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Games for Windows Issue 09 (August 2007)

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63 out of 104 pages had visual elements crossing from one page to the next.  So basically 60% of the mag had to be edited together as joins, then spilt back apart into separate pages.  Pain in the @$$ for me, but good for anyone who likes to read their mags in two-page view mode.

Also, a reminder that "Retromags recommended" Sumatra is one of the WORST choices of CBR reader you could be using (it's not really a CBR reader at all, it's a PDF reader that can open CBRs), so if you're using it, please be aware that some pages will not be displayed as they were intended.

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Most people like whatever they get comfortable using, so I imagine that was the appeal of Sumatra to whoever chose to recommend it here.  They were probably already very familiar with PDF readers and wanted something that behaved identically.  I don't know what's best for everyone, the only way to know is to try different software and see what you prefer.  But there are some functional differences in PDF readers that make them less desirable for files which have been created specifically with CBR in mind which I will discuss later

I've been using CDisplay for over 15 years.  Unfortunately, I don't know where you can get it anymore.  The developer died a long time ago, so the software hasn't changed in ages, but it was always available at www.cdisplay.me  but recently that site has gone dead.  It has some drawbacks (probably because it's so old, it's one of the only CBR readers that can't open PDFs as well), but I'm so comfortable with it, it's hard for me to adjust to anything else.  It's got to be available someplace though...this is the Internet, right?

I think a lot of people use CDisplayEX now.  What I don't like about it is that (on my computer) there are load times, especially on big files like magazines.  I like to click on a mag/comic and have it open instantly, which is one reason I preferred the older software.  Depending on what reader you use, it might be worth installing CDisplayEX anyway, even if you don't use it, as just having it installed on your system will ensure that all cbr/cbz files have shell integration so you can see a thumbnail of their cover in Windows Explorer.  (Possibly other readers have this as well, I'm not sure).

I've heard recommendations for YACreader, and it doesn't have load times. It seems decent, if perhaps not as robust as CDisplayEX, and the image is actually a bit sharper than the reader I use, but there are other things I miss, so like I said, it's hard for me to change to anything else.


Here's something to keep an eye out for (you're unlikely to see this in any CBR readers, but this is what you'll get from a PDF reader like Sumatra):

Comics are meant to be a mix of single and double-page spreads.  Because the text on a two-page spread crosses from the left page to the right and then back again, these pages must be saved as a single wide image.  A CBR reader knows to expect this, and makes the reading experience seamless regardless of whether you're using single or two-page viewing mode.  A PDF reader expects all pages to be more or less the same size within a single document, so two-page viewing mode in particular can get really screwed up when it encounters wide images, such as you get when two pages are saved as a single image.

For example, using this issue (Games for Windows #9), at the beginning of the issue there is a foldout ad.  Here it is in a CBR reader, using two-page/book mode (set to fit-to-page/fit width):



And here's a PDF reader like Sumatra in two-page/book mode:


CBR readers dynamically shift between single and double pages all the time, so if you're in book mode and have two single pages, they will be displayed side by side, but if you encounter a joined image, it will understand that this is actually two pages already, and display just a single joined image, even when in two-page mode.  PDF readers aren't expecting this, so their "two-page" mode will display two files side by side, no matter how big they are (in this case, it ends up displaying FIVE pages all at once.)

And joins aside, let's say you're looking at a two page ad that has been saved as two separate pages (which unlike comic scans, is how magazine scans are usually handled).  A CBR reader set to two-page mode shows this:


While Sumatra shows this:


Any reader that inserts a space between pages I've painstakingly edited to be a seamless join is unappealing to me (though I can see how it's a welcome obfuscation for anyone who doesn't bother to edit their mags as carefully).


Edited by kitsunebi
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