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HGZine


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Hiiiiii,

Um, a quick pimp. HGZine - a free interactive-PDF magazine - launched its first issue yesterday, and it's brilliant. It's edited by Keith Stuart (from The Guardian Gamesblog) and has loads of sweet features, chief among which is video embedded into previews and reviews as well as some other cool stuff. This month we have reviews of Sid Meier's Pirates, Ghost Rider, M.A.C.H, Castlevania, Mario vs Donkey Kong 2 and more, with previews of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Pokemon Diamond and, um, other stuff. Plus a column from Aleks Krotoski and the chance to win one of 15 PSP games.

I just want to make clear that this isn't me pimping it because I want to show off to everyone or anything - I'm not particularly attached to anything I did for it - it's more that I'm really impressed with what everyone pulled together to make, and I think it deserves to do well. It's free, and a pretty small download (~30Mb, which is pretty small considering the number of images/videos included), and all you need is Acrobat 8 to view it.

You can get it from http://www.gamerzines.com/hgzine/

Thanks, and apologies for such brazen pimping.

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"There was an error opening this document. The file is damaged and could not be repaired."

I spotted this thread as a referrer so came along to see what was being said (I'm the Publishing Director over at Gamerzines).

This error is caused by having an old version of Adobe Reader. The PDFs include multimedia and that is PDF 1.5 spec, so you need to have a recent copy of Adobe Reader. If you install version 8 from Adobe it should solve this, plus it's got some security updates that are a good idea anyway.

This also means though that third party PDF readers won't work either, btw, as Adobe never released the specs beyond PDF 1.0, so I'm afraid you do need the Adobe Reader.

If this doesn't solve the problem, let me know and I'll see if I can help you sort it.

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The joy of being free is that there's room for more than one in your life (:(), and updating Acrobat isn't a huge deal (especially when everyone else jumps on the PDF 1.5 bandwagon). It's a pretty different experience, and one you might not like if you're a die-hard fan of traditional print, but it's definitely worth checking out.

Some images:

hgzine_1_cover.jpgmario-vs-donkey-kong.jpg

driver-76.jpgpokemon-diamond.jpg

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The joy of being free is that there's room for more than one in your life (:(), and updating Acrobat isn't a huge deal (especially when everyone else jumps on the PDF 1.5 bandwagon). It's a pretty different experience, and one you might not like if you're a die-hard fan of traditional print, but it's definitely worth checking out.

Some images:

hgzine_1_cover.jpgmario-vs-donkey-kong.jpg

driver-76.jpgpokemon-diamond.jpg

Looks very pro, that.

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Very pretty and nicely designed. I still don't get these things though - a web site is better than a static mag IMO. It just seems a bit luddite to try to recreate a paper page on a monitor.

Some videos worked, on other pages I just got a white block over the top of some of the screenshots - the screenshot was visible for an instant before the white block appeared.

I don't like it defaulting to full screen.

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Looks very pro, that.

It should do! It is professional:

Dave Taylor - Publishing Director

Dave worked at Future Publishing for over 10 years, working as Group Publisher on magazines such as PC Format and Microsoft Windows XP: The Official Magazine. Dave was also Publishing Director for Highbury Entertainment, publishing Games TM, Play and X360.

dave.taylor@cranberrypublishing.com

Dan Hutchinson - Editorial Director

Dan worked at Future Publishing editing many magazines including PC Format. Dan was also Editorial Director for Highbury Entertainment, launching the critically acclaimed X360 and overseeing titles such as Play, XBM and GamesTM.

dan.hutchinson@cranberrypublishing.com

Duncan Ferguson - Commercial Director

Duncan worked at Future Publishing for over 10 years and has worked on the commercial side of pretty much every major games magazine in the UK, including the Official XBox Magazine and the Official XBox 360 Magazine.

duncan.ferguson@cranberrypublishing.com

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Very pretty and nicely designed. I still don't get these things though - a web site is better than a static mag IMO. It just seems a bit luddite to try to recreate a paper page on a monitor.

Some videos worked, on other pages I just got a white block over the top of some of the screenshots - the screenshot was visible for an instant before the white block appeared.

I don't like it defaulting to full screen.

Ah, OK, you're not enjoying the full thing then, because that's much of the point, to add to the static page with non-static elements, like animation. The white squares are multimedia content that's not displaying correctly.

And, I can guess why - Internet Explorer 7 breaks Adobe Reader, even if you don't actually use it, just having it installed breaks its ability to play multimedia. Adobe fixed this in Reader 8 so if you upgrade to that version, you'll get the full effect and hopefully like it a bit more.

The bonus is that Adobe Reader 8 also will ask you whether you want the mag in full screen or not.

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Why not just make a website?

I don't think it's the same medium as a website, tbh. There are lots of great games websites out there and what we wanted to do was create something that more mimicked the immersive read you get when reading a magazine, only using some of the extra functionality that digital publishing allows.

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Why not just make a website?

There are loads of these sort of fanzines that refuse to be websites. I've always assumed that the motivation is because people who write for these magazines want to work in print magazines, or already do and want to show their peers how excellent their off-duty work is. They get to do fancy designs and all of the things they'd do if they were on the newsstands. Printed out versions presumably look better when you show an interviewer your portfolio.

