Vintage Games book: Double the page count!

Bill Loguidice's picture

Well, this is probably not the greatest of news, but here it is anyway... According to the publisher, we're at DOUBLE the estimated page count of 352 pages, so obviously that's not going to fly and will require some cuts. Hopefully between a combination of layout restructuring by the publisher and us dropping a number of images, we can get closer to the original and required estimate. For those who don't recall, here are the estimated stats on the deliverable to the publisher, which apparently translated to the 700+ pages when formatted, which are obviously impractical for a mainstream book, particularly a full color one. On the plus side, right now it looks like the images that were cut and their companion captions will make it to a special password-protected Website from the publisher so readers will not miss out on the full experience. As a final, more positive update, we got some amazing testimonials in from people whose opinions really carry some weight, including from a legendary game designer, so the buzz is starting out very good already!

Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the Most Influential Games of All Time, is now available for pre-order from Amazon (only $23.07 at the moment!) and many other locations you'd expect:

Keep in mind that the expected release date is roughly February or March 2009 (the publisher wants it for GDC 2009). Thanks for all your support and we'll continue to keep everyone updated.

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Bill Loguidice
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The book solution and LBP comments
Rowdy Rob wrote:

Skeptically, I checked out the YouTube videos for LBP. Holey Moley, you're RIGHT!!! Case closed! (I'll save my comments for a more appropriate thread.).

Slightly melodramatic on my part, but it really is an amazingly modifiable game. The fact that it's both on- and off-line up to four player co-op for pretty much every part of it is just icing on the cake. Right now my wife and I are playing it co-op as a straight platformer, but doing some on-the-fly modifications as I described in my post elsewhere on Armchair Arcade. Regardless, it's cool stuff, with unlimited potential.

Rowdy Rob wrote:

Anyhow, you guys have worked out a solution to your book. The "online content" idea might not be the most satisfactory to you guys, but it is indeed a creative solution to the dilemma you guys are in. Hopefully the online chapters will come across to your readers as "bonus content" in addition to the book, which is a plus, as opposed to "missing chapters online," which might be seen as a minus.

You and perhaps others will be interested to know that we came to a more agreeable way of doing it where it is indeed bonus content and will not interrupt the book's flow. The book will have 25 full chapters, less about 90 images and captions which will be placed online. Then, there will be nine additional bonus chapters online (some AWESOME ones too), bringing the total to 34. These are full blown chapters complete with all their images. So the reality is you'll be getting a roughly 350 page full color book with 25 game chapters and access to 90+ additional images for those chapters online, as well as another nine full chapters with tons more images online. So you still get access to all 600+ images and the entirety of the content. It should be a win-win for a book potential readers can buy today for around $23.

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Matt Barton
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I agree with Bill; we were

I agree with Bill; we were never padding any chapters and in fact left most of them much shorter than we would have liked! You can ask Bill; I was frequently complaining that we had "rushed" a certain chapter and should have doubled if not tripled its size. Looking back, the publisher would have preferred us to "rush" everything, giving 1-2 pages per game, it seems. It boggles my mind how they could have had the manuscript and been working with us all this time, then "suddenly" ask for this cut. It'd be like asking Peter Jackson to give up on the three movies and shrink the whole trilogy into a single 2-hour length feature (perhaps saving the rest for a DVD release). Yeah, right!!!

Bill made a good point in an email that we might move the chapters to online that would best benefit from that format--e.g., chapters that focus on animation or 3D-graphics. Flight Simulator might be a good candidate for this among several others. We could argue that the reader just wouldn't appreciate the game without actual video footage. It's a bit weak, but at least that's better than just being frank that the publisher made us cut half the book.

As far as images go, they are basically three types--screenshots, box shots, shots of the game playing on a certain machine. Each has its place, and we used the captions to explicate or make points that weren't present in the text. Still, I'm sure we can lose some of the larger shots, particularly any that we feel (even remotely) aren't worth the space. I have seen lots of books that had "bonus content" online, which I assume was the bulk of their images that didn't make it into the book.

On the other hand, it seems lame to have a 4-color book and limit the graphics to absolute essentials!

Other ideas--maybe we could cut out all of a certain type of game, such as console games, and give that to them. They seem to want console gaming most (look at the two examples in the title), and then we could salvage the rest for another book. We could explain in the preface that we're only talking about console games, etc.

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Bill Loguidice
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More

Again, the argument for any cuts or removing chapters completely or restructuring the book is that there is simply no time to rewrite everything and by being "clever" we boxed ourselves in. What do I mean by that? We made sure to reference all the other games and chapters mentioned throughout the book, so we explicitly refer to "see chapter x" or "chapter x explains more about this", etc., so it's not necessarily practical to renumber and/or shift chapters.

Why I liked the online/CD-ROM approach, is that we could leave the table of contents as-is, Preface plus Chapters 1 - 34, and just leave out the chapters that are moved online or to the CD-ROM in the actual book. So it might be Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 4, Chapter 6 in the book, with chapters 3 and 5 online. This way they can still meet their schedule and we wouldn't have to change a thing. Obviously not ideal and very weird, but there's really no other way that I can see given the hand we've been dealt at this point.

Hopefully with a handful of chapters pulled from the main text and provided online or via CD-ROM, and creative reworking on their part of their template, we can fit it ALL in, without leaving too much out of the text book.

