Evaluating the art in the Core Book

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Supplement Four
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Evaluating the art in the Core Book

Postby Supplement Four » Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:06 am

The first time I picked up Mongoose's Conan RPG, I was stunned. It was the Atlantean Edition I was holding, and, wow, what a book to behold. As soon as I turned the pages I actually felt the Hyborian Age pulling at me.

From this, we know, that Mongoose can bring us some inspiring looking game books.

I've got this Mongoose Traveller Core Rule Book that a friend gave me (he hates the game and was going to toss it)...so, why don't I get that same feeling I had for Conan when I flip through the MGT book?

Well, mainly because the presentation looks like something I could do using Word and a decent printer. It looks fan made. Not professional.

Heck, some of the newer Traveller fanzines look better.



Let's take a look at the art, each illo and picture given to us in that book.



Very Traveller:

(Pretty Good stuff! Fires the imagination! Has a Traveller feel!)

The Vargr on pg. 46.

The action scenes on pg. 70.

The equipment illos. on pgs. 90, 96, 99, 100, 101.

The spacecraft on pgs. 135, 138.

The cover.





So-So.

(Servicable, "OK", art that is uninspired. Doesn't really fire the imagination the way it should.)

The Droyne on pg. 43.

The Hiver on pg. 44.

The Zhodani on pg. 47.

The action scenes on pgs. 51, 53, 54, 57, 58, 62, 74, 77, 81, 86, 95, 162, 172

The equipment illos. on pgs. 93, 98

Spacecraft on pg. 105, 112, 114, 117, 119, 121, 123, 126, 127, 129, 131, 132, 133, 136, 145, 148



Crap:

(No art at all would be better than these pics.)

The character art on pgs. 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31, 33, 39, 159, 174

The aslan on pg. 42.

The K'kree on pg. 45.

The action scenes on pgs. 50, 56, 58, 65, 88, 103, 104

Spacecraft on 125

The world on pg. 180





Of course, this is just one Traveller fan's opinion, but, in my estimation, the Core book has very few pics that make me feel the universe and an overwhelming number of stuff that is either unispiring or just plain should be removed and replaced with white space or additional text if available.
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Re: Evaluating the art in the Core Book

Postby BP » Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:37 am

Supplement Four wrote:...I've got this Mongoose Traveller Core Rule Book that a friend gave me (he hates the game and was going to toss it)...
Uh-huh! :lol: :lol: :roll:
Supplement Four wrote:...Of course, this is just one Traveller fan's opinion, but, in my estimation, the Core book has very few pics that make me feel the universe and an overwhelming number of stuff that is either unispiring or just plain should be removed and replaced with white space or additional text if available.
Granted there are no Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni's in it - so what? With the possible exception of deckplans - its totally eye-candy - as such, by definition, any of it could be removed.
Supplement Four wrote:...Heck, some of the newer Traveller fanzines look better.
Great - take it this is your announcement - as a fan - that you are making a masterpiece fanzine that we can all look forward to visually inspiring us! Obviously, that is what the market is demanding...
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Postby Supplement Four » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:09 am

Sounds like you agree that the Core Rulebook does look sloppy and non-professional---but that just doesn't bother you.
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Postby Bygoneyrs » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:50 am

Hey the art work is for fun to see, but it is the data within the books that is the real reason why I buy the books. I could deal with no artwork at all. What is really important in the info/details of the data offered within these books that really matters in the long run. Now the pics help inspire the mind, but they are not really needed.

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Postby BP » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:35 am

Supplement Four wrote:Sounds like you agree that the Core Rulebook does look sloppy and non-professional---but that just doesn't bother you.
Because I stated no masterpieces? Interesting perspective ... :lol:

1) They all seem to stay within their rectangular regions - so sloppy is out :P

2) Went to a professional gallery showing last week - a third of the 'art' was blobs of color on medium - the only thing that made it 'professional' is if they got paid! Haven't heard any complaints about MGT artists being stiffed! :roll:

Since MGP never protrayed the Core book as an art book - no I don't have any great expectations that it is - that's not what I gave them my money for! Could it be better - sure. Would I want to spend more money if it was - nope.

For my money - the illustrations in Core are more than adequate and keep some of the 'feel' of CT.
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Postby The Chef » Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:50 am

the only peice of art in the core book i dont like is the one associated to the tactics/leadership skill, with the vargr running away.. don't like that.

Other than that i would say the art is clearer, and more defined in this than in previous editions. And certainly no worse than some of the "professional" art seen in some WOTC books.

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Postby Gruffty the Hiver » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:29 am

Point of order, Mr Chairman: S4, which edition of the TMB have you got? The first one, or the second one where the chargen tables have been rearranged and art slotted into the leftover spaces?

I bring this up because there were *some* changes to the art content between editions, 's'all....
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Postby rust » Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:57 am

What I expect for my money when I buy a roleplaying game is the infor-
mations I need to play the game, preferably without too many modifica-
tions to make it fit the kind of setting I have in mind.

Art is a most welcome "plus", but it is not a necessity. While I really like
good illustrations, for me a roleplaying game could have excellent value
even without any art at all. In fact, I have some very good roleplaying
games of that kind.

So, yes, some of the art of the core book could doubtless have been bet-
ter (and most could have been worse). But this is nothing I would consi-
der of high importance, and I would very much hesitate to pay more mo-
ney for "better" (= more to my taste, as there is no objective "better"
for art) illustrations of a roleplaying book.
...the Core book has very few pics that make me feel the universe ...
Ah ... which universe ?

The chance that an artist happens to illustrate my specific game universe
is very slim, and with almost as many game universes as there are ga-
mers out there, I would never expect an artist to make me feel "the" uni-
verse - simply because "the" universe does not exist.
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Postby TravellerArt » Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:23 pm

Gruffty the Hiver wrote:Point of order, Mr Chairman: S4, which edition of the TMB have you got? The first one, or the second one where the chargen tables have been rearranged and art slotted into the leftover spaces?

