Friday, April 9, 2010

Getting Serious with making my own RPG book (for myself)

Because I'm a cheap bastard. I've tried to draw my map and I've been using Autorealm. There are some serious considerations when using the program. One problem is exporting things to images. The damn thing won't follow what's on my view. I gives you the option to export view, but if I change the px size different from my screen size (and it doesn't have my screen size) the image comes out weird.

I've tried working systematically by narrowing down the best way to work with the program. I've removed the hex grid that slows it down really bad when I go to large macro views, since it has to redraw every hex/box. All manners of trying I can't get it to create an image with a decent amount resolution for printing purposes.

Looking at Campaign Cartographer 3, I'm not about to shell out $44 (I am a cheap bastard). I tried to Identify what I need: Particularly what makes a good map. In some forum discussions drawing is still one of the best ways. I do admit It simplifies a hell lot of things but it is best to be able to import symbols and images off the web and remaking it for my own personal purposes in my map.

A Map maker should be able to allow me to Make a Gi'normous continent and work on parts of it one at a time. The program should allow me to make efficient use of my time and effort. I don't need to recalibrate the map I just made with the other stuff I didn't get around to make just yet.

So what I really need is a Vector Drawing tool. When I checked the free GNU vector drawing program, I'm happy to find that the Cartographers guild people use Inkscape. While I'm downloading Inkscape I might as well check all the other programs I'll be needing to make my own self published RPG book.

Scribus is another thing I'm downloading. Its a desktop publishing software, so that when I finish writing up everything on Open Office I can just organize i and lay it all out there. Oh yeah I also use Open Office.

I'm not sure if I've said it enough but I also use GIMP as my free Photoshop substitute.

I really should get around to making a set of articles on a simple low-stress and skill process in teaching how to learn these things. Although, its more of a self-help thing and I'll need a by a separate note book so that I can keep track of the hot keys and personal reflections about the processes.

I was trained in 3ds Max but I've mostly forgotten it and I'm relearning it again but for the purposes of self reliance I'm going to learn Blender. I always wanted to render SOME of what ever setting I developed into 3d.

My other problem right now is a decent Scanner. I'm a "turtle" bringing a little bit too much stuff with me sometimes. I sometimes draw on my little sketch pads and can't get them to scan properly into the computer. I've got a cheap 3-in-1 B/W laser printer from samsung and scanner can't read my shadings. It gets more aggravating when scanning takes so much time and technically it is a nightmare to set up.

I've gotten a cheap-ass tablet to draw on and I will like to show people how easy it is to learn to draw on one, more comfortably than on paper. You can get spoiled drawing on a tablet. Super-easy erasures, variable opacities for tracing, multiple brush sizes, and getting the hang of pencil weights.

Finally getting to apply some advice a writer friend game me, to help me write more: "If you can't write because your standards are too high, you're doing it wrong." Thats one of the best advice I can getting the job done. Its a hobby and I'm here to enjoy it, if my self consciousness is getting in the way of me having fun -screw it. I can always edit it and fix it. The same advice can apply to drawing as well.

I'm planning to enjoy making this RPG book and finish it. Its going to be amateur but I'm doing it for me. I guess one day, I'll find the time to edit it all and improve on it, building over the stuff I will have a better idea relating but given what resources and time I have what ever comes out just has to be fun and fulfilling.

Some Further notes and concerns.

While exercising all I can think of is how much self management this is going to take. How much forward thinking, in the manner where I try to pessimistically assess how much real time I have and what corners I have to cut: that finishing IS a bigger deal that getting it just right.

I gotta give credit to OSRIC. Looking at it, made me feel like a little kid again, inside my head it was like: "making my own would be fun!". Unlike my other past times: playing computer, at least this one has a more tangible product that other people can potentially enjoy.

Some Basic Specs:
Home Printer Friendly
Half tone art
Letter size
Giant Map that can be assembled via Poster Print Option.

Some Other Useful things:
Flow Charts - I heard that Japanese RPGs make good use of flow charts. I like the idea and being clear and concise is always a big plus. It may take some of the "flavor" out but I can always stylize it later on in GIMP or Inkscape. Open Office Draw is more designed for Flow Charts. Character Creation, Combat, Story telling Flow, even sample adventures all can benefit a good ol'fashioned flow chart.

Add on Systems. RPG creation is a continuous process and you never can make enough stuff to make gaming easier. Mass Combat Rules, as an add-on Card Game System is not another thing i can add up. All kinds of "generators" will come in useful, for GM's who want to Auto-pilot the adventure creation system.

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