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Nine Worlds sample chapter

Started by Matt Snyder, June 18, 2003, 02:32:54 PM

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Matt Snyder

I've uploaded a sample chapter for the upcoming Nine Worlds print edition (the PDF will look much the same, just at letter-size).

Chapter 1: Archons (400k+ PDF document)

I've labored over this layout pretty intensely, so I'm "too close" to judge it anymore. Need to sleep on it ... for about two weeks. I thought I'd offer it up as a teaser for the game and invite any feedback. I especially had problems with the "stars" motif -- my first several iterations had far too many stars, making the marginalia distracting.

As for the content of the chapter, it needs a good fleecing, but should help give some insight to PCs and the character creation process for this game.
Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra

Mike Holmes

Seems very "carnival fortune teller" in the feel of the layout. Was that the feel you were going for?

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Matt Snyder

Interesting -- hadn't seen it in that way, but I can see what you mean, Mike.

In effect, the design is an attempt at capturing elements of the Art Nouveau movement of the turn of the Century, made famous by artists like Klimt and Mucha (my main influence in designing this).

That said, I just got a picture in my head of a Mucha-esque poster of some carnival magician / fortune teller. Of course, he'd use cards! That's certainly in line with the vibe I'm trying to capture.

It's hard for me to say in one or two sentences what I'm "shooting for." Usually, I can't do that in many sentences. Fortunately, I think I've got the place where I can point at the book and say, "Like this." Pictures, 1,000 words, and all that.

Consider the many elements that have to combine naturally: Greek myth and its imagery, astrology, the Art Nouveau, modern fantasy (in that all these elements have to feel "acceptable" given characters in 2003). Putting that (and more, I think) into a blender for a new look and feel was been great fun. Whether the blended result is more sublime margarita or foul suicide squeeze, time will tell.
Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra

Spooky Fanboy


One question immediately pops into my mind: where's the cool-as-hell intro you had here? I kinda liked that whole "You now have as close to a direct hotline to God as you'll ever get. Now what do you do?" theme-setter. Or is that in the introduction?

I, too, like the Art Noveau layout. Makes you wonder what's under the tent flaps. ;-)
Proudly having no idea what he's doing since 1970!

Matt Snyder

Fear not, S.F. That text you linked to WILL be the introduction for the book (glad you liked it), along with the lexicon and perhaps some "out of character" text on the game. This is simply the Archons (aka, player character) chapter.
Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra

Chris Passeno

I'd like to preface this with an.... in my opinion.

I'm not very fond of the solid black margin line at the top.  It seem's too heavy in comparison to the other elements.  Maybe something more line-arty like the lower right corner.

I really like the lower right corner.  To me, it more closely resembles the Art Nouveau feel.  I would get rid of the drop shadows on the stars thought, they seem to break up the lines too much.

The font in the body text is good and clean.  I would think about maybe making it justified, instead of Flush Left, or possibly a text wrap following the shape of the margin?

The Headline font is a little dry.  Maybe think about one with a little more decorative.  Nothing way out there, but something more shapely.

The Nine Worlds Side Bar:  The stars a little too organized and equally spaced.  Maybe, try them in clumps.

I dunno.. again, just my opinion.

Overall, I like it.


Matt Snyder

Chris, thanks very much! It's not "just" your opinion, you know what the hell you're talking about.

Hadn't considered the "density" of the top bar on the page very much yet. I'm finding that control of black and screens of black are a huge factor in contrasts and focus on the page. The top bar certainly is art nouveau, having come directly from a vector art "clip art" thing. But, I haven't done much to customize it for the layout here. Just lifted it whole cloth, pretty much.

I totally agree with your assessment to make the copy justified. I'm not even sure why I hadn't done this yet. I've already made the change in Quark, and it looks great. Usually, I loathe justified for its terrible default word spacing issues (and my laziness and ignorance in properly adjusting those). But, I think it'll work great here. Just a hang-up and habit I have.

I'm torn on the star drop shadows. I have already considered getting rid of them because the printer I'll be using for production just doesn't do 'em justice. Good observation! As for the side bar, I just can't win on that one! That's the thing I've spent the most time on getting all Goldilocks-ed (JUST right). I'll keep at it. The star clusters might work....

As for the typefaces, I'm sticking with 'em. That one's pretty subjective, of course. I may be using the more decorative face seen in the game's logo. It's called Moravia, and based on some of Mucha's lettering on his poster prints.

Anyway, don't mean to sound dismissive on these last couple things. I really appreciate your input! Thanks a million; I'm really taking another look with that feedback.
Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra

Spooky Fanboy


I agree with Chris: that top bar needs. . .more. If it looked something like the bottom, it would spruce things up abit. Like the picture of the muse; fits with the "modern gods" theme.

Content: Like your character buildup, and liked the idea of designing the sample character as a walk-through. Clean and easy to understand. Think Stasis needs more expansion, as from the description, it doesn't seem to do too much. Makes it easy to overlook, which I think would be a mistake.
I know it's tough: Stasis just isn't that "sexy", but it should stand out a little bit more.

And speaking of a little bit more, I encourage you to get this project done as quicklyas possible, because I really, really want this game.
Proudly having no idea what he's doing since 1970!

Kester Pelagius


I think most of what has been commented on thus far rings pretty true, from my POV, as well.  The only aesthetic comment I'd add is about spacing, specifically adding at least a minimal 8-9 point font space between titles and the main bodies of text.  But that's just a matter of taste.  What you have looks fine for the most part.

Now, for the "stars" issue.  The reason it looks so uniform is because you've used the exact same star.  To make it look different go in and tilt the star left and right, or add in other stars besides the 6-points Star of David type used.  Personally I think just taking the graphic of the star and tilting it so, say, you have four or five variations you can use, might give the sidebars that less than cut from a standard mold look.

Based on a cursory glance at random paragraphs I have to say, the writing is very clear and easy to follow.

Artwork:  Some may feel they want more.  Personally I think you've managed to punctuate the text rather well, but eye candy is always a plus.

(The sample chapter is only 9 pages, but that's really more of a general comment aimed at the work overall.)

Sorry, can't really find much more to be critical about that hasn't already been mentioned.

Nice work.

Kind Regards,

Kester Pelagius
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." -Dante Alighieri