Overall Physical design and art.

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
TrippyHippy
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Overall Physical design and art.

Postby TrippyHippy » Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:25 am

What do people feel about the general look and design of the book?

Illustrations on the cover or just plain black?
The interior layout - or the readability of it?
The art (at least what we have seen so far)?
Big book or little book?

I'm a bit ambiguous about the cover art myself. I've noted at least one person criticising it already - it's the 'wrong style' apparently to represent 'true' Traveller or whathaveyou....Truth is everybody has different tastes on art. The beauty of having simple black colours (which are still iconic in the game) is that it negates any taste issue.

Also, would the little black book design be popular? It worked for Legend, although I'd hope for a hardback for Traveller. Could a little black hardback work? The format would fit an ipad well too, possibly. Popular or not?
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Re: Overall Physical design and art.

Postby Sunscale » Sun Sep 06, 2015 3:20 pm

There is a lot of personal opinion here...

I really love the classic look of the current edition - black books, classic looking traveller logo and the coloured stripe - though for me the greatest cover was the Classic Traveller Book with dust jacket cover art.

If given the choice I wold opt for hardback core rules and supplements - the LBBs are a great format for the gaming table - if Mongoose would sell hardback LBBs they could take my cash now.

I do like the new logo though I can't see it working with a plain black cover, it requires a picture under it. Its not easy to have a good look at the new edition cover art on the Mongoose homepage but it looks fine if you are looking for starship art - its Traveller but does not depict Travellers.

With regards to interior design, I would prefer a more minimalist design closer to the previous edition. I've stopped reading the colour version and instead using the black and white printer friendly PDF. For me Classic, MegaTraveller (even TNE) cover and interior art really helped to set the look and feel of the Third Imperium and the aliens - Aslan aren't lions, K'Kree aren't horses / centaurs.

As I said, one persons opinion, your opinions will vary.

Jason
ShawnDriscoll
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Re: Overall Physical design and art.

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Sun Sep 06, 2015 3:31 pm

TrippyHippy wrote:Also, would the little black book design be popular? It worked for Legend, although I'd hope for a hardback for Traveller. Could a little black hardback work? The format would fit an ipad well too, possibly. Popular or not?
My eyes can't read the little books. Unless it's in the same print size as the big books. But then it becomes a thick little book.
CosmicGamer
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Re: Overall Physical design and art.

Postby CosmicGamer » Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:07 pm

Regarding cover art,
- I don't think any of the old timers that are attached to the old style will not buy the product just because of the cover art.
- I do think new players who see interesting cover art may be more likely to crack it open (if possible) or ask someone about it.
Stainless
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Re: Overall Physical design and art.

Postby Stainless » Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:04 pm

To my tastes, I think they got it right in all aspects with 1e MgT. Of course there is always better art that could be used.
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Re: Overall Physical design and art.

Postby First Age » Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:48 pm

CosmicGamer wrote:Regarding cover art,
- I don't think any of the old timers that are attached to the old style will not buy the product just because of the cover art.
- I do think new players who see interesting cover art may be more likely to crack it open (if possible) or ask someone about it.
This.

I'm very happy with format and the new graphical design. Of course it needn't necessarily be an either or.
First Age
-Daniel-
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Re: Overall Physical design and art.

Postby -Daniel- » Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:20 pm

The only issue I have with the new layout is the catalog section's orange on orange color selection. I don't care that they might have been going for an orange computer terminal look, it is very hard to read and does not look good. The contrast needs to be increased and, IMO, the font needs to be changed.
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Re: Overall Physical design and art.

Postby Fredrix » Mon Sep 07, 2015 1:27 pm

Mongoose's blog post on the subject says "The last edition rested heavily on the minimalist approach of Classic Traveller – the new edition has all the bells and whistles you expect from a modern RPG."

Now I'm not looking at the finished product, but actually I think the new layout looks somewhat dated. When RPG books started going full colour, they went overboard on layout, printing on textured pages that were a pastiche of Medieval parchment, or with page edges (frames) that looked like PCB circuitry. Even companies that couldn't afford full colour printing filled the margins with frames, or added "watermarks" under the text that added nothing to readability (I'm looking at you White Wolf).