I bring this up because there were *some* changes to the art content between editions, 's'all....
Yep, S4, definitely sounds like you have the original release there, as I find the character art really good in the later edition.
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Re: Evaluating the art in the Core Book

Postby andrew boulton » Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:33 pm

Supplement Four wrote:I've got this Mongoose Traveller Core Rule Book that a friend gave me (he hates the game and was going to toss it)...so, why don't I get that same feeling I had for Conan when I flip through the MGT book?

Well, mainly because the presentation looks like something I could do using Word and a decent printer. It looks fan made. Not professional.

Heck, some of the newer Traveller fanzines look better.
Completely agree. I actually felt insulted by it. Yes, of course it's the *words* that matter, but a shoddy presentation shows a lack of respect for your customers, and for the game itself - "It's only Traveller, it doesn't deserve any better".

It's not like Mongoose is a small, amateur outfit, or there's a shortage of decent artists.
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Re: Evaluating the art in the Core Book

Postby rust » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:19 pm

andrew boulton wrote: Yes, of course it's the *words* that matter, but a shoddy presentation shows a lack of respect for your customers, and for the game itself - "It's only Traveller, it doesn't deserve any better".
Ah, well ... if a Traveller version would get the art it deserves, I would
not be able to buy it. :lol:

I really prefer a game that sells more copies to gamers who can afford
its price to a game that is perfectly made but rarely sold because its pri-
ce is raised too high by the extra effort.
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Re: Evaluating the art in the Core Book

Postby Supplement Four » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:16 pm

rust wrote:I really prefer a game that sells more copies to gamers who can afford
its price to a game that is perfectly made but rarely sold because its pri-
ce is raised too high by the extra effort.
Mongoose's Conan line, in general, looks amazing.

They could do the same thing with Traveller if they wanted to.
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Re: Evaluating the art in the Core Book

Postby rust » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:27 pm

Supplement Four wrote: Mongoose's Conan line, in general, looks amazing.
They could do the same thing with Traveller if they wanted to.
You are comparing apples and pumpkins.

Conan used an already introduced and quite successful system, and
as a famous setting with a widespread system it had a rather good
chance to sell a lot of copies.

Traveller, on the other hand, was the re-introduction of a commercial-
ly almost dead system, and there was no assured market of any size
for it.

Sure, Mongoose could have produced a full-colour deluxe version of
Traveller, but this would have crossed the border between commercial
risk-taking and foolishness.
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Re: Evaluating the art in the Core Book

Postby BP » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:48 pm

Supplement Four wrote:Mongoose's Conan line, in general, looks amazing.

They could do the same thing with Traveller if they wanted to.
Given the success of MGT and their obvious passion for the game - I seriously doubt they are intentionally not trying to make it 'amazing'.

Conan art is a bit different art genre than Sci-Fi. The styles are different - which may explain your lack of satisfaction. Looking at the illustrations - I don't see any real difference 'in quality'. The conan art looks more like pencil/charcoal - which translates well to grayscale. The MGT illustrations tend more to line, cartoon and shaded/painted look. I haven't noted any renderings per-se - which tend to be my personnal favorite - buy these are notably time consuming and high demand experience that would probably require relatively big bucks (especially given the number of illustations).

Personnally, especially like the starship illustatrations in the Core book.

As for layout - I prefer the clean style to the artistic - without any fancy edge fluff - but that is a personal thing. I suspect that Mongoose intentionally tried to maintain some of the 'feel' of the original CT books.

The things I found less than professional are the deckplans (resolution vs vector issues) and kerning (letter spacing). And most folks could care less.
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Postby captainjack23 » Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:59 am

Well, interesting as this is, I'd point out that the basis of this discussion is , I think, a set of pictures that aren't in the core rulebook anymore; and given that unless S4 has another "friend" who is throwing out the current version, he hasn't seen any of the actual current art....so we are actually mostly discussing non-existent art.

If the point is that you want a free art upgrade, I guess I could understand, except that you got the book, which you dislike, for free; and can't have seen the new art, anyway.

Possibly you want a time machine to eradicate the offending art in the first place ?
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Postby BP » Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:12 am

captainjack23 wrote:....so we are actually mostly discussing non-existent art.
:lol: :lol: Ouch - that's harsh - its still art? :lol: :lol:
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Postby rust » Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:19 am

BP wrote: :lol: :lol: Ouch - that's harsh - its still art? :lol: :lol:
... like dance or music, now you see / hear it, now you don't ? :wink:
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Postby AndrewW » Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:25 am

captainjack23 wrote:Well, interesting as this is, I'd point out that the basis of this discussion is , I think, a set of pictures that aren't in the core rulebook anymore; and given that unless S4 has another "friend" who is throwing out the current version, he hasn't seen any of the actual current art....so we are actually mostly discussing non-existent art.
Sure it exists right in my book, and I'm just fine with it.
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Re: Evaluating the art in the Core Book

Postby AndrewW » Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:27 am

BP wrote:The things I found less than professional are the deckplans (resolution vs vector issues) and kerning (letter spacing). And most folks could care less.
Well, I agree vector would have been better for the deckplans but the images are jpeg so bitmap and lossy compression besides. Some of the deckplans are a bit on the squashed side. As for the kerning, doesn't really bother me (except parts of the first printing of High Guard).
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Re: Evaluating the art in the Core Book

Postby Deniable » Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:59 am

Supplement Four wrote: Mongoose's Conan line, in general, looks amazing.

They could do the same thing with Traveller if they wanted to.
Naked boobies in the page borders? I don't think Marc would go for that.

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