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The Master System Encyclopedia Book
Post Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:08 pm
After about 2 1/2 years of collecting information and content on every commercially released SMS game I am finally up to the design of the game pages.

I thought I would post them here first as I have gathered much of my information from here and I would like to thank all those that have answered my numerous questions and helped me out up until this point!

Below I have posted left and right page designs that will make up the bulk of the book (339 pages, one for each game).

Any thoughts about the designs would be greatly appreciated, keep in mind the info on the games is just placeholder stuff so dont take much notice of that.

The idea is to go to Kickstarter with this and I have setup a basic website for anyone who wants to sign up for updates on its progress.
https://screenpedia.wixsite.com/screenpedia
Screenpedia_--game-page-left.png (1.03 MB)
LEFT PAGE
Screenpedia_--game-page-left.png
Screenpedia_--game-page-right.png (1.16 MB)
RIGHT PAGE
Screenpedia_--game-page-right.png

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The Master System Encyclopedia Book
Post Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:54 pm
Cool idea to have a book with a page for every single game release.

I think the text would be better placed as a column underneath the stats table instead of at the bottom strip of the page. The bottom strip of the page is where footnotes etc are usually placed and while it's ok to occasionally glance there to read a footnote it would be uncomfortable to read page after page of text from that part of the page. The column of text would also help de-clutter the page layout a bit.

The location and small amount of text also gives the impression that you're downplaying the written content. I'm not sure if that's intentional but the text I feel should be loaded with insight and information so that you want to pull the book out and have a read over a glass of scotch or bag of chips.

Just an idea, but you could also make the pixel art half the size and use it to indent the first paragraph of the written content. That way the reader's eye is captured and drawn towards the start of the text on the page.

Just my 2 cents. :)
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:23 pm
Given all the licensing problems that other book had, what's your approach in that front?

Have you considered anamorphic scaling for the screenshots to reflect what shows on a TV?

I think the screenshots deserve some text. It's a lot of work, but every game deserves something to say what the screenshot is of and why that's interesting.
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Post Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:39 am
asynchronous wrote
Cool idea to have a book with a page for every single game release.

I think the text would be better placed as a column underneath the stats table instead of at the bottom strip of the page. The bottom strip of the page is where footnotes etc are usually placed and while it's ok to occasionally glance there to read a footnote it would be uncomfortable to read page after page of text from that part of the page. The column of text would also help de-clutter the page layout a bit.

The location and small amount of text also gives the impression that you're downplaying the written content. I'm not sure if that's intentional but the text I feel should be loaded with insight and information so that you want to pull the book out and have a read over a glass of scotch or bag of chips.

Just an idea, but you could also make the pixel art half the size and use it to indent the first paragraph of the written content. That way the reader's eye is captured and drawn towards the start of the text on the page.

Just my 2 cents. :)


Thanks for commenting on this , ok so my plan is to create a visual encyclopedia of all master system games with the artwork being the primary focus and you may have noticed that all lives and scores etc have been removed to give full focus to the pixel art itself, maybe this is because I am a visual person.

The box text was an after thought which I added at the end of the design as I needed something to fill the space between the ports. This meant that the more ports a game had like the example of Outrun the less space I had for box text.

Another issue is that most of the time different regions have different text so which one would I use and if I used both it could easily eat up a quarter of a page.and some like the Korean ones virtually nothing. So I decided to add text from a random version and at the end put a region code so the user could look it up on a website like this for the full blurb.

You do raise another good point about the page loooking to cluttered and I was concerned about this I didnt want it to look like a wall of colour Im not exactly sure how to rectify this yet.
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Post Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:07 pm
You shouldn´t ignore the licensing stuff; if you do, you risk a lot of problems.
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Post Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:03 pm
Maxim wrote
Given all the licensing problems that other book had, what's your approach in that front?

Have you considered anamorphic scaling for the screenshots to reflect what shows on a TV?

I think the screenshots deserve some text. It's a lot of work, but every game deserves something to say what the screenshot is of and why that's interesting.


With Licensing I decided very early on in the project not to approach Sega for a licence as I knew it would be problematic not because of Sega but in locating all the other publishers and developers most of which don't exist anymore.

