The Diskmag Headache!
Written by Paranoid
Well, if you read the news section last issue, and read the news on The Network, you'll have seen the news about my 'pet' project. A diskmag called Amnesia. After spending considerable time developing a working interface, writing articles, beginning regular sections and trying to get people to write for a mag. Anyway, there were many problems and many steps to producing a diskmag. I don't think people realise the work that goes into diskmags. So... I thought I would maybe enlighten you all into the headache of doing a diskmag (Adok is probably nodding furiously now! :)).
First you have to develop a good interface. That's the main part of the mag apart from the articles. It's what the user interacts with in order to use the mag. Ergonomics is important here (that means how the interface has been designed for easy use by humans - for those of you who haven't done computer-science yet! ;)). You have to design it so that not even one little thing that could annoy someone is present. This is difficult, as the person designing the interface may not realise that using the cursor keys to scroll through an article is important. On the other hand, if you leave it out, you'll inevitably recieve 50 million e-mails from people complaining about it. AAARGH!
Then you have to chase up someone to do some gfx/sfx for your mag. 'Chase' being the operative word here! See the 'ARTICLES' subsection below. The fact that it takes time to do these things, on the part of the artist, means that you have to wait for a few weeks before you ask for 'em. Then they might not have them done (they may not have even started yet... but they almost never tell you this :)) so you wait another week or two. Eventually you get the music or graphics, and guess what, they don't fit-into the magazine. The music is too loud/fast/irritating, and the graphics color scheme looks like an explosion in a paint factory. Back to the drawing board....
The mere mention of this word sends most diskmag editors into cold-shakes. It's hard to understand the difficulty in getting articles for a diskmag. Hey, I mean, it takes a few minutes to do one, but surely everyone has something to say about something - and would like to express this view with others. But it never works that way. You might as well try to get blood from a stone as get articles from some people. It's just not going to happen. Although, I suppose when a mag gets more famous it gets easier. Adok says he's getting more articles coming in now. But it's always going to be difficult to fill a mag with articles in time for a release.
Many people will not realise the amount of time and work which goes into this. An editor spends a LOT of time dealing with the 'public', i.e. you and me - the people outside of the mag/group. This is basically just telling people about the mag, when it'll be released and trying to get articles. It's very important to drum up support and interest.
Very important to have excuses when your diskmag is half a year late... My excuses are lack of support, compiler/windows messed up (think it was a virus, so I have to reinstall 'em all...) and of course, not being happy with the final results. So Amnesia is on the backburner at the moment, expect it when you see it! :)