IF Cover Art Drive is now officially running. From now until April 30, I am collecting IF cover art on Flickr. There are a few pieces already there, but more will be posted as they’re contributed.
The idea here is to try to collect contributions of art to serve as cover images for existing IF. There are two reasons to do this: first, to make IFDB more attractive and less pure-text; and second, so that people writing about IF on indie game blogs and websites will have something other than a screenshot of raw text with which to illustrate their articles. (More about the rationale for this is here.)
[Edit: for reference, a list of how things stand.]
Cover art submitted and accepted, or submitted by author:
- The Act of Misdirection, by Callico Harrison
- An Act of Murder, by Chris Huang
- Ad Verbum, by Nick Montfort
- Adventurer’s Consumer Guide, by Øyvind Thorsby
- All Hope Abandon, by Eric Eve
- All Roads, by Jon Ingold
- And the Waves Choke the Wind, by Gunther Schmidl
- Attack of the Yeti Robot Zombies, by Øyvind Thorsby
- Augmented Fourth, by Brian Uri!
- Bad Machine, by Dan Shiovitz
- Balances, by Graham Nelson
- The Baron, by Victor Gijsbers
- The Beetmonger’s Journal, by Scott Starkey
- Being Andrew Plotkin, by J. Robinson Wheeler
- Blighted Isle, by Eric Eve
- Blue Lacuna, by Aaron Reed
- Breath Pirates, by Mike Snyder
- The Chinese Room, by Harry Giles and Joey Jones (pending revisions)
- Coke Is It!, by various
- The Cove, by Kathleen Fischer
- Cryptozookeeper, by Robb Sherwin
- Dangerous Curves, by Irene Callaci
- A Day for Soft Food, by Tod Levi
- Degeneracy, by Leonard Richardson
- Desert Heat, by Papillon
- Distress, by Mike Snyder
- The Djinni Chronicles, by J. D. Berry
- The Edifice, by Lucian Smith
- Enlightenment, by Taro Ogawa
- An Escape To Remember, by IF Whispers
- Fate, by Victor Gijsbers
- A Fine Day for Reaping, by James Webb
- Fine Tuned, by Dennis Jerz
- Firebird, by Bonnie Montgomery
- For a Change, by Dan Schmidt
- Gardening for Beginners, by Juhana Leinonen
- Gourmet, by Aaron Reed
- The Gostak, by Carl Muckenhoupt
- Help! My Vacuum Cleaner is Broken!, by Admiral Jota
- In the End 2, by Adam Thornton
- Katana, by Matt Rohde
- King of Shreds and Patches, by Jimmy Maher
- The Land of the Cyclops, by Francesco Cordella and Simone Di Conza
- LASH, by Paul O’Brian
- Learning to Cross, by Mark J. Musante
- Legerdemain, by Nathan Jerpe
- Letters from Home, by Roger Firth
- Losing Your Grip, by Stephen Granade
- Lost Pig, by Admiral Jota
- Luminous Horizon, by Paul O’Brian
- Lunatix — The Insanity Circle, by Mike Snyder
- Lydia’s Heart, by Jim Aikin
- Masquerade, by Kathleen Fischer
- Moon-Shaped, by Jason Ermer
- Mother Loose, by Irene Callaci
- My Name is Jack Mills, by Juhana Leinonen
- Not Just an Ordinary Ballerina, by Jim Aikin
- Nothing But Mazes, by Greg Boettcher
- Pass the Banana, by Admiral Jota
- Persistence of Memory, by Jason Dyer
- Photograph, by Steve Evans
- Revenger, by Robb Sherwin
- Rameses, by Stephen Bond
- Ribbons, by J. D. Berry
- Scavenger, by Quintin Stone
- A Simple Theft, by Mark Musante
- Snowblind Aces, by C. E. J. Pacian
- Square Circle, by Eric Eve
- Tales of the Traveling Swordsman, by Mike Snyder
- The Tarot Reading, by Michael Penman
- To Hell in a Hamper, by J. J. Guest
- Trading Punches, by Mike Snyder
- Treasures of a Slaver’s Kingdom, by S. John Ross
- Undertow, by Stephen Granade
- Voices, by Aris Katsaris
- Waystation, by Stephen Granade
- The Weapon, by Sean Barrett
- Wearing the Claw, by Paul O’Brian
- Whom the Telling Changed, by Aaron Reed
- Worlds Apart, by Suzanne Britton
Cover art submitted and declined; submitted and unanswered; or supplanted by other art:
- Aisle, by Sam Barlow
- Anchorhead, by Michael Gentry
- Chicken and Egg, by Adam Thornton
- Choose Your Own Romance, by David Dyte
