art, layout, and the electronic medium

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
haveahappy
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art, layout, and the electronic medium

Postby haveahappy » Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:46 am

Just thought I would add my two credits on the new direction in art/layout.

I think that many of the complaints and divisions have their root in some key differences between the dead tree product and the PDF in actual use.

The full colour gloss of the new edition is going to be fantastic in print. I have no doubt it will be a magnificent tome, beautiful to hold and to read.

I think if Mongoose (and the RPG industry in general) is serious about the electronic medium being a major part of their business, it deserves some special attention. A straight-up PDF of the print book, to be perfectly honest, is a bit lazy.

If you intend to print it out, expect a hefty printing bill for colour or some legibility issues if you print in B&W. Column based layouts that work very well in print are a nightmare in PDF, especially if you are reading it on a tablet or ereader. The lovely breaks in formatting for pieces of art and sidebars make this even worse. Basically, a good print book makes a terrible eBook.

I would really love if Mongoose could consider two things for the electronic product:
> (genuinely) printer friendly versions of PDF's
> Electronic formats other than PDF (Mobi, ePub)

I have quite a few RPG's on PDF, and I also read a lot. It is a real pain reading a dual (sometimes triple!) column PDF on my kindle or iPad. Reading a properly formatted and layed out eBook however is an absolute pleasure.

It isn't like it's never been done either - FATE Core not only comes in a gorgeous print product (the coloured margin tabs for each chapter are especially useful), it ALSO comes in all three formats of PDF, Mobi, & ePub. And I must say the Kindle version of FATE is an absolute pleasure to read, instead of a constant struggle like the rest of my PDF library.

(for anyone interested, FATE Core is pay-what-you-want on Drivethrurpg, so if you have an eReader and want to see what they've done, it's really quite impressive, I highly reccomend it even if just to see what they've accomplished)
TrippyHippy
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Re: art, layout, and the electronic medium

Postby TrippyHippy » Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:01 am

I think this is a pretty excellent summation of the issues actually. So you have total agreement from me at least, for what it's worth!
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MongooseMatt
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Re: art, layout, and the electronic medium

Postby MongooseMatt » Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:42 am

Mobi is a problem for a book like Traveller. We will, however, do a print-friendly version of the final, just as we have for the playtest PDF.

Single column? We'll have to see. There is no technical barrier there, just one of time, and if we have to choose between a single column option or getting (say) High Guard out on time, I have a feeling I know what most people would choose :)
Matthew Sprange

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haveahappy
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Re: art, layout, and the electronic medium

Postby haveahappy » Fri Sep 18, 2015 11:06 am

msprange wrote:Mobi is a problem for a book like Traveller.
What makes you say that?
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MongooseMatt
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Re: art, layout, and the electronic medium

Postby MongooseMatt » Fri Sep 18, 2015 11:25 am

Primarily tables. Also, having a Kindle myself (love it!), utility is an issue when it comes to flicking back and forward. Great for a novel, but RPGs have always been an issue.

We have only ever looked seriously at doing one RPG for the Kindle, and that was Lone Wolf, primarily because it had almost no reliance on tables at all. But even then, we knew the application would be flawed in use.
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Re: art, layout, and the electronic medium

Postby -Daniel- » Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:52 pm

My take on the PDF vs other format thoughts. I think the pull toward other formats is driven by the use of small book readers such as the Kindle. My tablet, laptop, and desk top all have no problem opening and using the full color PDF. And only the lap top has issues with reading full pages at a time because of the size ratio. The tablet has no such issue as I can turn it to get the right ratio. I say as long as a print ready copy is offered, I would continue for the near future with PDF. I would however say that any PDF should have a full bookmark set. I find it a joke when I buy an RPG PDF and it does not have any book marks built in.
haveahappy
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Re: art, layout, and the electronic medium

Postby haveahappy » Sat Sep 19, 2015 12:38 am

I don't think flicking back and forth is any more difficult than a PDF?

You can flick forward or back at most a few pages before the fast scroll, search function, or table of contents is consulted. In this respect PDF's and eBooks are the same.

I don't think it's fair to expect everyone to use an A4 sized tablet either.
I know tables can be problematic, but they can be done.

All I'm saying is that if I'm going to pay upwards of $20 for an electronic copy of MgT2 (and any other RPG for that matter), I would like a little bit more effort put in than "File/Print/Print to PDF".
I know PDF is what everyone else does, I know it's more work to do an eReader specific version, but I also think it's time the industry matured in this regard and treated electronic customers more seriously. I buy a lot less RPG's in electronic form than I otherwise would if the electronic medium were better supported.
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Re: art, layout, and the electronic medium

Postby -Daniel- » Sat Sep 19, 2015 2:22 am

haveahappy wrote: I don't think it's fair to expect everyone to use an A4 sized tablet either.
Not sure what an A4 tablet is, but I agree, we shouldn't expect everyone to own or use a Kindle or Smart Phone just so they can use their new shinny MOBI file either. :mrgreen:

haveahappy wrote: All I'm saying is that if I'm going to pay upwards of $20 for an electronic copy of MgT2 (and any other RPG for that matter), I would like a little bit more effort put in than "File/Print/Print to PDF".
I agree, that is why I would expect things like bookmarks, complete book marks included. Clean layouts. Thought put behind what fonts are being used and what back grounds are being used. I buy a lot of PDF books and I can't tell you how many fail in such a simple task. :|
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Re: art, layout, and the electronic medium

Postby AndrewW » Sat Sep 19, 2015 3:21 am

-Daniel- wrote:
haveahappy wrote: I don't think it's fair to expect everyone to use an A4 sized tablet either.
Not sure what an A4 tablet is, but I agree, we shouldn't expect everyone to own or use a Kindle or Smart Phone just so they can use their new shinny MOBI file either. :mrgreen:
Page size, similar to US Letter (8.27" x 11.69").
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Re: art, layout, and the electronic medium

Postby -Daniel- » Sat Sep 19, 2015 4:07 am

AndrewW wrote:Page size, similar to US Letter (8.27" x 11.69").
Ah, thanks Andrew. Just went and looked up A4 Page Size. Once again I am so very sad the US backed out of the change to metrics back in the 70s. This way of measuring paper is so much smarter. :|

And now back to Traveller for me. :mrgreen:
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ShawnDriscoll
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Re: art, layout, and the electronic medium

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Sat Sep 19, 2015 4:56 am

I have one A4 Traveller book on my shelf. It looks funny with all the Letter Traveller books I have.
Scratches
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Re: art, layout, and the electronic medium

Postby Scratches » Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:07 am

I have an eBook reader and it's great for novels but would be terrible for an RPG, way, way too slow to move around. And the point about the tables is a good one, I have some technical papers in epub and it's painful to use them.

Speed is what I'm looking for and a PDF on my Surface is all I need. Double column is tiny but I just finger-zoom and everything's good.

TOC is a must with security settings, if any, set so that I can modify it.

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