I’m working on a full release of my tabletop roleplaying game LORE, which I released as a beta in 2009. The game will be extensively updated with clarifications, rebalancing, enhancements, and a far-better “conflict” system that provides a unified rule set for combats, debates, and other interesting situations. There’s one problem with the LORE beta that’s more visible than any of these.
The LORE beta is ugly.
I laid it out in OpenOffice.org, which is a word processor, not a document layout application. There’s a standard solution for the terminally technical author who wants to produce beautiful documents: LaTeX, hereafter referred to as “Latex.” Unfortunately, as great as Latex is at providing low-effort, decent layout for things like academic articles, it’s really awkward and frustrating if you need to do the kind of complex page layouts that a roleplaying sourcebook demands.
My alternative? ConTeXt. Or, for my sanity, “Context.” Context is based on TeX like Latex is, but it’s focused more on general purpose typography and page layout than Latex, which mostly tries to keep those concerns out of the user’s way. Despite its frustratingly limited documentation, Context has proved far better-suited to my project. I’ll explain in more detail below.