Update 21 – The Hardcover Book

Hello everyone, I got a few news to share today.

First, I’ve updated the book to version 1.0.4, fixing more typos, fixing issues, updating some reviews (Barkley 2 still had a 2016 release date!) and adding an article about the unreleased RPG Citadel of the Black Sun on page 509.

Second, some people have been making their own physical version of the book:

books

That’s awesome, but it won’t be needed anymore, as I now signed a deal for a limited print of the book – fully proofread and in hardcover! Of course, since this is a non-profit project, we’ll use it as a charity fundraiser! More info on this soon!

However, as part of the hardcover book deal I agreed not to release any more files while the book is being produced & sold. So 1.0.4 will be the last version for a while and I’ll be removing the files in this blog – starting tomorrow! Grab them while you can!

Once the contract ends, things return to normal and I’ll be able to freely share this new & improved version with all of you. I think that’s a fair trade. 🙂

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Update 20 – Thanks, ePub & Project Files

Hello everyone,

It has been an overwhelming week! In less than 5 days the CRPG Book got over 100k downloads and it has been a blast to see everyone enjoying it. 🙂

Several volunteers appeared to help with proofreading and I’m trying to come up with a good system for this. I’ve also “patched” the book to version 1.0.2, fixing a bunch of typos, grammar mistakes and adding three contributors whose name had been left out.

A lot of people want an ePub version. This is hard to do with such complex layout, but I’ve exported it as well as I could. Please get in touch if you know how to do this better.

ePub Version

Also, some groups are now translating the book to Spanish, German, Russian and Chinese! Besides the translations, a lot of people wanted to print a copy for personal use, make “abridged” versions,  or simply check the files to see how the project was made.

So here’s a link to the full InDesign project.

The CRPG Book uses a CC BY-NC 4.0 Creative Commons license, meaning you can use it however you wish – as long as you credit the authors and don’t use it for monetary gain.

Finally, I received a few offers to publish a hardcover version! The idea is to turn it into a charity fundraiser, so I’ll keep everyone updated as things progress.

But for now, I’ll rest a bit. Thanks everyone for an unforgettable week! 🙂

Update 19 – CRPG BOOK RELEASED!

Four years ago I began a journey.

On Feb 5 2014 I posted the results of the RPG Codex’s Top 70 poll, in which we elected the best CRPGs of all time. But I felt that a simple list was too dry… more than the ranking, I was interested in WHY these games were good. From there came the idea of asking people to write a short paragraph talking about each title.

This became a updated version of the Codex’s Top 70, now with screenshots and brief descriptions of each game. That’s my favorite piece of content I ever made, but I still wanted more – more games, more screenshots, longer reviews, tips on mods, fan-made patches, etc. So I made a list of all the RPGs I wanted to cover and began recruiting volunteers for the “CRPG Book Project”.

Having done the Top 70 list in 3 months, I thought I could do 300 games in about 10 months or so. Ha, it took me four years… but it is done!

Dear reader, I present you the full release of the CRPG BOOK PROJECT!

doe

Across its 528 pages you’ll find information about over 400 RPGs, from the early PLATO games to modern AAA releases, as well as hidden gems, curiosities and even fan-translations. The reviews were written by a team of 112 volunteers from all around the globe – fans, modders, journalists, critics, indies and AAA developers.

Above all, this book is a passion project. Free, non-commercial, created by people who wanted to share their hobby and help others have fun.  I’m very proud of what we achieved, and I would like to thank everyone who helped me on this journey.

I’ll also take this chance to address some criticism & future plans:

1) Physical Edition – This is the question I’m asked the most: “Will there be a physical edition?”. I would love to have one, but it’s something very complicated to produce – especially for a 528-page color book! Most on-demand printing services won’t do something this big, and even if I cut the book down to CreateSpace’s 480-page limit, it would be a VERY expensive book, costing over $60!

Crowdfunding is another alternative, but I’m a Brazilian immigrant living in Japan on a temporary visa – the legal procedures & taxes involved are kinda uncharted territory. There are book-oriented crowdfunding services like Unbound, but you’ll notice that even veterans like Hardcore Gaming 101 and Guru Larry are having difficulty reaching their goals. I’m looking for alternatives, so if you have any ideas please message me.

2) Proofreading – The book hasn’t been proofread. It’s something I want to do (and get a lot of messages about it), especially since many reviewers (myself included) aren’t native english speakers, but it’s not easy – the book has over 310,000 words, which is about 2/3 of the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy! Since we have no money and it’s something I can’t do myself, we depend on the work of volunteers.

