Archive for the ‘The Dare’ Category

FSLN, an ENnie nomination, and more on The Dare

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

A whole bunch of stuff to get to, so let’s not waste any more time babbling on or apologizing for yet another post that took forever to get out, shall we?

First up, good news on the latest book project we’ve been working on. Fear’s Sharp Little Needles, a vast collection of small, modern day scenarios for Call of Cthulhu by Stygian Fox, has finally been sent to the printer for approval (the .pdf has already been released to Kickstarter backers. I won’t go into details, but goddammit, it was another last minute struggle to get the files to play nice with the printer. Adding to the delay were a few rounds of editorial corrections and typos that needed to be fixed (I think at one point I had a list printed out that was 27 pages long). At any rate, I’m hoping we’ll get the proofs back soon and be able to approve them, and get the physical book into people’s hands.

Second, we found out that Hudson & Brand has been nominated for an ENnie award! H&B is up for Best Electronic Book (why, you ask, when it’s out in physical form? Apparently there was some misunderstanding between SF and the GenCon committee), and a bunch of other Call of Cthulhu and Delta Green products have been nominated for a number of awards as well. It’s pretty amazing that both games are dominating the awards field this year, and it’s a testament to the outstanding quality from both companies.

Meanwhile, work slowly continues (when I have the time) on the artwork for the new Feed the Shoggoth! expansion. I want to get the final pieces at least 75% done before I go live with the Kickstarter, as I refuse to have a huge lag time between the KS completing and actually going to the printer with the expansion. I’ll post another piece of art here soon.



The Dare Development Journal Entry #2:

A couple of weeks ago, Bret at Sentinel Hill Press posted an update regarding the design of The Dare. All around, feedback on it has been positive; Kevin Ross has also given it his stamp of approval, and is digging the retro look. Here’s the example that was posted on The Dare’s Kickstarter page:

One challenge with The Dare so far has been attempting to accurately nail down which fonts are going to best emulate those that were used during the period of Chaosium’s “Golden Age”. If I remember what Charlie Krank told me, back when I was freelancing for him and visiting the Chaosium offices, they were probably using something like PageMaker. Or possibly doing all the typesetting and such by hand, using some early variant of HTML-type tagging. Whatever the case may be, there’s no concrete reference files that I can use, so I’m basically eyeballing everything and winging it, keeping in mind the relative lack of fonts back then (which means no Papyrus then…*snif*). For example, with that boxed text on the right page, it took a bit of trial and error to figure out the fonts for the header and main text (which ended up being Helvetica).

After the above sample was posted on the Kickstarter, someone (specifically Jon from the Misk. U Podcast) made the observation that the page decoration on the outer edges of the pages were too dark, and thus distracting to the eyes. So, when I went back and finished the basic layout of the text, I tweaked the levels a bit on them to lighten them a bit. In addition, I started placing a few pieces of art that I have:

As you can see, the lightening of the page decoration helps, but I might wash them out a little more. And something else that I didn’t notice until I processed this latest example is that the page numbers are way, way too close to the bottom edge of the pages. Not to mention that there isn’t enough space between the numbers and the columns of text. This is even more problematic on page “13”, where that image is bumping right up against the number. This required me to both move the numbers up on the master pages, but also adjust the lengths of the columns as well. A minor fix as far as time went, but an important one.

Right now, I’m awaiting the rest of the art to come in, as well as the maps. I’m hoping to have the of those elements soon.

Various updates, and The Dare Development: Part I

Saturday, April 7th, 2018

Lots of stuff going on here at the Studio. Let’s get to it all:

Hudson & Brand is in production at the printer, thank the Ancient Ones. We finally got all the pre-press problems taken care of, and the Standard edition is getting sent out to backers as I type this. The other editions are also on their way- I received my copies in the mail last week, which included the Curator edition. 

Fear’s Sharp Little Needles is damn close to being done. I received the last piece of art from Reuben Dodd, so that part of the book is complete. The last assets I’ve been waiting for are the maps; unfortunately, Stephanie (who’s also doing the maps for the book) came down with pneumonia, and is going to be out for a couple of weeks recovering. And I’m awaiting several maps from her, so this will delay things on that front.

The silver lining in this situation is that it’ll give me more time to do some tweaking and improvements to the book, and give FSLN some more spit and polish.

Development for the first expansion for Feed the Shoggoth! continues apace. I’ve run a few play test sessions now, and the new cards are working out better than I hoped. I’ve been working on the final artwork for them, and making rules adjustments as they come up during testing.

There will be more play testing in the coming couple of months, but I’m feeling pretty confident that what I’ve got now helps really enhances the gameplay, and puts some new twists on the base game (summoning a second shoggoth to the table really changes the Cult Leader’s actions, for example…).

To whet your appetite, here are previews of three of the cards that will be in the new expansion:




The Dare Development Journal Entry #1:

An upcoming project I have is dong the design and layout for The Dare, a scenario originally written by Kevin Ross, which will be released by Sentinel Hill Press (you can read much more about the book here). I’ve just begun work on it, and I thought it would be neat to try another series of entries to detail the process of assembling this book.

The process begins in two ways; one is the technical side of things, and the other is artistic. For the technical side tasks like putting a template together, setting overall margins for the pages, selecting fonts, and so on are handled at this point. 

As for all things artistic, that side began with several conversations with Bret, head of SHP and of this project. Bret wants a very retro look and feel, both to evoke the horror movies and video rentals of the 80s, but also the classic Call of Cthulhu books from that same era. Hence, a combo of stripped down, minimalist design, with a dash of 80s videotape horror thrown in.

So the first thing I did was pull some old CoC books off my shelf (Fatal Experiments, Blood Brothers, Escape From Innsmouth, etc.) to get an idea of how to proceed from that angle. ITC Benguiat is the font that was used pretty much exclusively for headers and chapter titles. Page decoration from these times is virtually non-existent, and the formatting used is very basic.

Some classic books I grabbed to guide me in emulating the look-and-feel of the Chaosium Golden Age…


But I still want to have some sort of look-and-feel that helps immerse the reader, and make some visual reference to the scenario itself. TV static, for whatever the reason, felt right (and ties in the cover art that looks like a VHS tape rental cover), but also a little too plain and generic. Well, my muse whispered, the main antagonist in the scenario is a [REDACTED], so why not put some [CENSORED] in the page decoration too? And perhaps part of the decrepit house where the bulk of the scenario takes place? I discussed all these ideas with Bret, who gave his stamp of approval.

Here’s an example, warts and all, of the very very first pass of the page design. Not much to it, as you can see:


I don’t yet have the house image, but I’ve done the other work listed above. I do know that I’ll want to tweak things from how the design and layout was done for the Call of Cthulhu books originally. For one, I don’t like how the page numbers are right up against the book title in the page headers, and box text tended towards using a serif font, and I’ve always been a firm believer that there should be a definite difference between the box text and the main text.

That’s all for now. Be seeing you!