Like I said before, I’m compiling my Mass Effect series into a book. I’ve finally finished the ugly brute-force work of getting the chapters into a single document and re-creating the original bold, italics, section markers, chapter headings, and so on. Yes, you’d think that such a thing would be automatic. Look, there are like three dozen ways of building an .epub from existing material and they all have some glaring fault. Maybe I’ll write about this later, but for now let’s just move on.
The final word count is 186,000 words. For rough comparison:
- The Fellowship of the Ring – 187,790 words.
- The Two Towers – 156,198 words.
- The Return of the King – 137,115 words.
There are 265 footnotes. On the e-reader I’m using for testing, they work more or less like they do on the blog: you click on a footnote and the text pops up in a little box. That’s nice, but I’ll bet these footnotes are going to be a pain in the ass on in print. I turned many of them into parenthetical statements, but most of them needed to be footnotes because they were too large and complex to work as an aside in the middle of an unrelated paragraph.
I still have to add a preface and make numerous adjustments to remove useless previews / recaps to each post. It’s usually only a sentence or two like, “Next week I’m going to talk about Kai Leng’s stupid cowboy hat” and “Last week we talked about Kai Leng’s stupid cowboy hat”. On the blog these are a natural part of the format, but for someone reading straight through in book form they feel very strange. Also, explicitly referencing “weeks” is a bit goofy. The audience will probably assume I think they’re really slow readers.
I’m not sure what to do about the images. They’re an integral part of the work, but 186,000 word books don’t usually have this many pictures in them!
I discovered that the printed version can’t be printed in color with my current on-demand press. Even if it could, I’ll bet the cost would be prohibitive. Also, BioWare’s abuse of the color filter means that a lot of these screenshots will turn into a smear of blurry grey ink in black & white. Also, lots of shots are seriously underlit, which will result in a big puddle of black ink rather than a useful screenshot. I don’t know what I’m going to do about this. This book is already going to be a real doorstopper, and making it even longer for a bunch of messy unreadable images seems like a bad choice. I don’t know.
I do think I need to cut the “Everything is fine” joke from Andromeda. Images are cheap on the web, but having half a page wasted on a repeated image is probably not going to amuse someone holding the physical copy.
Yes, I could go though and manually fix the contrast in all of these muddy images, but…
- The game designer ruined these images. I’m not going to spend days of my life hiding their sins.
- It would undercut a lot of my criticism to fix the thing I’m trying to criticize, wouldn’t it?
Of course, none of this will be a problem for the electronic version. I’m actually really looking forward to seeing the e-book version of this thing.
The Middle Ages
Would you have survived in the middle ages?
The Mistakes DOOM Didn't Make
How did this game avoid all the usual stupidity that ruins remakes of classic titles?
There are two major schools of thought about how you should write software. Here's what they are and why people argue about it.
What is Vulkan?
There's a new graphics API in town. What does that mean, and why do we need it?
Good to be the King?
Which would you rather be: A king in the middle ages, or a lower-income laborer in the 21st century?