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SyntheticGerbil
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Hey Mojo guys, I'm really missing the Secret History articles, even though I think only Grim Fandango and EMI would be left. Is it just all the Monkey Island news that put them on hold or is the CMI one probably going to be the last one?

 

Maybe it's just the all-things LucasArts nerd in me, but I really enjoyed each and every one of those articles, with the interviews with the game developers being some of the most informative and exposing things of a game studio ever, maybe besides that whole Gabriel Knight 3 reveal.

 

Hell, had there been a Rogue Leaders book filled with Secret History articles, sans the useless articles on third party games and publishing LucasArts did, along with with even more adventure concept art, I would have paid two hundred maybe three for just one book. I mean, it would take a few months of saving and hopefully some price drops and look outs for Amazon discounts, but it would be so worth it.

 

That's all, just loved Secret History stuff.

Edited by SyntheticGerbil
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Thanks for the kind words -- as you guessed, the completely unexpected and awesome Monkey Island news put the articles on hold for a while, but we are working on getting Grim Fandango and EMI done (I say we: it's actually Jason who does most of the work on them).

 

We've been sitting on some awesome art-work from Colin Panetta since March, which will be great to finally show off. Here's a tease:

 

GrimFandangoSpot.jpg

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GRIM FANDANGO! I wonder if there's material enough in that game for a 'real history' section... hmm... *contemplates*

 

And about SyntheticGerbil's idea, maybe it would be possible to bundle all the Secret History articles and create a book on Lulu? Or would that bring about all sorts of unpleasant legal problems?

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It probably would, but hopefully we'll do it anyway, and just make it 100% non-profit. It would be awesome to have all the information in book form, certainly.

 

And yeah, if anyone wants to contribute articles for GF or EMI, please do so (just e-mail them to me or Jason). I think an article on the real world basis of Grim Fandango would be fantastic, for example (e.g. all the aztec mythology -- also all the film references).

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(e.g. all the aztec mythology -- also all the film references).

I'm not exactly an expert on either of those things though... but it would be cool if someone wrote something like that! If not, I'll see what I can piece together, but I'm not promising anything. :p

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A secret history book is probably the best suggestion I've heard all year. No idea what the legalities would be, though.

You might laugh, but I was thinking about doing this thing for a while now, and I've already started layouting one of the articles. I was thinking of offering the whole thing as a PDF that can be printed at a book-on-demand service.

 

I'll upload the (unfinished) thing when I come home. As with those LucasArts-novels I had printed, Europeans can get not too pricy prints of single books at ePubli.de... but I've asked, and they don't ship to the US right now.

Edited by Laserschwert
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Ah, if a possible book could be made and sold sort of secretively and published small, that would have my vote. I'm not sure how much LucasArts could really legally lay claim to though outside of the usage of their characters in the title images, although I bet they have some good lawyers. Small publishers used to release multiple game strategy guides and review books in the 90s at Egghead software stores that seemed to not cause any legal uproar, but then again that was a different era and regular strategy guides from Prima weren't abundant then.

 

I get the feeling there's a way around the legality considering for instance the insane amount of unofficial Pink Floyd books and DVD documentaries that are sold.

 

Also, even though EMI isn't one of LA's best, I'm guessing whatever dirt you guys could dig up on a lot of the game's shortcomings and what happened behind the scenes would probably make for some very interesting reading. I didn't even know there was that much going on behind the scenes before, during, and after CMI, especially with Bill Eaken's brutally direct but honest manner of talking. Great stuff!

Edited by SyntheticGerbil
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I'd love to see a book of the Secret History articles!

It'd be a way better read than Rogue Leaders I suppose.

We could even use some cleaned up artwork inside and make it like a real book.

We could publish it online without any profit... Hmmm... Interesting...

 

Anywho.

I'd love to see a Grim Fandango article soon!

If nobody else came with the idea, I'd like to do an article on Film Noir too!

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Here's my layout test for the "Maniac Mansion" article (or parts of it):

 

http://soundtracks.mixnmojo.com/sh/mm/shmm.html

 

Since I don't know jack about layouting, I did it with Word (yeah, yeah, I know), and it's far from finished. The trivia section could do with more pictures, and all of the stuff after that is still missing. Basically it's just a proof of concept.

 

Following this layout for all Secret History articles might make a nice book.

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Here's my layout test for the "Maniac Mansion" article (or parts of it):

 

http://soundtracks.mixnmojo.com/sh/mm/shmm.html

 

Since I don't know jack about layouting, I did it with Word (yeah, yeah, I know), and it's far from finished. The trivia section could do with more pictures, and all of the stuff after that is still missing. Basically it's just a proof of concept.

 

Following this layout for all Secret History articles might make a nice book.

 

That is so awesome! Rob Smith was the wrong man for the job.

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Looks good to me, for someone who claims not to know layout (and even someone who doesn't). What typeface is that? Myriad? Good choice too, in any event. :) Maybe add slightly more margin and column whitespace.
Yeah, it's Myriad... I always liked it for body text (no Times and Arial, PLEASE). I know that layout-wise this looks more like a magazine, but we've got so much text in these articles, I think we shouldn't waste too much page-space.

 

But why would it have to be a downloadable PDF? Rogue Leaders had LucasArts images in it, didn't it?
"Rogue Leaders" was a LucasArts-licensed book (and Rob Smith got access to the Lucasfilm-archives for it too), so it was no problem. But doing it as a fan project as we might do it? Impossible I think. OR, we just have LucasArts publish it without any money going to us... if that's possible.
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Yeah, it's Myriad... I always liked it for body text (no Times and Arial, PLEASE). I know that layout-wise this looks more like a magazine, but we've got so much text in these articles, I think we shouldn't waste too much page-space.

