Evaluating the art in the Core Book

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
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andrew boulton
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Postby andrew boulton » Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:46 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.
Doesn't excuse it being there in the first place, but I'm glad they've sorted it out.

How do I tell which edition my PDF is and download the fixed version?
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Postby rust » Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:59 am

andrew boulton wrote:
How do I tell which edition my PDF is and download the fixed version?
If you bought it from Drive Thru RPG, you can just download the core
book again, the only version now available there is the newer one.
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Postby Somebody » Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:14 pm

And those who have the paper version? Last I heard BoTP (Book Transfer Protocol) was delayed due to problems with the more important BeTP and PTP (Beer / Pizza Transfer Protocols) so downloading a new print version could be a bit problematic.

Maybe Mongoose can put just the art as a PDF out and we can do Copy/Paste. Using the right glues (Spray glue, publisher/advertiser style works fine) that's actually quit doable. Did that with most of the Laubenstein/Prescot "art" in the SR3 books. Scanned older SR2 stuff and pasted them over.
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Postby PrinceYyrkoon » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:12 pm

Hmm, not sure this is a valid criticism for MGT. Youre on thin ice, considering the total lack of visuals in the classic LBB. A piece of art that gives the feel of the classic system would probably be a blank page.
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Postby andrew boulton » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:30 pm

PrinceYyrkoon wrote:Hmm, not sure this is a valid criticism for MGT. Youre on thin ice, considering the total lack of visuals in the classic LBB. A piece of art that gives the feel of the classic system would probably be a blank page.
The ice is much thicker if you also consider MT, TNE, T4, GT, and T20. Which we are doing.
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Postby Ishvar » Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:35 pm

Some players consider art to be useless while some others consider it as being essential to get the mood and feeling of a setting.

As far as I am concerned I consider art to be rather important especially in a science fiction setting. If you know how a 100 ton scout ship looks like this is thanks to the many drawings of them you have seen in the various traveller books. On this ground, MGT is a utter failure and I prefer no art at all (as in Diaspora) rather than crappy arts (as in too many MGT books - though the ships in the MGT core book are among the only pieces of art worthy or note, in my own and only opinion).

About the fact that the art would have been changed in the core rulebook... I don't care a dime as I own the first edition and I won't buy it again just because some typos and arts have been changed.

It seems like Mongoose have decided to do something about the art in Traveller, it is great but there is still a lot to do about it.

Is it too costly? Then reduce the number of pictures, a few good quality pictures are better than a lot of crappy ones.
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Postby Border Reiver » Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:16 pm

Missing the LBBs out but sticking with CT;

Starter Traveller & The Traveller Book are stuffed with filler art. Most of it is Bill Keith's which although is pretty much "definitive" for the OTU isn't really to my taste but there's also Liz Danforth's and David Deitrick's work which are excellent, some Kevin Siembieda stuff too.

But there's also a good amount of dross in there too, stuff that made 1st printing core MGT book look like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

That saying the Core book did look like it had its art thrown in as an afterthought but the later printing with work by Bradley K. McDevitt (a Traveller art veteran) looks like the edition I should have got when I pre-ordered. :?

Later Mongoose Traveller illustration has been pretty much a bit of a hit or miss. Some really amazing work but also some pretty slapdash filler. Eye of the beholder and all that.... :wink:
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Postby Scarecrow » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:02 pm

Following on from what Border Reiver says, It's not just the quality of art in Mongoose Traveller that bothers me, but the jarring diversity aswell.
With the exception of the starships, the art in the core book makes me want to cry with frustration. But it's not just that much of it is technically incompetent, it's that it's such a mixed bag aswell. Wavering wildly from 'competent-but-mediocre' to 'eye-wateringly bad', it feels like such a mish-mash that it's difficult to get a feel for what Traveller is supposed to be visually. It gives the impression that it really doesn't know what it wants to be.
Even the aforementioned starship illustrations, good though they are, are of the clunky and mediocre (and in many cases, downright awful) 'classic' designs.
Some can take or leave the art in a book. Many would happily have none. For me, good art sells a book or setting and it's for this reason alone, I haven't bought any Mongoose Traveller yet.

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Postby TrippyHippy » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:30 pm

The art in Traveller is pretty much on a par with every other edition of the game - do people consider that the art in GURPS: Traveller or d20 Traveller was that much better?

It's not as flash as the best games on the market, but then it's not the major feature I'm looking for in Traveller. The iconic, minimalistic cover design sells the game more than the interior layout.

I'd also add that supplemental lines like Judge Dredd are pretty flash.
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Postby Scarecrow » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:54 pm

I personally don't believe the art in previous incarnations was better, probably about the same, and that is why it's so frustrating. Yet another version of Traveller and yet again it has messy, techically incompetent, anatomically dodgy illustration and unimaginative design of no particular style or philosophy.
I really can't describe my dissapointment when I first opened the Mongoose Traveller book. The first thing that greeted me were scratchy, technically and anatomically poor drawings like some school-kid's biro renditions of his favourite 40K characters. The replacements are a bit better, sure, but the artist still seriously needs some anatomy lessons and reference material.

