Sci-fi's stack Badge is the rebel alliance symbol, some other stacks have other cool symbols that represent their badges. As is right now, we have dice that well... don't really look like dice.

They kind of just look like Hexagons. Regular normal hexagons.

a screenshot of hexagon badges

I propose we find a way to make them look more like dice, or change them to swords, staves, daggers, or something more fantasy-like. I'd like them to be swords, but I have created some alternatives for those who still like dice.

It's been a while since this was looked over, does anyone still think that the badge icons should be changed?

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    \$\begingroup\$ never even realized they were supposed to be dice... \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Oct 17 '15 at 3:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ha, I always thought they were coins (gp, sp, cp — my D&D roots are showing). \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 18 '15 at 0:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ I didn't even notice they weren't circles until you pointed it out. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Oct 20 '15 at 23:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought they were circular coins. In this post, when you said they were dice, I thought they were d6's at an angle. \$\endgroup\$ – DCShannon Oct 23 '15 at 4:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm all for it--have already upvoted your work below. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Nov 24 '15 at 2:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ any movement on this? what would a next step be? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jan 20 '16 at 4:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was playing war games/board games long before D&D or any RPG. The Hexagons on Avalon Hill games is sacred! Be proud of your fearless, uh, sorry, featureless, hexagons! :) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 17 '20 at 18:52

I like the dice badges, and I appreciate their minimalistic design: they're dice if you look (the RPG.SE banner d20 is right there for the comparison) but they don't call attention to themselves. I think it's totally fine that they aren't obviously RPG-related symbols. It's not like english.se's badges are iconic of their topic, and they look great!

Still, making the badges more immediately recognisable as dice could be nice if they don't get too flash in the process. The trick is, badges are an ubiquitous part of the site design and shouldn't be overly complex or they clutter up every page they're on. Maybe a d6 with transparent pixels for the pips, similar to movies.se's film-reel badge?

I'm firmly against a more "fantasy-like" design for the badges, though. Polyhedral dice are universally recognised in the RPG community as emblematic of our hobby; fantasy visuals represent only a portion of the hobby's subjects while also evoking other mediums which use those visuals too. A sword or dagger or staff doesn't say "role-playing game" to me, any more than a laser rifle or a shoggoth does. (I feel the scifi Stack's choice to draw on a single franchise for its badge design is a little tone-deaf, actually.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ I like your idea of using transparency so that they remain single-colored. What if we kept them exactly as they currently are, but add lines for each edge in transparent, as opposed to black or white? I don't know if the badge icons are in a format that supports alpha channel, but if they are, that might be ideal for the small resolution. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan Henderson Oct 17 '15 at 18:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DanHenderson The sprite sheet is a PNG with transparency, yes. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 18 '15 at 2:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for keeping it away from fantasy-centric \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Oct 19 '15 at 1:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ The d6 is also reminiscent of board games and gambling. Given the choice of any of the standard polyhedrals, I'd prefer the d20, even if it's only actually connected to one game franchise which I don't even play. It's the most recognisable polyhedral. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Nov 24 '15 at 5:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for minimalism and elegance. I like our "regular normal hexagons" far better than the weird squiggles or funny headgear that some of the newer sites have ended up with. \$\endgroup\$ – Ilmari Karonen Nov 26 '15 at 16:00

Make the Badge icons we already have even better.

I've taken the liberty of creating a few mockups of possible badge designs that keep to the dice format while maintaining its linework at lower resolutions, as well as a badge edit of the favicon:

Dice Mockup White BG

Dice Mockup Saturated

Dice Mockup Black BG

Dice Favicon Mockup

Here's also some mockups provided by @MrLemon after taking the available sprite sheet and encoding it into a website via developer tools:

Top Toolbar mockup

Answer/Edit bar mockup

As you can see the dice lines are all still visible when spliced into the page code, and are very recognizable polyhedrons compared to our current badges.

The end sprite sheet can be found here: enter image description here

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I like the idea here, but these iterations feel cluttered and overcomplicated (lots of little lines, and each line changes its width along its length) for the simple idea they're conveying and their ever-present role in the site design. If I get a chance over the next week I'll try my hand at some variations myself. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Oct 17 '15 at 4:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ personally, I like the third line the best; thanks for the work \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Oct 17 '15 at 12:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Any chance it'd be easy for you to show us what they look like with one vertex top-center, so as to sit in the same alignment as the site logo? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Oct 17 '15 at 12:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ These are about twice the resolution of the current versions, and I don't think the fine details would scale back down well. You might want to start mockups from the actual sprite sheet's badges to ensure the details fit in the available pixel real estate. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 17 '15 at 20:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Looking at the HTML element in the header, it looks like you’ve got about 12px square to work with. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 18 '15 at 2:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie There's a fair amount of empty space to accommodate the size of those badges that is mostly transparency, if you compare it to Sci-fi stack it's about 20x20px \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Oct 18 '15 at 3:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's true, but fitting them onto the sheet means they're tested for fit already and nobody voting has to guess if the designs actually work. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 18 '15 at 3:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ If I made the lines on the D20 thicker I could probably keep the look at 12x12 but I think even with something like 16x16 it'd be save and still recognizable. Is there a way to run tests? \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Oct 18 '15 at 3:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes. Your browser's built-in dev tools will let you change an image just for yourself, and aren't hard to use for just that if you have some time on hand to fiddle with and figure them out. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 18 '15 at 17:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ I just made this. \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Oct 18 '15 at 19:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ My take is "don't try to fix what isn't broken." \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Oct 18 '15 at 21:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sandwich When I sub that into the stylesheet, this is what happens. It looks like it's giving the image max 15×15px, and even that runs into the numbers. I get the same result using it on SF/F. Looking at their sprite sheet, even their seemingly-huge badges are only 14×14px, so I think that's the max size the CSS is designed to use. (Our badge images are currently 10×11px.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 19 '15 at 18:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Alright, I'll lower the resolution then. \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Oct 19 '15 at 19:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Here's a lower resolution (The D20's are slightly larger than our current badges) here \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Oct 19 '15 at 19:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think that'd be as good as d20's, the d20's are kind of the symbol of the stack. \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Oct 23 '15 at 4:15

While they are dice, if we're going to change them, we might pick different types of dice for the different badges. A triangle (four sided die), a square (six sided die) and an octagon (12 sided die) for example could work.

They are still quite minimal (just basic shapes) but I think most RPG'ers would recognize them for what they are (more easily than the current ones), especially if you order them from smallest number of sides to biggest.

As an aside, it also removes us a bit from using only the 20-sided die, because like the argument "a sword does not represent all roleplaying" one can also say "a 20-sided die does not represent all roleplaying). I understand that funny dice are often involved, but still moving away from using only the one made big by D&D might also be a good thing.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Of course, hexagonal grids fit a lot of games ... :-) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Oct 21 '15 at 16:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ I like the idea (Graphic Design has a very similar conceit), but no octagons please. If folks thought a six-sided polygon was a circle, eight sides won't fare better. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Oct 22 '15 at 1:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for getting away from all-d20 iconography. But I don't envy the task of trying to come up with a 16x16 pixel inclusive representation.... \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Oct 22 '15 at 15:12

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