Lacero

Is there interest in Japanese official strategy guides?

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I see Japanese magazines (Famitsu!) are scanned but the strategy guides section is English only. My Japanese guides are SFC/GBA/SS/PS1 era so much older than the 10 year window.

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If you scan and edit them properly, we can host them.  And if you scan and edit them improperly, the Internet Archive can host them.😋

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Thanks for the fast response! Scan properly, I don't want to remove the binding to get perfect even scans. Are scans with folds along the binding with a flatbed scanner acceptable? Can you name a posted guide or magazine that does this to use as a control?

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Check out the Internet Archive.  That's where the still-bound scans go.  The only mags of that type that might be found here are going to be the staple-bound and exceptionally-thin kind.  (As in, staple-bound and less than 100 pages so they can be laid reasonably flat on a scanner bed.)  The scans still won't be as good, but if the mag is staple-bound and thin enough, there shouldn't be too much distortion along the spine side of the page. 

Strategy guides are almost always square-bound and thick, so scanning without debinding isn't an option (for Retromags-approved scans).  It's simply not possible to get scans of acceptable quality without debinding when you're dealing with anything square-bound/perfect-bound or over so many pages.  But just because we won't host such things here, it doesn't mean that people won't download it if you put it up elsewhere.

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I appreciate you breaking down the process for me. Ehhh, I feel like Internet Archive is the B Team. So super thin Game Genie code mailers could remain bound and make it on here, thick strategy guides probably not.

I think quality is relative though. When I read said thick strategy guides / magazines, the binding gets in the way and scanning with the binding intact reproduces that effect. I realize professional eBooks are flat sheets and Retromags follows that line of thinking.

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Hello, I like japanese guides, it have sometimes interesting arts, it will be great to see it in anyplace and any format :). 

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On 7/9/2019 at 4:03 AM, Lacero said:

I think quality is relative though. When I read said thick strategy guides / magazines, the binding gets in the way and scanning with the binding intact reproduces that effect. I realize professional eBooks are flat sheets and Retromags follows that line of thinking.

That's an interesting point of view.  If you prefer the still-bound flatbed scanner look, you could take our releases and open them in Photoshop or some other editing software.  Select about an inch-worth of space along the gutter side of the page.  Then apply a strong blur filter to that section as well as a darkened gradient.  Finally, use the warp command to distort it.  Voila! 😋

Seriously, though, even though we would never allow that sort of thing here, there are plenty of people who can recognize that a low-quality scan is better than no scan at all, so uploading it to a file repository like archive.org isn't b-team at all (that would suggest that they are a team to begin with.)  It's just a place where anyone can upload files without needing to worry about if the quality meets any kind of standards or if they have permission top upload the files in the first place.  Like torrents. Without the torrents.😉 It's where I upload things that I didn't scan myself.

So by all means, scan your stuff in whatever way you're comfortable with and upload it there.  I guarantee there will be people who appreciate it.

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Yes, huge interest. Japanese guidebooks hold relevant info, are usually pretty gorgeous, and often have developer interviews.

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I wouldn't mind scanning JP guidebooks and older magazines myself either, however I'm hoping someone out there who's more motivated can do the research for me since I'm only sorta interested in it. I have lots of downtime + a good scanner, I just don't want to try and find old articles that list what a book might have. Is there a good resource for this somewhere or is it limited to hoping that Yahoo Auctions have a good description?

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It's been clearly established that people who visit this site are interested in scanned gaming mags and strategy guides (gosh, who'da thunk it?).  So for all of you people claiming to be willing to to it, the ball is in your court now.  I do suspect that anyone trying to scan a thick squarebound guide on a flatbed will give up immediately when they see how terrible the results are, but the question is, will anyone even get that far?  As someone who's been here a while, I can tell you that of all the people who contribute scans here, I don't recall any of them trying to gauge interest beforehand - they simply did it and then came to us with their completed scans to ask if we would host them.

49 minutes ago, Habanero said:

I wouldn't mind scanning JP guidebooks and older magazines myself either, however I'm hoping someone out there who's more motivated can do the research for me since I'm only sorta interested in it. I have lots of downtime + a good scanner, I just don't want to try and find old articles that list what a book might have. Is there a good resource for this somewhere or is it limited to hoping that Yahoo Auctions have a good description?

I don't quite understand what you're saying here.  Every guide I've ever seen in any language has the title of the game in the title of the book.  Something like "Final Fantasy VII Official Strategy Guide" doesn't require any research to determine what game it covers...?