Don't get me wrong I do want Sega's blessing but with licensing I fully understand their position as they are a big target for a lawsuit. We all saw all the dramas Sam Dyer had with his book, especially the exclusion of WonderBoy the Master systems surrogate mascot.

Sam could get around this with his book as it is an overall look at the System whereas mine being an encyclopedia I can't afford any exclusions.

So I decided to approach this like Sam did with his Nes and Snes books putting no reference to Ni****do on the cover and putting unofficia on the cover. So it will be named either 'Master System Encyclopedia' or 'Master System Screenpedia' referring to the fact that it is an encyclopedia of screenshots.

I would love to hear your or anyone's thoughts on this as it probably the biggest challenge to this project.

As for anamorphic scaling I didn't really consider this, I did on the other hand think about adding scanlines but opted out of it and choosing to go with the pixel art approach, I love that look!

Text under the images could break up the pages and not make it just a wall of colour like I mentioned in the above post with asynchronous, do you think it should simply have 'Stage 2' or something more descriptive keeping in mind that this is an encyclopedia and I want to keep my opinions out of it?
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Post Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:07 pm
Gordman wrote
You shouldn´t ignore the licensing stuff; if you do, you risk a lot of problems.


This is true and I have talked about this in the above post with Maxim.
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Post Posted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:12 am
Another encyclopedia for SMS and GG was recently crowdfunded in Brazil:
https://www.catarse.me/MasterSystem

This project is being carried out in partnership with Tectoy, as stated by the creators.

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Post Posted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 11:19 pm
gallos_11 wrote
Another encyclopedia for SMS and GG was recently crowdfunded in Brazil:
https://www.catarse.me/MasterSystem

This project is being carried out in partnership with Tectoy, as stated by the creators.

Great find!

Interesting it claims that it has all games I wonder if they mean all those released in Brazil?

Also the cover is in line with my thinking in naming it just the Master System not the Sega Master System to avoid legal issues, well as much as possible.

One thing I am curious about with most of these books are the reviews each game has. As far as I am aware encyclopedias shouldnt has personal opinions in them it should be just the facts.
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 1:08 am
Maxim wrote
I think the screenshots deserve some text. It's a lot of work, but every game deserves something to say what the screenshot is of and why that's interesting.


I have mocked up the Outrun page to have text underneth do you think it looks better?

Also what text do you think works better just basic "stage 2 " or something a little more like "Flat out under the pillars" or something to that effect?

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Post Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:24 am
There are stage names in the manual although it's tricky to match the names as it's rather ambiguous.

You could go more magazine like with captions like "Flat out under the pillars of the Gateway stage", or maybe be more technically insightful with comments like "The pillars effect was choppy but very impressive as such full screen effects hadn't been seen on earlier titles".
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 8:48 am
Maxim wrote
There are stage names in the manual although it's tricky to match the names as it's rather ambiguous.

You could go more magazine like with captions like "Flat out under the pillars of the Gateway stage", or maybe be more technically insightful with comments like "The pillars effect was choppy but very impressive as such full screen effects hadn't been seen on earlier titles".


Yeah I see your point about the stage names I wont do those but maybe the magazine caption route as I could keep it to one line under each image to save on clutter.

I kind of like your idea of the technical option but I feel I wouldn't do it justice as I am not very technically minded, unless you would like to give me a hand ;)
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:25 am
It is a huge undertaking.
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:28 am
Maxim wrote
It is a huge undertaking.

That's not a no
;)
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:22 pm
Regarding the array of console and computer platform logos... they are all different sizes and shapes, so it looks a bit cluttered. I would suggest just going with a text list. Alternately you might consider creating your own icons to represent each platform and that way you could make their sizes and shapes consistent.

You've misspelled "peripherals." Also, I believe "Out Run" or "OutRun" is the established spelling rather than "Outrun." (Sorry if I'm jumping the gun with noting typos while you're still focusing on design!)

MSRP is interesting, when it can be found. Some younger gamers might be surprised to learn that games of this era were sometimes more expensive than AAA titles are now... and that's before adjusting for inflation! So I'd suggest adding that to the list of facts.

