Friday, April 13, 2007

Can we make the Industry Uglier?

Disclaimer One
I do not think game designers and writers should review other people's product. I won't point fingers at who has done this in the past, as that has nothing to do with anything. But as soon as you write and publish anything in the industry, you have an obligation not to trash someone else's venture.

Disclaimer Two
You can offer advice to make things better, but that's a gray area.

I have done this on my site, before, especially to illustrate a point.

Disclaimer Three
Generally, I am not liked by moderators on game-industry forums, as you can imagine, because I do not EDIT myself. So, while my intention here is to illustrate just how UGLY I think a product is, do not think I am trashing the material.

I need to make that distinction very clear, here.

Burning Sky Something
ENWorld is releasing a downloadable PDF of a game that hurts my eyes so much, I can't stay quiet about it. Not for their sake, but for the sake of others who may want to do the same thing.

I understand not having a budget.

I get it.

I have made a living out of making trash look good, because there was no money for art/textures/anything. I have been doing the production work on the local gaming convention's programs... about $1,200 worth of work (each con)... for 2 years now... for free... just so I can read the damn thing.

Can anyone read the title of this book? Or the logo? Or make out that blob behind the title?

There's a hundred ways to do this right. There's a hundred ways to present information. Even with my limited skill set, I can find hundred ways to make this image stand out on the inter-tubes. But I can't fathom how a WEBSITE, with access to cover art from every game in creation can look at this and say... oh yeah... that's as good as WOTC.

I've been very vocal about this SORT of thing in the past.

And I'm not trying to belittle anyone. But, I'm sorry. It's the 21st century. Multi-media noise is everywhere. There's free advice in every corner of the eschaton-like miasma that is the world wide fungus. Certainly someone could look up contrasting colors. Gradiants? Textures? Legible fonts? Highlights? Photoshop? Do any of these words sound remotely close to something that a book publisher might want to familiarize him or herself with?

Please. Before your strike out and make your own book, as someone for help. We won't laugh and point. We'll weep that you actually took the initiative to ask for help.

If you take anything away from this, I hope it's that help is just a click away.



Richard said...

Well, you know it goes without saying that I agree with you.

I honestly think, that some choose covers because they fell that they know better. Most gamers have egos, and when you mix this gamer ego in with a company, that is a dangerous combination.

Heck, there is no appreciation for a good design, because as you said, people are oversaturated with visual stimulus. The vision has become polluted.

jim pinto said...

Well. I don't even know what this (and many other) covers are trying to be. It's one thing for the design of the Forgotten Realms to mimic Dragonlance and Dragonlance to mimic Greyhawk. And the everyone else to join in their mimicked "visuals."

But some of this stuff out there... I don't even know... I'm at a loss.