Paradigm—How to Create Patterns

Paradigm patterns are standard “Scalable Vector Graphics” (SVG) files. Therefore, you can create your own patterns with any vector graphics editor. If you don’t own a vector graphics editor, you can download Inkscape for free. In fact, I used Inkscape while designing and testing Paradigm, so it may be your safest choice. Paradigm should be able to load SVG files generated by commercial vector graphics editors like Adobe Illustrator, but since I don’t own such programs, I haven’t been able to test any patterns made with them.

Creating A Pattern

Unlike bitmap images, which are pixel-based, SVG images are object-based. In your image editor, you’ll create objects like squares, hexes, and circles. To create a Paradigm tile in the SVG image, simply create an object that has a black outline and a non-black fill-color. This object will be interpreted by Paradigm as a game tile, and its fill-color will initially appear as white.

You are also allowed to create “display-only” objects which do not represent tiles. Any object that has a non-black outline color or a black fill-color will be interpreted by Paradigm as a display-only object, and will appear as-is.

When you’re done creating your pattern file, you may want to manually change its file-extension from “.svg” to “.patt”. This will keep browsers and email readers from accidentally displaying your pattern when you’re sharing it with your friends. Paradigm treats “.patt” files as “.svg” files.

Things Not To Do

Here are a few things not to do when creating your pattern:

  • Don’t use two slightly different shades of a color within your pattern. Paradigm will consider them to be two different colors, and they’ll both appear as possible guesses. Make sure that all of your red tiles are the exact same shade of red.
  • Don’t color a tile white or nearly-white. When it’s revealed, it will look just like an unrevealed tile.
  • Don’t color a tile nearly-black. When it’s revealed, it will blend-in with the black outlines.
  • Don’t completely obscure a tile with other tiles. Players will not be able to see it or to select it. Such a tile could end up being the only tile left unrevealed, which would make the game impossible to finish. You may partially obscure a tile, as long as you can still see some of its colored portion.

Grid Templates

For your convenience, I’ve created a square-grid template and a hex-grid template. To download one of the templates, right-click on its link below and select “Save Link As…” After you’ve downloaded a template, you can open it in your image editor, delete the portions of the grid you don’t want to use, and set the colors of the remaining cells. Your editor should allow you to select many cells at once so that you can color or delete them in groups. Try dragging a rectangle around the cells you want to select, or shift-clicking on cells one at a time. Just save the file when you’re done, and it should be ready to play.

Although most patterns are grid-based, Paradigm will display whatever arrangement of tiles you create in your editor. The sky’s the limit!

Unsupported SVG Features

The following SVG features are not currently supported by Paradigm:

  • Text objects. (If you want to put text into your pattern image, your image editor should allow you to convert text into shapes, which Paradigm will display.)
  • Bitmap objects.
  • Transparency.
  • Dotted or dashed lines.
  • Markers.
  • Mixing unit sizes (i.e. specifying some line-lengths in pixels, some in centimeters, etc.).