble with "levels" sometimes.  Levels are analogous to layers in Photoshop. "H" brings the image higher in level, "B" brings it lower. Unfortunately I sometimes can't make a door image higher than a wall image, and other things like that. Not quite sure why but it can be a little annoying. 

4) There are still some bugs here and there, sometimes I have to close everything and re-open it. Or just put images over images already there.

In conclusion I really like this program.  There are a couple of quirks, but in general its a great value for what you get and I enjoy making my buildings! I would recommend getting the free version and playing around with it. Make sure you read the guide!

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