I don't really think it benefits the ordinary reader one bit. I'd certainly massively prefer a website I could read on any browser, given that in this case I have to jump through hoops to upgrade software on this work PC because my default .pdf viewer doesn't work. Even sites which can be read through a browser, like The Escapist, are not brilliant to navigate and getting to a sensible text view involves some extra scrolling and clicking.

None of these sites are as awkward as digiworld's fake teletext interface, which I suppose is a blessing.

Thanks to CranberryPub for the excellent technical support. I'll make the effort to read it, but it might have to wait until the weekend.

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Why not just make a website?

Given that the code for the website is a tangled nightmare of divs and tables, it's completely inaccessible, it won't do a damn thing in Google, and they don't even bother trying to detect the version of Acrobat the user has installed despite it being an absolutely fundamental aspect of their whole business ... I'm pretty sure they didn't do this as a website because they just don't have the ability to.

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None of the text shows up in Preview or PDF Viewer in OSX, the layout is visible but I'm seeing blank areas where the copy should be.

Apart from that, I agree that the pdf format is wholly inappropriate for what you're trying to do. It's self indulgent and is trying too hard to be a print magazine. If the content is good you should be confident enough to present it as plain text, I get the feeling that whoever is behind this doesn't understand that design = communication.

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I don't think it's the same medium as a website, tbh. There are lots of great games websites out there and what we wanted to do was create something that more mimicked the immersive read you get when reading a magazine, only using some of the extra functionality that digital publishing allows.

Fair enough, but surely the immersive read you get with a magazine is because you can hold it in your hands when you're on the toilet or the bus.

I can sort of understand that people making these PDF zines might kind of expect / want their user's to print them out, even if I think that's a bit wrong headed, but by adding videos etc you are firmly tying it to the screen and not allowing it to work on paper. PDFs seem like a bizarre format to choose if you want to to present infomation to a web user.

As Graham says, making something to showcase your mag design skills as a way to get a job in the industry at least makes sense, but it's not for the reader's benefit.

That said, I'll give it a read later this afternoon.

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As Graham says, making something to showcase your mag design skills as a way to get a job in the industry at least makes sense, but it's not for the reader's benefit.

That's not the case - it's a professional publication. The editor's the guy who does the Guardian's gamesblog.

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None of the text shows up in Preview or PDF Viewer in OSX, the layout is visible but I'm seeing blank areas where the copy should be.

Apart from that, I agree that the pdf format is wholly inappropriate for what you're trying to do. It's self indulgent and is trying too hard to be a print magazine. If the content is good you should be confident enough to present it as plain text, I get the feeling that whoever is behind this doesn't understand that design = communication.

No, it wouldn't appear in OSX Preview, because like all third party PDF viewers, it doesn't support PDF 1.5, so you do need to use Adobe Reader.

Erm, it is trying very hard to be a print magazine. That's the point. Maybe that is self indulgent, (it wasn't in our agenda when we set out to do this though!) but it is really just a way of offering something different, and there isn't really a way to do that except in PDF. Even Flash isn't capable of doing what we wanted to do.

I can understand some people not liking it. I've launched enough mags to know that you can't please everyone, so I respect that.

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I used to dislike the idea of a PDF magazine, like really, really hate it. I've come round a bit now though. Print them out, or read them full screen, it feels a little different to a website, and better sometimes.

However - I use foxit reader, and I refuse to install that poxy bloatware Adobe shovel out, so it looks like I won't be giving this a shot. Shame, as it looks good...

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This error is caused by having an old version of Adobe Reader. The PDFs include multimedia and that is PDF 1.5 spec, so you need to have a recent copy of Adobe Reader. If you install version 8 from Adobe it should solve this, plus it's got some security updates that are a good idea anyway.

This also means though that third party PDF readers won't work either, btw, as Adobe never released the specs beyond PDF 1.0, so I'm afraid you do need the Adobe Reader.

If this doesn't solve the problem, let me know and I'll see if I can help you sort it.

Yeah you shouldn't have bothered, would have given it a read if it had just worked in Preview

Flicked through about 4 pages, and after having about 7 dialogue boxes pop up harassing me about MORE updates to that stupid program (This is after having to run 2 installers just to get the thing on my system, an installer to get the installer no less) and pestering me about multimedia content and stuff

christ its just not worth the effort

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It's odd, coz looking at the page ( www.gamerzines.com/hgzine/ ) it seems that you can download PDFs of individual articles. "Burnout Dominator Interview (PSP) [summary] Click here to read it now." ... "Driver 76 preview (PSP) [summary] Click here to read it now." ... they all lead to the same 25Mb PDF file. Breaking it up like that makes it look like you can download individual articles. I might have read a few of them if I could. I'm not interested in the DS stuff coz they're for a format I don't own, but the PSP bits might be ok.

One of my websites has a system that lets you flag sections you're interested in, then click 'build catalogue', and it makes a PDF tailored to exactly what you're interested in. That'd be a pretty cool app to utilise for a PDF magazine.

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