Friday, April 8, 2016

Authoring a remake

I done several major projects so far that involved redoing an older product. My view is to try to preserve as much as possible while bringing it up to modern tastes. It is a delicate balancing act, one of the projects Dark Tower, was minimally revised and rightfully so as Jennel Jaquays pretty much wrote a classic for the ages.  The revisions for for the stat blocks and the graphics including the maps. I made only one major change to the map to clear up a confusing area and that was by separating out a sub level that was superimposed on the original.

Another was Citadel of Fire, and while I have a lot of respect for the hard work the author put into it I had to wonder why they were bothering even using Citadel of Fire it was altered so drastically to be nearly unrecognizable from the original.

My own Thieves of Badabaskor wasn't the straight copy that Goodman's Dark Tower was. I altered some areas to make the whole hang together. Now a decade later with more experience I probably could done a little better with the dungeon area. But despite that I think the Goodman version I wrote is still recognizable as the original module unlike Citadel.

So which lead me to the City-State map.

Look at this section

Notice that some building names are all caps and other are normal mixed case. In this instance I elected to follow the original as created by Bob Bledsaw Senior. However a good case can be made that I should just goto a scheme that maximizes readability. 

So what do you think readability or preservation for this aspect of the map? 

I realize for some the answer would be yes as I colorized the original and added a lot of extra detail. But since the case of the building name could mean something so I left it as is.

Unlike the dots on the street which I knew to be Street Lamp there is no recollection or text describing why some building names are all caps why some are not. And during a survey of the original it appears almost random as to why the different building are in different cases. 

My personal theory is that since the map was created by a combination of drafting tools and using zip-a-tone fills and letters that it was done in stages. That at one point the process Bob ran out of letters and so started using another sheet that was a different case. Which was first I don't know. But from drawing the thing on the computer I can tell you Bob Sr. slaved over this .. . a lot. And to do it with x-acto knife and drafting pen is just beyond belief. 

I did it myself 15 years later than Bob and didn't come anywhere near his level of detail or quality of detail. And it was a ton of work.

So let me know what you think in the comments.


Keith Sloan said...

Regarding the labeling of buildings, I'd go with consistency rather than preserving the shift from all caps to sentence(?) style. If, as you surmise, it was simply a matter of running out of one set of text and using another, then there was no original authorial purpose behind it and consistency would make sense.

It's a minor point, in any case -- the map is gorgeous!

Steven Wells said...

What is your goal? To create a faithful replica or to recreate the original's intent?

I would prefer readability and usability myself. But I can understand the desire to recreate a relic from our childhood so we can revisit it as it has always been.

Geoffrey McKinney said...

Readability is always to be preferred.

Ifryt said...

Readability. You have thought about a reason for all caps and mixed sizes, and you can't find it. Maybe there is no reason. So there is nothing to preserve here.

overthrow said...

one compromise between honoring the original and providing readability is smallcaps... just saying

Theodric Ælfwinesson said...

I would say prefer readability, but the only possible places that I see where that might be a problem is some of the instances of smaller type. It's looking really good. I'm looking forward to when it becomes generally available!