3) Extra content – There’s still about 10 minor RPGs I want to add to the book in the future, but couldn’t do it yet for one reason or another. E.g., I wanted a SpellForce series review, but couldn’t find any volunteers and my computer can’t run SpellForce 3.

There’s also a few extra articles I would like to include, such as a timeline on MMORPGs & MUDs and short introductions to old home computers, such as the C64, Amiga, ZX Spectrum, TRS-80, etc, which I’m guessing many readers never saw and know little about. I had a draft for the latter, but unfortunately couldn’t find enough teach-savvy volunteers to write them.

I hope to add the extra content, proof-read everything and make a “Editor’s Cut” re-release & physical edition sometime in the future, but I can’t make any promises, as I now need to focus on important personal things – like getting a work visa.

Still, I truly believe that the book is a worthwhile read as it stands. It has its shortcomings and issues, but hopefully it’s a flawed gem – like all the best RPGs are.

Update 18 – RELEASE DATE: February 5!

Hey everyone, it has been a while… in fact, almost a year!

2017 was a busy year for me, but had a great pay off. I spent months job hunting and finally landed a job, and also managed to learn enough moonrunes to pass JLPT N3.

Also, I finished the CRPG Book! I already have the drafts of the two final reviews, I’m just waiting for them while double-checking everything else. The book will arrive in all its glory on February 5 – the 4th anniversary of the project! Stay tuned! 🙂

Update 17 – The Final Preview!

It’s finally here! I present you our fifth release, the 450-page preview of the CRPG Book!

DOWNLOAD IT HERE: CRPG Book Preview 5

This will be the last “alpha preview”, as the book is very close to be completed. The big updates here are the computer history timeline, which is finally completed, and the addition of hyperlinks and .pdf bookmarks – perhaps our most requested feature.

I’ve also added new articles on the history of JRPGs, difference between ports, cancelled RPGs and a FAQ to beginners. Plus dozens of new reviews – Dwarf Fortress, Mass Effect 3, Pillars of Eternity, Ultima VII, Wizardry VII, Planescape: Torment and many more…

Sadly, the pace of new review in the past months has been extremely slow, so if you’re interested in writing a review for the CRPG Book, please do so! We could use the help!

In other news, if you somehow missed it I’ve created a Flickr account in December to hold screenshots taken while creating the book – as well as some from the CRPG Addict. It currently holds over 18,000 images in .png,  neatly organized in albums:

ibagems

You can access it here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/crpgbook/albums

Feel free to use them as you like, and if there’s any screenshots of your own you would like to submit to the gallery, just e-mail them to me. Cheers!

 

Update 16 – Over 9.000 screenshot gallery!

Today, I have a surprise: https://www.flickr.com/photos/crpgbook/albums

An annoying issue when talking about old RPGs is getting good screenshots for them. MobyGames is great, but some really rare games have very few images, usually only from the first area, and sometimes they are compressed in .jpeg.

So since I began this project 3 years ago, I’ve been taking .png screenshots of very single RPG I’ve played. They are currently just over 10.000 images, including stuff I never saw before in screenshots, like a multiplayer round of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic.

All this is now being uploaded to Flickr for anyone who wish to use or browse them. 🙂

Meanwhile,work on the book continues. I want to release the new preview right after Christmas, but I’m not sure I’ll make it, so no promises… regardless, happy holidays! 😀

Update: I since got authorization from the CRPG Addict to upload his screenshots as well, pushing us just over 16,000 images!

Update 15 – Closer to the End

Hey, been a while since my last update, so here’s some news:

The book’s master file sitting on my PC is currently 420 pages long, so a lot of progress was made since last time. This includes about 30 new reviews, a glossary, more unreleased games, fan-translations and even a brief 4-page primer on the origins of JRPGs:

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Those who follow me on twitter probably saw it, but I’ve wrote an extensive article on the origins of JRPGs for Gamasutra, and this section is an abridged version of that article.

More will likely follow, as I plan to use this format to create a brief timeline giving readers some context on what was going on with JRPGs and MMORPGs (possibly tabletop RPGs too) in parallel with the main CRPG timeline.

Other improvements include updating old reviews, re-doing unsatisfying ones, adding hyperlinks and FINALLY making sure font sizes are consistent throughout the book. As usual, I intend to post the next release by December – and it will likely be the final “preview”.

Yes, I’m quite confident that in 2017 the book will finally be concluded! 😀

So I’m looking to tie loose knots. One of those is the hardware section, briefly explaining to younger readers what weird names like “Commodore 64” and “Spectrum ZX” mean:

crpg-book3177

I’m really not qualified to talk about tech, so I’m looking for old hardware enthusiasts and experts to help with this. If you’re one – or know anyone who is – please let me know. 🙂

Cheers!