- Christminster, by Gareth Rees
- The Corn Identity, by IF Whispers
- Deadline Enchanter, by Alan DeNiro
- Delusions, by C. E. Forman
- A Dino’s Night Out, by Aris Katsaris
- Downtown Tokyo, Present Day, by John Kean
- Elizabeth Hawke’s Forever Always, by Iain Merrick
- Goldilocks is a FOX!, by J.J. Guest
- Guess the Verb!, by Leonard Richardson
- House of Dream of Moon, by IF Whispers
- Janitor, by Peter Seebach and Kevin Lynn
- Lost New York, by Neil deMause (would prefer no future cover art be created)
- The One That Got Away, by Leon Lin
- Rematch, by Andrew Pontious
- Shade, by Andrew Plotkin
- She’s Got a Thing for a Spring, by Brent VanFossen
- Sins Against Mimesis, by Adam Thornton
- Sting of the Wasp, by Jason Devlin
- Theatre, by Brendon Wyber
Cover art submitted:
- A Change in the Weather, by Andrew Plotkin
- Delightful Wallpaper, by Andrew Plotkin
- Hunter, in Darkness, by Andrew Plotkin
- Spider and Web, by Andrew Plotkin
Cover art in progress:
Cover art requested:
Cover art “opted out”:
- Building, by Poster
WHAT YOU CAN DO AS AN AUTHOR:
(1) Explicitly opt in (or out). I waffled a lot about the idea of running this drive at all because I don’t want to meddle in authors’ processes, and I know some people may either not want cover art at all, or not want to have art created for them by someone random. If you don’t want to be included, let me know (or comment here) and I’ll not post any covers for your work. (That’s to keep anyone from even getting anything submitted. All authors will have a chance to accept or veto submitted art.) If on the other hand you *do* want cover art created, you might want to mention that too. There’s no guarantee that your request will lead to results, but the artists I’ve talked to so far have said they would prefer to illustrate when they know that the author is at least open to having covers created. So it raises your chances.
(2) Accept and adopt images created for your work. Any image posted to the Flickr account is fair game for the author (and only the author) to pick up; I won’t be posting any of this art on IFDB, etc., unless the author says he’s okay with it. If you do like something that’s been done for you, though, you can let me know and have me attach it to your game on IFDB; or download it yourself and put it on your websites or wherever else you want it to appear. You can adopt an image that’s been submitted at any time; at the end of April/beginning of May I’ll email authors whose work has been illustrated to let them know it’s there, if they haven’t already responded. But that doesn’t mean you can’t accept submitted work before that deadline.
(3) Add the cover art to your game with blorb. Inform users: Inform 7 can be used to attach metadata, including cover art, to games that already exist, even if they were written in Inform 6. This information will then show up when people play your game on a cover-art-enabled interpreter such as Zoom. To do this,
- download and install Inform 7
- create a new project file
- follow the directions on Republishing Existing Works of IF in the Publication chapter
WHAT YOU CAN DO AS AN ARTIST/DESIGNER/ILLUSTRATOR:
Create your image and send it to me; I’ll post it on the Flickr account. (I can post things either anonymously or with attributions, depending on what you prefer.) If the author of the game likes it, he can choose to take it up and use it on IFDB and elsewhere.
If you send anything, you’re effectively assenting to the following statements:
(1) you assert that you own the copyright of the image and its components, or that the images you used are public domain, or that you have secured the reproduction rights, such that there should be no negative legal ramifications to posting same on Flickr and later on IFDB and other webspaces.
