The KBoggle Icon
Thanks to the KDE community efforts, the Kollaboration forum over at KDE-Artists provides a nice way for artists to get in touch with application developers. One of the fellows over there, Bram Schoenmakers asked for a new icon for his application called KBoggle, you can find the discussion in this thread.
I decided to pitch in and give it a shot, as I recall seeing Boggle on the television.
The Icon Plan
Boggle's a word puzzling game, you get a 4 by 4 grid consisting of 16 semi-randomly chosen letters and you must try to form words using these letters within a given time limit. There are some rules regarding the letters you may choose: for instance you can only create words by picking out adjacent letters, which makes it slightly harder. But for the icon, it's hard to express this adjacency idea, so I had to find a different identifying characteristic.
My plan was to reuse a game element that was presented on the TV show: once the players were finished and a winner was chosen, they were taken to the Grande Finale: having to roll a six-sided blue with the letters B, O, G, G, L and E written on it. Each time they rolled it, they had to get a different (or was it equal) letter. Well, regardless of the actual goal it was clear to me that this blue cube would be an excellent opportunity for an icon, so I set out to recreate it.
I spent about two hours on getting the cube and the lightning the way I wanted them to be, and this is the end result, rendered at about a 400 pixels in height:
The outer dropshadow is a result of feathering the cube on a black background, nothing spectacular really.
Turning it into an icon
The basic concept was there, now the big question was: will it scale? Well, look at this icon comparison with icon sizes ranging from 16 x 16 to 128 x 128:
Because there is only one screen element involved which nearly takes up all the space, the icons scales really well. You can even discern the letters on the sides of the die in the smallest icon.
Luckily, the first try was a great one: I think the colors look vivid and the icon is remarkably clear at small sizes. At the moment Bram'll use my icon for the application, which is great.
You can download the iconset directly from FFN (32 Kb, ZIP).
This article was created on the 6th of August 2005.