Monday 26 July 2010

I'm not dead yet. Here's what I'm up to...

If you don't write it, it won't get finished. Just write. It's the best bit of advice I can give. I've been thrashing out Icar version 4 and my goodness, it's a huge job. As means of recompense and demonstrating that I putting my money where my mouth is and taking a dollop of my own bitter medicine, here are some screen shots of Icar in its current state. I have uploaded a cringe worthy Alpha that is the very epitome of shoddy. Download and read at your peril.

This first one depicts an example of space combat. Space combat in Version 4 is very wordy and scribbles-on-paper. I looked at a complex three dimensional system but I decided that those systems are fine for board gaming but that is not why people want to play Icar.

This second grab shows the start of the skill section and demonstrates my obsession with stuffing images in amongst the text. I can't stop doing it. I'm seeking group therapy.

Sadly, I've set myself the gargantuan task of updating the Icar equipment index too. It's a Behemoth of graphics, many of which needs recreating in beautiful 300DPI high resolution rather than the shameful 72DPI I thought was adequate before. Here are some snaps of vehicles I needed to recreate because the originals were woefully out of date:

That's not all!

I do have a number of reviews in the works, have written a foreword for a delightful game by Michael "Stargazer" Wolf and and judging the frankly excellent entries for the Cyberpunk Revival Contest on 1KM1KT. Not only that but I am still penning my Guide to Writing a Free RPG from scratch. In the similar vein to my last guides but in a multi-part series.

Thank you for being patient. You can always get your dose of free over at 1000 Monkeys, 1000 Typewriters, the best free online community on the net. Ever.


Zachary Houghton said...

I like the Rover model! Nice work!

OlmanFeelyus said...

Stuffing graphics in among the text is not a problem, it's the solution!

Slick graphics, too. Did you do those?

satyre said...

Also liking your layout a lot, the image as backdrop is very nice.

Sounds like a busy schedule - got to ask how you find time for it all. :)

Look fwd to the next version of the guide to RPG layout - may be using it... ;)

Rob Lang said...

Thanks for the well wishes. The graphics are all mine, which is why it is taking such a long time to do!

How do I find the time? I only watch about 1 or 2 hours of TV a week: Top Gear and then either The Big Bang Theory or the IT Crowd - both shows my wife thinks are documentaries on my life.

Pontifex said...


I have been doing a lot of my layout work as my game nears completion. Do you intend the primary consumption of your game to be on laptop/iPad style devices?

Some of the feedback I am getting from the people I have given alpha copies for review is that they really like the lack of trade-dress. I had been intending on doing a trade-dress, but I just havent finished it yet. However, Tenkar over at Tenkar's Tavern has told me that it is great to have clear white background and no border art, because it loads faster on his iPad.

Just something to consider. If your primary medium is electronic, you might want to have an alternative version that is has a much less image intensive layout.

Rob Lang said...

@Greg. Long ago, I decided version 4 will come in three flavours:

1. Full graphics print-on-demand book.
2. Free PDF full graphics
3. Free PDF Low graphics

The reason for the low graphics (no backgrounds or full page images) is not that it makes consumption on laptops or iPads easier but because it makes printing cheaper. If you wish to print the game at home, you won't want to burn that much toner!

Thanks for the comment, though. As rare as iPads are, tablet computing is on its way and will be another medium that people will use. The book, for now, is king.

Pontifex said...

Are you using color in the interiors at all? Color interiors look great on the tablet.

I was going to make a low-art version and a no-art version, no-art being for printing and low-art for tablets. The low-art version would have everything as far as imagery goes, just no border edging.

clash bowley said...

These are awesome, Rob! Pure awesome!

Glad to hear the reports of your death were greatly exaggerated! :D


Rob Lang said...

@Greg - I was thinking about colour interiors (you're right, they look amazing on screen) but I can't warrant the extra work that it would require. In colour, for example, the background is comically rainbow! I would need to tweak and adjust. As a lot of the graphics are rendered, I could (in the distant future) produce a colour one but it's not really on the plan.

@Clash - thanks mate, that means a lot coming from someone who's work I respect a great deal.

Pontifex said...

I am not using rendered art, so maybe that is a difference I dont fully appreciate.

I have about 1 image per 3 pages, maybe taking up a 1/4th of a page each time. Stretched over 250 or so pages, that is about 85 images. Plus I am using geometric shapes as layout elements, so that add some more load. But overall my graphic footprint is kept pretty low in terms of system resources to display it.