For the Christmas of 2001 Mysterian and Top Cat (Anne and Graham Toal) have prepared a set of Unreal Tournament trading cards for the Dead Cat clan.

Local Dead Cats were presented with complete sets of the cards, and now the other members of the Clan can have their own set too. This page contains links to the graphics files and instructions on how to print the cards so that they will look as good as the originals.

You're going to be printing the backs on cheap but stiff card, and the fronts on photo-quality paper (which doesn't have to be as stiff) which you will eventually glue to the backs before trimming.

If you have Photoshop, the first stage is real easy: get the file "backtemplate.psd" and print 9 copies of it on letter-size card. Although expensive computer photo paper is almost thick enough to use as trading cards if you prefer to do it all on one sheet without gluing, we did ours on very cheap non-computer card called "Wausau Exact Index - Heavy card stock - Smooth finish. 250 sheets, 200gsm.". This prints fine on dot-matrix printers and costs pennies compared to the photo card that is sold in computer supply places. (Computer postcard stock is a reasonable substitute if you want better quality - be sure to get letter sized with no perforations though). The backtemplate file is just the Dead Cats logo which forms the background of the text side of the cards.

(If you don't have Photoshop, we've supplied copies of all the .PSD files in .GIF format - use your favourite utility to ensure they print at exactly 300dpi, centered in the page)

If you're lucky enough to have a laser printer or a wax-ribbon printer such as an Alps, there's a very fancy paper called "chrome coat" which makes great trading cards, but don't use it with dot matrix because the ink pools on the surface. (You may need to go to a print shop for this - it's not easy to find.) Again, this is only if you want to do it all on one card without gluing.

Next, run the same 9 cards through in the same order, printing the file "catinfo.pdf" which adds the descriptions to the background art.

After that, re-insert the cards for printing on the other side, and print files "deck1.psd" through "deck5a.psd". If you don't have photoshop - here are JPG versions of the same files. These are 2250 x 3150 pixels (300dpi), and should be printed so that they come out at 7.5 x 10.5 inches. You may need to practice with the "backtemplate.psd" file before you do your main production run, to ensure that the backs and fronts line up. They may not be pixel-perfect but you're looking for a match of less than a 10th of an inch if possible. The "backtemplate.psd" file has dots at the corners of all cards to help you align them. (These dots won't be seen in the final cards as we will be trimming the corners off to a round edge with a special punch.)

Spray the back of the backs with 3m photo mount or artists glue, being careful to have a piece of newspaper behind it as this is a messy job. Then place the front side face down on a clean piece of paper, and gently position the back against it, lining up a side edge first. If you don't quite get it right, pull it off again quickly - it doesn't stick firmly immediately. And remember it's cheaper to trash the backs than the fronts!

Wait a minute for the glue to firm up, then cut the cards apart - I've found a sliding paper cutter to be much more accurate than a lever guillotine at following the cut lines exactly. Then get a "craft punch corner trimmer" for rounding the corners and give the cards round corners. These punches cost about $3.00 so don't skimp - they're worth the effort, and will come in handy in the future when you make your own fake IDs ;-) Don't get the corner punches with fancy designs, just a nice smooth bevel.

Optionally you can laminate the cards. Standard pouches are about 1/8in too long, so after lamination, trim the excess length off, and round the corners of the laminate with the same punch. You may need to trim these afterwards with a scalpel or Exacto knife if the punch left any plastic attached. Laminated cards are more suitable for carrying around in your pocket to swap at net.parties.

We invite other UT Clans to make their own trading cards. If you want to try this yourselves, here are the specs: trading cards are exactly 2.5x3.5in, which at 300dpi is 750x1050 pixels. The file "fronttemplate.psd" here contains 9 copies of the UT logo and caption location for putting in front of your images. Put your clan name in the top of the oval in your favourite font (don't use the one that we used), and the Clan member's name in the lower half using font "IMPACT.TTF", slanted 10 degrees.

On the rear, we recommend a greyed out version of your clan logo underneath whatever text you want to print on the card. You can follow our format or chose your own. One very pleasing card design is to use the "NGWorld" stats block verbatim - just scale it to fit the card while leaving a 1/8in margin - here's an example in "b-cronic.psd".

We stole an idea from Pokemon and made just one of our cards available in a Holographic Foil version. You can guess which one :-) The paper to use is "Office Max hologram inkjet paper" - it is thin so you'll have to glue it to the card back. I found sheets of letter-sized double-sided sticky paper which did the job nicely if you're nervous at making things ("Mounting Adhesive, by Therm O Web, #3821" - - however 3M artists spray mount is much cheaper if somewhat messier.

It would be nice if everyone put their trading cards on the net for everyone to collect - then when you meet other clans, you can exchange a laminated copy of your own card with the people you're meeting/playing against. Title your web page "Unreal Tournament Trading Cards - " so that they can be found easily using search engines, even if they're not linked to somewhere central.

Merry Christmas, 2001!

Mysterian & Top Cat