Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Questions that Need Answering

Been away a few days focusing on writing; real posts are returning, but I've got some questions.

Sci-Fantasy Inspiration
Okay, so I listen to metal any time I need some inspiration for Gothic Greyhawk.  For the Black City, with it's roots in weird sci-fantasy, aliens, and Chariots of the Gods, I find myself turning to electronica and synth pop for listening.  What do you listen to for weird sci-fantasy inspiration?  (That's the important question here, but if you read on, I can always use some advice on these other questions, too...)

Rational Dungeons
This could probably be it's own blog post, but I'm very much a top down developer; I've usually got a clear idea what's going on in a given level or sub-level before pencil hits the graph paper.  I read "Let There Be a Method To Your Madness" in The Dragon #10 back when I was a kid and never looked back.

With the Black City, I'm starting to take another approach - using some random generators to get ideas and not make the maps 100% "rational".  Just curious how many folks do the rational dungeon design approach versus wahoo random all the way?

Taking a slight pivot, here are some production related questions for any folks in the know...

MS Publisher for Layout
I'm a Microsoft person via work, so I have access to home-use copies of MS Publisher and Word. These should be fine for simpler game adventures. I expect to use either a one-page-dungeon format or two-page-dungeon (ala Stonehell) - mixing in images, tables and text probably disqualifies MS Word. Are there any other issues with using Publisher versus a professional layout tool (like In Design)?

For instance, will there be gotchas with an MS Pub PDF with Lulu or OBS?  I don't want to shell out $200 for InDesign for a pilot project, but could be forced to learn one of the open source tools if necessary.

Hex maps are being done in Hexographer - I have a question on color. Would you recommend developing grey-scale hex tiles right in Hexographer (and making a grey scale map for a B&W product), or doing it in color and changing it to grey in a tool like GIMP? Similarly, I'm wondering if it's best to do all the text overlays in GIMP as well.

For dungeon maps, I'm looking at making the simple graph paper maps in Gridmapper or Dungeonographer (and apply text in GIMP).

I'll post some updates here and there - blog writing will take a slight hit as I continue throwing the majority of my time at compiling the Black City manuscript.