First: How much research have you done into the physical process of getting a book printed? Meaning, who do you have to hire for printing and bindin? What materials do you have to provide to them (PDFs of each page?) Will it be hardcover or paperback? How do you choose the paper stock, etc? How much does it cost? From what I understand, people generally print books like this at "vanity publishers" who print extremely low runs with no real expectation of selling books on shelves.
Second, how many pages, what sort of content (all screenshots vs. screenshots mixed with text) how many levels per author, how many pages devoted to each level, etc.
My suggestion on the second question is to limit it to one level per author, and go in-depth on each level: 2-4 pages per level, with lots of shots and diagrams, and small paragraphs explaining the cool features (including notable gameplay such as a boss battle etc.) I'm thinking of some architecture books I have that do the same treatment with buildings.
thanks for starting this thread up. I was going to do so when I woke up this morning(afternoon)
as for the physical process of printing - I was planning on tackling this the same way Hourences did using lulu.com. I assemble PDF files for the content and the cover.This limits some options definitely but saves from a extremely large up front investment. As for the paper stock, I think chocies are limited between b&w, and colour. Colour being alot heavier and suitable for photographs. Anyone who has Hourences book, I wouldn't mind hearing about the quality of the photos printed and the paper weight.
The final cost of each unit will be highly dependent on how many designers I can get involved. I'm unaware of any "vanity publishers" in my area, but if You know of any I'd like to take a look.
number of pages: again highly dependent on how many people I can get involved. As for content I personally want to keep the copy text very minimal, similar to most architecture/interior design type books. 2 page spreads are my current goal per map author, featuring at least 2 maps. But I do like your idea of going in depth this could work for some of the larger map projects definitely. *cough rubicon2?* :D
Re: General Abuse Questions
bear: maps don't necessarily need to be complete/released/whatever.
generic: if there is a huge amount of involvment interest, then yes some cuts will have to be made. At this point however I'd like to have everyone I possibly can involved.
Also, are you planning on focussing this book primarily on visual design of levels, or a mix of visual and gameplay?
Also, I would recommend devoting most of the content to the maps themselves and only provide minimal info on the mapper -- realname, screen name, age, city, country?
Finally, I would make an effort to include only released, downloadable levels. If you really want to kick ass, the book should have an companion webpage with downloads of all the featured levels.
...I agree with metlslime:
- Companion site is a must
- Most of the content on maps
- With respect to that content 80% design 20% gameplay maximum, it is a static picture book after all.
What About A Companion CD?
I think the book would be better with only finished maps even if it'd probably mean that I'm out since I only have old releases that I wouldn't be too enthusiastic about including.
This Is A Great Idea
And with the community behind it could turn into something very nice indeed.
What would be the criteria of quality of the maps you would like to include in your project ? It has also its importance, right ?
Pope You Must!
Include a section on rich_bar and chqmd
i was actually positively surprised of the idea to include non-released work. Don't drop that :/
Where is the point on including unreleased maps? Maps are meant for playing, thus I would hate to see unreleased "gimmick" maps in such book.
Yeah having mostly released stuff is probably best, but why not have a dedicated section to scraps maybe? With just a collection of beautiful screenshots from unfinished maps. Obviously give them less importance/pages than finished works though.
Scraps are an important part of mapping. Nice brushwork and stuff like that which never see the light of day -- expose them! like czg in public
I love this idea, and I'd like to contribute in any way possible.
As far as content, I don't have any problem with including unreleased work. It sounds like pope is attempting to show the artistic side of level design and not necessarily the usability or gameplay aspects. (Correct me if I'm wrong, pope.)
Not everyone has a huge library of released work anyways (or at least, released work that would be worth featuring).
Why Are We Talking About Gameplay At All?
it's an art book, right? about brushwork? crap about where the cthon electrode buttons are in THIS room isn't really going to help the book at all.
I agree on the purely artistic focus, don't mention gameplay. It is an art book, and I realized gameplay is not appropriate.
Regarding unreleased maps -- this shoul not be just about making a good screenshot, it's about making a good level. The act of completing and publishing a level is a significant aspect of the accomplishment.
But, Bal's idea of having a few pages at the end which show a collection of shots from WIP or abandoned projects would be cool.
Re: Unreleased / Unfinished Work. & Re: Quality Criteria
Lun nailed it, it's an art book. There are no plans for any 'gameplay' related paragraphs at all at this point.
I would like to be open to the possibility of including unreleased work because I know there is lots of amazing stuff out there that has never been seen publicly, nor will it in any other way. Finished maps are still the primary focus however.
Regarding criteria on quality, thats a real gray area. I've included a brief bit in the FAQ about it in case I'm swamped with a torrent of boxmaps or something. There will be work that I won't even think twice about including. Then there will be some I will no doubt go asking for opinions on. I hate to exclude someone because they didn't make the next Marchers Fortress or Rich_Bar (thats totally art).
you can make it a free pdf too right?
yes thats possible, but really not the point.
might as well look at websites y'know?
I like the unreleased maps idea as well. An unfinished painting by a famous artist, or scraps of notes on a passage in a classic book, etc are still valuable and interesting in showing some thought process and growth of the artist/musician/writer. I don't see any differance with level design.
we're not famous artists.
Leonardo daVinci's notebook may be noteworthy and publishable, but some obscure writer's notebook is neither.
<- For Metl
Unreleased material as for example scraps that were meant to become a full level somewhen or a full level that was somehow never released are pretty much ok for me.
But unreleased work that is just some design test or "hey, I want to get into pope's cool book so I will just slap some brushes together" would SUCK.
I was not talking about the gameplay being discussed in the book. But a level is built around gameplay/playing in it. A cool looking room might be an interesting techdemo/show-off but in a brushwork book I expect "real" maps.
I hope this is easier to understand, my english is sometimes rather sucky.
What about mappers that aren't around anymore? There are many maps that imo should be in the book but since the authors have left 'the scene' small chance they're gonna send you a mail...
Some examples: Laerth, Gilt, Peej, Escher, Cheshire, Headshot, Moloch, Danimal, Jvox, Killjoy, Malevola, Gandhi, Gen, ZTN, QMD, etc.
Maybe have a section on 'previous mappers' and 'new mappers' and I reckon that including design sketches (if they exist) alongside screenshots would look pretty cool - its always interesting to see the thought process that produced the final map.
As well as this I don't quite agree that ignoring everything but the visuals is a good idea - a map is a representation of a 3d space. Gameplay isn't so important to a pure art book but if it's tense, relaxed, sniping or tight then that makes a big difference on how the player experiences the brushwork or setting.
And thats not even to mention sound fx or environmental fx - though I reckon there's not many 3rd party single maps that really stand out on that score, though there's plenty of packs eg. Nehahra.
Yeah, the plan is to hunt as many down as I can. That being said, if anyone has contact information please gimme a shout in that regards, or give them a shout, or whatever.
I'll probably have to hunt down numerous mapps who are still around to. :D