|The original |
- not to scale for minis?!
In relation to this, my geomorph tiles have had reviews praising the art, but there's also a consistent bemusement at the fact that they are of such small scale. I'm getting similar feedback on forums, emails and PMs. This worries me - don't people know what geomorphs are? It's completely natural, that by looking at my other products to wonder why these are not "1in=5ft" compatible. Curiously, I found drawing the tiles very liberating precisely because I wasn't concerned with breaking up large areas over several pages. Have I created an unusable product? Am I miss-selling my maps? They are selling well, right at the moment, by the way. As a result of the confusion (and requests) I've had to add a disclaimer and clarification: Inked Adventures entry: on blogger, main site.
My message to small or indie RPG publishers is to never assume that your customers are identifying your product correctly based on your well thought out description - even if it's in the right category, cheap as chips, with more pictures than you can shake a stick at. The customer base may be a lot broader and more diverse in interests than your expert-community-bubble. I mean, you're probably already publishing within several layers of niche. Yes, yes, get the description right, this seems obvious, but I'm having a bit of a reality check here. I'd rather sell almost nothing, then to sell well and disappoint.
Similarly, I occasionally get queries about how best to print, mount and assemble my (normal scale) Square Tiles and Modular Sections. I thought my modular sections and square tiles were self explanatory as products - because I was refering to my own almost-ancient gaming experiences, rather than seeing what players are currently doing with tiles.
When I was first playing - floor plans for figures were either on fold-out paper or re-usable designs printed on thin card and sold in a box. Today, most computer printers can cope with thin white card (-stock) - I'm still fairly impressed about colour printers being in the home. As a teen used to dream of unlimited access to a photocopier or a colour printer. As a result, I'm replicating 70s/80s low cost printing, when I suggest that products should be printed straight to card and trimmed. I'm impressed by the result. Maybe I still find colour DTP as exotic. ;) Also, I think of print-outs from PDFs as fairly disposable - with my designs you can overlap sections, glue them, print more. Perhaps I underrate my Inked Adventures tiles - print them, burn them - I don't care. After shelling out for a downloadable PDF some gamers have told me that they like to have designs printed onto foam card - or they try to recreate the heavy locking jigsaw connections from Space Hulk, Descent' or the WotC's D&D boardgames. Thin card can overlap without creating a step - some of the 3D-wall effects imply that pieces need to overlap - this falls apart when printed to chunky foam card. I like the fact that my tiles don't employ complicated (actual) 3D elements (apart a set based on nothing more elaborate than a cube). I look in astonishment at the fiddly creations of pillars and paper locking systems from other publishers - some of whom seem to be using 3D modelling software and then provide step by step instructions with photos of cutting boards and advice on paper-crafting tools. Man, these Dungeon Masters are dedicated - after all, it's probably cheaper than Hirst moulds... Including thorough assembly instructions is both professional and responsible. There are some utterly amazing and beautiful 3D dungeon features out there, but I prefer to just attack a glossy print out with a big pair of kitchen scissors, so sometimes instructions and eloborate support pages would seem perhaps a little patronising, or am I assuming too much again? Is this complexity and support customers expect as standard? Am I belittling the products (or the customers) by not celebrating a world of the multifarious materials and crafting techniques, when my art would work just as well on the back of a cereal packet with nothing more than some dotted lines. But I digress...
I've lost points in reviews for not using "layers" in my PDFs -I totally get why layers are used- on the right product layers are powerful tools- but just explaining how to use layers practically requires a video tutorial. Generally I prepare the work in non-Adobe open source software and set them viewable on a majority of browsers and platforms. Layers and special macros just don't work in non-Adobe browsers. Why should the absence of layers detract from the substance of the product? Maybe I will start using layers at some point, but my avoidance of them so far could be deemed a "feature" of usability.
I think the lesson here is that as a publisher I am making assumptions about my products and their audience, whilst the customers are comparing my work to some very high quality products designed for fearless paper-modellers who take pride in their purchases. I guess it's really important to get the description right, but I get really anxious when I have to say what a product is not.
Heh, I've just remembered that Dungeons & Dragons used to be described euphemistically as "a game without a board". Maybe detractive descriptions are not so bad?
Insightful or just a bit moany? I have no idea, I just wanted to share.
Always confused, and perhaps fretful that I could be held accountable for neglect under the trade descriptions act. ;)
Thanks for reading.