(2) you are willing for the author of the game to adopt the image you post and use it in promoting his or her game, without any further rewards other than a warm and fuzzy glow and perhaps a note on the author’s website or in the game credits.
The further use of the image may include, but need not be limited to, posting the image on IFDB, adding it to IF wikis, blorbing it onto the game proper, showing it on a personal website, allowing it to appear in print in a magazine article on IF, etc. (Rare, but it has happened. And magazines are even more obsessive than websites about wanting illustration. The layout people don’t know what to do without it.) I’d suggest a creative commons attribution license, but in practice not all venues where game art might be used are reliable about providing a credit caption for the box covers, so I think such a license would be inviting abuse. Instead, you’re effectively assenting to the idea that your art may be used in all the contexts where game cover art might be considered ordinarily covered by Fair Use rules.
(3) you are also willing for the author of the game *not* to adopt the image, for whatever reason, and you will not be too distressed about all that.
If those statements do not fit you, then a different kind of collaboration will probably be better; you might want to explicitly contact the author of a game, say, or post on RAIF that you’re taking cover art requests. (A few people have already done this.)
SELECTING GAMES TO ILLUSTRATE:
Quite a few games already have cover art of some kind. In preparation for the cover art drive, I’ve done my best to round it up and get it all onto IFDB, and I’m happy to say that that has meant the addition of over a hundred images: art for many commercial works of IF from Infocom, Magnetic Scrolls, and Melbourne House (I simply haven’t gotten around to tackling Level 9 yet), but also existing cover art, or revised versions of existing website art, for games by Graham Nelson, J. Robinson Wheeler, Adam Cadre, Andrew Plotkin, David Fisher, and others.
That still, however, leaves a vast number of games with no kind of cover art. If you’re an artist who would like to celebrate your favorite game(s), this is a chance.
There is also no rule that you can’t offer another illustration of something that’s already been illustrated in the drive but whose illustration hasn’t been accepted yet; it might be that your interpretation is closer to the author’s intentions.
You may also want to check out what authors have said they’re especially interested. The comments below may contain additional remarks, but Paul O’Brian, Mark Musante, and Lucian Smith have all already expressed an interest in cover art for their games.
There are several possible things to bear in mind when you’re choosing a size and shape for cover art.
The Treaty of Babel blorb standards suggest that cover art should be square and 960 pixels on a side — large enough to be printed off as a respectable CD cover.
In practice, that may be overkill. The other principal applications of cover art are to ornament reviews and write-ups on websites and gaming blogs; to be shown at the start of your game if you put together a blorb package; and to appear on IFDB.
IFDB accepts image uploads at a maximum of 256K, so the odds are that if you have a complex image at 960×960, it will have to be reduced in size a bit to fit onto the database. IFDB itself will display the art at three sizes: in thumbnail at max 80×80 pixels; on the game’s main screen at max 175×175 pixels; and on its own page, if the reader clicks on the image specifically, at the full size at which it was uploaded to IFDB.
For the purpose of illustrating gaming blogs, etc., most images are used at a thumbnail size (again around 70×70-80×80) and also at a larger size (several hundred pixels on a side, say — this part varies a lot).
So one approach is to make art at 960×960 and then scale it down a bit for IFDB, but keep the full sized art to go with the blorbed game. Another is to forget about the 960×960 thing and create art around 350-400px on a side, on the assumption that this will be enough for most web purposes.
There’s also not an absolute law that the art has to be square; many box scans of commercial IF are not, for instance. But there does tend to be a trend towards squareness, and it tends to look most uniform when used on IFDB.
INDICATING YOUR PROJECT:
If you want, you can comment here to let people know you’re working on a specific cover, to discourage accidental duplications of effort.
WHAT YOU CAN DO AS A BYSTANDER, WIKI MAINTAINER, etc.:
(1) If you’re so inclined, post (preferably constructive) comments on Flickr.
(2) AFTER an author has accepted a game’s cover art, you can also add that art to other wikis, etc., as appropriate. But please do not use things that have merely been submitted to the Flickr site but which the author hasn’t approved.
That’s a lot of explaining for something I hope will actually be relatively simple.