Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Thanks to Falk's tireless work, the pages for the SL edition of Eastern Standard Tribe have hit the world early. (I can take a little bit of credit, anyway, for bankrolling this upload. Those without talent contribute money, I guess.) I had not planned on converting EST into HoloReader format this soon, but I found myself inexplicably motivated this evening.
I even got rid of the ridiculous preload hole in the cover (as mentioned at the end of this entry). I realized that, with the repeats-per-face cranked high enough, the preloaded page texture printed on any of the paper edges of the book is pretty much indistinguishable from the normal paper texture I already had in place. (I took a vinyl siding texture and repeated it a few dozen times, so it looked like a stack of narrow lines suggesting the edges of a book.) This won't have any impact on the operation of the book, but it looks better close up, anyway. I've placed revised versions of Down and Out... in the book booth, if anyone is interested in the fixed version.
I did run into a couple of snags importing EST into my existing reader format, however. The main one involved the chapter skip function. See, dialog menu boxes can only support twelve buttons. Fortuitously, Down and Out... had 12 chapters (or eleven and a prologue). EST has considerably more. I ended up compromising on a page skip scheme, for now. The menu now allows you to skip through the book in 15 page intervals. Not pretty, but it serves the same basic purpose: allowing the user to skip ahead easily in the book.
The other snag involved copyright issues. As Cory Doctorow points out on the download page, the CCL for the book does not include distribution of the cover art for EST. (That belongs to the publisher.) So, in a fit of artistic zeal, I decided to whip up my own cover. The coffee mug is an old Caterpillar Tractor promotional mug. The backdrop is my ratty old terry cloth bathrobe, chosen because the color roughly matched the red chapter headings Falk used for his page import. I took the picture with my trusty old digital camera. The text was Photoshopped onto the mug, using two distortion tools I'd never used before. (So the day wasn't a total loss: I learned something!) All told, I'm kind of proud of how it came out, especially considering how weak my Photoshop kung fu is. I'm sure someone could come up with something better, but if you'd like to use it for your own reader, shoot me an IM in game and I'll drop you a copy.
Note the symbolic pencil in the coffee cup. Trust me, it'll make sense when you read the book.