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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 64 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Oh Boy  (Read 1077 times)
Ampolitor
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Posts: 2


« on: February 26, 2007, 06:56:17 PM »

OK I 've been writing in leather journals for years now for my campaign world. I have a ton of stuff that I want to edit for print into a game world.
Now what program should I use to do this. I want to do a layout for it so I can then send it in to a publisher for print. I know it has to be pdf format but what program? Should I go buy the microsoft publisher 2007? or can I use normal word and convert it? What do you guys use thats easy to type and do a good layout thats good to send in to print?
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Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2007, 03:41:37 AM »

Ok, it sounds to me that what you want to do is to publish yourself and send the laid out material to the printer, not a publisher. Did I get that part right? If so, you'll just need to the right program for the job. Here's some options:

Openoffice - it's free, has some rudimentary layout properties and can make pdf files. It is, however, essentially a Word-like complexified text editor, so it has it's limitations.
Word - can make pdf files, but only if you also have Adobe Acrobat. Worse for layout purposes than Openoffice, lacks some very useful basic functions.
Scribus - almost a real layout program, free and for Linux. The cheap way to get to nigh-professional levels in layout bling.
Adobe InDesign - a professional layout program, one of two important ones. I recommend this one over QuarkXPress if you work in English only; it's cheaper (to the extent of having a 30-day free trial period available), more modern and developed in a more sensible manner. Buying it, however, should only be the choice for somebody who is really going to go all out on this layout thing.
LaTeX - a layout scripting language, free, interesting to use. Does some things better than WYSIWYG editors like the above ones, but it will get very clumsy or outright impossible to do some visually intensive layout tricks you might want.
In most cases you'll also want a reasonably modern computer and a separate text editor. You'll note that I don't mention Microsoft Publisher, mainly because it is in the unfortunate position of not really having much of a niche between the above applications. If I were in the position of needing something as heavy as Publisher, I can't imagine not getting Scribus (if leet skillz were no object) or InDesign (if I could stand to pay a slight bit more) instead for the added punch.

Note that the choice between layout implementations should be made based on your needs - how do you want your printed material to look? Will there be lots of text? Different fonts? Tables? Images? Captions? Cross-references? Indexes? How are things positioned on the page? These things and more determine which program is the best one for the job. For example, if I were doing a graphically intensive magazine page or ten with lots of difficult text flows, I'd pick InDesign/QuarkXPress, but if I were doing 400 pages of thick scientific text with lots of references, I'd take LaTeX. If I were visiting my uncle and didn't have my own tools available, I'd download Openoffice and make do with that. If it was just a hobby project, I might set up Scribus for my own entertainment. So choose your tools based on your needs.
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Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
Mike Sugarbaker
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2007, 03:56:20 PM »

Word should be adequate (or OpenOffice). Lulu.com has some templates for the various book sizes and formats they support. They're a great option for printing as well.
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Publisher/Co-Editor, OgreCave
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Ampolitor
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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2007, 07:39:53 AM »

Thanx for th einfo guys, Yes I want to do it all myself and send it to a printer like lulu. I just saw the price for InDesign so thats not an option, 700 bucks is steep Id say. Anyway Im using windows xp so Ill see what my options are.
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daMoose_Neo
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Posts: 890


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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2007, 06:55:27 AM »

Open Office is a great tool. You don't get some of the options that you do with InDesign, but most of those you won't miss if you're laying out for print. I do the occasional PDF product, and thats about the only time its worth it for me, for the extra controls in bookmarks, backgrounds, flow control, and some other features (bummed an old copy off my dad, so I'm not out the $700~)
Open Office will allow you to do any basic layout you want, you have a lot of control of the placement of everything, and to top it all off it exports directly to PDF, instead of a prints to like MS Office would, so its a perfect conversion. Is quite sweet.
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Nate Petersen / daMoose
Neo Productions Unlimited! Publisher of Final Twilight card game, Imp Game RPG, and more titles to come!
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