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Creating your own Personal Flag

It is possible for all captains to hand in their own flag-designs to be considered for use in the game by the FLS. Flag-making might at first seem difficult or something that only people with great powers in design can accomplish, but it really is quite easy to both learn and become fairly good at.

Here follows a short tutorial on how to design, add weathering texture to, and submit your own flag design:

The Programs Needed:

Firstly, you will find a program that allows you to:

  • Create a minimum of two layers in the same picture
  • Adjust the opacity on atleast one of these layers

Any graphics editing programs like Adobe Photoshop or Painshop Pro etc. that meets the requirements above will work well.

The Making of the Flag:

The size of the finished flag can not be bigger nor smaller than 128x85:

Flagtutorial Blackflag.png

When starting work on the appearance and design of your flag however, it is often best to make the "sandbox-flag" or working-flag bigger than the finished flag that will be submitted to FLS. Remember to keep the proportions constant though, so a bigger working-flag might be 510x339 or 400x266. This has great advantages:

  • It will be easier to add small details without having to draw them small
  • Jagged edges will in most graphic editing programs become smooth when the object is shrunk
  • It is generally easier to place, move and decide on the size of the details on your flag

The next step now is to decide on the colour or colours of your flag and what details or symbols you wish to add to it. At this point all you have to do is use your imagination and keep within these rules:

  • No modern objects like cars or coffee machines
  • No glowing edges or any modern effects that would have been impossible to add to a flag in the 18th century
  • Make sure that it doesn't look like something clealry made on a computer (avoid revealing pixels etc.)
  • Make sure the real world flags you are using existed in 1720 and that you are using the correct historical version of it
  • If you do not plan to add a weathering effect (more on that later), avoid using very bright colours. Use the slightly darker version of the same colours instead.
  • If you wish to borrow original content from another person's flag or design, it is common courtesy to ask permission to do so.

An example:

Flagtutorial Example1-1.jpg

Here I have chosen a blue background with the St. George Cross as a detail in the canton and a parakeet with an anchor as a detail in the lower right. Notice that this flag is larger then 128x85, and that some of the lines of the parakeet is slightly jagged. The parakeet is somewhat detailed, but nothing a sailor with thread and needle or a bucket of paint could not have done in the 18th century.

When you are satisfied with the look of your flag, the next step is to resize it to the correct width and height of 128x85. The jagged edges on your larger flag should now be gone or near impossible to see:

Flagtutorial Example1-2.jpg

Adding weathering effect:

Let us now make your flag look more like something that has been hanging from a ship's flagstaff during wind and heavy seas for a while.

Now, the different layers I was talking about earlier comes into play. Use your graphic editing program and have your flag as the background layer. Then, find a suitable weathering texture, for example this one (courtesy of the PotBS forums):

Flagtutorial Weatheringtexture1.png

Insert it in a layer on top of your flag, like so:

Flagtutorial Layers.png

Then, reduce the opacity (the level of transparency) of the weathering texture, for example somewhere around 50%:

Flagtutorial Opacity.png

What you have done is to let the background layer (your flag) emerge through the weathering texture, therefore making it look like your flag has the texture of weathered canvas:

Flagtutorial Example1-3.png

Now save it as a .png file. Your flag is now finished and ready to be submitted!

Flagtutorial Example1-4.png

Creating your own Personal Sail

In the SGS you will have the Squadron Sail given to you when you reach the rank of Master, so a personal sail should not be needed as a member of the Squadron. This should not stop you to make sails or use them on your alts however, so here follows a short tutorial on how to make personal sails:

The Programs Needed:

The program used to create flags will work just aswell here. The requirements are:

  • Must support blank transparent backgrounds (areas with nothing at all in them)
  • Must support the adjustment of opacity (the level of transparency)

The Making of the Sail:

The size of your finished sail must have the width and height of 256x256:

Sailtutorial Example 2-1.png

When creating a sail there are several things you have to keep in mind:

  • Do not fill the whole 256x256 with colour/details. Ideally you should have nearly as many transparent areas as you have details.
  • Remember that texture of the sail on your ship should be visible through your details. You therefore have to adjust the opacity of your finished sail design.
  • As with flags, avoid jagged edges.
  • As with flags, avoid anything modern or "impossible" art.

An example:

Sailtutorial Strongcolours.png

Here I have tried to make a copy of PotBS's Spanish Navy sails. You can not see it here, but everything that is white is in reality blank transparent. Notice that this differs greatly from the original in that while my sail must have a blank transparent background, the original has a white transparent background (Notice that while the sail colour as seen on the topgallant is orange, the topsail have a white background):

Sailtutorial In-game.png

You and I have to have a blank transparent background because FLS does not allow us to fill the whole sail with graphics, and a sail that is filled like so will be rejected.

My sail design is ready to be submitted, it has no jagged edges and has a blank transparent background. The only thing that's left is to reduce the opcaity. You see, if we would now place my sail on top of the game's canvas, it would look like my design was made of metal and glued to the front of the sails in-game. What you want is to make it look as though it is painted upon the canvas, not a solid object in front of it. Remember therefore to reduce the opacity (level of transparency) to 75%. Before you do this however, be aware that the colours you chose for your design will appear lighter, so you might want to use darker colours before you reduce the opacity.

Sailtutorial Example 2-2.png

There, when you are satisfied with the result and have the opacity at 75%, it is ready to be submitted!

Submitting your Personal Content

To be able to use your flag or sail in-game, it must first be submitted at Here it will go through two phases:

  • First it will have to be accepted, or atleast not denied, by other users like yourself throught the User Rating-system
  • Then, FLS will have a look at it and decide if it is appropriate for the game or not

Before you can submit anything, however, you need to have one Posting Credit for each flag and sail you wish to submit.

To get these posting credits, you will have to log in with your PotBS username and password in the top left corner of the main page. Then, when you have been logged in, mouse-over the "Community" tab at the top of the page, then "User Content", and click on "Rate User Content".

Flagtutorial Rate.png

Then you will see two flags or two sails that other people have submitted to the user rating system. Your job is to chose the one that you see as the most appropriate of the two. This will very often be quite the dilemma, because you may think that both or neither should be allowed into the game. Think nothing of it though, and vote for one of them, the best flags and sails will survive the user ratings in the end, and the bad will be returned to their creators with tips on how to improve their design.

When you have one posting credit, mouse-over the "Community" tab again, "User Content" and then "Submit User Conent".

Flagtutorial Submit.png

Here you simply follow the instructions given on the page and voilà, your flag/sail has been submitted! You can now expect, if you have followed the rules of flag-making correctly, to recieve a mail from FLS after 2-3 weeks, saying that your flag/sail has been accepted to the game and is now for sale at the action house in Jenny Bay.