Cover Stories

Update: the second round is now open. See this post for details.

Cover Stories is a low-speed-IF / game jam / unjudged-minicomp type event. Its interests include having fun, making pretty pictures, beautifying the sterile halls of IFDB, collaboration, echidna-juggling and long walks along the beach. Artists submit images suitable for use as IF cover art, and then authors choose covers and make games to fit them. You can take part as an artist, a game author, or both.

Phase One is now open.
Artists submit entries to magadog (usual thing here) gmail (obvious suffix). The deadline for submitting your art is Saturday, May 4. For you eleventh-hour desperadoes, this means whenever I wake up on Sunday.

Guidelines for artists

  • Submit images as a .jpg or .png, square in shape (yeah, squares can be tricky to design around, suck it up), at a good big size (at least 800x800 pixels, and preferably at or above I7’s recommended 960x960).
  • You don’t get to pick the game’s title, so avoid text that looks like a title. You might consider leaving an appropriate space for the title to be added, but this isn’t a strict requirement.
  • It is perfectly acceptable to submit something that’s just a cool photograph you took or an interesting image you found, without modification. To keep things simple, by submitting something you’re declaring that it’s OK for authors to use it (if this involves something more complicated than ‘it’s public domain’ or ‘I made this and you can use it’, please specify).
  • The writer will be given free rein to modify your image as they see fit, as long as they credit you appropriately. No takebacks.
  • You can submit as many images as you like; we want authors to have plenty of options. (I’ll be seeding the pool with a double handful of images, just to make sure.) But no taking the piss.
  • There is no quality standard. You can submit pictures even if you don’t think of yourself as an artist, or as a good artist, or whatever. (Though see above re: taking the piss.)
  • There is, of course, no guarantee that your cover will be used! So try to craft something that’s eye-catching, evocative and suggests some good game elements.
  • Authors and artists are allowed to communicate, request changes, or supply different formats of the image (for instance, as a .psd with layers intact), but there’s no commitment for either to do so, and they should do so directly rather than via the organiser.

Suggestions are welcomed for a good place to host the images. The most important requirements are a) the ability to put many mid-sized thumbnails on a single page with more-or-less equal prominence, and b) open, immediately-visible commenting, to allow first-come-first-served selection to be organised in one central place.

[edit: somehow I didn’t notice that Saturday was the 5th. What the hell? Anyway, the deadline is that Saturday.)



Crafty! [emote]:)[/emote]

Maybe this could be extended to other art as well, like music tracks (and they can be uploaded to, even in lossless format for free, so that web space isn’t important.) Game music is usually quite different from other types of music. You can find free music tracks in some places (CC-licensed and whatnot), but they’re not really suitable to be used in games.

This could actually be an extremely useful resource for IF authors; it makes collaboration between artists and authors very easy, since it happens on an as-time-permits basis without any commitments from either side.

That’s beyond the scope of this event; this is just covers, and we’re not even doing other kinds of in-game graphic art. If this is an issue close to your heart, though, it’s well-worth considering doing a similar event sometime.

What does this mean? [emote]:)[/emote]


British English:

In this context, this means ‘exploiting liberally-defined rules to do obnoxious things.’ So, submitting one photo of your cat, crude stick-figure or boring stock photo is okay; submitting twenty is taking the piss. Basically, ‘the management reserves the right to exclude anybody who is clearly being a dick’.

That’s what I thought. I just never heard that expression before.

“Piece of Piss” is one of my mother’s favourite malapropisms. [emote]:)[/emote]


Point of order: Are people required to participate as either artists or authors, or can they do both?

[quoteIn this context, this means ‘exploiting liberally-defined rules to do obnoxious things.’ [/quote]
I was totally unaware of this particular usage (although I’m well aware of a more literal application of the expression). In my business (I’m a tax lawyer), we call this finding loopholes. I guess I now have a new expression to use when somebody asks just what it is I do. [emote];)[/emote]

Robert Rothman

Would it be fair to assume that authoring a piece to go with one’s own art would fall within the scope of taking the piss?

Robert Rothman

That’s… okay if you really want to do it, I think. I’m not entirely sure why you would, since you can make your own art for your own game on any day of the year, but it doesn’t really hurt anyone.

Actually, it’s not something I want to do – I just wanted to understand the scope of the rule. Thanks.

Robert Rothman

Sorry, didn’t see that in the OP.

What if there aren’t enough pictures? Will only one author be allowed to pick a certain picture, or can more than one author work with the same picture?

Since it is considerably easier and less time-consuming to submit an attractive but minimally-manipulated photo than it is to produce even a fairly small IF game, I think this possibility is highly unlikely. As insurance, I’ve already prepared fifteen or so images to get us started.

If by some freak of probability we do end up in this situation, we can appeal for emergency images or something. But I sincerely doubt it’ll come up.

I think it’d be more interesting if everyone started with the same picture, kind of like those contests where everyone designs a game based on the same walkthrough.

But either way, this sounds intriguing!

Oooh, I hadn’t heard of those. Can you recommend any games from these? Sounds like they’d be a hoot to compare.