Accessible Guide to RPG Layout Now Available

This entry is part 17 of 17 in the seriesTutorials

This entry is part 17 of 17 in the series Tutorials

Accessible Guide to RPG Layout CoverYou may be familiar with our Tutorial Tuesday series which provides a lot of great information about how to create accessible RPG layouts. I’ve been hard at work collecting, categorizing, and updating these tutorials and putting them into a single eBook. Now available at DriveThruRPG, the Accessible Guide to RPG Layout is a great resource for any small press game designer.

The original tutorials will always be available free of charge here on the website, but purchasing the eBook gets you some additional benefits. The articles have been rearranged and grouped into a logical structure, making it easier to work through the process if you’re following along. The content has also been … Continue reading

Game Design Occupations Explained: Editors (Pt. 2)

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the seriesGame Design Occupations Explained

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Game Design Occupations Explained

This week we have three guest authors. Each is an editor with a lot of experience in the RPG industry, and they’re here to tell us a bit about what editors do for your manuscript. If you thought editing was just the process of finding typos (don’t worry, you wouldn’t be alone), you might want to pay attention.

Recap

Here’s a brief refresher about the types of editors you’ll commonly encounter in the RPG industry.

Types of Editors

Developmental editor: ER doc who can patch up the worst writing wounds and keep your manuscript alive; can also be a general practitioner who just checks to be sure that your ms doesn’t have lurking problems without symptoms

Copy editor: Specialist who can improve the health of your ms in specific, … Continue reading

Game Design Occupations Explained: Editors (Pt. 1)

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the seriesGame Design Occupations Explained

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Game Design Occupations Explained

This week we have three guest authors. Each is an editor with a lot of experience in the RPG industry, and they’re here to tell us a bit about what editors do for your manuscript. If you thought editing was just the process of finding typos (don’t worry, you wouldn’t be alone), you might want to pay attention.

Introduction

So you’re designing a game, or maybe you’ve already designed a game, or you will be designing one. At some point that means you’ll be writing it all down, whether it’s a world guide, an adventure, a bestiary, or something else. You might be the most inventive designer and accomplished writer since [insert your favorite RPG superstar here], but rule #1 is that everyone needs an editor to look over their work. … Continue reading

Game Design Occupations Explained: Layout and Print Design

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the seriesGame Design Occupations Explained

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Game Design Occupations Explained

This week we have a guest post from Ruben Smith-Zempel. Ruben is a print designer with a lot of experience doing layout, cartography, and graphic design. See his “About the Author” section if you’d like to contact him.

Introduction

So your game is all written and you’ve collected all of your illustrations. Now you need to turn your raw elements into a finished product. It’s time for you to hire a print designer (or layout artist). This article will give you a brief overview of what the job entails and what questions you should ask when hiring a print designer.

 What to Expect

Print designers are responsible for combining your game text, illustrations, and other materials into the final product that is then sent to the printer. This is accomplished with … Continue reading

Game Design Occupations Explained: Writers

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the seriesGame Design Occupations Explained

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Game Design Occupations Explained

Introduction

I’ve spent the last few years learning everything I can about the RPG design process. As a small press publisher, I know I need to wear a lot of design hats myself, but there are certain skills I just don’t possess. I can write, proofread, and do my own page layout, but every author needs a good editor and most authors don’t also do art (I am one of those “most authors”). The tricky thing is figuring out who does what, how much it costs to get that done, and—perhaps most importantly—what your fellow designers need from you so they can do their job.

One of the most important skills any designer needs to learn early on is how to communicate with freelancers. Whether you’re hiring authors to help write … Continue reading

Accessible PDFs with InDesign Alternatives

This entry is part 15 of 17 in the seriesTutorials

This entry is part 15 of 17 in the series Tutorials

Introduction

I have offered a lot of tutorials about how to use Adobe InDesign CS6 to make accessible PDFs. It’s a great program — industry-standard for a reason — but it’s also really epensive. Even with the new, more affordable Creative Cloud option, InDesign can seem out of reach for a small press publisher who’s on a budget.

In “How to Choose Layout Software,” I mentioned a few InDesign alternatives. Scribus is a free and open source layout program that is powerful, if not the most intuitive. Serif PagePlus is a low-cost alternative that isn’t quite as full-featured as InDesign, but it will get the job done for a fraction of the cost. More recently, I discovered LucidPress, a free web-based layout program, as well.

If you’re using one of these alternatives, you … Continue reading

Prepare Your PDF for Print

This entry is part 16 of 17 in the seriesTutorials

This entry is part 16 of 17 in the series Tutorials

Introduction

Last week, someone asked me a question about preparing their PDF for print. Specifically, they had a question about one part of the process of setting up their files to be ready for DriveThruRPG’s Print On Demand (POD) service. I decided it’d be a good idea to do a tutorial about preparing your PDFs to send to your printer, but then I actually began thinking about it and realized this is a big topic. On the D&D 3rd Edition / Pathfinder size scale, prepping a PDF for print would be Colossal.

Here’s a 336 page book on Amazon that is said to be an introduction to the topic. (This is not an affiliate link; I don’t get paid if you buy this book. It’s just a random book I found and selected to illustrate my point.) … Continue reading

Uploading Unwatermarked PDFs to DTRPG

This entry is part 14 of 17 in the seriesTutorials

This entry is part 14 of 17 in the series Tutorials

Introduction

After the spotlight on Shaintar I wrote a few weeks ago, I received quite a bit of feedback from people who had some misconceptions about DriveThruRPG’s system limitations. I’d like to clear up a few of them with today’s tutorial and walk you through the process of uploading a file to DTRPG without watermarks.

Much of the feedback I received was from other layout artists who, I presume, don’t often upload the final PDFs to DriveThru. Some of the feedback was from other publishers who, again I presume, don’t’ do layout work themselves.

I seem to be in a somewhat uncommon position where I do both. I realized that I have insight drawn from both sides of this issue; from the perspective of the publisher uploading the files and the layout person who puts … Continue reading

Why Accommodating Others is Your Best Investment

This entry is part 13 of 17 in the seriesTutorials

This entry is part 13 of 17 in the series Tutorials

It’s April First, but this is no April Fool’s post.

Introduction

It’s Tutorial Tuesday, but this week I’d like to step back for a moment and talk more broadly about why accessibility is important. Many of the tutorials I’ve written up to this point have provided steps to help make documents more accessible, and there are many good reasons for that.

But before I get into the details, I wanted to share a link to this great podcast I listened to recently. The episode is about accessibility in web design, but there are a lot (and I mean a lot) of great takeaways that apply to all electronic media, and even a few points that extend into everyday life in general.

It’s a little over an hour long, but if you have the time I’d suggest checking out … Continue reading

Layering Your PDFs Using Adobe InDesign CS6

This entry is part 12 of 17 in the seriesTutorials

This entry is part 12 of 17 in the series Tutorials

Introduction

Last week, I showcased a PDF that scored high marks in accessibility. It made great use of layers, document structure, and bookmarks to form a PDF that was easy to read in a variety of ways. Layering, in particular, helped the book immensely; by placing backgrounds and images on their own layer, they can be toggled on or off, which means people who find those graphics distracting can hide them, and people who wish to print the book can turn them off for improved ink economy.

This week I’ll show you how to add layers to a document using Adobe InDesign CS6.

Setting Up Your Document

First of all, you’ll want to make sure you have a document imported into InDesign. You’ll also need to place one or more graphic files, such as illustrations, … Continue reading