Also, admitting to being unmotivated isn't the most promising of characteristics for a scanner to have.  It takes TONS of motivation to see a scan/edit through from start to finish.  Perhaps you should just start by scanning something already in your possession?

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4 minutes ago, kitsunebi77 said:

Also, admitting to being unmotivated isn't the most promising of characteristics for a scanner to have.  It takes TONS of motivation to see a scan/edit through from start to finish.  Perhaps you should just start by scanning something already in your possession?

I'm aware of how much work it takes (I've scanned and edited 1,000+ books). I'm about to scan a Prima guide. There are dozens of different publications. I'm referring to old Japanese magazines. I don't know what their contents are, and it requires a lot of research. Couple that with collectors charging stupid prices, and I'm hesitant. I'm just wondering if someone can help me do research on which magazines I could focus on.

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I'd focus your efforts on magazines in English if I were you, then.  Or just pick any magazine at random.  People interested in, for example, the Dreamcast, will happily download any issue from a Dreamcast magazine, regardless of the specific games covered inside.

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Thanks everyone for the feedback! I don't know Japanese but the strategy guides seem better / more thorough when I have the English version to compare. I think the casual masses would enjoy comparing the two as I have. I posted test scans in the editing thread for input.

Rolling with an HP LaserJet Pro MFP M225dn flatbed scanner that goes up to 300 dpi. That seems to be the typical resolution here. With my test pages, 200 dpi was about 1 megabyte per scan and 300 was 2.5 megabytes. I can understand why no one uses 600 dpi for the sake of filesize.

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46 minutes ago, Lacero said:

Rolling with an HP LaserJet Pro MFP M225dn flatbed scanner that goes up to 300 dpi. That seems to be the typical resolution here. With my test pages, 200 dpi was about 1 megabyte per scan and 300 was 2.5 megabytes. I can understand why no one uses 600 dpi for the sake of filesize.

Actually, it's fairly common to scan and edit at 600dpi.  I know I certainly do.  The larger your starting image, the easier it is to do spot fixes on a page (eliminating blemishes, tears, scratches, etc.).  Then, after the image has been edited, we reduce the file to whatever size we plan to compile the CBR as.  But yes, if we saved the files in the finished CBR at 600dpi, the files would be unnecessarily huge.

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1 hour ago, kitsunebi77 said:

Actually, it's fairly common to scan and edit at 600dpi.  I know I certainly do.  The larger your starting image, the easier it is to do spot fixes on a page (eliminating blemishes, tears, scratches, etc.).  Then, after the image has been edited, we reduce the file to whatever size we plan to compile the CBR as.  But yes, if we saved the files in the finished CBR at 600dpi, the files would be unnecessarily huge.

Crap, not that I can't buy a 600+ dpi scanner but the less steps I have to complete per publication the better. I understand the logic behind starting at high quality and minimizing down.

Actually, how do you create a CBR? I can save each scan as Bitmap, JPEG, PNG, TIFF or PDF. Easy enough to save as an image format, edit then and compile together into a single PDF.

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We don't use PDF around here since it's a proprietary format owned by Adobe, and to have full control over accessing and editing the contents of a PDF requires the paid version of Adobe Acrobat.  CBR is nothing but a ZIP/RAR container, allowing much easier access the the jpgs contained therein.  So if that didn't answer your question, I'll state it another way: to create a CBR, all you have to do is use a compression program like WinRAR to create an archive of your jpgs, but change the extension from .rar to .cbr.  If you create a ZIP file, change the extension from .zip to .cbz.

*If using WinRAR, make sure you select "RAR4" under "archive format," since not all CBR readers can open files created with RAR5 (listed as "RAR" under "archive format".)

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PDF Creation used to be the sole domain of Adobe but that was years ago.

There are plenty of PDF creation programs out there nowadays, some of which are fairly inexpensive. It is probably more truthful to state creating CBR's is free while PDF's have a cost associated with them although truth be told most document scanners have the feature built into their accompanying software packages now however you do need to get the scanner profiles configured correctly to ensure clean output.

If someone prefers to and has the ability to create PDF's it shouldn't be an impediment to making them available on Retromags but that was the crux of my being banned here several years ago. Crazy time that was!!

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1 hour ago, KiwiArcader said:

PDF Creation used to be the sole domain of Adobe but that was years ago.

There are plenty of PDF creation programs out there nowadays, some of which are fairly inexpensive. It is probably more truthful to state creating CBR's is free while PDF's have a cost associated with them although truth be told most document scanners have the feature built into their accompanying software packages now however you do need to get the scanner profiles configured correctly to ensure clean output.