...and then there are those weapon drawings. Yeesh!

I was hoping for so much more.

sigh.

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Postby Gruffty the Hiver » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:10 pm

The art in the GT books is good, as are the covers.
*Some* of the art in the CT:AMs was good i.e. teh Hivorz - yet, even the the Hiver CT:AM there was OK/good art and complete sh*te art.
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Postby Lord High Munchkin » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:52 pm

Believe me (as I have just done it), that two weeks of solid, 8-hours-a-day, life-drawing does wonders for one's drawing.
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Postby Treebore » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:26 pm

I agree the art presentation could have been much better, and cooler, but I am used to this kind of art for Trav, so really don't notice it, except some of the equipment and ships. Some of those do bug me. The rest I either take note of if I like them, or forget about them.

If Mongoose ever decides to do a full color book with kick ass full color art for about $50 (US) I'll be all over it.

In the mean time I just search the awesome art thread here on this board for better and cooler pics to inspire me.
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Postby Gamerguy » Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:32 am

Here is a story I heard:

At the gaming convention that Marc Miller debutted Traveller at, he SOLD out every copy he brought - people especially praised the solid production values and superb artwork.

"Yea, Classic Traveller LBB's had the best production you could have - stunning in its time. Twilight's Peak was simply stunning in quality.

With newer editions that quality slid - but its still Traveller. All Traveller material with a little work will work just fine with another edition.

Mongoose Traveller is very popular and is now the main version in print. There are things I really like about it and some things I'd tweak - like artwork for example.

However, it does play very well and some of the material like Strontium Dogs and the Aslan book are true classics."

I agree - a full color core book at $39.95 or so with quality art would be a must buy.
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Postby Vile » Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:58 am

Gamerguy wrote:Here is a story I heard:

At the gaming convention that Marc Miller debutted Traveller at, he SOLD out every copy he brought - people especially praised the solid production values and superb artwork.
I may be living in a different dimension, but my original 3 LBBs had one piece of art, which consisted of some dodgy side elevations of vehicles. Am I missing something? Presumably this debut didn't happen after all the other supplements with artwork had been published?

People seem to have a very rose-coloured view of 80's RPG art (not just Traveller). To my mind it ranged from quite good to quite bad, although at the time I felt it generally added to the game in some small degree. I have to say standards have not impoved much, but that is almost certainly down to costs. Good art has always been available (some of Botticelli's stuff wasn't bad), but at a price. I think the real issue is when bad art is used - then you are wasting paper and wasting money. Better to have less art and fewer pages.
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Postby TrippyHippy » Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:58 am

Yes, all the lbbs that I've ever seen have minimal to nil artwork in them. It doesn't mean they weren't stylish though.
Last edited by TrippyHippy on Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Vile » Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:09 am

TrippyHippy wrote:It doesn't mean they weren't stylish though.
Hey, you're talking to a minimalist, here. "The garden is complete when nothing more can be taken away." 8)

I just find it odd that CT is held up as a paragon of RPG artwork when there was so little of it, and what there was was pretty average for its day. I suppose it's kind of an endorsement of how CT and MGT are otherwise so comparable that the only thing left to argue over are the pictures ... :P
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Postby Lord High Munchkin » Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:23 am

I must admit that at the time it came out, I thought LLB 'Traveller' illustration to be middling to poor—certainly not paragon examples of quality late '70's RPG art.
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Postby TrippyHippy » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:07 am

Vile wrote:I just find it odd that CT is held up as a paragon of RPG artwork when there was so little of it, and what there was was pretty average for its day. I suppose it's kind of an endorsement of how CT and MGT are otherwise so comparable that the only thing left to argue over are the pictures ... :P
I totally agree.

I think there was an issue in the art of the first printing - fair enough - but I do think much of it has been improved to the point that it isn't really worth complaining about. As I said, the art in Mongoose Traveller is about on a par with T20 and GURPS: Traveller (notwithstanding Interstellar Wars, which was a one-off release anyway).

Traveller will never be as flash as WotC's Star Wars or FFG's WH40KRP lines - but it was never going to be (although Judge Dredd runs them close!).

Part of this was because of the 'minimalist' style (which I actually like), but also because it helps keep the Traveller line within a viable profit margin for Mongoose. Whilst this may seem cheap to some, what it does mean is that we will get oodles of continuous support for the game in the future, as Mongoose continue to meet their bottom line effectively. Don't forget that the pocket book is pretty cheap now too.

Some of the individual licensed supplements, such as Hammer's Slammers or the aforementioned Judge Dredd may have other 'one off', license stipulations or market considerations to allow for more flash, etc.

I suppose we could ask for a 'special edition' black leather cover....
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Postby rust » Thu Dec 17, 2009 1:52 pm

As for the great art in previous Traveller editions ... :lol:

http://www.somethingawful.com/d/dungeon ... php?page=1

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