Has anyone created PDF/PNG "documents" for use in a game?


#1

I’m working on my CoG Contest entry tonight, and let’s just say the storyline requires a fair number of documents for the player to review and analyze.

I’ve concluded that “making” the documents as PDFs is much more visually interesting because it allows me to use special fonts, center and justify text however I like, add signatures, and even add effects like crinkled edges and such. Basically I can make the documents look “authentic.”

When comparing it to just a standard page of text, I think it would engage and immerse the reader more thoroughly, and is far superior to me paraphrasing the documents in the story, which strikes me as dull and dry.

However, I suppose the negative is that visually impaired readers would struggle with this, because I guess the programs they use wouldn’t be able to decipher the PDF documents? I don’t mean to downplay this as a negative, and I’m sensitive to this issue, but I guess my question is, is this the only negative? Am I missing other problems?


Writing with Screenreader in Mind
#2

I don’t think making the file a PDF format would be a problem at for the visually impaired. As someone who is visually impaired, I can honestly tell you that there are now programs available paid or free that can read PDF format.

Just to give an example, the Adobe Acrobat Reader already has a Read Out Loud feature. Located at the view tag, then by selecting Read Out Loud at the very bottom. If they don’t like the voice or they want to adjust something they just need to go to the Edit tag then select preferences. They’ll view the categories, they must select Reading and that is where they can adjust the Read Out Loud to however they’d like it.

The only down side that I can tell, is if you put pictures, the text reader won’t pick that up. Even with flavored text, I mean text with designs on them, as long as the letters are readable the text reader will be able to read them.


Writing with Screenreader in Mind
#3

It may make them hard to read on phone screens unless the text is large. I’m not sure if PDF’s are different but I can’t zoom in on pictures within COG games.


#4

@honeymichie, thanks so much for sharing that info. I feel better about that now!

And @Jacic Yeah the screen size thing is a big deal. I forgot about the reader not being able to enlarge the image. If people played mostly on Steam, I could name some awesome docs, but paying on phones means I’d have to make the type no smaller than then type on these forums (as an example) and that would cap me at 150-175 words or so for each doc, or else create second pages of certain docs on the next screen.

Thanks for bringing that up. I still think it’s doable though.

EDITED to add: I wonder how much it would increase the overall MB of the game if there were let’s say 20 of such docs in the game.


#5

Can ChoiceScript work with PDF or did you mean for another platform?


#6

Well PNG files would work fine, just like they do with cover art and interior pics, so I guess I’d go with that.


#7

Huh, I thought you’re going for “standalone” documents where you put images into your blog or something, and have an in-game link to the mentioned docs.

I personally prefer for the standalone type, tho. Not only you can have more freedom at creating the images, it actually isn’t any harder to do than putting .png into your story. The only downside is that people who don’t play/read your work may also gain access to those docs, tho, which can be spoilery :slight_frown:


#8

It would also mean people wouldn’t be able to play the games offline, which might be a turn-off. Plus if I had to stop playing and wait for a webpage off of the actual game to load it would really break my immersion. And I mean trusting CoG as a company and Eric as a person it wouldn’t really be an issue for me, but some people might not trust off-site links.

I think it sounds like the size issue is the biggest so far, but I think if you can work around that you’ll be solid. For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t mind going through multiple pages of an image that I’m reading as long as the text is easy to read. As well, wrt text readers–I don’t know about Choicescript, but when I took a coding class in college a lot of the codes we used allowed for people to put in “descriptions” on their images that text readers would be able to pick up to tell people what the images said. If you could do that in CS, you could put the text of the document in the description and then it would solve the issue of text readers