If someone prefers to and has the ability to create PDF's it shouldn't be an impediment to making them available on Retromags but that was the crux of my being banned here several years ago. Crazy time that was!!

Creation of PDFs isn't the problem - it's uncreating them that's hard to do.  Anyone wanting to access and manipulate the images contained within the PDF who doesn't own Acrobat is going to have to do some research and probably download one or more programs which may or may not allow them to get at the original files without having them be altered in some way via that program's recompression.

The majority of people downloading mags are only going to use the files in a read-only capacity, in which case a PDF is fine if they don't mind using a PDF reader.  But the lack of accessibility for anyone interested in manipulating the files is the main reason I would never encourage PDFs to be allowed here.  As you say, creating PDFs is easy and free.  So anyone who prefers PDFs can easily do so for themselves using the JPGs found in a CBR.  However, the reverse - creating a CBR/jpg folder from a PDF - cannot be done nearly so easily.

In many ways PDFs are similar to a write-protected disc.  Anyone just wanting to run the software can do it, but anyone interested in manipulating the files within is going to have to hack their way in using programs they're unlikely to already have installed.  So it's really about ease of use more than anything.

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Haha ...if you said that in your first post I wouldn't have said anything. I agree though. To get the most out of PDF generally means spending money on a PDF application. He was speaking about creating a PDF though and not extracting from....

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True, but he was speaking about creating a PDF for the purpose of adding it to Retromags, and I was hoping to explain why that wouldn't be acceptable.

Our scans are nothing but a collection of jpegs.  While PDF is a versatile format that can do a number of things a CBR reader can't, NONE of those things are applicable when talking about a simple collection of jpegs.  In the case of our magazine scans, the only reason for someone to prefer PDF is if they prefer their particular PDF reader over some other reader, be it a CBR reader or a different PDF reader.  We don't want to force people to use a reader they're unhappy with.  By offering our mags as CBRs, anyone who prefers to use a PDF reader can very easily convert the jpgs contained in the CBR into PDF format.  But if our releases were in PDF format, everyone would be forced to use a PDF reader or else go to a significant amount of trouble and possibly expense to convert the file to JPGs (which would almost definitely not be bit-for-bit identical to the original jpgs the PDF was created from) in order to create a CBR. 

Keeping things free and open-format with the jpgs easily accessible to everyone is the ultimate goal, while also giving the individual the ability to choose whatever reader they prefer to view the files.

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20 hours ago, kitsunebi77 said:

  CBR is nothing but a ZIP/RAR container

Thanks, I saw how to make CBR's in the scanning guide but I didn't  believe it to be a fake file format - a rename of zip for cbr and zip for cbz. I opened issues with 7-ZIP to see they really are just JPEG's that display in alphabetical order.

20 hours ago, kitsunebi77 said:

We don't use PDF around here since it's a proprietary format owned by Adobe, and to have full control over accessing and editing the contents of a PDF requires the paid version of Adobe Acrobat.

You're right but isn't publishing magazines that can't be easily edited desirable? Is anyone here editing magazines already published? Trivially easy to remove the RetroMags page out of the CBZ to re-brand or compile in a product for sale. PDF's also seem to take up 2-3x less disk space, if my conversion of EGM Issue 54 from 418 MB in CBZ to 159 MB in PDF is any indication.

I think it's disingenuous to force one file format upon the masses. I like archive.org's method of making  issues taken from here available for download in (original?) ZIP, EPUB, PDF, searchable PDF, text-only, MOBI and GZ. They also apply ABBYY FineReader 11.0 to make a set of the PDF's searchable, which is a huge advantage. Too bad software costs $200. Granted, text slanted at more than about 30° wasn't searchable when I tested.

15 hours ago, kitsunebi77 said:

The majority of people downloading mags are only going to use the files in a read-only capacity, in which case a PDF is fine if they don't mind using a PDF reader.

Who doesn't mind using a PDF reader? Easy to zoom in and out and change viewing from single page to double page, which I think is all that most people care about. PDF is 100% standard in the business world. If PDF were the only format offered then I'd be concerned but RetroMags obviously already has zipped JPEG containers (CBZ/CBR).

17 hours ago, KiwiArcader said:

If someone prefers to and has the ability to create PDF's it shouldn't be an impediment to making them available on Retromags but that was the crux of my being banned here several years ago. Crazy time that was!!