 

And don't use Verdana, Tahoma or Georgia for printed text either, please :)

 

Whitespace is never wasted space, but whatever you say ;)

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Whitespace is never wasted space, but whatever you say ;)

Ooookay... it helps, I know. I just think the pages still don't look overloaded even with three full columns. More space between the columns I am okay with though ;-)

 

After all I think this project would have to be divided up anyway. We'll agree on a template (maybe even a template file... and probably not in Word-format), and everyone interested takes on an article (or a portion of it).

 

When I said I don't know anything about layouting, I was more talking about DTP... I know layout-basics and I think I've got an eye for composition and stuff, but I've never touched InDesign, Quark or Pagemaker. If someone manages to throw up a template for, say, Scribus (which I've used first to layout the SH-article... until I ran into problems), anybody could give it a try.

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Ooookay... it helps, I know. I just think the pages still don't look overloaded even with three full columns. More space between the columns I am okay with though ;-)

 

Don't take it the wrong way. I'm just a sucker for whitespace, and lots of it :-) My favorite non-fiction book layouts are the ones that have HUGE whitespace on the left and use it for occassional "side notes" or short "paragraph headlines" ;-)

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My favorite non-fiction book layouts are the ones that have HUGE whitespace on the left and use it for occassional "side notes" or short "paragraph headlines" ;-)
Basically what "Rogue Leaders" did.

 

I don't know what it is, but I felt that for the Secret History articles three narrower columns would work better than two wider ones (as "Rogue Leaders" had them), maybe just because it's my preferred way of reading non-fiction stuff. After all the articles were published more or less regularly, so they have more of a magazine feel to me.

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Basically what "Rogue Leaders" did.

 

Nah, not at all, from what I can tell from web samples of the book (I haven't read it). I'm actually talking about a single body text column, with a left column for nothing but images and very short notes -- pretty much the kind of notes you'd write in the margin when studying -- even though that column's space is actually wider than the body text column.

 

But it's not anything I'm proposing for this, just an example of my whitespace preference, so let's leave it at that :)

 

After all the articles were published more or less regularly, so they have more of a magazine feel to me.

 

Which is why I said "whatever you say" (which wasn't meant in a sarcastic way) -- you have a vision for the layout, and it works well, so you really should have the say, rather than adding random preferences from here and there. The only one I could really make an argument for is slightly more space between columns, but that might actually eat up more margin space, since the column width is around the ideal and shouldn't be narrower :)

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I've been wanting the Secret History articles in book form for a while too. I'm sure LucasArts wouldn't mind if it was published as a not for profit thing - we're friends again right?

 

As for layouts, Laserschwert's mockup looks great to me.

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you have a vision for the layout, and it works well, so you really should have the say, rather than adding random preferences from here and there

I hope that doesn't mean that I'm on my own here.

 

I don't know how realistic it is, but do you think we can get LucasArts involved in this? I mean, they let Rob Smith into the archives, and if we can convince them that a book-version of the Secret History can be produced without any costs for them (by putting it up on Lulu or other BoD-services at only the price of printing and shipping), maybe they'd be interested in it... including letting people from Mojo have access to the archives as well. THAT would result in the ultimate fan-book.

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I hope that doesn't mean that I'm on my own here.

 

I doubt it :) Merely saying that if a layout works, it's mostly a good idea to stick with it, rather than adding "too many cooks". I'm not a big believer in collaborative art/design/layout without one person to guide and veto the process. If you provide a template with some grid guidelines for illustrations etc., I'm sure there'll be plenty of people willing to work on filling it out :)

 

I don't know how realistic it is, but do you think we can get LucasArts involved in this? I mean, they let Rob Smith into the archives, and if we can convince them that a book-version of the Secret History can be produced without any costs for them (by putting it up on Lulu or other BoD-services at only the price of printing and shipping), maybe they'd be interested in it... including letting people from Mojo have access to the archives as well. THAT would result in the ultimate fan-book.

 

LucasArts have changed (most current and former employees were quite reluctant to say anything at all about their employment at the time of CMI, GF and later on, for various reasons that probably won't be in the Secret History either ;)) -- so I'd say it's worth a shot. Their PR department ought to be well aware of how things work in the Web 2.0 culture -- and they've shown some efforts towards somewhat embracing that.

 

Somewhere on some stashed away CD-R archives, I have some stuff that might be of use (when judiciously edited) -- if I can find it (and it'll take months before I can get to those CDs) -- and get permission from those involved.

 

Still funny -- wouldn't have imagined such an interest in doing a fan-book just a year ago :)

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Still funny -- wouldn't have imagined such an interest in doing a fan-book just a year ago :)
You mean from your side? Or generally?

 

I've gotta admit I've always dreamt of a fan-book, and the announcement of "Rogue Leaders" let me think that that wish would be fulfilled... unfortunately it missed the mark. And even with slim news for Mojo over the last few years, my interest in LucasArts never faded away. I did the soundtracks... I did (and still do) the posters... why not go on with projects like these? Mojo's been fueled up again, hopefully beyond the last chapter of "Tales of Monkey Island", so I guess it's the right time to think about a community project.

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Maybe if there was a profit associated with the magazine it could just go direct to LucasArts? That's one way to convince them perhaps, but it would also possibly entangle Mojo and Lucas Legal, which is not something I would enjoy.

 

I'm sure for secret reasons they'll not be happy about this and won't let it happen, but as for the artwork - well, screenshots are screenshots, and the original art is fine. And they used my boxart scans in the Rogue Leaders book so I'm sure that 'googling it' is a valid option for publishers (ho ho.)

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