So now in an attempt to look "modern" Mongoose has stuck a scratched-up hex texture under every page, and most top and bottom margins are filled with ... what, something metallic, with a glimpse of a starfield - are these meant to represent the most useless starship viewscreens ever? Some (but not all) boxouts a red Timex digital LED watch block caps on black. Who thought THAT was either: a) Modern? or b) a good idea?

Other pages lay out blue headings and keylines over a deep black starfield, that sort of manage to look a bit like the Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - that these are probably the best looking in the book.

Meanwhile - truly modern RPGs are heading towards minimalism. My favourite layouts are FATE and FAE, and Pelgrane's Night's Black Agents. Both are plain white pages, with detailing that enhances the navigation of the book - phonebook style chapter tabs on the out margin, and especially Fate's margin notes that tell you what page to go to, for other stuff mentioned on the page you are reading.

Even D&D5 is has really subdued page textures. So I feel Mongoose is one step behind the pack here.

But aesthetics is subjective, so what do other people think? Which books do you think have the best layout? What are shining exemplars and the your "don't do it like this" designs?


A version of this was posted on http://happyjacks.proboards.com/thread/ ... z3l3YSqDqj
Stainless
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Re: Overall Physical design and art.

Postby Stainless » Mon Sep 07, 2015 2:01 pm

Agreed. As I stated above, there was nothing wrong with MgT 1e.

Adventurer, Conqueror, King (ACKS) is quite clearly presented. I agree, Night's Black Agents is good in keeping the page graphics to a minimum. Similarly the second edition of Essoterrorists.

I view RPGs as a type of technical book. For my sensibilities, I therefore like them simple, clear, well ordered. I don't need or want the graphics bells and whistles. We're roleplayers after all, we already have enough imagination and inspiration. For me, less is more.
VenomousFiligree
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Re: Overall Physical design and art.

Postby VenomousFiligree » Mon Sep 07, 2015 2:08 pm

I like I clean crisp presentation, however I also like walls of text broken up with something. Each (double) page should have something on it, whether it be a table, callout box or image, to break up the text. (All my preferences of course. :) )
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Re: Overall Physical design and art.

Postby DickTurpin » Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:12 pm

I like the changes but they go overboard in places. The Character generation flowchart is once of the clearest examples of this. Color is good, designs that evoke a futuristic feel are good, just keep it subtle so it does not distract from the actual content.

I like the cover a lot. I think that it will attract attention in the stores and get a new batch of players interested in trying the game. That is a key point for me because I am having trouble finding Traveller players to form a local game group.
Matt Wilson
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Re: Overall Physical design and art.

Postby Matt Wilson » Mon Sep 07, 2015 11:41 pm

I actually prefer the "printer friendly" version for many of the reasons stated above. In my extraordinarily humble opinion, the color version could stand to be just a bit more subtle.
NOLATrav
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Re: Overall Physical design and art.

Postby NOLATrav » Tue Sep 08, 2015 7:44 am

First impressions after a few days with the beta...

Love the cover art - the classic black cover with a color stripe still looks cool but great sci-if action on the cover is going to get people opening the book that might otherwise not.

Character creation flowchart has got to go. It's hard to read, confusingly laid out and the design looks dated.

In general I rather like the look and flow of the pages. The gold chevrons rather than box text is fun but some light vertical lines to help bound that text would make it more readily apparent that it's a new thought. Several times I found myself reading directly into the "box text" because the chevrons are cool but don't always create the visual break they're supposed to.

The T5-ish style size comparison between Aslan and Human is rather boring and cartoonish. Would much rather see an Aslan and his Human crewmate IN ACTION, let that describe their physical differences and also be exciting/inspiring.

The animal illos are pretty good, would be nice to see a glimpse of their alien environments behind them.