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Bill Loguidice
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Conclusion

Well, for better or worse, the agreement we've come to is to move nine of the 34 chapters online and a little more than 90 of the images from the remaining chapters there as well. Owners of the book will be given password protected access to the "bonus" content from the publisher. Painful, but essentially you'll be getting a 350 page full color print book AND an ~350 page full color online book for the price of the print book, so it's hard to argue with the economic decision to keep the book as affordable as possible.

Any thoughts, guys?

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Calibrator
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Wasteland

You could do it in the tradition of Wasteland:

Barton & Loguidice Productions
proudly present

Read paragraph 37 on-line at www..."

Your book could consist of only these statements between screenshots and you can insert fake paragraphs with red herrings etc.

;-)

take care,
Calibrator

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Bill Loguidice
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Free Lenslok with every order
Calibrator wrote:

You could do it in the tradition of Wasteland:

Barton & Loguidice Productions
proudly present

Read paragraph 37 on-line at www..."

Your book could consist of only these statements between screenshots and you can insert fake paragraphs with red herrings etc.

;-)

take care,
Calibrator

I was wondering how we were going to copy protect our book!

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Rowdy Rob
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Online Content and Ebooks
Bill Loguidice wrote:

I was wondering how we were going to copy protect our book!

The "online bonus content" might be its own copy protection! Even if "unauthorized" persons gain access to the content, they're still missing the bulk of the book's content. It might even work out to a sort of "reverse" shareware concept; if you want more reading, you have to buy the book!

I'm not sure you have to worry too much as long as the bulk of the book remains offline. Readers interested enough to read the online content (if they get access to it first) might feel compelled to buy the book. Which brings me to...

Mark Vergeer wrote:

Those ebook readers must be great when you travel around - or on a daily commute to work when you're not driving yourself.

In theory, these ebook readers are awesome, and will almost certainly change the face of "reading" in the near future! "E-Ink" technology is fascinating and looks surprisingly good.

When E-Ink technology reaches the masses (via lower prices), I think a real revolution may be at hand. Imagine - one device to rule them all! No more lugging around books, just one tablet-shaped device. Schools would be revolutionized, casual reading of newspapers, magazines, and books would be revolutionized, even online blogs and such (like AA) might be revolutionized! And think of all the trees that can be saved from being turned to pulp. Ebooks are both economically sound and environmentally friendly!

Alas, once "Ebooks" become the de-facto standard, your going to see piracy of literature on an unheard-of scale. For every "Vintage Games" sold, there will probably be 50 unauthorized readers!

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Bill Loguidice
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Book and eBook
Rowdy Rob wrote:
Bill Loguidice wrote:

I was wondering how we were going to copy protect our book!

The "online bonus content" might be its own copy protection! Even if "unauthorized" persons gain access to the content, they're still missing the bulk of the book's content. It might even work out to a sort of "reverse" shareware concept; if you want more reading, you have to buy the book!

I'm not sure you have to worry too much as long as the bulk of the book remains offline. Readers interested enough to read the online content (if they get access to it first) might feel compelled to buy the book. Which brings me to...

That was actually a joke on my part that obviously didn't come across very clearly, playing off of the prior joke post. I really don't want to "copy protect" the book. The online content will be on the publisher's secure, password protected site, and every owner of the book will have access. If those nine chapters get distributed, so be it, it's good publicity for the book. I think people will really want to own the book, assuming, fingers crossed, the publisher nails the design.

We may even have excerpts run at places like Gamasutra. We'll see, but I'm all for that kind of stuff. I'll be excited for the initial reaction to the final chapter list too. Hopefully it will make sense to release that soon. I'm sure we'll get some positive and negative feedback already from that, which to me is a good thing. I want there to be all types of buzz, then the actual work to be the justification for an inclusion.

Rowdy Rob wrote:

Alas, once "Ebooks" become the de-facto standard, your going to see piracy of literature on an unheard-of scale. For every "Vintage Games" sold, there will probably be 50 unauthorized readers!

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Any time content goes from physical to digital, there's a concern, but if you think about it, while there's rampant piracy of movies, music, videogames, etc., these are still thriving industries. I think when print does go all digital at some point (or even predominantly digital), there will still be plenty of ways to cash in even in the face of piracy. There's no reason print should be any different from the other forms of media in that regard. We're already seeing newspapers folding left and right, so the transition has already begun, though it will certainly take another decade or two for it to happen en masse to all traditional print...

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Matt Barton
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OMG...Calibrator, that was

OMG...Calibrator, that was the funniest thing I've seen all day.

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Matt Barton
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Yes, even I've warmed up to

Yes, even I've warmed up to the idea after the publisher promised to change the internal references and table of contents to reflect the "bonus" angle. I still would have liked to see this released as a giant book or a set of two volumes, but at least this won't be like a hatchet job. I'm hoping that if this book sells well, we'll have some tools to bargain with and can eventually get the whole thing released in print. If not, I still see it as a valuable achievement and without question worth the measly $23 or whatever it is they're charging for this thing.

The only question now is, what to write next? I know Bill is working with Christina on a project, so I'm back to the drawing board thinking of viable single-authored books. A few that have been circulating is "War of the Wikis," which would look at wikis and things like wiki leaks and what-not; "Hackers, Slackers, and Shackles," would be a book-length treatment of my classic AA piece, and "Floyd Lives!," a history of adventure games. Any one of these would be a lot of work, but I'm leaning towards the Hackers one, just because it's been awhile since I've been immersed in that topic.

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