Cover Stories

Fair use question: I made a potential cover by rearranging images from a single frame of 20 Million Miles to Earth. Should I hold off on submitting it for fear of copyright issues?

I’m assuming that we’re talking about WalkthroughComp here.

1957 is, mirabile dictu, too modern to be public domain, and there’s no real guarantee that your manip be included in a work that would constitute fair use (parody, commentary). As I understand it, at least. If it was for your own game I’d say take your chances, since the odds of anybody giving a flying shit are pretty low; but since it’d also involve the author and the event and whatnot, and for slippery-slope reasons, I’d rather keep this rule straightforward. It’s lame, I know. Apologies.

Only use images that are out of copyright (in the US, this usually means published before 1923), that are released under an open license, or that are your own original work.

Speaking of legal issues, is the cover author allowed to define the cover’s license (one that doesn’t contradict comp rules), and are covers that don’t specify a license given a default one? Creative Commons Attribution might be the best fit.


No. All that’s assumed is that permission is granted for the purposes of the comp. But if artists want to take the opportunity to CC things, I’ll make sure that gets included.

I assume this means no photomosaics as well, unless you can verify that the component images are Creative Commons? It looks like my photomosaic software allows me to match only pictures with a CC tag, so I can keep things on the up and up if I decide to go that way.

I expect that you have a better idea than I do of whether photomosaics constitute fair use, but I’d guess that this is right.

(The point of the original bullet point was that going on about copyright is the most annoying thing in existence, and it shouldn’t matter all that much as long as we agree to play nice and not put each other in awkward situations. This may have been overly optimistic.)

That’s just one :frowning:

Still. Looks cool [emote]:)[/emote]

I don’t really have any idea, but this looks like it’s safe. (When I said “my photomosaic software” it may have given the false impression that I do a lot of these and know something about them. I just have this thing I downloaded once because I have no skill at visual art and thought I might want to make a cover picture some day.)

I’ve got about 55 images at this point. That corresponds to more games than I could hope for in my fondest imaginings, so authors can be assured of a nice broad selection.

At this point, the great majority of the images are non- or lightly-manipulated photographs and pre-1923 illustrations. That’s to be expected; ars longa, vita brevis, and we’ve only been open two days. And it’s hardly a problem: they’re great, keep sending 'em in. Still, if you draw or paint or heavy-photomanip or cross-stitch or guerilla-tattoo dystopian police thugs on the chihuahuas of the inattentive, that would help broaden the selection even further and make me very happy.

(Those among you with a minimal grounding in the probabilistic sciences may wonder, “Why should I invest a lot of time and effort in creating a piece of art for this, when there’s a good chance it won’t be used for a game? Like the fecund sea-urchin or the neglectful frog, I would be better-advised to adopt a high-volume, low-investment r-selection strategy.” I concede the point, but should stress that if you are both an artist and an IF enthusiast, you have a demonstrably poor track record of being motivated by favourable investment/returns ratios.)

Honestly, my own reason for not tossing a cover or two into the mix is just raw soul-rending horror at the thought of Joe Random IF Author’s idea of typography being slathered on top of it [emote]:([/emote] I understand that the title is the author’s choice … but if there were some rule that the cover-artist would then be allowed (not required of course, just given “first dibs”) to complete the cover once the title were chosen, I’d be in …

Even the idea that the author can remix or alter the base graphics doesn’t bother me all that much (well, by comparison). But type … geez …

Anticipated. Shub knows this thought has given me a certain degree of the willies.

So you could certainly include a note with your art, vigorously requesting that anybody who uses your graphics should comes to you for typography; and any author with a lick of sense would go for it. (Instinctively, I’m not immensely keen on changing that ‘requests’ to a ‘requires’, because I’d rather avoid allowing artists to stipulate too much.)

It’d also be good, along those general lines, if graphics-savvy folks could volunteer to add titles for less graphics-savvy authors who ask for it.

… and more is on its way. I’ve just done a bunch of sketches - some of them should clean up well enough to submit, I hope. (After all, authors are free to pick and choose, so nobody will get stuck with one of my drawings if they don’t want them.) I’m particularly happy with one of them, that AFAIK isn’t even close to fitting an existing game. (But I’d like to play the game that it’d fit!) Time to connect the scanner and start up Photoshop!

A little under a week remaining to get your covers in; the last day for entries will be next Saturday.

Good point. I might have to upload some pics for games I want to play. :stuck_out_tongue:

Just tomorrow to get in your entries, kids. (Unless you are an Exotic Time Zone Dweller, in which case the deadline may have been yesterday. I am not required to keep track of your aberrant lifestyles.) The deadline for the HIGHLY AMBIGUOUS TEASER IMAGE, alas, is past:

The second round is open, art submissions are closed, and the images are available for your perusal (many thanks Mark Musante for hosting them, and to everybody who contributed images).

Authors: you claim a cover by leaving a comment on it containing the word CLAIMED and your name. You do not need to register an account for this.

Claiming relates one author to one image: you cannot claim an already-claimed image, nor can you claim a second image. First come, first served. (The exception to this rule: if you finish your game early and really want to make another one, you can claim another image after submitting the first game. Before doing this, though, consider whether the time might not be better-spent on improving the first game.)

Then you write a game. You must submit your game (magadog, gmail) on or before May 26. There will be a testing period after this before the games are released, but you should aim to have your game finished by the 26th.

Author guidelines:

  • Don’t hog the covers. Don’t pick an image until you have some idea about the game you plan to make for it. It will be extremely lame if you grab the coolest image before you have any idea about the game, then realise that you’re stuck for ideas: then nobody gets to use that image! So be considerate and don’t rush in headlong.
  • Stay undercover. Your cover should be more than a pretty face. The point of having a cover is to give some kind of idea about an important aspect of the game, even if it’s just about the general mood rather than content.
  • Cover your ass. Credit your artist/contributor nicely.
  • Avoid discovery. Mess around with the image as much or little as you see fit, but keep it recognisable. (Painting your own image in a totally opaque layer on top of it, or zooming in on four pixels, is not really in the spirit of the exercise.) There’s no requirement to add a title to the image; in most of the contexts that the cover art will appear, the player will already know the game’s title. You don’t have to add text to the image; remember, almost everywhere that the cover art will appear, the game’s name will be displayed already. If you can’t find a way to add text without making it look terrible, consider contacting the original artist, asking for help on the forums, or just not adding a title to the image.

(I am pretty sure that every image that was submitted is in there now, but there was a last-minute clusterfuck, so if an image you submitted isn’t in the gallery or isn’t credited appropriately, please tell me. Also, the gallery decided at the last minute to choke on larger images; these images have been reduced to 1200x1200, and are listed at the bottom of the gallery with a 2 at the end of their filename. If you’d like the larger versions of these, ask.)

(Also, because this is perhaps a touch less obvious than it ought to be, you add comments by clicking through to the image, then hitting Add Comment in the left-hand sidebar.)

Are there any guidelines about the games themselves, e.g., a suggested length or type?

Given that there’s only twenty days to complete the games, I think suggested length is ‘whatever you can do in that time’. Type of games would, I think, be suggested by each individual cover.