Rethinking Mythender’s Visual Design

I’m not as far along on Mythender as I’d like — a function of Doing Free Work and the issues around that[1]. Part of that is because of the form factor that I thought was genius turned into a liability. I have a booklet for the rules outside of a battle (which is getting rather large), the rules for in a battle (which is also getting rather large, enough to where I took an optional rule out), the GM stuff, character creation, even a “booklet of contents” that really just serves to point out that the other booklets exist and some basic tone-setting stuff.

It doesn’t work, so I’m going to ditch the idea. I’m running out of room, so I can’t fit in examples. And I have a hard cap at 32 pages for a given booklet, because that’s eight sheets of paper, and stapling more than that in the middle is asking for even more trouble.

I’m dead sure it would work for other games, but isn’t working here. The idea is of making the game easy to print & have at the table, but I don’t think that’s going to be possible with this setup, which means I shouldn’t sacrifice clarity for this goal that I can’t achieve. The better product then is the one that’s clear rather than the one that’s printable.

That means one PDF that contains everything, and shifting it from having natively printable dimensions to having tablet screen dimensions. (Which isn’t a huge shift, from 8.5″x5.5″ to having a 3×2 setup, but changing the paging elements to be uniform rather than left/right will take a bit of work, and that changes the atomic unit of information from the two-page spread to the screen — what a reader sees at one given moment of time.)

Mythender will still have booklet-sized stuff; after all, I have to still make twelve Mythic Worlds thanks to the Random Kindness Bundle $250 backers. And instead of making larger booklets that contain everything, I can make smaller booklets that are quick-references & other handy stuff.

(There’s a larger point here about how in the process of open design, you’re going to backpedal because some ideas don’t work, and what that means to the work and the process. But, as I’m fond of saying, that’s another post.)

– Ryan

[1] I didn’t get paid for Mythender, even though people paid for it, so it’s free work. Incidentally, this is why when I do charity stuff, I know not to take offers of work to support that charity unless the work’s already done. Why did I do that this time? Because I knew I wouldn’t totally flake on myself. :)