As for removing the scores, lives, etc. from the images, I would question that decision because although they are rather plain and utilitarian in some games, there are other games where they contain some graphical elements that are interesting in their own right.

Lastly, fully acknowledging that this suggestion implies a gargantuan effort, I would also encourage you to write something about each game. I think you can avoid editorializing and still find interesting facts to note about each game. (For example, you could note that the Japanese version of Out Run supported the Sega Paddle peripheral; Alex Kidd in Miracle World was originally going to be a Dragon Ball game; Space Harrier was the first "two mega cartridge" and was programmed by Yuji Naka; etc.) But also in doing so, I would think you'd need at least two pages per game total, so the overall layout for each game won't look too crammed/cluttered.
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Post Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 12:20 am
Centrale wrote
Regarding the array of console and computer platform logos... they are all different sizes and shapes, so it looks a bit cluttered. I would suggest just going with a text list. Alternately you might consider creating your own icons to represent each platform and that way you could make their sizes and shapes consistent.

You've misspelled "peripherals." Also, I believe "Out Run" or "OutRun" is the established spelling rather than "Outrun." (Sorry if I'm jumping the gun with noting typos while you're still focusing on design!)

MSRP is interesting, when it can be found. Some younger gamers might be surprised to learn that games of this era were sometimes more expensive than AAA titles are now... and that's before adjusting for inflation! So I'd suggest adding that to the list of facts.

As for removing the scores, lives, etc. from the images, I would question that decision because although they are rather plain and utilitarian in some games, there are other games where they contain some graphical elements that are interesting in their own right.

Lastly, fully acknowledging that this suggestion implies a gargantuan effort, I would also encourage you to write something about each game. I think you can avoid editorializing and still find interesting facts to note about each game. (For example, you could note that the Japanese version of Out Run supported the Sega Paddle peripheral; Alex Kidd in Miracle World was originally going to be a Dragon Ball game; Space Harrier was the first "two mega cartridge" and was programmed by Yuji Naka; etc.) But also in doing so, I would think you'd need at least two pages per game total, so the overall layout for each game won't look too crammed/cluttered.


Thanks for such a detailed response!

Here is a detailed reply

With the computer and console logos I had from day one decided to use standard sized icons and was temporarily using some from a retropie theme, there were a couple of problems with this, the first being that they had to be quite big to be recognizable so I could only get one in that space and place them side by side at the bottom instead of the two lines that I now have, this frees up space for at least some box text. The second is I cant draw and so I would have to either find someone who can make them or use ones they have already created. So I settled on the logo approach I guess I could have used just text but I think it would just blend into the box text and not really stand out also I kind of like this look it reminds me of logo stickers found on drift cars and makes it standout and although they are different widths they are all the same height.

With the misspelling I have always sucked at spelling pheripherials and I will change that now so it doesn't get printed that way and yep Outrun will be probably be spelled OutRun but place marker stuff and all that.

As for the MSRP I didn't know if the information out there was correct and it is very patchy, it was hard enough to get a consensus on console pricing across the various sites. Segaretro and Smspower are the two best sources and I just did a search on Quartet as an example and it didn't have a US price, so I am hesitant to add this field as it would kind of look unfinished.

Removal of scores and such was only done to games with overlay icons, I posted an example of these below, Enduro racer has had those removed whereas games like Ace of Aces haven't been touched or at most had scores zeroed out.

The finished name for my book will be “SCREENPEDIA” “The Master System Encyclopedia” or something to that effect, I used Screenpedia as it alludes to a visual encyclopedia, so I tried to keep irrelevant text to a minimum hence keeping reviews and my personal experiences and opinions out of it. As for cool facts about the games I do like this but unfortunately they are hard to prove, especially for the more obscure games.

Also not ever game has one so some games would require addition space where as others would require none leaving me with a gap to fill with something else. One thing I haven't showed in the images is that I have allowed space above the sprites for alternate names, clone references and working titles so there is that.

