It took far longer than I wanted, but Rusthaven is finally released in print! Everyone who has previous bought the PDF should have received a discount code for the print copy. Thank you for supporting me and being early adopters!
Is the print version perfect? Not quite, there are definitely changes I would have liked to make. However, given the amount of work they would require, it is not trivial. I can’t afford to invest more time in layout, as I have only so much hair left after dealing with various layout issues. That isn’t to say I’m not immensely happy with the product and I really hope you are too! It looks fantastic (even if I do say so myself) and I couldn’t be prouder to see it in the real world.
So What Happened?
How come it took such a long time to get Rusthaven print ready? A lot of it was down to issues I ran into with the layout software I was using (Scribus). I hit a number of bugs, some that could be worked around, others completely bizarre and work-destroying. These included:
- Editing text in certain contexts would cause other text to randomly get deleted from elsewhere in the document.
- Images would sometimes render over text, even though they showed underneath it in editing view.
- Text editing would sometimes become horrendously slow, as slow as it taking up 2 minutes for a single character to show up after typing it.
- Sometimes keyboard input would just break, and instead of it inputting what you typed, it would just generate gibberish.
- Sometimes exporting the Rusthaven PDF would ignore ICC profiles that were set.
- Exporting the Rusthaven PDF would sometimes ignore your font-embedding settings and just not embed them at all.
- Exporting the Rusthaven PDF would sometimes ignore your font-embedding settings and convert fonts to outlines instead.
- Exporting the Rusthaven PDF would sometimes ignore the PDF level and choose 1.3 instead of X-1a.
- Sometimes opening the document would lose all the custom ICC profile information you’d assigned to images and you’d have to redo it all.
- Exporting the Rusthaven PDF would sometimes completes and the fonts would embed fine, but the text would randomly be corrupted in the output PDF, showing complete garbage instead.
- Sometimes fonts wouldn’t embed unless you installed them into the operating systems font library, even though they showed up in the software’s local font library.
Most of these issues only happened on the supposed ‘stable’ version of the software. I fixed it by switching to the latest bleeding edge builds, which broke in various other ways, but worked faster and actually exported with font embedding correctly. One caveat was that they often worked differently depending on the OS. I found the most stable, consistently working version was to use it under Windows. This was particularly annoying, as the entire point of using this software over something like InDesign was so I could use it under Linux.
Due to a lack of features and my own understanding of how the software works, the Rusthaven cover art exceeded the maximum allowed total ink coverage for the printers. I struggled to resolve this as I had no real way of telling what ink coverage I was using, at least as far as I could tell. Eventually I found an ICC profile that enforced low-enough total ink coverage, so I used that. After a mishap with more missing font embedding, I eventually got a finished, satisfactory print proof!
Phew! As you can see, it was an exercise in frustration. But I got there in the end!
What Happens Next?
That’s the question, isn’t it? Rusthaven is unlikely to undergo any further edits or changes, mostly due to the software issues I faced and the fact that unfortunately, I can’t simply import the document into InDesign to edit it in that instead. However, I plan on trickling out new content for Rusthaven as time goes by in the form of posts on my website (such as the expanded information on Murkstone Builders) or as more things like the Numenera Rust-Cypher Generator. If all goes well, there will be future Iron Wind and Rusthaven-related articles in future CypherCaster magazines as well.
As long as I have the continued support of the Numenera community, I’ll keep supporting the product as best I’m able. The best way to support me is to spread the word, use Rusthaven in your games and most importantly, share the stories of Rusthaven and the Iron Wind you create together. I’d certainly love to hear them!
Apart from the above, I have 3 new RPG projects planned. One of them is a Cypher System game setting (or possible recursion for The Strange, or even a weird place to go in Numenera, perhaps), and two are completely new games, one with a strong, modern-day crime element focused around crime, anarchy and amorality on an illegal off-shore platform, the other being a strange post-post-apocalyptic, highly political high-tech/supernatural setting and game system. I’m still in the process of outlining and further developing the pitches I’ve made to myself for each of them, and eventually one of them will win out and the proper hard work will begin! If one of those sounds like something you’d be interested in, let me know!