I tried free STDU Converter to convert a CBZ to PDF. Worked well enough. I'm sure there are many ways to convert JPEG's to PDF. Banned for using another file format that has endless free readers available? At least you were unbanned. Can we not take upload their searchable PDF's here too? Particularly if they're half the filesize? The CBZ/CBR-only decision must have been made a long time ago. Perhaps it's time to revisit it in the wake of making images searchable with OCR software.

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1 hour ago, kitsunebi77 said:

True, but he was speaking about creating a PDF for the purpose of adding it to Retromags, and I was hoping to explain why that wouldn't be acceptable.

That is precisely the elitist type of attitude Meppi/Triverse used when banning me back in the day. Now, I know you are nothing like those two people but you do see how that comment comes across right? 

Given the sheer lack of people scanning computing/gaming magazines for preservation I would have thought Phillyman would be happy to accept submissions in either format as long as they met whatever criteria he defined in regard to quality (resolution, page size, cropping etc) far more so than the file type itself. Still, I have no concerns one way or the other as I have my own website but I can tell you this was one of the reasons I decided to stop making files available here.

What I will say though is that IF you choose to adopt this attitude towards people submitting PDF's and they don't want to use CBR's for whatever reason then you are pushing away the very people that you moan about not seeing enough of around here which is just plain daft. If they want a home for their PDF's they can head on over to my website. I hate advertising it here like this but I'd rather keep ANY people prepared to scan mags in the scene rather than have them dropping out due to archaic rules created a decade ago.

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2 minutes ago, Lacero said:

Thanks, I saw how to make CBR's in the scanning guide but I didn't  believe it to be a fake file format - a rename of zip for cbr and zip for cbz. I opened issues with 7-ZIP to see they really are just JPEG's that display in alphabetical order.

CBR stands for Comic Book RAR.  It's not a "fake" format so much as a way of easily identifying the file as an archive of images as opposed to an archive of other filetypes that can't be read with a CBR reader.

7 minutes ago, Lacero said:

You're right but isn't publishing magazines that can't be easily edited desirable? Is anyone here editing magazines already published? Trivially easy to remove the RetroMags page out of the CBZ to re-brand or compile in a product for sale.

First of all...yes.  We are editing and utilizing files already published.  You know those 25,000+ images in our Gallery?  Where do you suppose those come from?  Those are all jpgs.  And speaking for myself (as the person who has uploaded almost 70% of them), I almost always have to edit covers pulled from scans coming from sites other than our own before uploading them, since other sites don't care about removing defects from their scans.  And if I upload an advertsement from a scan, that has to be extracted as a jpg and possibly edited as well.

Look, the bottom line is, WE DON'T OWN THESE FILES.  If we grant ourselves the right to scan and upload this material, then anyone out there should also have the right to do whatever they like with it.  If they want to remove our credit page, that makes them assholes, but that's their right.  If they want to sell them, well, that makes them a criminal and they should be reported, but a PDF can be sold just as easily as a CBR, so that's beside the point.

16 minutes ago, Lacero said:

PDF's also seem to take up 2-3x less disk space, if my conversion of EGM Issue 54 from 418 MB in CBZ to 159 MB in PDF is any indication.

Ohhhhh dear....

You ARE aware that what you did was compress the jpgs?  Just like converting a CD to MP3, you made it smaller by compressing the data using lossy compression.  So yes, you made the file smaller. By decreasing the quality.  You CAN create a PDF without compressing the files (you should be able to select "compression: none" from a menu), but you obviously won't experience a reduction in filesize.

23 minutes ago, Lacero said:

I think it's disingenuous to force one file format upon the masses. I like archive.org's method of making  issues taken from here available for download in (original?) ZIP, EPUB, PDF, searchable PDF, text-only, MOBI and GZ. They also apply ABBYY FineReader 11.0 to make a set of the PDF's searchable, which is a huge advantage. Too bad software costs $200. Granted, text slanted at more than about 30° wasn't searchable when I tested.

If you upload a CBR to archive.org, the file available to download is also a CBR.  A VERY highly compressed PDF will also be created, but the quality of said PDF will be very noticeably compromised.

As for forcing one file format upon the masses, this is exactly why we don't use PDF.  Creating a PDF from a CBR without affecting the quality of the file is free and easy to do for anyone who prefers that format.  Extracting images from a PDF in their original uncompressed format is extremely difficult to do.  Almost all programs capable of converting a PDF to JPGs recompress the files in some way during the process, thus compromising the quality.

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