The book as it stands is around 428 pages if I was to give each game its own page it would bump that up to around 770 pages which I would have to split over two books at around 335 pages each and bumping the price up to around 80 to 90 pounds which is a huge amount of money. If this book is successful my next book would be either the Amiga CD32 or Neo Geo two systems that have a library of around 200 games and great 32bit art that would warrant a two page spread per game and still be around 400 pages.

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Post Posted: Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:53 pm
Have you considered devoting less than a full page to some simpler games? For example, I wonder if something like Super Tennis is going to even have seven distinctly different screenshots. If there are several simpler games that don't need as much space, it could buy you some extra space for games that arguably have more than seven distinctive screens to share.

Regarding the missing MSRP for some games... that's definitely a factor. But some can be extrapolated from what we know. Taking the example of Quartet, it's a (one) Mega Cartridge, and all of those originally retailed at $29.99 in the US.

What's the difference between Players and Play Type?

Perspective might be self-evident by looking at the screenshots unless there's some unusual kind of changing perspective.
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Post Posted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:16 am
Great idea for a book, I'd definitely buy it once it's finished!

Have you considered a section for official games that remained long time unreleased until recently? Like Lemmings 2, which is an incredible finished game, not just a demo!
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Post Posted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:28 am
Centrale wrote
Have you considered devoting less than a full page to some simpler games? For example, I wonder if something like Super Tennis is going to even have seven distinctly different screenshots. If there are several simpler games that don't need as much space, it could buy you some extra space for games that arguably have more than seven distinctive screens to share.

Regarding the missing MSRP for some games... that's definitely a factor. But some can be extrapolated from what we know. Taking the example of Quartet, it's a (one) Mega Cartridge, and all of those originally retailed at $29.99 in the US.

What's the difference between Players and Play Type?

Perspective might be self-evident by looking at the screenshots unless there's some unusual kind of changing perspective.

Full Page Vs Half page

I never considered doing anything less than a full page for each game as I wanted it to be uniform across the board, this was hard for games like Super Tennis and Shanghai if I remember rightly. If I did do a half page for let’s say Super Tennis it would make it harder to slot in if the game before and after Super Tennis alphabetically had enough content to fill a whole page, I would have to cut down one of those pages to make it fit. I have thought that if I ever did an Atari 2600 book I would do all the games half page which would make it around 400 pages the same size as this one.

Players Vs Play Type

‘PLAYERS’ are the amount of players that can play the game at any one time.

‘PLAY TYPE’ is how those players play the game. If it is a one player game then ‘Solo’, if it is a two player game then it could be ‘Alternating’ – One at a time, ‘Simultaneous’ – at the same time but against each other or ‘Co-Operative’ – at the same time but working together.

Perspective

Yeah you’re right for the most part it’s pretty obvious from looking at the screenshots what that is and for games that do change the perspective I will definitely show a shot of that too, but I kind of feel it needs to be in there none the less.


With the MSRP you have got me thinking about this and here are might thoughts so far:
The regions I am covering are Japan, USA, Europe, Brazil, Australia and Korea, I figure that Korea will be almost impossible to find pricing on so I will count them out. As for the others I believe there is a complete Japanese price list floating around so that’s fine, for USA as you said we can extrapolate those, Europe and Brazil could be found from searching through magazines which wouldn’t be totally accurate but close and Australia through shop catalogues that again wouldn’t be 100% accurate. The last three regions would take a lot of time researching for something that may not be that accurate, your thoughts on this one?
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Post Posted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:41 am
Ron_Stard wrote
Great idea for a book, I'd definitely buy it once it's finished!

Have you considered a section for official games that remained long time unreleased until recently? Like Lemmings 2, which is an incredible finished game, not just a demo!


Thanks, I didn't think it would take this much time when I started this project but its getting closer now just getting pricing for printing and deciding what rewards to give etc..

Yes I have considered this and the layout will be like this:
- Commercially released games numbering 339 as seen in the above images.
- Legacy mode games mostly Korean games and will feature screenshots.
- Prototypes, games that were finished but not released (Lemmings 2) these will have screenshots
- Rumoured games this will be just a list of games.
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