Introducing: Ultimate Cards

We are thrilled to inaugurate our Medium Blog with a topic close to our hearts: the production process behind Ultimate Cards!

Ultimate Champions is all about Ultimate Cards. You collect them, play with them and trade them.

Therefore when we set sail on our journey to craft a next-gen Fantasy football experience, one thing was certain: we wanted to craft the most high-grade cards for our players.

The Beginning of a Journey

We love Cards! Our childhoods have been influenced by MTG, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Ho, Panini Cards. In the last decade, our team has spent a small fortune in FUT but that’s a story for another time…

The process started by looking at those Cards, now Memorabilia symbols over the years, and isolating what we felt were the key factors for their success.

First Experiments

Our first attempt was quite straight forward: follow common codes from cards we liked, add some basic sport pattern to it and add all the relevant information needed. Easy peasy!

Disclaimer: pictures and information don’t match

Tadaaa! It sucked. We didn’t feel any particular emotion while looking at them, they were too basic and in-line with existing cards out there.

I would maybe buy the card if it was a well known Football player, but our challenge for Ultimate Champions was to trigger an emotion even if the Football player was not that famous.

Exploring Physicality

One thing that we liked and wanted to push forward were the first glimpses of ‘Physicality’ that we started playing with. It is a mixed term, but it echoed quite well with our sentiments.

By ‘physicality’, we mean all the elements that make the cards feel like a real physical object despite being digital. We were not just looking for a 3D illusion, but rather an impression that those cards were a real item that had a life outside our screens. Scratches, imperfections, plastic covers, the card case, etc.

Following that trail of thought, we created this version:

Disclaimer: pictures and information don’t match

This version was interesting, building up on the heavy plastic layers some cards had back in the day. While it worked on all aspects, it lacked some uniqueness and definitely didn’t create any type of emotion.

We then decided to take a more radical route! Our next version:

Disclaimer: pictures and information don’t match

We took it too far ! There we went entirely into the ‘physical object’ direction by taking the typical ‘Graded card case’ as a base.

It had some merits and definitely resonated with card collectors, but we were losing too much of the Football player image, when it should at the basis of the card. On top of that, it created some readability issues.

Little did we know at this time that our next iteration would hit the right chord…

The Chosen Direction

Disclaimer: pictures and information don’t match

It was love at first sight!

The metal case (and all its details) and light effects brought all the uniqueness we were looking for. It really felt like a card that we wanted to collect, whoever was on it! We finally got the collector rush that we were after.

Now we had the basis that we wanted, but we still had some issues with the current design: the rarity hierarchy was impossible to read, and in our rather dark UI, the cards were not shining enough.

You know where this is going at this point… onto the next version!!

The rarity color codes were a lot clearer, but the fully-fledged color decreased the contrast with the card details that we liked.
On top of that, it made them more ‘mundane’ and the word we were going for was ‘unique’.

NEXT STEP!

Our OG community members reading this article will recognize this card version, as it is the one that has been rocking our Alpha build for several weeks. This version was a good culmination of everything we were going for and we finally felt at peace with it. Finally we could relax and wait for the game launch!

The End.

Or so we thought… (dramatic music intensifies)

Our cards are NFTs and as such once we mint them, they will be out of our hands forever.

We felt that we could still do better and truly deliver something for our players that would stand the test of time.

Without further ado, we are very pleased to reveal for the first time the final version of Ultimate Cards that will be minted in our Open Beta.

Our thought process was to keep the uniqueness of the metal case and its core elements while improving the other features of the card, so that the Football players’ image could really stand out.

Each rarity has a distinctive unique pattern to both differentiate them and establish a clear rarity hierarchy. The higher rarities have some added light effects, shapes and details, making them the high-grade collectibles they are.

Unique rarity Ultimate Card

At the end of this production journey we’re confident that we have the right basis for the first editions of Ultimate Cards, and we cannot wait to reveal what we have prepared for the different special editions we’ll release… more on that very soon!

We hope these cards will create that spark we were looking for when you unlock them. We also look forward to your feedback for the design of the following seasons, where we’ll aim to do even better.

Join our Open Beta starting very soon to start collecting Ultimate Cards !

Thank you for your time. The real end!

Pierre Mattei,
Creative Director

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