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General Forge Forums => Independent Publishing => Topic started by: Illetizgerg on December 03, 2011, 02:21:47 PM



Title: Any use of LaTeX for self-publishing?
Post by: Illetizgerg on December 03, 2011, 02:21:47 PM
This is my first post in a while (I believe years), so I apologize if this topic is misplaced. I was curious if anyone uses LaTeX for document preparation, and how it stands up to the alternatives. I am not particularly fond of LyX or any specific processor, and was rather just wondering if anyone was using TeX at all. As a grad student in mathematics, I have quite a lot of experience with LaTeX out of necessity, and it would be quite nice to use it to prepare documents for printing if I end up getting that far in any of my projects.


Title: Re: Any use of LaTeX for self-publishing?
Post by: Christoph Boeckle on December 07, 2011, 02:42:08 AM
Hello

My brother is using LaTeX for a French translation of The Shadow of Yesterday (http://lombre-du-passe.110mb.com/). He uses it to generate the html and the pdf. His aims are to save as much time as possible, and since the game is under Creative Commons licence he can and wants to share it on the web in different ways. The big problem is that most people don't read LaTeX, so for proofreading he has to change formats, and he looses time on that side of the process. I'd have to ask him again what he thinks of it all.
I've used LaTeX to lay out playtest documents of my games before, and Victor Gijsbers's games (http://lilith.gotdns.org/~victor/?q=rpgs) are also laid out in LaTeX if you want to have a look.

I think a big question that crops up is due to the fact that LaTeX documents are quite austere and formal looking (yet quite elegant in my opinion), and RPGs usually tend to go to the cute/overworked side of layout. Knowing your public, your game and your distribution solutions are probably the first steps before committing to any method for the layout of your document


Title: Re: Any use of LaTeX for self-publishing?
Post by: Illetizgerg on December 07, 2011, 02:35:37 PM
Thanks for the links, it was especially interesting looking at the work that your brother is doing. Although I don't speak a word of French, the first PDF I looked at was massive, and it was interesting seeing how the layout was handled in LaTeX.

The big problem is that most people don't read LaTeX, so for proofreading he has to change formats, and he looses time on that side of the process.

I suppose I could read LaTeX if I had too, but since compiling is usually brief (I suppose something book sized might take a minute, but not much more than that), why wouldn't you just process your most recent draft as a PDF and then proofread that? I use TeXworks for what I do now, so I type in TeX on the left side, and then click a button and a PDF version pops up on the right. When I'm working I almost never look at what I'm typing, but instead wait until I've finished a line or a formula and then look at the end result. I would imagine you would do something similar with an RPG.

I think a big question that crops up is due to the fact that LaTeX documents are quite austere and formal looking (yet quite elegant in my opinion), and RPGs usually tend to go to the cute/overworked side of layout. Knowing your public, your game and your distribution solutions are probably the first steps before committing to any method for the layout of your document

This was definitely my biggest concern. I would be interested to know if anyone has actually published with LaTeX, and perhaps imitated the more personal feel that you get from most RPG texts.


Title: Re: Any use of LaTeX for self-publishing?
Post by: Christoph Boeckle on December 08, 2011, 03:20:31 AM
Hello

The big advantage of a file format like LibreOffice's (and to some extent MS Word) is that it is very accessible, lets you follow modifications (and then the author can just approve or reject the suggested changes), include comments, etc. Also, if you outsource copy-editing, you'd need somebody who understands LaTeX.
Of course you can comment pdf files, but then you have to import the comments back into the .tex file, a source of error.

Also, if you want to define a personal style, you have to know how to do it (an advanced LaTeX skill, at least if you want to achieve something quite fancy, and I've doubt that skilled layout people usually have LaTeX skills).

I don't know of any printed RPGs prepared with LaTeX.


Title: Re: Any use of LaTeX for self-publishing?
Post by: Christoph Boeckle on January 19, 2012, 04:35:31 AM
Just a quick add-on: it is possible to convert .tex into .rtf  (http://latex2rtf.sourceforge.net/) and back again (http://rtf2latex2e.sourceforge.net/). So at least you can easily produce documents usable by most people. Haven't used any of it myself though.


Title: Re: Any use of LaTeX for self-publishing?
Post by: kensanata on March 16, 2012, 01:40:44 PM
In 2010 I did a little comparison for a small two page PDF I wanted to publish. I tried my wiki with appropriate styling (which is what I would have preferred), LaTeX, DocBook and Open Office (at the time). Open Office won. Friends suggested txt2tags and rst2pdf, both of which I was unfamiliar with.

The problem I have with LaTeX is that once I left university, all my skills atrophied. :(


Title: Re: Any use of LaTeX for self-publishing?
Post by: zwrench on April 16, 2012, 02:21:45 PM
Personally I'd rather go with the Microsoft Word and then Indesign route. Word is the best on the market for spell check/general text editing, and then Indesign works well as a WYSIWYG editor. The disadvantages of Indisign are that it has a steep learning curve, it's very expensive for hobbyists, and it is a hog for computing power compared to LaTex or Word or OpenOffice. I wish that there were an open source competitor that could even come close to stacking up to Indesign's features, but I've yet to see one.