There is a LOT of blank page space in the equipment chapter. Consolidating that, or adding more gear, should be considered. Not loving the red-on-black 70's data terminal look, a cleaner, sharper font would help loads here.

YMMV on the above thoughts but overall I really like this. It does feel more modern and streamlined than Traveller has felt in the past, reads well and feels concise - and that I think is a great thing.
TrippyHippy
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Re: Overall Physical design and art.

Postby TrippyHippy » Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:55 am

Stainless wrote:Agreed. As I stated above, there was nothing wrong with MgT 1e.
There was plenty wrong with MgT 1e in terms of interior layout and art. Most reviews picked up on it, and it was regularly criticised....or have we all forgotten this?
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Re: Overall Physical design and art.

Postby AKAramis » Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:18 am

I've found black on grey very hard to read, especially black on a grayscale pattern. I find the color version almost unusable.
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Re: Overall Physical design and art.

Postby Holman » Sun Sep 13, 2015 11:23 pm

To me, the visual style of the beta is too colorful and too busy, somehow both shiny and clunky.

For readability, the clean b&w presentation of 1stEd Mongoose is superior to what we see in the pdf. After reading a few pages in the main beta document, I switched to the print-friendly version and found it much easier on my eyes.

But the main issue is aesthetic. The slick, pop-out style of the pdf looks crowded and dated. It calls too much attention to itself. Pages that mimic electronic presentation (such as the character flowchart and the vehicle information "screens") hit the wrong note.

The starfield-viewport border of the page margins suggests an iron/concrete style that doesn't feel like Traveller at all. It seems to belong to some other universe.

I like the rules themselves, but in my opinion the presentation needs a different direction.
TrippyHippy
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Re: Overall Physical design and art.

Postby TrippyHippy » Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:12 am

I flatly disagree with any notion that the last edition's interior design is superior to this new one in style or practicality. It's simply looking at the old edition with rose-tinted glasses - considering how frequently it's plain design was criticised.

To me, it reads fine, although I haven't seen the full effect with the printed book complete with artwork so there may still be issues. I'm in two minds about the cover - which isn't actually provided in the pdf as it stands - as I am wondering whether just having the logo on it's own without the artwork might still be more effective.

I hope that Mongoose sticks with the full cover design, and hope that it will include full glossy pages too.
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Re: Overall Physical design and art.

Postby -Daniel- » Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:21 am

TrippyHippy wrote: I hope that Mongoose sticks with the full cover design, and hope that it will include full glossy pages too.
Would you agree in places like the Subsector map, the ghosted background should be dropped (just on that page) to make the map easier to read?

What about the orange fuzzy type on the black background? Do you think that is ok?

Or are you ok with 100% of it?
ShawnDriscoll
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Re: Overall Physical design and art.

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:30 am

MgT1 had two kinds of artwork, depending on the printing. I own and old printing of the book. At first, I didn't like the art use for the careers. It reminded me of Barr's artwork in later CT stuff, which I never liked either.

But I got used to the careers artwork Mongoose used in the old printing. I already liked the rest of the artwork in the book.

When a new printing of MgT1 came out, most of the artwork was replaced. I don't remember liking any of the new art in the book. My favorite art will always be the lions from Mongoose Aslan.
Last edited by ShawnDriscoll on Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
hiro

Re: Overall Physical design and art.

Postby hiro » Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:32 am

My computer isn't state of the art (it's a mid 2012 mac book pro with 8 gig ram) but it's not that bad yet still it takes more time to turn the pages in the full version PDF using Preview than I'd like. I've not tried it with Adobe Reader but Preview tends to work well enough for most things (though not the Java rich BTRC rules EABA)

I default to reading the printer friendly version as I want to cut to the chase and get the info.

I would tho want line artwork in the printer friendly version, it's good to see art work in any book to spark the imagination.

A printed version (which I rarely buy so take this with a pinch of salt) should be rich and gorgeous to look at.

And yes, that leaves me without a strong opinion on the full PDF version, I am not computer savvy enough to know if it's my computer thats causing the issue or the document itself.

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